Monday, October 3, 2016

September 2016 Wrap-Up

Time to talk about what I read in September. 
I read 10 books total. 3 nonfiction, 7 fiction. 4 and a third of them were rereads.

Honestly, this was not a great reading month. The books that I loved the most were the ones I had read before. There was only one new book that I really enjoyed and the rest fell somewhere in the okay to blah categories. (Yes, blah is a category.) So let's start with the rereads:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I love this book, I have since the first time I read it. As a teenager this was the book that began my love affair with Gothic novels. However, it had been years since I read it. YEARS! Probably more than 15. I had forgotten how absolutely brutal and heart wrenching this book is. You'll be glad to know Jane stood the test of time well. If possible, I liked her even more than ever before. If you have not read this book put down whatever book you are reading, close your laptop (seriously, don't even finish reading this blog), and go read Jane Eyre. You'll thank me.

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart
This middle grade novel is the fourth in the Mysterious Benedict Society series although, technically, it is the prequel. This series follow the journey of four youngsters who save their community (and the world) using their wits and individual skills. This book gives us the back story of Mr. Benedict, the founder of the society. I have heard many people say they like this book less than the rest of the series. I understand where they are coming from and I love the rest of the series, but I actually think I like this book just a little better than the other three. Regardless of which you prefer, these books are great for kids and adults alike. They are full of friendship, loyalty, creativity, resourcefulness, bravery, and compassion. Fantastic reading!

The Peasant Girl's Dream by George MacDonald
MacDonald is an author I read a lot as a teen, it is where my fascination with Scotland started. For a long time I have been intending to go back and reread some of his stories and this is the one I randomly pulled off the shelf (random meaning that I was looking for something fairly short and this one fit the bill). While this is not one of my favorite MacDonald novels it is still a solid and enjoyable little love story.

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
My third reread this month was one of my non-fiction titles. Tozer is one of my favorite theological authors and I have reread this book probably more than any other. I think this book does a great job of explaining what it means to be a follower of Christ. Not just going to church or knowing the Sunday school answers, this book is about pursuing God tirelessly and passionately. You should definitely give this one a read. 

Oz, The Complete Collection, Vol. 1 by L. Frank Baum
This book is a collection of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz, and Ozma of Oz. The first third of this book was a reread for me, but I had never read beyond the original story. I really enjoyed these stories. As a child of the 80s I watched the movie Return to Oz several times and it was very enjoyable to read the stories behind that movie and get to know characters I vaguely remembered, Jack Pumpkinhead, Tik Tok, and Billina the chicken. I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of the series. (And thanks to the fabulous friend who gave me the box set for my birthday!)

Alright, moving on to books that I didn't like as much. Let's start with the other two non-fiction titles:

Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of the Single Life in the Twenty-First Century by Jennifer Marshall and Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst
I'm grouping these two books together because I kind of feel the same way about them both. I think they are both good books. I think they both have valid things to say to women who struggle with their emotions (aka all of us). I don't think that I personally was in the right place in life to pick them up. They did not speak to me personally. They both speak to very important issues and if one of them sounds like it might encourage you, please read it! 

There were 3 more fiction books I read this month. Out of the three my favorite was:

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
This book fell very middle of the road for me. I enjoyed it, but didn't love it. It tells the story of Sarah, a 10 year old Jewish girl in Paris in 1942 during the German occupation. I love WWII stories and this was a bit of history I had never heard before. I had no idea that Jews were rounded up in Paris and shipped off to concentration camps. I loved the historical aspect of this book. What I didn't enjoy so much was the story of Julia, a journalist 60 years later. We follow Julia as she researches these horrific events, we follow her as she struggles with a failing marriage and trying to fit into French culture as a foreigner and honestly, I just didn't care. I wanted more history and less modern day drama. 

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
This is the first book in a young adult fantasy series. I generally don't like young adult fiction but every once in a while I see something that makes me try again. And honestly, this book started out strong. I was drawn in by the protagonist, Meghan, a half human, half fairy discovering who she is and entering the fairy realm to save her little brother who has been kidnapped. Unfortunately, the book lost interest for me very quickly. I know this series is reasonably popular but I got bored very quickly. I did force myself to finish the book but I have no intention of reading any further in the series. 

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Can we call these Just NO Stories? I did not like this book at all! I have no idea why this is still considered a classic and a must read for children. The stories are not charming and whimsical like I was expecting and there is so much racism it made me cringe. I just could not stand this book.

So there's my wrap up for the month. Here's hoping there are some better books in my future! I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of these books that you have read.

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