Books I Read In September

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
Definitely my favorite of the month, and you can read my review here!

Rich and Pretty by Rumaan Alam
This book gave me FEELINGS, and not the good kind. The main characters seemed like caricatures and not real women. I also felt as if it was kind of sexist. The two friends take different paths in life: the cookie cutter 'housewife' and 'career woman' roles. These roles are filled in an annoyingly stereotypical way. Sarah wants marriage and a family - she is shallow and boring. Lauren is career driven - she emotionally detached and sexually liberated. There is much navel gazing, and then... the end. I know that men are quite capable of writing women characters (Memoirs of a Geisha is what immediately leaps to mind), but I truly felt like the author had zero grasp on the female psyche and his style (So. Many. Sentence. Fragments.) was not my favorite. I will admit that it was a somewhat hypnotic read, and that carried me through to finish the book.

The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Two ARCs in one month! Here's my review on the latest novel from the author of Room.

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
So this was a recommendation from my mom, who is a pretty big fan of thrillers. Whereas, I need a good convincing to pick one up. Most of the time our recs are hits (she told me about Me Before You, I got her reading The Hunger Games), but this was a miss for me. I liked it fine. It was a pretty compelling mystery, but I need more emotional pull and character development from my books. I think I would enjoy seeing the movie version of Fool Me Once - I appreciate a good action/whodunnit flick. This narrative is the kind of stuff I imagine goes on in those serial cop shows like Law and Order (no, I've never watched one), complete with slightly ridiculous dialogue. Sorry mom! Our batting average is still good, though.

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
There are a few stories from This American Life that will always stay with me, and Lindy's was one of them. Last month, as I was looking through past months of Book of the Month Club selections to add to my order, I read the description for Shrill and made the connection that this was her book. It was equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, as I thought it would be - full of great insights:
"Women matter. Women are half of us. When you raise every woman to believe that we are insignificant, that we are broken, that we are sick, that the only cure is starvation and restraint and smallness; when you pit women against one another, keep us shackled by shame and hunger, obsessing over our flaws rather than our power and potential; when you leverage all of that to sap our money and our time - that moves the rudder of the world. It steers humanity toward conservatism and walls and the narrow interests of men, and it keeps us adrift in waters where women's safety and humanity are secondary to men's pleasure and convenience."
Her story of navigating the pitfalls of life as a woman (and the ubiquitous misogynistic, racist internet trolls) gives me hope that we are on the path to improvement, rather than ruin.


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