I didn’t read as many books in September as last month! Between a trip to San Francisco, races, visits to Disneyland, camping in Joshua Tree, a bunch of concerts, and generally living life, there wasn’t as much time.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone | JK Rowling
Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.
Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.
It’s impossible for me to give a Harry Potter book a fair, unbiased rating. I have my favorites, but they are all a part of me. They shaped me into who I am today, and to separate that for an impartial review seems like asking me to choose which of my limbs is my favorite! That said, this is such a sweet introduction to the world of Harry Potter and I adore it.
The Underground Railroad | Colson Whitehead
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
I liked this one a lot. It really made me think about society, and I thought the subtle magical realism was done well. Whitehead does a wonderful job of saying a lot in very few words – another author could have written this same book but twice as long. I read this for the Diverse Books Club after having it on my shelf for nearly a year, and I’m so glad I finally read it.
All the Missing Girls | Megan Miranda
It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.
The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.
Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.
I loved how this one was told backwards and really forced you to figure out how to fit the pieces together. A friend recommended it to me when I was looking for a plot-heavy book, and this absolutely fit the bill.
Exit West | Mohsin Hamid
In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.
I generally don’t love magical realism, but this one was great. I loved how it’s applicable to our current time, but I think it’ll hold up for the future too. I read this one in a day.
The Heir | Keira Cass
Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she’d put off marriage for as long as possible.
But a princess’s life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can’t escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.
Wasn’t crazy about this one. It takes place 20 years after the last Selection book, and focuses on the daughter of those characters. I found the daughter to be whiny and annoying, and those things didn’t endear her to me as a character. I didn’t care much about her. I did like how it wasn’t the exact same story as the first series.
Total number of books in September: five
Number of fiction books in September: five
Number of nonfiction books in September: zero
Total number of books this year: forty nine