The number of books I read in September was half of what I read in August, though probably still too many given grad school is back in session. In theory, there should be a steady decline in October and November (when all the papers and projects start coming due), and an uptick in December and January (when school is on break). Too many books, not enough time, and lord knows how many unread ones wallowing on my shelf, waiting because…oh! shiny library book! Ten of the 17 books below were library books, and NOT books stacked next to my computer that have been waiting patiently to be read.
I like learning the bits of history that never get covered in school, or on the occasion it is a covered topic, learning about it from a different angle. The Greatest Knight is such a book, the man in question dealing with five English kings, including Richard the Lionheart and King John.
The second non-fiction book I read in September was Kim Gordon’s memoir. It was definitely introspective, with the feeling of being written for catharsis. She talks about her internal conflicts and is fairly self-analytical. I really enjoyed it. To an extent, I can relate to being married to someone and feeling like you don’t really know who they are. On a side, I loved that she listened to Françoise Hardy. After the Beatles, she was my #2 most listened to artist from my mother’s LP collection when I was a child. And Françoise Hardy must been some undetected theme, because she was referenced in The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy (an October read).
Even though August resulted in romance burn out, I still read several in September. They really do get redundant and situationally eye-rolly after a while, but it is still a genre I enjoy. The Wind City was good story, but Wigmore dropped the ball with the climax – great build up, flat and unsatisfying resolution. I did not like how she handled it. A Darker Shade of Magic was a different sort of fantasy novel. I like it when fantasy stories don’t fall into tropes. The rules of magic and world-building were original. The Unnoticeables was also an original fantasy idea, but the the voice of one of the main characters, Kaitlyn, didn’t feel right. She was too similar to the other MC, Carey. Carey, however, was a great character. Beastly Bones, was better than Jackaby. The characters felt stronger, and the plot line was creative. Jackaby was good, but Beastly Bones is better. Can’t wait for book #3 in the series. Alice was yet another creative fantasy book. I love all things Alice in Wonderland, and this dark version of it takes the tale and twists it into something new while keeping the spirit of the original characters and their purposes. Red Moon was awesome! It’s not really a werewolf book so much as it’s a political parable about xenophobia and our post-9/11 relationship with terror and the government’s reaction to it. It is a strong plot with developed, unique characters. Percy also has a distinctive cadence and rhythm to his writing that I enjoyed.
My four (not really) lonely graphic novels were an interesting bunch. Sunstone is definitely not for everyone given the BDSM content, but if you like stories driven by strong characters, this is a good choice. Its focus is on the characters’ relationships and dynamics with each other. Empowered focuses on the main character, Empowered, and how she copes with being considered a worthless superhero, good only for getting tied up during fights. The drawing style took some getting used to, and while I like the concept, I don’t like it enough to buy the additional volumes. The final graphic novel of September was Saga, volume 5. This story gets better with each volume. It is an awesome gray-area sweeping space opera. Saga can do no wrong.