What I Read: September 2016

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I feel like I need to disclose that this was not a stellar reading month for me. Maybe I am just grouchy and third-trimester pregnant (11 days to go and counting!), but I didn’t love anything I read in September. So if you only want to hear about books I adore … try July or August.


Midair by Kodi Scheer – I really needed a brain break while reading Dorian Gray (see below), and this was the book I had chosen for my Kindle First free pick in July. It’s a YA novel about a group of four girls who travel to Paris. Narrator Nessa has recently lost her brother and, in her mind, any scope of the future when fellow traveler Kat cheated off her ACT – and Nessa got the blame. She recklessly throws herself into this trip, provoking the other girls, planning her suicide from the Eiffel Tower.

I read the book in two sittings because it was a simple read, but I don’t really recommend it. Nessa’s character goes back and forth between her 17-year-old and older self, reflecting on how the outcome changed her and affects her as a parent. But the whole thing reads melodramatic.


The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – This is a short but intense classic by Oscar Wilde, whose work I’ve always enjoyed. As I’ve read more and more classics over the last year, I’m finding that maybe I am too modern of a reader: many classics are full of very long, philosophical passages that just don’t keep my attention. This is one of those. The action in the novel is wonderful and intriguing, and parts of the dialogue were engaging, but one character goes into very long diatribes that didn’t do anything for me. Altogether I am glad I read this one, but it’s not anything I would revisit.


A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg – A few of my friends were horrified when I went ahead and read Delancey before A Homemade Life, given that it put them out of chronological order. C’est la vie and what comes in from the library holds, y’all. (Review of Delancey is here.) More than a year later, I finally got around to this one, Wizenberg’s first book. It’s regaled as a book about her father and Molly’s reaction to his death, but I really didn’t feel like that encompasses what’s here. Really, it’s a collection of essays about growing-up moments and beloved foods and family members.

I confess I really didn’t love it any more than I did Delancey, which was somewhat disappointing. While Wizenberg is engaging and her recipes are to die for, she is kind of dry for me and I really didn’t need to read about her “intimate” life, either. (Trying to keep the spammers at bay, here.)


Miller’s Valley by Anna Quindlen – Quindlen is a favorite author of mine, but I was so lackluster about this, her latest book. I probably wouldn’t have even finished it except that I heard Anne talking about it on What Should I Read Next when I was in the middle, and that gave me enough push to keep going. It’s the history of a family who lives in an ever-flooding valley. Mimi tells her family’s story as she grows from a child to a medical student. It is crisp and the writing is good, but nothing captured me about this book at all. (It makes me sad to write that, because really, I LOVE Anna Quindlen.)


Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly – Bringing true history to life, Martha Hall Kelly follows three women from the onset of World War II until many years past its end: Caroline, a New York socialite and “old maid” with a passion for all things French; Kasia, a Polish teenager; and Herta, a young German doctor. Their lives intersect in different times during the passing of the years as we hear three very different stories from these three women. While the history itself is riveting, I felt the writing was almost journalistic and the narrative dragged on. Jessica Turner had recommended this as being great in audio, and I wish I had listened to her on that. It’s an interesting read but not as engrossing as I had hoped.


Oh people. I feel like this is such a bummer of a month! I swear I don’t hate everything I read. I read Commonwealth by Ann Patchett in October already, and it was a much better one for me! Currently I’m storming through Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, too.

What have you read lately?

Linking up with Quick Lit at Modern Mrs. Darcy

3 thoughts on “What I Read: September 2016

  1. I have been excited to read A Homemade Life but not excited to hear that there is a lot of “intimate” details. I try not to read books that have TMI in that department. I might just skip directly to Delancey since I used to live in Seattle and love food memoirs. I just read The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn and LOVED it. It’s a memoir on how she taught 9 cooking novices how to make meals from whole foods rather than the processed stuff and fast food they were buying. Now reading her previous book (I read them out of order too, haha), The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry about her time at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
    Adding Lilac Girls to my TBR list!

    Here are my Sept reads: https://elle-alice.blogspot.ca/2016/09/september-book-reviews.html

    • I certainly didn’t mean that Wizenburg shares graphically or offensively. I just thought talking at all about it seemed out-of-place, and maybe I am on the prudish side. I keep meaning to read Kitchen Counter Cooking School!

  2. “A Homemade Life” is on my TBR list. I’m waiting until I can read a copy for free (library) or really cheap. It sounds good, but maybe not great.

    I’ve added “Lilac Girls” to my list now. It reminds me of “Land Girls” by Angela Huth, which I read YEARS ago. Of course, my TBR list hovers around 350, so I might not get to it. 😉

    I started “Miller’s Valley” at one point, but just couldn’t really get into it. I’m usually pretty quick to move on, because there are so many other things I want to read.

    Here’s my September reading:
    Larger than Life- Jody Picot- novella (and now I really want to read the book that follows this)
    Wedding Cake Mystery- Joanna Fluke
    Epic of Gilgamesh (that was a struggle, but I have never read it, and I was making my 16 yr old read it for homeschool, so I did it. I recognize that it has historical value, but it has no appeal to me.)
    Eligible- Curtis Sittenfield- (This was decent, but not great)
    An Irish Country Courtship- Patrick Taylor (audiobook)
    Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery- Jenny Colgan
    Nightingale- Kristen Hannah (This was the best book I read all month. I had heard lots about it, and it did not disappoint.)
    One in a Million Boy- Monica Wood (This one was some work for me to get through, but overall enjoyable if a little strange.)
    The Monster in the Hollows (with the kids. 3rd in a series)

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