Books

What I Read in September

I actually can’t believe it’s time for another monthly book roundup. While I’m sharing what I read in September, I’d love it if you left a comment with some of your favorite book you’ve read this summer. I’m trying to up my ante with books now that we’re heading into chillier weather. I want a LONG LIST of books to go into fall and winter with…. I recently purchased SweetbitterDelicious!and The Secret History.

THE UNRAVELING OF CASSIDY HOLMES: 4/5 Stars

This book was touted as the next Daisy Jones and the Six…. and it falls quite short of that. It is about a band, think the Spice Girls if they were formed like One Direction. I did find the book enjoyable; it just lacked depth. I wanted more and kept hoping for it to dive deeper into the characters. The book goes through the trials, tribulations, and pressure of fame. A great “beach read.”

BIG SUMMER2.5/5 Stars

I hated this book tbh. The premise sounded amazing! It’s about a plus-size influencer navigating a complicated friendship with her ex-best friend. It just didn’t do it for me and I talked to a few of my friends who read it thinking I had missed the appeal but everyone agreed: it was flat. I was expecting a fun summer read and then at one point in the book it turns into a Nancy Drew murder mystery and I was like, “What am I reading?”

MONOGAMY3.5 Stars

So…. I’m not sure I’d recommend reading this book right after getting married 😆 It reads a lot like an Ann Patchett novel– a slow burn with careful storytelling, but I couldn’t quite get into it. The book is about love, relationships between partners and family members, friendship, grief, and even age. While I enjoyed the book because the writing was beautiful, I didn’t find the plot memorable at all.

GROWN4.5 Stars

Grown was a fantastic read!!! Highly recommend. In fact, I think high schools should make it required reading. While the content is pretty dark– it’s such an important topic. The main character, a high schooler named Enchanted becomes the protege of a well-known R&B artist in his late twenties. It captures how easily and quickly an adult with fame, power, and money can groom a young teen and her family. (Yes, there are striking comparisons to R Kelly in this… but it’s very much it’s own fictional novel.) I couldn’t stop reading though it made me sick to my stomach at times.

UNTAMED5/5 Stars

WHY DID I PUT OFF READING THIS FOR SO LONG? This may be my favorite non-fiction read of the year so far. I had heard pretty incredible things about Glennon Doyle’s latest book and it did not disappoint. WOW. I don’t even have enough words to describe how much it resonated with me… It’s a memoir, with each chapter holding its own anecdote that ties into a life-lesson. I couldn’t stop reading it and I couldn’t stop talking about it. It covers a broad spectrum of topics: advocacy, parenting, body-confidence, addiction, love, friendships, family. I had so many aha moments while reading– I feel like I had some genuine life-altering realizations.

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81 Comments

Heather

I highly recommend Something to Talk About! The romance is well written, but I especially loved that the women had great friendships with their siblings.

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Elizabeth

I read the Secret History over the summer and it was probably the best book I’ve *ever* read. Enjoy!!!

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Toni

Ann Patchett’s “State of Wonder” or any of Jane Harper’s books are fantastic! Charlotte Wood’s “The Weekend” is one of my recent favourites, but her novel “The Natural Way of Things” has to be the best book I’ve read in years.

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Annie

Hey Carly!

New books this year I enjoyed: My Dark Vanessa, We Ride Upon Sticks, They Wish They Were Us.

If you end up liking secret history, If We Were Villains is another good one in the same vein! And We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson is a great gothic (but not scary) one to read in October. The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas is a good YA whodunnit-but-not-scary book to read this month too lol. Ooh and Rebecca is a classic!!

Other books I think you’d like: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery, The Hobbit (didn’t read this til this summer, no idea why I waited so long!), My Antonia by Willa Cather, Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. Also, the Bertie and Jeeves series by PG Wodehouse are my ultimate cozy books, a good one to start with is The Indomitable Jeeves.

I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but I did end up loving The Witches by Stacy Schiff, about the Salem Witch Trials (again, might be a good October read!)

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Margo

The Girl with the Louding Voice & 28 Summers were two of my favorites this year. Most of my book pics come from your list!

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Katharina

I absolutely loved Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and would also recommend Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, took me a bit to get used to but then I couldn’t stop!

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Hayley

Oh I loved Big Summer! I mean the mystery confused me completely because I so didn’t expect that from Jennifer Weiner, it I still really enjoyed it. Definitely so different from her other work though!

The Secret History and Sweetbitter are both great books.

Did you read Fates and Furies when it came out? It was my favourite book that year. I also just finished In Five Years by Kate Searle, I devoured it in a couple of days. Finally I just gave my mum What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, my fave book of hers!

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Michelle

I loved, loved, loved Hope Springs and The Color of Hope, by Kim Cash Tate.

Also, have you checked out Hoopla for borrowing e-books?

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Sarah

Rodham. Curtis Sittenfeld NEVER disappoints. It was a five star for me, and I rarely give those.

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Rebecca

Transcendant Kingdom by Yaa Gyesi, The Misfortune of Marion Palm by Emily Culliton, Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver 🙂

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A Girl, A Style

I agree! I actually pre-ordered this one as soon as I heard she was doing it (because American Wife is one of my all-time favourites) and it did NOT disappoint! 5/5 from me!

Briony x

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Libby

Something great I read this summer was They Wish They Were Us. It was actually a Grace/Becca rec they gave on one of their podcast episodes! I think you’ll like this book!

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Sarah

My favorite reads of the summer were Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (SO GOOD) and Beach Read by Emily Henry (a good romance novel to get away from reality for a bit). Beach Read was off of BOTM. Also, a great one I read last year was All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I still think about that novel to this day, it was very moving to me.

Sarah
https://sarahandherdogs.com

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Kate

My fave books so far this year have been Long Bright River and An Anonymous Girl. Highly recommend either if you haven’t read!

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Lauren

This summer I discovered Katherine Center and totally loved her books What You Wish For, How to Walk Away, and Things You Save in a Fire.

Also, my favorite book of the year has been The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune and I recommend it for everyone.

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Brianna Rooney

I am SO glad you agree with big summer. It got SO hyped up and was just all over the place and simply put, bad. I pre ordered it which I never do and ugh, disappointment all around.

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Julia

me too! It seemed like everyone loved it so much but I really disliked it and only gave it one star. I raced through it in two days because I just wanted to be done.

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Kate

If you’ve missed any Ann Patchett it’s worth going back to– particularly loved “This is the Story of a Happy Marriage” and “Truth and Beauty” (which was a bit dark, but really phenomenal writing). I also recently read “Save me the Plums” and it was a really enjoyable read.

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Tina

Thanks for asking, Carly :). I’ve been trying to read more books by Black authors and really enjoyed Such a Fun Age and The Vanishing Half. A friend gave me book this summer that I loved so much — The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal. She was gifted the book and loved it so much that she paid it forward to me and a friend. I tend to binge read when I love a book. Here, I consciously slowed down and made myself stop reading some nights because I could not bear for it to be over. It’s a little under the radar, but everyone who reads it, loves it!

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Lucy

The Dutch House by Anne Patchett, The Vanishing Half (can’t remember if you recommended that), Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi!

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Joanna Mulvey

Thanks for the monthly book roundups! Here are a few I’d recommend (forgive me if you’ve already read a few!): Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai, The Night Circus (fave of 2019) by Erin Morgenstern, Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld, Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchet, The Book of Delights by Ross Gay (would recommend the audio version)

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E

I just finished West with the Night by Beryl Markham and can honestly say it has the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read. It’s a memoir, written about her life as an adventurer, racehorse trainer, and bush pilot in east Africa in the first part of the 20th century and just WOW. Highly recommend!

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Jessica A

I just finished Writers & Lovers, and I think it would be such a great fall read! It had depth and romance and self-discovery and grief. Would love to hear your thoughts!

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A Girl, A Style

My two *favourite* reads of late: Rodham (if you liked Curtis Sittenfeld’s previous novel, American Wife, you’ll love this. And if you haven’t read American Wife, read that too!) and Lady in Waiting, a memoir by Princess Margaret’s best friend and former lady who has had the most *fascinating* life; this was my favourite memoir since Michelle Obama’s Becoming. Highly recommend both!

Briony xx

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Caroline

I listened to rodham as an audiobook! The reader’s interpretation of bill’s accent was fun and it was a cool story!

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Lisa Mari

I just picked up a copy of “Untamed” today after seeing you post about it on Instagram and hearing lots about it. My favorite feel good read so far this year was “The Switch” by Beth O’Leary.

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Lauren

I recently finished Just Mercy and State of Wonder (epitome of an Ann Patchet slow burn!!) and currently reading Transcendent Kingdom (new from the author of Homegoing, which was probably my favorite read of 2020!).

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Ashley

I know you’re an avid reader but I’m so jealous of the amount of time you have to read! I have a husband, a house under renovation and a toddler running around. I’m lucky to get through a book in 3 months! (Not to mention we have another little one making her entrance before the end of October!) I’m hoping the downtime with her will allow some reading time for me! Thanks for these posts — it helps me save time in not having to sift through a ton of books I don’t want to read. Much love.

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Lindsay

Try audio books! I also am chasing after a toddler and this has been a way for me to keep reading! Always turn one on as I prep dinner, wash dishes, fold laundry, take her for walks, drive in the car, etc!!

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Emily Vogelgesang

Just finished listening Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and LOVED it! Also incredible non-fiction if you haven’t read is What the Eyes Don’t See by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Great audiobooks from this year: Where’d you go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple; Open Book by Jessica Simpson; Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson; Over the Top by JVN

Great physical books from this year: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert; The House at the Edge of Night by Catherine Banner; My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

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Nancy

I am currently reading The Chiffon Trenches by Andre Leon Talley- interesting stories of Vogue and the fashion world. If you liked Daisy Jones and the Six, read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I read Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams- really good story about a Amelia Earnhart type heroine with a twist. Amything by Paula Mclain- The Paris Wife, Circling the Sun, Love and Ruin- all good.

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Nancy

I am currently reading The Chiffon Trenches by Andre Leon Talley- interesting stories of Vogue and the fashion world. If you liked Daisy Jones and the Six, read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I read Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams- really good story about a Amelia Earnhart type heroine with a twist. Anything by Paula Mclain- The Paris Wife, Circling the Sun, Love and Ruin- all good.

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Caroline

I reread I know why the caged bird sings, and to kill a mocking bird is up next! I read these in school and loved them but have a different perspective reading them as an adult. My fave books of the year are Lady Clementine (historical fiction – author Marie Benedict has amazing historical fiction books) and Mexican Gothic!

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Brittany

Not sure if you’ve read this but Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer has been one of the best books I’ve read ALL YEAR! Wall Kimmerer is a Native American biologist that teaches at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and leads the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment. The book is a collection of essays that weave together a common theme of industrialism’s clash with the indigenous teachings of building symbiotic relationships with the natural world. She talks a lot about the mutualism and reciprocity needed in our relationships to the environment. I learned that corn, beans, and squash grow in perfect harmony with each other (the holy trinity in indigenous plantings) and that salamanders use magnetic fields to locate themselves to return to their ponds for breeding! It was a beautiful and peaceful read in a time of so much uncertainty. My boyfriend can attest to the fact that I will not shut up about how corn has so much to teach us.

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Tina

I enjoy biographies and LOVED Lady in Waiting. My only 5 star so far. I enjoyed Open Andre Agassi story and I am not even a tennis lover!

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Anna

My favorite book I read this summer was The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock– it’s deeper than I expected but very very good!

As far as I’m aware, you’ve never covered a book by Philippa Gregory in your monthly roundups. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what she writes!

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Erin

Recent good ones for me: Rodham, Majesty, Where The Crawdads Sing, the Winter In Paradise series. I love these posts from you – always find something for my list! I think you recommended A Most Beautiful Thing and I LOVED that one!!

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Isabelle

I am at 22 year old college student and I love light fiction. Every summer, however, I try to read a long classic. I picked up Gone with the Wind, figuring I wouldn’t get through it. I couldn’t have been so wrong. I couldn’t put that book down!!! Amazing story with a strong female protagonist. One of the best, hardest-to-put-down novels I’ve read in my life.

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N.

Book recommendations:

– Becoming: Michelle Obama’s fantastic memoir! Couldn’t recommend it more highly.

– The Snow Child: Described as a fairy tale for adults. This would make for a great winter read.

– The Girl with All the Gifts: Might be outside your comfort zone (zombie story) but the writing is top-notch.

– The 7 1/2 Death of Evelyn Hardcastle: A very unique book that felt almost like reading a videogame or escape room. So fun!

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Erin

I totally agree with you on Big Summer! Huge disappointment – especially coming right after Mrs. Everything from Jennifer Weiner…

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DANA FARKAS

I loved Sweetbitter! I hope you enjoy it too 🙂

Some other favorites I read this year are Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Happy reading!

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Michelle

The Jane Austen Society (Natalie Jenner), The Words I Never Wrote (Jane Thynne), and I Was Told it Would Get Easier (Abbi Waxman) were all great!

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Miranda Dalpiaz

Book of Longings, Rodham, From the Corner of the Oval, Maid, The Education of an Idealist!

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Heather

Hopefully this isn’t too many – I did quite a bit of reading over the summer! My favorites were:

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw, Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Wonderland by Zoje Stage, More than Enough by Elaine Welteroth, You Never Forget Your First by Alexis Coe, The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

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Kelly

If you like historical fiction (particularly WWII-era), I recommend All the Light We Cannot See and The Book Thief. Both are INCREDIBLE. I also recommend The Hating Game and Red, White, and Royal Blue, which are both really smart rom-coms (not at all cliched or predictable, as most rom-coms are!).

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Elizabeth

The Moment of Lift (great audiobook), City of Girls, and American Dirt have been some of my fav reads this year!

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Brin

The Second Home by Christina Clancy. Also-Sweetbitter is great! It was also turned into a series on Starz!

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jan

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker
Story of a family with twelve children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia.

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Sarah

You’re going to love The Secret History!

I’m currently reading Jon Ronson’s ‘So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed’. It’s non-fiction and about cancel culture (though was written before that phrase took off). Really interesting read about online vigilant ‘justice’. Highly recommend!

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Kellie B

Oh I hated Big Summer too and so many people gave it good reviews- thank goodness someone else didn’t like it either! Also the one murder was based on a real Cape Cod murder and it seemed an unnecessary detail?

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Meredith Borton

Totallllllly agree about Big Summer OMG!!!!!! Can’t wait to read The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes

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Lindsay

It’s going to sound crazy but reading Untamed changed my life! It’s like a lightbulb went off! Spent my summer taking some prerequisites and now going back to school for another degree!

The lightbulb moment for me:
There is no bond like the bond that is forged among people who are united in the same world-healing work.
Despair says “The heartbreak is too overwhelming. I am too sad and too small, and the world is too big. I cannot do it all so I will do nothing.”
Courage says “I will not let the fact that I cannot do everything keep me from doing what I can.”

Save this in my notes so I can flip back to it to remember why I’m doing this!

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Cheyenne

I haaaated Cassidy Holmes unfortunately. I was so excited for it, but it just missed the mark for me? I enjoyed how it was grittier than Daisy Jones & the Six, but I felt like there was no light in the story? Also thought it was super problematic how the Lesbian character fell into the “evil gay” trope. I was so happy when that subplot began and then it ended up being super disappointing! Sorry for ranting haha. I can’t wait to finally read Untamed!

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Josie

The Secret History is very good. I also read The Goldfinch by the same author, Donna Tartt, and it is also very good. Over the summer, I read The Stand. It’s been an interesting experience reading this book during a pandemic. As you can imagine, the book is very dark and very long (1,149 pages).

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Elizabeth

New York by Edward Rutherford (historical fiction about NYC), Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat, Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Enjoy! Xo

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Christina

The Secret History in my favorite book of all time, I hope you enjoy it! I am currently reading Notes on a Silencing, which I also think you would appreciate. It is the story of a woman in middle age reckoning with a sexual assault she experienced at an elite New England prep school at age 16 and the fallout that consumed her life thereafter.

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Elizabeth

The Secret History is phenomenal.

Some of my favorites lately: Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, Her Last Flight and The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams.

If you’re looking for a good October Thriller: The Guest List and Hunting Party by Lucy Foley.

If you want a light/fun/steamy read, I recommend the Wedding Date series by Jasmine Guillory-her books are page-turners.

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Rachel

Sweetbitter is one of my most favorite books–I hope you love it!
Reading Catch and Kill now, Garlic and Sapphires next up!

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Medha

I read Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do? By Michael J. Sandel. It’s the first book I’ve read in two years! I would recommend it if you are looking to widen your critical thinking skills.

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Rhiannon

Homegoing, such an AMAZING read! A beautifully crafted story told throughout generations. I loved it!

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