Three-quarters of the way through the year and the books are still coming in strong. I have a great list of books to share with you from this month, some of which you may have to wait a little while for them to come out (sorry!)
This month includes a few books that made me want to cozy up with a blanket and a big mug of tea, perfect books for the changing season.
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
Two people fall in love, have four daughters, and raise them up as best they can. No one can predict what this life will lead to or to how the world will change and shape them. There are problems of course, but they are all brought to a head when Jonah, a son one of the daughters gave up for adoption 15 years earlier arrives on the scene.
Throughout the next year we follow this family as they have to confront some issues that have been hidden for years, and as we look back at the family from its very beginnings.
This is a very character driven novel, as we follow their lives and what seems to be normal and calm on the outside, is really fragile and tumultuous on the inside. This book captured me in a quiet way, but in a way that lead me through this rich and beautiful story.
Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris (out October 1)
Like many people I fell in love with The Tattooist of Auschwitz last year and was very excited to get Cilka’s Journey to review.
Cilka was mentioned briefly in the previous novel and is once again based on the life of a real person. When Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II Cilka was imprisoned for collaborating with the Nazi’s because was treated as separate and special. She is then sent to the Gulag with a 15 year sentence. Here she has to learn to survive again and she begins to find her place and show how she can have power even when powerless.
This book is a hard book to read and is not one for the faint of heart, but I felt a connection to Cilka immediately. Her pain was evident, but the way her story was written was so intriguing and made me want to continue reading.
Cilka made a lot of hard decisions in her life, some that many around her didn’t understand, but it just proved her strength even more.
Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, and Advice for Living Your Best Life by Ali Wong (out October 15)
I haven’t known of Ali Wong for very long, but from what I have seen and heard of her I have really enjoyed so I was excited to see that she had written a book. This book is hilarious, intimate, and slightly offensive, but in a way that makes you really connect with the author. The book is written as a series of letters to her daughters, to be read when they are at least 21 and covers topics such as her stand-up career, love, marriage, and pregnancy. She is very open in her words and doesn’t hold anything back, but it is this intimacy that makes it such a fun and connecting read.
I was expecting to enjoy this book, but not expecting to fall in love with it as much as I did.
Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell
This graphic novel is the epitome of fall; with pumpkin patches, plaid, hot apple cider, and a sense of the changing seasons. Set throughout the final evening of the pumpkin patch it follows two friends in their search to find a girl which Josiah has been pining after for years, but has never talked to.
This is a touching story of friendship and the images brought me into fall in a way that made me want to run to a farm immediately.
Love Lives Here: A Story of Thriving in a Transgender Family by Amanda Jette Knox
This book captivated me and is one that will definitely be included in my top books of the year. This is the true story of a Canadian family whose lives were turned upside-down, but which brought them closer together. “An inspirational story of accepting and embracing two trans people in a family–a family who shows what’s possible when you “lead with love.”
Amanda was living what she thought was a normal life; married, three kids, blogging on the side, when suddenly her life changed. Her middle child came out to her as trans, bringing on new battles and a new world to explore. A year later, her partner also came out as trans to her, changing their lives once again.
Amanda and her family became a force for unity, for togetherness, and for acceptance, becoming the family that she was looking for when it was happening to them. This book made me laugh out loud, it made me cry, and it made me think about my thoughts and actions in my every day life.
Stargazing by Jen Wang
This is another graphic novel, but this time a middle grade one. The story follows Christine and her family, and the introduction of Moon, a girl who is also Chinese-American, but whose family is completely different than Christine’s.
This own voices story, based in part on the author’s own life feels real and personal. It is a touching story about cultures, friendships, and wanting to fit in or stand out. The illustrations are cute and I feel like many people could relate to the feelings and emotions shown in this book.
I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution by Emily Nussbaum
Finally we conclude with a non-fiction book of essays. Emily is a TV columnist, writing about what we have been watching for decades and this book is a compilation of old essays, with some new ones as well.
The book looks at some of the TV shows that have shaped culture, the characters we look up to and scorn, and the tropes that have dominated media.
I have not watched all of the shows that were written about, but even then I enjoyed the essays and what they showed about humanity, culture, media, and how it is all related.
Reading Challenges: (see my wrap-up post here)
What have you been reading and loving lately?