Thursday, September 26, 2013

What I've been reading: September 2013

It's that time again!  I have to admit, my reading list this month is kind of all over the place.  Two book club selections, two fluffy reads to keep things light between heavier titles, a bit of memoir (which actually was done via audiobook on a road-trip with my husband), and a horror novel.  Yup.  All over the map.  Sometimes, I get into a groove and read a lot of one genre for awhile.  September was not one of those times.

City of Light, by Lauren Belfer.  This was for my book club's September meeting.  Published in 1999, this was Belfer's first novel, set in the author's hometown of Buffalo, NY around the turn of the last century.  Scandal, secrets, murder, society gossip, politics and power-hungry moguls teem in this novel, which made for some great discussion.  I will say it felt a little long and convoluted in places, but it was meticulously researched and ultimately quite interesting.  518 pages

The Next Always, by Nora Roberts.  First in the Inn BoonsBoro trilogy, this is a Roberts love story at its finest.  Local color (set in Maryland), unique characters, a likeable supporting cast and a very odious villain.  Entwined in this particular series is a ghost story that downright gave me goosebumps.  Gentle, easy reading, and for me, Roberts' work is always a pleasure.  341 pages

Here We Go Again, by Betty White.  A memoir of White's first fifty years on television, full of her signature wit and optimism.  White's long and memorable career has included audience favorites such as Life with Elizabeth, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Golden Girls.  The audiobook is also narrated by the author, and is an absolute delight.  320 pages

Sarah's Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay.  This is a reread for me, and my book club's selection for our October meeting.  1942, Paris: Young Sarah is arrested with her family and other Jews by the French Police in the brutal Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, before they are transported to Auschwitz.  But before she leaves, she locks her younger brother in a hidden cupboard to keep him safe, thinking she will only be gone a few hours.  2002, Paris:  Julia Jarmon, writer for an American magazine, is assigned to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vel' d'Hiv' roundups.  In the process, she also learns that the former inhabitants of the apartment her husband's family is rehabbing was home to victims of the roundups, and vows to find out what happened to them.  Brilliant and moving.  294 pages

The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker.  Chava is a golem, awakened at sea and without direction after her master dies shortly after her awakening.  She is hardworking by design and curious by the request of her now-deceased master, arriving friendless and alone in turn-of-the-century New York City.  Ahmad is a jinni whose own curiosity nearly cost him his existence, and who is partially freed by a tinsmith in Little Syria on the Lower East Side.  It is only fitting that these two incredible creatures should meet and become allies.  Beautifully detailed, this debut novel is a masterwork of rich historical background and meticulous embellishments of fantasy and legend.  Very highly recommended. 496 pages

The Last Boyfriend, by Nora Roberts.  Second in the Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy.  Yup, more fluff, and I can't apologize for it.  I like to take a break here and there around some of the more serious reading--this was particularly entertaining as an audiobook, read by MacLeod Andrews.  Funny and easy, just what I needed.  336 pages

Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King.  Dan Torrance, last seen in King's The Shining, has grown up and has a small, quiet life in New Hampshire.  He attends AA meetings and works at a nursing home, using what remains of his 'shining' to comfort the dying.  When he encounters the True Knot, he knows that they are not merely harmless vagabonds, but powerful psychics who tap into the shinings of children, using it like the fountain of youth.  And when he meets twelve-year old Abra Stone, he is nearly blinded by her shining, and realizes the True Knot with stop at nothing to take it from her.  King does not disappoint.  531 pages

September Totals
7 titles
2,836 pages

Year-to-date Totals
67/75 titles = 89%
25,018 / 35,000 pages = 71%

I'll be back next week to start talking about new titles to look forward to reading later this fall, so in the meantime, enjoy the gorgeous New England weather and happy reading!

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