Rearview Mirror // September 2016

Well, here we are a week into October, and I am just getting around to wrapping up September!  This is mostly due to the fact that we took a fabulous vacation to the Adirondacks for some hiking this past week.  We got in around 40 miles of trails, including the two highest points in New York, and the fall colors were GORGEOUS.

Overall, September was a quietly happy month.  I am totally digging my job at the orchard.  The weather has finally started to cool down, and the leaves are kicking over.  I love autumn!!

I ended up reading a LOT of books last month!  I also decided to start publishing a monthly minireview roundup of books that I’ve read but don’t really need an entire post to discuss.

Somehow, I still haven’t quite brought myself to pick up the final book in the Codex Alera series, although we hiked through a valley this week that 100% made me feel like I was in Calderon, so I think I’m gearing myself up for the emotional devastation that comes from finishing an epic series full of characters that I love.

Favorite September Read:

stormymistysfoalStormy, Misty’s Foal (by Marguerite Henry) was a lot deeper than I remember it being (which probably makes sense since I last read it when I was about 13.)  This story had a lot to offer, followed a real-life disaster closely, and had many poignant moments – plus it was all illustrated by Wesley Dennis!

Most Disappointing September Read:

shadows_on_the_moon-2Going with Shadows on the Moon for this one, by Zoe Marriott.  A Cinderella story set in an AU ancient Japan sounded awesome – and the setting was just that – but overall the plot was disjointed, the main character was incredibly whiny, and the author more or less recommended self-harm as a reasonable way to deal with personal problems.  What.  Even. Ugh.

Other September Reads:

  • The Bards of Bone Plain by Patricia McKillup – 3/5 – fun, but not amazing.
  • The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn – 3/5 – interesting, but a little polemic and not quite thrilling enough for me to consider it a thriller.
  • The Heir and the Spare by Emily Albright – 3/5 – decent fluff but just a little too impractical for me to genuinely enjoy.
  • Living as a Christian by A.W. Tozer – 4/5 – a really engaging collection of lessons on the book of 1 Peter: challenging and relevant.
  • The Menagerie by Tui Sutherland and Kari Sutherland – 4/5 – a really fun first book in a children’s fantasy series that had plenty of adventure, a decent plot, and really likable characters.
  • Misty’s Twilight by Marguerite Henry – 2/5 – disjointed and rather boring – very sad ending to the Misty books.
  • Ordeal by Innocence by Agatha Christie – 3/5 – an interesting mystery, but with some opinions on adoption that made me kind of uncomfortable.
  • The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie – 4/5 – a really fun mystery with a fabulous twist at the end.
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – 4/5 – unique and intriguing concept, plenty of action, and really likable characters – but a rather bittersweet ending.
  • So, Anyway by John Cleese – 4/5 – Cleese’s autobiography of his life leading up to the formation of the Pythons – funny and engaging.
  • The Pothunters by P.G. Wodehouse – 3/5 – Wodehouse’s first published book is definitely a schoolboy adventure, but there were still some snippets of what would become classic Wodehouse humor.

Added to the TBR:

Just a few of the books I have added thanks to fabulous reviews from around the book blogging neighborhood –

  • November 9 by Colleen Hoover – haven’t read one of her books yet, so Stephanie’s 4-star review made me think this may be a decent place to start.
  • The Butcher Bird by S.D. Sykes – medieval mystery?!  From First Page to Last makes me think YES.
  • Death and the Seaside by Alison Moore – The Perfectionist Pen says:  “Suggestibility and semiotics, creative writing and storytelling combine to form an understated but multi-layered novel that leaves a lasting impression.”
  • Orphan X by Greg Hurwitz – While Bibliobeth wasn’t positive she would recommend it, it still sounds intriguing enough to at least get it out of the library and see what the first hundred pages do for me!
  • Under the Harrow by Flynn Berry – Fictionophile said:  “This debut is nothing short of exceptional.  I loved every moment of reading it and found myself reading when I should have been doing other things.”
  • The Witch’s Kiss by Katherine Corr and Elizabeth Corr – I love fairytale retellings, and Heart Full of Books gave this one a rave review!  It’s the first in a not-yet-completed series, but that’s one of the advantages to having a TBR hundreds of books long… they should all be written by the time I get there!
  • The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola – Books for the Trees said this book was delightfully terrifying.  (Side note: she has a fabulous Instagram account featuring books – you should totally check it out!)
  • The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse – I kind of have a thing for World War II as a setting for books, so I was totally hooked by Chrissi’s review of this one.
  • How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Victoria Henry – This recommendation posted by From First Page to Last sounded like a great warm and fuzzy read.
  • A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee – a mystery with an engaging setting, plenty of historical and political background to keep things hopping, a solid protagonist and interesting mystery… all in one book!?  FictionFan says yes!

TBR Update:

Okay, so I’ve reached this point in my life where I know (KNOW) that the list of books I have to read is ridiculous – but I can’t stop adding to it.  At some point, it’s just reached this thing where I just add every book that I think looks interesting.  A lot of books end up coming off the list without getting read, but the list continues to grow.  So even though I know that I will never actually read all these books… well, there they are.  And with luck, I still have at forty or fifty years of reading ahead, so I suppose it isn’t completely hopeless!  (Just mostly hopeless!)

For those of you who don’t know, I’m weirdly obsessive with organizing the TBR, and have it on a spreadsheet divided into five different tabs (it used to be four, but I decided to separate the nonfiction reading from the fiction):

  • Stand-Alones:  864 (DOWN 25! … but mostly due to shifting those nonfiction books off the list :-p)
  • Nonfiction (not counting the nonfiction I own, which are on the Personal list):  45 (please don’t notice that this is way more than the 25 books my regular TBR is down by… meaning that I *may* have a net gain for the month…)
  • Personal (which includes all books I own, but lists any series I own as only one entry…):  537 (DOWN 18 – I have actually been reading a bunch of my own books, plus I realized that I had a few double-counted on the list)
  • Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  132 (DOWN 1 … because I found a series that was on there twice!)
  • Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series):  54 (holding steady)

Awaiting Review:

I was doing really well until I went on holiday and read four books in four days.  Ah well.  That’s what holidays are for, right??  Now six books in the queue –

  • Endless Night by Agatha Christie
  • The Tryst by Grace Livingston Hill
  • Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
  • The Grand Tour by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
  • The Wanderers by Cheryl Mahoney
  • The Mislaid Magician by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer