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For the Love of Reading: September and October

My reading has slowed down lately although I can’t pinpoint exactly why. I did meet my goal of 75 books for the year a week or so ago and I am still reading, of course. Today I am sharing the books I’ve read since September 11th.

The Home for Unwanted GirlsThe Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this story but the writing was lacking depth. There was lots of detail given about certain time periods and then whole years were skipped over without any real information. The ending felt rushed and was not the pay off I had hoped to get. Recommended because of the plot and historic accuracy.


Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to BeGirl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Self-absorbed and preachy, this book was just not for me. I like Rachel Hollis as a motivational speaker and admire what she has done building her company, I enjoyed Girl Stop Apologizing but this one is repetitive and contradictory and tone deaf. Girl, don’t bother.


On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening HardOn Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard by Jennifer Pastiloff
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I thought this book had great potential and that the author would use the things that happened to her and the way she dealt with them to offer practical and inspirational help for the rest of us. That just never happened for me, it felt tedious and repetitive and I only finished for the sake of finishing. Maybe I’m just not the audience for this one.

Where the Crawdads SingWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book. Do you have to suspend belief a bit to enjoy it? Yes. Is it worth it, though? Yes. To me the plot, a bit of a romance with some mystery thrown is, was secondary to the setting and it’s the setting that made me love this book. I could taste the grits and cornbread, I could smell the saltwater and mud, see the gulls and heron and other wildlife that permeated each chapter, I felt completely immersed in the marsh and it’s wild beauty.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and RedemptionJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bryan Stevenson is doing important and difficult work, securing justice for those we deserve it most but rarely receive it. There is much to learn and consider from the stories he tells in this book, they will stay with me for a long time.


The Dutch HouseThe Dutch House by Ann Patchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is truly a masterpiece of a novel, made even better by listening to the audio version narrated by Tom Hanks. The story is incredibly well told, with a timeline that’s fluid but never confusing; the characters are beautifully created and real, full of flaws, loving and living and holding grudges; and the gorgeous Dutch house, which is really a mansion, is at the center of it all. Do yourself a favor and start listening to this one immediately, you will be enthralled.

The Water DancerThe Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The parts of this book that are good are very good . . . the beginning pulled me right in, the descriptions of the brutality and hopelessness of slavery, the plans of escape and the use of a bit of magical realism. And yet I did not love this book and found that I had to force myself to pick it up and finish it. It’s a difficult subject and that made it hard to read but it’s also that I never really connected with the characters and I also felt like it went on too long. Coates has written some amazing non-fiction and this is his first foray into fiction. I think he’s got great potential to write a fantastic novel, this just wasn’t it for me.

The Second Mrs. HockadayThe Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good historical fiction with an underlying mystery told in the epistolary format through not just letters but also diary entries and court records. I enjoyed it for a fast and easy read and found the story quite compelling.


And there you have it, the latest books I’ve read. Hope you enjoyed the reviews and found something that appeals to you.

Don’t forget that today is the first day of discussion about Just Mercy over on Kym’s blog. I hope you’ll participate!

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. I think your review of Where the Crawdads Sing is spot on. I didn’t love the plot (and you’re right about suspending disbelief), but the description of the setting is fabulous. I think if the murder mystery part had been eliminated in favor of focusing more on the main character and her work in nature, I would have liked it better.

  2. My reading has slowed down lately, too. Seems counterintuitive somehow, because I’m inside more these days . . . seems like there ought be MORE reading time, not less. But that’s life! I loved The Dutch House, but I wonder if I would have loved it quite the same if Tom Hanks hadn’t been narrating it? (I think so . . . but his narration was SO GOOD.) 🙂

  3. Oh wasn’t Tom Hanks just marvelous … he’s such a treasure! I also loved Crawdads … mostly because of what was revealed in the final pages (seriously, I wanted to search out the poetry that wove through the pages and I’m sad I won’t be able to!) It seemed like I was in a real reading slump a few months back, but lately, it’s 4 and 5 stars all around!!

  4. Thanks for these reviews and so happy to see someone else who was not a fan of Girl Wash Your Face. I thought I was the only one.

  5. I agree about both Crawdads and The Dutch House and have told several people if you’re thinking of trying an audio book starting with the Dutch House and Tom Hanks is a great place to begin!

  6. I enjoyed The Dutch House and I’m about half way through The Water Dancer. My feelings on TWD are different than yours. I like it very much.

  7. I just got The Water Dancer from the Library and I am so eager to begin! (And I echo your sentiments about Crawdads and The Dutch House!) Great reviews!

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