September was a busy month for me. Well, busier than the last few months anyway. I moved back to university and that involved a lot of packing and, crucially, a lot of decisions about which books I wanted to bring with me and which I could leave at home. I’ve ended up bringing 35 books to uni with the intention of reading all of them by Christmas – perhaps a little optimistic but we’ll see. Reading this month has also been a mixed bag: I’ve found some new favourite books but also quite a few ‘meh’ reads. So it’s been a little hectic, but I still managed to have a pretty good reading month. I hope your reading has gone well and that you’ve discovered some new 5★ reads. Here are my September reading stats and a breakdown of all the books I read this month.
This month I read 14 books, broken down into:
7 physical reads
1 graphic novel
This month I rated:
3 books ★★★★★
6 books ★★★★
5 books ★★★
Books marked with an * were kindly sent to me for review.
The Top 3
Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall*
Who I Was With Her is a beautiful tale of grief and loss, of mourning someone no one knew you were with, and figuring out your identity. I loved everything about this book. It’s messy and chaotic and beautiful and heartbreaking and I loved all of it. It’s an incredibly written debut and easily one of my favourite reads of the year. I really, really loved it and can’t wait to see what Nita Tyndall writes next.
The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
Somehow, The Girl and the Ghost is both the cutest and the darkest middle grade novel I have ever read. And I absolutely loved it. It is an exploration of friendship and jealousy, magical creatures and Malaysian folklore, and what it means to be a family. It is a heartwarming read and is the perfect autumn mysterious and creepy fantasy. This is one of my favourite books of the year and Hanna Alkaf has gone straight onto my auto-buy authors list. I know she has a YA book out already and I think I’ll be purchasing that in the near future. I can’t recommend this book enough.
Night Road by Kristin Hannah
I don’t know how Kristin Hannah does it, but all of her books make me want to cry. Night Road is another gut-wrenching and emotional read that is almost guaranteed to both break and warm your heart. Set across two decades, Night Road follows a family as they go through a traumatic event and deal with the aftermath. This was my only audiobook of the month but it was incredible: Kristin Hannah has the most beautiful prose and crafts the most detailed and wonderful characters and I am really enjoying working my way through her books.
The Books I’d Recommend
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
The Midnight Library is an examination of grief, loss and regrets and a celebration of life. It is raw and honest, at times difficult to read, but ultimately uplifting and a beautiful portrayal of the mundanities of everyday life. To me, it was a fictionalised version of Reasons to Stay Alive and felt like the book that Matt Haig has always been meant to write. I really enjoyed it, but it didn’t top How to Stop Time and unfortunately I can’t seem to stop myself weighing his books up against each other.
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
I can see why this book won the Women’s Prize for Fiction at the beginning of September. Hamnet is a beautiful and captivating tale that reimagines the life of Shakespeare’s family; it is a portrayal of family, love, and grief. Told through multiple perspectives and multiple timelines, this book follows a family in 16th century rural England who experience a tragedy that will drastically alter their lives.
The Biggest Surprise
When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten*
I’m on the blog tour for this one later in October so I don’t want to say too much, but what I will say is this: no twist has ever shocked me as much as the one in this book. I never saw it coming and I had to stop reading to take a few moments to appreciate Kereen Getten’s genius. This is an incredible middle-grade contemporary mystery novel that weaves together secrets and mysteries to create a truly gripping read.
The Unfortunate Disappointments
Just Like You by Nick Hornby*
This missed the mark for me. I expected to love it; it is the kind of contemporary romance I enjoy with a frank and witty writing style that I usually love. However, I found the book to be lacking in plot – there was very little conflict and very little preventing the two characters from being together other than their own anxieties and so the book became quite repetitive as they cycled through similar conversations. I found it difficult to root for their relationship and would have liked to have seen much more focus on the chemistry and alleged love between the two characters and much less talk of Brexit and how their age gap made their relationship impossible.
Bloom by Kevin Panetta
I enjoyed reading this graphic novel but I was ultimately quite underwhelmed by it. The art style and colour scheme is absolutely beautiful and the baking elements were really cute. But, I struggled to like any of the characters and found the romance dragged for a lot of the graphic novel, only to move extremely quickly at the end. It was okay and an enjoyable afternoon read, but I won’t be rereading it.
The Gifts of Reading edited by Jennie Orchard*
Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café by Toshikazu Kawaguchi*
Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney
The Roommates by Rachel Sargeant
A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll