Wednesday, October 4, 2023

September Reading Wrap-Up+

September has come and gone and we are officially into fall, even if we're now getting some highs in the '70s around here. September was another busy month, but really, aren't they all? The monster started kindergarten (which he only refers to as "kindy" because we have watched a lot of Bluey in this house, and if you call it "kindergarten" or "school" you WILL be scolded). I've had lots of job stuff going on which at some point I may write about but not yet. But despite this busier month, I did get a fair amount of reading (or listening) done, so let's look at those stats

Total books read
The Plot by Jean Hanff Koelitz
I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy
The Bookeaters by Sunyi Dean
The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman

The Plot by Jean Hanff Koelitz
Can you really have a thriller about someone who steals a plot idea for a book? I guess so, cos that's what we have here. Even if that central crime of stealing-an-outline-for-a-story-that-never-actually-gets-written-by-the-original-author isn't really a crime. How many plots do you see recycled? But anyway. So we have an author Jake who after a promising first book hasn't really amounted to much, teaching at a 3rd rate MFA program, and generally feels sorry for himself. A student of his tells him of a plot that is like something NO ONE has ever seen before (spoiler, yes we have, but whatever), but then said student dies without ever writing the book. How can Jake let this story go to waste? He can't so he takes it upon himself to write it. And the world goes NUTS for it. (All of this is like the first half of the book but also the description on the back cover). Until someone anonymously starts accusing him of stealing a story that didn't belong to him. And then we have a mystery, a thrilled, while Jake tries to figure out who is this mystery person, where did this plot originally come from and is stealing an outline of a plot a crime? The book, to its credit, kept me engaged till the end. But I also don't think stealing a plot outline is a crime (a cool thing to do? no but also not really plagiarism) and the whiplash in tone was...something. 
Rating: 3.25 stars

I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jeanette McCurdy
This was a doozy. Jennette McCurdy was pushed into acting at a very young age by her mother. She just wanted to make her mom happy and even if acting wasn't her passion, it made mom smile so that was enough. The strict "calorie restrictions" were also her mom's idea. And her mom was thrilled when she made it onto the tween show iCarly. But none of this was what Jennette wanted. And if there is ever a memoir to say "we really need to tear down the whole world of childhood acting" it is this one. While the book deals with some very hard topics, Jennette does highlight the humor and WTFness she's come to realize through many years of therapy.  
Rating: 4 stars

The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean
It's a book about a group of creates who eat books instead of food and absorb the information from them. Doesn't that sound whimsical? And sure, the summary describes some darkness, with someone being born with a hunger for human minds. But still, they eat books. Whimsy. And then, as I was about 40% in I saw a description that was like "vampiric Handmaid's Tale" and while I don't totally know I agree with the vampiric part, Handmaid's Tale is pretty accurate and yeah, this is a much darker book than I assumed. It's an interesting world with exciting moments, though after finishing the book, it is taking some effort for me to remember what happened and how I felt.
Rating: 3.5 stars

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley
I really loved Pooley's Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting, so was exciting to pick this up. It's a very similar story of several people from different worlds who are thrown together by an older, eccentric larger-than-life figure. Last time it was Iona and commuters on a train. This time it's artist Julian Jessop and a book "The Authenticity Project" where he tells the truth about himself and then leaves the book in a coffee shop, where it's found and read by the proprietor Monica. She adds to it and leaves it in a wine bar and so on. More people find the book, add to it, and lives of strangers become intertwined. It's a sweet, uplifting story about the importance of community. It's hard not to compare it to Iona because, at the center, it's basically the same story with a different set of characters and setting. Not necessarily a bad thing; I liked them both and it's something I could see myself picking up again. Though end of the day, I prefer Iona
Rating: 4 stars

The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman
Did you know there was another Thursday Murder Club book? Because I didn't know that when I was browsing my library app for something to read and was very excited to see this and this book did not disappoint. Another murder comes close to the folks at Cooper's Chase. Now the Thursday Murder Club is mixing with shady antiques dealers and drug dealers looking for a missing package. This story includes a lot more chapters focusing on the characters (or really, 2 in particular) separate from the mystery. In another book, this could have hurt the story and hurt the pacing. Here, because I am already in love with the characters, it worked. Was I bawling my eyes out at times? Yes, very much so, which was not anticipated when I picked this up, but again, I love these characters so it is forgiven. Keep the mysteries coming.
Rating: 5 stars

Total pages read


Female authors

BIPOC authors

US authors

Book club books

Book format
audiobook: 100%

Where'd I get the book
Library - 100%

Decade published
2020s - 100%

Resolution books
The Book Eaters is written by a bi-racial author (born in Tx, raised in Hong Kong, now living in UK, per her bio)
The Authenticity Project and The Last Devil to Die are both by UK authors