September 2017 Reading Wrap

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Braving the Wilderness - Brene Brown
There aren't many books that I want to purchase for anyone & everyone I know, but this is one of them. I read this one twice in one weekend (which I assure you I have never done before), underlining & making notes all over the book then listening to it with Josh so we could discuss it together. I'm not exaggerating when I say this book found me at the exact moment I needed it & truly changed my life & perspective. I found so much comfort in this book, but it also gave me the uncomfortable work of looking at where I need to improve. I simply adored this book & can't stop thinking about it. Please read this book.
★★★★★

Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng
I found myself completely absorbed in the story of the quiet upper middle class town of Shaker Heights, Ohio where families become entangled, drama ensues, & the respectable town is not so serene anymore. I'm amazed at Ng's ability to create nuanced characters, none totally detestable or loveable, yet wholly relatable. She deftly balanced & wove together many sensitive issues that face modern families & parents, giving you a look at both sides of the story as the characters come to their own conclusions. This would make an excellent book club book as you try to pick apart each character's decisions & justifications.
★★★★★

All Over The Place - Geraldine DeRuiter
I generally shy away from travel memoirs as they often devolve into "how-to do exactly what I did" or are full of privilege I can never relate to. This is not one of those books. In fact, I wouldn't necessarily call it a "travel memoir" but rather a memoir of a very hilarious & strong woman who happens to travel quite a bit. DeRuiter is crazy honest, scarily human, incredibly hilarious & surprisingly tender.
★★★★★

Born A Crime - Trevor Noah
Everyone told me I should listen to Born A Crime rather than read it & they were right! The book is compelling regardless, but Noah's mastery of South African languages & entertaining storytelling made the experience much more enjoyable. Of course this comedian had some very funny stories to tell, but I didn't expect to learn so much & I definitely didn't expect to cry. After I finished, Josh listened to it & we both have had some great discussions about Noah's perspective & life in South Africa. Whether or not you listen to this book, definitely take the time to read it! It will be worth it. 
★★★★☆

What Happened - Hillary Rodham Clinton
I wanted to know what happened these past two years & was thrilled that Clinton bravely shared her story. Her insights into the 2016 election & what she did right & wrong was incredibly enlightening. I found her relatable, funny, & inspiring as she told of the insane struggles she has dealt with as a woman in politics.
★★★★☆

Sourdough - Robin Sloan
I was not a big fan of Sloan's previous book, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. It was weird. And weird in a direction I did not enjoy. Sourdough on the other hand was weird, but in a direction I enjoyed immensely. I mean, San Francisco with ties to Detroit, the tech scene, an underground food market, food science, charming & strange characters, & lots of mayhem. It was a fun & crazy ride, a perfect break from the heavier books I've been reading. I'm still not sure Robin SLoan writes my kind of books, but this is definitely my kind of Robin Sloan book.
★★★★☆

Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun - Sarah Ladipo Manyika
The story of a big-hearted aging Nigerian woman & the people with home she comes in contact with in. This short book is certainly not about plot, but rather about human connection & the way we perceive ourselves & eachother. It made me want to get out there & get to know my neighbors in the thoughtful way Morayo does.
★★★★☆

What We Lose - Zinzi Clemmons
This novel reads more like a collection of essays written by a fictional character. The format was quick, but not necessarily easy to digest as she covers the heavy themes of motherhood, daughterhood, love, loss & grief in a sparse 200 pages. Her language was so beautiful I regularly stopped to underline & make notes. While I loved the way she thoughtfully translated these difficult themes, I couldn't connect with the main character & didn't always love her deviations from the story with newspaper articles & history lessons. But it was a beautiful book that certainly shows Clemmons' skill as a writer & I can't wait to read more from her.
★★★☆☆

Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions - Amy Stewart
The third & final book in the Kopp Sisters trilogy, I loved hearing more about the first female deputy in New Jersey. Fiction informed by historical research & embellished with interesting details & strong characters, the Kopp Sisters novels are perfect for feministy historical fiction lovers. The story of this novel was more focused on feminist issues than the past books which I found fascinating, but the plot was incredibly slow with not enough development on characters new to the books. I loved the first two books, but had to force myself to finish this one.
★★★☆☆