Tuesday, October 2, 2018

September 2018 Chapter

Welcome to the Read.Write.Repeat. monthly wrap-up.  Every month, I give a quick overview of what books I read, the progress made on my reading goals, a few book-related links, and general blog news.  

September News 

I miss checking in here more often and talking books with you all, but scaling back to monthly overview posts has definitely been the right choice for this moment in my life. My time is so limited these days and when I do have down time, I'm much more inclined to open a book or turn on some mindless tv than I am to put more creative energy out into the world.

September went so quickly. In part because Kevin was traveling a lot and in part because Hurricane Florence seemed to dominate existence here in the Carolinas for weeks. My parents live in Wilmington, so our family had a direct stake in a natural disaster for the first time. I was talking to my mom last night and she commented how they will never view disasters like this the same again now that they have seen it in their city. Thankfully, their house and property came through largely unscathed. It feels like a miracle in comparison to the devastation around them.

Originally, the storm was supposed to hit our area pretty badly. Kevin was actually out of town on work travel for the duration of the storm, so I hunkered down on my own. We didn't end up getting hit really at all except for one very rainy day. But, I enjoyed a quiet weekend at home with lots of books and a binge viewing of the last five Harry Potter movies. It wasn't the most exciting weekend and I was pretty ready for some human interaction at the end of it, but it was a nice break from reality. Plus, I got some great reading in!

Books Reviewed

None! I'm enjoying the break from doing this.

Books Read

  1. The Three-Body Problem - Cixin LiuThis Chinese sci-fi novel has gotten a lot of traction because President Obama included it on his reading list one year. It was much denser than I was expecting. I absolutely see the appeal of it, but I struggled to get through and don't plan to read the rest of the series. 
  2. Girls Like Us - Rachel Lloyd
    I read this on the recommendation of my friend Suzanne. Lloyd runs a non-profit committed to helping young women escape the exploitation of the sex industry. Her personal experiences and her stories of the girls with whom she works are powerful and sobering. This is a tough read, but a really important one. I strongly recommend it. 
  3. My Last Supper - Melanie Dunea
    This coffee-table book asks dozens of top chef's around the world what their ideal last meal would be. It's a visual and imaginative treat.
  4. The Zookeeper's Wife - Diane Ackerman
    This was much more narrative nonfiction than novel, which I wasn't expecting. It's a fascinating story that deserves to be told, but the style of the prose made it hard for me to engage.
  5. The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty
    After reading Big Little Lies last year, I knew I wanted to read more of Moriarty's work. She didn't disappoint with this one.
  6. Binti - Nnedi Okarafor
    This was a quick, fun read. I would have liked some more world-building but there really wasn't time for it at a length of 96 pages.
  7. Jesus Feminist - Sarah Bessey
    I read this for the first time back in 2015. The Kindle edition was on sale for $1.99 a few months ago, so I snagged it and I'm so glad I did. For as much as I loved this book the first time around, it spoke even more deeply to me this time in this moment. This is good stuff and you really should read it. 
  8. The Beast's Heart - Leife Shallcross
    I got a copy of this retelling of Beauty and the Beast through First to Read. It was enjoyable enough, but kind of flat. It's the only retelling of the classic fairy tale that I've been annoyed by the Beauty character. Not a good sign. 
Pages Read: 2,337

Favorite Book Read: Since I don't count rereads like Jesus Feminist, I have to go with Girls Like Us. It was so powerful and educational. 

2018 Goals 

One of my goals this year is to read 3 specific books each month:
  • 1 Faith-Centered or Philosophical Book 
    Jesus Feminist - Sarah Bessey
  • 1 Political of Issue-Driven Book
    Girls Like Us - Rachel Lloyd
  • 1 Book Written by a Minority Author
    The Three-Body Problem - Cixin Liu
    Binti - Nnedi Okarafor
I also am trying to work my way through my TBR list. My goal is to get from 350 books on the list to 200. That means lowering that number by 13 in some form or fashion every month. Here's how that went this month:
  • Books Read: 7
  • Books Removed: 14
  • Books Added:
  • Total Count for the Month: -12
  • Books Remaining on TBR: 238
I see this as a win for the month! I added a lot of books (there were just so many that sounded good.....), but I also culled quite a bit. I had a day this month (during the hurricane weekend) where I got real with myself about books that have been on my list for years and, even when presented with the opportunity to read, I still don't pick up. I'm never gonna read them so off they went. I hope to maintain that attitude through the rest of the year. 

~     ~     ~

It's still in the mid- to upper-eighties down here in North Carolina, so clearly our region hasn't gotten the message yet that it's fall. It's weird to be in October and the leaves haven't even started turning, but you'll never hear me complain about extended weeks in this temperature range. Between 75 and 85 degrees is my sweet spot and I'll happily camp out here forever. Still, it's weird to see so many people posting pictures of fall scenery while dressed in sweaters, boots, and scarves. 

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