This Month in Reading

Each month we round up the best things we have read. September was busy! Rachel started a weekly women’s studies group discussion class called Femex, and our weekly pub trivia started back up. Eric and Melissa, Jeff’s brother and sister-in-law, came to visit. We went down to Williamsburg for Rachel’s grandmother’s 80th birthday party. We helped our friends Stan and Carla move to their new house. We officiated our second wedding, for our friends Mary and Rob – it was a lovely intimate wedding. We both caught a cold. Finally, we checked out a local street festival, Clarendon Day. October’s going to be even busier since we’re going on vacation finally!


Rachel’s Reads



Books – I read 5 books in September, and quit one.

  •  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – There’s a lot of buzz surrounding this book. And man, it is really well written. I didn’t really like the main character… or the plot… but it sure is well written. Some lovely turns of phrase. I thought the moralizing ‘reflections’ at the end were a bit overdone, and yet, it made some points that resonated with me. Worth a read, but I didn’t enjoy every part of it.
  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – This book on the other hand, I enjoyed quite thoroughly! What a rich set of stories, and complex and interesting characters, against a lovely backdrop. If the cover speaks to you – a scene of travel, nostalgia, longing – likely the book will as well.
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Short little book that I found interesting, despite the “rich kids with problems” storyline.
  • Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman – I’ve seen the first season of the Netflix series, and the book is very different. It’s much less high drama, more real life. It draws attention to a lot of issues about prisons that I don’t think about often. Many reviewers on Goodreads critiqued the book harshly because Piper, as a privileged white woman, had it easy in prison. Yes, but I think her story is worth reading, and she acknowledges her privilege. I think she is at least serving a role in bridging the gap between average privileged white people and underprivileged folks in prison. I hope people that read this would get interested in the issues and dig deeper.
  • Blood Song by Anthony Ryan – If you like the style and format of Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle, you will likely be interested in this book. Pretty good.
  • The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri [quit] – I gave this 100 pages (twice my normal give-it-a-chance amount) and still couldn’t get into it.

Jeff’s Reads



Books – I read 3 books this month.

  •  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – This was one of the best books I’ve read this year. The writing is incredible, it drew me in like few other books have.
  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – This was a great month in reading. Here is yet another book that I loved. It was achingly beautiful and bittersweet.
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – This book was alright, not great. It brought to mind one of those books you read in school where kids deal with horrible tragedy the whole book and I guess you’re supposed to be sad the whole school year? It had some plot holes too.
  • Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick – Worth a read. Ever wonder how a country can be starving for years and everyone isn’t just already dead? I have. This book really reified North Korean life for me.


What did you read this month?

One thought on “This Month in Reading

  1. Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)

    I’m so glad you both enjoyed The Goldfinch and Beautiful Ruins so much as both of those books are on my “To Be Read” pile! Also, I don’t blame you for bailing on the Lahiri—I’ve never been impressed by anything she’s written, despite her being a critical darling of the literary world. I don’t get her, and I’m not afraid to say so!
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