September 2019 Reads
This post is coming a bit late but I really had a lot of strong opinions about the books I read last month that I wanted to share with all of you!
To be honest, I didn’t read as much as I wanted to in September. I decided to embark on a big project (hopefully I’ll be able to talk about it soon), and that took up most of my time so reading for pleasure took a backseat. Still, I was able to get off the waitlist for a few books at the library and I think this may be the first time I cut it close when it came to the due date! I’m usually an early reader and early returner but some of these books I ended up returning within an hour of the due date - not because the book was bad but because I just didn’t have a lot of time. I hope you enjoy my mini reviews of these books:
Related post: August 2019 Reads
Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth: I was inspired to read this book after hearing such good things about the movie it was adapted into, directed by Spike Lee. This is the true story, told in first person narrative, of a black detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department in the late 1970s, infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan. Ron Stallworth was the first black police officer in Colorado Springs and in one of his first undercover assignments, he accidentally found himself in the middle of an investigation into a chapter of the KKK. He saw an ad in the local paper calling for new recruits into the chapter. He called the phone number, almost as a joke, but it lead to his membership that eventually lead to a phone friendship with David Duke - the grand wizard of the KKK! Stallworth has an extraordinary story and an incredible account. I was so fascinated to read about a black cop, tricking his way into an organization that hated him on the basis of his race - the best kind of troll! My criticism, however, is that Stallworth writes like a police officer not not a writer. He’s not about flourishes and the book reads almost like a police report. However, this is a minor criticism because I know that that was what his profession was. I watched the film as soon as I was done with the book and saw a few interviews of him. I highly recommend watching the movie - it’s very well made! And in case you’re wondering about the legitimacy of the story, Stallworth still has his KKK membership card.
All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin: I honestly don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up this book but WOW, once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. Nina Browning seemingly has it all - a wealthy husband, a nice home, and a smart son who just got his acceptance letter from Princeton. When her son is caught sharing a risque photo of a female classmate, Lyla Volpe, Nina starts to wonder if she’s been quietly complicit in a culture that allows for “boys will be boys” ideas while simultaneously punishing girls for being victims. Lyla is raised by her single father Tom Volpe. The three characters’ lives intertwine and Nina must make the decision to stay complicit or speak out and take a stand. This book felt so real to me - I’m sort of in the age between Nina and Lyla so I can honestly understand both sides (though as I get older, I definitely find myself more sympathetic to parents than teenage kids), but I can’t imagine being an adolescent now with all this social media. Facebook and Twitter started to become a large presence in my life when I was a junior in high school but now, kids are so exposed to it and it’s made growing up so different! I highly recommend this book to everyone. It’ll really make you think.
Related post: June 2019 Reads
An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen: I really enjoyed the last book by this team of writers, The Wife Between Us, a psychological thriller, so I was very excited to dive into their new book. A struggling makeup artist, Jessica Farris, signs up for a psychological study (compensated by cash) run by the brilliant and beautiful Dr. Lydia Shields. Dr. Shields demands much from Jessica as the “study” continues, with uncomfortable situations and more invasive questions. Jessica starts to wonder if she’s caught in a web, spun by Dr. Shields.
This book isn’t exactly a thriller as much as it is very psychological. There isn’t a big twist at the end, just a slow buildup with a big reveal. I know some people were disappointed with the book and I can certainly understand why, but I still really enjoyed it. I’m not too big on surprises because I’m all about the book journey so this book was perfect for me. If you’re into that too, I highly recommend it.
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes: Oh my goodness, this book was just so… cute!! The book starts with Evvie Drake as she is about to leave her husband, only to get a phone call from the hospital telling her that he died in an accident. To help with costs of living in a big home, she rents out the apartment wing of her house to famous baseball pitcher, Dean Tenney. Dean is struggling with a case of the yips - one day he was the ace pitcher of his major league team, and the next day, he’s just unable to throw a ball. He moves into Evvie’s home to lay low from the media, sports fans, and just figure his life out without baseball. The two become friends that blossoms into something more.
I realllllly enjoyed reading this. The romance was very realistic and I loved that even though the two love interests got together without any drama, their relationship didn’t solve their problems - Evvie still struggled with her complicated grief, and Dean still had his yips. They both resolved their issues separately, and I LOVED that Evvie went to therapy and learned to state her boundaries (something I had to learn to do through therapy as well)! Seriously, everyone read this book. It’s romantic-realistic perfection!