Bookish Discussions

September Reading Wrap-Up:

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September has ended already and I have one question: HOW? I wish time could just slow down for the next three months – the end of the year is my favourite time. The festivity of Halloween and Christmas, spiced hot drinks and cinnamon buns aplenty, and cosying up in fluffy blankets with autumnal candles flickering back and forth just screams my name.

Anyway, the start of a new month means a reading wrap-up. This’ll be my last wrap up on my blog. I’m not interested in them anymore. I don’t like writing them and I don’t like the way they look. Instead, every two weeks, I’m going to write reading updates, where I write a nice, long ramble on what I’ve been reading. So let’s get this out of the way…


THE WICKED KING BY HOLLY BLACK | 3.5 STARS:

This is the second book in Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air trilogy. I don’t want to spoil the story for those of you who haven’t read it, so I’ll leave the link to my August wrap-up where I discuss the first book (scroll to the end).

I didn’t enjoy this as much as the first one, but it was still a very good follow up. I love the feel of these books – so whimsical, enchanting and magical. Not to sound like one of those people, but it really encompasses my aesthetic, with the magic system, autumnal court and nymph-like figures. It’s so enjoyable. I really liked the plot twists, especially the ending. I’m very eager to pick up the last book!


ONCE UPON A RIVER BY DIANE SETTERFIELD | 1 STAR:

On a dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames, the regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open and in steps an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a child. Hours later, the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life. Is it a miracle? Is it magic? And who does the little girl belong to?

Oh lord, I did not enjoy this at all. I really thought it was going to become a new favourite, but I was so disappointed. Although the writing is beautiful, Setterfield doesn’t half ramble. It could have been half the size and still told the same story. It was just non-sense and repetitive. I liked the story-telling aspect of it, and how important story-telling is, and how it is embedded in our everyday lives. I liked how fixated it was on the river and how this can be a metaphor for our lives. Nothing special though!


SHADOWS OF THE WORKHOUSE (3 STARS) and FAREWELL TO THE EAST END (4 STARS) BY JENNIFER WORTH:

I’m lumping these two together because they are a part of the Call the Midwife series. Shadows of the Workhouse is the second book by Worth. It diverges from the midwife narrative and focuses on the workhouses – more importantly, how people in post-WWII are still affected and terrified of them. I didn’t really enjoy this divergence. It lacked what made Call the Midwife so special. It did, however, play on my emotions, which I can’t fault.

Farewell to the East End returned to midwifery, hence why it got a higher rating from me. I really love reading about the stories of women in the 1950/60s and how pregnancy affected them all differently. I especially loved this book as it rounded of the lives we grew accustomed do – we learnt how the nuns of Nonnatus House and Jenny’s other work colleagues lived and eventually died.


HEATHCLIFF ADRIFT BY BEJAMIN MYERS | 4 STARS:

I consumed this in one sitting. I was on the way home from Haworth, having just bought this from the Parsonage shop, when I grew bored of reading Queen of Air and Darkness. I switched to this collection of poetry, which reimagines how Heathcliff spent those lost years between leaving Wuthering Heights and returning. I couldn’t get enough of it.

I think this is new favourite collection of poetry, which isn’t said lightly, because, if you know me at all, you know poetry isn’t my favourite thing in the world. It’s hard to come by collections where every poem fascinates me. Myers is an excellent poet, and an excellent story-teller. This is the first reimagining that I’ve read where I can completely agree on how Heathcliff spent those lost years.


QUEEN OF AIR AND DARKNESS BY CASSANDRA CLARE | 4 STARS:

Okay, as this is the third and final book in The Dark Artifices trilogy, I can’t really give a good synopsis of it. This is a part of Clare’s famous Shadowhunter world, where there are demons and angels and so many other supernatural figures. It’s a fun and wild ride!

QoAaD was very long-winded, and very repetitive of the previous books, but it was still a fun time nonetheless. It was a nice conclusion to the characters we have followed for three books (and some even longer!). I was, however, a little disappointed with how Clare chose to end Julian and Emma’s story, especially considering they’re the main characters. It was too convenient and rushed. I also wasn’t that invested in the characters this time round. It was still good, don’t get me wrong, just not my favourite!


THE BOY WHO FOLLOWED HIS FATHER INTO AUSCHWITZ BY JEREMY DRONFIELD | 5 STARS:

Oh my god, this book. It was so remarkable and so fascinating yet so sad. It tells the true story of Gustav and Fritz Kleinmann, a father and son, who managed to survive the Holocaust together.

Dronfield is a gifted story-telling. The way he tells this story is so enchanting and riveting, but it is also steeped in such truth and brutality. You can’t help but enjoy the story of the Kleinmann, despite the tragic events that happened to them. This is definitely a new favourite non-fiction of mine. So good.


…and there you have it. My September reading wrap-up. A successful month when you consider I had a 15,000 word dissertation to edit and submit on top of moving back to Liverpool and picking up extra shifts at work till I find a graduate job! I’m pretty impressed with myself.

What was your favourite book of September? Should I add it to my TBR? Let’s discuss it!

Thanks for reading, Lauren X

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