What I Read in September 2021

Okay so I skipped a few months. But I have a good reason and that reason is that I haven’t read anything since June. I just wasn’t excited about anything and my attention was… limited. To say the least. I’m always jealous of those people who use reading as a coping mechanism for stress. When I’m stressed out, letters on a page turn into alphabet soup.

Speaking of soup, it’s finally October and I’m back to reading again!! Hooray! Here’s everything I read in September! And here’s the soup I’m making for dinner tonight.

*Reminder: sales from any of these links go to benefit Twice Told Tales, my bookstore in McPherson Kansas!

Cover image for “Women Talking” by Miriam Toews

Women Talking by Miriam Toews
Order your paperback copy here or download the audiobook version here.

**CW: This book and my discussion of it does mention r*pe.**

The heart of this fictional novel centers around a true story that resulted in the imprisonment of eight men who were convicted of raping hundreds of women and girls in their Mennonite colony between 2005-2009. For years, these women were gaslit into believing that they were dreaming, they were being punished by God for their sins, or that they were simply making up these attacks.

Women Talking centers around a secret meeting of the women after the men of the colony have been arrested. The women are trying to decide what they’re going to do–do they stay and fight? Do they stay and do nothing? Do they leave the colony? The thing that appealed to me the very most was the storytelling technique used here. Because the women do not know how to read or write, they enlist the help of a school teacher from the village that they trust to take notes of their meeting–the story is told from his notes and his perspective of their discussion. Also, because 80% of the book takes place between the women of the colony who know what everyone else went through, there is very little discussion of what physically went on during the attacks. I was afraid that this book would be terribly triggering but because of this technique, there weren’t a lot of details (though there are some details, at one point involving a toddler–so do be mindful when reading this). Instead, the book focuses on the women as they’re discussing how to be good Christians in the face of what’s been done to them. What do they have a right to do and what do they have a duty to fulfil? How much of their anger is sinful and how much of it is crucial? To be honest, it was all just very reminiscent of conversations that I’ve been having with friends who are in the process of deconstructing their faith at the moment.

Cover image for Liane Moriarty’s “Apples Never Fall”.

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty
Order your hardcover copy from here or download the audiobook version here.

I, personally, love Liane Moriarty’s story telling. I haven’t read all of her books but all of the books of hers that I’ve read I have loved. Now, pardon while I go on a tangent about the Hulu show Nine Perfect Strangers (based on Moriarty’s book by the same name) for a moment, though. I hated this. I didn’t read the book–and that might have been my problem. Maybe if I’d known what to expect? I actually haven’t spoken to anyone who loved the book either so Nine Perfect Strangers is just gonna be one of those books that I’ll never recommend to people. It’s fine. They can’t all be winners. Also if you loved Nine Perfect Strangers–the book or the show, please tell me why. I’m deeply interested/ confused.

Anyway–back to the book I actually read. I liked Apples Never Fall! If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for a family story. I love reading about the complexities of a long marriage. I love reading about how adult siblings relate to one another–especially when there are several siblings, being one of 4 myself.

The quick description of this book is that the matriarch of the Delaney family has gone missing–did she get fed up and take a break? Did she totally leave her family of her own volition? Or was it something far more sinister?

In uncovering the truth, everyone goes back through their memories–uncovering reasons or explanations for each option. Within the course of a 40 year marriage, there’s always gonna be one or two motives for murder… right?

I do feel like this book is a tad less thriller-y than some of Moriarty’s other works, but the way that she uncovers and dissects each character while still moving the story forward is still the same.

Cover image for Kerry Winfrey’s “Waiting for Tom Hanks”

Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
Order your paperback copy here or download the audiobook here.

Okay I loved this one! It was so fun and sweet. It reads exactly like a romantic comedy–complete with quips and jokes from background characters. And it should, because the main character, Annie, is obsessed with romantic comedies! It’s what she and her mother bonded over as she grew up. There’s nothing in this life that didn’t already happen in a Nora Ephron film first. Annie is looking for love. She’s looking for her “Tom Hanks”. Tom Hanks specifically from You’ve Got Mail or Sleepless in Seattle.

While searching for a man with a houseboat, Annie is also obsessed with making it in the movie biz. But since she lives in Ohio, she doesn’t have a whole lot of opportunities to make that happen. Of course, the impossible happens and she finds that one of her favorite directors is filming a movie right here in her neighborhood and through a series of events, she gets a job as his assistant. And she gets to spend every day with the sexy lead of the film–whom she despises.

A classic enemies to lovers trope (which can get a little boring and predictable for me but for some reason, the way that Kerry Winfrey handled it, she kept it fun!) with closed-door romance. “Closed-door” is a phrase we use to describe that all the sex occurs off-screen (with the door closed, get it?) so it’s perfect for romance beginners or anyone who just knows that they don’t want to read anything explicit. Anyway, I loved this one so much that I immediately ordered the sequel, “Not Like The Movies”.

What have you been reading??

One thought on “What I Read in September 2021

  1. Don’t feel like you need to respond or anything….

    But oh my, yes! I hated Nine Perfect Strangers, the TV show. I’m glad I am not alone. I’ve loved every Liane Moriarty book I’ve read, but the TV show was like “go find yourself a cult leader and ignore how they trample your rights because its for your own good!!” The worst.

    I felt like it was a huge departure from the book, which I did enjoy. Psilocybin has shown promise as a treatment but what would happen if it was used by a narcissistic therapist with a god complex? Moriarty still humanized Masha, but I in no way felt the book tried to justify her behavior. And she got her just dessert at the end which was satisfying because of all the previously mentioned human right trampling…that’s how I remember it anyway. But I’ve slept since then, lol.

    I’m excited to read this new one!


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