What I Read in September 2022

I got back in my reading groove after taking off some of the summer! And the books I read this month were so good that it made it hard to follow. In addition to the three books I read in September, I marked three others as “did not finish” on my StoryGraph profile.

I’ve gotten really good at allowing myself to not finish a book just because I started it. I can like a book, even, and not finish it. If it’s not a completely engrossing book for me, I’m not gonna dedicate any of my time to it these days. I have too much to read for work that I can’t afford to read a book I’m not absolutely, head-over-heels thrilled about. So here’s a list of three books that fit that description. Don’t forget that all purchases made through this site go to benefit my bookstore–Twice Told Tales in McPherson KS.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
Order the hardcover copy here.
Download the audiobook here.

For some reason, I thought that because this book centers around video game developers, it would not be for me, so I put off reading it. Don’t be like me! If anything about this book (even just the gorgeous cover art) appeals to you, pick it up and read it.
Sam and Sadie met when they were children in 1993 and immediately bonded over gaming. Six years later, they’ve teamed up to start making their own. Over the years, we celebrate their joys, mourn their tragedies, commiserate in their frustrations, and fall in and out of love over and over again in different ways. I’m afraid I’m sugar coating it or… generalizing it. And I guess I am because how do you pinpoint the specific way that Zevin is able to draw you so closely into the humanity of a character? Ugh. I related to most of these characters as if they were me, myself.
This is an epic, sweeping novel that spans generations. It explores all the different ways that our longest relationships evolve and morph over time. It is, at its heart, a love letter to life itself if I may be so pretentious. This will go down as one of my favorite books of all time–I already know it.

The Family Outing: A Memoir by Jessi Hempel
Order the hardcover here.
Download the audiobook here.

People who analyze reading patterns don’t have to look too hard to see that I love a book about family–particularly one that spans decades and navigates transition. I think families are fascinating. They’re my favorite. Enter: a family memoir.

This is a book about Jessi Hempel’s family. Everyone has a secret they’re keeping to themselves and as/ after the family seems to implode–they all start telling them and living honestly. Jessi comes out as gay. Her father comes out as gay. Her brother comes out as trans. Her sister comes out as bisexual. And her mother comes out as someone who had some intimate encounters with someone who turned out to be a serial killer; a secret that ate away at her and affected her and her children in serious ways that no one recognized for quite some time. Now, these aren’t spoilers. All this information can be found on the jacket copy. But it’s the way that everyone managed to not only navigate all of this together (and sometimes not together) but also allowed their stories to be told from a perspective that was not their own (save for Jessi) that I admired so much.

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Order the hardcover copy here (or buy a copy in-store from us after it releases on Oct 18).
Download the audiobook here.

Okay but this is the book that I can’t shut tf up about. I’m shouting it from the rooftops every chance I get.

This book touched me. I knew that I would enjoy it because it’s Barbara Kingsolver and the way that she writes gives me goose bumps–but I didn’t expect this. I didn’t expect it to fully wreck me and teach me and light a fire inside of me. This book is dark and long but it is a fully compelling and ultimately hopeful critique of systemic poverty and pain pills. I can’t believe how quickly I burned through huge swaths of this book.

We are cheering for Demon from the very first page. We get to know him so deeply, so intimately to the point where we understand every single move he makes–even when they’re the wrong moves we feel like we couldn’t imagine doing anything different. 
This book is sad. It’s deeply sad but it also has some very funny parts. Demon is so darn witty.  It’s going down as one of the greatest books I’ve ever read. 

I was about 1/2 way through when I realized that this book was a retelling of David Copperfield. Is it obvious I haven’t read the source material? Anyway, what I do know about David Copperfield was that it was an impassioned work of social activism at its time. And that is very much the same for Demon Copperhead. It’s just about as long, too. It’s 560 pages–which ain’t nothin’! But I found it absolutely worth it. There is something in which to delight or despair, but deeply feel, on each and every page.

What have you read and loved lately?

What do you think?

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