September Reads

I read the most books in one month I’ve ever read, 17! Well, if you count plays (which I do). I was light on the nonfiction and heavy on the light fiction. I will start with the two nonfiction books I read.

The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis. I could barely comprehend what the sentences meant and how they connected in the first two chapters. I also didn’t quite agree with everything he said; I think he simplified the situation. I am saying this from a modern perspective of cheap emotionalism (I guess that would fit in his visceral category). I felt that he added unnecessary “complexity” and that some of his argument or word choices were sophistry or pedantry. The third chapter didn’t connect logically with the first two (I think each chapter was a lecture?), and I found it much easier to understand.

The Behavior Gap by Carl Richards. From the title, I expected a far deeper psychological look onto how we handled money. How we can have all the information but no follow through and why and how we can combat this. Instead, I got a shallow, dumbed down, forgettable pointless almost conspiracy theory self-help book. Which wasn’t helpful.

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass. A nice bit of candy-like and candy-involved reading at the middle-grade level.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Dickens. I went into this knowing that Dickens died before he could complete it, but I thought the mystery was unknown. He left clear indications in the book and in comments about the ending. The real mystery is about the detective, apparently. This felt SO dark. I know he had murders in other novels, but this was different, the murderer was clearly a socio/psychopath.

The Door Before by N. D. Wilson. Wilson wrote the 100 Cupboards a decade ago. I loved the trilogy. I wasn’t super thrilled about a prequel, but I read all his fiction. I was far less thrilled when I started it and realized he was using it to tie 100 Cupboards (which is special) to Ashtown Burials (which is NOT special). One feels magical, the other sci-fi/action adventure. I dislike when authors seem to lose control of their plots and seem to want drama and “complexity” at the cost of quality. I feel that he lost control of Ashtown Burials and had to write this to add something to the long-overdue fourth book. Sorry, but this book didn’t happen in my mind’s conception of these fictional universes.

Death Comes as the End by Agatha Christie. Possibly the best written Christie novel I’ve read. Also, one of the most, if not the most disturbing. I was in denial about the identity of the murderer until the last.

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder. I came across this in my search for Peruvian novels, and since I hadn’t read any Wilder, I thought, “Why not?” Wilder tells the complex stories of characters all involved in an accident.

Nick of Time by Ted Bell. This is first in a series. Time-travel and WWII. The tone is light. I feel like WWII fiction either must be light (and therefore totally unrealistic) or dark and accurate or it can veer into disrespect. Some may find the light-toned novels disrespectful though. But some may only be able to handle it from that perspective.

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, Speaking from Among the Bones, The Dead in their Vaulted Arches, As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust, and Thrice the Brindled Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley. Book four tried to take the series to another level, except everything actually ends up absurd. We don’t need a silly cult-like spy organization. I liked the simple mysteries set in an English village. The false “complexity” is out of the scope of the works and the abilities of the author. Also, the whole murder part seems to be more and more gruesome. Especially since the protagonist is a preteen. And then something happened at the end of the 8th book that made me so angry.

Lila by Marilynne Robinson. I know this isn’t the first in the “series” but I felt that it works as a standalone. This is unique and well-written, something as rare as a blue moon in modern fiction. It is also hard to read. I felt that the author didn’t handle the end very well. The pace increased and the story tapered off.

A Florentine Tragedy and The Importance of Being Earnest (re-read) by Oscar Wilde. I borrowed a whole book of Wilde’s plays from the library to re-read my two favorites (I read Ideal Husband in August), and I thought I’d read the short A Florentine Tragedy. The story felt like one in Boccaccio’s Decameron. And I didn’t like it.

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