What I read in September

Wow, I only read two books in September. What does that tell you? It tells you that I was busy with other things. Good things. Like, road tripping and running half marathons (ok, just one) and eating good food and enjoying lovely company.

So, while this monthly review will be short and sweet and will look a little ‘sad’ with just two books to review, I am not sad about the things I filled my time with this month.

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue (★★★★)

This fictional story about a Cameroonian family that comes to America in hopes of finding a better life has a very contemporary feel with the current refugee crisis and immigration debates.

I know I am sometimes a little too critical when it comes to ‘compounding’ subplots in novels that have a compelling main story that doesn’t need more drama around it (referring here to the internal problems of the family that Jende works for), but I guess that is also a bit of real life as every family has their own share of problems to deal with and when people interact, these problems overlap and get entangled. Either way, it was a well-written, heart-wrenching story and had a very real feel to it (given the fact that the author is a Cameroonian immigrant herself). It made it easier to relate to people’s life stories and their motivations to leave their home countries to find a better life someplace else. Wouldn’t we do the same if we were in their situation?

Close enough to touch by Colleen Oakley (★★★★)

In the beginning, I wasn’t really sure if I was going to like the book… the setup of Jubilee’s story, a young woman who lives with a very rare allergy to human skin cells (aka other people) and has therefore been forced to live in isolation, felt a little too contrived. After being a recluse for nine years living off her mom’s and new lover’s monthly financial support, her mom dies and the money flow stops, so she has to venture out into the world and get a job.

And then there is Eric’s part of the story, which seemed like it could have been its own book, because there was so much going on in his life, too. He is a divorced man trying to mend his relationship with his estranged daughter Ellie, and at the same time trying to be a good substitute father to his psychologically disturbed 10 year-old adopted son, Aja, who he took in after his parents – friends of Eric’s –  died in a plane accident. Aja is convinced he is telekinetic and repeatedly puts himself into dangerous situations including a situation where he almost died.

I know, this all seems like a lot, doesn’t it? But, critical as I sometimes am,  I was surprised that I grew to love Jubilee as a person and loved how the author wove her and Eric’s story together. Two lonely souls trying to fix their messy lives. Every once in a while, I wanted to “shake”  both of them, especially Jubilee, for acting a little stupid (she reminded me a little bit of stubborn Eleanor Oliphant), but overall I really enjoyed this book and the characters in it.

What was your favorite book this month? Leave a comment, and then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch.

  1. Behold the Dreamers was one of my favorite books that I read this year. I sometimes don’t like it when a story has too much going on, but the drama within the family the Jende’s worked for added to the story, for me, and made it all the more heart breaking for me. I love immigrant stories, especially ones written by someone who has immigrated so knows what it is actually like.

    September was a good reading month for me. I really liked most of the books I read. My favorites were Beartown and Refugee. Refugee is a middle grade novel but the author does not hold back on being honest about the experiences of the 3 refugees narratives in the book. People die and awful things happen but with a subject like refugees, you do a disservice if you make things too ‘clean and trauma free’.

    1. It’s interesting, because I mean I’ve immigrated to the US as well, but it’s been such a different story from what some people go through … definitely an interesting read.

  2. Oh, thanks for sharing! Always love finding new books to add to my to-read list!

  3. Behold the Dreamers is on my TBR and I hope to get around to it very soon. My favorite book from September was Between the World and Me, which was such an important read.

    1. Between the world and me was a really good book, but because of the heaviness of the topic, it was hard to label it a favorite.

  4. Nothing wrong with enjoying life; I’m glad you had a good month and that the books you DID read, you enjoyed. I’m curious about Close Enough to Touch!


    1. Thank you and yes, you should check out Close Enough to Touch.

  5. Ooh, I haven’t heard of either of these books! Thanks so much for sharing… Behold the Dreamers in particular sounds like a really interesting read, though the second… it does have something that appeals to me but yea–it does sound like a lot of subplots. That said, I’m glad that you chose quality over quantity and it sounds as though you enjoyed both books for very different reasons!

  6. Thank you, sometimes living life is more important than reading books… although reading books is always a good idea :)

  7. I don’t even know think I finished a whole book in September. I’m way off my reading goal for the year, but I think I’ll try again next year. I really miss losing myself in a good book.

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