September just got away from me (or so it seems), but I still managed to read 5 books, which keeps me on track to meet my reading goal for the year.
The sun does shine: how I found life and freedom on death row by Anthony Ray Hinton (★★★★★)
“Until we have a way of ensuring that innocent men are never executed. Until we account for the racism in our courts, in our prisons, and in our sentencing. The death penalty should be abolished.“ (Bryan Stevenson, Ray Hinton’s attorney)
Ray Hinton is a better person than I am. I have no idea how he managed to stay kind, compassionate, humorous and hopeful after sitting on death row for 30 years for a crime he did not commit. The courts stole his entire life. Go read this. It’s heartbreaking, it’s funny, it’s hopeful, and it’s important, but expect your mouth to hang open intermittently in shock and disbelief.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett (★★★★☆)
This was a well-written, compelling story about the intertwined lives of three teens in an African American community in Southern California and how one decision can affect a community for the rest of their lives. I loved how that book gave us a glimpse of what happened between the characters – Nadia, Aubrey, and Luke – in their teenage years and how their adult lives were shaped and affected as a consequence.
You Need A Budget by Jesse Mecham (★★★★☆)
I wanted to read this book for a while. It wasn’t earth-shattering new information for me, as I have been using the YNAB software for 4 years, but I still enjoyed reading through this book again. The approach to budgeting and aging your money and being on top of your finances is just so eye-opening and I recommend this book if you’re looking for a new approach to handling money.
Our souls at night by Kent Haruf (★★★☆☆)
Oh, I really wanted to love this book. Two people, both widowed, forge an unexpected, intimate connection late in life that is eyed with disdain and suspicion by the people around them. I wanted to root for Addie and Louis, dive below the surface and experience their level of “no f*cks given” when you reach that certain age in life. Unfortunately, the story stayed really superficial and was basically just the narration of a string of events. The feelings and emotions that I expected to bubble to the surface stayed subdued and unexpressed.
I read that the book was made into a movie with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. I’d be intrigued to see if it translated to film better, by adding gestures and facial expression that would tell more of their story, but which stayed hidden between the lines of the book.
Turtles all the day down by John Green (★★★☆☆)
I was intrigued by the topics of anxiety and OCD that 16-year old Aza deals with and I wanted to dive into her story and learn more about her mental health issues and how she copes in the context of teenage friendship and first love. The mysterious disappearance of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett was just a mere side story to me that simply distracted from more important aspects of the book. The disappearance might have been an intriguing story on its own, but I felt like the book didn’t really focus on either plot enough to keep me engaged. There were parts I liked, especially the parts where Green gave us an insight into Aza’s brain, but the narrative felt disjointed at times and overall the book was just really slow for me.
What did you read in September? Anything you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment, and then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch.