The point of my 3-books-per-month-or-less goal was not to acquire exactly 36 books throughout the year, it was to avoid free-for-all book hauls like I’ve had the last three times I’ve hauled. Even the times I’ve “failed” and ended up with 4 books rather than 3 were at least structured buying months. Apparently I’ve lost sight of my goal now entirely because my book buying is getting out of hand again, and as much as I love having plenty of great choices on my shelves, all the unread books are beyond overwhelming. I don’t know why I do this to myself. I’m going to try extra hard to resist in October. And in the meantime, here are my new books for September, because apparently I just can’t stop:
- The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker was my Book of the Month choice for September. This one was already on my TBR so I was excited to find it among the selections this month and immediately added it to my box. It’s a retelling of Homer’s The Iliad, with a focus on Briseis’s perspective. I’ve already read this book, thank goodness– I’m really trying to get my BOTM books under control this year and reading them within the month they arrive really helps.
- Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough. This book was also one of the BOTM selections for September, and after loving Pinborough’s last release, Behind Her Eyes, I was excited to give this one a chance so I added it extra to my box. I’ve already finished reading this book as well, though I was disappointed to discover that it was just a run-of-the-mill thriller full of characters I didn’t care for.
- Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Barnes and Noble had a big sale this month. There were two titles I wanted from the list, and the other one I had just ordered from Book Depository so I just picked this one up for $6 and called it good. I’ve noticed recently that I have developed a bad habit of buying YA fantasy novels that I think I want to read and then I don’t read them, so I’m considering doing a try-a-chapter thing to encourage myself to break the trend.
- Human Acts by Han Kang. I read Kang’s The Vegetarian earlier this year and loved it, and have been itching to read another of her novels lately. I’ll probably also buy a copy of The Vegetarian at some point, and if I like this one as much as the first I’ll definitely be picking up more of Kang’s work. This one’s a historical fiction novel about an uprising in South Korea.
- The Tommyknockers by Stephen King. My buddy read friend and I are going a little Stephen King crazy this year. We’ve read It and Sleeping Beauties already this year, are currently reading Mr. Mercedes, and we’re planning to read The Tommyknockers together at the end of the year; we agreed on this particular edition so that we’d have the same page numbers. This one’s an alien sci-fi story.
- Gerald’s Game by Stephen King is another title I picked up in the same edition as The Tommyknockers. I found these on Book Outlet, where everything is so cheap that might as well keep piling things into your cart until you hit the free shipping amount. This one’s about a woman who agrees to be handcuffed to the bed and is then stuck there when her husband suddenly dies. I think this one’s pretty psychological so I’ve already been intrigued enough to read the first chapter and it seems weird but promising.
- The Regulators by Stephen King. Another of the same editions. I want to eventually read all of Stephen King’s books, so I don’t mind slowly building my collection. And some of the covers of his older books are just gross, in my opinion, so I decided to pick up the ones I liked while they were available. (Although if the Hodder editions would ever re-release, that would be the dream.) I don’t know much about this one, but I think it’s got a Western vibe?
- Insomnia by Stephen King. This one was a disappointment. I ordered this title in the same edition as the other three, but received the wrong edition when my order arrived. I’ve never had this problem with Book Outlet before, so that was a bummer. I’m going to hold on to this copy for now, but I might try again later to get the edition I wanted because I know someone who would take this one off my hands if I ended up with two. This one’s about a man who sleeps increasingly less, and in his night walks discovers some bad/creepy things going on in his town.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. After choosing the Stephen King books I wanted, I had a little room left in my cart before I got to free shipping (this is my problem with Book Outlet: I go in for one thing I want, and end up buying seven things to avoid paying shipping) so I was just looking for anything that caught my eye at this point. I’ve read excerpts and short works of Wilde’s in the past for school, but I want to read a full novel. I believe this one’s about a man with a sort of secret double life.
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. I’ve been meaning to read this past Pulitzer Prize winner for years and just not gotten around to it. How could I pass it up for $3? All I remember from when I added this to my Goodreads TBR is that it’s a book about identity.
- Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll. I read Speak as a kid and was shocked and impressed with it at the time. I was thinking about rereading it around the same time this graphic novel was released, and decided I wanted to go that route. But it was always too expensive, and my library never got a copy. So when I saw it on Book Outlet for less than half price, I grabbed it.
- What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver. I picked this up for a couple of dollars, on a whim. I’ve read a couple of Carver’s stories and enjoyed them, and I’ve been wanting to get back into short stories lately.
- The Water Cure by Sophia Mackintosh. I’m basically in love with the Man Booker longlist this year and I’m treating myself to my own copies of about half the list. I don’t expect this is something that’ll happen regularly, so I’m just kind of going with it, especially since so few of the titles were available through my library due to late US publication dates. I read this one obsessively as soon as it arrived– it’s a sort of dystopia about 3 daughters who’ve grown up on an island, taught to fear the outside world and men especially.
- There There by Tommy Orange. I’ve had my eye on this one since before it came out, and I’ve heard nothing but raving reviews since it did. (This is the other title I wanted from the Barnes and Noble sale but had just ordered elsewhere.) Also it’s a nominee now for the National Book Award and I’m just really looking forward to reading it and loving it. All I know is that it’s a book about urban Native American identity.
- November Road by Lou Berney. This is the second book I’ve ever won through Goodreads giveaways, and the first ARC I’ve ever received. (I’m actually not big on ARCs, I prefer finished copies.) I’ve just finished reading this historical thriller set around the time of JFK’s assassination; I enjoyed it but didn’t love it, and will have a review up for it before its release date and more info in my wrap-up on Monday as well.
- Asking For It by Louise O’Neill. Becoming a Barnes and Noble member was the best and worst decision of my bookish life. I cannot resist the sales/discounts. Anyway, I read and loved this YA contemporary fiction story earlier this year and am starting to pick up copies of favorite 2018 reads that I don’t own yet. This one’s about a girl who is raped and publicly shamed, as much by the justice system and her community as by the perpetrators. It’s a hard read, but so important.
- An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. I pre-ordered this one a while back when it was 40% off and then basically forgot about it. My John Green love has mostly faded in the last few years (I still haven’t read Turtles All the Way Down) but I’m curious to see what I’ll think about Hank’s writing. Also, this is the latest Barnes and Noble Book Club selection, so that added to my curiosity.
That’s it. Whew. 5 of these 17 are already read, 4 of those within the month of September. Better than none, but still not good for my physical TBR. I’m happy with what I’ve got though, and that’s what counts. Hopefully my October TBR will be a little closer to the 3-book mark, but I know of a few things that I ordered in September that just haven’t arrived yet; even if I don’t buy anything new in all of October I don’t think I’ll be able to meet the 3-book goal. (So sad that that happens before October has even begun, but such is life.) Anyway, I’m looking forward to exploring so many of these new books in the upcoming cold months!
Which titles did you add to your shelves this month? Any from this list that you’ve read and loved?
The Literary Elephant