TBR 9.20

Fortuitously, talking about my slump in my August wrap-up seems to have helped a bit in motivating me to pull out of it. Thank you all for the lovely and helpful comments on that post- engaging here again is already bringing some of the excitement back to reading and blogging for me. So here’s a slow start back into my list of pending posts, with my September TBR; up next, I think I’ll dabble in some blog hopping! I might even go crazy and read something this evening! πŸ™‚

But before I get there, here’s a look at what I’m hoping will help with my awkward slump situation:

  1. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. I might as well say right off that my Spotlight post for September will feature YA books (a category, rather than a genre). YA books are typically faster reads for me, so I think leaning into some Spotlight post prep will be doubly beneficial- quick reads are great for slumps. Even better, this one’s told in verse and has a low words per page ratio, which should really help someone (me) who’s struggling to turn pages. This will be my first Acevedo book, and all I know going in is that it follows a teenage slam poet.
  2. Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake. Another YA, this one is on my 20 in ’20 list and is also an LGBTQ+ story (I was sad not to find time to read it in June, but September’s a good a time as any!). It follows a set of twins, one of whom is accused of raping the other’s friend. I believe it’s a story of identity and self-discovery, of family and morality.
  3. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. Another YA, another LGBTQ+ story. This one was gifted to me earlier this year by a friend who loved it, and I often agree with her bookish opinions so I have high hopes for this sapphic romace.
  4. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. The other YA title from my 20 in ’20 list. I have reservations about starting another fantasy series before I get around to finishing others I’ve already started (why is The Empire of Gold still so expensive???), and especially when I only have one of the books on hand. But high fantasy is also good for slumps and I’m mood reading these days so it’s good to have something less contemporary on the list. I think this is a romance-based fantasy, in a Roman-inspired world.
  5. The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff. For a change of pace, here’s an adult nonfiction about a fairly recent piece of history. I was lucky enough to visit the One World Trade Center and the 9/11 memorial and memorial museum in New York earlier this year before the lockdowns, so this feels like the right time to get to this book.

And that’s my list. This seems like a good plan, theoretically, but I’ll be honest and say I have no idea whether this is what my wrap-up at the end of the month will look like. I also have a few Booker Prize nominees checked out from the library that I’m *trying* to carry on with, but at this point I think I just need to go where my mood takes me if I want to be able to finish anything. I should have plenty of reading time this month, though I may have less time for blogging toward the end of September. We shall see. In any case, I am still hoping to finish ALL of the books I’ve assigned myself in these monthly 5-book TBRs before the end of the year, so it’s likely you’ll be seeing reviews for these titles from me at some point even if I don’t manage them all this month. Rest assured, adult lit readers, I won’t post entirely YA content this month even if my reading skews that way. I’ve got a few adult reviews to catch up on as well, and more Booker content on the way.

As has become tradition, I’ll include here the new September releases that are on my radar as well. I may or may not get to any of these within the month, but I will be looking out for posts and reviews because I’m excited about these!

  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. Contemporary fiction following a Ghanian family in Alabama. Our narrator is a scientist looking to rationalize the suffering she sees around herself. Out Sep 1st
  • Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi. YA contemporary fiction told in verse, in which a teenage artist is wrongly incarcerated for a crime in his neighborhood. Out Sep 1st
  • One By One by Ruth Ware. Adult thriller set at a snowed-in ski resort. Eight coworkers on a retreat gone wrong find themselves fighting for survival… from the elements, and perhaps from each other. Out Sep 8th
  • Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land by Toni Jensen. Adult nonfiction/memoir about one woman’s experience as an indigenous American, told through essays on her encounters with gun violence. Out Sep 8th.

It’s a shorter list this month, but hopefully that’ll make it feel more manageable. I already have a copy of Transcendent Kingdom thanks to Book of the Month; I’m very excited for this one after loving Gyasi’s Homegoing a few years ago (and the first BOTM copy I’ve ever seen with a special effect in the cover design- gold foil! I hope this is the start of a trend!)

Have you read any of these books, or recognize them from your own lists? Let me know in the comments!

The Literary Elephant

21 thoughts on “TBR 9.20”

    1. Yes, such a relief!

      I’ve had The Only Plane in the Sky on hand for a while, and despite my general interest it’s taken me months to pick it up. I finally decided to give it a go when I (fortuitously) needed to start something on the 11th, and I can already tell it will likely be a 5-star read for me! I’m taking it slowly because some of the details are painful to contemplate but it really is an impressive work. I’d love to see your thoughts on it as well, if/when the time comes!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I’m so glad to hear it’s a 5-star read for you! I really do want to read it, I’m just dreading it, I guess. I read 102 Minutes about the time in the towers, and as good of a book as it was, it was very difficult to get through. So I guess I have that in mind. But I can’t wait for your review and hopefully I can motivate to get to it soon!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, that makes perfect sense. I am finding some of the details harrowing to sit through, even knowing the gist of what to expect, but all of the speakers in the book are people who lived to share their experience, which I’m finding helpful! And it’s all told in small snippets as a broad overview, which keeps me from getting too emotionally attached to specific “characters.” I haven’t read 102 Minutes so I can’t compare the experience, but for me The Only Plane is harder to contemplate after I put it down than it is to actually read; I hope you will find it worthwhile when you get to it, though I certainly understand needing to be ready for the topic before picking it up!


  1. Do you think One By One by Ruth Ware is going to be similar to In a Dark, Dark Wood? I think she can spin a great tale, but that thing where she has both a present and past time line that go back and forth evenly UNTIL you almost learn what happened and then she drags out the present…..DRIVES. ME. INSANE. It’s not just that she’s holding back and making me wait longer than I want to, it’s that I literally get bored and want to stop reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it will be similar in atmosphere to Dark Dark Wood, but I don’t know much more about the specific content than the two sentences in my post, lol. I don’t recall seeing any early readers mention dual timelines though! Those can really bother me as well, especially when used as a way of withholding key information to create artificial tension. A good mystery/thriller plot should be able to keep us on the edge of our seats without using sleight of hand tricks like jumping timelines at crucial moments!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope your reading list helps with the slump! I think shorter, quicker reads are a great way to keep reading when motivation lacks. I’m really excited about Transcendent Kingdom too. I’ve been really tempted to buy it new!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Quick reads seem like a great way to build back some momentum. (Of course then I started with the 400+ page nonfiction instead of any of the short books I set aside, but I’ll take anything that works this month, and I think the YA will still come in handy for next.)

      Transcendent Kingdom looks so good! I’d love to see your thoughts once you’ve read it, it’s been one of my most highly anticipated reads this year.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I loved Homegoing so I’m excited about Transcendent Kingdom. I’m tempted to buy it brand new but I’ve already bought more new books this year than I usually do so I’m holding back for now!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Homegoing really was phenomenal. But I admire your restraint! I am far too prone to resorting to bookish retail therapy. Luckily, I’m sure Gyasi’s writing will be just as good whenever you pick it up! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Funnily enough, after I mentioned I was also in a slump on your blog I feel things have really improved for me as well! I dumped a book I was stuck with and finished two books that were going really slowly, so now I’m reading some new books that are either more engaging or less challenging. One by One is great btw and I pretty much read it in a single sitting, so recommend that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, that’s great to hear! Eliminating books that are bogging you down can be such a help; I’m often too much of a completionist to admit when I need to abandon ship, but this time I was having the opposite problem where I couldn’t even seem to get started with anything! Luckily I’ve broken through that and started four books that I’m mostly enjoying, so at least I’ve got some momentum back. Hopefully our slumps will stay banished! A one-sitting thriller sounds really appealing right now too, I’ll have to get to One By One sooner rather than later- thanks for the tip! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad to hear the slump is lifting!! This year has really emphasized the importance of self-care, so I’m glad you’re taking things at a reasonable place and reading what appeals to you. Everything Leads to You sounds excellent. Nina LaCour has been on my TBR for a while but I still haven’t read any of her books!

    And I agree that the foil effect on Transcendent Kingdom is gorgeous!! That was my BOTM pick this month too, and that book cover is one of my favorites!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s good to be making my way back, and such a relief just to take it at my own pace. πŸ™‚

      I’m in the same boat re: Nina LaCour, and am excited to get started with her work! Several of her novels have appealed to me over the years and it’s taken me too long to dive in. And YES, I’m so pleased with the cover for Transcendent Kingdom! I have avoided certain books from BOTM in the past just to get the special effects on the regular edition covers, so opening my box this month was such a pleasant surprise! I’ll look forward to your thoughts on the book when you get to it as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I hope you enjoy all those books, Emily! The Poet X is great, tells a really powerful story in verse and since then Elizabeth Acevedo has become one of my favourite authors. I’m also interested in reading An Ember in the Ashes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I’m really looking forward to starting with Acevedo’s work, and I’m sure The Poet X will only be the beginning for me. An Ember in the Ashes also looks really good- I hope you’ll like it too!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, I’m so glad to hear that it’s an effective book (and sorry if it was painfully so!). I didn’t quite get to it in Sept but still have it down from the shelf to read soon. I shall prepare to be emotionally wrecked!

      Liked by 1 person

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