September Reading Recap: Audiobooks and Book Clubs for the Reading Win

Published by The Connected Reader on

The Connected Reader Reading Recap

I feel like I didn’t read at all in September, but I did. Thank goodness for audiobooks, children’s and young adult books, and book clubs to keep a reading life going.

What did you read this month? Have you read any of the books in this recap? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

My Favorite Book of the Month

I just couldn’t choose one. I loved these two for such deeply different reasons. One helped me to name the internalized ableism I hold, made me feel like my brain was literally revising or erasing and starting again an understanding that I had. The other was just good fun with a family of characters I’ve grown to love. It had me laugh out loud and weep on my morning walks.

Book Image of Sitting Pretty by Rebekah Taussig

Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body by Rebekah Taussig

Print   Audio

This book unexpectedly (for me) fit right into my nonfiction themed reading about systems that hold us back. So, so much to think about in terms of how we view the body, what it can and cannot do, and the value we put on that in terms of work, relationships, and quality of life. Taussig is so gracious in sharing her experiences and asking the bigger questions, always careful to pause and not that this is ONE experience and she has the privilege of whiteness alongside wrapped up in her experience. The section about teaching a high school class and being unexpectedly confronted with narrow mindsets about ability will be forever etched in my brain. If it’s not clear, this one is non-fiction, and I listened to the audiobook.

The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman

The Last Devil to Die by Richard Osman

Print   Audio

Oh, my Thursday Murder Club friends. This is the fourth installment in the cozy mystery series about a group of 70 something friends in a retirement community who solve murders. Osman just has a way with a turn of sarcastic or observational phrase that is unmatched for me. And the audiobook narrator just nails the delivery. There is the resolution of an ongoing storyline from the previous books that made for such intensely beautiful moments between a few great characters (for those in the know: Stephen, Elizabeth, Bogdan). I just paused to look up how “Stephen” is spelled in the book and learned that this was the series finale – but also maybe the author will be writing more stories with this club? – and now I need to go despair at not having more time with these people. I mean, characters.

The Other Books I Read This Month

Book Image of Fable by Adrienne Young

Fable by Adrienne Young

Print   Audio

My book club had a hilarious conversation about this book because we were like, “We really liked it” but also, “Why was it so slow at the beginning (and the middle)?” and “Why does this love interest seem so much older than the teenaged main character? Here’s what I will say: 1. For me the world was cool – essentially, pirates and deep sea divers sans equipment with some mystical elements and 2. There is an underwater make out scene (minus the potentially problematic age difference) and a twist at the end that had me intrigued. Do with all of this what you will.

Book Image of Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo

Family Lore by Elizabeth Acevedo

Print   Audio

I thought this one lived up to its gorgeous cover. Acevedo is an established young adult writer and this is their debut adult novel. It’s the story of three generations of women in a family from the Dominican Republic and New York City. It moves back and forth in time, and shifts across six different perspectives: each of four sisters in their 50s, 60s, and 70s; and two of the first group’s daughters who are in their 30s. It takes place over several weeks leading up to the “living wake” for one of the older women. I thought it was just filled with moments, which is what I love in my fiction. Moments of self-discovery, moments of connection between the past and present, moments between siblings, moments between mothers and daughters. All told with this wonderful balance of beauty and reality from Acevedo. I read this in print and I would recommend it that way because of the shifts in time and narration – although now I’m looking it up and it looks like the audiobook is narrated by a cast, including the author, which could be fantastic.

Book Image of I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy

Print   Audio

Phew. I did not read this at the height of its power because I have a (sometimes toxic) character trait of ignoring the hype but circling back in one to five years to enjoy the thing. The manipulation, exploitation, and abuse from her mother that McCurdy lived and describes (and narrates with such deadpan delivery) is just wildly heartbreaking. I couldn’t help but read this through the lens of a parent thinking about the impact you have on your children; and it felt to me such a reminder of why I have sought out therapy and why I’m attempting to do the hard work of being emotionally regulated in order to support my children in doing the same and building their own identities. I thought this was well-written, well-structured, and well-narrated. Tons of content warnings, so read at your own discretion.

Book Image of The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall

Print   Audio

This is a book that will just always hold a place in my heart. I read it right after my first daughter was born and felt so many emotions. I felt absolute despair at the thought of leaving my child (the mother in the book dies when the characters are very young, prior to the action in the book). Mostly I felt delight and joy at the thought of having daughters who would grow up together and go on adventures in everyday life. I had only the one daughter at the time, but I like to think that I put this out into the universe so that four years later our family was complete with a trio of girls. This book is so good for talking about a variety of different emotions and situations that come up for tweens including communicating needs, navigating the hard decisions of grownups in your life, and making sense of the romantic feelings you may develop for others.

Book Image of When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn

When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn

Print   Audio

This is the sixth book in the Bridgerton romance series, where each book features one of the eight Bridgerton siblings – this one is about Francesca. Yes, I did get into the books after watching the first season of the show about a year after everyone else did, thank you for asking. In general, I think these are great audiobooks when you just need a palette cleanser or something in the background. This one in particular I finished, but I did not love it. I found the romance between Francesca and Michael to be particularly manipulative (as many of them are in these books) and it just didn’t pay off for me.


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