Bookish Chatter | The Last 3 Books from September

I’ve already greeted October here on my blog, but each day feels more October-like than the last and I feel like I should celebrate that somehow. I have to keep reminding myself that there’s still some reflecting and writing to do for September despite feeling like I’ve fully sank into this new month! I’m here today to share the last three books I finished in September. Two were chapter book readalouds and one was a novel for myself, so let’s chat.


BOOKS FINISHED THIS WEEK:

Bryce is back on his Captain Underpants kick for our bedtime reading! We actually restarted this one earlier this summer, but I was able to distract him with other chapter books like Flora & Ulysses and The Phantom Tollbooth. I had started reading the third Harry Potter to him but he brought up the fact that we never finished our last reread of The Wicked Wedgie Woman, so we picked it up again and finished it late last week. In this one, Ms. Ribble (get it? Miserable? All of the teachers have names like that.) is retiring and flunks George and Harold after they ruin her retirement party. The boys manage to hypnotize her in an effort to change their grades back, but accidentally turn her into the Wicked Wedgie Woman. Chaos, destruction, etc. ensues. Don’t worry, Captain Underpants will save the day.

You guys. Shakespeare’s Secret might be the BEST middle grade novel I’ve read. Ever. This is a mystery that explores who William Shakespeare really was and it was totally fascinating. There’s so much Tudor history smartly packed into this little book and I was delighted by it. In a nutshell: Hero (named after a character in Much Ado About Nothing) and her family move into a house that she learns is called The Murphy Diamond House. The previous year, a large and valuable diamond went missing and no one knows what happened to it. Mrs. Roth, Hero’s new neighbor, is certain that it’s still somewhere in the house but the police have searched the property thoroughly with no success. The mystery intensifies when Hero and Mrs. Roth discover that the diamond came from a necklace that once belonged to Anne Boleyn and believed to be passed from Anne to Queen Elizabeth to Edward de Vere – an ancestor of the previous resident of the Murphy Diamond House and possibly the real William Shakespeare? Oh my goodness, you guys. I was riveted!! It was a readaloud with the kids and they weren’t as fascinated as me, but that’s okay. I couldn’t wait to start school each morning so that we could read a couple more chapters of this book!

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy was an ambitious effort by Jamie Ford. If you’ve read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, you’ll recognize some ideas and interests, but Many Daughters is on a whole new level. There are multiple timelines that follow the matriarchal line of Afong Moy, the person believed to be the first Chinese woman to arrive in America. All of these women experience their own tragedies that shape their lives and affect the lives of the women who come after them. This book explores ideas about karma, inherited trauma, and epigenetics. The ending gave me total A Tale for the Time Being vibes and it was satisfying, but left me scratching my head a bit. I gave it 4 stars because of that.

STILL WORKING ON:

I have to say that I’m very proud of the fact that I’m still working on Lonesome Dove. I tend to only have two books going at a time: one on audio and one in a physical form (either a paper copy or on my Kindle). I’m not good at juggling multiple physical books, but I’ve found a rhythm and have stayed pretty consistent with my goal of 3-4 chapters a day. Of course, it takes time away from my other reading, but I expect that I’ll be finished with this chunker in another couple of weeks. I might keep this strategy going with the other big books on my TBR (Jonathan Strange & Mr. Morrell and Tomb of Sand) because it’s working pretty well.

And I am still really enjoying. I’m about 500 pages in (about to start chapter 59), which is just over halfway and I think it’s become a real western now. I just hit a really sad spot that I wasn’t expecting and don’t remember from the miniseries. But the storylines are all merging and I’m anxious to see what happens next.


I’m also just over halfway through The Secret History. This is a reread for me and the perfect time of year to pick it up. When I first read it in 2016, I was a little bored by it but not this time. I think listening to the Bennington College podcast alongside it has primed my interest and gotten me excited for this revisit. I’ve been staying up past my bedtime to finish the very looooong chapters and have had a hard time putting it down. Little details, like describing Julian’s cozy classroom have me swooning. It reminds me of the descriptions I’ve read about Oxford and Cambridge, where you meet with your advisor in their cozy offices and discuss what you’ve been learning and your goals. Last night while I was reading the chapter in which the group kills Bunny (NOT a spoiler, you know they kill him in the opening pages), I was curled up under a quilt with a cup of tea and it started raining. It was so atmospherically perfect that I squealed a little. I love it when it feels like nature is on my side!

I hope your reading life has been interesting and fulfilling. I plan to be back on Friday with an update on our week. Until then – take good care!

14 thoughts on “Bookish Chatter | The Last 3 Books from September

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  1. Charlie hasn’t learned about Captain Underpants yet … he does love Magic Treehouse so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. The Jamie Ford sounds intriguing; I’ve had Bittersweet on my mental TBR for years. Epigenetics is fascinating; we talked about it re: Plague of Doves last month, too.

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    1. p.s. Lonesome Dove gets better and better! I think you’re about to the part when I decided I had to finish (and I set aside all my other books … that’s always the sign of a 5-star read for me).

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    2. I didn’t realize epigenetics was a theme in Plague of Doves too. I’m hoping to finally read it soon! Bryce went through a Magic Treehouse phase and we blew through those at the library! I’m glad Charlie is enjoying them too 🙂 I complain about Captain Underpants, but they’re really very funny and Bryce LOVES them, so I’m really not upset by returning to them so often.

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  2. Being a huge fan of Shakespeare, I am going to put Shakespeare’s Secret on my TBR list. Yesterday, all three of the rest of Howard’s Cazalet books came in through interlibrary loan. I am one happy reader

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    1. Laurie, I think you’ll be delighted by Shakespeare’s Secret. I can’t wait to hear what you think about it! And I’m excited to hear if the Howard series continue to be wonderful – happy reading!!

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      1. I am on book four—one more to go. I am still very much caught up with the characters, but there a few too many affairs for my liking. I find this tedious. Still a remarkable chronicle of a time and place

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  3. I still want to read Lonesome Dove, but I feel like I might need to save it for vacation when I can just sit and read for hours and it’s totally acceptable. Those brick-type books just don’t get read if I try to fit them in to my normal everyday schedule.

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  4. I have to admit Captain Underpants is hysterical. One of my college girlfriend’s sons got a copy for Christmas one year and we were reading excerpts from it at our annual party. It was good for many laughs.

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  5. Hi, Met Mr E in Cambridge when he was at Emmanuel college. The buildings were amazing. And yes he had Tutorials with his Tutor, only two or maybe three students. He got there on merit I should add, not because of who he knew.

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