Back on the Bookshelf: What I read in September

What I read in September

Work slowed back down a little bit, particularly in the second half of September, and that’s definitely reflected in my reading pace. 

This month I was able to read 7 (!) books, to bring my total for the year so far to 49 (!)!!!

Now I’m only 11 books away from my goal for 2017 🙂 

So, here’s what I read in September:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Completed: 9/4/17 
Format: eBook through Overdrive

Y’all, this is one of the best books I’ve read all year. Told in the narrative non-fiction style, it documents the illness of the African American woman Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer cells have been used to test develop scores of cures and treatments to other diseases. HeLa cells, as they are known, are used every day all over the world, and are famous for their ability to continue multiplying, despite the fact that their “donor” died 66 years ago.

In fact, the slice of Henrietta’s cervical tumor that birthed the cells was taken from her without her permission, and her family has never seen a penny of the proceeds from all the medicines they enabled. Instead, the Lacks family continues (at least at the time of the book’s writing) to live in poverty in rural Maryland. This book was heartbreaking and inspiring, and really made me think. 
Recommended for: Everyone. Just read it.

The Space Between

Completed: 9/7/17
Format: eBook through Overdrive

This Outlander Novella (because it’s a novella if Gabaldon only writes 200 pages!) follows  Michael Murray, the second son of Ian and Jenny Murray, and Joan MacKimmie, Jamie’s step daughter, through a journey to France.  Oh, and the infamous Comte St. Germain makes a significant appearance. We learn a lot more about his… powers… It was good! Well, at least it got me through the last few days of #Droughtlander!
Recommended for: Outlander fans

The Girl who Played With Fire

Completed: 9/9/17
Format: Audiobook through Overdrive

This is the second book in the Millennium Series (the first is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I read last month). It continued in the tradition of its dark thriller predecessor. We learn a lot more about Lisbeth Salander’s history, and why she became the damaged genius she is today. The book ends dead in the middle of the plot, so you definitely have to read the third book in the series! 

Recommended for: those who enjoyed The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Mapmaker’s Daughter

Completed: 9/12/17
Format: eBook through Overdrive

Oh wow, another great one! This novel follows a young Jewish girl living under persecution in 15th century Spain (the birthplace of the inquisition, which tried thousands of Jewish families). I will never cease to be amazed and humbled by the resilience of the Jewish people and faith. I also loved the reminder of how important women really are in Judaism! In a day when tolerance is waning on every side of the aisle, it was a stark reminder of what oppression looks like and why we must fight it. 

Recommended for: Lovers of historical fiction with strong female characters.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

Completed: 9/20/17
Format: Audiobook through Overdrive

This is the last book in the Millennium Series that was actually written by Stieg Larsson, who passed away suddenly in 2004. There have been others written after the original trilogy, but I’m not sure I’m going to read those. This continues to be dark and action packed. A necessary read if you made it through the 2nd book!

Recommended for: people who read books 1 & 2!

Devil in the White City

Completed: 9/23/17
Format: eBook through Overdrive

This was another interesting narrative non-fiction book! I put it on my list because my favorite podcast, No Dumb Questions, is discussing it in an upcoming episode, and I didn’t want to miss out on the fun! These two side-by-side stories follow the creators of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, and one of the most prolific serial killers in American history. It was a good reminder that there’s a lot more history in our nation than we learn in school, and lots of it isn’t pretty!

Recommended for: people who enjoy narrative non-fiction and really interesting American history. 

Tuesdays with Morrie

Completed 9/25/17
Format: eBook through Overdrive

I really enjoyed this short but emotional read about a college professor who reunites with a former student while he is (spoiler alert) dying from ALS. Having lost several significant people in my life over the last year and a half, several of Morrie’s aphorisms really resonated with me. Parts were a little trite, but at the end of the day so many people say the same things about the end of life not because it’s easy to say, but because it’s true. 

Recommended for anyone struggling with the loss of a loved one.

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