I added 18 books to my Read shelf last month, bringing my YTD total to 155 (Goodreads link).
Here are a few more stats from September’s book journal summary page:
over three-fourths (14/18) – were words on a page.
nearly two-thirds (11/18) were borrowed, two I owned, and five were purchased (four “new”, and one “used”).
only two were non-fiction … likely because I was reading from the Booker and NBA fiction lists.
My Reading Intentions continued to be pretty balanced, except that Connection is still lagging. I can only hope that number picks up as more folks read – and want to talk about! – new releases and books from the prize short lists:
Connection – 5
Growth – 8
Diversity – 6
Delight – 18 … all of them, even Jane Eyre (see below).
Only one book checked all four boxes:
Parable of the Sower, for MMD October bookclub (it’s also a January 2022 selection for Fiction Matters and I’m beyond delighted to have a great excuse to read it again so soon!)
Other ♥ notes from my journal:
♥ paper is way easier to borrow these days.
♥ finally read a 5-star Booker nominee (The Promise)!
♥ reading The Overstory (finally) and Bewilderment in the same month was a great introduction to Richard Powers.
♥ growth = learning about faith, trees(!!), the feminist lens, Japanese culture about “making” babies (Breast & Eggs … whoa!), Octavia Butler, poverty/social issues – it was a heavy month.
♥ recurring themes of STORY, and who gets to tell them.
♥ holding my TBR very loosely; only 11 of those 18 books were on my original TBR, and I haven’t even started nine of the books that were on that list.
♥ Jane Eyre re-read with Novel Pairings (it was the bookclub selection for September).
and here’s where I wish my own handwriting were a bit more legible so I could just paste in a photo from my journal 😉 here’s what I wrote:
“well, this is complicated. I think it’s my 4th read of the book. and I was expecting that, with the Novel Pairings classes and podcasts, I’d love the book even more – maybe find it AMAZING (5-stars). Instead, they made me pay attention to all the troubling aspects in ways I couldn’t get past. maybe two stars? I did finish it. My 2013 Goodreads review (4 stars) said I LOVED Jane and the happy ending. sigh. Jane chose Rochester. and who had a happy ending? certainly not Bertha. But I decided to leave the 4 stars because I have LOVED the experience of reading along with so many smart readers. and learning more. I am enjoying the really close reading with the On Eyre podcast, hosted by Vanessa Zoltan, and Vanessa’s book Praying with Jane Eyre (which is 5-star deserving).”
I finished Praying with Jane Eyre a few weeks later and did give it 5 stars. This is a collection of personal essays reflecting on a particular text from Jane Eyre (there are 11 of these), Little Women, Harry Potter, and (even!) The Great Gatsby. Zoltan’s essays are beautifully written and have the perfect mix of head and heart (yes, I cried more than once). She includes tips at the end for making Sacred Reading a personal practice. I’m hoping to incorporate some of that into my own reading … still figuring out exactly how.
If you’re still on the fence about even putting this one on hold, Terry Tempest Williams wrote the Foreword. She and her husband (and a few others) joined Zoltan in June 2018 for a literary pilgrimage in Sussex Downs to read To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. “[She] learned through that process of reading To the Lighthouse in community with these brilliant, soulful people … that [she] wasn’t reading or writing deeply enough.” my sidebar note “me too”.
The Booker Prize announcement is November 3 – three weeks from yesterday – and I’m still reading Great Circle and The Fortune Men. I’m loving The Fortune Men and having trouble figuring out why Great Circle made the list. At this point, I’d be delighted if The Promise or The Fortune Men won … we’ll see!
My October TBR is going strong, and I’m most excited about Cloud Cuckoo Land … what are you most excited to read this month? (and if you have a prediction about the Booker Prize, do share!)
Here’s to reading better!