September was a good reading month! I feel like I hit a good balance of contemporary and classics, literary reads and genre, and I actually sailed through all of the books I ‘read’-read with some cute foster kittens on my lap so that’s always a win. So here’s what I read and what I thought of them…
The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver
I’ve been wanting to re-read this series for a while. Well, years actually. But I’ve been actively thinking about it since last year, and I can tell because I took it to Northumberland and Munich!
The main character of this series is Lincoln Rhyme, a quadriplegic, and the disability representation in this book actually really impressed me. The research that Deaver put in shines through, and Rhyme isn’t a cliché of a disabled person. There’s no angelic patience, he’s not there to teach an important lesson and he’s not pitied- or at least, when he is, he finds it really annoying. In fact; “It infuriated him when people talked to him through others, through healthy people.” Rhyme as a character feels real and it’s one of the reasons this series stands out to me. If you, like me, like reading academically styled journals on current literature; here’s a really interesting entry in the Disabled Studies Quarterly about this series that I found really interesting.
I love this book, I love the crime scene methods and the way the story unfolds so carefully. And I love that I am always surprised by the ending of this book, no matter how many times I read it. I always remember the ending wrong so I’m always remembering how I’m always surprised, as I’m surprised. It’s just really clever.
Jeffery Deaver is one of my most owned authors and a lovely guy, and yet I hadn’t read one of his books since last January! I’m so glad to be back on the bandwagon.
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
It was Stephen Kings birthday in September, and I was already currently-reading a fair amount of books so I picked up my shortest King on my shelves. I could get my fix, then go back to what I was reading. Plus, I’d never actually read The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon before! It was all a new experience, made even cuter with having a foster kitten on my lap.
I enjoy survival books. Give me a girl lost in a forest, a group in the apocalypse, a man lost at sea, I’m there. But I expect spooks from Stephen King. I was a third into the book before I had even a hint of a spook. The spooks were quality, don’t get me wrong, they just came too late. Besides that, I did really enjoy it. It hit me right in that soft spot where she’s nine, there’s no GPS, nobody knows where she is and she’s all alone trying to survive.
I’m not a baseball fan, so that part just flew right over my head as well. If you have at least a little knowledge of baseball and you don’t mind a short book but a slow burn, you’ll probably enjoy this a lot!
How could anyone have such a cold and scary voice inside them? Such a traitor to the cause?
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Look at me, getting all ahead of my required reading for university! I wanted to like this book so much. Mary Shelley is so highly thought of, she wrote it at 19 and basically created a genre. And I like science fiction- but in reality, I just didn’t enjoy Frankenstein. Hopefully, this changes once I study it but for now; I was dreadfully bored. The writing didn’t really blow me away and all of the characters points of view were identical, but more than that, so little of the book was actually action. It was a lot of sitting around being melancholy, and especially in audiobook form, I fell asleep more than once.
Also, I really disagree with that ol’ saying; “Knowledge is knowing that Frankenstein is not the monster. Wisdom is knowing that Frankenstein is the monster.” For me, a monster is someone that goes around killing people. He’s literally a serial killer; having killed three or more people, taking place longer than a month with a break in-between them. I don’t know if that’s knowledge or wisdom, but it doesn’t make me sympathetic…
-for nothing contributes so much to tranquillise the mind as a steady purpose- a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
I really didn’t have a great time with classics this month! After adoring The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë, I really wanted to go on and read another book by the sisters. And instead of starting Wuthering Heights like I probably should’ve since it’s one of my required reads, I read Jane Eyre.
Jane Eyre and I don’t get on, I’m afraid. I have a lot of thoughts that I’m collecting up in a different blog post, but as far as a review? Eh. I think I’ve been spoiled by The Tenant of Wildfell Hall because I don’t find Jane as endearing, as feminist, or as good as other readers. For me, it reads more like a tale of a woman so mistreated in her youth that she ends up in an abusive relationship. I can’t understand the love story aspect. And boy, when Jane tells Mr Rochester about her dreams, that’s just boring.
I will say though, when Charlotte aims to spook, she spooks! Listening to the audiobook in the dead of night, I certainly had chills down my spine. I would’ve much prefered an all-out fearful tale, like the images of Cathy at the window in Wuthering Heights, or an all-out liberated woman like Helen in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. In the middle, Jane Eyre has my attention but not my affection.
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.”
Yuki Means Happiness by Alison Jean Lester*
I was first drawn to this book because of the unbelievably beautiful cover. And I wasn’t sure what I expected. I don’t read a lot of ‘literary’ type books so it was a new experience and one I enjoyed.
It feels very autobiographical for a story that isn’t, written from a first-person perspective looking back at memories. Honest, brutal, it completely benefits from having a relatable main character in a unrelatable experience. Although I’m not sure the vague blurb really prepared me for a story that is, at its core, about sexual assault and the effects on the main character further on in her life. If I was searching for books about that, I wouldn’t have found this. If I was avoiding books about that, I wouldn’t have known. I was doing neither but it can be quite a tough read anyway.
The writing though. This is a fairly short book at under 300 pages, with a larger than average font. It’s simplistic which makes it all the more powerful when it talks about such serious and complex topics. I sailed through it, and I’m going to have to return to this at a later date because I feel it could benefit from a second read when the character development, not the storyline, is my focus.
The nicest man in the world is still a man, and once you’re taught that men are circling sharks, you’re on the lookout for fins.
Have you read any of these? What did you think?