It’s not often that I can honestly say I loved every book I read in a month. Usually, I’ll like some more than others. There might even be books that I downright dislike. But to have read a book a week for a whole month and love each one? Unheard of, right? Not so. Welcome to 2019’s September Reads, friend.
Yes, naturally, my favorite genre of historical fiction is represented by two of the four books. But also included in the mix are a memoir from a fantastic comedian whose backstory I could’ve never imagined and a spiritual memoir from one of my favorite IG follows/Catholic writer mamas.
What I’m saying is, October has a lot to live up to, ya know?
Back in June, I read the first book in this WWI series by Jennifer Robson. Let me clarify that. Back in June, I devoured that first book. Like, “read it in a day and a half” devoured it. And I have to say, the sequel did not disappoint.
True to the title, it takes place after WWI has ended and two of the supporting characters from the first book have returned to their normal lives. This story includes everything from women’s rights to the plight of the poor, the mental health of veterans to the insecurities we all face when we have to choose between the status quo and the life we dream of having.
While it is a slower paced book than its predecessor, After the War is Over is a lovely and engaging novel of 1920s England. If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, this series is for you. And I can’t wait for my email from the library saying the the third book in the series is ready for me to pick up!
Don’t ask me why, but South Africa fascinates me. Maybe it’s the lovely accents of the people who grew up there (I’m looking at you, Lisa-Jo Baker and Trevor Noah!). Perhaps it’s the history of the place (complicated as it may be). Regardless, I just couldn’t pass up a book that was written by such a funny, insightful (and handsome) man about such an interesting place. It never crossed my mind that this wouldn’t be an interesting read. I was wrong.
This book wasn’t just interesting. It was intriguing, fascinating, sad as all get out, and funny as hell. Places and people that I’ve never seen truly came alive in Noah’s descriptions and stories. And more than once, I thought to myself, If I had grown up facing all that Trevor Noah faced, there is no way in the world that I would have the tenacity to accomplish as much as he has. I can’t recommend it enough whether you are a fan of his or the Daily Show or not.
And, for the younger crowd, there is a version of the book that has been adapted for younger readers. I haven’t examined it closely, but I wouldn’t hesitate to let my middle schooler read it if she wanted to.
Have you ever heard of the Blue People of Kentucky? Neither had I! When I first read the description on the back of the book, I thought it must be some weird sci-fi or fantasy thing. A quick Google search, however, made me realize that nope. This was (is?) a very real, very rare medical condition that was the source of some serious racial hostility and prejudice before its cause was identified in the 1960s. And what in the world was a Book Woman and how did the WPA and Eleanor Roosevelt fit into a story about the Appalachian hills of Eastern Kentucky?
Well, friends, if that paragraph hasn’t intrigued you just a little bit, then I don’t know what to say. Maybe this book isn’t for you. But if you are intrigued even just a little, then I recommend you snag a copy somewhere and give it a go. My heart both soared and broke for the main character, Cussy Mary Carter. And I had to keep reminding myself that this book took place only 80 years ago, and not 100+ as the living conditions and circumstances of the characters might lead the reader to believe.
I just love following Kathryn Whitaker (@kwhitaker96) on Instagram. She’s a wife of 20+ years, mom to 6 (whose oldest is one year older than mine), Catholic convert, and true Texan from the top of her head to the tips of her boots. (Those are actually her boots on the cover of the book, guys!). She’s accessible, authentic, funny, and an organizational & hospitality guru. And she wrote one heckuva book about living a “hell yes” kind of life.
Goodreads says, “The stressful premature birth of her fifth child threw her orderly world into chaos and ultimately led her to rethink her priorities. In Live Big, Love Bigger, Whitaker shares her journey and challenges readers to understand that they, too, can live a life of authenticity with joy-filled purpose, love, and faith. Along the way, she’ll help readers see that choosing to say no is the only way they’ll be able to say yes to what matters most—Jesus.”
I say, “Here’s a real story of a real mom who faced some really hard stuff, loves her husband and her family and her God like crazy, and wants everyone to learn from her challenges how to live their best life through the love of the Lord.” You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. It’ll be great. Promise!
That’s all for this month, folks!
That’s all I’ve got for you this month. I will share, though, that I’ve already got a winner of a modern-day rom-com to share with you next month in addition to one of the books I’ve talked about here.
Also, while I fully support and usually use the library as my source of reading materials, the links I have included today are affiliate links through Amazon. If you buy a book I’ve linked here, I’ll make a few cents from it. So thank you!