September 2021 Book Haul: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, and YA Thrillers from Indie Bookstores
I'm not sure if book hauls on blogs is a thing or ever was a thing, but I've actually bought and was gifted books for the first time in a very very long time, and I'm excited to share, so you're getting a book haul. I thought this might be an interesting update on how my reading tastes have started to evolve since I first started college. My tastes have started shifting around in ways that feel sudden and confusing. I've been reading a lot more literary fiction lately and less YA. There are certainly tons of YA books that I'm excited for, but since the genre doesn't have much about kids in college, I've found myself starting to pull away from it a bit more. It's honestly confusing and disconcerting and deserves its own essay. But I've also had a ton of fun exploring a new category. If you'd like to explore these books and authors more, click on the author's name to visit their website.
Aside from actual book purchases I've made lately, I've been utilizing my two library cards quite a bit to access ebooks and audiobooks from the library. They've kept up quite nicely with my frantic spurts of reading lately, and if you don't know how to use your library's digital catalogue, you're really missing out! Check out what your library has to offer online! But make sure you leave yourself some time as the waitlists (especially in big cities) can be quite lengthy.
But without further ado, here are the books that are now scattered all over my apartment...
My Year of Rest and Relaxation
The narrator has everything one would appear to need. She's pretty, young, recently graduated from Columbia with a cushy job, and her Upper East Side apartment is paid for by her inheritance. Everything should be perfect. But she still feels an emptiness, an alienation from society which could stem from her contentious friendship, abusive relationship, or the death of her parents. But she can't seem to pinpoint what exactly ails her so much. So she decides to take a year off and try to solve her problems by removing herself from her current life and patterns.
Mashfegh, by every account I've read, has been held up as one of the pinnacles of modern American writers, so I'm curious to dive into this book that's billed as some kind of present day classic. I've been recommended this book so many times over the last few years, and even the bookseller who sold me the copy commented that it was an incredible book. I was also pulled in by the pops of hot pink on the cover.
The First Collection of Criticism From a Female Rock Critic
Jessica Hopper made her mark on the music criticism world as one of the first prominent female rock critics. If you don't know, I run a music blog, Music, Musings, and Me, and I have a real investment in music criticism. Lately, I've been wondering more seriously if that's the direction I want to focus my work on in the future. This collection seemed like a great way to deep dive on craft while also investing in a celebration of a woman making a major stamp on a male dominated sector of the industry. With 20 years of music criticism, there seem to be lots of major pop culture moments through the years woven in. This updated edition adds more from the present day as well.
At the start of the month, my grandma was nice enough to send over a box of books from her local indie curated by the booksellers there as a housewarming gift of sorts. Here's what was in the mystery box.
One Two Three
The Mitchell sisters are triplets, which sticks out in a small town. Mirabel is known as one of the smartest people everyone's ever known, Monday functions essentially as the town library, and Mab has her sights firmly set on getting out of town and going to college. After an environmental disaster messes with the water, no one really comes to town anymore until a new boy moves in and changes everything.
Lately, I've been really into Celeste Ng's books where she writes about young adults through a more removed lens. It seems like this book carries a similar idea as a piece of literary fiction squarely focused on three teens.
A Sitting in St. James
The story starts in 1860 in Louisiana when Madame Sylvie Guilbert sits for a portrait for the very first time. The process of creating this portrait unearths many stories from the past and present of the Guilbert family tree that accent the atrocities and secrets on one plantation. The book has won an award from the Boston Globe-Horn Book award.
I used to be super into historical fiction when I was in middle school. Those were the first books written for adults that I ever really read. One particular series took me down a deep loop into the history of the Habsburg Empire for a while. I haven't read historical fiction in years, but maybe it's time to try the genre out again.
Daunis has never quite fit in at home or on the reservation, so she's looking for a fresh start going away to college. When tragedy strikes, though, she has to put her dreams aside to care for her mother. At least the new boy Jamie makes the picture a little brighter. Though something seems slightly off about Jamie, and suddenly, Daunis is thrown into an FBI investigation when she witnesses a murder and stumbles into knowledge of a new drug. She begins working undercover with the FBI to combine her knowledge of chemistry and Ojibwe traditional medicine to try to find the source of the drug. Daunis has to stay strong to try to save her community.
This book has been getting tons of buzz in the YA world lately, and I've seen tons of my friends on Book Twitter picking this one up. I haven't read a thriller in a while, but it is starting to be spooky season, which is the one time a year I actually read even slightly scary or thrilling books. So come October, I'll be adding this book into the rotation.
More on Reading, Writing, and Me...