A very brief breakdown of what I read in September.

Lost Boy by Christina Henry (ebook) – One of my favorite books of the year. Dark and disturbing Captain Hook origin story. Fuck Peter Pan, and Tinkerbell is a snitch.

Summerwater by Sarah Moss (hardcover, UK import) – An exciting read, but not as captivating as her previous novel, Ghost Wall. Foreboding incidents at a miserable vacation village.

Sweet Sorrow by David Nichol (audiobook, narrated by Rory Kinnear) – very sweet, coming-of-age story about finding one’s self through amateur dramatics.

How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi (hardcover) – For my work book club. Enlightening, but somewhat lacking in areas. A mix of Kendi’s personal history, the history of racism, and how we can act to all be antiracist. 

Nymph by Leila Marzocchi (hardcover)- Absolutely stunning illustrations, but the story was a bit of a let down. Mildly amusing japes in the woods.

Sleep Donation by Karen Russell (NetGalley ARC) – Let us stan Karen Russell, the new queen of the short story. This is an older, republished story, about an insomnia sickness, and how people can donate their sleep. The themes of paranoia and uncertainty are certainly prescient in these weird-ass times. 

The BBC National Short Story Award 2020 by various (ebook) – Usually one of my favorite books of the year, but as with most things, the 2020 edition was a bit of a let down. Cracking stories from Sarah Hall and Jan Carson. I fully expect one of the other stories to win.

The Mermaid by Christina Henry (ebook) – Let’s get obsessed with Christina Henry! This tale of a mermaid and PT Barnum was fun, and contained a nice love story. Very light; a good “I’ll just read this while I fall asleep” book.

Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter by Brea Grant and Yishan Li (NetGalley ARC) – A wonderful intro to what I hope will be an ongoing series. A descendant of Mary Shelly grapples with her new-found gifts. There’s also a stuffed bunny possessed by the spirit of Shirley Jackson. 

The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enriquez (NetGalley ARC) – Another stonking collection of unnerving tales. Oh, you’ll be terrified alright. Loved it. 

Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession (ebook) – I would recommend this book to fans of Fredrick Backman. It’s a nice mix of sentimental and silly. Two middle-aged male introverts enjoy a beautiful friendship, but try to widen their horizons. 

Pastoralia by George Saunders (ebook) – My first George Saunders! It was pretty good! There’s a lot of train-of-thought narrative, but the characters are mostly likable, and the stories very well-written. 

That’s it. Wake up, Green Day, September’s over. Now for my favorite month of the year! I’ve made grand plans to read 10 books at least this month, but I’m hoping things get derailed when NetGalley approves me to read Karin Tidbeck’s new novel, as well as E. Lily Yu’s debut, and Christina Henry’s forthcoming book. Yay for reading!

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