A little bit late with this entry this month, but September was a hugely productive month as far as reading went! I honestly have too many favourites to just pick three.
Finishing the second book in Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology was the perfect way to kick off a month of great literature, including some stellar fiction and non-fiction picks. I also found some new all-time favourites in September, which is always unbelievably exciting!
Station Eleven (Emily St. John)
This!! Is sci-fi of the highest order!! I still can’t really encapsulate how much I loved this book, because it’s something to be experienced. It’s about the world ending after a deadly virus and the hopes of several people to just get by in the years that follow. Various narrative threads tie together to muse over relationships lost and the interconnectedness of the world, and the stuff we take for granted every day in our modern era. The prose is so visually evocative, and there are some moments that definitely punched me in the gut with how powerful it is.
The Darkest Part of the Forest (Holly Black)
A glorious standalone fairytale with strong but flawed teenagers, beautiful lore, and realistic portrayals of sisterhood and brotherhood. It’s the kind of book that I didn’t really expect to love so much, but the cover of it drew me in and I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I finally started it. Hazel Evans is such an important character to me now, so I obviously don’t regret it. I’ve read only one other Holly Black novel, but so far all her prose is just so strikingly relatable and real above all else, and it’s stunning and refreshing.
Crooked Kingdom (Leigh Bardugo)
Part two of Bardugo’s duology, this was the perfect way to end this little spin-off to the Grisha series. I’m still of two minds of whether to actually start the original trilogy because of all the mixed reviews I’ve heard, but it’s undeniable that I love Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom. HOW ARE THESE CHARACTERS SO LAYERED AND BEAUTIFUL? Kaz’s crew is the ultimate found family and I would absolutely take a bullet for Inej and Nina. I said that last month and I would like to reiterate it: I fucking adore them.
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (Roxane Gay)
I can’t skip this, even if it’s an utterly heart-wrenching read. Roxane Gay’s non-fiction books are always wonderfully easy to read in terms of prose, but the topics she confronts are difficult, to put it lightly. Hunger may very well trigger people who have suffered from eating disorders/disordered eating, and rape survivors/victims (Gay professes to embrace the latter term and I shall honour that). But it is searingly raw and there’s beauty in the poetic structure in the book’s short chapters, spur-of-the-moment thoughts, and how it is adept to repetition. This is a mantra of self-acceptance that doesn’t feel totally complete — because what personal journey ever stops fully? Utterly essential.
The Good Immigrant (Nikesh Shukla)
This collection of essays by contributors from various racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds beautifully and painfully encapsulate what it’s like to live in the minority in the western world. Some truths I’ve been subject to myself while others are greatly enlightening. The universal truth remains that they are all thought-provoking, yet they are also only a sliver of experiences that people of colour go through. It’s the perfect book for anybody, but especially for people who are just starting to figure out intersectionality and are vitally willing to listen to conversations outside of their immediate circles; outside their comfort zone. Shukla writes and compiles some cutting material that compels us to take a look at our own prejudices, no matter the background.