September 2019 Books to Read (and Skip)

September 12, 2019 Mini Book Reviews 11

September 2019 Books to Read

 

I haven’t read a ton of September releases yet (I’m on the library hold list for a couple), but I have two standouts for you! 

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Favorite Book of September 2019

Dutch House by Ann PatchettThe Dutch Houseby Ann Patchett
Fiction – Literary (Release Date: September 24, 2019)
352 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Publisher (Harper)

Plot Summary: Danny and Maeve Conroy grew up wealthy in a castle-like house called the Dutch House, but their circumstances change when their father remarries a younger woman.

My Thoughts: Ann Patchett is one of my all-time favorite authors and she writes family dysfunction better than almost anyone (except maybe Pat Conroy?). And, she’s done it again in The Dutch House with a multi-generational story featuring a single father, neglected children, an evil stepmother, and a house that’s its own character. Maeve and Danny grew up mostly in the care of the housekeepers and they play an integral role in their lives moving forward. Patchett explores the ripple effects of a dysfunctional childhood, sibling dynamics, marriage, and letting go of the past. And, as she did in Commonwealth (still my all-time favorite Patchett novel), she’s concocted quite possibly the greatest step-parent revenge scheme of all time. Her signature writing shines through…showing she’s an astute observer of life. The cherry on top for me is calling the family the Conroys, which I hope is a nod to Pat. P.S. – I think the publisher’s blurb gives away too many plot details and I’ve been deliberately vague here…go into this one blind, especially if you already love Ann Patchett and/or dysfunctional family novels.

After years of living in response to the past, we had somehow become miraculously unstuck, moving forward in time just like everyone else.

Also Read This One

Secrets We Kept by Lara PrescottThe Secrets We Keptby Lara Prescott
Historical Fiction (Release Date: September 3, 2019)
368 Pages
Affiliate Link: Buy from Amazon
Source: Publisher (Knopf)

Plot Summary: In the 1950’s, two undercover members of the CIA typing pool are enlisted to help smuggle the novel Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR (where it had been banned) so it can be used as an anti-Communist propaganda tool.

My Thoughts: I’m not the biggest historical fiction reader, but I do love historical fiction about the Cold War. Doctor Zhivago was actually smuggled out of the USSR by the CIA, which came to light when CIA documents were declassified in 2014. Much of these documents were redacted and Prescott filled in those blanks for her novel. The novel alternates between the story of Sally and Irina (the two undercover CIA typists) and the story of Boris Pasternak and his mistress and muse, Olga, in the USSR. I don’t often call historical fiction page-turning, but this one is. The writing is highly readable and it’s the kind of book you could finish in a weekend. The publisher is calling it “Mad Men meets Hidden Figures” and I think that’s fairly accurate…and, I’d add Charlie Wilson’s War to that list. And, I loved that it has a bit of an undercover feminist spin. Bottom line, this is one helluva story!

Teddy wanted the Soviets to understand that their own government was hindering their ability to produce the next Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky – that art could thrive only in a free nation, that the West had become the king of letters. This message was akin to sticking a knife between the Red Monster’s ribs and twisting the blade.

The DNF

Dominicana by Angie CruzDominicana by Angie Cruz (September 3, 2019)
DNF at 21%

I really wanted to like this one, but I needed to feel closer to the characters and it kept not happening. I also didn’t love the writing style, which felt a bit abrupt.

 

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this month?

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September 2019 Books to Read

 

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11 Responses to “September 2019 Books to Read (and Skip)”

  1. Susie | Novel Visits

    Like you, The Dutch House has easily been my favorite September book. I think it might tie with Bel Canto as my favorite Patchett book, though really Commonwealth and State of Wonder are right up there, too. She’s just so good!

  2. Carmen

    I would like to read the first two but I’m tied up with Netgalley ARCs I want to finish this year to improve my reviewed percentage rating. Maybe next year… The only Patchett I’ve read is Bel Canto and I was less taken than most people seem to be. I requested The Dutch House but didn’t get a reply. Ouch! 🙂

  3. Catherine

    I’m almost finished with The Secrets We Kept and enjoying it. I’m looking forward to Dutch House!

    This will be a shocker but my favorite book of the month so far is non-fiction! I gave 5 stars to Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. It was so good.

  4. Andrea Moulton

    I’m listening to Dominicana on audio and liking it. The best book I’ve read in September is Margaret Atwood’s “the testaments”. Really enjoyed it and devoured it in days.

  5. Katrina

    I loved Commonwealth and cannot wait to begin The Dutch House. This month I picked up The Devil in the White City ( 2007 publication I think ) since I had never read it, although I have visited Chicago many times. I found it to be one of the most interesting and at the same time most chilling books I’ve ever read.

  6. Felicia

    I finished Dominicana but I was very underwhelmed and kept waiting for something to happen. The Dutch House is on my TBR

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