September: Books Plus

Late summer has been hours in the hammock, spontaneous picnic dinners on the town green when the nights are cool and sunny, apple picking, a visit to a pumpkin patch, and lots of talk of Halloween to come with a toddler as keen on celebrations as I am. It’s been feeling sick to my stomach about so many things and trying to just keep doing what it is I can do.
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My Reads

➕ Sarah Dillard’s Mouse Scouts
A cute early reader featuring mice as, well, Scouts and their gardening project.

➕  Jesmyn Ward’s Navigate Your Stars

Yes to all of this thoughtful commencement speech and bold, beautiful illustrations. A quick and powerful read.

➕ Poppy Green’s The Adventures of Sophie Mouse series

We stan Sophie Mouse. We are talking about these books all the time around here and I can’t recommend them enough if you have younger kids (or just want to read them yourself because you’re welcome to read early readers just like you’re welcome to read middle grade!).
➕ Kiran Milwood Hargrave’s The Way Past Winter
Thank you so much to Chronicle for this new middle grade I absolutely loved. If you like stories with a fairytale feel, winter setting, and brave girls, this one is absolutely for you. I was so happy getting fully enveloped into this gem and hope it gets the buzz it deserves! So good.
➕ Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date
I mean, I was much more excited about the food mentions than the rest of it, but it was a solid, enjoyable enough romance.

➕  Kate Stayman London’s One to Watch

When I heard Annie describe this as the best season of The Bachelorette, I knew I’d be reading it.  I particularly liked the way the author successfully mixed together texts, transcripts, Slack chats, etc. and the authentic, thoughtful social commentary on weight, race, sexuality, and gender. Also, we need fun books and this is one.

➕  Elizabeth Acevedo’s With the Fire on High

Yet another example of how much better YA is these days.

➕ Sonali Dev’s Recipe for Persuasion

A Persuasion re-telling with the wonderful backdrop of a food competition show.  Dev does a good job of keeping that weight that Persuasion almost uniquely has for Austen and I really appreciated the exploration of cultural expectations as a new twist.

➕ Omid Scobie’s and Carolyn Durand’s Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Family

Kayla made me do it. This couldn’t be more Team Sussex, but, as a casual Royals watcher, I learned a lot, plus wow would I not mind some rich people perks. Curious to see how this one unfolds in the courts!
➕ Adrienne Young’s Sky in the Deep
Think the Wildings of Game of  Thrones in a YA book. Not as good as the one below, but an excellent escapist read.
➕  Adrienne Young’s Fable
Again, Kayla made me do it. Thank you to Wednesday Books for my copy.  Review here.  I loved every moment of escape into this one and this will absolutely be one of my favorite reads of the year. Believe the hype and pick it up for yourself!
➕ Padma Lakshmi’s Love, Loss, and What We Ate
Told you I was on a Padma kick. This was the logical next step and, wow, there’s a lot that has gone on in her life.  The editing needs tightening, but in general this is one of the best celebrity memoirs I’ve read and I’ve been surprised to find I read a lot and yet very rarely like them.  This is probably something I should examine.

➕  Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of our Discontents

There is so much I didn’t learn and didn’t seek to learn. If you’re wanting to learn more and do more, this is brilliant. A must-read.


Inspiring in many simple ways.
➕ Armchair Expert Leslie Odom Jr.
This chat ranges from tokenism and pay parity to Hamilton and a scab confession.


➕ Victory Boyd’s “Feeling Good
➕ Manu Chao’s “Me Gustas Tu

TV and Movies

➕ The Boys
I think after every episode I commented to my husband how surprised I was how much I liked this.  It’s the best show I’ve seen in a while.  Consider yourself warned: It has gore and grossness much in the same vein as Game of Thrones. That being said, it’s super compelling.  You’re hooked on uncovering all the corruption, the acting is excellent, and the exploration of what superheroes would be like with so much power…fascinating.
➕ Upload
Other than knowing this series was from Greg Daniels of The Office fame, we really didn’t know what to expect going into this one.  We ended up really enjoying it.  The chemistry between the leads is great, I’m always interested in the afterlife and futures with unique concepts, and there’s a mystery that will keep you watching.
➕ Selling Sunset
I kept hearing about this one and caved. It’s basically Real Housewives and real estate combined and mainly I enjoy wondering, “Why do clothes like this exist?” and “Wait, Bentley makes couches? Why?”.  It’s ridiculous. It’s super fake.  Sometimes I want that and sometimes I don’t.
➕ Love Guaranteed
I was in this for Rachel Leigh Cook and Damon Wade Jr. and they themselves delivered. It’s not rom-com gold, but it did the trick well enough for me, even though I’ve seen it panned elsewhere.

What’s Not Working For Me

(This section is officially for nonsense only.)
➕ The Great British Bake Off being released on a weekly basis.
I know it’s standard practice, but have you heard that WE ARE IN A PANDEMIC AND WE NEED THIS?
➕ Not having access to The Great British Bake Off Celebrity Edition.
I’m not saying we Americans should revolt over this, but I’m not not saying it, either.

Working For Me

➕ Examining the bigger costs.
I will stand in the grocery aisle for five minutes trying to convert measurements to figure out the price per ounce and get the better deal.  I almost never eat out and consider something like getting a coffee very luxurious.  That being said, I forget to look at the big costs and I’m grateful to my husband for figuring out some things we could be doing differently.  Oh yes, and the metaphorical exploration of this…that will be ongoing.

➕ Fresh looks around the house.

Decorator influencers have informed me that what I do is called shopping your house.  I view it more as puttering and can spend a long time moving things around and then walking back to eye them and then moving them around again.  Anyways, September tends to bring that itch for change and I’ve been having fun re-decorating different spaces in our home with the things we already have.  The fresh look feels nice!
➕ Lots of fun with this toy.
“Hi, how can I get you to my ice cream shop?” – Maeve
➕ Channeling this dog.
It’s fall! It’s fall! It’s beautiful!
➕ How can you not smile watching this?
I mean, I do worry about the moving car. But, so much contagious joy here.
➕ Toddler conversations.
I’m laughing so hard so often.

Please do join in however feels fitting to you!

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