Book Chat

Reading Life: August and September 2018

All of August passed by as well as September… but even if I didn’t blog about it, I still read a few books. And you know my motto by now: better late than never! Here’s what I’ve been reading during the waning days of summer.

Read in August


Read in September

I’m still tracking and taking daily photos of what I’m reading, even if they rarely make it to the blog or social media. But if you want to see time-lapse videos of what I read each month, check out my Instagram feed @ladykatiestitchery!


August and September 2018 Thoughts

Finished in August:

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, by Barack Obama

Start date: 7/23/2018
Finish date: 8/20/2018
Source: Myopic Books in Chicago
Genre: Memoir
Format: Paperback
4 stars

I’ve been meaning to read Obama’s memoirs, so finding this copy at Myopic Books during our trip to Chicago seemed like a good place to start. From start to finish, this memoir detailed his early life and career in Chicago was so thoughtful and nuanced. It makes me so proud that he was the leader of our country for a time (It’s crazy that the preface to the 2004 edition was written before he was even elected!). He did mention that his mother died unexpectedly shortly after publication, and if he’d known their time was limited he might have written an entirely different book about the woman who raised him instead of the complicated father who left him, but alas.

An Ember in the Ashes (Book #1), by Sabaa Tahir

Start date: 8/10/2018
Finish date: 8/15/2018
Source: Sommer
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Library book
4 stars

I flew through this fantasy that follows a spy working to free her brother and people from a cruel ruling class, the first in a four-book series recommended by my friend who never steers me astray. It was more violent than I typically go for, but you can’t deny that strong females abound in this ruthless world of warriors and slaves. I liked the mythical element and the characters are compelling enough to keep going.

Swan: Poems and Prose Poems, by Mary Oliver

Start date: 8/14/2018
Finish date: 8/14/2018
Source: Instagram
Genre: Poetry
Format: Library book
4 stars

I’ve seen quotes all over social media but I wanted to check out a collection from start to finish. Nature is her religion, and this was both reverent and compelling with touches of humor. It was a nice change of pace to read poetry.

Finished in September:

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, by Muriel Spark

Start date: 7/28/2018
Finish date: 9/2/2018
Source: TBR list
Genre: Fiction
Format: Audiobook
3 stars

This tale of a teacher and her influence over a group of students in Edinburgh during the 1940s is strange and fascinating and darkly comedic but hard to describe. I’d never heard of this book and can’t even remember how it made its way onto my TBR list, but I must’ve picked up the audio version during a sale somewhere, and it has tons of good reviews. But even though I enjoyed it, I could never quite understand the tone, and I’m still not quite sure what to make of it. I finished it while we were on a road trip to MS and tried to explain the plot to Sam but it’s impossible, so I won’t. I loved the Scottish narrator and highly recommend the audiobook version.

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes Book #2), by Sabaa Tahir

Start date: 8/21/2018
Finish date: 9/3/2018
Source: Sommer
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Library book
4 stars

Second books can feel like a slog and there’s quite an epic journey in this one, but I grew so attached to the characters and the plot twists just kept on coming. Also improved: several strong female characters gain more agency and less gore/violence (for my taste).

Things Jolie Needs to Do Before She Bites It, by Kerry Winfrey

Start date: 9/4/2018
Finish date: 9/9/2018
Source: Instagram @kerrywinfrey
Genre: YA
Format: Hardcover
4 stars

Jolie is facing surgery, so naturally she makes a bucket list of crazy stunts to complete before she goes under the knife, aided by her two best friends. This YA rom com has it all: high school, self image, commentary on beauty, realistic friendships, romance, and plenty of pop culture references. I’ve followed Kerry Winfrey since her blogging days and I love finding an author who gets the tone exactly right and knows how vital side characters are for an enjoyable story!

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life, by Anne Bogel

Start date: 9/10/2018
Finish date: 9/18/2018
Source: Modern Mrs. Darcy blog
Genre: Nonfiction essays
Format: Hardcover
4 stars

Now this is the book I wanted from Modern Mrs. Darcy! Honestly, I was so disappointed that her first book (Reading People) had nothing to do with everything I love her for: all things reading! This collection of essays isn’t life-changing, but there are several funny ones and they’re all relatable. A lifelong reader can always appreciate a kindred spirit, and this would make a great gift for a fellow reader.

Click here for my review of Bogel’s first book Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything

The House that Pinterest Built, by Diane Keaton

Start date: 9/19/2018
Finish date: 9/20/2018
Source: Country Living magazine

Genre: Design / Nonfiction coffee table book
Format: Library book
3 stars

The entire premise of this book is self indulgent: publishing a physical book by a rich actress designing a house based entirely on an online gallery of aspirational photos; but that’s the world we live in. At least Diane Keaton has a sense of humor about it, which makes it more palatable. The first half goes through the building process and inspiration pins, and the second half showcases the actual house in all its impractical but stylish glory. It’s a fun coffee table book but definitely one to check out from the library.

This spread at the very end is pretty funny though:

China Rich Girlfriend (Crazy Rich Asians book #2), by Kevin Kwan

Start date: 9/22/2018
Finish date: 9/30/2018
Source: Sommer

Genre: Fiction
Format: Library eBook
3 stars

I was on the library hold list for months, so I had to resort to the eBook, which isn’t my favorite way to read anymore (too many distractions on my phone!) but the sequel was worth the wait. Even though there were some recycled plot points (but with new characters), the decadence and satirical characters are such a fun spectacle. I’m curious to see how the trilogy ends, especially since there were more loose ends than the first book… but who’s to say when that will be since I have to leave it in the hands of the library hold list.

Still Reading:

A Reaper at the Gates (Ember in the Ashes book #3), by Sabaa Tahir

Start date: 9/14/2018
Source: Sommer
Genre: Fantasy

Format: Library book

I started Book 3 but got distracted by other books and then it had to be returned to the library before I could finish it (the horror!). I will check it out again for sure, but I might wait until closer to the release of book 4 so it’s fresh in my mind. Ah, the perils of library life and an ongoing series!

Books read in August: 3
Books read in September: 6
Books read in 2018: 36
Still reading: 1

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the eighth and ninth months of 2018!

I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

The Amateur Librarian is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


3 thoughts on “Reading Life: August and September 2018

  1. I got an ARC of the Boneless Mercies – which would fit your strong female protagonist wish list! I blogged about it last month. Go on the library list – I’m looking for the next one.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.