Saturday, October 07, 2017

What I Read | September

 A look back at what I read last month. #ASGbookshelf #whatIread What I Read | September - A Simpler Grace

It was quite a month with quite a lot of good books to read. I haven't had this many four-star books in a long time, so I was pleased with what was on my bookshelf in September. Sadly, I did have to abandon one book, which I hate doing, but it leads me to a question...

What line does a book have to cross in order for you to abandon it? Is it the lack of plot depth or character development or the time it takes to read it? Is it because the subject matter is not, at all, up your alley? I have a rule that if I get halfway through a book and am not into it, I can set it aside, and even then, I usually push forward and finish it. I only have one other book on my abandoned shelf on Goodreads, so you know this one was bad for me to drop it.

Must Read

Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes★★★★★
A big, powerful saga of men in combat, written over the course of thirty-five years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran.

Intense, powerful, and compelling, Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead and James Jones’s The Thin Red Line. It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and forced to fight their way into manhood. Standing in their way are not merely the North Vietnamese but also monsoon rain and mud, leeches and tigers, disease and malnutrition. Almost as daunting, it turns out, are the obstacles they discover between each other: racial tension, competing ambitions, and duplicitous superior officers. But when the company finds itself surrounded and outnumbered by a massive enemy regiment, the Marines are thrust into the raw and all-consuming terror of combat. The experience will change them forever.

Written over the course of thirty years by a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, Matterhorn is a visceral and spellbinding novel about what it is like to be a young man at war. It is an unforgettable novel that transforms the tragedy of Vietnam into a powerful and universal story of courage, camaraderie, and sacrifice: a parable not only of the war in Vietnam but of all war, and a testament to the redemptive power of literature.

A graduate of Yale University and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Karl Marlantes served as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts, and ten air medals. This is his first novel. He lives in rural Washington State. - Goodreads description

I have never been more excited about a book about war. Even though I've never had any particular interest in the Vietnam War, this novel grabbed my attention in the first chapter and I could not stop turning pages until the very end. It was full of action and amazing character development and it was interesting. Such a great book!


Forward: A Memoir by Abby Wambach★★★★
Abby Wambach has always pushed the limits of what is possible. At age seven she was put on the boys’ soccer team. At age thirty-five she would become the highest goal scorer—male or female—in the history of soccer, capturing the nation’s heart with her team’s 2015 World Cup Championship. Called an inspiration and “badass” by President Obama, Abby has become a fierce advocate for women’s rights and equal opportunity, pushing to translate the success of her team to the real world.

As she reveals in this searching memoir, Abby’s professional success often masked her inner struggle to reconcile the various parts of herself: ferocious competitor, daughter, leader, wife. With stunning candor, Abby shares her inspiring and often brutal journey from girl in Rochester, New York, to world-class athlete. Far more than a sports memoir, Forward is gripping tale of resilience and redemption—and a reminder that heroism is, above all, about embracing life’s challenges with fearlessness and heart. - Goodreads description

I love Abby Wambach. She is one of my favorite female athletes but I wasn't as familiar with her life behind the scenes and the battle she had with prescription drugs and alcohol. It was a bit self-indulgent at times but so raw and honest and I can appreciate the vulnerability it took to open up about her personal life. She is a true inspiration for women.

Other mentions for the month of September:
The More of Less by Joshua Becker (re-read) ★★★★★
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty  | ★★★★
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott  | ★★★★
The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines ★★★★
We Are All Shipwrecks by Kelly Carlisle  | ★★★★
The Way Back to Florence by Glenn Haybittle  | ★★★★
On Writing Well by William Zinsser★★★★
What It's Like to Be a Dog by Gregory Burns  | ★★★★
The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker  ★★★
Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner ★★★
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell  | ★★★
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak  | ★★★
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum  | ★★★
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith  | ★★☆☆
Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose  | ★★☆☆
A Perfect Relationship by Anna Anastase (abandoned)★★☆☆

What did you enjoy reading last month?

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  1. Good reviews. I try to stick with books but if, as you say, I lose interest halfway through, that's enough. Reason to move on.

  2. I love Cloud Atlas. It's so strange, but I love how it all ties together at the end. Have you seen the movie?

  3. Matterhorn sounds really interesting!

  4. I guess I feel guilty for letting go of books that I can't get interested in. I don't know why I feel that way, but it's not a good enough reason to waste time with a book I'm not excited about.

  5. I have the seen the movie a few times and I always fall asleep during it. I think the story is just not one I connect with.

  6. Wow, so many books last month! Good job.