Reading plans

September 2022 Reading Wrap Up

Farewell then September. Another month that ended with a trail of half finished and abandoned books. I’ve never subscribed to the idea that I have to finish every book I begin but recent years have seen me even more willing to declare enough is enough.

Sometimes the book itself is the issue — I have little patience with narratives that are overly stuffed with adjectives. But more commonly, it’s simply a case of wrong book at that particular moment. Either I’ve lost interest in the themes/issues or it just doesn’t suit my mood.

This last month I appear to have been particularly picky; giving up on 12 books (which is a record.)

Books read in September

Fortunately I did manage to read five very good books in September, four novels and one non fiction.

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell: I stayed up late to finish this just before I was due to see Maggie herself at a local event. Sadly she was struck down with Covid so the event was postponed until next month. Review to follow shortly.

Educated by Tara Westover: A harrowing memoir recounting Westover’s upbringing in a strict survivalist family and the trauma she experienced when she decided to seek an education. Review to follow shortly.

Midnight At Malabar House by Vaseem Khan: a very entertaining read that introduces an unusual detective  in the form of India’s first female police inspector. This is the first in a crime series set in the newly independent country. You can read my review here.

A Trick Of The Light by Louise Penny . Always a pleasure to pick up on this murder mystery series set in Quebec province. You can read my review here.

The Vanishing Sky by L Annette Binder — there is no shortage of books about the impact of World War 2 on ordinary families but Binder’s novel is the first I’ve come across which takes a German perspective. Review to follow shortly.

Project Update

Sad to say there has been zero progress on my Classics Project, Wanderlust Bingo or World Of Literature. I did do better however with my #22in22 project. This is an attempt to clear some of my backlog of books by reading 22 books from my TBR that were bought before 2022. By the end of September I’d read two more, to take me to 18.

Bookshelves Ins and Outs

I’m claiming a slight improvement on the TBR front. It was at 280 by the end of September, nine down from the previous month.

Once again I succumbed to temptation on a visit to the National Trust property where I volunteer. It’s hard to resist when most of the books are on sale for £1 or £2. I bought:

Someone At A Distance by Dorothy Whipple

So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell

Chourmo by Jean Claude Izzo

Black Parade by Jack Jones

How was your September reading? Were there any stand out novels that you would recommend? I would love to know what you’ve been reading, and what you plan to read in October. I know some of you will be joining in with the #1929club – that looks a very rich year for fiction.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

33 thoughts on “September 2022 Reading Wrap Up

  • Hello, Nice that you can read so many books at once; in one month I mean and so I should simply say so. I find that I am reading more but they are all meaningless since I read and move on and don’t necessarily remember what I’ve read; I must review my posting to see what was read the month prior. I read: The Body in the Casket by Katherine Hall Page; a group of short mysteries with Franki Amato by Tracy Andrighetti; what is funny with this is that, in high school the business teacher was name Mrs. Amato or such spelling but I may remember her name wrong; I had her class in short hand or I was a student in her course for short hand…never put this to use.–My life is very weird but none cares. I don’t look the part and so others help take it away from me; sorry to not be understood. Thank you and take care.

    • I can read two books at the same time providing they are very different styles otherwise I get confused.
      I keep track of what I have read via Goodreads and also via a spreadsheet which I created to stop me buying the same book more than once. I kept forgetting what I had already bought

      • I can only read one book at a time; it’s confusing enough and difficult to remember characters and such…good that you can do both at once or together. The spreadsheet idea is interesting; if I were a serious book reviewer, I would consider doing such but nothing that I do is lasting; I don’t stay with things for long but for being angry all the time; that I can do forever and back or beyond if it were possible. Thank you for replying…yes, unsure if it was you that was on vacation or the chocolate lady; anyhow, my husband is on vacation this week; so he is at home with me; we’ve had the yearly intruders who check the apartment door keys to make sure we’ve not changed them and what they do is legit. I have no rights what’s so ever as a condo renter. Again, thank you if read, and I am sorry.

  • I thought I’d had an extreme month of abandonments in September, with six being tossed on the heap. So oddly it cheers me up to know I’m not alone! Maybe I’ll try to equal your twelve in October… 😉

  • Congrats on the DNFs! Life’s too short, moods are too variable and there are SO many great books out there for there to be any anguish over abandoning something that isn’t quite right for you when you attempt it. If it’s meant for you, you’ll come back to it at some point!
    appears you had quite a productive month.
    I’ve been meaning to get to Tara Westover for some time now, ever since I read the NYT’s glowing review of Educated. I don’t read many memoirs, however, so I keep putting it off.
    Maggie O’Farrell’s Marriage Portrait attracted my attention as soon as I read the Guardian’s review a few months ago. I love that period of history and O’Farrell is such a skilled writer; it’s helpful to know you enjoyed it.
    Re your recent acquisitions: William Maxwell is another writer I’ve been meaning to get around to for ages and ages. I, too, know little about him, except that his work is highly regarded — wasn’t he an editor at The New Yorker?

    • It took me a long time to get around to Educated too – I somehow got the impression it was just another misery memoir but in fact it’s far stronger than that.
      I didn’t know that about Maxwell but just looking him up now and you’re right, he was an editor. He had a long life it seems – died when he was 90 and So Long See You Tomorrow was his last published novel

  • Maybe look at the books you DNF’d and see if there is a trend… 12 really is a lot but you obviously have a type from the get-go. Nothing wrong with that though, you know what you like. 🙂
    Happy spooky season!

    • Good idea Freda. Quite a few of them were older mystery type novels and also a number of books in translation which were written in a confusing discontinuous style

  • Between you, you and FictionFan reminded me that I wanted to have a go at Wanderlust Bingo – I think you’re doing better than me though! I like the sound of Midnight at Malabar House – I think I’ll have a look to see if I can find it at the library.

    • Hope you manage to get a copy of “malabar house” – very enjoyable and easy to read.
      Wanderlust Bingo is tough going…..

  • Would love to hear more about the books you didn’t finish and why!

    • I’m trying to remember them all – there was a Graham Greene “Stamboul Train” which was confusing. “The Man Who Was Thursday” by G K Chesterton which had long speeches about anarchy (very dull) and the first of Alison Weir’s series on the six wives of Henry 8. I just think with that one, I’ve read so much about this woman that it felt it was covering too much familiar ground.

  • I was about 80% into The Marriage Portrait when I went on vacation and decided it was too big and bulky to take with me, but I’m really looking forward to finishing it when I get home!

    • I’ll be interesting to hear what you thought of it. Still trying to form my thoughts

  • Sounds like a good reading month! So Long See You Tomorrow is a beautiful book – hope you enjoy.

    • I read another book by him – can’t remember the title exactly but it had the word “Swallows”in it, and really liked his style

  • I must get hold of the new Maggie O’Farrell. She’s a great speaker, so I hope you eventually get to hear her. She talks well about the writing process and how she develops her ideas.

    • I joined an online event she did for the Hay Festival where she talked about the process of writing Hamnet – as you say, she was a fascinating speaker. The event for her new book has now been rescheduled to next month.

      • Ha! I think we must have been at the same event. She was very engaging and interesting.

  • Hello. I’m about one-fourth of the way through Rites Of Passage, a novel by William Golding. I like it but don’t love it so far. The narrator is a self-important, kind of annoying guy, so that takes away some enjoyment for me.

    • I remember enjoying the humour at the beginning where the guy gets onto the ship expecting a proper cabin but all he gets is an alcove. It becomes much darker as the novel progresses doesn’t it?

  • Ah, Educated – it’s been a year since I read it, and it’s still with me! Such a brilliant book. I’m a bit gun shy with WWII historical fiction (there is just SO MUCH of it!), but your note about The Vanishing Sky has me intrigued… worth a shot?

    • Definitely worth taking a look at The Vanishing Sky. It’s partly based on one of her ancestor’s diaries and the stories told by her grandmother (or may have been great grandmother)

  • I can say I don’t DNF as much as that, but when I’m home I often start books and don’t go on with them. At the moment I have two half-reads in my backpack while I’m staying with my daughter, so I’m going to have to read one of them.
    Audiobooks I deliberately DNF at the rate of one or two a month because I have found them too annoying, though I can’t come up with a recent example. An older one was a woman kidnapped by a man she didn’t like and falling in love with his forceful manner, and it had a woman author!

    • I give up on audiobooks too where the narrator’s voice is too annoying.

  • I think you do hold the DNF record! I find it’s gets easier and easier!

    I’m happy to hear you enjoyed your 🌲🌲🌲 read! When you mentioned Malabar, I thought you were referring to The Widows of Malabar Hill (series) but I notice it’s a different author.

    My best read of the month was a backlist title: The Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth (NF)

    • It does get easier though I do suffer pangs of guilt at the money I’ve wasted.

      • I hear you! Many that I DNF are library loans, so no guilt there! If I’m on the fence about reading a book and have read mixed reviews I try to borrow that book to protect myself from wasting money. I have returned a few books to Amazon (easy if reading digitally)….but only if I’ve read appropriately 30% or less. I don’t feel right about returning a book I’ve read more than 50%. I have had to endure the pain of DNFing a book I have bought. It hurts….especially if you’ve paid full price. And I don’t want to give them to friends or donate them so I trash them. Ugh!


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