You know I love to read, but I’m trying not to panic as my tower of books to read grows ever higher! There are just so many good books to choose from! Here are my personal favorites from September:
Persuasion, by Jane Austen
I was itching to read the real Jane Austen after reading 33 essays about Jane Austen in last month’s A Truth Universally Acknowledged. Did you know that nobody can agree on which Jane Austen novel is best? Scholars are divided on whether it’s Pride and Prejudice, Emma, or Persuasion. I can relate. I can’t choose a favorite, either, but I would recommend this poignant tale of love–and regret–to any reader who was the slightest bit inclined to read Austen. (Right now Amazon has Jane Austen’s complete collection for Kindle including her 6 novels, The Watsons, Love and Friendship, The History of England and lots of other stuff I’ve never heard of available for 99¢.)
Seabiscuit: An American Legend, by Laura Hillenbrand
I may be a Kentucky girl, but I still wasn’t too excited about a horse story. But I loved Hillenbrand’s 2010 book Unbrokenand was eager to read more of her writing,and I am so glad I gave Seabiscuit a try. I couldn’t put it down. Seabiscuit is an interesting hero: an ungainly and knobby-kneed thoroughbred, whose running style made observers ask if he was lame. Seabiscuit became a champion because of the team behind him–his owner, his trainer, and his jockey, and the (true) story Hillenbrand spins around these characters kept me turning the pages into the wee hours. Whatever Laura Hillenbrand writes next, I’ll read with pleasure.
Wednesday Is Indigo Blue: Discovering the Brain of Synesthesia, by Richard E. Cytowic and David Eagleman, afterword by Dmitri Nabakov
Never heard of synesthesia? Me either. But in high school I had a friend who said I was “a lovely shade of blue.” In fact, he’d assigned a color to everybody he knew, and when he was in a jocular mood, he’d tell us about them. I thought it was an elaborate game, but when Eagleman made passing references to synesthesia in Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain and at his book talk it clicked: my friend wasn’t playing games. He was synesthetic. Synesthetes’ brains are wired to assign colors to sounds, or graphics to numbers, or personalities to days of the week. This is a pretty science-y book and I did a lot of skimming, but this book allows a fascinating look into a little-explored aspect of the human mind.
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall
If you need to break out of a reading rut (and don’t usually read lots of books about long-distance running), McDougall’s account of his quest to answer a simple question (“Why does my foot hurt?) could be a perfect fit. McDougall opens up the world of ultrarunning for his readers through his tales of ultramarathons, American expats and the Tarahumara Indians in the Copper Canyons of Mexico. Don’t be put off by the lengthy segue about Why Running Shoes Are Bad. This is a great book.
Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions, by Rachel Held Evans
This is a memoir, which begins with the author–who’s not yet 30–saying she may be too young to write a memoir. I disagree. Evans’ paradigm is clever: she grew up (well, mostly) in Dayton, Tennessee, home to the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial. Dayton was a place where the beliefs of the past were challenged by modernity, but they refused to adapt. They didn’t evolve. Evans casts her story of personal growth as a similar struggle. We’re about the same age and share similar backgrounds, and I resonated with her thoughtfully told story of growing up and into her faith. (I’m very much looking forward to her upcoming book about her year of Biblical Womanhood.)
What have you been reading lately?