After a few weeks of drafting and re-drafting this post without any of it seeming to come together at all, I feel as though I am – finally – ready to share all of the books that I read and the films that I watched in September. It was such a good month for reading! I managed to get through four books, and three out of four of them were very highly rated ones for me. I also revisited a couple of beloved series, which reminded me why they’re favourites of mine.
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (1992)
I’m fairly sure that I’ve mentioned Outlander before as a long-haul series for me – it is going to take me several years to get through it. Each book is so long and so dense that I can’t read them back-to-back but love them when I read them individually. In 2016, I labelled Outlander as my favourite book of the year, which definitely put a lot of pressure on Dragonfly in Amber to live up to my expectations. Thankfully it did!
Despite taking me a long time to read and feeling like the novel was becoming *ever so slightly* slow in the middle section, I found that this sequel more than lived up to its predecessor. I loved being catapulted right back into the action of Claire and Jamie, and Diana Gabaldon never ceases to amaze me with the extent of her historical research: I loved that so much of this was set in France, and I have an absolute weakness for courtly intrigue in novels. Her settings were so rich and Claire’s dialogue especially sparked with so much life. I can imagine that it could become boring to people seeing so much of Claire and Jamie’s life playing out before us (entire sections of them just talking in their room at the end of the day occur so often) but because of how straightforward Gabaldon’s writing style is, this just felt as though I was living right alongside them. There’s no doubt in my mind that I am going to be picking up the next instalment, it’s more just a question of when I’ll have the time to.
My rating: 5/5 stars
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (2016)
I picked up The Serpent King after having seen it on sale for £1 (!) at YALC, and later realising that it had actually been on my Goodreads TBR for a few years! I raced through this book and had so many thoughts on it that a short reflection review definitely couldn’t do it justice. I uploaded a full review here, but just know that I absolutely loved it.
My rating: 5/5 stars
Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction by Damien Keown (1996)
As part of my continuing plan to educate myself more on religion and spirituality, I decided to pick up Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction to help solidify some of the things that I had learned from other books on the topic and to learn something new. For someone still very new to this topic, the introduction series was by far the best way to introduce myself to complex words and concepts. Unfortunately, given the nature of how academic this book was, I often found it difficult to motivate myself to pick it up, despite it being so short.
Keown takes us through several chapters dedicated each to a different concept of Buddhism, from ethical principles to the spread of Buddhism in the West. There was a clear format throughout and the text was almost always supplemented with useful diagrams to illustrate complicated concepts. While it was interesting, it wasn’t in the same sense as you would find a fiction book interesting, which is why I found myself sometimes losing focus. I think I’ve begun to realise that my favourite books on spirituality are those which offer practical advice, rather than those which give a detailed history.
My rating: 3/5 stars
(RR) Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (2012)
I’m pretty sure that even people who have never touched a Sarah J. Maas book are aware that a lot of what the book community is talking about at the moment is that Kingdom of Ash is out THIS MONTH. I’ve genuinely never anticipated a book more. Due to that, it seemed like the time had arrived when I should do a re-read. In what was excellent planning by me, I didn’t think to do this until after the summer holidays, and so now I’m back at uni and faced with having so much reading to do that I can barely get through one book of my own choice. The least I could do was attempt the first one, though, and I loved it so much second time around.
Instantly, I was transported straight back into this world, and it was so good to see the origin stories of so many beloved characters coming through again. By far the most exciting aspect was noticing so many details that pertain to things which happen in later books that you would never even think twice about in a first reading – I’m looking at Duke Perrington right now. I’d also completely forgotten that the contest in this book happens! It almost pales into insignificance in comparison to everything else that Aelin goes through, but it was so good to experience it as though it was the first time again. This is without a doubt one of my all-time favourite series, and I’m not ready for it to end in two days’ time.
My rating: 5/5 stars
(RW) The Maze Runner – I don’t think this adaptation could be much better (5/5 stars)
(RW) The Scorch Trials – Much better second time around, full of pace and twists (5/5 stars)
The Death Cure – A fitting conclusion but often quite confusing in its lack of explanations (4/5 stars)
Now that we’re well into October, I feel as though autumn is in its full glory, and we can start fully taking advantage of the cosiness and contentedness that this brings with it. I hope you are busy crafting out a reading nook for yourself and brewing a nice hot drink as the nights draw in.
Let me know, as always, if you’ve read any of the books I’ve mentioned here and what you thought of them!
Have a beautiful day,