September Redux:

A pair of burgundy boots rest on a bookshelf of fantasy novels

September has been very similar to August, but with some bright points piercing the 2021 doom and drama: Shang-Chi stormed in to become my new joint-favourite thread in the MCU and Ted Lasso stole my heart (okay fine, Hannah Waddingham stole my heart). I also got a STACK of life admin taken care of, which has significantly reduced my background stress, hooray!

Edit: and then in a complete blast out of the blue, The Broken Binding announced their quarterfinalists for 2021 Book Blogger of the Year and There’s Always Room For One More is on the list! I am absolutely bowled over – thank you to everyone who thought of me, you have no idea how much this surprise has cheered me up. It’s a brilliant list of blogs and booktubes, and it’s a real boost to discover you all love what I do here. THANK YOU! Voting for the next round kicks off today so, err, keep voting? πŸ™‚

Reading Round-up

I’ve been reading slowly this month, but I’ve been reading well. Unlike last month’s dive into despair, this month’s theme seems to have – inadvertently – been narratives about clinging to hope in the darkest circumstances and finding those who will help you face whatever you need to do to see things through. Some have had epic stakes and great action; others have been quieter narratives of personal choices and coping mechanisms – it’s been a glorious combination. More like this next month, I think.

Book of the month is The Annual Migration of Clouds – you will never stop hearing me recommend Premee Mohamed after her second blindingly good novella this year (and I’ve got one more to read! I am excite!) – while The Bone Ship’s Wake and Season Five of Bookburners both stick their respective landings with excellent finales. There was unexpected comfort at being back in the world of The Expanse, combined with a great deal of entertainment navigating the divergences between book and show. The Cabinet is the outlier – an anecdotal novel exploring themes of identity, change and acceptance that worked best for me approached as bite-size chapters in a quiet moment with a cup of tea, but which lost me a bit in a lurch towards plot in the final act.

  • The Bone Ship’s Wake – RJ Barker β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • The Cabinet – Un-su Kim β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Bite-size Books: The Annual Migration of Clouds – Premee Mohamed β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
  • Audio reads:
    • Leviathan Wakes – James S A Corey β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…
    • Bookburners: Season Five – Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, Mur Lafferty, Andrea Phillips and Brian Francis Slattery β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Additional Reviews

It’s been a slow month on the review front, but I finally managed to marshal my thoughts on The Dragon Republic, so I’m feeling way better about my backlog. Now I just need to find the words to explain how much I loved The Unbroken and She Who Became The Sun in between keeping up with more recent reads.

Stacking the shelves

It’s been a good haul this month: tired space veterans who just want to bake, but get kidnapped by a sentient space ship (You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo); a young woman with more axes than friends (Among Thieves by MJ Kuhn); some irresistible Kindle deals (Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven, Wyndham’s Trouble with Lichen and Sistersong by Lucy Holland); the new Dan Mackmain adventure (The Green Man’s Challenge by Juliet McKenna) and a PostSecret style artbook of London lockdown confessions (Lockdown Secrets, compiled by Eleanor Tattersfield). I rounded the month out by celebrating achieving 80% on NetGalley by requesting How High We Go In The Dark, which has been calling to me for weeks.

Reading statistics

My goal – always – is to read diversely and to love every book. I decided not to set any particular targets for my reading this year – no Goodreads Challenge or even Game of Books – although I continue to monitor my reading mix.

Books completed: 55 | DNFs: 3

  • 7 off the shelf (i.e. not bought in 2021)
  • 25 ARCs
  • 17 bite-size (excl. short stories)
  • 9 audio reads

Authors: 16 male (28%) / 26 female (45%) / 8 trans, enby or genderqueer (14%) + 8 collaborations (14%)

  • Authors of colour: 22 (38%)
  • LGBTQIA authors: 21 (36%)
  • Non-US / UK based authors: 6 (10%)

BookSpin: 2 read | 3 WIP | 1 DNF

What’s coming up?

October will be mostly about personal time – spending some quality time with my Mum for the first time in literally years (because before the pandemic I was doing so much work travel that it’s been even longer than you might think) then going away with my beloved to explore Ireland. I’m sure both of these trips will allow time for reading, but I’m treating my blogging schedule as purely aspirational. In theory I’ve got ideas for a post every other day through October; in practice, I will write what I write and it will be enough. Which isn’t wildly different to my attitude over the summer, I’m just giving myself permission in advance.

That said, October means Spooktastic Reads – at the very least, I want to share my thoughts on Zen Cho’s contemporary fantasy Black Water Sister and have some fun with the Hallowe’en Creatures Tag. After that? Well, I’ve another 3 potential Spooktastic Reads on the shelf and if I can come up with a suitably spooky Top Ten Tuesday post I will (although maybe I’ll try not to scare myself witless writing it this year. Maybe).

…and then it will be SciFiMonth (November), which means you can expect at least one post as I’m yet to announce this year’s challenge prompts!

So, as usual, when I say I have no plans, what I mean to say is that yes of course I have plans, but I’m giving myself plenty of wriggle room.

How was your September?