What I Read In September
Guys, I only just realised this today, but so much of my content lately has centered around books. If that’s what you’re here for, then great – but I do know that some of you aren’t into these kind of posts, so please forgive me – there’s much more lifestyle content on the way! (Think Korean style loaded fries, the best morning pep-up and ALL of the jewelry talk!)
Anyway, since starting my book club, I’ve been so preoccupied with reading. We already read two books a month in the A Girl & Grey Book Club, but I’ve found that creating a work-based routine out of reading has inspired me to pick up a book most evenings instead of my phone. Crazy right? I never thought a good book could overtake my love of Instagram, but somehow it has.
Monthly book wrap-ups are one of my all time favourite blog posts to read, because at the end of the day, I think we all would like to read more. There’s something to magical about books and reading, and there’s nothing I love more than adding a new book (or five) to my TBR pile. It’s just like creating a Mecca wishlist – there’s no possible way I could actually afford (let alone use) all of those Diptyque candles, but it’s nice to keep them saved somewhere in case I ever stumble across $10K, right?
I’m the same with my Goodreads ‘to-read’ list. I currently have around 600 books on there that I want to read, and it grows by at least 10 books a week. Am I ever going to read them all? Probably not.
But, the potential is there to pick the book up should I ever feel bored, read it in a day, agonise over the ending for three days straight, and so on and so forth. Reading is magical. Reading is powerful. And reading is beyond cool. (BOOKSTAGRAM IS OFFICIALLY A THING AND I’M TOTALLY HERE FOR IT!)
Now, some of you may not know this, but I actually have a degree in Creative Writing and English Literature.
Basically, I have a certificate that proves I am a certified nerd, and oh my god I love it. I do plan on writing a novel of my own one day – the plot of which is nestled safely within my mind (and my notes app) but I’m just not ready. I’m really not.
The whole process of writing a novel seems to me like the extraction of memories in Harry Potter. You know, when Dumbledore puts the tip of his wand to his temple and slowly pulls the white, wispy memory out of his head and then pats it down into the pensieve? Does that look at all fun to you? HELL no! It looks painful AF!
So, until I am ready to dedicate an extraordinary amount of time to writing (deleting/writing/crying about/sweating over) seventy-five thousand words plus, I’ll just be over here reading everyone else’s amazing work in absolute admiration, and then sharing it with you guys on my blog.
Keep on scrolling to see which books I read in September!
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking
Hygge has been called everything from ‘the art of creating intimacy’, ‘cosiness of the soul’ and ‘the absence of annoyance’ to ‘taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things’, ‘cosy togetherness’ and my personal favourite, ‘cocoa by candlelight’.
I was gifted this book last year from my Dad, and it’s taken me this long to get through it. That’s not to say it’s a horrible book, oh no, it’s just that every time I read something about lamps or cushions or candles, I immediately run out the door to go stock up.
Guys, I am so there for the concept of hygge. I feel like this book exudes every aspect of my being. I love being cosy, I love a warm cuppa on the couch, I love mood lighting and candles, and I bloody love spending time with friends chatting and eating biscuits. I also love long walks on the beach when the wind is howling, and I love a rainy day indoors.
It’s just so restorative. As an introvert, spending time with people makes me exhausted. Like, beyond exhausted. We went to Byron last weekend and I’m still recovering. I woke up on Thursday morning in a panic asking what day it was – it takes me such a long time to feel better after busy periods of time spent around loads of people that, sometimes, I’d rather live as a recluse. But I know that’s not healthy. Instead of avoiding people altogether, I’d rather spend quiet, calm time with my friends and family. I tend to fare better after that and need much less recuperation. That’s why hygge is so incredible. It’s about spending time with your loved ones in a cosy setting.
Whenever I visit my Nan, we sit on her comfy lounges while drinking tea and reading celebrity gossip mags. It’s just what we do. My Dad and I like to have long chats at the dining table over a cuppa or two. It’s nice, and basically the opposite of exhausting. Harry and I spend time together on the weekends with Netflix, pizza and wine, and ALL of the candles. So hygge!
(Let it be known that I still pronounce hygge how it looks – HI-GEE – and I’m not even ashamed).
I’d recommend this book for anyone. It’s the perfect coffee table book and I feel like I learn something new every time I pick it up! You can buy it here.
The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey
I talked about this book a little bit in this blog post from July, but I only just finished it last month.
Let me start out by saying that I really enjoyed this book. It’s basically about a detective who gets assigned to the murder case of a girl she went to high school with. I’m not really sure what I was expecting from this novel, as it did take me a number of months to read it, but in the end I finished it with such haste that I was left wanting more.
There are so many twists and turns, so many, that at times it was hard to keep up as I needed a little bit of time to digest what was happening, but it was such a well thought-out story that I can actually see myself reading it again – something I never do! The main character was flawed in such an intriguing way, and while a lot of other reviews have spoken about their detest for her – I could actually relate to certain parts of her personality and experiences as a teenager, and as such I really enjoyed reading about her.
Let’s just talk about the writing for a second. So many people have compared Sarah Bailey to the likes of Gillian Flynn and Tana French (two of my favourite authors), and they’re so right. The prose is incredible. Poetic and perfectly constructed. And this is Sarah’s first novel too. Insane!
I recommend this book if you’re into crime thrillers with a strong female lead and lots of twists and turns. I can’t wait to see what Sarah does next. Buy The Dark Lake here.
Emma In The Night by Wendy Walker
This was one of our September Book Club reads, and it was definitely my favourite out of the two.
I’m so here for a good mystery novel with twists and turns that keep the reader guessing until the very end, and this book definitely ticked those boxes! I had literally zero theories on how the story would end, which is always a great sign as I consider myself very intuitive – I just couldn’t pick this book!
There was also a topic that this book centered around that hit close to home for me, and that was the topic of narcissism. It’s something that you don’t know about until you experience it, and it’s quite frankly terrifying. I felt that Wendy did it justice in displaying just how toxic and scary it is, and how much it can alter a persons life trajectory.
I really recommend picking this book up if you’re into mystery/thriller novels with a little more edge, as I felt this one was just that bit more than most books within the genre. You can buy it here.
Kale and Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart and Table by Lily Diamond
I only recently started following Lily on Instagram, but she is so inspiring.
She exudes this calmness that is a rarity among people these days, and she is full of knowledge beyond her years. I love her approach to food and wellness, and I find her perspective to be very real and refreshing.
So when I saw that she had a book coming out, I knew I had to get my hands on it.
It’s a paperback cookbook, something I’m not used to, but I find the soft textured cover to be fitting in relation to what the book actually contains. Inside Kale and Caramel you will find recipes for anything and everything.
From watermelon salad to zucchini soup, oatmeal and oregano face masks to thyme crusted cheese toasties, and a grapefruit skin tonic to beautify you from the inside out, Lily brings nature into the kitchen and allows for divine healing from the earth, among beautiful images and delicate prose of course…
These toasts are an ode to that afternoon, the magic of finding beauty within heat and dust and asphalt and dreams. Roasting lemon simultaneously strengthens its citrus flavour and mellows its acid; when paired with mint and hazelnuts, this pesto is the perfect vehicle for the mild salt of burrata and artichoke.
I’d recommend this book if you’re like me and are so sick of cooking. Lily has this power that ignites the need to cook within me, and it’s very life-affirming. I used to enjoy pottering around in the kitchen until recently, where now everything feels exhausting and pointless. All I need to do is sit down with Lily’s book and within hours I’m back in the kitchen making both mess and magic. It’s exhilarating.
Buy Kale and Caramel here.
If Wishes Were Horses by Karly Lane
This is the second book of Karly’s that I have read so far, so I knew I was in for a treat.
If Wishes Were Horses is about Sophie Bryant; a paramedic who, after losing her husband, gets injured on the job.
As a result of this injury, Sophie is posted to the small town of Hilsons Ridge, to work through her PTSD and help the local community with their lack of paramedics.
Not long after moving there, Sophie decides to buy an old abandoned farmhouse on a whim, and from there on out, starts to experience various strange, awkward and odd situations involving a horse, an old diary, a family legacy, and a widowed vet…
There’s only one word to describe this book…
Karly has a knack for creating enticing stories set in small country towns in Australia, and I love her for that. She also knows her way around characterisation, and is incredibly talented in creating beautiful love stories that evoke a nostalgic vibe every time I read them.
While I did feel that at times this story dragged on a little, I really enjoyed the main character. I can honestly see myself buying an old farmhouse to renovate at some point in my life and I, too, find the magic in the peace and quiet.
I also really enjoyed the horse component of this story. While I’ve never ridden a horse, or been near one for that matter, I do find them to be such beautiful and majestic creatures. I even cried a little at the horses actions at the end of the novel (I’m refusing to give away spoilers!) which I think is such a powerful talent to have as a writer.
I’d recommend this novel if you like romance, or even if you like stories set in rugged areas of Australia. I also loved that Grafton played such a major role in this story, as it’s my hometown and there’s nothing quite like a story that involves aspects of your own life! You can buy If Wishes Were Horses here.
The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty
This was another of our September Book Club reads, and it was a good’un!
The Hypnotist’s Love Story is about a hypnotherapist named Ellen, who meets a man named Patrick. All is fabulous at first, until Patrick informs Ellen that he has a stalker.
Yep, you read that right. A stalker!
Of course I was going to be fascinated with this story from the get-go, and I most certainly was.
A lot of the characters in this story are sort of unlikeable, and I think Liane did that on purpose. She crafted the story as such so the reader would be able to relate most to the stalker, which is such a clever approach, and I’ve gotten feedback from some of our book club members that the stalker was their favourite character too! It’s definitely an interesting concept, but I will say that I don’t think I’d ever pick this book up again. I was satisfied by the ending, and that was enough for me. I much prefer some of Liane’s other novels, like Big Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret.
You can buy The Hypnotist’s Love Story here.
Let me know which books you read in September, because I obviously need MORE to add to my TBR! And let me know if you’ve read any of the above books! I’d love to know what you thought.
Make sure to follow me on Goodreads to keep up with my reading progress, and I’ll be back with some more bookish content soon.