September 2018 Reading List.

September 2018 Reading List | The Stripe

This was a really good month of reading. I read so many books and really loved the majority of them! From a fun political memoir (From the Corner of the Oval) to mythology (Circe), this month’s list runs the gamut but nothing ranked below a B (and I consider myself to be a fairly tough crowd!) So many great reads… ten, to be exact. I don’t know if I should be proud of how much I read this month, or concerned about my social life. Maybe a little bit of both.

Also! Just in case you are new here… if you’re looking for a book, don’t forget that you can always check out my Book Club Page. Every month I update it, so it includes I’ve read in the past few years. The best part is that you can filter + search by genre (memoir, light read, historical fiction, thriller, etc!) to find exactly what you’re looking for. And of course, you can also take a peek at August’s reading list. Lastly, just in case you can’t wait til next month, I always add whatever it is that I’m currently reading to my Amazon Shop as I go… I know it’s nice having everything in one place.

AND! Please comment and tell me what you are reading… your suggestions are my THE BEST… I shop the comments section of these post – you always have such fantastic recommendations for me, which I really appreciate!

September 2018 Reading List

* The Masterpiece, by Fiona Davis.

This book was excellent. I have read all of Fiona Davis’s books (historical fiction) and love them all so so much. This one revolves around Grand Central Terminal (and art!) in the twenties/depression and seventies as the landmark station is about to be torn down. Like most of her books, this is the story of two strong women in different generations:  Clara Darden (an illustrator + art teacher during the twenties) and Virginia Clay (a struggling recently divorced mother who works in the terminal during the seventies). This book has it all… romance, mystery, and Virginia’s courageous plight to help save the terminal. I read it on vacation and could not put it down!

  • Overall score: A-

* A Double Life, by Flynn Berry.

I picked up a copy of this one at the airport on my flight home from Dallas and wasn’t really sure what to expect as it had literally just come out. It’s a psychological thriller (there are no twists or anything, but it really keeps you on edge). Claire is a hardworking doctor in London but has a huge secret – her father is one of the world’s most wanted criminals (and the first lord to be wanted for murder). He mysteriously disappeared right after a terrible crime. The book covers Claire’s search for her father (unclear whether he is guilty or not). It also gives a very real look at class and privilege. It’s a definite page-turner for sure – I enjoyed it but wasn’t completely wowed.

  • Overall score: B-

* From the Corner of the Oval, by Beck Dorey-Stein.

This was like a younger, more salacious/racy version of Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? (another favorite for different reasons – see my review in this post!) After piecing together a life and working 5 jobs at a time, Beck gets her big break: a job as a White House stenographer (she’s hired off of Craigs List of all places).  The job takes her all over the world, introduces her to some of her best friends, and leads to some rather unfortunate decisions in her love life. I could not put it down. Beck is so relatable and someone I could see myself being friends with (at times you want to strangle her – though I’ve been there so again, very relatable!) I LOVED this book. It’s cute, charming, and a total page-turner. Two things about it made me sad: nostalgia for the Obama years (Miss him!) and missing having coworkers. The friendships she had with her coworkers made me a little jealous.

  • Overall score: A

* The Paris Wedding, by Charlotte Nash.

This book is so cute. It’s light, romantic, and really uplifting. 10 years ago, Rachael and her boyfriend broke up so that she could leave school to take care of her beloved mother who had MS. Flash forward to present day and Rachael’s ex boyfriend is now getting married… and she is invited. Not just invited, but invited with a +1 – all expenses paid. She goes to the wedding, drama ensues, she makes some unlikely friendships and in the process learns a lot about herself and what she wants next from life. I thought this book was really cute and well done and I really enjoyed it!

  • Overall score: B

* Marriage Vacation, by Pauline Turner Brooks (ghost written by Jo Piazza).

Honestly, Despite being a HUGE Younger fan (#teamCharles!!!) and glowing reviews from many of you, I had very little interest in reading this book as it seemed a little gimmicky. This is Charles’ ex-wife’s story (but if you don’t watch Younger you could still totally read this. Pauline is 40, and a burnt out Upper East Side mommy. She heads to a wedding solo and… doesn’t come back… opting to fly halfway around the world to Thailand. This is the story of a woman’s year off from being married. I thought it was very cute and well written but the story line does annoy me a bit – Pauline has such a martyr complex (This could also be because I didn’t really like her character on the show, too.) Still, it’s a cute fast read and as a die-hard Younger fan it was fun having this to read when new episodes can’t come quickly enough!

  • Overall score: B-

* Circe, by Madeline Miller.

I loved this book. Loved it. We read it as this month’s “YA” pick for Bad on Paper, but it was so much more than YA! This is the story of the goddess Circe, Helios’ daughter. Growing up, she is the least favorite daughter. No one really knows what to do with her. She ends up getting in trouble with the higher gods and finds herself banished to a solitary island. From there, she realizes what she truly is – a witch! The book is an epic saga and introduces us to many of our favorite characters from Greek mythology – Hermes, Athena, Daedalus, Odysseus… even monsters like The Minotaur and Scylla. I could not love it more.

  • Overall Score: A+

* The Last Time I Lied, by Riley Sager.

This is one of the best thrillers I’ve read in ages. I’ve been doing this thing where I usually end up guessing the twist (this starts to happen when you’ve read so many of these sort of books) and this one totally threw me! I really loved it. Emma Davis is an artist living in New York City. Years ago, she attended summer camp in Lake Placid and her 3 bunkmates all disappeared – no one ever found them or figured out what happened to them. When she is invited back (this time, to teach art), she sees it as an opportunity to get some closure (and poke around to figure out exactly what happened to her old friends). She heads up there and things slowly unravel. She becomes the token unreliable protagonist, she thinks she’s being watched, and she starts to discover secret after secret. This one had me terrified at times, and had two big twists. I loved it.

  • Overall Score: A

* Beach House for Rent, by Mary Alice Monroe.

I finished all of the books I brought home to Cape Cod so my mom gave me this one to read and it is SO cute. If you’re looking for a nice feel good book to read on the beach, this is a good one. It takes place on the Isle of Palms (outside Charleston) which of course I loved, and the story is just very heartwarming and sweet. Cara rents her beach house to Heather, (a slightly eccentric but sweet artist who owns three canaries). When Cara experiences a personal tragedy, she moves back into the house with Heather and the two of them form an unlikely friendship. It’s a story of love and loss and recovery… it’s also a testament to the importance of strong female friendships.

  • Overall Score: Overall Score: B

* The Underwriting, by Michelle Miller.

Becca suggested this one to me, pitching it as The Knockoff meets investment banking. That’s the perfect description, although I also got Startup vibes from it. Hook (a dating app like Tinder) is about to go public and the book is the story of how it all goes down told via the perspective of several key people (including: a douche-y New York banker, a douche-y SF startup guy, a girl who dies, and several others). The male characters were so deeply unlikeable (but also spot on/akin to men I’ve met in the city). It’s a fun fast read but I have a real problem with the ending (hoping for a sequel???) as it really leaves you hanging!

  • Overall Score: A- (but only because of the ending!)

* The Dinner List, by Rebecca Serle.

Okay first of all, Rebecca Serle is the author of the Famous in Love books which I reviewed in June’s Reading List! This book is so different from those books (it’s not YA, to start) and I really, really loved it. That being said, it completely broke my heart. The first half of the was a little bit slow and I wondered where it was going but then there is a pretty big twist and I was all in. It’s Sabrina’s 30th birthday dinner. She and her best friend Jessica had each had a list of 5 people (dead or alive) they’d have a dinner party with, and hers comes true… she sits down for dinner and her list is all there: Audrey Hepburn, her estranged father, her old college professor, and Tobias (her ex that she had been with for then years). It focuses primarily on her relationship with Tobias (and what went wrong with that) but also on her friendship and relationship with her father.

  • Overall Score: A-

September 2018 Reading List | The Stripe September 2018 Reading List

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  1. First of all, I find it so amazing how many books you’ve read, and so quickly too! Thank you for the in-depth reviews about each one, too. 🙂 I don’t usually like historical fiction, but I might give The Masterpiece a try!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    9.4.18 Reply
  2. Sharon:

    Just added a bunch to my Goodreads list! I finished “ghosted’ so that I could follow along withtthe podast. I am now reading The Mothers which is pretty good.

    9.4.18 Reply
  3. Thank you for all the excellent recommendations! I can’t wait to delve into all of these! I’m currently reading Before We Were Yours and really like it, though it’s quite sad. xAllie

    9.4.18 Reply
  4. Dana J:

    Great picks this month! I recently loved A Place for Us, which is the first book from SJP’s new publishing imprint – heartbreaking and beautiful family saga, the writing was incredible!

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    • Katie:

      I’m about to pick this up at the library today, so glad to hear you enjoyed! Can’t wait.

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    • I have heard really good things about that!

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  5. Definitely be proud of your reading abilities. I’m incredibly envious that you can read so many books in one month! I must read Circle! I have a bit of an obsession with Greek mythology and witches so it sounds like it was written just for me.


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  6. You killed it with all of the reading this month! I have NOT been on my reading game. I need to pick it back up in September — great recs as always, Grace!

    The Champagne Edit

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  7. Cory:

    I just finished The Towering Sky and am now grieving. Loved that trilogy so much! I think I am going to start My Oxford Year or Tear Me Apart next. All of my library holds came through at once, so now I have so many options. 🙂

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  8. Caroline:

    Mary Alice Monroe has another book called The Beach House and I just read it. It was also really good. I also just read this book called The Lake House that was really good. I will warn you that it was a bit creepy at first though! Anyways!! Thank you for sharing and I’ll add some of these to my list! 🙂

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  9. Laura:

    I love these lists! I basically only read books based on your recommendations now.

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  10. Annie:

    Love these lists, but I just COULD NOT get into Circe! I ended up stopping 3/4 of the way through. I wish I had loved it!

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  11. The Last Time I Lied sounds so good! I love a good thriller!

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  12. Margo:

    Thank you for this! I’ve been looking forward to some Fall reads and you’re one of my go to sources. It’s raining in Toronto and feeling more like Fall than Summer.

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  13. Lindsay:

    I just binge-read the Thousandth Floor trilogy. I started listening to your podcast and got to the episode where you were discussing it and I was like, I have to read this! I had no idea that the third one was coming out right as I finished the Dazzling Heights, but that was lucky because I didn’t have to wait! 🙂

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  14. Kate:

    I just finished reading Circe and also absolutely LOVED it. I’m nearly done with “The Which Way Tree” which is not my typical kind of book, but I am thoroughly enjoying. Planning to pick up “Remarkable Creatures” by Tracy Chevalier next, as I’ve had a couple friends whose recommendations I always trust tell me it’s fantastic.

    9.4.18 Reply
  15. Sarah:

    I just finished “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, if you haven’t read it already. It’s YA, but very well written and give much needed insight into racial views and injustice. Also, “Educated” by Tara Westover. True story and so very compelling.

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  16. Joy:

    I read and loved Circe as well – if you haven’t read it yet, I definitely recommend Madeline Miller’s first book, Achilles, too. It focuses on the relationship btwn Achilles and Patroclus. I’m reading it now and like it almost as much as I did Circe.

    9.4.18 Reply
  17. Judy Barker Shappley:

    If you haven’t read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, I highly recommend it. I felt like I was really reading a piece of literature. It is beautifully written with subtle humor throughout and I just fell in love with the Count.

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    • Dana J:

      Totally agree- loved this one!

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    • Thank you so much for the suggestion!!!

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    • Lacey:

      My husband has read this and the other book by Amor Towles, Rules of Civility and absolutely loved both. FWIW. Ha!

      9.6.18 Reply
  18. Tammy:

    Hey!! Thank you for your amazing reviews!
    I just recently finished the book “Since you´ve been gone” by Morgan Matson and it is REALLY GOOD.
    It is YA (which I am not yet sure if you like) so there is all the heartwarming and fun parts but there is also a misterious tone.

    xoxo Tammy

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  19. Great list!

    Amazing how many books you read! #goals!

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  20. OMG I had no idea Marriage Vacation was a real book too!!!! I’m obsessed with Younger and definitely have to read it.

    Sarah | all in the details

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  21. Melissa:

    I’m an avid reader and I teach a class about books featuring protagonists who are young adults, so Circe sounds like a must read!

    I’m currently reading Michael Arceneaux’s I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith in Beyonce. So far, it’s a thought-provoking and entertaining read.

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  22. Ashley Y:

    I just finished The Hating Game and LOVED IT. Such a feel good book. Only problem is now I feel so thirsty for an office romance haha

    I also just read The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon and thought it was fantastic. The last 50 pages left me so emotional I couldn’t put it down.

    9.6.18 Reply
    • HAHA I felt the exact same way. Whenever I read a book about cute coworkers doing things, I miss that so much – and I desperately wanted an office romance after reading that.

      Thank you for the other suggestion.

      9.7.18 Reply
  23. Lacey:

    I am so glad you liked Circe. I have Song of Achilles (same author) on my TBR shelf. I also picked up The Silence of the Girls from BOTM and it is a retelling of The Iliad. In case you want to jump right in to Greek mythology head first.

    In August I read The Book Thief (OMG! Why did I wait so long!), The Stand by Stephen King (worth the 1,100+ pages), Yellow Crocus (very good) and The Widows of Malabar Hill (listened on audible and I think the narrator just wasn’t my cup of tea).

    I’m currently reading The Radium Girls. Definitely look into this one. I have The Dinner list and The Last Time I Lied on my TBR shelf. There’s not enough hours in the day! 🙂

    These posts are my favorite. I appreciate you sharing your list each month.

    9.6.18 Reply
    • I’m dying to read Song of Achilles – my TBR pile is out of control so I am not letting myself buy books for a bit but once I do it’s top of my wish list.

      I didn’t read The Book Thief until last year and am with you – it is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.

      Thank you for all the tips + suggestions!

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  24. Cynthia:

    How do you read such volume??!

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  25. Katie M:

    Some of my favorite reads lately have been…

    An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
    The High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews
    The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
    The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
    The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks
    The French Girl by Lexie Elliott

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  26. Katie:

    Ugh, The Dinner List shattered me! I gasped out loud at the twist and the tears started flowing. I also LOVED Circe — what would I do without BOTM?

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  27. OMG I am dying for a sequel to The Underwriting. I had read it 3 summers ago when it first came out and thought the sequel was already underway. Fingers crossed it happens soon!

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  28. christina:

    I would recommend Tangerine, especially since you were just in Morocco! Thanks for all the great book ideas, as always.

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  29. Lindsey:

    Are you using the Goodreads app?

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  30. Your book recommendations are always my favourite, so I have immediately put a few of these in my Amazon cart. I just started this one on Princess Margaret (which I confess I partly picked up for the cover when I was in Daunt books the other day, but also because I love a bit of royal history) and re-reading Gretchen Rubin’s ‘Better Than Before’ (because autumn always feels like the perfect time to think about setting some new good habits before the year is out). And can’t wait to get stuck into Circe which I ordered after hearing you talk about it on the Podcast.

    Briony xox

    9.11.18 Reply
    • Ooooh thank you for the suggestions, friend! I LOVE anything royals so will likely love the one about Princess Margaret!

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  31. Fie Heath:

    The Dinner List isn’t available in the UK, yet!
    I’ve downloaded a few of the others.
    Love your book lists, yay for being book geeks!

    9.26.18 Reply
  32. Lisa Graham:

    Always love a TBR from a fellow reader! My suggestions would be Lily & the Octopus by Stephen Rowely- very interesting & unexpected read! Also Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin is next for me, also Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst.

    9.28.18 Reply
  33. Jaime:

    This is more of an interior design question but how do you store all your books? Do you always keep them after you buy them or give them away? I have so many books and the obvious answer is a bookshelf but i was wondering if you had any creative tips on unique storage or display?

    9.30.18 Reply
    • i have lots of bookshelves. If you search “home tour” you will see, haha. I also give quite a few away!

      10.1.18 Reply