An Open Book: What I Read in September

Three cheers for an awesome book month!

I stumbled upon a couple really high-quality pieces of literary fiction in September and loved diving in to well-crafted character and story development. It feels like a good genre to be dabbling in right now. We all need to escape into another world sometimes, right?

 

September book covers

 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (4/5 stars)

Three-line review: In a single moment, Theo becomes intertwined with — and troubled by — a famous paining that forever changes the course of his life. The characters are very well written (even if many are not particularly likable), and I felt compassion for the main character as he battled his inner demons throughout the book. The story did get a bit philosophical at the end and probably could have been trimmed a bit.

The Yoga Sutras by Patañjali (translation and commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda) (4/5 stars)

Three-line review: I am not religious and have no spiritual text that guides my life, but the yoga sutras offer sound and sage advice on how to be a good person, live a full life, and stay in the present moment. I don’t believe every single sutra is an incredible nugget of wisdom that should be dissected and dwelt upon extensively as some people do, but there is a lot of thoughtful insight in such a short text. The translation is done well, providing practical and readable interpretations of the sometimes difficult-to-understand verbiage.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (4/5 stars)

Three-line review: I love a good character-driven novel, and this one definitely applies. As I read, I kept thinking about that old adage about how a butterfly moving its wings in one part of the world has the potential to change the course of nature and how many times in my life I have made a single decision that has led me down a particular path, away from other things that might have been. Readable and engaging, this book made me feel a range of emotions without leaving me drained.

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris (3/5 stars)

Three-line review: This was a particularly timely read for me since I’ve been studying meditation and yoga philosophy, and a lot of what Harris explores throughout the course of this book is relevant and related to the questions and thoughts I’ve had. Harris is witty, and I found myself laughing out loud at parts of the book as I listened to it walking around the city. Overall, a fun, relevant read for me though nothing I’d necessarily go out of my way to suggest for others.

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