What I Read in September.

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The Miniaturist by Jesse Burton

This is a quirky, compelling novel that wasn’t at all what I expected. Set in Amsterdam in the late 17th century, Nella moves to the city to live with her new husband, a famous merchant from a mysterious family. Things are not as they seem and she begins to receive packages from a miniaturist that appear to be prophetic; at times they're comforting and at others terrifying. Nella becomes obsessed with unravelling the mysteries of her new family and the miniaturist, and as she does so she begins to step into her own power. This is a beautifully written piece of fiction that transported me to another world.

 

Rise Sister Rise by Rebecca Campbell

I’d been anxiously anticipating Rebecca’s new book since my recent interview with her her. This book is written in a similar snippet-style format as Rebecca’s first book. In it she shares her own journey, wisdom, and practical tools for tapping into your own inner wild woman and honouring your cyclic nature. I’m really glad to have read it as there were some great insights for me, thought-provoking questions to consider, and I especially loved the heartfelt prayers that are peppered throughout. However, I do tend to like a meatier writing format and think this book is better suited to someone who is perhaps just starting out on their spiritual journey or hasn’t considered these subjects before.

 

Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

Oh wow - now this is storytelling! We begin at Eva and Jim's first encounter at Cambridge in 1958. But from there the story breaks off in three different directions, asking the question: what if? What if life had gone that way instead of this? What if we had done something other than what we did? We follow these three trajectories throughout their lives, finding out that some threads follow us no matter what but the choices we make and the people we love shape who we become in such profound ways. This story is beautiful and bittersweet and had me thinking deeply about the paths we take in life - those we choose and those we don’t.

 

The Graces by Laura Eve

I love a good bit of YA fiction and that’s exactly what this novel delivers! Set in Cornwall, it’s a story with witches, romance, and mystery. When River moves to a new town with her mom in order to escape their past, she doesn’t feel like she fits in. But she becomes obsessed with the infamous Grace family - who are magnetic and beautiful and rumoured to be witches! As their lives begin to intertwine she learns about friendship, her own power, and the dangers of magic. It’s a fun story that kept me turning page after page; I had a lot of fun reading it while we were away for the weekend recently.

 

In the Body of the World by Eve Ensler

Told in a style that marries poetry and prose, Eve Ensler writes candidly about the lifelong dissociation from her body that she experienced after being sexually abused as a child. Through her work with women in the Congo she is faced with the horrific violence that is being inflicted on their bodies. And she is soon brought back into hero own body through a cancer diagnosis and this memoir is a beautiful, heartwrenching account of that experience. But it also has a much larger message, drawing parallels to the violence being inflicted on women’s bodies to the violence that is being inflicted on the world and insisting that if we are to heal on a global level, we must reunite with our bodies. I really loved this book but I would warn that there are some very graphic stories about violence towards women and children. One in particular feels like it’s burned into my brain and while I think it’s important to be informed, I also know this might be very difficult to deal with for other people who are as sensitive as me so I wanted to offer that warning.