Mixing up my reading life

Hey, readers!

I spent this past weekend housesitting at my mom’s place and got so much reading done! I basically had an audiobook going nonstop and then devoured the September selection for Novel Pairings. Once again I was reminded that, for me, reading begets reading. I was also reminded that mixing up genres is the best way for me to fit more books into my life. I’d been reading so much heavy literary fiction (yes, it’s still my favorite) but adding in nonfiction, YA, romance, and genre fiction gives me the momentum I need to keep turning pages. So here’s to a September filled with reading variety: a mix of formats, a mix of genres, and a mix of moods to keep reading fresh!

This week in books.

This week I read…

  • The Library Book by Susan Orlean. I’ve been in the mood for nonfiction, and decided to pick this one up on audio—from the library of course. I didn’t know much about The Library Book going in, just that it’s about the 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Library and that Orleans is an extremely well-respected author of nonfiction. This book turned out to be very different than I expected in a way that made me enjoy it even more than I was anticipating. I was expecting a sort of “true crime” look into the fire, exploring who caused it, their motives, and the linger impacts on the LAPL system. That is certainly a major element of the book, but it’s much more meandering and broader in scope. Orlean basically uses the catastrophe of the fire to explore related topics like the history of book burning, the wild biographies of various LAPL head librarians, and the role of libraries beyond lending books. Amazon | Bookshop

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. We have been getting requests to cover Jane Eyre on Novel Pairings since we launched the show a year and a half ago, and it’s finally happening! My reading experience was very different this time around, but I absolutely loved revisiting this epic story and discussing it with Chelsey. Part 1 of our conversation will be released on Tuesday, September 7th and Part 2 on Tuesday, September 20th. Amazon | Bookshop

  • I also read this very fun and very steamy romance novel.

Now I’m reading…

  • The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra. This was a recommendation from a FictionMatters Patreon member, and I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s a series of interconnected short stories spanning almost a century so it’s filled with complex history and politics. But mostly what I love is the evocative writing and memorable characters. Amazon | Bookshop

  • Cinder by Melissa Meyer. I needed something fun and fast and this YA sci-fi fairytale retelling is perfect for my current reading mood. I’m listening on audio* which has been great! It’s also available for free on Kindle Unlimited. Amazon | Bookshop

*You can get two LIBRO.FM audiobooks for the price of one with my link or by using code FICTIONMATTERS.

Links I love.

Coming up on the 20th anniversary of September 11th, I found this retrospective on the way this event shaped literature extremely interesting.

Lots of great shows and films based on books are coming to streaming services this month. I’m particularly excited about the new American Rust series on Showtime.

There are a ton of heavy-hitting authors dropping books this month!

As someone who did receive a Sally Rooney ARC, reading about the “status galley of the summer” made me even more confused about how these marketing decisions are made.

I haven’t watched The Chair yet (I’m very excited to!) but I still enjoyed this close reading of the texts that are featured the show.

There are lots of great Labor Day sales happening right now. Madewell is offering 30% off a lot of end-of-summer and fall transition staples. Dudley Stephens—the influencer favorite sweater brand—also has a 25% deal running. I’ve been eyeing them for a while so I went ahead and ordered the Park Slope in camel. I’ll be sure to report back!

End notes.

Watching: Not much at the moment but I’m looking forward to the new season of What We Do in the Shadows.

Listening: Pantsuit Politics has been helping me process the news, but otherwise I’ve basically been foregoing podcasts and keeping an audiobook in my ears constantly.

Making: Progress on the nursery! I’m a procrastinator, and my sense of urgency finally kicked in to get our space ready for this baby.

Loving: Putting less pressure on myself to post on Instagram and my blog. I do miss writing blog posts, but with everything going on in my life right now, something had to give. Thanks for sticking with me here even as I’m putting out content less regularly!


Readers, I hope your reading is plentiful and filled with variety. For questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to reach out by emailing fictionmattersbooks@gmail.com or responding directly to this newsletter. I love hearing from you!

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Happy reading!

Sara