September Reading

Okay, so it’s already the morning of the eighth and I’m a little bit late with this monthly post. As a result, I’ve already finished two books this month. One I had already read about two thirds of (We Make a Life by What We Give by Richard Gunderman) but it still counts as a September book. I hope to write a post dedicated to this book soon. The second is Chris Edwards’ Spiritual Snake Oil: Fads and Fallacies in Pop Culture. The author lives in central Indiana and gave a brief talk and book-signing at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library last week. This book – as you might guess by the title – shines a critical light on much of the pseudoscience in today’s world. More on this one later as well.

Enough of what I’ve finished already. What do I still have to go? Well I have a couple required reads as usual. One, for my personal book club, is Rex Stout’s Mystery Some Buried Caesar. This will actually be a re-read for me as I read it when it was the chosen book for Indianapolis’s “One City, One Book” program awhile back. I even went to a discussion about it at Bookmama’s Bookstore. It’s short and I know I can blast through it in a couple days when the time draws near. Stout is also an Indiana native (although he grew up in Kansas, I believe).

The second “required read” is for The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library Book Club. The club is switching things up in September by NOT reading a Vonnegut novel this time. Instead, in honor of Banned Books Week, we are reading the frequently banned or censored classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This book happens to be one of those classics which I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never read. That is about to change. 🙂

A semi-required read would by Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone, which I’m about 75% done with at this point. Is a six-hundred pager, though, and I originally started reading it since it is the September pick for the “Critical Mass Book Club” at the Carmel Public Library (where I went last month for the Flannery O’Connor discussion). While I’m not officially affiliated with that group, I was impressed with its size and vibe when I visited.

I have another book that I’ve already started that I’d like to wrap up this month too. That’s Christopher DiCarlo’s How to Becone a Really Good Pain in the Ass. Another author and voice of the skeptical movement, he visited Indianapolis recently on his book tour. This book will doubtless be similar to the Spiritual Snake Oil book I’ve already finished, but it is a little heftier and more of a guide to logical and critical thinking rather than a debunking of specific fads & pseudoscience, etc.

A couple other wild card reads might be For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemingway and The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham, both classic which I’ve been wanting to read for some time.

Well, that’s it for me (isn’t that enough!?). What are YOU reading in September…?


  1. Dale Barthauer said,

    September 9, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I think you will really like Huck Finn! I went to Half Price Books over the weekend and they had a “Banned Book” display. Apparently it doesn’t take much for a book to get banned by somebody. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” books were in the display. I’ll have to do some research as to why these books were banned. Just curious.

    I finished the Steig Larrson books. I was disappointed in the last one. I also have “Some Buried Caesar” for this month. I didn’t know the author had lived in Indiana.

    I am finishing up “The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint” by Brady Udall. It’s a funny, coming-of-age, book about a Native American boy who got his head run over by the mailman when he was seven, but lived to tell about it.

    Next on my list is “The Friendly Persuasion” by Jessmyn West. Interestingly enough, this was the first “One Book, One City” book that IMCPL selected – ten years ago perhaps?


  2. Jay said,

    September 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Thanks for the comment, Dale. I am probably going to break the seal on Huck Finn this weekend (as I have finally finished Cutting for Stone – I think you’d like that one, by the way, AND in the author’s acknowledgements he lists John Irving as an influence).

    I think I’ve heard of the Little House books being banned at some point too, and my reaction was similar to yours – although I’ve never read them. I guess I assume they’re like the TV series (!) which was wholesomeness defined.

    Rex Stout was born in Noblesville, IN, but I don’t believe he lived there very long before the family moved away.

    I hadn’t heard of the Brady Udall book. I assume it’s fiction?

    I remember that Friendly Persuasion was picked as the first One Book, One City book and the debate on which book would be picked first. It sure doesn’t seem like ten years ago, but perhaps it was…



  3. Dale Barthauer said,

    September 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I think Cutting for Stone looks really good.

    While the Little House books and the TV series both would be considered wholesome by today’s standards, the TV series really was only loosely based on the books. I haven’t researched anything, yet, but my guess is that the books were banned for either having stereotypical references to native americans or because LIW was pretty much ahead of her time as far as women’s rights go. So I suppose there could be something along these reasons that somebody somewhere might have decided the books needed to be banned. I’ll have to find out why.

    The Udall book is fiction. While it’s been enjoyable, it wouldn’t go on my list of favorites.


  4. Dale Barthauer said,

    September 11, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I’ve found a few things on the internet that indicated the books were either banned or were suggested to be banned for negative things regarding Native Americans in the second book in the series, “Little House on the Prairie”. Sorry, didn’t mean to go off on a tangent, this just sparked my interest.


    • Jay said,

      September 12, 2011 at 5:51 am

      Interesting. I’ve never read them, as I stated above, but I guess I should at some point for cultural literacy’s sake. One of the members of my first book club was an Ingalls Wilder devotee and the first time we met at her house, it was show and tell featuring her Little House collection for the first fifteen minutes. 🙂


    • Jay said,

      September 12, 2011 at 5:52 am

      P.S. I got about 25% though Huck Finn yesterday. Am greatly enjoying it so far…


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