September 2020 Wrap-Up & Best of the Bunch

October 2, 2020 Best of the Bunch, Monthly Recap 24

My Goings-On in September:

  • Being miserable over politics. I think this may have been my #1 activity in September, honestly. I’ve had a hard time focusing on much when I know that our country is plummeting … fast, and it doesn’t feel like there’s any real end in sight. I mean, I’d like to think reason will prevail in November, but reason seems to have flown out the window lately. I find myself in tears over the news on the regular over the fact that the leader of our country has said something (new) that’s so incredibly racist or hateful—and that half our country is still behind him. If you’re a fan of Trump, I’m sorry but I honestly can’t comprehend it. I used to be one of those people who said I could generally “see both sides”—I considered myself an independent (I’ve voted for both parties in my lifetime), and I generally could see where people were coming from, even when I disagreed with them on something. But lately… with a president who tells US senators of color to go back to the “crime-infested places they came from” or tells his white Minnesota crowd that they have “good genes” and just like racehorses, “a lot of it is about the genes.” (This is literally a white supremacist talking point—if you deny that it’s racist, you’re being willfully ignorant.) And these are just the tip of the iceberg—so much hate comes out of this man’s mouth. As a Christian, I especially struggle with the fact that so many Christians embrace him, despite the fact that he is the antithesis of almost everything Christ stood for.
    So, yeah… I just spent a lot of time talking politics, and I’m sorry, but I can’t just sit around being inwardly horrified anymore.
  • We painted one bedroom, put up new doors and trim upstairs and painted it all (including the stairs and banisters–ugh!) And, no, we’re not done with everything yet. I don’t think “done” is a word that applies to our home improvement projects.
  • My mom’s birthday! The 29th was my mom’s birthday, so we celebrated with homemade angel food cake (yum!) and tacos. 🙂
  • Dog training. I’ve been going to a great place nearby with Bella (my six-year-old fluffer), and I’ll be starting up a class with Digit there soon. In the meantime, we did a puppy class with Digit at Petsmart, which wasn’t the very best, but it got him out of the house and into the “real world.” He’s definitely a COVID puppy—very anxious about just about everything outside of our house!
  • Digit! I’ve been sharing pics and updates about our littlest family fluff in my Sunday Posts every week so you can see him grow up: 5/31, 6/7, 6/14, 6/21, 6/28,7/5, 7/12, 7/19, 7/26, 8/2, 8/9, 8/16, 8/23, 8/30, 9/6, 9/13, 9/20, 9/27. But here’s my monthly “before and after” pic, so you can see the first day he came home versus this week (looks like those ears are staying up now, but who knows?):

  • What I’ve watched:
    • My two younger kids and I are still watching The 100, even though we’re kind of miserable about the way the writers have chosen to finish the show off. Only one episode to go!

Features & Discussions:

September 2020 Discussion Challenge Link-Up & Giveaway
My Successful Sneak Attack Using Fiction. Let’s Discuss
September 2020 Wrap-Up Round-Up Link-Up & Giveaway

My 2020 Reading Progress:

I read 9 books in September, which is better than I’ve been doing lately. I’ve now read a total of 81 so far this year, which puts me 7 books ahead of my Goodreads goal.

September 2020 Reviews

  • My Life in the Fish Tank by Barbara Dee | Review (plus check out the giveaway, which is still going on!)
  • Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust | Review
  • Flamer by Mike Curato | Review
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore | Review
  • The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz | Review
  • Cog by Greg Van Eekhout | Review
  • A Sprinkle of Spirits by Anna Meriano | Review
  • Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez | Review
  • We’re Not from Here by Geoff Rodkey | Review
  • Homerooms and Hall Passes by Tom O’Donnell | Review

September Best of the Bunch:

(Best of the Bunch is hosted over at Cocoon of Books. We link up our favorite reads of the month!)

My MG choice was really tough this month because I LOVED My Life in the Fish Tank (and I actually read that one recently), but Homerooms and Hall Passes still looms large in my mind many months after reading it because it was so utterly hilarious. (I base my BotB on when I review the book, not on when I read it). I went with the latter, but I loved both!

For YA, I had to go with Graceling because the listening experience was so fantastic with the full-cast audio. Plus, I read this one with my daughter, which made me love it even more.


2020 Goals Progress:

Progress: 14/21-30 Discussions (Chatty Kathy)

I posted one discussion this month, but I’m still on track for my goal.

My Successful Sneak Attack Using Fiction
Mid-Year Book Freak-Out Tag
Tales of a Social-Media (and Tech) Failure: What’s the Deal with the WordPress Block Editor?
What Draws Me to a Book Cover?
Black Lives Matter
My Teenagers Are Reading Again and My Heart Has Never Been So Happy!!
I’ve Been Impersonated on Instagram!!
Google Searches Are Weird (AKA: You Found Me HOW?)
All Those Deleted Drafts
Book-Related Anxiety. It’s a Thing (and I Have It).
The Wonders of a Writing Accountability Partner
The Cybils Awards Finalists! Which Books Do You Hope Will Win?
My 2020 Goals & Challenges
2019 End of Year Book Survey (& Year in Graphs!)

HOST/SIGN-UP LINK – Feed Your Fiction Addiction & It Starts at Midnight


My Bookish Goals for 2020:

My Writing Goals

  • Finish first draft of my Selfish Giant retelling. Very slow going. I have to get this done!
  • Attend one writing conference and at least one online class. Done
  • Read writing craft books and resources. With my reading slump, this just hasn’t been happening.
  • Edit A Memory of Magic. I’m guessing this won’t happen until next year. Sigh.

My Reading/Reviewing Goals

  • Review (requested) review books within two weeks of publication. I’m still working on getting some of these that I missed during my summer slump, but I’m getting there. (I have a few reviews that will go up very soon!)
  • Review two backlist review books per month. No. Like I said, I’m working on catching up with books from the last couple of months, so that has taken priority over the backlist ones.
    • Here’s the spreadsheet I created specifically for my backlist ARCs and review copies. (This was adapted from one of the tabs on Val @ Reader Voracious’s 2020 spreadsheet). Hopefully seeing this list here monthly will help keep me on track!


Wrap-Up Round-Up!

Don’t forget to link your August wrap-up posts up to the Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up. And enter the giveaway!

24 Responses to “September 2020 Wrap-Up & Best of the Bunch”

  1. Emily

    Nicole, I’m sorry things in the states have been really hard for you in terms of politics lately. I can only hope that the states makes the right decision in November and votes him out. Just stay strong, and never give up hope.

  2. Karen Alderman

    I hear you on the politics. I’m the same as you – more independent but I’m shocked by any polls that have him anything but tanking. You can really see now how so many awful things happened in history. Otherwise good people just look the other way or fall into line.

    Anyway…I have a COVID puppy too lol It’s been tough socializing my two (who had very little socializing even before I got them). I’m fairly experienced with training so I’m going to take them to Petco after Ripley is spayed next week. I’ve gotten them really far but reached my limit as far as people/dog exposure because you just can’t go up to anyone.

    I started a Google doc for my reading for the first time. I’m not big on stats but I wanted to get an idea of where my books were coming form now that I rarely take review books anymore.

    Karen @ For What It’s Worth

  3. Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits

    I understand where you’re coming from on politics 100%. I also used to be able to say “I see both sides” and have voted for candidates from both major political parties. But this? This hate and racism and blatant disregard for life of people that don’t support him? I don’t understand that at all. I am hopeful that the nation will see reason in November, but these past four years have eroded a lot of my hope on that matter. I still have some, but a lot less than I did before. *hugs* (virtual) and I hope we can both find something good to hold on to that helps us get through this.

    Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits recently posted: Friday Reads: So You Want to Talk About Race
  4. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    I feel you on the politics stuff. My parents love Trump and watch Fox News literally all day. I don’t get it. I feel like Trump is the complete opposite of what they raised me to be.

    I’m watching The 100 too! I got Netflix for the first time ever, so I finally get to catch up on all the stuff that people have been talking about for years. I’m still on season 1. I guess I’ve got some disappointment to look forward to. 🙂

    • Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

      I think I would go more than a little insane if someone so close to me was an avid Trump fan. I do see though that if you watch Fox News all the time (and only Fox), you would get a pretty skewed view of the world. I pretty much only read my news, and I try to read some things by Fox as well as other news outlets just so I can TRY to understand where the other side is coming from—lately it hasn’t been working.

  5. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    Amen to all of the political stuff, Nicole! My mom is active in a Christian church, and she is having the same exact feelings as you. There are fights constantly because one of the elders (idk what that is but let’s pretend you do) refuses to wear a mask (and he is a DOCTOR ffs) and my mom is so upset. THEN a bunch of them got mad when the church donated to BLM and my mom is just completely horrified. Like you said perfectly, he is the antithesis to everything Christianity (and pretty much every other religion!) stands for.

    I am so looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the finale! People have either been loving it or hating it, and I am trying to write my post but it’s HARD. I liked it for the most part, except for the one GLARING awful missing piece, but I will explain how my headcanon has made it better 😂

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: October 2020 Of Books Giveaway Hop
  6. Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)

    I adore Digit’s coloring! And he’s getting so big! It has been a rough month with politics for sure. And we’ve got at least another month till the election where things will only get worse. And who knows what that will bring. My writing goals are nowhere near where I want them to be, and without actual meetups in person for NaNoWriMo next month, I don’t know that it’ll be that great for me either. We’ll keep pushing through it though, and keep working on it. Hope October will be a better month for you.

  7. trin carl

    Dog training sounds fun. Petco is offering dog training with social distancing. In our building they don’t allow pets but I learned that a lot of residents are ‘fostering ‘ some pets during covid. Its understandable-pets will help you get through tough times.

  8. Lindsi

    I am very stressed about what’s happening in the US politically, and honestly don’t think we’d survive another 4 years with Trump as president. You enjoyed Girl, Serpent, Thorn more than I did! I thought the pace was slow and there was very little character development. However, Homerooms and Hall Passes is very high on my TBR list, so I’m happy to see you enjoyed it!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

  9. ShootingStarsMag

    Aw, look at how big Digit is getting!! So adorable.

    And yeah, politics are insane these days. It’s crazy to me how everyone keeps trying to say “everyone has a right to their opinion, etc.” but it’s so beyond that. It’s not about his politics. He’s not a good person, and I don’t know why people are religious idolize him. It makes no sense to me. A lot of my family still think he’s amazing, and I’m sure a lot of people in my area will vote for him again. I just can’t. It’s so disheartening.

    -Lauren

  10. Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

    God… I just… I can’t with how people are still behind him considering the racist shit he’s spewed over the years, and especially lately (or praising him for how he speaks because he’s an older adult???). As much as I want to hope November will be a good thing, at the same time I’m kind of just sitting here waiting??? (I don’t know, I live in a very red state.) Happy birthday to your mom; I’m glad you enjoyed celebrating with her. Digit is getting bigger and cuter!

  11. Literary Feline

    It’s hard not to feel discouraged, isn’t it? I struggle with that too. And honestly, I am not sure things will be all that much better if the election outcome goes the way I want it too. More hopeful perhaps, but the problems we have now will still exist to some extent. We have a lot of healing to do–and that depends on whether we can come together somehow to fix what’s not working and repair the damage that’s been done. I’ve lost such faith in people in general . . .

    Happy Birthday to your mom! I love angel food cake. I can’t remember the last time I had it. Digit is adorable! Look how much he’s grown already!

    Yay for a good reading month! I feel like I did good in that regard this past month too.

    I hope you have a great week, Nicole. Take care of yourself.

  12. Nicci @ Sunny Buzzy Books

    I love Graceling! It’s been a while since I read it but Katsa and Po have stayed with me. 🙂 I read your review and am now super excited for another book in that world (even though I’ve still to read Bitterblue!)

    The news is terrifying and utterly soul-destroying at the moment… In the UK, Coronavirus and the impending end of the transition period from the EU loom large right next to detailed press coverage of the US election. Honestly, the British press cover no other country’s elections the way they do the US… Guess it makes some level of sense but it means that we’re constantly exposed to Trump and I can’t stand it. My heart breaks for those who have to call him President. Fingers crossed for November!

  13. Malka @ Paper Procrastinators

    It’s so interesting! I used to say I could see both sides as well, but lately that’s just not true. The one thing that gave me some happiness in terms of politics this month was the fact that I got my absentee ballot and was able to vote and hopefully have a miniscule impact that will result in better leadership for this country. There’s so much that’s making me sad and mad and angry right now, and I just really, really want a better future that the mess we have right now.

    And I’m super impressed with how many reviews you managed to write in one month! I really hope that both your reading and reviewing slumps continue to fade until they’re a distant memory!

    I hope you have a wonderful October!

  14. Cee Arr

    Doggy! XD

    I really wish I could help you with the whole Trump-thing, but all I can do is encourage your fellow country-people to vote and point out when the Trumpkin is being Trumpkinous. (And if you wanna rant about politics – you rant about politics! Literature and art have *never* been divorced from politics!)

    Cee Arr recently posted: Friday Fics Fix - Lost and Found

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