This week I have lots of book news, beginning with a heads-up from Library Thing that I've won a copy of 50 Ways to Wear Denim by Lauren Friedman from the September batch of Early Reviewer Program books. It might seem like an odd choice, but I've been trying to put my name in for a wider assortment of available titles. This increases my chances of being selected, and I can also test-drive some new-to-me genres and authors. While I don't own a lot of denim clothes, I thought I might learn something that would tempt me to wear what I have more often. I'm also going to have my very fashionable daughter take a look at it and share her thoughts.
I usually start talking about National Novel Writing Month in August, but being off on hiatus has me a bit behind. They've already posted the official participant badges and banners here, and, well, let's be honest: the little space guy looks like an elaborate ninja can opener. I'll see if I can put together something slightly more attractive to offer as an alternative. As I mentioned earlier this year I won't be joining in the fun, but as always I will write up some pep talks, hunt down some helpful links and otherwise shake my pom poms from the sidelines for all of you who decide to write a book in thirty days this November.
My book of the month for September was actually a short story: Second Son by Lee Child, which can be found in the back pages of his novel The Affair. It can also be purchased as a standalone e-book.
This was not a new read for me; it happens to be one of my favorite short stories of all time, so there wasn't much the other books I read could do to compete. As a very early prequel to the Jack Reacher series Second Son meshes quite well with the novels, and explains a bit of the mysterious family dynamic that resulted in Reacher becoming the somewhat psycho savior he was fated to be. It's intensely satisfying to see how Reacher deals with a bully and manages to solve two other mysteries in the process. I will caution you all that there is a particularly vicious fight scene between minors, and if bullying and violence between kids are triggers for you, you should give it a pass.
Expect some clean, spare, precise (almost surgical) depictions of Reacher and some other very interesting people. There are fascinating glimpses into the lives of children who travel with an active duty military parent. Each time I read it I fall a little in love with Reacher's father, too; his POV is presented just briefly but it makes the whole story. I think it works well as a standalone, and as an introduction to this universe (if you are one of the two or three people left on Earth who haven't read this author, start here.) It's not so long that you get mired down in a lot of stuff you won't need to know if you want to move on to the series, either. On top of that it's superbly written. I highly recommend it.
What was your book of the month for September? Let us know in comments.