What’s on My Bookshelf – September

Alrighty, it’s that time of the month where I tell you what I’ve been reading.

Before I do that though, in book club we’re reading Charlotte Bronte’s Villette and, let me tell you, it’s doing my head in! So far we’re about halfway through, but, dear reader (that’s a Charlotte Bronte-ism), I’m not a happy camper. The story is, however, beginning to get interesting, so let’s see where we go with it. My next challenge is to come up with what we’ll be baking at the end of it!

What I read in September

The Moment I Met You, by Debbie Johnson


From my Goodreads review:

I’m a fan of everything by Debbie Johnson and was devastated when she finished the Comfort Food Cafe series. But this one? It had all the feels. Just wow. I know September has only just begun, but I’m calling it this as my favourite book of the month. Big call I know.

As it turns out this wasn’t my read of the month, but it was definitely a contender.

Chewing The Fat, by Jay Rayner

I love Jay Rayner’s writing – although it does make me hungry and craving bacon sandwiches. Strange but true. And this collection of his columns for the Observer are no different. Tasty and easy to digest. And yes, Jay, bacon really does improve everything.

I listened to this Audible edition narrated by Jay Rayner.

Loving Lizzie March, by Susannah Hardy

I thoroughly enjoyed this debut by Susannah Hardy. Classic chick lit, it was the perfect antidote to the week I’d had. At first, I wondered whether I’d ever like Lizzie, but she grew on me – as all good chick lit characters should.

The Five Year Plan, by Jodi Gibson

Jodi is one of the hardest working authors I know – and that work is evident in this book. She’s also a staunch supporter of Australian authors and I’m endlessly grateful to her for that – in fact, she even gets a shout-out in my new novel to say thank you.

All that aside, I devoured this book – and devour is the most appropriate word to use in this instance. I began it at the end of a very tough day jobby week and it was the perfect escape route. Set between Italy and Melbourne it’s full of my favourite things – food, travel, food, Italy, food, romance, food, Melbourne, food…

And last week I made the lemon ricotta cake from the book. Jodi hasn’t yet uploaded the recipe to her website so I’m afraid I can’t share it here, but it got the tick of approval from hubby.

This Love, by Dani Atkins

I seem to be handing out 5-star ratings at the moment, but given that my stars are based purely on my enjoyment, I’ve read plenty of books of late that I’ve loved. This one tugs at the heartstrings – I mean really tugs at them, and doesn’t let go. I sort of had an idea about how it would be, but that didn’t detract from the impact when it ended as it did. An ending that I’m still picturing playing out in my head.

Another contender for read of the month.

The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig

I have no words for how I feel about this book…well, I do, but they don’t make sense. The possibility of infinite lives made my head swim in such a good way. I confess to suspecting how it would end and was very satisfied that it did end that way. Loved loved loved loved loved this one. (Did I mention that I loved it?)

I listened to this book on Audible, narrated perfectly by Carey Mulligan – in whose voice I could imagine Nora.

Despite some strong competition, this was my favourite read in a month filled with great reads.

Cookbook of the month

I resisted the urge to buy a new cookbook in September but spent some time revisiting some of the faves on my shelf. One of which is this one – Annabel Langbein’s Free Range In The City. Each of the books in her Free Range Cook series is good (the original is, however, the best), but this one is full of ideas for after-work dinners – as well as some great bakes.

I’ve cooked plenty from this one over the years. This recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies is one I make again and again, while the Lime and Sesame Beef Stirfry is one of our go-to mid-week dinners. The zucchini fritters made an appearance in Wish You Were Here, the Tuscan meatballs are the lightest meatballs of all time, and her New York Cheesecake is what I bake if I’m having gluten-free guests over for dinner.

Okay, over to you…what’s on your bookshelf? 

I’m joining my friends SueDeb and Donna with “What’s On Your Bookshelf?” a monthly feast of all things book related. 

You can find Deb’s post here, Sue’s here and Donna’s here.

If you’re linking up a blog post you can do so in the comments. Alternatively, you might want to get involved via Instagram or your social media of choice. Whichever way you choose to share, don’t forget to leave a note in the comments so we can find you.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

27 thoughts

  1. Hi, Jo – Charlotte Brontë’s Villette totally did my head in as well. Only because Charlotte is such a clever writer did I (almost) forgive her (and her narrator, Lucy) for seriously messing with all of us.
    I shamelessly drooled over those zucchini fritters in ‘Wish You Were Here’. No wonder you hold Langbein in high esteem.
    Oh, and speaking of messing up, I gave you the wrong link to my post (I blame WP and I’m sticking with this story). Here is the proper link: https://retirementreflections.com/2021/10/21/whats-on-your-bookshelf-why-read-the-classics/. 😀

  2. Such a great month of reading Jo. I love the fact you hand out 5 stars by way of enjoyment, that is how it should be done in my opinion. I also loved the Midnight Library and will now go and look for some of these others!

  3. A great set of books there – and cake. I discovered Annabel Langbein when I moved to NZ and have several things I regularly make (devilled sausages for one). I’ll be posting my blog when I get home from work!

    1. My first was Savour The Pacific. I remember buying it at Whitcoulls on Lambton Quay on my first trip to stay with my bestie all those years ago. I actually haven’t made her devilled sausages so had better rectify that quick smart.

  4. Hi Jo, I think the highlight for me reading Villette will be our baking class. Even though I’m not really enjoying this one, I do feel that through our discussions I’m learning more and finding new ways to look at Lucy Snowe. I’ve only read The Midnight Library on your list so plenty to add to my continually growing reading list. The recipe book looks lovely too (they are my weakness). Thanks for co-hosting #whatsonyourbookshelf again I love how we share our love of books not just in our Bookclub but with others through our posts. xx

  5. Those books look great. That lemon ricotta cake looks and sounds yummy. I haven’t started anything new yet….I’m about 85% done with your book and I’m bound and determined to get it finished before I start another one.

  6. There’s something about Matt Haig online (well, what I saw of him on Twitter) that I find annoying and I’m not sure why (so I unfollowed him) but I loved The Midnight Library as well. His writing and the idea of it.

    That lemon ricotta cake looks amazing. I like moist and heavy cakes and it looks like it is.

  7. I really enjoyed Station Eleven, which i finished before reading two others (one dud and one I’m still processing but it was rough and hard and not a Midnight Library vibe. Still deciding if it was worth the effort & uncomfortableness).

  8. I just checked and I am #300 on 25 copies of Midnight Library at my library… so I guess there will be a wait. Darn! I am very stingy with my 5-star ratings (they must tick quite a few boxes for me) in my book club, but it’s hard not to rate a good book well. Thanks for several more books to add to my TBR pile!

  9. Oh, I’ve heard so many good things about The Midnight Library. I really should be reading it soon, but oh my, I have so many good books still on my TBR.

  10. “Chewing the Fat” sounds like my kind of book! Will put it on my TBR list. Started “The Midnight Library” at the beginning of the pandemic and just couldn’t take it. Will try again later.

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