September and October Reading

I read more in August than in September and October combined. I was busy with other stuff on most of the September weekends and as weekends are my main reading time, I naturally couldn’t read as much as I usually do. I’m lumping September in with October, which was a better reading month, but also not optimal. I was on vacation and did things with my family and only read a bit every now and then. Still, October was passable, as my vacation only took up the first half of the month. Here’s the list of books read:


Ongoing project:
Murasaki Shikibu and Royall Tyler (trsl.), The Tale of Genji.
I read a few pages, but not very many. I need to prioritize it in November and December to get through it this year.


  • Roger Lonsdale (ed.), Eighteenth-Century Women Poets.
    I’m about three-quarters done. Some of the poems in this anthology are very good. It’s a mixed bag, but no worse that poems by the more well-known male 18th century poets. I’m enjoying it.
  • Heinrich Detering (ed.), Reclams Buch der deutschen Gedichte.
    I continued reading this poetry collection in September (too unwieldy to take on vacation). I’m not yet done but should be done soon. I quite like my foray into German poetry.


  • Robert Alter, The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age.
    A short book that explains the elements of style that distinguish literature from other texts. I enjoyed it a lot.
  • Adrienne Rich, Essential Essays: Culture, Politics, and the Art of Poetry.
    This was a kind of companion to Rich’s Selected Poems that I read in April. Some of the essays were very good, others I  didn’t find particularly memorable.
  • Mitchell Zuckoff, Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11.
    Inspired by the 20th anniversary of 9/11. A detailed look at what happened during the terrorist attacks, with a focus on people’s experiences. Terrible and moving.
  • Michael Schmidt, The Novel: A Biography.
    An amazing tome that I spent about three weeks reading.


  • Laurie R. King, The Murder of Mary Russell.
    The 14th in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. Not bad, but not one of my favourites.
  • Louise Erdrich, The Bingo Palace.
    The next novel in the Love Medicine series. It was great. My review is here.
  • Halldor Laxness, Fish Can Sing.
    The first book I’ve read by this author from Iceland, who won the Nobel Prize. I once had a Nordic phase, where I read all the Icelandic Sagas (very good) and I’ve always wanted to try a novel by Laxness. I enjoyed it a lot and am up for reading others by him.
  • Anthony Trollope, Phineas Finn.
    The second of Trollope’s Parliamentary series. I read the first one, Can You Forgive Her, last year but never got around to writing a review. I still remember it because it was great. This one had a slow start but improved in the second half. My only Victober read for this year.

Children’s Literature:


  • Helga Marten, Juttas großer Tag (German for Jutta’s Big Day).
    I found this one, which used to be a great favourite during my childhood, while I was sorting boxes of old books to get rid of. I reread it, still mostly liked it, and kept it for nostalgic reasons.
  • Robert O’Brien, The Silver Crown.
    Also one of the books I discovered, reread and kept. A classic fantasy story
  • Michelle Magorian, Goodnight Mister Tom and Back Home.
    Two books set in or just after WWII in the UK. The first is about a young boy sent to the country for safety, the second about a young girl just returned from America, where she had been sent during the war and the difficulties she faced on her return. An awful depiction of boarding school life – quite the anti-Blyton version. Both books were good reads.

I plan to write more detailed reviews for most of these books, so I didn’t go into much detail in this list. I’m rather behind with my reviews. As I only did one post in October, I haven’t managed to review the books I read in August. This will give me lots of topics to write about this month when I’m planning a post per day, to get back into the groove and catch up on things. I managed it last year and hope to manage it this year too – as I said before, it’s my NaNoWriMo project.

Keep safe, world.

July Reading

My belated reading report from July. I got a bit derailed in July, didn’t manage all my goals and didn’t keep a scorecard (maybe that’s why the month got away from me). But it wasn’t all bad.

Ongoing projects:

  • Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
    138 pages, my quota for July. There’s a cliffhanger: will Andrej survive?
  • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy
    Total fail again. Maybe I should give up for now?


Daniel Karlin (ed.), The Penguin Book of Victorian Verse
I finished the New Oxford Book of English Verse right at the mid-year mark and started up with this new anthology. It’s also very good and I’m enjoying it very much. Who’s have thought that I’d have such a good time reading poetry? Best goal I started this year.

Short Stories:

A.S. Byatt (ed.), The Oxford Book of English Short Stories
I didn’t read a lot of stories from this anthology in July, but the ones I read were all good.

Elmore Leonard, The Complete Western Stories
I read all thirty stories in this collection and mostly liked them. I did think that the later stories where better than the earlier ones, one could see improvements over time. These stories are also mostly from the point-of-view of non-Native Americans and I kind of suspect they are rather biased at times. I need to read some stories by Native Americans and will keep in mind to find an anthology or an author of short stories.


Margaret Stanger, That Quail, Robert.
An absolutely lovely story about a quail that lived with a family in New England. A short read and highly recommended.

Graphic Novel:

None. Didn’t get around to reading a graphic novel in July.


  • Charles Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit
    This Dickens novel was ok, but I’ve read better. Will write a review (I actually already wrote one, but then I deleted it by mistake and couldn’t recover it. Very annoying.
  • Toni Morrison, Jazz
    I read this one again. It was good, but quite complex and one read wasn’t enough. So, I’m a bit behind on my Morrison reading. I wrote a review.
  • Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings
    A very good fantasy novel, the first in a series of four, where the fourth is coming out later this year. I’m doing a BookTube readalong of the first three books. It has great characters and super world-building. Looking forward to the other books in the series, and strongly recommend it.
  • Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her
    Started this one in June and finished in July. I liked it a lot and still plan to write a review.

So, I didn’t reach all my goals this month, but didn’t do too badly, except that I didn’t read a new Morrison and missed out on the graphic novel. August is three-quarters done, and I still haven’t finished my next Morrison, haven’t started the Dickens or the graphic novel. I’ll have to buck up. Guess I’m getting a bit fed up with the goals. I’ve read a lot so far in August, just not the novels I’ve got in my reading goals. But I’ve still got time.

Keep safe, world.