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.

Poetry:

  • 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.

Non-Fiction:

  • 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.

Novels:

  • 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:

Jutta

  • 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?

Poetry:

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.

Non-Fiction:

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.

Novels:

  • 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.