• Brittany

What I Read in October

This post might not be what you expect; a wrap-up post for October is expected to include thrillers and supernatural elements. Mine is not full of fall or Halloween-related reads. Instead, it is another fight between my University required reading and my own choices of books. University reading one this month, but I had some great reads I probably would have picked up of my own accord.

This month, I have read 13 books. That's a lot more than the last few months so I'm pretty impressed with myself. These include:

The Circle by Dave Eggers (4*)

I watched the film (with Emma Watson) a while ago and found the concept so relevant and interesting I decided to give the book a read. In fact, I'm looking into incorporating it into my dissertation. What I liked about Eggers book was that is was so hyperbolic in the dominance of social media and technology in everyday lives that it caused the reader to question Mae's commitment to the cause, only to remember that this world is quite like our own, overpowered by technology.

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas (5*)

In my slow re-reading of this series I finally read the fourth book. When I came mid-way, I remembered I have actually previously read this one, but the memory was so faint I was allowed to enjoy the twists and fights all over again. I am looking forward to finding the time to continue with the next book, which I have definitely not read before.

A Question of Power by Bessie Head (2*)

I had to read this for my course on decolonisation and globalisation, but I have to admit it was one of few I haven't enjoyed so far. I can tell why it was put on the course because the ideas are interesting to discuss, but that's when you've finally understood them. It is, for me at least, a very difficult book to read and comprehend. It follows Elizabeth's descent into madness, where she talks to a figure of God and a figure of the devil. Reality and her own mind are blurred and I can't explain much more beyond this.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (5*)

I think I talk about this book a lot on my blog. After obsessively watching and rewatching the Netflix film, I read this for the first time two months ago, and actually re-read it again this month as an audiobook. I hadn't read beyond my University course for a while so thought this addition while walking to and from campus would allow me some fun reading as a break.

The Iliac Crest by Christina Garza Rivera (4.5*)

This book contributed towards my publishing course and I'm so glad it was chosen. Translated from spanish, this book is surreal novel about gender representation. Two women invite themselves into the home of our unnamed narrator and soon cause him to question his own identity as well as those of both the women. I will definitely be adding more translations to my tbr!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K.Rowling (4*)

Another re-read and another audiobook. This is commonly announced as most people's favourite Harry Potter book and film, and I can definitely see why. While the reminding of every detail from the previous two books does get a bit dull for a Harry Potter fan, I did appreciate the few extra details I gleamed from rereading the books, after having watched the films so often beforehand.

1984 by George Orwell (3.5*)

This is also a reread, but after over 3 years of first encountering George Orwell. I read this of my own choice in order to explore what I may want to focus on for my dissertation, and I can definitely see why most people site this as a key text in dystopian fiction.

Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee (3*)

I also read this for University and thought it quite a good read, but quite an obvious one. The main character is a loyal servant of the Empire until a representative of the same Empire unjustly interrogates a group of 'barbarians'. In an attempt to help one fo the girls who lost the use of one leg and her eyes during these tortures, the narrator becomes sympathetic to the barbarians and moves away from the Empire's morals.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (5*)

You may recognise this from my September reading wrap-up, as I read it again towards an essay I want to write. I'll be comparing the native's relationship with the land in both Things Fall Apart (such a good novel!) and North by Seamus Heaney.

North by Seamus Heaney (3*)

This poetry collection was a required reading for my University and, after finding a very helpful online resource that unravelled some of the difficult poems, I quite appreciated them in the contexts of their Irish history, most especially the bog poems.

Season of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Ibrahim (5*)

I finished this gem a few days ago and loved it. Set in Nigeria, this book is a non-western exploration of gried and loss as a cause of political violence. Whilst the narrative alternates between Binta, a 55 year old widow who's sexuality has been repressed, and a 25 year old drug dealer who seeks a maternal figure after his mother leaves when he's a child, it is the women who most definitely steal the show. Binta's unwavering grief of her eldest son who was shot by the police leads her to arms of a 25 year old man; Fa'iza's trauma at seeing her father and brother slaughtered in front of her is gradually developed; Hureira's difficult experience in her marriage causes her to run and seek refuge with her disapproving mother.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (4.5*)

Finished last night, I'd forgotten just how many details the movie misses. A key one if Winky, Barty Crouch's house elf who steals the show in a few scenes. I never was a fan of Hermione's SPEW movement, purely because it isn't taken seriously by any other character and thus is pushed a bit to the sideline in order to give Hermione an interesting response to quite a lot of dialogue this book. You can definitely tell the books are increasing in size, as the audiobook jumps from 12 hours to 22 hours long.

Shame by Salman Rushdie (3*)

I am due to finish this one today so thought it deserved a spot in my wrap-up post. I am enjoying it, but am finding my progress slow. It is told from an outside narrator who seems to change focus on which character he is talking about randomly, then interupts his story with a tidbit from his own life or a reflection on why his book isn't set in Pakistan but rather an imaginary country similar to Pakistan. It seems a bit disjointed, but I'm awaiting on the ending to fully make up my mind.

And to follow on a new thing I started two months ago in my Bullet Journal, my favourite book this month has been Season of Crimson Blossoms.

What's been your favourite book this month?

Happy Reading :)

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