It’s October already, one of my favorite months! And yet I feel its arrival with a mild dread….

To get the elephant out of the room: my blogging has been really sporadic this year, which I feel bad about. A combination of amping up my YouTube channel + shutdown + quarter-life crisis really threw me off track. I’ve also been working on my writing again (more about that soon!!), which is going to take a lot of time as well.

Recent Reads

The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham – Often compared to The Great Gatsby, this novel is about a young man’s spiritual journey in the midst of mass consumerism and interpersonal drama, post-WWI. This was a great book. Very painful—gut-wrenching—but very great. The writing was not quite as tight as Gatsby, but I liked the quasi-realism of the narration, where Maugham inserted himself as the narrator and related the events in a very down-to-earth way. I plan to write one or two follow-up posts about The Razor’s Edge soon.

Kristin Lavransdatter, Book I: The Wreath by Sigrid Undset – Another coming-of-age story, this one is about a young girl growing up in 14th-century Norway. I was underwhelmed by this novel and its characters, but it was pretty well-written historical fiction nonetheless. I will post a YouTube review this evening.

Current Reads

The Idiot (re-read) by Dostoyevsky – I have barely made any progress here, focusing more on Kristin and other books.

The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino – A collection of short stories; just started this one, too.

Maybe: Middlemarch by George Eliot – A few readers on YouTube/Instagram are reading Middlemarch this month, and I’d love to join in if I can find time…


My goal for the rest of the year is to just read more and focus on books I already own. Maybe I’ll even finish that Nikola Tesla biography. 😳

Along with that, I will post more book reviews and other blog topics!

13 thoughts on “October Catch-Up

  1. A very impressive group of books. Have you read Middlemarch before or would this be the first time? I thought that it was a fantastic book and worthy of many the accolades that it receives.

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  2. i’m in the minority, i know, but Middlemarch was not a favorite; i just found it awkward and not very creditable… i liked “the razor’s edge” pretty well, even tho it was a bit juvenile, i thought. oth i like Calvino a lot and haven’t read this one i don’t think… i wish i’d started keeping an alphabetical list of books i’d read, years ago, but the titles are just recorded slap dash fashion so i have to look through the whole book to find anything lol… a muddled sort of life it’s been, haha… never read The Idiot; i’ve been hesitant because of its dark rep…

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  3. wow, that’s great. I am not qualified to comment since I haven’t read any of the books 😅. But I saw the movie The Great Gatsby many years back, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and found it a little disappointing for his over obsession with the woman who did not reciprocate (properly). Although I may have lost the subtleties with the fading of memory over the years. The best movie to contradict this would be Gone With The Wind starring my favorite actor Clerk Gable with the historic quote “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

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    1. I watched the DiCaprio movie, too, and I really disliked the first half. Second half was a little better. Overall not a great adaptation.
      I have to admit, Gone with the Wind was another movie I really disliked. 😅 Clark Gable was a great actor though!

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  4. Hey Marian,
    I know what you mean about blogging, sporadic is a good word choice. All of the circumstances thus far in 2020 somehow just makes me at times melancholy, with little desire to touch an online device. I’ve not read the Razor’s Edge. I’ve only read a couple of books and several short stories by Maugham; ‘The Narrow Corner’ was my first Maugham novel. ‘The Painted Veil,’ was my only other, and by far my favorite… it was really, really, superb writing! So much so, that I sort of lost the desire to read any of his other works. That’s a shallow excuse I know, but I figure why bother to read any more when I was perfectly satisfied with The Painted Veil. I’ve tried to read Middlemarch twice…I gave up both times. Have a great week!
    Dean

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    1. Dean, I’m so glad you enjoyed The Painted Veil! It is still the best novel I’ve read all year, and that was back in February. It might explain why I’ve been rather critical of all the other books since then… 😆

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  5. Oh, by the way…Thank you for recommending The Painted Veil. I first read about it on this very site, then later the book came up again in conversation. I took that as a ‘hopeful sign’ that I should read the novel. Glad I listened to both of you!!!

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  6. Dear Marian,
    The word ‘Sporadic’ describes this entire year for bloggers! I have never heard of ‘The Idiot’…(At first glance, I thought it was literally a story about an idiot. Ha!*facepalm*) I can’t wait to see what you liked most about the Nikola Tesla biography! Both Nikola and Edison had extraordinary ideas in terms of invention, but I think Nikola had a greater fascination for the future and the potential it held for progress. In Tesla’s own words: “The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.”

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    1. That’s a great quote! 🙂 Yes, I have an unofficial goal of finishing the biography this year. I think it has a lot of valuable lessons for people working in technology, but also just people working together in any industry.

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