October Catch-Up

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!

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Soon It Will Be June … Summer Reading Plans

I miss the ocean a ton. I’m hoping I’ll get to go there before the summer’s up.

Reading-wise, I’ve reached a nice turning point. Most of the heavy reading I had planned for the beginning of the year is complete (or abandoned, haha). I’m sure there will be some more in a few months, but for now, I plan to read “lightly.”

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May Reading Plans

It’s amazing we’re already moving into the second half of spring! Life holed-up at home has made the time pass quickly, yet without seeming to. I used to dislike spring, but now I love it, especially reading outside on bright cloudy days or indoors to the sound of spring rain.

This week, I am listening to Longfellow’s Tales of a Wayside Inn, a readalong for the Early New England Literature book club on Goodreads. (They’re a delightful bunch of readers, if you’re looking for a group to join!) I also need to finish The Razor’s Edge by Maugham; I finished the first part a while back but then got sidetracked with Havel. I’m also unofficially rereading Fear and Trembling by Kierkegaard, following Matt’s series on YouTube.

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What I'm Reading (and More): Quarantine Edition

Well, folks…we’re all hunkered down, now officially. I hope everyone is staying well. It’s also been a while since I did one of these posts, so it seemed like a good time. Feel free to share your own updates in the comments!

Reading

Silence

Finally read Silence by Shūsaku Endō! It is not a book one enjoys, but I did appreciate the challenge of deciphering the message (or losing my voice attempting to). You can watch the video review here.

TL;DR version: The book is gut-wrenching and, as I put it to another reader, “psychologically horrifying.” The writing style is masterful, from the use of silence as a motif to the mix of tenses/perspectives which create distance between the reader and the protagonist. I feel the surface message is unbiblical, but I also believe there is a second, more nuanced way to read it, where rather than view it strictly from Rodrigues’s eyes, you view the sequence of events holistically and see his flawed thinking. This gives the novel a level of depth that makes it worthwhile, especially for Christians.

What next?

I ought to read Yōko Ogawa’s The Memory Police, because I have it on ebook from the library for eight days. However, Silence was so emotionally draining, I’m thinking I’ll take a break from fiction. I’ll probably read one of my exploration nonfiction books, like The Lost City of Z.

Watching

Gaslight

The other day I watched Gaslight (1944) with my family. This is an Ingrid Bergman film, about a young woman who marries a handsome stranger and bad things happen (ya don’t say?).

It is a verrryyy slow film. I couldn’t help wishing Alfred Hitchcock had directed it. On the other hand, it has a level of artistic restraint that I did appreciate and which Hitchcock never seems to be able to leverage. So, overall, it was an ok film. Charles Boyer’s character made me want to punch the screen, but Ingrid excels in this genre and made me stick it out. Also on the plus side, the plot reminded me of Charlotte Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Fortunately (?), Gaslight is not nearly as bloodcurdling as that short story.

Listening

I started my personal blog back up, so have been journalling there about the shutdown, plus music recommendations and funny videos.

I’ll share this song now—“Vancouver Waves” by August and After, a calming song for times like this.

Listen on YouTube