October 2021 Wrap-Up: Autumn, Applications and Artful Avoidance

This is my latest wrap-up post in the history of this blog and for that I sincerely apologize….

11 comments

This is my latest wrap-up post in the history of this blog and for that I sincerely apologize….

Life Update:

I’m proud of myself for making it through this insane month. In October I…

  • Submitted all of my first round of college applications!
  • Passed the first marking period with good grades
  • Went to my senior year homecoming… in-person!
  • Enjoyed the beautiful fall foliage which has actually been better than normal in my area this year
  • Rode a horse
  • And spent several hours sitting mysteriously in Barnes & Noble and intensely resisting the urge to buy all of the books

Reading:

So, I had a better reading month than September. A much better reading month than September, which is somewhat surprising considering that October was even busier than September for me– but I guess you can chalk it up to me successfully adjusting to in-person school.

I read 8 books in October: 6 fiction and 2 nonfiction. (I only read 4 in September, for comparison)

Fiction:

1-1.5 stars

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad(classics)

I had heard some less-than-stellar things about Heart of Darkness before I started reading it, but I was determined to give it a solid chance. (Also, I had to read it for class)

However, I did not particularly enjoy the experience. The writing was drawn out and repetitive, and the overarching message was, yes, racist. The point of the book seemed to be that colonization is bad because going to Africa– the “heart of darkness” will turn Europeans into savages. Maybe I misunderstood something somewhere in the book, but I think I’ll pass on a re-read of this one.

2-2.5 stars

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe(classics, historical fiction)

Things Fall Apart I also read for my Lit class. The novel follows a Nigerian tribe before and after the arrival of European colonists. As you can probably guess, part of our assignment was to compare it with Heart of Darkness, and it was really interesting to juxtapose the two especially considering that Chinua Achebe has publicly talked about his dislike for Conrad’s novel. I liked reading Things Fall Apart a little more, but, like Heart of Darkness, found the prose to be dry and had a difficult time getting into the book.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (classics, poetry)

Aaaaand here we go with yet another school book. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was my first time reading poetry for a while and it was a bit of a different experience than what I’m used to reading.

3-3.5 stars

As Good As Dead (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #3) by Holly Jackson (YA, mystery/thriller)

The sequel to one of my favorite series from last year and the subject of a very long rant I will be posting to my blog hopefully soon.

The Shining by Stephen King (horror)

This is another book I don’t want to talk a whole lot about because I plan to post a review for it soon… hopefully.. if I can get myself together soon… but in short, it was my first time reading a real “horror novel” and I thought it was pretty good.

4-4.5 stars

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (mystery/thriller)

My rating for The Silent Patient is mostly on entertainment value, because I flew through this book. I’m always up for a nice suspense mystery, even if it has a few plot holes and insane character motivations.

Nonfiction:

The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli (popular science, physics)

This book was definitely interesting although yes, to be perfectly honest, I did not understand much of it. I read one of Rovelli’s other books in the summer, and I just love the poetic way he writes about science.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (memoir, philosophy)-

My friend recommended me this book, and it was one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. This memoir follows a neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with lung cancer midway through his career– he chronicles his time studying English and neuroscience at Stanford and his career as a surgeon before and after his diagnosis, and the book is just… so good. It’s really depressing though and made me think hard about what I take for granted in my life. Would recommend to everyone, and I was inspired to do more research on the author after finishing it.

Blogging

I didn’t have the greatest blogging month, although I did *start* writing a lot of posts. The problem I’ve been having is not necessarily WRITING posts– it’s sticking to my blogging schedule. I used to post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:30 PM; the thing is though, I keep getting home from school and being swamped with homework, not wanting to spend other time posting on here.

Yes, I know there is a way to schedule posts, but WordPress likes to not work. Essentially, I just need to stop procrastinating and saying “Oh, I’ll post it in two days when I have less other stuff” because let’s face it: that never happens!

Anyway… here are my October posts:

What I Learned From Reading the Most Banned Books of the Past Year | Banned Books Week 2021

5 Creepy Books to Read This October | Mystery, Thriller, Horror Book Recommendations

At least the posts I did write are reasonably good quality…

Another thing about this month was that although I didn’t post often, my blog was getting a lot of search engine traffic– more than I ever have gotten before. Hopefully this didn’t jinx it, but yay!

Goals

Last Month’s Goals

1) Get back into a reading routine

I didn’t really get into a routine per se, but I did read twice as much as I did in September so I’d say mission accomplished.

2) Waste less time on social media

I’ve definitely been spending less time on knockoff TikTok (Instagram Reels) and Reddit this month, I think, but my YouTube addiction kind of crept back in a bit. But I think overall I was doing better than September. I’d offload YouTube and Instagram from my phone, but my main issue is when I’m on my laptop, I’m constantly switching tabs whenever I get bored of working on something.

3) Eat healthier

Yep, I expanded my school lunch repertoire to include peanut butter & jelly sandwiches as well.

This Month’s Goals

1) Take more time to relax

I think I should spend less time getting stressed out. To put it clearly. I also want to have more time to read.

2) Actually post my posts and book reviews

Aka: stop procrastinating, stop perfectionating, and just post your posts.

3) Turn off your phone and lengthen attention span while working-

As I mentioned before, I have a bad habit of procrastinating by checking every conceivable website on which I might have notifications to check every five minutes instead of working on whatever task I am supposed to be working on.

Well, that’s it for my October wrap-up… it’s a bit late, but better late than never as I always say.

How was your October? What was your favorite read of the month? Let me know in the comments!

Fun fact: tomorrow’s my (17th) birthday

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11 comments on “October 2021 Wrap-Up: Autumn, Applications and Artful Avoidance”

  1. Oh, I am disappointed to see you didn’t like As Good As Dead so much, I am very much looking forward to read it! I enjoyed The Silent Patient as well, honestly! I read it in October too!

    Turn off your phone and lengthen attention span while working-
    This is so me!

    Also, happy birthday! (in advance, if it’s still today there)
    Hope you have a great day, and a great year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am always oddly satisfied to see other people rate Heart of Darkness lowly πŸ˜‡ That book is probably my most hated read of all time, and I’m totally with you on that it’s racist and way overrated!
    I do like The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, though. I’m a sucker for all the gloomy romantic vibes, I guess πŸ˜‚
    Seeing that As Good As Dead was a bit of a let down honestly has me terrified, though… I loved the first two books in the series, so I was really looking forward to it!
    And happy birthday! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‰ (I hope it really is your birthday by the time you’re reading this πŸ˜‰)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And yes I did read this comment on my birthday though I couldn’t respond until now, haha.
      Definitely– I usually like most books I read for English class, but Heart of Darkness, even besides the racism, was just not a good book. Obviously, most books written in the 1800s by European authors are going to contain racism and I think should be read through a critical lens; usually you can separate the merit of the story from the author’s biases, but this one was just bad in every way and the plot revolved completely around its racism. I’m not sure how people interpret it as not-racist. It’s anti-colonialist, but just because Conrad thinks colonialism corrupted Europeans. I mean, there’s an argument that the main character of the book is racist but the author isn’t– but I think considering the overall message of the book, that probably wasn’t Conrad’s intention.
      The writing wasn’t engaging, the story was extremely confusing, and I finished the book unsure what I even just read. It was interesting to compare it to Things Fall Apart, but because I wasn’t the biggest fan of either book, I wasn’t entirely excited for our class discussions.
      I just posted my spoiler review of AGAD– once you read the book I would love to hear your thoughts on it! I did not hate the book, but the character motivations kind of went off the deep end and I’m not really sure what Holly Jackson was going for. However she’s still one of my absolute favorite authors and if she releases more books they are definitely going on my pre-order list.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely agree with that assessment πŸ˜‚ Honestly, considering how short it was, Heart of Darkness dragged like nobody’s business – the writing style was so convoluted that I had serious trouble staying awake and focused πŸ™„ And yes, I also think that it is usually possible to enjoy or at least appreciate a story even if it has problematic aspects or if the author held opinions that you don’t agree with – especially when you realize that the story is a product of its time. In this case, though, the racist undertones were part of what made me hate the story so much. It simply wasn’t well crafted. The Africans were some of the flattest characters I’ve ever come across and the pygmies’ initial worship of Kurtz and how the Europeans discussed it seriously rubbed me the wrong way… The Africans were definitely not treated as human at all, and even though the message of the book seemed to be that colonialism would lead to Europe’s downfall, I just don’t understand how anyone could think it isn’t racist. But apparently, it is, since there are tons of reviews on goodreads defending the book against people like me who are too obtuse to see its literary value… 😁

        On a brighter note, though, I’ll definitely be checking out your AGAD review once I’ve read the book! Which will hopefully be sooner rather than later πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I bought a used copy of The Shining at my library’s book sale about a month ago. I haven’t read it yet, but I have seen the movie and I look forward to your review. I understand the movie deviated from the book in some ways, as they typically do.

    Liked by 1 person

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