I have one thing in mind to describe my September 2019 reading journey. A big SIGH. September 2019 is, without a doubt, the slowest reading month I had, not just in 2019 but in years. In thirty days, I only got to finish a measly two books. What is even ironic is that I have started one of these two books, Margaret Mitchell’s labyrinthine work, Gone With The Wind, in late August.

Although there were valid factors that hampered me from completing more books, the very low number is simply inexcusable. The truth is that I procrastinated more than I need to. This is considering the fact that I have to pick up my pace as I have a lot of books from my 2019 Top 20 Reading List that I still have to complete. It is even more daunting as some of the books remaining from the list are heavy classics.

Before I get carried away, here is the list of books that I was able to (thankfully) read in September.


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Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Rating: 95%

As I have mentioned above, the first book that I was able to finish during the month is this gargantuan classic with an elephantine reputation that precedes it. Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, Gone With The Wind, is definitely one of the most revered works in the world of literature. Apart from its palpable length, its place in the Parthenon of literature that daunted me from the very start. On the contrary, it is also this mystique and this challenge that made me decide to make this literary masterpiece my landmark 700th read.

And 700th read it is! Unraveling the story of Scarlet O’Hara, I am embarrassed to admit that the initial intimidation was unfounded. Contrary to my expectation, I was in my elements all throughout the narrative. Where I expect complexities, I found a diaphanous narrative. Yes, there were perplexities that impaired my appreciation of some elements but these were minor on the bigger picture. I guess historical fiction is just my cup of tea. I was actually reminded of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace which totally intimidated me at first but, like Gone With the Wind, was easier to read than advertised.

I am torn about Scarlet’s character. She is often projected as a mean and an unpleasant character on the whole. She is indeed a perplexing and complex personality which is a nod to Mitchell’s skills in developing characters. But despite these negatives, she does have some redeeming characters. Overall, Gone With the Wind exceeded my expectations. It does deserve its place in the pedestals of literature. Do watch out for my complete review.

You can also check out my 10 most intimidating reads by clicking here

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Rating: 70%

Ah. Who wouldn’t recognize Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s TaleJust like Gone With the Wind, this contemporary classic published in 1985 has earned its place in the upper echelons of literature. It has recently been adapted into a Netflix series. The imprints of Offred’s story left so much to be desired that when Atwood announced in late 2018 a sequel to her masterpiece, everyone was on their collective toes. Initially, I wasn’t one of those who were looking forward to it, hence, its non-inclusion in my 2019 Books I Look Forward To List.

But I guess to literary seduction and the hype was too much for me to bear. In the end, I joined the bandwagon and even joined the recently concluded Manila International Book Fair in order to avail a copy of the book (something that I wouldn’t ordinarily do). To keep in check the anticipation, I immediately dived into the novel ahead of books that I was supposed to read.

To those who are looking to a second part to Offred’s story, you’re out of luck. Whilst The Testaments transports the readers back to the oppressive regime of Gilead, it had less to do with Offred’s story. In many ways, it deviated from its antecedent, which could either be a great or a bad thing; it would be in vain to replicate the gravitas of one of the best works in literature. In the end, however, The Testaments was just a little underwhelming.

You can read my full review here.

81XAhkfzn-LCurrent Read: The Tattooist of Auschwitz 

I have actually completed one other book in between The Testaments and The Tattooist of Auschwitz. However, it is technically part of my October list, even though I started it in September.

Back to my current read. I just bought this book yesterday out of sheer curiosity! The synopsis was just to compelling and even though I have other books in mind, I want to immediately immerse into this (expectedly) harrowing tale about the Second World War. I guess I still have a slight hangover from Gunther Grass’ The Tin Drum and Dasa Drndic’s Trieste.


Overall

But it is pointless crying over spilled milk; what’s done is done. On a brighter note, I completed two literary heavy weights. It has got to mean something at least. The only thing now that I have to do is to pick up my pace and momentum again. There are a lot of books in line for me

What to look forward to in October…

There is only one thing to look forward to in October and in the rest of the year. It isn’t lost in me that I am lagging behind in my different reading challenges. It is then imperative to tick off these books, with My 2019 Top 20 Reading List being the priority. Fortunately, I am halfway through it; Zadie Smith’s On Beauty is the tenth book I have completed from this list.

Another challenge I am looking forward to complete is the Beat the Backlist 2019 edition. As early as now, however, I am conceding defeat. It would be in vain trying to complete the books in this list. I am hopeful, still. Do look forward to what is in store for the rest of the year.

Reading Challenge Updates:

  1. My 2019 Top 20 Reading List: 10/20
  2. Beat The Backlist:4/15
  3. My 2019 10 Books I Look Forward To List:  4/11

Book Reviews Published in September:

  1. Book Review # 138: Color of the Sea
  2. Book Review # 139: The Unconsoled

How about you readers? How was your September reading journey? I hope you had a great journey. You can also share your experiences in the comment box.

By the way, starting this month, I am changing my post title from the generic “Book Wrap Up” to something more literary sounding (haha, the vanity in me), “Postscripts”.

Happy reading everyone!

~ CLB

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