Farewell, September! Except for a mid-month heat wave, this was a pretty great month. Cooler weather, the official beginning of Fall, a couple of days off for short-range travel, and the chance to get a lot of things in order. September also saw the beginning of my Lord of the Rings Reread Project, which has been a so much fun so far! Thanks to all the studying I did about Tolkien and his works beforehand, the story feels newer than it has since the very first time I read it.
I’ve been clearing out both my bookshelves and my reading lists to get rid of the things I don’t really love and the books I’m not completely interested in. My Goodreads TBR dropped from 230+ to 131, and I have a plan to reduce that even further in October, but more on that later.
I completed nineteen books in September!
- Better Living Through Criticism by A.O. Scott
- The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee
- The Road to Middle-Earth by Tom Shippey
- Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Baillie Tolkien
- J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter,
- No Time to Spare by Ursula K. LeGuin
- The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston, ARC from NetGalley
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
- A Passion for Books edited by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan
- What to Read and Why by Francine Prose
- Beren and Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien
- Blood is Blood by Will Thomas, ARC from NetGalley
- I’d Rather be Reading by Anne Bogel
- Smith of Wootton Major by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien, audiobook narrated by Rob Inglis
- Ansel Adams: Classic Image Essays by Ansel Adams, John Szarkowski, contributor
- Yosemite by Ansel Adams
- Confusion by Stefan Zweig
- Emma by Jane Austen, audiobook narrated by Donada Peters
Of the nineteen books, thirteen were either written or edited by men, and six were written by women. That means that 32% of the books I read in September were by women. That’s a lousy percentage. *sighs* I’ll do better in October.
And what’s worse than 32% women authors was the solitary book that qualified for my Read the World Challenge. I’m faring very poorly there, since I’ve read a whole 29 out of a 75 book goal. I know that 29 works in translation is very good compared to the average American reader, but I don’t like failing in my own goals. Perhaps 75 was a little unrealistic, but I haven’t been working very hard on it for the past few months. It’s not terribly difficult for me to read books in translation, as my public library has a lot of titles from around the world. I also have a bunch of works in translation on my own shelves. I guess I’ll just keep chipping away at the goal for the rest of the year and evaluate the progress I made this year when thinking about next year’s goals.
Another goal that I did not achieve was to not buy any books in September. I failed at this, though I made it all the way to mid-month. And then I came across this lovely Everyman’s Library edition of various classics. I ordered a few Jane Austen novels and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I found them on abebooks.com, which I’ve had issues with before (mostly with shipping). When they arrived, one was the wrong edition, which is frustrating. But given that I only spent a few dollars on each book, I’m not terribly upset. I’ll just sell the wrong edition at the used bookstore and keep looking for the right one.
Some of my top posts in September are from my Lord of the Rings Reread Project:
- A Personal History with Tolkien Q&A
- Escaping to Middle-earth
- Concerning Hobbits
- Frodo Baggins and the Worst Birthday Gift Ever
- Frodo Gets the Heck Out of Hobbiton, in a Leisurely Fashion
Other September Highlights:
- The Bookshop starring Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy, and Patricia Clarkson
- National Theatre Live: King Lear starring Ian McKellan
What’s on for October?
My beginning-of-the-month reading plans often go awry, but I’m going to start doing them again in October and stick to them. I want to get through as many of my owned and unread books as possible before the end of the year, and I have several titles I’m excited about on my Goodreads TBR. In some cases, they are on hold for me at the library, and I’m just waiting around for them to arrive. In other cases, I will request them later on. I’m having to restrain myself from requesting All The Books right now, otherwise they will arrive at once, and some will go unread before they have to go back to the library.
Right now, the October TBR looks like this:
- The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2) by Allison Goodman
- Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary, Together with Sellic Spell by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien
- Iza’s Ballad by Magda Szabó, translated by George Szirtes
- Hopkins, Everyman’s Library Pocket Poetry edition of poetry by Gerard Manley Hopkins
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
- Irish Fairy and Folk Tales by W.B. Yeats
Another thing I’m planning to do is the ‘Try a Chapter Tag‘, which I’ve seen from various BookTubers. The idea is that you read the first chapter of a book, and then decide if you like it well enough to continue reading. I’ve picked a few books that have been on my bookshelf for a year or more. I’m going to read more than the first chapter, though, just to give the book more of a chance. Some of the chapters are rather short, and so I’m going to read to page fifty, or to the first chapter end after page fifty. I already have the goals marked in each of the following books:
- The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
- Bellefleur by Joyce Carol Oates
- The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell
I’ll write a follow-up post about that whenever I get around to it. Hopefully it will be later this week or next week.
Other things I’m looking forward to:
- The Happy Prince starring Rupert Everett and Colin Morgan, October 5
- The Haunting of Hill House, Netflix, October 12
- Daredevil season 3, Netflix, October 19
I am looking forward to just about everything in October. It’s my favorite month, and I love everything that goes on during it– the falling leaves, the spooky things, apple and pumpkin flavors and scents, and Halloween to wrap everything up. The weather is cool, and I feel like I can just about everything done that I want to do. I don’t have a lot of events lined up right now, but I’m sure I will fill October with a lot of fantastic things!