Remember how in my last reading blog I said I’d been reading more and doing more yoga? Well, scratch the yoga part (although I’d love to get back to it!) – but the reading kick has been kicking on. 📚
Here’s a little overview of everything I read this autumn. You know I’m a sucker for ambiance 🕯️ and nothing beats a cozy book, some coffee shop music in the background (currently have memorised the tune to this playlist 🎹) and mood lighting with my twinkly lights. As you will see, it was a very fiction-heavy season.
Take my ratings with a grain of salt. I’d love it if we disagreed, or if we agreed. Most of how I rate a book really depends on how well the book itself matched my mood at the time. So, if you see a classic that’s mediocrely rated … don’t take it too seriously!
Madame Bovary 💋 by Gustave Flaubert (1856)
This may be the first novel by a French author I read in my adulthood – but don’t quote me on this. My mom personally recommended this book, as it follows Mr. and Mrs. Bovary as they navigate their newly-wed, and later on, family life. Charles (Mr. Bovary) is a kind and simple man, who is deeply in love with Emma (Mrs. Bovary), a more complicated character. Emma has spent her life consuming romantic books and finds herself deeply dissatisfied with the “lacklustre” reality of married life (compared to the dreamy love stories she read about in fiction). This constant unhappiness leads her to start multiple affairs and drives her to take on large debts to satisfy her appetite for “the finer things in life”. Emma is resentful to her marriage because it is boring, but fails to see just how much she is a problem here as well. Overall, I really enjoyed this read, and I think Emma’s story must resonate with every millennial who is confused by false realities presented on social media and on Pinterest, and who through comparing their lives to unattainable facades, drive themselves to despair.
Fairy Tale 🕯️ by Stephen King (2022)
Ah! Finally a book from 2022. I read this around Halloween, right when it came out – and I read most of it on the flight to Paris. As I was reading this story, I felt a bit sad at how … descriptive it felt. It’s very much a plot-based book, with little reflections from the characters (unlike my older novels, that are 5% plot and 95% reflections). Nevertheless, since finishing the book, I’ve found myself thinking back on it. It was a solid story, and something about reading something very contemporary at the same time as everyone else when the book came out, made it a very special experience. It was just what I was looking for for Halloween – except, it could have been scarier.
Some Prefer Nettles 🌵 by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (1929)
Another book that examines a matrimonial couple! This time around, this book was recommended to me by my uncle Genc, a long time ago. I finally got around to reading it. The book is quite slow paced and follows the marriage of Kaname and Misako, who have long fallen out of love. Misako has embraced more Western behaviours in Japan, and has since found herself a lover. Kaname wrestles with his feeling of losing grip on traditional Japanese values and looks at his father-in-law’s traditional relationship with his partner with jealousy. In the end, Kaname is at a cross roads: to end his marriage, or to fight for it. The book doesn’t resolve, and Tanizaki invites the reader to decide for themselves. I think that by the end Kaname understands that even his idealised view of his father-in-law’s relationship is not as ideal as he thought. Perhaps he understands that there is no perfect marriage, there is only marriage. I like to think that he and Misako choose to stay together.
Crime and Punishment 🪓 by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1866)
This has been on my to-read for ages. I finally got around to reading it, and what can I say … I was a bit disappointed? And you know me – I loved me the overly lengthly “
Adultery and Punishment” Anna Karenina. Don’t get me wrong, it’s obviously a classic in its own right, and the moral of the story is great (crime … leads to internal uneasiness and punishment … leads to confession of guilt … leads to punishment … leads to fresh and happy start only after confessing guilt) – but something about the way that it was delivered, felt … clunky to me. Maybe it’s an issue with expectations, but I personally could not connect very well with Raskolnikov’s actions and reflections after he commits a murder. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood. One thing I did enjoy in the book, however, is that it depicts every character as flawed – there is no clear cut good or bad. The “good characters” make mistakes, and the “bad characters” do plenty of good things. Would I recommend it? Sure, if you want to say you read it. But, I’m really glad to be done with it so I can read something new.