September Reads and October Plans

October’s here, which means it’s time for candles, big cups of tea, and bookish events! Autumn has never been my favourite season, but with so many exciting things planned ahead, I think October might turn out to be a fun month. However, let’s first look back at what I read in September.

September was a strange month because despite a busy schedule I still read 10 books. In the beginning of the month, I wrapped up my Summer Readings and also hauled a big pile of classics from the library. Nevertheless, this time I didn’t reach for the chunkier classics but chose books that were generally under 200 pages. Hence why I finished so many books. In September I also took part in a fun nationwide campaign where people gathered in public to form a “reading queue” and read their book for about 15 minutes. The event aimed to make reading a more visible activity and social activity. I’m glad I participated since I had some very interesting bookish conversations with the other participants!

Books read in September: 

  • Kiinalainen puutarha by Markus Nummi (Finnish)
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  • Pomes All Sizes by Jack Kerouac
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Matkalle: Kirjaviennin uusi aika by Markku Kaskela & Jukka Koskelainen (Finnish)
  • The Black Tongue by Marko Hautala
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • Kolmen metrin pino. Sivuja kääntäjän työpöydältä by Thomas Warburton (Finnish)

In September I read two Finnish books that had more of an informational value than purely entertainment: Matkalle (On a journey) and Kolmen metrin pino (A three metre pile). Both are also titles that have not been translated into English, so I will only give a quick review of them here instead of writing full length posts.

Firstly, Matkalle is a non-fiction book about literature exchange business in Finland and it consists of interviews and small pieces written by different professionals. For some time now, I’ve wanted to know more about the process of selling and buying translation rights and the entire process behind translated books. I’m actually planning on doing my thesis on the role of translator in this process, so I read this book partly for research and partly for general interest. It’s a nice introduction to the different roles of authors, agents, foreign rights officers and support organisations, but overall, I think the book lacked a solid conclusion. 3.5/5 stars

The second book, Kolmen metrin pino is a small memoir of a literary translator Thomas Warburton. The name of the translator was unfamiliar to me before I picked up this book, mainly because Warburton is a Swedish translator and originally also wrote his memoir in Swedish. However, what makes him interesting is the fact that Warburton has translated many Finnish classics that are considered to be very difficult and also in his 50 years of translation also tackled classics such as Joyce’s Ulysses and Sterne’s Tristram Sandy. Warburton keeps the focus of his memoir primarily on his career and marks time through the book that he was translating. For someone interested in literary translation, the book offers insights as well as some good tips for what to consider when starting out. 4/5 stars

Autumn often puts me in the mood to read classics, which is wonderful because I love classics! However, the downside of reading many classics is that they are mostly written by men and this pushes against my female to male ratio challenge. Out of the ten books that I read in September, only one was by a female author and, what’s more, my nightstand is also filled with mostly books by male authors. So to reach that 50/50 balance by the end of the year, I really need to get some more female authors on my reading list – might need to do a special women-only library haul in October since my most recent book haul also consists mostly of male authors!

Books on my October TBR:

  • Aniara: An Epic Science Fiction Poem by Harry Martinson (currently reading)
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Lithium-6 by Risto Isomäki
  • The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg
  • King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • The Tenant of Wilderfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Having said that, I’m not fully giving up on reading male authors either. There are so many exciting books that it would be a shame to ignore them simply because I want to win at some silly self-imposed challenge. For example, I’m currently reading Aniara: An Epic Science Fiction Poem by the Nobel Prize winning Harry Martinson, and it’s bloody brilliant. Like mind-blowingly good. I also want to read Risto Isomäki’s (author of The Sands of Sarasvati) book Lithium-6, because the English translation is coming out in the beginning of October. In addition, I have The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg, a Shakespearean drama set in 1809 Finland (published by the lovely Peirene Press), as well as Shakespeare’s King Lear on loan from the library.

In order to balance my male-heavy TBR for October, I went through my unread books and picked up three that I think I would love to read this month. First is The Tenant of Wilderfell Hall by Anne Brontë, which I’ve been meaning to get to since July. Nevertheless, I think autumn evenings might be the perfect atmosphere to enjoy this story. Next I have Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, which I’m finally going to read. I bought an ebook copy of this very loved book in early August and I’ve been itching to start it. And finally, because October is also the month of Halloween, I have Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Having read another scary classic, Dracula, during the summer, I think it’s finally time to also tick this one off the TBR 274. I’ve also heard some wonderful things about the structure of the novel, so I look forward to reading and experiencing it myself.

As is the fate of TBRs, this one might also change as the month progresses. In the end, it all depends on how much time I’ll be able to devote to reading. For the end of this post, I’d like to thank everyone who has been commenting and liking my post during the past few weeks. I’m sorry that I have been late in answering you comments, but I hope to improve on that in October. Happy reading! x

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7 thoughts on “September Reads and October Plans

    • I don’t know who in particular was responsible for the idea, but it was organised as part of the ‘Year of the Book’ campaign here in Finland. And considering how popular it was, I think it’s very likely that it will be organised again.

    • Oh man, I think my sentiments are the opposite.
      I couldn’t really make heads or tails of Slaughterhouse Five. There was much that I liked about it, but then again, it didn’t really resonate with me. On the other hand, The Old Man and the Sea also had a lot of non-action and irrelevant description, but it still stuck a chord.
      (PS. Sorry for the lateness of my answer.)

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