September: A Retrospect
Apologies dear readers for my tardiness in putting together my September retrospect, but it has been quite the month, what with a return to full-time studying and all! I’m two weeks into studying and looking at the breadth and depth of my course reading lists does mean that this state of affairs will deteriorate further before it gets any better. Nevertheless, let’s move on with the September recap.
I finished Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep early on in the month and have to say it was equal parts fascinating and terrifying. The book is an in-depth look at why sleep is essential to our health and functioning, and how a lack of it can literally kill us. A must-read (or in my case listen), this is one that is highly likely to keep you up at night (pun intended).
The Pearl That Broke its Shell was a well told, but incredibly sad and frustrating story about Rahima and Shekiba – two women from the same family who live in two different periods in Afghanistan. While insightful, this was definitely not a light read and highlights how cheaply valued female lives continue to be in that region of the world.
The Alchemist was my second audiobook of the month and one that needs little introduction I think. Let’s just say that Jeremy Irons has a drool-worthy voice which lends a whole new dimension to a classic tale.
The Tattoist of Auschwitz was the compelling true story of Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew who became a Tätowierer, marking his fellow inmates with the infamous numbers they were all inscribed with on entry to Auschwitz, and Gita who he fell in love with during their time in the camp. It takes great courage to come forward with a story like this, and as tragic as the premise is, Lale’s voice uplifts and inspires.
The Poetry Pharmacy by William Sieghart was a wonderfully curated collection of poems to cure any and all ailments of the heart and mind. Definitely one I will be dipping into as and when the occasion demands.
My two least favourite reads of the month were Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan and Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. The writing in Crazy Rich Asians drove me up the wall – there were so many voices and points of views, that it was dizzying, character development was minimal to non-existent, and overall, it was that incredibly rare breed of book where, wait for it, the movie was actually better.
The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry was a funny and interesting read on how masculinity, and how we need to rethink and redefine what it means to be ‘manly’ in the modern world. The new manifesto for men’s rights definitely needs to be reproduced in full:
- The right to be vulnerable
- The right to be weak
- The right to be wrong
- The right to be intuitive
- The right not to know
- The right to be uncertain
- The right to be flexible
- The right not to be ashamed of any of these
To conclude the month, and as a break in between course texts, I decided to read A Discovery of Witches ahead of watching the TV series with one of my favourites, Matthew Goode – I’m on the fence about this one. It started off great, but the middle and end just kind of…fizzled. Let’s hope the TV series is better!
- Why We Sleep (Matthew P. Walker): ★★★★
- The Pearl That Broke Its Shell (Nadia Hashimi): ★★★★
- The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho): ★★★
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz (Heather Morris): ★★★★
- The Poetry Pharmacy (William Sieghart): ★★★★
- Crazy Rich Asians (Kevin Kwan): ★★
- Rules of Magic (Alice Hoffman): ★★
- The Descent of Man (Grayson Perry): ★★★★
- A Discovery of Witches (Deborah Harkness): ★★★