october 2020

Please refer to the reading scale. It can be found by clicking on the link below.

reading ladder

A Doll’s House

A play written by Henrik Ibsem

new version by Frank McGuinness

pages 106/106

Rating: ★★★

“A Doll’s House” is a play focusing on housewife Nora Helmer as she begins to see the intentions of the world around her and realizing how she is merely only a domestic figure dominated by the male characters in her life. The play opens with Nora coming home with packages, excited for Christmas Eve. Nora is splurging on Christmas this year because her affectionate husband, Torvald, is being promoted to bank manager in the New Year and will receive a huge bonus. They have been pretty tight with money over the past couple of years, so Nora is excited about the newfound financial freedom. When Ms. Linde, an old friend of Nora’s, comes to visit, the audience learns of Torvad’s illness and the vacation to Italy that saved his life. Nora discretely got money to pay for this trip, but Torvald was unaware of the loan Nora was secretly paying off behind his back. As Nora’s past comes back in the form of Krogstad, an employee of the bank, Nora becomes distraught that he is coming back to haunt her. The play focuses on the lengths Nora will go to be a ‘good wife’ and keep her past financial matters hidden from her husband. Overall, I believe that the play was well-written with significant symbolism and themes that are prominent in this day and age. As the reader glances over the literature at first, it may seem bland and boring. However, as one continues, the meaning behind the dialogue becomes more apparent. It wasn’t a play I would read for sole entertainment purposes again because the plot line was sometimes confusing and not always engaging. However, the overall play is effective in allowing the reader to practice critical analytical skills that I think are crucial heading towards the English 30-1 diploma exams in grade twelve. 

American Dirt

A novel by Jeanine Cummins

pages 386/386

Rating: ★★★★★

“American Dirt” is a novel that focuses on Lydia, a bookstore owner in the Mexican city of Acapulco, and her son Luca as their life is turned upside down by the drug cartel that has recently taken over their city. They are comfortable in their life until Lydia’s husband, a journalist, publishes a piece on the leader of the drug cartel. The leader of the drug cartel is Javier, a man who Lydia befriended as a regular at her bookstore. However, after the tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same. Javier and his henchman come after the family, viciously killing all of Lydia’s family at a birthday party. Lydia and Luca can escape but they know they will not be safe until they reach el Norte, otherwise known as the United States of America. The novel focuses on the lengths Lydia and Luca go to protect each other as refugees in their own homes as they flee from the dangers that lurk around them. The novel provides insight into the mind of a migrant and the sacrifices they make to reach what they believe is a better life. This novel is probably one of the most suspenseful, climatic pieces of literature I have read as of right now. It kept me on the edge of my seat, and I did not want to put the book down whatsoever. I also believe that this eye-opening book sheds light on the migrant crisis at the United States border, and helps put the journey of the migrant into perspective. I recommend this book for anyone who can handle some gruesome details, heavy content, and some controversy. In my opinion, this novel captures the essence of five-star worthy book-captivating plot lines, powerful details, and well-written characters. 

The Nightingale

A novel by Kristin Hannah

pages 353/564 (in progress)

Rating: undetermined

France in 1939 was a time of despair for both women and men as the country headed into war with Germany. This novel focuses on two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle as they steer life in Nazi-occupied France. Vianne lives in the quiet village of Carriveau with her loving husband Antoine and her daughter Sophie. She was initially reluctant to accept that wartime was upon them. However, Antoine is soon forced to join the army, and Isabelle, a rebellious force of nature, heads to join her sister in the safety of the country. Isabelle has an uncontrollable sense of passion, she wants to help the war efforts instead of being cooped up in the countryside. It is often hard for Isabelle to not speak what is on her mind. This becomes way harder when a Nazi Captain has a requisition to stay in Vianne’s lovely home. Vianne and Isabelle haven’t always been on the best of terms as their sole memories of each other highlight their parental abandonment at a young age. On one side you see Vianne, trying to come to terms with the war while Isabelle wants to fight back with the Resistance. So far, the book is extraordinary. It shows the war from a resilient point of view of women, not often highlighted in the wars throughout history. As of right now, I feel like there is a lot of build-up to the main action sequence : therefore  I don’t think I can give this book a fair rating as I am only half way through the book and it has already been an emotional and suspenseful roller coaster. However, it is incredibly well written and a book worth considering to read. 

Total Pages This Month: 845

Pages Per Day

845 pages divided by 31 days

= 27 pages per day

Last month, I decided that I wanted to try reading thirty pages a day. This would be a ten page per day increase from how many pages I read in September. Even though I did not reach my goal, I do think I was pretty close. I went from reading only one book in September to nearly two and a half books in October. Personally, this is a significant improvement for me considering I stopped reading completely during quarantine. For November, my goal is to keep up with this newfound consistency of reading and aim for around thirty two pages per day. I think this will be possible because I will be building upon my new found habits that inhibit me from being distracted while I am reading. I also believe that by  reading more often, I am beginning to find a genre of books that I like to indulge in. Even though the books I read this month varied in genre, “The Nightingale” and “American Dirt” are pieces of fiction that have some pieces of truth woven into them, crucial in bringing awareness to that era. Even though one is a thriller and the other is a wartime romance, they are both suspenseful and full of action . Thus, I think I am beginning to find books that I enjoy reading, rather than books that I am forcefully keeping myself awake to read. Next month, I am hoping to finish “The Nightingale”, and maybe read another similar piece of literature. 

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