October 2021 Wrap-Up / Victober 2021 Finale

Woman Reading by a Window by American artist Gari Melchers.

Another month over, another reading wrap-up. These are my favorite posts to write because I love looking back at all the wonderful books I read. I also enjoy sharing with you the books I read (or don’t read). Books make me happy. I used to lock myself in a room seeking solitude with my books or whatever magazines I could find lying around. It was six of us in a two bedroom apartment; solitude was and is my friend. My family did not have extra money for books, so I patiently waited for my library’s bookmobile to make its way to my neighborhood so I could return my books and check out new books. Decades later I still find reading to be one of the most magical moments of my life.

Let’s dig in, shall we? My October reading consisted of books for the Victober 2021 challenge.

I read the following as part of the reading challenge:

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Though it’s not Victorian, nor a novel, it was written during the Victorian era by the American writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The Yellow Wallpaper is written in the form of diary entries. The journal entries are written by a woman (our narrator) who is married to a doctor. According to the doctor-husband, the narrator suffers from some sort of “hysteria.” – An all too common ailment for 19th century women. – The husband decides the best way to restore her health is to confine his wife to one room and to forbid her from writing. It’s in this room that the narrator begins to see women creeping around in the yellow wallpaper. The narrator’s husband is not a bad man; he loves his wife, but like all 19th century male doctors he is severely misguided on how to treat female patients. It’s a sad story about women not having the right to make decisions for themselves. I’m not a literary expert, but I don’t think the narrator is suffering from hysteria. I think that forcing a person into confinement and not allowing her to work or pursue interesting hobbies can harm one’s mental health. If you have an hour to spare, I recommend reading this short story. It’s a powerful take into the oppression faced by 19th century women.

A Rogue’s Life by Wilkie Collins

This was my first time reading Wilkie Collins. I like him as a writer; I also like the narrator of the audiobook version. I just didn’t like the main character, Frank. I found him to be an extremely pompous jerk who never made any effort to better his life. Frank also didn’t believe in putting in an honest day’s work. It’s supposed to be a comic novel, but because I couldn’t stand Frank it just wasn’t enjoyable for me.

Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell

Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell was my favorite read of October. The short stories had me at the very edge of my seat. Some of them are based on true crimes. If you read just one book from October’s list, then please pick this one. There is definitely a story in this short story collection that will suit you.

Oscar Wilde’s tomb at Père-Lachaise.

Collected Stories by Oscar Wilde

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde is so much fun. Until I listened to this audiobook of short stories I didn’t know he wrote fairy tales. Which makes me feel bad for never digging deeper into his works. In honor of the inimitable Oscar Wilde and Victober, last month (on Halloween) I paid him a visit. He is buried at Cimetière du Père-Lachaise. I love Oscar Wilde. He was a genius, and a wonderful, witty writer. I also think he was far ahead of his time. And because I love him, I wish he had a happier life and a better end to his life. I wish that he had that fairy tale ending that he wrote for so many of his characters.

If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you. – Oscar Wilde

This sums up my October reading. What did you read in October? What are you reading now? Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

xoxo, Jane