November 2020

*Images are only for books that have been completed by November 30, 2020*




1984 (George Orwell): 328 → ★★★★★

Pilgrim (Timothy Findley): 534 → ★★★★


Quran Translation: 87 →★★★★★

Thank You For Arguing (Jay Heinriches): 102 →★★★★★


The Economist: 6 (cheated the free article limit)

The Walrus: 20 (best journal ever)

Brain Pickings: 0

Creative Writing Handouts: 3



(NOVEMBER 1 – 31)





Finish 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey (I really need to read this)

Finish Thank You For Arguing by Jay Heinrichs

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

The Brontes Book of Poetry

The Handmaid’s Tail by Margret Atwood

The True Believer by Eric Hoffer 


I know – those are really hefty goals. However, I would really like to empty my “bookshelf” rather than simply accumulating books that I want to read. Hopefully, I will be able to use this winter break to catch up on everything. My reading rate is alright, although I would have wished to have a bit more variety in the novels that I read. 

This month, I have begun to read the book that dictates my life more than anything else. The Quran is written in Arabic, and I had never bothered to read its translation, mainly because it had not seemed important to me. My mother could just tell me the rules and stories, and I should be fine, right?

Wrong. After some self-reflection, I realized that I have been reading so many books, analyzing the heck out of fictional characters, writing multiple critical essays about the human condition, yet I could not tell you anything about the book of my religion. I became very ashamed of myself after thinking this through.

Therefore, I found the translation and began delving into the words of GOD. If I was to maintain my faith, then I should know the whole picture. I should be able to take the skills that I learned in school and applied them to the Quran. And that is exactly what I did. Although I am only 87 pages in, I feel a whole lot better about my heart and soul. 


1984 by George Orwell (★★★★★)

What a genius. It is one thing to set a story in a dystopian world. It is completely another level of creativity to be able to write out a society’s rules through artful imagery, political lingo, and a maddening sense of truth. I was completely immersed in this dreary London he created, being able to find parallels in my own world as well. In 2020, the world seems to always be on a tipping point, just about to cascade down a mountain of disaster, but somehow it manages to keep balance. This was mirrored in the overbearing control and predictability the Party has over the uncertain lives of the populace. 

I really enjoyed his description of history. I am a geek for historical and present-day truth and found solace in Orwell’s emphasis on the subject. He states that the individuals controlling the perception of the past have absolute power over the present. Through this, one can glorify a cause through fabricated evidence and maintain a position of power through deception. In a world of the internet where censorship is rampant, I can see our reaching that point soon. I also enjoyed the idea of Newspeak as well. 

My favorite quote from this book would be the most famous quote in the book, “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is Strength.” It is scary how words and ideas can easily influence the masses. I want to read this book again when Covid and the general political turmoil of 2020 is over, to see where the world is at. 

I also wanted to add that I read his short story, Shooting At an Elephant last year, and it was amazing.

Pilgrim by Timothy Findley (★★★★)

This was an incredibly dense story. I loved each and every aspect of it. From the movie-like prose that was so seamlessly crafted, to the historical accuracy within the mystic, Findley is a complicated man that the world would be duller without. I am so happy that Zaid and I did our writer’s seminar on this brilliant author because I took so much away from his work as a writer. 

First, I loved the ambiguous timeline of this piece. He seems to put his reader in the ocean, and crashes wave after wave against their mind, stopping just before his reader gets lost. I also appreciated his variety in sentence structure. Findley does not fear breaking grammar rules for artistic pleasure. I wish to emulate his methods in the future. 

My favorite quote from this book would be the following: “To spend whole weeks unsat in. To be a drawer that is never opened or a lamp that is never lit. To be an unused cushion, never turned or plumped or held. To be a fallen pin that is never found… To be an unstruck match or an unread book. To be grime. To be dust itself or the unswept dirt from someone’s boots. To spend one’s whole existence unsaluted and unthanked. To be…” (Pilgrim 325) Absolutely stunning. I hope to read more of his work in the future.