September 2019

*Images are only for books that have been completed by September 30th, 2019*

Page Read/Book & Ranking



Outliers (Malcolm Gladwell): 304 → ★★★★

Death of a Salesman (Arthur Miller): 139 → ★★★★

Anthem (Ayn Rand): 105★★★

In Progress

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen): 57 →


The Love Poems of John Donne (John Donne): 38 → ★★

Les Miserables (Victor Hugo): 18 →★★


Khan Academy SAT Daily Reading Practice: 30

The Language of Composition Textbook: 34

Miscellaneous (Reading Comprehension Practice, Articles, etc.): 37

(September 1 – 30)





This month, I tallied pages from my other sources of reading other than novels and separated them into clear categories.   The detailed approach will help me see what type of literature I am reading.  I want my reading ladder to be like a monthly report card, keeping me accountable, and on track.  My page count is and will continue to be accurate and honest.

There has been a shift in my reading pattern and style this year.  Usually, I read a couple of novels per month, and nothing else.  However, I now realize how important it is to be diverse with the types of things I read.  Instead of only reading historical fiction all day and every day, I have forced myself to read self-help books, poetry, plays, articles, and non-fiction.  Hopefully, this will improve my reading comprehension skills. 

My reading rate is average, and I am happy with it, considering the circumstances this month.  With school starting and the big jump in workload, I am proud that I was able to squeeze in a few pages every day.  For once, my reading rate per day true to by actual reading pattern, and I hope to maintain this going into next month.

*The “Other” section counted each segment of writing I read as one page, regardless of the length.*

I plan on reading the following in October: 

    • Pride and Prejudice
    • Night Thoughts by Penguin Classics → poetry
    • Their Eyes Were Watching God → for English
    • Begin a Shakespeare Play
    • The Economist Articles
    • Language and Composition Textbook, SAT Practice, Reading Comprehension

THOUGHTS (For Completed Books)

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (★★★★)

This book is the first of Malcolm Gladwell’s work that I have read, and it will not be my last.  I love the way he presents his arguments, evidence, and personal opinions.  There were many insightful ideas in this novel about the way humans perceive those who are successful.

First, he introduces the lives of the people he will analyze.  Then he points out elements of their lifestyle that lead them to their success.  By the time I finished each chapter, I was fully convinced by his argument.

The central argument of Outliers is present in this quote: “We cling onto the idea that success is a simple function of individual merit and that the world in which we all grow up and the rules we choose to write don’t matter at all.”  He has a very powerful argument about the nature of ambition, motivation, and success — ideas that I can use to write thesis statements in the future.  He is now one of my favorite non-fiction writers.  

The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller (★★★★)

Although I struggle to read plays, I was able to follow this one.  It is a tragedy about Willy Loman, a fallen salesman that pursues the American Dream, while his life falls apart slowly.  With two sons and a gullible wife to support, Willy allows his illusions to dictate his actions, causing him to reject the truth of their financial situation.  His illusion of a happy and prosperous future gave certainty to his uncertain future, but when his reality didn’t match the image in his head, he kills himself.  His death symbolized how he embraced his illusion, as the money from his death would help the family pay their loans. 

I love how the line between reality and fantasy was blurred in this play, as it provided an intense mystery to the overall plot.  There is one question, however, that interests me the most: Who is the antagonist?  I would argue that the American Dream is hindering his ability to fix his life and the adversary he does defeat by the end, figuratively.

Anthem by Ayn Rand (★★★★)

Anthem was a bit different from my usual choice of dystopian novels, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  Ayn Rand is a Russian-American writer of the twentieth century, known for her idea of Objectivism.  She defined this as, “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”  Her writing strongly promotes individualism among the collective.  

Anthem illustrates a society where all man is one, thinking as one, breathing as one, and living as one.  Among the segregated groups, a few street cleaners learn of a hidden cave, where they experiment in every night.  They try to help mankind with their inventions but are shunned away into the forest, where they are free, but lonely until they are able to love.

I got goosebumps every time the word “we” was used; it was unnerving to think of a group acting as one person.  Brilliantly, she hinted at the flaws of acting together, her choice of pronoun strengthening the overall argument and philosophy.