Hi guys, it’s Olivia here from Olivia’s Catastrophe!
And today I’m here to give you my September wrap up. In the month of September I read
14 books. So let’s get right down to what I read. The first book that I read in the month of
September was The Vegetarian by Han Kang. And this one was an interesting read. Okay,
so we follow this main character and she decides that she is going to become a vegetarian.
But, to be honest, why is it called The Vegetarian because she actually goes vegan. However,
her husband isn’t too happy with that and her mental health goes on a downward spiral
as she fights against her family to be allowed to be vegan and yeah… A lot of stuff happens
in this book. And by the way, I’m going to be leaving trigger warnings for all of these
books in the comment section — in my description box down below. But I really struggled with
The Vegetarian because I did not enjoy reading it. I just found it too disgusting? Like,
the first two perspectives that you get in this book are male perspectives and the way
that they view this woman, and the way that they look at her body, and the way that they
treat her is just absolutely disgusting. And it was making my skin crawl being in their
perspective. And then we got a female perspective which I liked more and it’s almost like a
refreshing breath of fresh air to finally get to her perspective. But then at the same
time, the things that were happening were just… disturbing! And, I feel like, for
the beginning of the book to the middle I was so confused. Like, I didn’t understand
the point of the book. Like what was I getting out of reading this content? But then by the
end of it I felt like I understood a little bit what they were getting at. Kind of? Maybe?
And it just… I don’t know… this whole book was very, very disturbing for me. It
was a very interesting experience but not one that I would ever want to have again.
Someone replied to my insta story and she said that what she got from this book was
that she would never treat anybody this way because of how it made her feel when she read
the text. And I feel like that’s a very good thing to get out the book. However, when I
finished the book that wasn’t what I got out of it. So… yeah? Moving on. Then I’m going to talk about the children’s
literature I read for my children’s literature class. And that was a reread for me. That
was The Outsiders by SE Hinton. And I actually really, really enjoyed rereading this one.
So this one follows this gang of boys and all of the trouble that they kind of get into
in their neighbourhood. Pretty much that. It’s very coming of age story. It’s a classic
of one of the first — well not one of the first, but one of the very well known, beginner,
young adult books. I didn’t expect the writing to be as young as it was. Felt a little bit
juvenile at times. But I am going to put that to the fact that SE Hinton was quite young
when she wrote this herself. Once you get past to the writing style you just fall in
love with these grey area characters. This gang of boys who aren’t exactly good but they
aren’t exactly bad either. I really like Ponyboy. I really like the family kind of dynamic — the
found family aspect of the book. And I didn’t really remember what happened. It also features
one of my favourite poems by Robert Frost. Like, not my favourite poem but my favourite
Robert Frost. And, yeah, it was so nice to go back down this road and read it again. Then I had to read Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory by Roald Dahl. And this was quite a shocking reread for me. Because I remember
when I was young I absolutely loved this book. It was amazing to me. I loved the movie. But
rereading this with an adult lense and studying it kind of destroyed the story for me. I didn’t
hate it but it’s problematic. So, one of the things that… let me tell you what it’s about.
It’s about Charlie. He’s this young boy and Willy Wonka has this huge chocolate factory
that’s very famous but nobody ever comes in and nobody ever goes out. Wonka puts in this
ad where five golden tickets get given to children if they find it in a chocolate bar.
And those kids get to go to the chocolate factory and experience all the behind the
scenes. When I read this book I was still in awe that Roald Dahl has such a creative
mind. Like, the things and inventions that he comes up with are so unique and so creative.
Who thinks like that? Who thinks of those? It’s absolutely amazing. It is written in
such an easy to read way. It is middle grade so just be aware of that. It’s just so easy
to read and I flew through it in a single day. However, it is incredibly racist because
if you think it the oompa loompas are natives, basically. Who are taken from their home.
When they live in their home they are savage, they can’t even fend for themselves, they
are starving, they are poor. But at the mention of getting paid in cacao beans, and not even
in money, they leap for the chance to work for Willy Wonka forever and ever. They don’t
need payment, they are happy to be paid in food. They wear tribal clothes but now they
speak English and they are always happy working for Willy Wonka and never leaving the factory
and always being trapped in there. As well as that when Willy Wonka tests out his products
they all get experimented on the oompa loompas. That seems really problematic if you think
about it. It was very fatphobic. The way that Augustus Gloop is described is very disgusting
to me. They just make so much fun of the fact that he is overweight. Secondly, there are
some ableist moments. The fact that one of the grandpas cannot move and cannot get out
of bed. But at the sign of a good thing that can happen he kind of hops out of bed, and
he is suddenly well and able bodied. And then also at the end there’s this moment where
there are people who are in a bed who say that they don’t want to go anywhere. They
are trapped in a bed and they cannot move for themselves. They say they don’t want to
do something yet they pick up the bed and make these characters do it anyway. Which
is just ableist to move someone by force if they explicitly stated that they don’t want
to do that. So be aware that that’s in the book. And those things kind of brought it
down for me in terms of enjoyment. But if we are going to ignore all that it’s entertaining,
and it’s funny, and it’s also nostalgic. But it’s also problematic so I’ll just leave you
with that. Then I read Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
and it was alright. I read this in a single day as well. It’s about this pig called Wilbur
and he grows up on this farm. And Charlotte is this girl who can understand what they
animals say. Wilbur is being fattened up for Christmas so the animals in the farm think
of ways to save him. It’s a pro-vegetarianism kind of book. But it’s also told through a
child’s lense. I think it just had no effect on me. I’m not someone who really feels a
lot of empathy towards animals in books when I read about animals. Like, I don’t really
care. So this book is just not for me. But it might be for you. I have nothing more to
say. I just read this and I was like mmm *shrug* moving on. So, also last month I went on a huge poetry
bender and decided that I needed to read all of the poetry. So let’s talk about the poetry
that I read. The first one I read is For Colored Who Considered
Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf and Spell #7 by Ntozake Shange. And this poetry collection
got five stars from me. But this poetry collection only includes 2 poems. So Ntozake Shange writes
this kind of poetry which is a choreopoem. Which is a poem that includes stage directions
so it’s almost like a mash up of a play and poem, and dance and music is involved. And
it’s so unique. I have never read poetry like that and I found it so amazing and so impactful.
And powerful. In her poem For Colored Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf
it follows these different black women who are talking about their struggles of being
a black woman. The writing was just amazing. The stories were heartbreaking and difficult
to read. And the way the poetry was worded just… struck something deep within me. It
moved me so much. And Spell 7 was similar. It focused a bit more on work and trying to
get a job as a black person in America at the time. But I just… these poems were just
amazing. And if you want to read some classic black poetry I would recommend trying Ntozake
Shange. I continued on with her poetry by reading
a poetry collection called A Daughter’s Geography by Ntozake Shange. And this one is just normal
poetry. I did like it. I just think that some of the poems went a bit over my head because
there were references to Latinx countries that I just don’t know about. And I just didn’t
know the meaning of those things so the fact that they went over my head is not a reflection
on her poetry at all, it’s a reflection on the fact that I didn’t know enough while reading
those poems and I didn’t stop to look it up which is something I should have done. But
her poetry is still very good and I very much enjoyed that poetry collection. The next one that I read was Insomnia by John
Kinsella. And this was also fantastic. I just didn’t expect it to hit me as much as it did.
So it’s an eco-environmentally friendly charged poetry collection. So you’ve got a lot of
nature imagery. And he is also an Australian author so it’s very focused on places in Australia
and things in Australia. So you get a lot of those references in his poems. And it just
struck me so much about how humans and nature are one. Like, in our minds we try to separate
ourselves from nature and make it seem like nature is not what we belong in, or live in
or what we’re part of. But this poetry collection really fuses them both together. And I feel
like that’s such an important reminder for the way that we treat the world today. And
the poems and the way they were worded were fantastic. I wouldn’t recommend this for beginners
because it does take a bit of analysing and deep diving. But other than that fantastic. Then I read Autobiochemisty by Tricia Dearborn.
She’s an Australian poet. And this poetry collection just was really random. I can’t
really tell you what it’s all about. Because she has some that have to do with science,
some that are a response to Virginia Woolf’s writing, some that are just about romance.
And it was just like a whole bunch of random poems put into one poetry collection. I didn’t
really like it if you could tell you. I felt like the poetry was a bit oversimplified and
it didn’t feel like a unanimous piece of art which is something I like in poetry collections
and feel like it should be. So then after that I read Rainforest by Eileen
Chong. She is an Asian-Australian poet. I believe, I can’t tell you for sure, but I
believe she is either from Hong Kong and Singapore. Or like, born in Singapore and studied in
Hong Kong and then came to Sydney where she lives right now. So her poems were very much
about being of three different cultures and three different worlds. And that is something
I could very much relate to. And her poems are very structured and very precise, and
structured with very precise words. There are no words in her poems that she doesn’t
need. I felt like it didn’t quite vibe with me but that’s not because her poems are bad,
it’s just personal preference with the way that she writes. It was still a decent read. And then last but not least for poetry I got
my other five star read of this month. And that was These Wild Houses by Omar Sakr. So
this was his debut poetry collection. I believe he has another one which I shall be reading.
And I’m going to tell you a little bit about him just because his poems are very much about
that. So Omar Sakr is a bisexual, Muslim Arab-Australian poet. And those are his identities that he
has on his poetry collection. I’m not assuming. I know guys, I did my research. And he also
came from a background which was a little bit of a dysfunctional family. He also kind
of lived in — not quite had his own house. He was just squatting in some places and kind
of flickering between different homes. Making ends meet. So these poems kind of reflect
all of that. And you’d think that his poetry would be raw, and angry, and dark and upsetting
because of these themes about, like homophobia, acceptance, finding your own home, living
in a dysfunctional family. But it’s not. All of this anger and maybe frustration that he
feels about his past is channelled into carefully crafted, amazingly well written poetry. And
it hits you. It hits you deep. There’s some anger in it, there’s some frustration, but
there’s sadness, there’s beauty, there’s happiness. And all of these emotions are just brimming
in his words. He uses images and metaphors that I just wouldn’t think of myself. And
I found it so creative and amazing. I was blown away that this was his debut collection
and I can’t wait to see what he has written next. And then after that I’ve got my only physical
book to show you and that is That Asian Kid by Savita Kalhan. I think I unboxed this in
a vlog and I’ll try to find the right vlog and link it up there. But this one follows
Jeevan who is doing his GSCEs and his exams. And he’s trying to just pass as best as he
can. He’s very smart. But he has this one particular teacher who always grades him lower.
And he starts to suspect that she’s a bit racist towards the coloured kids in her classes.
When he goes on a walk in a forest he comes across this teacher doing something unsavoury
with another teacher and films it on his phone. So he has this video that he could use to
take down his teacher who he thinks is unfair to students in her classes, him as well. And
he is kind of debating whether he should use this footage or not. So, I’ve got my full
review on my blog and I’ll leave a link to it down below. I did enjoy this one. It was
very interesting. I felt a bit morally mixed because I couldn’t like Jeevan for the fact
that he is even considering using this footage and not tackling it in other ways. I can understand
why he felt like his back was up in a corner though, from the way that this book goes about
things you get to see why he really struggles to be accepted and have his views heard. So
it was a very interesting way of talking about how racism can manifest in modern day. And
especially with the power dynamic between the student and the teacher and which side
people tend to be on. So, very interesting book. Very thought provoking. It wasn’t very
exciting because it is set in a school and he is a student worrying about his school
life. But it was still very interesting to read. And the last two novels that I read were new
adult romances. So the first one we’ve got is Love Story by Adriana Herrera. Again, I
have a review for this on my blog as I was also sent that one for review. In this one
we follow these two characters. Patrice and Easton. So this book was really interesting
guys, I’m excited to tell you about it. So Patrice is this black man who is very politically
active. And he is an activist. Especially for the rights of black people who just want
to live their lives in America. And then we’ve got Easton who works for the law. And he works
SVU cases. He’s actually a trust fund baby but he doesn’t just want to live with his
mummy and that’s it. He’s decided he wants to give back to the community and that’s why
he has decided to be a lawyer. And, they start a little bit of a romance. But the things
is that in Easton’s county black people and people of colour are being pulled over on
the road for no reason. And that’s basically what’s happening in America with police stops
and police brutality and things like that. And that becomes very complicated in their
romance because Patrice thinks that Easton’s law firm is not doing enough to handle the
police who are stopping people unfairly. And he’s an activist. And Easton is from the SVU
unit and he’s not even the main head of things, or on the right side of the law firm, and
he feels like he can’t really do much. So they are having this huge political clash
in their romantic relationship. And I feel like even though this is a new adult romance
and there are some explicit scenes, it very much largely focuses on this. And I appreciated
that. Because the explicit scenes weren’t really cutting it for me in this one. But
I was very interested in this political debate and whether the characters were on the right
or wrong, or doing the right or wrongs things. Because don’t think this is all going to be
on Easton who is the white character. They both make a lot of mistakes. And I feel like
this book delved into that topic deeply and so well. Check out my review for more of that. And last but not least I reread How to Bang
a Billionaire and How to Blow it with a Billionaire by Alexis Hall. I remembered most of the events
from the first one and basically remembered nothing from the second one. So in the first
one you follow Arden. He is this university student and he’s just about to graduate and
go through his exams. When he starts to have a relationship with a billionaire. However,
this billionaire has a lot of hang ups, basically. That they have to work through. And they both
have to learn what it means to be in a relationship. Arden especially needs to grow some self confidence.
So they are figuring out their relationship together. And both of them have a bit of a
kinky side when it comes to their sex life. So that’s also explored. I really like the
first one. The writing style is just superb. You know I love Alexis Hall’s writing style.
And it was just fantastic. And then we get to the second one where it gets a lot more
about explicit scenes and consensual sex and what that means. Limits, and boundaries, and
I found it all very very healthy. And I was just loving it. And then the ending happened
and… I don’t know how I survived 1.5 years with that cliffhanger and not having any answers.
Amazed. But I now have the third book and am very excited to get to it. So there you have it! Those are the 14 books
that I read in the month of September. Please let me know in the comment section down below
what was your favourite read in the month of September? And have you read any of the
books that I talked about? Please give this video a thumbs up if you enjoyed it, hit that
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bell to be updated every time I have a new video. And I’ll see you in the next one. Goodbye!

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