31. Achilleas’ fiancee, by Alki Zei
Readathon category: A book that is based on true events
I liked this book so much!
Eleni/Dafni is the fiancee of Achilleas, a great and famous captain of the resistance. During Greece’s civil war, she is thrown in jail. After they let her out, she goes to Soviet Union, where many greek communists lived, to find Achilleas, a man she actually barely knows. We see her remember her life story while living in Paris in the 70s, to avoid the Greek dictatorship (Junta).
Although this book sounds political and it is based on Alki Zei’s real life events (she did go to Soviet Union and Paris, but there was no Achilleas), it manages to stay pretty neutral. It is mostly the life story of a woman who realizes she doesn’t like her life, she is not in love with her husband, she doesn’t believe in the communist party’s ideas the way she used to, she just wants to go back to Greece.
As for the political situation described in the book… there is a reason the civil war is out of our history books… It is so shameful…
I rarely read greek books. Maybe I liked it so much because it is familiar. Who knows.. I give it 5 stars anyway!
PS. The clothes I chose are too funny and cute for this book, but the t-shirt is kind of communist (bought in China) and the skirt has a 70s Paris style kind of (also bought in China though)
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
32. HHhH, by Laurent Binet
Readathon category: A book where the main character is a historical figure
This is a history book about a murder attempt against one of the worst Nazis, Heydrich. Not a historic novel. A history book. The author claims multiple times that he did not write something that was not actually said or did not happen exactly as described. And I believe him. Sounds boring right?
Well, it is not. It is written in a special way, with the author describing how he wrote the book, a movie that he saw, another book he read and what was wrong about it, a museum he visited. A couple of times he wrote something only to take it back a couple of pages later, by saying “turns out I was wrong, this did not happen like that”. The writing is great, even if there is no fiction to it. I will admit that I got a little bored somewhere in the middle. No action, the people that would make the attack were not yet introduced and there were too many names, places and kind of boring things. But the last 100 pages… I could not put the book down! How did he manage to do that only with straight facts?
Another thing… The way he describes the horrible things Nazis did was special. I felt like he described it as something natural. The way they saw it. He barely add any comments to magnify how horrible they were. And that made them even more horrible. Because you could feel how Nazis were thinking at the time, how they justified to themselves what they did.
I think it is a great book, but if you find history boring (I am not a great fan either), there is a great possibility you will be bored.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
33. The Vegetarian, by Han Kang
Readathon category: A book that won an international award in the last 3 years
The big winner of the Man Booker International Prize. A story set in South Korea, about a woman that sees a dream and becomes a vegetarian. The story is in three parts (chronologically correct), each part from the eyes of a different person (but not the woman itself).
Before reading it, I thought that the book would be about how weird it is in Korea to be a vegetarian. And if the book is correct, it is very weird. I really hope people are more openminded in this topic.
But of course the book is so much more. It is about mental illness and family relations, weird sex desires and secrets. I don’t thing I have read another book set in modern South Korea and I really liked learning more about this civilization. It reminded me of Japanese literature. The writing was good in general, I only felt bored in the last part, too many feelings and dreams ( I HATE dreams in books).
I liked it and I would recommend it. It is also small, I feel that it barely managed to stay not-boring. Unless there was a fourth part with weird sex again, that would be interesting! Disturbing, but not boring for sure.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
34. Skim, by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
Readathon category: A book with only one word in the title
This is a graphic novel by the sisters that also made the very good This One Summer, with the amazing artwork. I was kind of scared I might not like this one as much. I think it is usually disappointing to see the first work of someone who amazed you with a later work.
But I liked it a lot! The artwork is again amazing, maybe a little less detailed than This One Summer. But I could identify with this teenage girl more. Kim is a normal teenagers with normal issues. She is a Wicca (this is my kind of failed attempt to wear something witchy-looking, I am running out of clothes…), which means she reads about that stuff and has Tarrot cards etc. She has a best friend but she starts to feel less connected with her, there is a teacher that she likes, someone that committed suicide in the school… But all this is given in such a realistic way! It doesn’t feel like a Hollywood movie, it feels real. I don’t know how to explain why I liked it so much. I think you should just read it!
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
35. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisee Coates
Readathon category: A non-fiction book
I expected more from this book. It is the “letter” the author writes to his son, motivated by one of the many “police shooting unarmed black kid and goes unpunished” incidents, where he talks about how it is to be black in USA. The book is structured so that he talks about this through describing his life (a little bit). The writing did not agree with me. I would like more facts than ideas written in a lyrical way. It is a shame, because books like this need to be written. It was not bad, it is just… it could be better! I liked Americanah‘s way of talking about racism more. Although this book kind of focused more on police shootings, not racism in general.
Anyway, I expected a little more. Not bad though, I just could not focus on his ideas because of his writing, but that is just my personal taste.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2