Readathon 2016: Books 36-40

Readathon 2016: Books 1-5

Readathon 2016: Books 6-10

Readathon 2016: Books 11-15

Readathon 2016: Books 16-20

Readathon 2016: Books 21-25

Readathon 2016: Books 26-30

Readathon 2016: Books 31-35

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As you can see, my reading rhythm has fallen drastically.

The reason for that is that I don’t have yet reached a new routine: I have a new job, I had to do some training for it, then I started my first project (very demanding), plus some vacation in between, where I re-read the Goldfinch

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(still ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ )

I am sure I will not finish all 64 readathon categories, but maybe I can make it to 52.

Anyway, let’s see what I read lately:

36. The Drawing of the Three (The Dark Tower #2)by Stephen King

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Readathon category: A fantasy book

Yeah, didn’t know what to wear for that… I chose this dress for Suzanna. And a horrible photo too… never doing the photoshoot again during the night…

Yes, I am a Dark Tower fan now. I will read all the books, but since I have them in an electronic form and I need to empty my library a little bit, I will spread my reading of them a little. I read the first book of the series while traveling to China. Bad, bad idea. From now on I will only re-read when I am traveling, or I will read something simple, like a YA. I read Cinder on the same trip and I was ok with that.

In this book, the Gunslinger has to go through three magical doors that lead into New York (but in different years) and find three people. Most of the book is spent on the first door, where he meets a junkie from the 80s. Once again I was amazed with Stephen King’s fantasy (these books are not horror btw). He is an amazing storyteller. But it is not only the fantasy elements, his writing is in general very good. I know many people look down on him (because his books are bestsellers), although they haven’t read anything of his. To these people I say: “Did you like The Shawsank Redemption? How about Stand by me? The Shining maybe? Or The Green Mile? Guess who has written all of them”.

I hope I will get to finish this series soon! The movie is coming out soon, although I don’t know which books it will cover.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

37. The 10, by M. Karagatsis

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Readathon category: A book by a writer who uses a nickname

As I have said before, I rarely read greek authors. Lately (let’s blame my moving to a new country and “missing” the greek everyday life) I find myself wanting to read more books that take place in my country. I still don’t trust that I will enjoy young greek authors (any serious suggestions?), so I am trying some safe choices. I hadn’t read any books from Karagatsis and I was reading very nice comments for him everywhere.

I decided to start with “The 10” because I had already bought it many years ago. I was hesitant because I knew he died before completing it. But it doesn’t matter at all, because of the way the book is written. The 10 is a huge building in 50s Pireaus, separated into many rooms that are rented to poor people. The whole book is a bunch of stories about the inhabitants.

I could continue reading it for years, much like watching a soap opera.  I found it interesting, the writing was good. I originally was very enthusiastic about it, but later I got some serious doubts. Although everything was interesting in this book, great characters etc, the book was too sexual. Apart from 3-4 more deep stories, the rest of the small stories made people look like sex addicts. And I really doubt things were like that in the 50’s. First of all, ALL the women are either whores or sluts (except a couple of them that are problematic – obviously, otherwise they would be sluts too). You see 16-year olds having sex with 60-year old men, so that they can marry them and be set for life. Generally there are only 3-4 descent people (almost all of them men) in the whole book and who knows, maybe he was planning to turn them into unlikable characters too.

For example there is a male teacher, definitely one of the most descent characters in the book: educated, really trying to help his poor students continue their studies, really trying to save his best student from becoming a prostitute… but when we first meet him he goes on and on about how he would like to have sex with his female students (13-14 years old) and explaining why the law is so wrong to forbid that (his explanation: they are all sluts anyway). Kind of making me not like him…. But on the other hand, that is how people are. There are no 100% nice people, everyone has faults. So maybe this book is realistic?

But why so much sex? There are almost no sex scenes by the way, but it looks like sex is in everyone’s minds ALL the time. At first I accepted that as part of the book, more like a fantasy element: let’s imagine everything revolves around sex. But now I am not so sure… why did he make the book like that?

It is also interesting that he died before even getting the chance to edit it. This is his first handwritten draft I assume. I am really a little frustrated that I will not get to find out what will happen to some of the characters.

Anyway, I guess it is a book that has made me think, so I will give it 4 stars. I have already bought Yugerman, let’s see what that will be about.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

38. The Girlsby Emma Cline

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Readathon category: A book published in 2016

The highly expected book of 2016. The author got paid a lot for her debut novel (I feel like I am reliving this… City on Fire??). The story: more or less, the Manson Family and the murders. No, it is not a biography, but obviously that is where the author got the idea for the book.

Evie is 14 years old in 1969 L.A.. She has no friends, her parents are rich and divorced, she is bored and she meets a girl that amazes her. She starts spending time with her and her friends, which turn out to be a cult. From the first chapter (Evie is around 30-40 I guess and remembers the story) you read something about murders, that unfolds slowly.

First of all, the writing is amazing. I got a Donna Tartt feeling from the beginning (I know many of you don’t like Tartt, but I do!). I really connected with Evie, she felt like a real person. The story is also interesting, even the small future parts, where Evie is at her 30s-40s. I thought it was very insightful when it came to different personalities. I also really liked the “California in the 60s” atmosphere.

Some things I did not like: I needed more about the cult. I didn’t get why everyone adored the leader, the book didn’t make me feel why he was amazing. Probably because Evie didn’t think he was amazing. And no analysis on the girls. I mean, the book is called “The Girls”, shouldn’t we learn more about them? Most of the book is spent on Evie, her family, her previous friend and the teenagers she meets in the future. Although this sounds like a big minus for the book, I really liked reading it, I really liked the writer’s insights on human behavior, so I give it 5 stars.

I would definitely recommend this book.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

39. The Handmaid’s Taleby Margaret Atwood

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Readathon category: A book published in the year you were born

This book was written in 1985 (yes, that’s how old I am) but it could have as well been written this year. It really doesn’t feel outdated.

The book describes a dystopian USA, where women (but also many men) have no rights. There is a Big Brother-ish atmosphere. Do yourselves a favor and don’t read the back cover. I had forgotten what it was about and I really enjoyed finding out the details (what exactly was the role of the Handmaid?) slowly throughout the book.

It is of course an amazing book, you don’t need me to tell you about it, it is pretty famous. I did not like the end so much, but I don’t know what kind of ending I would like it to have. Anyway, just read it. And then think about how many women in various parts of the world live under similar circumstances.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

40. The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, edited by Hope Nicholson

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Readathon category: A book with a book on the cover (if you look carefully, one of the girls is holding a book – bad photo again)

This book (which i supported through kickstarter) comprises of about 50 mostly autobiographical stories (max 5 pages long) of “geek” female authors and cartoonists.
I would say that about one third of them were badly written (according to my opinion and taste), another third was “meh” and the last third was ok. Most of them looked like something you could read in a cosmopolitan magazine, and I don’t say that in a negative way necessarily. I think it would be good for some teenagers to read some of the stories and understand that it is ok if you are a virgin in your twenties, it is ok if you like girls, online dating is fine, be yourself etc etc.
A big plus for me was that almost half of the stories were in a comic strip form.
And there were various nice illustrations from different artists.

But I just didn’t think anything was great about this book, so:

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

P.S. One comment: I really don’t like this term, “geek girl”. It makes me think of girls that try to act geeky because it is cool now. Let’s not kid ourselves, it is cool to be nerdy now in many social groups. Especially online. And some of the stories made me feel that. “Look I am a cool geek girl, I like videogames and comics!”.

And what makes someone geek? I don’t care about Batman or Superman at all, I don’t play videogames or boardgames or D&D, I watched Star Wars in my twenties and I haven’t watched Star Trek yet. On the other hand, I have watched 3 times the Doctor Who series (and bought a Tardis cookie jar and a screwdriver), I knew by heart all the lines of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring movie and walked around wearing the One ring for more than a year. I went to the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play in London but I haven’t read the Game of Thrones books, I only watch the series. And I can program, but I don’t do it for fun.

Am I considered a “geeky girl” or not? I certainly don’t want to put that kind of label to myself and I would prefer if other girls did do that for themselves too. Be who you are, like what you want, no need to say you are geeky in order to appear cool. And no need to force yourself to like Batman because all geeks like him and you kind of feel you are a geek because you like Battlestar Galactica.

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4 thoughts on “Readathon 2016: Books 36-40

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