46. Between Shades of Gray, by Rita Sepetys
Readathon category: A book that takes place during a war
This book can be read in a weekend. It just flows.
It is the story of a Lithuanian family (narrated by the teenage daughter) that gets sent in concentration camps of Siberia during WWII. A different view of WWII: the people were actually cheering when they heard Germans occupied Lithuania, because they thought that meant they could return home. Concentration camps in Siberia are comparable with Nazi camps.
Books like that make me want to move to an isolated island and not having to deal with the human kind again. So much cruelty and hate for no reason. Just because someone (Hitler, Stalin, whoever) persuaded them that having a different ideology/skin color/religion/whatever means you deserve to be treated like this. I don’t know how people can do this kind of things to other people and I wonder if people I know (myself included) would do the same if the circumstances were different. I also don’t know how the victims could go on for years living in these conditions (Siberia lasted many years, much more than Nazi camps). I guess history shows that people can be extremely strong and extremely cruel.
Anyways, a great book, very fast read, talks about something not widely known (not many books about Siberian camps). I would totally recommend it.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
47. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, by Anthony Marra
Readathon category: A book by an author younger than 35 years old today
A very good book! Takes place in Chechnya during the wars (mainly set in 2004).
It is very well structured, you get the explanations/stories gradually until the end. The characters (4-5 main ones) get analyzed very good. Finally I connected with the characters, hasn’t happened to me very often this year.
A destroyed village of Chechens, where a man tries to save the daughter of his friend that has been taken by the partisans. A destroyed hospital where a genius russian doctor left her life in London to come back and look for her sister and now is left alone to take care of everyone in this area. And a couple of more characters that surround them.
Very well-written, I will definitely read Anthony Marra’s other book too.
Not a very easy read though, I needed to keep my mind focused.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
48. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
Readathon category: A children’s book
The famous Narnia book! Apparently there is a disagreement if this is the 1st or the 2nd book of the series (published first, but story-wise is second). But since all I knew about Narnia was the British series with the four kids entering the wardrobe, I chose to start with this. Turns out the whole series was based in this small book. I wonder what the rest of the books are about.
I wish I had read it as a child, I would have loved it! Still I found it nice, but written for children of course, so everything happened fast with not much of analysis. Maybe I will read the other books too, but I cannot guarantee that.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
49. Vivian versus the Apocalypse, by Katie Coyle
Readathon category: A post-apocalyptic book
Although the word “Apocalypse” is in the title, I don’t think this qualifies as a post-apocalyptic book. But whatever, I thought it was, so I am putting it in this category.
This book is in the Young Adult category. I don’t know what makes a book “Young Adult” (having a teenage main character? what if it is a teenager in a Siberia camp as “Between Shades of Gray”?), but I think this one is a little different than other YA. Although if Hunger Games is also YA, then this one is also YA.
The world is having some troubles (earthquakes, terrorist attacks, normal stuff) and some people have turned to a prophet that predicts the apocalypse will happen on a specific date. Vivian leaves her Believer parents to wait for the Apocalypse and goes to a party… only to return to two holes on the ceiling and her parents gone. I liked the dilemma Vivian had. She did not believe, but then many Believers disappeared the day of the Apocalypse.
The world starts to get crazy. People turn Believers (which is way more scary than the standard post-apocalyptic looting and violence) and it is not safe for the non-Believers anymore. There is a road-trip across USA, some romance but certainly not very important to the story (as in other YA). I liked that Vivian was a normal teenager that feels like adults will protect her. The book was realistic when it came to people’s behaviors.
An easy read that will make you think about family, your beliefs and what happens when you see things that contradict them.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
50. We Need New Names, by NoViolet Bulawayo
Readathon category: A book by an African writer
The book is a first person narrative of Darling, a young girl from an anonymous African country (probably Zimbabue). Half of the book is about her life in Zimbabue when she was 11, through a child’s eyes: the games they play, stealing guavas and many bad things but through the lens of a child’s eyes, (e.g. her 11 year old friend is pregnant, but they don’t even understand what that means).
It was all so interesting and I though that looking through a child’s eyes was a great way to tell the story. However at points I got lost in the narrative. The dialogue is embedded in the paragraphs and that made me tired sometimes.
In the second half of the book, Darling moved to USA. I found that part more easy to read and I wonder if the writing style changed a little bit or was it because now she was talking about things more familiar to me. The second half is also very interesting, talking about the life of basically illegal immigrants in USA (they can go to school, but not work legally or visit their countries) and how they don’t belong in any country anymore (something familiar to me too).
A very interesting and informative book.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
51. Awakening (Monstress #1), by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda
Readathon category: A book that was a gift
(love this dress <3)
A friend bought me that comic book when she visited USA (totally random choice 🙂 ). The art is really good. Almost all the characters are females. The story however is a little confusing, you really need to pay attention, remember names and try to understand. It is about a war between humans and human-animal hybrids. There are some ruthless witches. Some ancient powers. Many things. I needed more background info, we are thrown into the story and we are supposed to figure things out ourselves. In chapter 5 it had some more humorous details (like a manga) that improved it. Also, I love the fox girl, so cute 🙂
I don’t know if I will read the next volumes.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
52. Toch een geluk, by Barbara Stok
Readathon category: A book written in a language other than greek
I think it is kind of a cheat to put an english book in this category, since I may even read more books in english than in greek in the last couple of years. My only other option is dutch, which I am not very good. Children’s book level. Or graphic novel! Last year I read Vincent by the same artist in this category, so I thought I should do the same this year. This comic book is about moments in her life, usually funny, everyday moments. Also some more deep thought about the environment, about her huge career moment that was Vincent etc. I like her drawing style and it was a funny book.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
That was the end of the readathon16! I could continue reading books in the categories (no way I would make it to 64 by the end of the year though), but I felt I needed some free time.
I will choose my favorite books of the year, my favorite outfit and my favorite instagram photos from the 3 challenges I participated (booktember, booktober and bookxmas) and write a post before the year ends.
Looking forward to readathon17!