Long time no see! Too busy to write on my blog unfortunately. And the readathon slowed down a bit…
I also got bored with Zizi photos all the time. I will take some random now and maybe after book 20 I will come back to Zizi.
11. Berlin Noir: March Violets / The Pale Criminal / A German Requiem, by Philip Kerr
Readathon category: a crime book
One of the reasons my readathon slowed down is this book: more than 1000 pages.
It is actually 3 books (as the longer title shows), where the main character is a private investigator, living in Berlin.
The three cases he deals with are interesting and I liked him as a character (he is not so “destroyed” as main characters of crime novels usually are).
But the big plus of this book is the WHEN.
The first book take place in 1936: Hitler is on the rise, people like him, there are some weird laws, Jewish people are slowly trying to flee the country because they see that it will not end up well for them. The main character of course doesn’t like Hitler. He hates Gestapo. But Himmler also appears in the book and he doesn’t sound like a bad person. This was my least favorite of the three books.
Book 2 takes place in 1938, just before the war starts. And it was the most interesting, because the crime was the most interesting (someone killing and raping teenage arian girls). The main character is judging of how people follow Hitler. But not the way we judge them today. That is the great thing about this book. Now we look back and we judge very easily. But back then, noone told them “we are going to gas some million jews, are you in?”. In the book, you see the normal everyday people thinking Jews and gays are inferior, that was completely normal then. Probably in some years people will judge us on how we treat animals in the slaughterhouses, something horrible that we accept as normal now. There are people that think like the germans in the 40s now, but since society doesn’t accept it, they either hide it or they are being judged. But not in Berlin 1938. It was normal then. And the main character, although he doesn’t agree, he doesn’t hate the nazis, he thinks they are stupid, but not all of them and not completely. For example, at some point a black woman appears in the book (a maid of german lady) and you can feel from his thoughts how the main character (not a nazi, a nice guy) does not think that she is equal to him.
Book 3 takes place in 1947. Germany lost and Americans and Russians are trying to rule and chase old nazis. This book made me realize how many of the nazi’s did not get punished. How easy was it for them to escape. And how easy it is to do these war crimes when you are at war. If they had won, we would be hearing about the terrible war crimes of the losing side. Both sides do terrible things at war, that is 100% true in all wars.
I totally recommend this book.
But beware, it is 1070 pages.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
12. Dancing Shoes (Shoes #9), by Noel Streatfeild
Readathon category: a book that you have seen being referred to in a movie/tv-series
I had seen this scene on You’ve got Mail, where Meg Ryan talks about the “Shoe” books: a children’s book series, each with a shoe title: ballet shoes, dancing shoes, ice-skating shoes… I was young then and these books sounded very interesting and I wanted to read them so badly. But of course they were not translated in greek (as far as I know) and I did not read in english.
I remembered them recently and I decided to buy Dancing Shoes and Circus Shoes, since these are two topics that interest me (dancing and circus, not shoes). Dancing Shoes was actually much better than I expected. I have read my fair share of british children’s books set in 20-30 (when are the Enid Blyton books set?). I expected something more childish and I was pleasantly surprised.
Orphan sisters move into horrible aunt’s dancing school. One of them is a dancer (lazy though), the other hates the idea of dancing. There is also a spoiled cousin somewhere. And lot’s of child labour (seriously, looks like people love to send their 12 year-old kids into daily dance training and auditions, with the hope of getting a part and having to work two shows per day during holidays…)
I liked how things were not black-and-white in this book, as children’s books usually are. The spoiled cousin was rude, but also had good moments. The good dancer was too lazy to become the artist she should be. The main character’s plan did not succeed in the end. In general, I was very pleased and I will read more Shoe books.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
13. Uncle Platon, by Alki Zei
Readathon category: a book that you bought despite of the bad cover
I feel really really bad putting this book in this category, especially because it is a greek book by a greek designer. I like that style (I have all the books of this Alki Zei series) and the logo, but this one was a little weird and I couldn’t find another category for that book. Apologies to the designer, it is not that bad. I felt so bad and kept re-thinking it so much, that I ended up liking it. But too late now. I have the rule that when I write the category on my list, it can not change.
The book is for young children and it is good. Typical Alki Zei life story, about a family of greek communists that live in Moscow, but this time through the eyes of the stuffed donkey. The kids of the family are 6 and 4 years old, so this book is for younger ages than usual. It is hard to judge a book for so young children, because of course I didn’t find it very interesting, but if I read it when I was 8, maybe I would have loved it.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
14. Near the railroad, by Alki Zei
Readathon category: a book where the main character is a child or a teenager
This one was definitely way more interesting. I can’t believe I hadn’t read it as a child!
A book set up in pre-revolutionary Russia, where little Shasha starts to understand that she lives in an unfair society (where some people are hungry and others throw their food away) and that a revolution is needed. Really nice book, good for adults too. Typical Alki Zei, but in a different setting.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
15. Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine, by Kelly Sue DeConnick , Valentine De Landro
Readathon category: a comic book
Set in some kind of future, mainly on a planet that is a woman’s prison. The book is showing us some life stories of prisoners as they prepare to participate in some kind of “hunger games” rugby.
A totally feministic book, but meh, I didn’t see anything special.
I liked all the prison parts, but I did not care at all for the outside of prison parts.
I loved the covers, very retro style.
I surely did not get excited and I regret of wasting the comic book category on this, while I have so many waiting for me to read them.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Overall female writers ratio: 11/15 (73%)