Monday, May 21, 2018

Bout of Books Read-a-thon 22 Wrap-Up

Okay so in a lot of ways I spectacularly failed! Things got busy I missed doing all of the challenges because I forgot they existed for the first half of the week and then business happened during the second. It did give me a push to read a little more than I was planning to do this week. Now to review this week's reads. Onward and upward! (Was that a joke based on the fact that I have only read space operas for the past week? You decide.)

Total Page Count: 1585

Books Read

Page Read: 467/467 (COMPLETE)
This one was... fine. It wasn't terrible, and I'll probably carry on with the series.

Page Read: 350/350 (COMPLETE)
Okay so I finished this two days ago and then things in life got busy and then posts didn't happen. But I finished it! There are components of this story that still confused me... Once I got my head wrapped around the concept of space as something much closer to the sea than, well, space, I was able to follow the plot and the world,but sometimes the character relationships and whatnot didn't entirely follow for me.

Page Read: 404/404 (COMPLETE)
This has been on my TBR for quite a while, and I finally got my hands on a copy and read it! I wasn't as TOTALLY PSYCHED about as I was hoping I would be, but I still really enjoyed it. It's think it's the first time I've read a book that uses xe/xyr pronouns implied as being the default for someone whose gender is unknown, so that was pretty awesome.

Page Read: 364/364 (COMPLETE)
Okay so I think reading this one I really got into the read-a-thon mood, like I just sat down and powered through it. I'm still not totally floored by these books but, but they maneuver with certain ideas that I find totally fascinating and important, and they're IN SPACE so I still enjoyed both The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit quite a lot. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Bout of Books Read-a-thon 22: Day 3

Books Read So Far

Page Read: 467/467 (COMPLETE)
This one was... fine. It wasn't terrible, and I'll probably carry on with the series.

Page Read: 194/350
I know I know I didn't read very much. Blame it on a bit of reading fatigue, I guess?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bout of Books Read-a-thon 22: Day 2

Books Read So Far

Page Read: 467/467 (COMPLETE)
This one was... fine. It wasn't terrible, and I'll probably carry on with the series.

Page Read: 32/350

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Bout of Books Read-a-thon 22: Day 1

Books Read So Far

Page Read: 230/467
I'm unintentionally pretty space-themed with my TBR this time around. (Not that I've published my TBR... it's subject to change.) I'm enjoying this so far though the I'm questioning some of the character development calls... I'm hoping that those won't throw me too much and I'll get more into the flow in the second half of this one. 

Top Eight Books I Didn't Necessarily Enjoy but Am Glad I Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I'm going to sort these and there's probably not going to be ten... because I tend not to read that many books that I out-and-out hate. It's also going to be a little more wordy that I usually make my Top Ten Tuesdays because... I feel like I need to provide SOME explanation as to why.

The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

I had a roommate once who ate bran muffins for breakfast every morning, despite the fact that she hated bran muffins, because she felt that that was what adults ate for breakfast ("interesting," I said, as I broke my fast with leftover pizza or goldfish crackers). But I get it now, because I kind of think Throne of Glass might be my very own bran muffins. I'm invested in maybe 4 characters and none of them get much in terms of screen time but I keep reading these books despite not really enjoying most of my reading experience. 

I found the first book... mediocre, I guess. It was fine but it was nothing to write home about. As I continued on with the series, mostly because it was one of those hyped series that made me wonder what I was missing and, surely, this book, I would see what everyone loved about this series. Instead I just found that it was more and more defined by tropes that I really didn't like. It's a fantasy story that doesn't do any of the things I like my fantasy stories to do with some stuff that just makes me cringe. 

I remember how angry reading this one made me, and I think it was mostly that I was, at this point, becoming aware of how often consent- not just the nuances thereof but just, basic consent was ignored in some YA books. I wound up writing a blog post about it because it made me (and still makes me) incredibly uncomfortable, when reading a book where a primary target audience is young women, to have a female character say "no" and to have that be ignored- and for the ignoring of  her refusal of intimacy somehow be portrayed as romantic. I don't even think this book was the worst offender, I've definitely read worse since (and thank goodness, so much better) but this was one of the first times, I think that it really hit me that. Wow. This was a trope I hated.

The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court, #1)
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Mostly this one just allowed me to put the final nail the the Richelle Mead coffin. I've read multiple books from her now and I can confidently say that her work just isn't for me. The way she crafts characters just doesn't work for me. I like angst and dramatic self-pity as much as the next person but this pushes it, even for me. 

I PROMISE I'll be done with the S. J. Maas commentary after this. For this post at least. (If only because there aren't any other series out by her). One day I might make a longer post discussing my kind of difficult relationship with her books but... not this one.

*breathes in* *breathes out* Reading this book (and also the sequel and also kind of browsed book 3 before finally just giving up). Part of it is that romance-heavy books aren't really my thing. I mostly found myself going "wait was that supposed to be sexy? That was just... uncomfortable and borderline creepy" and it turns out that's just off-putting.

Outside of that I felt that this series didn't do a great job of carrying it's story or building it's world without resorting to dumping information on the reader.

After reading this and Throne of Glass I feel like I'm pretty attuned to a few tropes that I don't like. I find mating-bond stuff cringe-y at best, and that features heavily, so now I know I'll be steering clear of media that falls back on that particular trope...

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Okay so to say I've "read" this is kind of an exaggeration... I'll admit I've yet to finish it.  I sit upon a throne of lies, etc. etc. 

I did get most of the way though the audiobook before deciding I'd rather read the book and then just... didn't pick up the book. I don't read a lot of classics for the simple reason of: I've found I don't enjoy a lot of classics. 

I'm glad I picked this one up mostly because now I get to make a million jokes at Mr. Rochester's expense regarding things like "never being fully convinced your new governance isn't a fairy" and "not liking a child because she's not a great conversationalist" oh and also "lying to your new governance/girlfriend about the wife whom you keep locked in the attic except for those times when she gets out and sets fires" honestly it's a pretty wild story and I like to make jokes. Rochester, you're lucky Jane is into people think she's a possibly-malevolent magical creature, insult her, lie to her, and now have no house because the aforementioned attic wife finally managed to burn it down. Romance.  

This one's stretching the prompt almost to breaking. I think this is a really excellent book but it is also one of the saddest books I've ever read. Reading it was both a meaningful experience and once that I don't think I'll ever repeat. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is nuanced and thought-provoking and has definitely stuck with me (more even than I was expecting when I wrote the review) but it was also somewhat staggering in how melancholy aspects of it were. I'm glad I read it, essentially, but I wouldn't do it again (and I say that as a chronic re-reader). I think I'm a bit clearer on why in my review, which you can find here, if you want clarification.

The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Okay so I'm actually still not really glad I read this, except that when someone says "wow you sure do have a lot of anger about high school English, what did it ever do to you?" I can just point to this book. 

I'm still not really sure if this was a good or a bad book overall (I personally didn't find the characters, story, or prose that compelling) but it's more that... look. It was just a book with subject matter that I think I would find difficult to handle now, reading more only my own mental enrichment, much less with my grade on the line as a 16 year-old. So yeah. Still not totally over that.

So I guess what I'm saying is that being made to read this book really drove home an idea? Something about what kind of literature many people teaching English think teens should read and the wide, wide chasm between that and what I personally enjoy and/or find meaningful in a story.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

I'm glad I read this one and I think I might like to give it another try with the perspective I have now, but I didn't particularly enjoy it when I read it in high school. Mostly, I think, because I wasn't familiar with the cultural context in which it was written (which I'm more aware of now), which is fairly essential to grasping the nuances of this story (or being able to make sense of most of it in any form at all). To high-school me it seemed like vaguely symbolic surrealist confusion but my understanding of the history of Latin America as a place and magical realism as a genre has improved quite a bit since then and I think I'd be able to get more out of the reading experience.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Bout of Books Read-a-thon 22 Sign-Up Post

Diving back into the book-blogging fray headfirst, it's time for a read-a-thon!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 14th and runs through Sunday, May 20th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 22 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

So that's what's happening. Come. Join. Read things (you know you're going to anyway...).

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Top Ten Books With My Green Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This is actually not as easy as you'd think... green isn't that common a choice for covers. I'm not sure if there's a marketing reason for it (I know red implies urgency and green is opposite on the colour wheel so maybe it's that?) So I'm always kind of drawn to green covers when I can get them. (I do own quite a few non-fiction books with green covers...) Anyway here's some books with green covers that have been on my mind for whatever reason, lately.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater: okay so overall the covers of these books are just stunning. The packaging of these stories is superb (to say nothing of the contents which I really enjoyed). The painterly style, the lovely blues and greens... it's just a really nice cover.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black: Okay it isn't my favourite cover but it works well for the story, and WHAT A STORY IT IS.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini: I find it a little sad that they never printed a paperback with this cover... they repackaged it for the paperback release and it's glossy and zoomed in and just... not as nice to look at. Also this book is a monster and I'm still not fully on board with the ending (not the conclusion just... the way the wrapping up of loose ends was handled). I have a lot of Thoughts about these books and I'm always looking for someone to go on and on about them to so if you ever want to talk about this series drop me a line!

Nation by Terry Pratchett: I actually replaced my pocket-sized paperback with a hardcover partly because of how much better I like the cover. This is actually the only Terry Pratchett book I've ever read...

Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer: *deep breath in* *deep breath out* Of all the re-packagings of this series, this is definitely the cover I find the least frustrating. I really like it, though I do wish that they'd maintained a consistent font on the spines at least but c'est la vie. This book holds a special place in my soul and also devastated me. I've been going on an intense nostalgia kick about the entire series lately so it's possible that a reread will is on the horizon (though I do find the first 5 books to be overall stronger than the latter ones it's overall quite enjoyable... AND IT'S GETTING A SPINOFF and a movie but from how that seems to be shaping up I'm trying not to think about it)

The Enchantress (Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #6) by Michael Scott: THESE COVERS. Just.. they're beautiful and embossed and shiny and this one has leaves on it and I just think they're really beautiful and, again, great packaging for the story inside.

Paper and Fire (Th Great Library #2) by Rachel Caine: Okay I know I'm pushing it a little with the green here because it's mostly orange but I really wanted to show off these really pretty covers. (Ash and Quill is even nicer in my opinion). I'm really enjoying this series, it's got magic and evil libraries and you should definitely check it out if you haven't already!

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud: these books are really excellent reads. I listened to the audiobooks, actually, and the narrator is quite good.

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle: On this list partly becuase the cover was what made me pick up the book (look at it) and because it's fresh in my mind.

The Merchant of Death (Pendragon #1) by D. J. MacHale: I really like the original covers for these books so I'm going to be trawling used bookstores and other secondhand shops to try to get the rest of the series. The new covers aren't bad it's just that... I like these ones.