Monthly Reading Wrap Up: March 2018

I’m not going to lie, I read a lot in March. Yes, some of the books were short enough I read them in one day, but I’m still counting them.

Books I’m Currently Reading

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

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I can’t honestly say much about this yet because I’m only 20 pages in. The only thing I can say is that if I would have read this sooner if I knew it had graphics and pictures in it. Personally, I love books that tell their story in a non-standard way like The Illuminae Files series.

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

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I’m not sure how I’ve ended up reading two YA novels, after having such a bad time with the genre lately, but it’s happening.

So for this one, I started listening to the audiobook, and it was fine. I liked the voice acting and everything, but then I opened the book and decided it would be better to actually read the book with my eyes. Especially because the book has these video transcripts that might be better to read than listening to someone and having to figure out whether or not it’s a transcript.

As much as I adore audiobooks, sometimes make it difficult to follow or appreciate books with different formats.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

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I just started reading it so I can’t say much. So far I’m intrigued by this post apocalyptic world and I do want to know about what happened. I just wish I had more time to read it instead of being forced to rush through it for school while also writing three essays.

 

Book I Didn’t Finish

The Other Side of the Pillow by Zane

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So I stopped reading it because it was too much for me. By that I mean I downloaded the audiobook through my library and didn’t realize it was an erotic novel before I started listening it to it at work. I couldn’t keep listening to it at work, it was too uncomfortable for me. I’m sure I can read them in the privacy of my home, but it is much too naughty to listen to it at work, so I didn’t.

I will also say that the story wasn’t compelling enough for me to continue. It also had a lot of bad words that didn’t provide anything to the story. I’m not a prude but I don’t like gratuitous cursing or sex.

 

Babel- 17 by Samuel R. Delaney

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This is one of those cases where it’s not the book, it’s me. I just wasn’t in the mood to read or give it the attention it deserves. The book is confusing in the beginning because there’s a lot of characters being introduced. All of which is interesting but I was being a lazy reader and gave up on it quickly. Maybe in the future I’ll try again but not now.

 

Books I Finished

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

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Read it? Yes, and maybe no.

So I’m conflicted with this novel. On the one hand, no I don’t like this novel because the characters are so bad, including Fanny the protagonist. She is so passive and so shy, but that’s also what makes her so relatable. So, I don’t know. I like that it’s relatable, but I hate the characters.

 

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

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Read it? Yes

Yes, I read this AGAIN. I’m not sure what this says about except that I really like this book. This would be my fourth time reading it, but the first time I’ve listened to the audiobook. The audiobook narrator was really great in changing her voice to accommodate all the characters. Overall, it was done really well.

FULL REVIEW HERE

 

Fun Home by Allison Bechdel

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Read it? Perhaps

If you like complicated dysfunctional families, memoirs, and or graphic novels, then I would definitely recommend this novel. I will say that it wasn’t for me, but it’s not bad at all. If you want more details on why I didn’t like it, you can read my FULL REVIEW HERE.

Now that I’ve read the book, I can listen to the Broadway musical soundtrack.

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

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Read it? Yes

I will admit I didn’t like the ending of this novel, BUT I also really loved reading it. In fact, I couldn’t stop reading and finished it in one day. It’s the slow burn kind of love, the kind that makes you giddy with excitement with each small gesture. I also loved Ridge as a love interest because he is quite different from the other love interests Hoover has written, he is full of surprises I wasn’t expecting.

FULL REVIEW HERE

 

Maybe Not by Colleen Hoover

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Read it? If you want to.

This novella is not bad. It’s classic Colleen Hoover. Troubled people falling in love with really steamy scenes. It was a fun read and addition to Maybe Someday, but it’s not necessary to my daily existence. It was also funny but I missed the the interactions between the roommates. As much as I enjoy the romance, I also really like it when Hoover writes about groups of friends.

This is the last and final published Colleen Hoover book on my TBR. That means I have now read all of her books.

 

Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell

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Read it? If I beg, will you read it?

Every time I read a Rowell book I’m reminded that she can do no wrong when it comes to writing. Her stories are always so easy to read, to fall in love with, to relate to, and adorable. This super short story collection is no exception. If you already like reading her books, then you will like this book. If you haven’t read any of her books, then I suggest sampling these stories so you can then fall in love with her other novels.

The only negative I have to say is that the stories are short (but making it any longer would defeat the purpose of short stories).

FULL REVIEW HERE

 

Kindred by Octavia Butler

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Read it? Absolutely yes.

This is such a great story that defies genre. It’s a mixture of science fiction but also falls into the neo-slave narrative, or historical fiction. The story literally takes you to antebellum south, but we see it through a modern black woman’s perspective.

There is a graphic novel I’m interested in reading, but I’m afraid that will have to wait another while.

FULL REVIEW HERE

“Speech Sounds” by Octavia Butler

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Read it? Yes!

It’s a short story about a post apocalyptic world where spoken language is obsolete because of an illness that has affected humans’s ability to speak, read, write, or understand language. Instead of verbally speaking people resort to body language and gestures to communicate with each other. The premise is fascinating and incredibly horribly terrifying toe me. To lose language that way is so scary I almost don’t want to think about it.

For a short story I think it is well developed however there’s a lot more to explore in this world and that’s the fun part of it. Yes, I’m left with questions but it’s also fun to think of my own answers to them.

 

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

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Read it? Not really

I’m beginning to realize that this simplistic like poetry is not for me. I keep trying to like it and I keep failing. If you’re having the same problem as me, don’t read it as poetry or you will hate it. Read it as a prose story and you might just be fine.

 

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Reliability in Fiction, Is it Important?

I’ve taken several speculative fiction literature classes, aka science fiction and fantasy, and in all those classes the issue of the narrator’s reliability is a discussion point that seems to comes up quite regularly. And quite frankly, I am tired of having the same discussion over and over again but with different titles, authors, and narrators. Here’s the thing, the narrator’s reliability is not important. What is important are the effects of the so called narrator’s reliability.

Choosing to discuss a fictional character’s reliability is ultimately useless for a couple of reasons, number one being that they are fictional and therefore do not exist. 

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I know, blasphemy, but let’s be real for a moment. This is like discussing what hurts more, child birth or being kicked in the balls, no one is ever going to know the answer to this. The point is, they both hurt. I’m not saying we should completely disregard the importance of a narrator’s reliability, but perhaps we should focus more on the effects of their narrating rather than questioning if we should believe them or not.

I recently read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut and the narrator is one the most unreliable person I’ve read, especially because he chooses to believe Billy Pilgrim’s alien abduction and time travel claims. However, looking at the novel as a whole, it doesn’t matter if we believe he was really abducted or if he got all those ideas from reading science fiction novels, because what really matters are his experiences in the war, and more importantly, what came after. Their unreliability does not take away from the central message of this book, it adds to it.

Questioning their sanity however does take away from our understanding what Vonnegut intended, an anti-war novel. Whether or not he is telling the truth, Billy Pilgrim’s story will remain a war story, with aliens or without them. It’s a story about coping with death,  coping with a war’s aftermath, and coping with PTSD (although that was not in the DSM yet). That’s what is important in this novel.

Another reason why I don’t see the importance of a narrator’s authenticity is because viewpoints, if done right, are completely tied to the character’s background and personality (like real people) therefore, it is completely subjective. I thought of this the other night when I read a review of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things (I’m amazed at my ability to mention this book all the time), where the reviewer was skeptical of Kellen and Wavy’s reliability in telling their story, and it drove me crazy because:

 

  1. I don’t see how that matters in the story.
  2. Their narrating is entirely subjective because of who they are.

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Their storytelling is completely compromised by their background, or at least the lives Bryn Greenwood created for these characters. Wavy and Kellen’s lives are full of abuse, neglect, and come from troubled homes, all of which contribute to the way they look at the world. We, as people, shouldn’t expect others to see the world exactly as we do, so we shouldn’t expect it from the books we read either. Everyone has a different upbringing and experiences which undoubtedly shape the way one looks at the world, but it does not mean they are wrong though.

So instead of questioning the truth in fictional novels, which we know are already fake (it says it in the genre), we should leave the questioning objective narrators for non-fiction books who are the ones to claim they are telling us the truth.

So what do you think? Am I completely wrong? Do you think reliable character are important? Let me know in the comments! 

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7 Short Books Under 200 Pages

I don’t like series, and big books intimidate me. That’s why Anna Karenina is still on my shelf unread for the past two years. Sometimes, it’s okay to read a short book instead of the monstrosities like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which not only has 800 pages but it’s a crucial book in the series, so you HAVE to read it. Apparently, nobody told Rowling that quick reads can be just as good and just as gratifying as big books, so here are some of my favorite books that happen to be under 200 pages.

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6 Unsatisfying Endings to Shows and Movies

Endings are tricky and not everyone gets them right. I like my endings tidy with no loose ends. There are exceptions to those vague endings like Inception, but I am willing to accept those if they make me think instead of going crazy with the unresolved plot lines. This is especially true for TV shows where there’s a lot of different characters and plot lines to conclude. So here, are some of my least favorite endings of TV shows and movies.

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BOOK REVIEW: Fun Home by Allison Bechdel

TITLE: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic Related image
AUTHOR: Allison Bechdel
ILLUSTRATOR: Allison Bechdel
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: In the wake of her father’s death and her coming out, Allison discovers her dad was gay which prompts her to journey in trying to understand him better.
GENRE: Coming of Age | Memoir | Graphic Novel | LGBT+ | Non Fiction
RATING: 3/5
NOTE: There’s a couple of graphic sex scenes depicted in this book. This has also been turned into a Broadway musical of the same name.
GOODREADS BLURB

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Top 5 Wednesday: Fantasy and Sci-Fi in Other Types of Media

Favorite Science Fiction & Fantasy in Other Media – Booktube SFF Awards Babbles Crossover Topic!
— This month’s babbles crossover topic involves our favorite SFF outside of books (like movies, tv shows, games, anime, etc.)

As a challenge to myself, I will be naming at least one title for each media category mentioned in the prompt; movie, TV show, game, and anime or cartoon.

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BOOK REVIEW: Kindred by Octavia Butler

TITLE: Kindred Image result for kindred octavia butler
AUTHOR: Octavia Butler
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: Dana is a black woman living in the 1970s happily married to Kevin (who’s white), when she’s suddenly transported to the antebellum south in Maryland.
GENRE: Science Fiction | Historical Fiction | Neo-Slave Narrative
RATING: 4.5/5
NOTE: Not for younger readers because it had several scenes depicting violence, mention of rape, and frequent use of the N word.
GOODREADS BLURB

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