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Book Challenges 2017 > Week 21 Check in

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message 1: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 876 comments Mod
Hi Everyone!

Hope you are all doing well. It's a rainy grey day here in Michigan, but hopefully it'll improve soon.

Had a busy weekend last week, did a comic con, a wedding across the state, and then a Pottercon. Still managed to knock off some short books though.

Labor Day - book set around a holiday other than Christmas. This was a weird one. I don't even know how to explain why without going into spoilers. Just the tone and the events were strange, and it felt implausible. And I say this as a big sci-fi/fantasy fan. (not that it's actually sci-fi/fantasy, just that it's implausible in a plot sense).

Salt to the Sea - Book about an immigrant or refugee. This was about various teen-to-young adult refugees from world war 2 all trying to get through together. It was a really great book, but heartbreaking.

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life This is my book involving career advice. I want to get my butt in gear on personal projects that can maybe become a living in the future. So I thought it'd be motivational. I almost rage quit it instead, only the fact that it was short and I didn't feel like finding another option kept me going. For one, she literally talks about vibrating your way to success by matching your "energy frequency" to the "universe energy source" to achieve your goals. She also implies that depression and anxiety are just bad moods/bad habits that you need to just shake off, not actual mental illnesses. She goes on to imply that if you're broke, it's because you have a bad attitude and haven't just willed your way into a better job yet. Again, no acknowledgement of the economy, debt, student loans, gender pay gap, racial pay gap, the non-livable minimum wage etc.

Currently reading: Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History—without the Fairy-Tale Endings which won't count for anything. just came up at the library, and it looked good. It's about real princesses throughout history who were warriors, usurpers, schemers, who slept around, or partied hard. Basically trying to shake up the idea that princesses are just pretty and ornamental and perfect in every way. It's good and interesting so far!

This puts me at 45/52 so almost done! Waiting on a bunch of books I need for the last couple challenges, so I'm cool with doing some deviations from challenges.

How is everyone else doing?

message 2: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 207 comments Mod
Hi Everyone!

I managed to get back on the reading train last week and finished The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy over the weekend--which seems appropriate since yesterday was Towel Day. This was my book I've read before that makes me smile. I read that 30th anniversary edition with an introduction from Russell T. Davies, which was pretty fantastic. I don't think I've read this book since my early 20s (ahem, quite some time ago), and I appreciated it even more since I now have a much better knowledge of the English class system, general level of bureaucracy, and sense of humour. I'll probably read the other four books in the trilogy once the challenge is over.

I'm still working on Oryx and Crake, which will probably take me a while since I'm reading about 20-30 pages over my lunch during the week. I'm pleased to say that I'm still enjoying it!

I also started The Humans as my book told from a non-human perspective. I'm only about 1/4 of the way through, but thoroughly enjoying it. It's told from the perspective of an alien who has been sent to inhabit the body of a mathematician who made a discover that will potentially ruin the universe, and the alien has to make sure no one finds out the discovery. And so ensues all all sorts of hilarious and poignant observations about human nature and the arbitrary elements of our society, such as, "Civilization is a term humans use for denying their natural selves." It's a recent publication that appears to be inspired by authors such as Douglas Adams and Neil Gaiman, so it's right up my ally. Unless it all goes pear shaped, I could see this as a book I routinely recommend to people.

I haven't mentioned it before, but I've also been reading Independent People as my book I bought when travelling--I bought it in Iceland, which where the author is from. I haven't touched this book since the challenge started, but I've been reading it on and off for the last year and a bit. It won the noble prize for literature and it's an absolutely amazing book about the life and family of an impoverished but proud sheep farmer in Iceland at the turn of the 20th century, just when Iceland was starting to modernize. The reason it's taken me so long to read is that I find this book utterly devastating, and it takes a level of bravery for me to pick it up each time I want to read more of it--and I'm not always feeling that brave. I don't even know how to put it in words--it affects my heart, I guess you could say. I'm determined to finish it after I'm done Oryx and Crake and The Humans, though. Anyone else have this experience of reading a book that is so emotionally difficult to read that you struggle to finish it, even though the story is excellent?

Sherri--I'm sorry about your almost "rage quit" this week! It sounds like that book was fairly horrible. I do love your term, "rage quit," though--having encountered two books like that already in this challenge! I'm glad you were able to get through it and cross that off your list.

I looked at adding Princesses Behaving Badly to my list for a book about an interesting woman, but I bumped it in favour of the Oryx and Crake sequel so I could make sure that I got to it this year. I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on this book when you're done.

So, I'm currently at 20/40 of the main challenge--halfway there! I'm not used to reading multiple books at once, and I kind of like having a book at work and a book at home, even if it does mean it takes me two weeks to get through a book instead of one.

message 3: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 876 comments Mod
Stephanie wrote: "'m sorry about your almost "rage quit" this week! It sounds like that book was fairly horrible. I do love your term, "rage quit," though--having encountered two books like that already in this challenge! I'm glad you were able to get through it and cross that off your list."

haha, yeah the term comes from playing video games. From when a game makes you so angry, you just shut off the console without even saving. I apply it to anything else that makes me angry and I quite though =p

I'm liking Princesses Behaving Badly so far! I'm about 100 pages in. It covers a bunch of them, some of them just for a page or two, since a lot of them only have passing mentions in history. Several of them have to be teased out from myths about them trying to find the actual story. The Lucretia Borgia chapter was pretty great, in particular. She's always portrayed as such evil woman, when the reality was that she was more of a woman trying to survive being used as a political tool by her family, the best she could. A lot of the stories are basically "ok here's what history says" and "here's what we could piece together". I'm kind of wondering if Erzebet Bathory will be mentioned, even though she wasn't actually a princess. I saw an article postulating that her reputation for being a serial killer was just a job to discredit her because she was doing a really good job running her estates and land after her husband died, and her rivals didnt' like that.

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