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2015 Reading Challenge, some more short review blurbs for a few books

19 July, 2015 Leave a comment

Time for another one of these catch-up posts to see where I am with the 2015 Reading Challenge. I’m making progress and I’m a bit behind page-wise, but on point in terms of number of books.

7087159Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling
The story continues about The Boy Who Lived and things are getting darker. Already at the beginning when Harry defends himself and Dudders against dementors and the subsequent trial, things are looking grim and it doesn’t exactly get better after Dolores Umbridge turns up at Hogwarts. So far she’s been the character I’ve disliked the most. Goddamn sadist. It’s impressive how Rowling makes you despise a character so deeply. It was exciting to see more of the wizarding world and more of the more experienced wizards and witches of the Order of the Phoenix
Finished it on May 31st
Grade: 5 out of 5
Category: A banned book

american_psychoAmerican Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
This book starts out as a criticism against consumerism with Patrick Bateman ringing off brand names left and right and talking about status. It’s always important to eat at the right restaurant and to even have the right seats in the right restaurant. It’s all surface and skin-deep. Then as the novel goes on more and more of Patrick’s psychopathic tendencies shine through. At the end he’s gone off the deep end and it’s really interesting to see how Bret Easton Ellis writes it.
Finished it on June 13th
Grade: 4 out of 5
Category: A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit

Harry_potter_HBP_Scholastic_editionHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling
Now we’re talking. In this one, everything is even darker than the last one. Seeing a pattern here. Seriously though, things get really grim in this one. What I loved the most about it was the trips into the memories involving Voldemort and his family. It made me wish for more books in the Potterverse where we get the perspectives of other characters. I love Harry Potter and all his friends, but I wouldn’t exactly hate it if there were more stories for other characters. Harry actually gets a bit tiresome in this book, what with all his nagging about Malfoy. In the end I think I like this book the most because we get to see the most of my favorite Harry Potter character, Dumbledore.
Finished it on June 29th
Grade: 5 out of 5
Category: A book you own but have never read

originalTape, by Steven Camden
The Swedish title of this book is “Mixtape” which is a bit more fitting. It’s a split narrative. One of them is about Ryan, a kid in England whose father has moved in with a new woman and her son after Ryan’s mother passed away. That takes place 20 years ago. The other storyline is about Ameliah, a girl who lives with her grandmother after her parents passed away. Her story is set today. She’s a bit behind the times compared to her friends and she likes sitting in the room where her parents’ stuff is in boxes. She finds mixtapes in the boxes and starts listening to them. On some of them there’s a boy talking. On the other end, 20 years ago, Ryan is recording audio diaries… It’s a bit slow in places, but it has good emotional payoffs spaced out throughout the story.
Finished it on June 30th
Grade: 4 out of 5
Category: A book set in high school

002The Big Book About Moomin, by Tove Jansson
My initials are TJ, so it was either this book or Thomas Jefferson’s autobiography. I started out reading Jefferson, and while it was interesting to read all that old English about how the US was started, it was pretty boring reading about all the meetings and who wrote which draft of whatever document. So I went and found this book at the library. It’s kind of a best-of book, consisting of a mix of different types of stories. A few comics, a few prose, a few picture book, a few songs/poems. My childhood never had much of any Moomin in it. It was more H.C. Andersen, Donald Duck and Transformers. Having no nostalgic bond to the Moomin family meant that I went into this completely blank and I have to say that it was quite underwhelming. A big shrug.
Finished it on June 30th
Grade: 2 out of 5
Category: A book written by an author with your same initials

the-martian-by-andy-weirThe Martian, by Andy Weir
Quite possibly the funniest book I’ve read all year long and not because the subject is funny. It’s just the way the main character Mark Watney is written that makes it hilarious at times. It’s also a bit depressing and very nerdy, but I still laughed out loud many times when I listened to this book. The narrator is R.C. Bray and he does a phenomenal job. He’s puts in just the right amount of sarcasm in his voice. I saw the trailer for the movie The Martian a while ago and just had to get the book into my challenge, because I want to read the book before I watch the movie. It’ll be interesting to see how the moviemakers adapt some parts of the book, but judging by the trailer it looks like they’re on the right track. The book has a lot of technobabble, but I enjoyed that, so if you know you have a bit of a nerdy side, I really recommend this book for you.
Finished it on July 3rd
Grade: 5 out of 5
Category: A book that was originally written in a different language

13453029Wool, by Hugh Howey
I love the Fallout games and this is probably the closest I’ve ever come to reading Fallout from a vault perspective. It apparently started out as the first novella out of five being published by Hugh Howey on his own and then it got really popular, so Howey kept writing. Then the first five novellas were published in an omnibus edition and that’s what I read. There’s a continuation of the story and I will definitely be reading that when I’m done with this challenge. It’s pretty dark and depressing, because Howey is good at letting you get to know the characters. Then when quite a bit of bad stuff happens to the various characters, you feel very bad for them. Not always, of course, but a lot of the time.
Finished it on July 18th
Grade: 4 out of 5
Category: A book with a one-word title

9789174994735_200Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
I got this book almost exactly a year ago and I’ve really wanted to read it ever since then. It’s one of the books that I haven’t even considered removing from the list at any time when I’ve wanted to switch up books in the list. I’ve stayed away from spoilers and I haven’t watched the movie yet. This is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read in terms of style and narrative. Gillian Flynn plays a lot with the two different narrators of the books and uses different style tools to her advantage. It had me at the edge of my seat the whole way through and I know that’s a cliché, but it really is true about this book. There are plenty of twists and you change your opinion about the two main characters many times. An excellent book that you really should read.
Finished it on July 18th
Grade: 5 out of 5
Category: A book that became a movie

That means that I have 29 books cleared. 23 to go. 9851 pages read, 9351 pages left. That means I’ll need to read about 1700 pages per month after July. The big challenge is still paper books, but I’ll make it. I have all of the good books I really want to read left. Looking forward to my remaining books.

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