July Rewind

In July I read 7 books. They were:

Scott Pilgrim #1 by Bryan Lee O’Malley
The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Brigands M.C. by Robert Muchamore

The only new books I read were The Etymologicon and Lola and the Boy Next Door and I really liked them. I’m planning to review The Etymologicon soon.

Review: Ready Player One

001Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Genre: Science Fiction
Number of pages: 374

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who died with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.

When Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle. He suddenly finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

I knew when I picked up this book that I was going to enjoy it. I had heard good things from the book blogger/tuber community and also from my dad. He was actually the one who found it in our local library and took it out. When he was done reading it he passed it on to me.

I was hooked from the beginning. Ready player one is set in a futuristic world where everyone uses the Oasis, an alternative reality, to escape the depressing real world and straight away you are told about the contest. The creator of the Oasis James Halliday has died and left his entire fortune to whoever can solve the riddles and find the three keys he left in the Oasis. The main character Wade Watts is the first person to find the first key.

Wade is 18 and still in High School, which I found a little surprising because this book is adult science fiction and not YA. He and the other characters in the book are well developed and the world building is good. We are given a lot of back story about the James Halliday, how the Oasis came to be and a lot of descriptions of the Oasis itself.

The pacing of the events in the book is good, there are quite a lot of big events that happen but they don’t happen one after the other. They are paced so that you don’t get overwhelmed with too much action or bored because nothing has happened in a while.

One of the things I loved the most about this book is how nerdy it is. The book is full of 80’s pop culture references and pretty much anything that you can be nerdy about (Lord of the rings, dungeons and dragons, Harry Potter, Doctor who Etc.) is mentioned in some way.

Ready Player One is my favourite book that I’ve read this year. If you get a chance to read it you should definitely pick it up, I promise you won’t regret it.

Booktubeathon Wrap up

When I wrote that post last Monday I was so hopeful that I was going to read everything and complete most of the challenges. But then I got an email from my teacher telling me that I had about 14 hours to complete 9 different pieces of work. So I spent the first two days of the Booktubeathon stressed out and not sleeping to get the work done.

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These were the books I was planning to read. I managed to finish reading Unwind, got about 4 chapters into A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold and gave up on the Virgin Suicides. I gave up on it because the writing style was difficult & slow and I just wasn’t very interested.

Instead of rereading Wide Sargasso Sea I read Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. On Saturday I bought Lola and the Boy Next Door and I read it in one sitting.

Altogether I read 3 books during the Booktubeathon. This whole thing has made me realise that if I put pressure on myself to read I end up not wanting to read. Reading is something that I do because I enjoy it, not because I have to.

Booktubeathon

Hi, sorry for the month long hiatus. I’ve spent that time desperately trying to complete work so that I’ll pass my course with good enough grades to go to university. Anyway moving on, today is the start of the week long BookTubeAThon.

The BookTubeAThon was created by two booktubers Ariel Bissett and Raeleen Lemay and the goal is to read as many books as you can between the 15th – 21st July. There are also 7 different challenges.

  1. Read 300 pages a day
  2. Read a book with over 500 pages
  3. Reread a book
  4. Finish a series or trilogy
  5. Read a book that’s been on your selves for ages
  6. Listen to an audio book
  7. Read a classic

I’ve decided I’m going to read four books: Unwind by Neal Shusterman, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides and A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold by George R.R Martin. Unwind will be a reread, Wide Sargasso Sea is a classic and A storm of swords is over 500 pages long.

Recent Reads

I’ve been wanting to talk about these books for a while but I don’t have enough to say about each for a full review.

How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran

I found this book really problematic mainly because of the authors choice of words and phrases. Like there’s a bit about 100 or so pages in where she casually compares something to (and I’m directly quoting here) ‘that Vietnamese kid covered in napalm’ and another part where she decides that she’s against people wearing the Burka and says that ‘my politeness accepts your choice’. That just seems wrong to me.

If you consider yourself a feminist I wouldn’t recommend that you read this book, especially as the author doesn’t seem to believe that feminism is intersectional. This book is full of sweeping generalisations and offensive language (I’m not talking about swearwords).

Sever by Lauren Destefano

Sever was disappointing, I only really picked it up because I can’t leave a series unfinished once I start it.  To talk about it I need to reveal major plot details so SPOILER WARNING. This book was a mess, the author managed to go back on all the world building in the first two books and killed off two main characters in about as many chapters.

Call the Midwife trilogy by Jennifer Worth

Earlier this year I kind of fell in love with the BBC TV show Call The Midwife (even though it’s not really aimed at people my age). So when I saw that my local library had the books the show was based off I decided to read them. The Call the Midwife trilogy which consists of Call the Midwife, Shadows of the Workhouse and Farewell to the East end, are three memoirs written by Jennifer Worth who was a nurse in the east end of London in the 1950’s. I found them fascinating, not really the childbirth stuff more the stuff about how people used to live. It’s amazing how much London and this country has changed.

The 20th Century Book Tag

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here but I also make YouTube videos about books. You can see my latest video below.

The 20th century book tag is a tag where you choose a book for each decade of the 20th century.

The books I chose are:

A little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1905)
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild (1936)
1984 by George Orwell (1949)
Lord of the flies by William Golding (1954)
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966)
Carrie by Stephen King (1974)
The handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)
Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman (1995)

Review: Beauty Queens

052Title: Beauty Queens
Author: Libba Bray
Genre: YA
Number of pages: 396

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane had another idea, crashing on a desert island and leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner.

I recently finished rereading Beauty Queens for the third time and was reminded of just how much I love it. Beauty Queens is an unusual book because it manages to tackle some serious issues while also being quite light hearted and at times silly (in a good way). It’s also pretty good satire with its commercial breaks from the corporation and characters like Ladybird Hope and MoMo B. ChaCha.

Beauty Queens is the story of 12 girls who survive a crash landing on to a desert island. It follows them as they learn to survive and think for themselves away from society.

The book has not one but a dozen female protagonists, each with their own individual story and issues, and the narrative switches between them. This isn’t a problem though because the story is told in the third person. My favourite character changes every time I reread and right now it’s Tiara.

I’ve been trying to work out why I love this book so much and I think it’s because of the way the characters develop throughout the book. They get to know themselves and make friends outside of a society that is always telling them how to be and what to act like. My favourite part of the book is the bit were they are all sitting around a fire talking about girl con and what they do and don’t miss from home.

Libba Bray uses this book to tackle issues like: disability, being LGBTQ, the objectification of women and being comfortable with your sexuality. And she does it well. I really recommend that you read this book.