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text 2018-05-23 02:29
Summer Reading List 2018
Pete Rose: An American Dilemma - Kostya Kennedy
First Love, Last Rites - Ian McEwan
The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket - Edgar Allan Poe,Richard Kopley
Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld,Keith Thompson
Three Tall Women - Edward Albee
Homegoing - Yaa Gyasi
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall - Anne Brontë

I'm well behind pace in my reading this year. I always say I "average" a book a week, for 52 or so books a year, but I usually exceed that by a fair margin. This year, I'm quite slow. Only 16 so far - even though at least two were "doorstops."

 

So two weeks ago, when I realized I hadn't even considered my summer reading list, I was worried. But when I finally sat down to compose it, the list came flowing straight out. Easy-peasy, less than an hour's contemplation, for sure.

 

The fact I've been using the same nine categories for years, I'm sure, helps considerably. Three books for each month of summer. Things that make me happy and better-rounded. Plenty of room left for serendipity and other titles. Here goes:

The list.

 

1. A baseball book - "Pete Rose: An American Dilemma" by Kostya Kennedy. Reading a baseball book - fiction or non-fiction - is a summer tradition. Thanks, Casey Awards for the ready-made list. 

 

2. A Michael Chabon book - "Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces." This was both tough and incredibly easy. I've read all of Chabon's books, except some very hard to get screenplays and graphic novels. Luckily, he has a new book out this month. It's an anthology of his magazine essays, in the mode of "Maps and Legends," but it's better than none!

 

3. An Ian McEwan book - "First Love, Last Rites." I've read all of McEwan's recent stuff, so I have to reach way back into the Ian Macabre phase, which I like less, but it needs to be done. At least there's a new McEwan adaptation coming out in theaters soon.

 

4. A Neglected Classic - "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket," Edgar Allen Poe's only novel. Not one that was really on my radar, but read entry five for more "why." 

 

5. A recent "big" book - "Pym" by Mat Johnson. I have the opportunity to hear Johnson read in June, and I think it's time to read his novel, inspired by Poe's, as listed above. 

 

6. A YA book - "Leviathan" by Scott Westerfeld. A steampunk, World War I revisionist novel? Yes, please. 

 

7. A Play - "Three Tall Women" by Edward Albee. It's in revival on Broadway right now with Laurie Metcalf. You know I won't make it to Manhattan, so I'd better finally read it.

 

8. A Recommendation from a Friend - "Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi. My friend, Laura, suggested it. She didn't have to suggest very hard, because I was already meaning to read it. And she loaned me her copy!

 

9. The book I didn't read from last year's list - "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" by Anne Bronte. There's one every year. This year's will probably be the Chabon, just because it's new and might be hard to acquire through library means.

 

Well, that's it. I'll post a list on the booklikes list app. Will you read along with me? What's on your list for Summer '18? 

 

-cg

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review 2018-05-13 10:13
#30 - Extras by Scott Westerfeld
Extras (The Uglies) - Scott Westerfeld

Again, I did not enjoy this as much as I had the first time I read it (something like 10 years ago). Aya is annoying as hell, I mean I can’t blame her given the society she lives is but all she cares about is fame and recognition, and it is really something I hate. Tally is not as present in this book as she is in the other three but she still has an important role. She was also really annoying and I kind of wanted to punch her in the face. Again, given what she has been through, can’t blame her either…

 

The plot was not bad at all but I had issues with the pacing. It also seems kind of childish but maybe because I read it when I was way younger, I don’t know.

 

Anyway, this book was not bad at all, I even strongly recommend this series, but I guess I am disappointed because I thought it was going to be way better and maybe I shouldn’t have re read it.

 

As I already said in my review of the other books of the series, I am very excited about the new books to come!

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review 2018-03-31 18:04
#21 - Specials by Scott Westerfeld
Specials - Scott Westerfeld

Going on with my re-read of this series because it had been a while. I am really happy I continued on with it, but I did not enjoyed it as much as the first time I read it (just like Uglies and Pretties). I think that Tally is really an annoying character and I don’t like her. I know that people have messed with her brain multiple times but still, I don’t understand a lot of her reactions and her decisions are almost always really stupid.

 

The plot was great, a lot happened, I was glad that Tally could meet some old friends and people she knows to settle a few things. I enjoyed seeing a bit of the world outside and getting to know how other cities work. The pace was really fast and there was always something great going on.

 

I like to know that everything is not hopeless, that some people are still fighting to be free. At what cost? According to Tally, it is a really bad idea to let people decide by themselves (and she is not completely wrong). But controlling people by damaging their brains is even more wrong in my opinion. I loved how the author leave a lot of question unanswered; his reader having to figure out some things on their own.

 

BUT, there was way too much of Tally getting annoyed and being angry at people and wanting to kill them. I know she cannot be totally herself anymore about all that happened to her and her brain and she does not know who she is anymore, but I would have liked her to realize that her friends were right and that she should have listened to them.

 

The ending was too fast in my opinion. I had totally forgotten it happened like that and I was disappointed. There is still one book left in this series but I know it’s not about Tally. I can’t remember if she is in it at all, but I will still read it and I am really excited about the new series to come!

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-26 11:15
#14 - Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
Pretties - Scott Westerfeld

Pretties is the second book in the Uglies series. It is the only non-spoiler thing I want to say so if you have not read this book yet and you do not want to be spoiled for it, please do not read any further. 

Tally is a Pretty now and it is pretty obvious (ha-ha). I really liked how we arrived in her life after the operation, as if everything was normal. She is going to parties and she is worrying about what she is going to wear. It is a huge contrast with the ending of book one and I loved what the author did here.

We are following Tally in her new life and we can see that she forgot everything about David and The Smoke. I really hated that part because it made me so sad. Also, I was not a huge fan of her life in Pretty Town, it was actually kind of boring.

The second part of the book (well I think it is actually Part III) was way more interesting. I don't know how it is possible but I had forgotten everything about this village with Pre-rusties kind of men (I read this book almost 10 years ago, but still). It is actually an interesting part of the book where Tally realized that people are conditioned to think a certain way and that it is really difficult to change their minds, BUT it's not because it has always been this way for them that things can't change. I think it is a really interesting lesson for young people reading this book (quite obvious, but this book actually is written for a younger public).

I also forgot a lot of things about the ending. I remember Shay turned into a Special and Tally would eventually be one as well, but I forgot how everything happened. It was great to discover this again! 


In general, I really liked this book, but as a part of the series, it is my least favourite for the moment. The part in Pretty Town was too long i my opinion because I think it was boring. The whole thing with the Cutters was quite interesting but I'm not sure it was handled correctly. I mean, I guess it could seem a bit glamorous to young readers and without proper warning...

Two more books to re-read before the release of the next series!!

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review 2018-02-12 19:29
#11 - Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Uglies - Scott Westerfeld

I’ve read this series when it first came out in 2005 and I totally loved it. It was the first time I read a dystopian novel and I was immediately hooked.

I decided to re-read this series in English this time (cause in 2005 I read it in French, my English was still too basic) without knowing that Scott Westerfeld was actually planning on releasing 4 more books in the world of Uglies (YES, FOUR!). So now I am even more excited about going on with the rest of the series.

 

I’ve had so many feelings getting back into this universe; I think it will be hard to write a honest review. Re-reading a favourite book is something I adored, but when I haven’t read the book in more than 10 years it is even better. So yeah, I enjoyed it.

 

However, I may not have enjoyed it as much as I had ten years ago. I’ve read many other dystopian fictions since (and just books in general) so my criteria are not the same. I found some dialogues a bit too simplistic and some events were not natural: like the relationship between David and Tally really felt unnatural to me (without getting into much details because I don’t want to spoil anyone).

 

The characters were also not that well developed, they were simplistic as well and I would have like more depth about them. Well, they are really young and living in a world controlled by the government so that they don’t have the opportunity to develop their own ideas, I get that, but still, they could have been a little bit more complex in my opinion.

Apart from that, I think the whole idea is just amazing, all the technologies invented by the author are really great and could actually exist; nothing is exaggerated.

 

I am so excited about re—reading the rest of the series, even if I have read it many times before, it’s been a while so I discovered many details I had totally forgotten. And I can’t tell you how much I’m excited about the new books; it may have become my most anticipated release ever.

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