What I Read in July, and Why I Failed

What I Read in July
July is officially over, and with that, comes another July wrap up. July was a pathetic reading month for me. It probably was one of the worst reading months I’ve had in years. Before the BookTubeAThon started, I only read 2 books this month. That is unacceptable in my eyes. I think July was just not a good month for me overall, and it really showed in my reading. As of right now, I was able to read 3 books in the past two days because of the readathon, but without that, this month of reading was just laughable.

Here is what I read in July:
1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey: 3.5/5
2. Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson: 4/5
3. Nostalgia by M. G. Vassanji: 4/5
4. Ariel by Sylvia Plath: 5/5
5. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf: 5/5

I’m glad I was still able to finish 5 books this month, but the fact I didn’t gravitate towards reading most of the month is sad to me. I can already tell that the readathon is helping me a lot in my reading. I have been behind on my reading goal, and I needed this challenge to refocus on my love of reading. I’m also in a better mood recently, so I’m hoping after such a disastrous reading month, I can have an excellent one in August.

What did you read this month? Let me know in the comments!

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Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay Review

RC_Bad_Feminist
In June, I read Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. I’ve been wanting to read Gay’s work for a long time, but I never had the chance before. I have seen her books at bookstores for a while, but there was always other books that caught my attention more. However, the last time I stepped into a bookstore, I bought a little Olive Edition of Bad Feminist, and I didn’t even wait to read it. I own a number of books I haven’t read yet, but this book I couldn’t wait for.

Bad Feminist centres around Gay’s personal and political views and experiences within feminism. It explores many topics from gender roles, reproductive freedom, occupation; the list goes on. Within the array of topics, there are many instances of humour and sarcasm. Gay doesn’t shy away from sarcasm, and it creates hilarious moments, even when the topic can be quite grim. I think these moments are essential in writing about the problems that women, and people who identify as women, face daily. Yes, I want to laugh 50 Shades of Grey because the story of a controlling egomaniac is uncomfortable. I want to laugh at the silliness of some of the problems in our society because being angry and sad all the time can be overwhelming. I think her humour is sprinkled throughout her essays as forms of punctuation. Every humorous bit is presented at the right moment, never feeling out of place, or unwanted. It provides a breathing, or relaxation. point that is well needed in the many issues mentioned.

Although I am knowledgeable of feminism, and many of the problems that plague feminists, there were still many things that I learned in this collection of essays. There were despicable things that have occurred that I never knew even happened. Some things that I needed a moment to close the book, and reevaluate the world that I live in. How can an 11-year-old suffer such atrocities when the men who did it to her are being pitied? It made me sick to my stomach, but it opened my eyes to the many evil acts that occur everyday. Even little facts and tidbits were shocking to me. I don’t live in America, so many American politicians I have never heard of. So, after reading these essays, I know exactly a lot of the things they have said, or think were okay to say to the public. Bad Feminist provided me insight to a topic that I already know a lot about. It’s always great to learn something new, and help better shape your perspective.

Gay’s perspective on feminism was very personal, but it never lacked substance. All of her essays provide evidence with her personal views. If she mentioned her hatred from The Help, she gave really damning examples as to how awful that movie really is. All of her essays intertwine personal opinions and facts that I felt like I was learning so much from a friend. I haven’t read any of Gay’s other work, so I don’t know if this is how she typically writes. But, I love it. I love this connection between the personal and factual because it provides a portrait of the human experience. We all have our biases, and our own personal opinions on varying topics. We all have this, and we have evidence, and examples as to why we think this way. Her essays read no different than talking to someone about why they hate a certain television show, and given you really good reasons why to avoid it.

I think what I loved most about Bad Feminist is the fact that Gay never claims to be the model of feminism. She shows how people can have contradictions, and how they can like things that can be grossly problematic. She likes the colour pink, and listens to rap music that degrades women. But that doesn’t make her less of a feminist. It felt like a weight lifting off my shoulders because I love listening to music, and watching movies, that are not 100% unproblematic. I understand the problems of the things I love, but I how can I cancel everything in my life? There’s hardly anything in this world thats completely perfect in any ideology.

If you have been interested in reading Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, I would highly recommend it. No, I would ask you to run to your nearest bookstore and buy it. (Or, library too). I think it’s an important collection of essays for people who are new to feminism, or someone who wants to further their learning in the subject. It’s a funny, informative, and challenging read. It’s worth every minute of reading, and I hope many people do.

I gave Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay a 5/5 on Goodreads.

What are your thoughts on the book? Let me know in the comments!

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July TBR 2018

July 2018 TBR
After a somewhat successful reading month in June, I wanted to continue that into July. I decided I wanted to revisit one of my favourite novels, like Pride and Prejudice, and of course, read some books I haven’t yet. I think my goal for this month is to read as many books as I can. If I’m not mistaken, the BookTubeAthon is in July, and I know there will be a week of nonstop reading for me coming up ahead. So, I’m definitely keeping this in mind with my reading pile for the month. Whatever the prompts are for the readathon, I may have to change, or add, the books I’ll read, but we’ll see what happens! Continue reading

Try a Chapter Tag

Try A Chapter Tag
I’ve seen the Try a Chapter Tag circulating around Youtube for a while now, and I thought I should give it a try. The tag was created by a YouTuber called Book Paradise. I would recommend watching her video because she describes her tag, and rules, really well. Basically, what you do is read the first chapter of a few books, and you then decide what book you would read, or leave for later. I decided that whatever books I really liked will be added onto my May TBR pile.

Here are the books I tried:
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Hot House by Boris Kachka
The Widow by Fiona Barton

I think one of the strangest things to me about this tag was switching between books so rapidly. I read 6 different books, but only the first chapter of them all. With the books I chose, many of the chapters were not long. Some chapters were only 10 pages long. Some did not have chapters at all. So to make my reading equal, I decided that if a book didn’t have a chapter, or a chapter was too long, I read only 10-15 pages of the book. By doing so, it allowed me to have an equal idea of each of the books, without reading too much more than others. The most difficult part of this tag was only reading the first chapter and being okay with that. I feel the first chapter, or the first few pages, didn’t give enough information as to what the book will be like. With some of the books I was excited to continue reading, while with others I wasn’t sure how I felt.

I think by testing out a few books, it allowed me to see what books I was really in the mood to read. It allowed me to have an initial impression of the book, which I could later see if my first impression was correct or not. I think the tag can be really helpful if you’re in a reading slump (which I’m in currently). By reading so many different books, I was inspired and excited to read again. It felt great being excited about reading after a few days of not being interested in picking up a book. I would recommend doing the tag if you haven’t already. It’s definitely different to what I’m used to, but it’s a lot of fun.

Now, when it comes to what books I’ll be adding to my TBR in May, I have chosen 3. The book I chose are My Name is Lucy Barton, A Tale for the Time Being, and The History of Love. The other 3 books interested me, but I was not as drawn to them as the ones I’m adding to my TBR. I think I would try the tag out again in the future, but I don’t think I’ll make it a monthly thing.

Let me know if you have tried the tag, or if you would try it!

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April Wrap Up

April 2018 Wrap Up
April is done, and with it, the warm weather has finally arrived. I’m able to read outside again! It’s wonderful knowing the weather is not cold and dreary anymore. Another great thing about April was that I was able to finish 5 books this month. I wanted to make sure I spent a lot of time to read this month, and I ended up reading almost 2 hours a day everyday. It was really relaxing, and stopped me from mindlessly looking on my laptop or phone. I definitely want to continue this in May as well.

Here is what I read in April:

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thein 5/5
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green 3/5
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara5/5
Dubliners by James Joyce 3/5
The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff 4/5

I enjoyed all the books I read this month, but I would recommend A Little Life and Do Not Say We Have Nothing the most. These two books were AMAZING. I couldn’t put them down in April, and I think they’ll be books a lot of people will enjoy.

What did you read this month?

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April TBR 2018

April TBR 2018
It’s April, so I have another TBR pile to share. March was a good month for reading, but I definitely didn’t finish all the books I wanted to read. March was also a month where I found myself reading less than I usually do. There were a few days where I didn’t read at all. I’m not sure why, but I just didn’t feel like reading some days. So, this is why there are a few repeats on my TBR from previous months.
Continue reading

Three Mini Book Reviews: March 2018

3 mini book reviews march 2018
Although I haven’t posted much this month, I’ll be posting everyday this week up until Friday! So to start off this week of blog posts, I thought I would do a few mini reviews of books I’ve read this year. I have made a few blog posts at the beginning of my blog all about mini book reviews. It allows me to write what I want to say about these books without writing an essay about it. Sometimes my views on a book are not long enough to warrant a long single review, so this is what these posts are for! They’re short, and they’re to the point.

Love and Freindship by Jane Austen
The version of Love and Freindship that I read is a collection of short stories and novellas written by Austen when she was still a teenager. (I didn’t just read the story in which the collection is named after). The anthology is a really great collection of work, with added content from editors about Austen’s life, and her beginnings as a writer. I felt that the collection gave a great insight into how Austen wrote, and where her inspiration for story telling came from. None of the stories are edited to today’s standard of editing, so a lot of the time, things were choppy and awkward. Sometimes her stories felt incomplete. However, since this is a collection of her first writings, it makes a lot of sense that they aren’t her best work. I gave this anthology a 4/5 because I thought it was an excellent collection of Austen’s early work, but not all of the stories impressed me.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
I can confidently say that this novel was the biggest let down of the year (so far). The story isn’t necessarily bad, but it lacks a lot of things that I find important in a novel. For example, there’s this huge mystery about why this bookstore exists, and why it appeals to certain customers. Once the reason is revealed, it seemed like the plot was going to become suspenseful, and adventerous. However, the twist at the end of the novel is extremely anticlimatic. So anticlimatic that I literally felt like Sloan wasted an opportunity to shock his readers. I’m sure to some, the plot twist is great the way it is, but for such a fun book, it should have had a better ending.

Another thing I was disappointed about was the love story in the novel. The relationship between Clay and Kate lacks chemistry. They seem to have a pretty normal relationship considering what the book is about, but nothing they do seems naturally human. I know that sounds strange but imagine if a robot was trying to express its feelings toward someone. That’s how their dialogue and relationship felt. It was cute, but didn’t feel natural at all. Whenever Clay and Kate had dialogue, or when Clay was thinking about her, I always wanted to skip those pages. That is when I know that the book might become a miss for me.

Although I was very disappointed with this novel, I still gave it a 3.5/5 because I thought the novel was funny and unpredictable. I never read a book like this, and the good parts about this book were good. So, if you like books about books, or books that are not predictable, definitely check this one out.

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
I originally read the first half of this book in university, but I never gotten around to finishing it. You know how it is. During school, how often do you have time to finish a book completely? I usually was able to, but not all the time, especially when it was my final year in school. The book was assigned in my class where literautre and pyschology intersect. It was a really amazing course, and definitely gave me a different perspective on this book.

H is for Hawk is, to put it simply, a memoir about Macdonald training a goshawk. However the memoir is more than that. It is structured around the goshawk, but delves into how she coped with her father’s death, her childhood, and her struggles with depression. The way Macdonald weaves these stories together allows the reader to see how she copes with things, and how it has an effect on the mind. She also relates a lot of her training and coping with the author T. H. White. He wrote the King Arthur books, but also wrote about goshawks. She acts like a psychologist and tries to understand White through his writing in fiction, and his diaries. It’s such an interesting read to see all of these things connect when you’re reading about one person training a hawk. I feel like if you have background knowledge of psychology, you might enjoy this book more than the average reader. I think you need to have that bit of base knowledge to truly appreciate what is going on in her memoir. I also think a love of the literary tradition will be a bonus too.  I gave this memoir a 4/5.

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts on them? Let me know if I should do more of these mini reviews.

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