Much to my surprise, I got a lot of reading done on my Thailand holiday. Most of it during the 40+ hours of flying I did, but some on the beach and on the boat trip, it was so lovely. If I did nothing except read for two weeks on a boat on a future trip, I’d be okay with that.
As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:
- (★★★★★): Loved it
- (★★★★): Really liked it
- (★★★): Didn’t hate it, didn’t love it
- (★★): Barely finished it
Another few notes: I will warn if there are any spoilers with (start spoiler) and (end spoiler) so you know when to stop reading and pick up again if you don’t want to ruin the book for yourself. I no longer go out of my way to watch adaptions, but will continue to mention them and their general critiques (from Rotten Tomatoes) in my reviews.
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Genre: Non-fiction, feminism, race, politics
GoodReads rating: 4.40 / 5 (19,200 ratings)
Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)
Date started/ finished: 1/6 – 7/6
Summary: The author starts by explaining their frustrations with discourse around race from non-people of color and delves into a brief history of how we got here.
Thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this read. Short, comprehensible and eye-opening, especially as a former expat of the United Kingdom to learn about their slavery history and civil rights movement.
Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jonny Sun
Genre: Graphic novel
GoodReads rating: 4.06 / 5 (25,300 ratings)
Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)
Date started/ finished: 7/6 – 11/6
Summary: “The illustrated story of a lonely alien sent to observe Earth, where he meets all sorts of creatures with all sorts of perspectives on life, love, and happiness, while learning to feel a little better about himself—based on the enormously popular Twitter account.”
Thoughts: It had a few cute bits, but not “wow”. The spelling also really annoyed me. I still love Jonny’s Twitter, though!
Educated by Tara Westover
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir
GoodReads rating: 4.49 / 5 (325,800 ratings)
Medium used: E- book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)
Date started/ finished: 11/6 – 19/6
Summary: Growing up, the Westovers valued God and preparing for his impeding rapture above all else. Tara had never step foot in a school or hospital or even had a birth certificate until physical and emotional abuse forced her to change her quality of life by fighting her way into university.
Thoughts: This book is so interesting. I was very intrigued with her life and how going to university helped her look inwards and make amends with her family. There were some parts that were hard to read, but I really appreciate the author’s bravery and candor sharing her traumas. However, there were some parts that seemed really hard to believe, such as somebody with no formal education getting into a university with a 50% acceptance rate and graduating with honors. Obviously, it’s true, but I wish she detailed a bit more of her academic struggles once she got to school.
Look Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley
Genre: Non-fiction, essays, humor
GoodReads rating: 3.75 / 5 (4,500 ratings)
Medium used: Paperback purchased from Antigone Books (Tucson, Arizona)
Date started/ finished: 21/6 – 24/6
Thoughts: This was readable and short, but no essays were particularly memorable to me. I’m glad I tried this new genre though and am still open to trying more essays, even by this author.
Factfulness by Hans Rosling
Genre: Non-fiction, science, politics
GoodReads rating: 4.37 / 5 (46,500 ratings)
Medium used: E-book (bought via Amazon Kindle app)
Date started/ finished: 24/6 – 25/6
Summary: The late Hans Rosling explains why we think the world is wore off than it really is, explains how global trends are changing and how to examine our own understanding of the world for fact.
Thoughts: I had a few issues with this book. First of all, a lot of this book seems like a massive pat on the back to himself and sometimes comes off as arrogant, saying all the TED Talks he’s given, all the awards he’s been granted and how much more he knows than everybody else. As a professor, he also took his students on what I can best describe as “field trips” to gawk at the way people in lower-income countries live, like animals at the zoo. I understand that the author was trying to convey that the world is getting better in terms of healthcare, poverty, quality of life, education, etc., but sometimes it seemed like the author was trying to say that everything is fine and we shouldn’t worry and these problems will sort themselves. Despite these few paragraphs that made me uneasy, my favorite parts about this book wasn’t regurgitating data, but the parts that taught me how to think and read statistics rather than what to think. A very interesting resource created by the author and his family is the Gap Minder.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Genre: Fiction, mystery, thriller
GoodReads rating: 3.68 / 5 (266,000 ratings)
Medium used: Audiobook (borrowed from library via OverDrive)
Date started/ finished: 2/7-3/7
Summary: When travel journalist Lo Blacklock sees something dodgy on the maiden voyage of the lush and exclusive Aurora, she tries to find out what happened and who could have done it?
Thoughts: Sorry, I know the summary is really vague, but I don’t want to give anything away. The cons about this book was that it was slightly predictable at a point, but only because I feel like a few things about the plot have been done before. I also feel like the author held your hand through the book, reminding you what happened every step of the way. However, that didn’t make it any less exciting, I even audibly gasped at a few points. The isolated setting gave it a slightly And Then There Were None feel. Finally, the audiobook narrator (Imogen Church) was amazing. I went into this book knowing I probably wasn’t going to love it (as far as domestic thrillers go, Gone Girl cannot be beat), but I enjoyed it enough.
Other adaptations: Rumor has it there’s a film in pre-production.
Photo by Radu Marcusu.