Reading Wrap-Up #12

I have been reading like a mad person, I don’t know how I’ll be able to keep up with these posts, but I’ll do my best.

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. My dates may not be completely accurate as I have limited Internet access to update my progress.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

810BkqRP+iLRating: ★★

Genre: Fiction, romance, erotica

GoodReads rating: 3.67 / 5 (1,693,000 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Date started/ finished: 31/07 – 02/08

Summary: Innocent Ana gets lured into a possible live of luxury and erotic conquests by the mysterious Christian Grey.

Thoughts: Oh, boy. Where to begin? It would have been one star if it wasn’t so laughable. Obviously, I didn’t read this because I thought it would be a literary masterpiece. I saw the movie and vouch that it’s so bad it’s good and I wanted to see if the book was just as bad. Also with a lot of discourse around the book about BDSM vs. abuse I wanted to get the full picture. The book is somehow worse than the movie, probably because over the 6+ hours I wasted reading it, it became so damn repetitive. How many times can one girl bite her damn lip? I have decided that both the book and movie don’t send a positive message about sex and relationships, except maybe if they explicitly painted this story as an anti-example, which they don’t. (start spoiler) Christian should not have preyed on such an inexperienced girl for his sex acts before she had time to decide for herself if that’s something she wanted to explore. He tells her to “embrace” feeling demeaned for him, threatens to take away her gifts if she doesn’t reply to him every single second of every single day, he’s possessive, jealous, aggressive, manipulative and entitled. He also got turned on when she said “no,” rapist much? Although I know the dominant/submissive relationship is popular in the bedroom, it rarely extends to real life, where partners can exercise independence and open communication. (end spoiler)

Other adaptations: The series has been made into films that have ratings from 12-33% on Rotten Tomatoes. To be fair, the film didn’t have much to work with. But, only seeing the first one, all I can say is that I think it’s so bad it’s good.

Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman

9781250169440_p0_v4_s550x406Rating: ★★★

Genre: Fiction, LGBTQ+, romance

GoodReads rating: 4.27 / 5 (122,400 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Date started/ finished: 31/07 – 03/08

Summary: “[T]he story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliff-side mansion on the Italian Riviera.” They discover total intimacy and love that lasts a lifetime.

Thoughts: I felt at times this book was unnecessarily meta and dragged on at times, but all in all, not bad. I really liked the idea of Elio being close to both his lady friend and Oliver at the same time, because love isn’t always limited to one person and can manifest in different ways.

Other adaptations: The 2017 movie is critcally acclaimed, I’d really like to see it. Plus, Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer are super hot together. Perfectly casted.

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery

81ZLO1VwpBLRating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, animals

GoodReads rating: 3.87 / 5 (17,900 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (borrowed from library via OverDrive)

Date started/ finished: 05/08 – 07/08

Summary: The author explores cognition and personality in octopuses (not octopi) from the tanks of the New England Aquarium to the reefs of Mexico, breaking barriers in animal intelligence.

Thoughts: I loved this book! I pretty much live and breathe marine biology and this was no exception, there’s always something more to learn.

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

39072210Rating: ★★★

Genre: Fiction

GoodReads rating: 3.69 / 5 (58,500 ratings)

Medium used: Hardback (purchased from Bookman’s in Tucson, Arizona)

Date started/ finished: 05/08 – 07/08

Summary: When a shooter comes into a women’s reproductive center, the people inside from all different walks of life are brought together to stay alive.

Thoughts: Her books are always hit (My Sister’s Keeper and The Storyteller are some of my all-time favorite books) or meh for me. This one was very meh. Don’t get me wrong, they are easy to read and go by quickly, but this one was underwhelming. I do appreciate the book at this dark time in women’s reproductive history and ridiculous lack of gun laws, but something was missing I can’t quite put my finger on. The “twist” was not very gag-worthy and underdeveloped and I wasn’t crazy about the risk she took with the writing style: going in reverse chronological order. I’m a big fan of her multiple point of views style instead.

Have you read any of these? Which did you enjoy?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.


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