Reading wrap-up #17

Whoop! With these few books I doubled my original reading goal of 35 books this year to over 70 now… and still going strong! Whatever I get to, I hope to constantly strive to do more. Stay tuned by adding me on GoodReads!

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.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Fiction, classics

GoodReads rating: 3.86 / 5 (1,823,000 ratings)

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

Summary: Young Santiago treks through the desert to the pyramids based on a fortune that he will find a great treasure there. In an oasis, he falls in love and meets an alchemist that helps him find his true treasure.

Thoughts: I read this in my senior year of high school and remember liking it a lot, and re-reading it didn’t disappoint. It’s such a thoughtful, magnificent book that I really relate to: take in the world around you but don’t forget the oil in the spoon (if you’ve read it, you’ll know).

Other adaptations: Rumors of development has been floating around for a few years, but nothing solid.

You by Caroline Kepnes

Rating: ★★★

Genre: Fiction, thriller, suspense

GoodReads rating: 3.89 / 5 (105,800 ratings)

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

Summary: When bookshop manager Joe falls in love with a patron Beck, nothing can stop him from finding out more about her and being with her. However, the problems don’t end when they’re together… how far will Joe go to do “what’s best” for Beck?

Thoughts: Good, but not great. The author’s POV as Joe did give me shivers; he’s a genuine pretentious creep. But that wasn’t enough. The close calls and big reveals didn’t have my heart racing like they did in the Netflix series.

Other adaptations: I had no idea this was a book when I first watched the Netflix series a while ago. This is one of the few adaptations that’s better than the book in my opinion. The series did a better job at building Beck’s character (e.g. the creepy professor) and conflict between Peach and Joe (e.g. the stolen laptop). I also really appreciated the addition of Joe’s neighbors in the series, I could experience all the secondhand stress Joe must have been feeling better than the book. Finally, I love how they ended the series over the book (what are the other books even about?). In everything I’ve seen Penn Badgley in, he’s been typecasted as the quiet, introspective, “nice guy,” and in a way Joe’s character is too, but has a real dark side that he delivers just as convincingly.

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Rating: ★★

Genre: Contemporary, fiction

GoodReads rating: 4.06 / 5 (30,900 ratings)

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

Summary: When something unspeakable happens between young lovers Kate and Peter’s parents, Peter is whisked away to live elsewhere and they live their lives separately before finding each other again in college. Will their family conflict still keep them apart?

Thoughts: This was literally the most boring book I’ve ever read. The climax (and only interesting conflict) happens about 20% in and then… nothing. I kept with the book because with the huge timeline, I thought there would be a big pay-off… but there wasn’t. Nothing happened. Not to mention with the quick timeline, the author mentioned things that happened in Kate and Peter’s teenage years that literally didn’t matter down the line (a loved one’s cancer, other relationships, etc.), so the points were lost on me.

Other adaptations: Award-winning producers have won the television adaptation rights, let’s hope it’s better than the book.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Stephen Brusatte

Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, popular science

GoodReads rating: 4.17 / 5 (10,650 ratings)

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

Summary: The author, from his childhood of fossil-hunting to studies with dinosaur celebrities, takes us on a journey around the world detailing how the dinosaurs evolved after the devastating Permian extinction, to their own some hundreds of millions years later.

Thoughts: I loved this book. I had to DNF a few popular science books recently which has me down but this book reminded me exactly why I love them so much. I like this book so much because I can relate to it. The author takes you all around the world speaking about different dinosaurs where you can say, “Hey, I’ve been there!” or in my case, “Hey, I live there!” (Southern Arizona). It’s written as a personal journey rather than just spitting facts at you. It’s easy-to-understand, a good length and covers all the bases of dinosaur evolution. Another similar book is The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, so if you’ve read that or this book, read the other. Wow your friends with all reasons Jurassic Park could never happen!

Have you read any of these?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.


1 Comment

  1. November 8, 2019 / 12:32 pm

    I’ve seen the Netflix series for You & I heard the book was supposed to be better so I ended up buying it (I haven’t read it yet though) so it’ll be interesting to see what I think.
    Also, I haven’t read The Alchemist, but I should now!

    Tales of Belle

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