Reading wrap-up #18

I’m back, back, back again to Seattle finally done with Alaska work until January. I haven’t checked my blog for over about a month, so I’m playing a bit of catch-up with reading and writing posts, bear with me!

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 Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

231804Rating: ★★★

Genre: Fiction, classics, young adult

GoodReads rating: 4.09 / 5 (853,900 ratings)

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

Summary: Young Ponyboy’s (yes, that’s his Christian name) life is overrun by the tension between his greaser gang vs. the well-to-do Socs. When he and his friend Johnny get into serious trouble, the strain between the two groups only becomes greater, putting everyone in danger.

Thoughts: I read this book in eighth grade, but as it was an assigned/forced reading, naturally, I didn’t enjoy it. After reading To Kill A Mockingbird and loving it, I decided to give some of these adolescent school reads a try. The Outsiders was okay; not bad but I don’t think it’s an absolutely necessary school read, or any kind of required reading for that matter. It’s a good story with memorable characters, but part of it just felt stale.

Other adaptations: Rob Lowe. That is all. (I’m sure I watched it in class after reading it but can’t remember much. It doesn’t have the best reviews)

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

A1HDwSLtnwLRating: ★★★★

Genre: Contemporary, romance, young adult

GoodReads rating: 4.09 / 5 (137,900 ratings)

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

Summary: The same day left-brained Natasha’s family is being deported, she meets artistic Daniel who has one day to show her that love is not only real, but can live inside her.

Thoughts: This has to be my favorite young adult contemporary. Sure, it’s a bit fluffy, but it’s a sweet and whirlwind story. When reading these books meant for a younger audience, I ask myself, “Would 14-year-old Rachel liked this?”… and I would have eaten this one up. I love the multiple POVs, including non-main characters and although it’s a typical insta-love story, it’s incredibly well-written. I did think the characters were a bit over-written, but still, I have very few critiques on this book.

Other adaptations: “The young adult book adaptation nobody watched” according to one of my favorite YouTubers Dylan Is In Trouble, through which I power-watch a lot of film adaptations, and he couldn’t be more right. Have it not been for my job at a movie theatre earlier this year, I never would have known this was made into a movie. After? Sure. Five Feet Apart? Bring it on. But I feel like nobody talked about this movie and nobody really cared. The movie seemed to follow the book well enough, but the actors look like they’re about thirty and they could have changed the plot from worrying about college admissions to something more adult to fit the actors’ obvious age.

Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis

61-M2OjnbQL._SX354_BO1,204,203,200_Rating: ★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, social justice

GoodReads rating:  4.38 / 5 (4,400 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (purchased from Amazon Kindle store)

Summary: Angela Davis explains how the unique U.S. prison system plays a role in our every lives and how it’s modern-day slavery, contributing to the oppression of certain groups while corporations profit.

Thoughts: The title caught my eye when I watched the Netflix documentary 13th, which I highly recommend… this book, not so much. The book is short and makes a lot of good points, but it’s really dense (not exactly hard to understand, just be prepared to re-read a lot of its content to fully get the picture) and some of it seems a bit repetitive.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

81eRk+ElenLRating: ★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, psychology

GoodReads rating:  3.93 / 5 (110,950 ratings)

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

Summary: From Haitian warlords to business tycoons, journalist Jon Ronson dives deep into what it means to be a psychopath and how diagnosing and treating such people has changed over the decades.

Thoughts: I recently read another one of his books, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed and loved it. I thought it flowed really well and felt there was a lot to learn from his findings. This book, however, fell a bit more flat. In the wake of Shane Dawson’s series on Jake Paul, there has been a lot of discourse around “psychopaths.” I only watched the first episode and thought it was too melodramatic and inconclusive. The story in the book flowed well but left me asking, “So what?”… I was unmoved. Not to mention, the stigma around all mental illness made me a bit uncomfortable (e.g. the author seeming to infer that anyone who has one should not be in any position of power or responsibility).

Have you read any of these?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.

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