Reading wrap-up #25

Sorry I’ve been inactive recently! I work remotely and although I try to keep up, it’s not always easy.

As a reminder, here is how I rate my books:

  • (★★★★★): Loved it
  • (★★★★): Really liked it
  • (★★★): Liked it enough
  • (★★): Didn’t care for 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. Finally, you can always check out my book review index page if you’re looking for my extremely important opinion on any book in particular.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

71x4baXyxvLRating: ★★★★

Genre: Fiction, dystopian, series

GoodReads rating:  4.22 / 5 (128,700 ratings)

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

Summary: Escaping handmaids and authoritative corruption threatens the stability of Gilead. Will a plot involving a devout Gileadan, a cunning Aunt and an unknowing refugee be enough to take the nation down?

Thoughts: My main problem with The Handmaid’s Tale, one of my first reviews, was the writing style and man, how things have changed. I loved this book, probably more than the first. I love a book with multiple points of view and the fact that one of them was Aunt Lydia’s was especially insightful. I especially loved seeing how Gilead looked to the outside world. This was almost a five-star book, I just wish there was more into Aunt Lydia’s motivation, felt it was overly-descriptive about the wrong things at times and longed for a bit of a better conclusion. Writing a sequel this long after the original was a risk, but I think it was a good move.

Other adaptations: We all know there’s The Handmaid’s Tale Hulu series. I haven’t watched it yet but have heard great things and wonder if/how this book will be translated into the series.

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

81l-6bNxngLRating: ★★★★

Genre: Thriller, mystery

GoodReads rating:  3.96 / 5 (73,000 ratings)

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

Summary: When Rowan accepts a job working in a remote mansion with a generous salary, it seems almost too good to be true… until she starts digging up the estate’s secrets while keeping the plotting children at arm’s length.

Thoughts: Like all these types of books, it kept me engaged but didn’t change my life. I was hoping for a more sinister ending. Of her books, I liked The Woman in Cabin 10 best, then this one, then In a Dark, Dark Wood.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

9781400052929Rating: ★★★

Genre: Science fiction, space, comedy

GoodReads rating:  4.22 / 5 (1,328,400 ratings)

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

Summary: Earthman Arthur Dent accompanies his long time friend and incognito extraterrestrial Ford on an extraordinary journey through space, learning lessons and meeting new beings to put in the new volume of the massively popular Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Thoughts: I appreciate the comedy and cleverness of the book, especially now that I’m a big fan of the British dry humo(u)r (the fact that Arthur was “quite cross” when Earth was obliterated had me in stitches). There seemed to be a bit much going on for such a short book, but perhaps it will come together in later books. Plus, as a fish biologist, I have to read on since there’s a sequel called So Long and Thanks for All the Fish.

Other adaptations: The 2005 movie fared okay with quintessentially British Martin Freeman playing Arthur, however no other sequels followed.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

9780399588198Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, memoir

GoodReads rating:  4.46 / 5 (287,000 ratings)

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

Summary: Comedian Trevor Noah talks about growing up as a “crime”: the product of sexual relations between a white man and black woman in the time of apartheid and how his experiences changed through his childhood and how it affects him as an adult today.

Thoughts: I’m not super into Trevor Noah’s comedy (I have nothing against it, I just haven’t listened to it much and don’t really need to), but I often site South Africa as one of my all-time favorite places I’ve traveled to, yet I know embarrassingly little about apartheid. I like my non-fiction books to have some kind of personal narrative (I don’t want to feel like I’m just reading a textbook, I want to put names, faces and places with experiences) and I thought this was a great way to do so. It opened my eyes to how monstrous colonizers could be as recently as my own lifetime and I could have no idea. However, he breaks up the heavier topics with funny stories of school, mayhem and romance (or lack thereof) we can all relate to.

Have you read any of these?

Photo by Radu Marcusu.


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