Reading wrap-up #48

Huge news: I’ve finally finished The Count of Monte Cristo! I challenged myself to read a book over 1000 pages before the end of the year and I’ve done it with a month to spare. I started in late October and finished all 1200+ pages of it a week ago.

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 Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte CristoRating: ★★★★

Genre: Fiction, classics

GoodReads rating: 4.26 / 5 (750,800 ratings)

Medium used: E-book (public domain)

Summary: “Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration.”

Warning: This book contains suicide.

Thoughts: I’m so proud of myself for finishing this behemoth. We all love instant gratification and I find mine in finishing a book in a day or two, but there was no way this book was getting done in a timely manner. The first and last 30% are gripping but around the middle I slowed down. The language wasn’t too hard, it was just the constant references to the time period that lost me. I’d recommend the e-book version of this as Kindle allowed me to highlight names to remind me who they are. I’d also recommend checking in every few chapters in SparkNotes to see if anything went over your head especially when you first start reading.

Other adaptations: The 2002 movie is the most popular adaptation and a movie I greatly enjoy for what it is. However, it goes unsaid that a two hour movie leaves some details out of a 1200+ page book. Pretty much everything after he escapes prison is completely different and his revenge plots are more intricate, but you’ll have to read the book to find the differences for yourself.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates · OverDrive: ebooks, audiobooks, and videos for libraries and schoolsRating: ★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, memoir, race

GoodReads rating: 4.39 / 5 (242,000 ratings)

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

Summary: “In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?”

Warning: This book contains mention of rape and violence.

Thoughts: If you’re looking for answers on how to solve racism, this book is not for you. This book is a deeply personal account of what it’s like to grow up Black in the United States in the form a letter to the author’s young son. It was such a blessing to peer into the life of this man and his relationship with his son. The writing was wonderful and I’d like to read more from Coates.

Similar reads: Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall is a good feminist and race book that also feel part-memoir.

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Into the Drowning Deep eBook by Mira Grant - 9780316379380 | Rakuten Kobo United StatesRating: ★★★★

Genre: Sci-fi, horror

GoodReads rating: 4.26 / 5 (750,800 ratings)

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

Summary: “Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy. Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.”

Warning: This book contains themes of violence and graphic descriptions of bodily injuries throughout.

Thoughts: I’m not a huge fan of sci-fi, but I like horror books and as somewhat of a marine biologist myself I figured this would be right up my alley. Not a dealbreaker, but early on in the book I hated the cliche that the marine biologist lived by the ocean her whole life, the sea gave her energy and all the fluffy crap that was constantly shoved down our throats. We get it. The pacing was weird, the first half was a good pace but the last half (the exciting part) went by way too quickly and left on a bit of a cliffhanger with no sequel three years on. Ugh.

Other adaptations: Not much news after it being optioned for a film adaption in 2018.

Humans by Brandon Stanton Humans eBook: Stanton, Brandon: Kindle StoreRating: ★★★★★

Genre: Non-fiction, photography, culture

GoodReads rating: 4.52 / 5 (1,200 ratings)

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

Summary: “After five years of traveling the globe, the creator of Humans of New York brings people from all parts of the world into a conversation with readers. He ignores borders, chronicles lives and shows us the faces of the world as he saw them. His travels took him from London, Paris and Rome to Iraq, Dubai, Ukraine, Pakistan, Jordan, Uganda, Vietnam, Israel and every other place in between. His interviews go deeper than before. His chronicling of peoples’ lives shows the experience of a writer who has traveled widely and thought deeply about the state of our world.”

Warning: This book contains mention of addiction.

Thoughts: I saw this on my grandma’s coffee table and as a big of of Humans of New York for several years, I was excited to see it was also available as an e-reader to borrow from the library. I cried a few times, Brandon is really touching so many lives.

Have you read any of these? 

Photo by Radu Marcusu.



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