Monday, October 12, 2015

2015 | Book Challenge No.5

With the semester picking up and midterms ever present in my mind, reading has taken a back seat in my life currently. But I'm now halfway through my book challenge; it took 3.5 months to read the first 25 books, and I'm confident with the upcoming holiday breaks I can knock out the next 25 before the end of the year - thankfully I'm a quick reader.

further reading: intro / part 1 / part 2 / part 3 / part 4

21. A book you started but never finished - Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay
I finally finished Bad Feminist after starting and stopping three times, due to me always thinking I'll devote more time to reading than I actually do. Written in much the same style as celebrity memoirs, Bad Feminist is a series of essays focusing on Gay's own experiences as a woman of colour and how her background shapes how she views modern feminism and culture. It's a sharp yet humourous look at how culture shapes the way people behave and how we could all stand to be better.

22. A book written by an author with your same initials - Equilateral by Ken Kalfus
I picked this book up solely because I needed something that matched my difficult initials. Equilateral is a strange, dry sort of comedy - if it even can be classified as a comedy - set in the late 19th century after scientists thought they spotted water canals on Mars. Sanford Thayer, an astronomer, launches an international project to create a huge equilateral triangle in the Egyptian desert to contact life on Mars. Equilateral is short - barely over 200 pages - which leaves minimal space to explore the characters. Instead the book focuses on the task of building the triangle, threading an impending sense of doom throughout its pages. I personally did not enjoy reading Equilateral but for others who enjoy bizarre novels, it might be worth a read.

23. A book with a single word title - Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
I picked up a copy of Housekeeping on a whim after hearing it mentioned in an article. Set in the rural American West, Housekeeping follows two sisters, Ruth and Lucille, as they grow up under three sets of guardians ending with their Aunt Sylvie. Sylvie, who lived as a transient before settling down with the girls, causes friction between the girls and with the town authority and must take dramatic action to keep custody. The pacing is a bit slow and picks up by the end, but I found Robinson's choice of diction perfect for the setting.

24. A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet - Good Omens by Neil Gaiman
I'm lying a bit with this one as I have actually read it before, but it was so long ago that I remembered only the fuzziest of details. Often considered Gaiman's best and well-known novels, Good Omens tells the tale of an angel named Aziraphale and a devil named Crowley banding together to prevent the end of the world after deciding they like the earth the way it is. It's classic Gaiman, with plenty of dry humour and quirky characters to keep readers entertained. As it's one of his earliest works, it's also easy to see how much his stories have improved over the years, and I can see where elements of Good Omens are used in more recent tales.

25. A book set somewhere you want to visit - The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
In the midst of midterm week I needed something light to break the stress of studying, so I checked out Jennifer E. Smith's popular YA romance from the library. The first bit of the book is set on a Heathrow-bound plane where our protagonist Hadley + love interest Oliver meet for the first time. The rest is set in London - a city I have never been past the airport to visit - as Hadley attends her father's wedding and Oliver visits his family. It's cheesy and completely predictable but it's a cute read that's worth the few hours it takes to read.

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