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September wrap-up

September wrap-up

Monthly wrap-upWe’ve been enjoying a near perfect Indian summer here in the Netherlands, which has really lifted my spirits. I’ve found back some of my motivation and started studying again. I started a Korean language course, and am also working on Japanese again (mostly by reading). It feels good to be excited about something again.

As for reading: it’s clear I still had to let my foot heal the past month, hah. I wish I could’ve enjoyed more activities (active activities) outside to properly enjoy the lovely weather, but alas. That’s the one thing I’m pretty bummed about, looking back at September. My foot is slowly getting better though, hopefully it’ll be all fine within a few weeks, and in the mean time I’ve enjoyed a ton of reading.

Read in September

  1. The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin
  2. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents, #1) by J.K. Rowling
  3. Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (Pottermore Presents, #2) by J.K. Rowling
  4. 女仙 by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
  5. 日記帳 by Rampo Edogawa
  6. The Book of Tea by Kakuzō Okakura
  7. Breaking Into Japanese Literature: Seven Modern Classics in Parallel Text edited by Giles Murray
  8. Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (Pottermore Presents, #3) by J.K. Rowling
  9. by Kanoko Okamoto
  10. Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys
  11. Tegenspel (Een groene bloem #2) by Floortje Zwigtman
  12. Spiegeljongen (Een groene bloem #3) by Floortje Zwigtman

Phew! I am now at 66 books read in 2016. This past month I read a few short story collections, plenty of Japanese (all short stories), but also a couple of longer books. I read Good Morning, Midnight for #ReadingRhys, and I finished a wonderful Dutch LGBT+ YA series. I wish it had been translated to English, but no luck 🙁

Reading in October
In October I am joining Roof Beam Reader‘s The Literary Others event! I am very excited about it. I will be reading nothing but LGBT+ books this month. The last time this event was held was back in 2012, and my posts are still up (click!). I just picked my first book for the month, Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta. No idea what else I’ll end up picking up this month.. yet 🙂

Read in October

Read in October

brilliant monthsI only just returned from three weeks in Japan and am very busy again right away, hence this late post. So what I read in October:

  • Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin ★★★★☆
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller ★★★★★
  • Huntress by Malinda Lo ★★★☆☆
  • Brokeback Mountain by E. Annie Proulx ★★☆☆☆
  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters ★★★★★
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky ★★★☆☆

Most of what I read was for The Literary Others event. I intended to create a round-up post for the event, but the only other LGBT book I read that I didn’t mention in my previous post was Fingersmith. Now that the event already ended three weeks ago, I’m giving up on the round-up post… I don’t have much more to say about Fingersmith beyond ‘I really liked it’. I can definitely recommend it to everyone, the plot was great!

My favourite book read in October was easily The Song of Achilles and in fact I loved it so much it has become one of my all time favourites. The Perks of Being a Wallflower was enjoyable (but not the greatest) and I’m looking forward to the movie (the main reason I finally read the book).

The Literary Others: first update

The Literary Others: first update

So, my first reviews for The Literary Others: An LGBT Reading Event!

First things first: the winners of the giveaway for Giovanni’s Room have received notice (congratulations!) and the books have been sent out!

Unfortunately I am quite busy since the start of October, so I haven’t been able to participate as actively in the whole event as I would have liked to. Nonetheless, I have found some time to read. I finished four books for the challenge so far!

Giovanni's Room The Song of Achilles Huntress Twee Cowboys

The first book I picked up and finished for this event was Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin. This is typically one of those books that I find difficult to give my opinion about. It was really good and in a way quite overwhelming. It is definitely not a happy book, but I am glad I read it. ★★★★☆

My next book was The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, a book I was looking forward to reading for quite a while (actually since Tze-Wen gave it five stars). I was not disappointed! The book tells the story of Achilles from Patroclus’ point of view. It is based on the Iliad, so from the beginning of the book (if you’ve read the Iliad/know the story of Achilles) you know how it is going to end… That knowledge did not take away from the story in any way. The book is beautifully written, never too fast-paced or too slow and you soon begin to feel emotional over the characters. I also liked how the author handled the end of the story (I don’t want to spoil, but there would be some technical difficulty finishing this story from the chosen POV, but it worked well!).
I’ve read so many books that I ‘just’ liked, or ‘just’ thought were good, and this was one of those books that I got really excited about. It has definitely become one of my favourite books. And gave me plans to reread the Iliad (I read very small parts of it in Latin in high school, and know the general content)! I can recommend this book to everyone, especially if you like historical fiction, myths and/or LGBT-themed books. ★★★★★

Huntress by Malinda Lo wasn’t terrible, but had a lot of flaws. Firstly, the proportions of the parts of the story in this book are way off. The introduction of the quest is very short and we don’t get much of an explanation. This will be more or less fixed later in the story (or the author tries, at least), but nevertheless… Then, most of the book tells of the journey the characters take to the fairy city Taninli. This easily takes up two-thirds or more of the book. By the time they reach the city, there is not much space left to tell the rest of the story and it all feels quite hurried. Especially the final event (I won’t spoil) is ridiculously short and hurried. I wish the author had left some of the journey out and would give more details in those last parts instead.
Another big flaw is the portrayal of good and evil. The ‘bad person’ in this book (Elowen) is extremely two-dimensional. ‘Evil’ is portrayed black-and-white and the author attempts to explain Elowen’s actions to make it more grey but fails. I also felt no emotion whatsoever for the fairy queen later on, although I think the author tried.
That said, I must also be fair and say: the book was never boring. The writing style was also quite pleasant. Although the amount of adjectives put me off at the beginning of the book (probably because I read The Song of Achilles before this, which was a masterpiece in my opinion), I began to like the style later on and the book was a quick read. It wasn’t a terrible book, but I was expecting more. I’ve read plenty of young adult books with far more depth.
Another plus for the book: the world is interesting enough, although I wish we got to hear more about it (but perhaps that happened in Malinda Lo’s other book, Ash, which is apparently the same world?). I liked that sexuality was almost a non-issue in this world. Kudos. ★★★☆☆

Finally I read a Dutch translation of Brokeback Mountain (titled Twee Cowboys, ‘two cowboys’, in Dutch) by Annie Proulx. I watched the movie quite a while ago and liked it. The book, although short, was somewhat more in-depth. I am not sure how much the Dutch translation resembles the original, but the writing style (probably the translation) really ticked me off. The story is good, but I didn’t like the writing style at all. Still, it was a short quick read and worth the time. ★★★☆☆

I am currently reading Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. I really like it so far, but judgement will follow 😉

The Literary Others: Giovanni’s Room giveaway (October 3 – October 8)

The Literary Others: Giovanni’s Room giveaway (October 3 – October 8)

Roof Beam Reader‘s The Literary Others October event has started. (You can still sign up here and the Master Post is here!) And I am excited to announce that I will be hosting a giveaway!

I will be giving away three copies of James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room (this edition is part of Penguin’s ‘Great Loves’ series). I have picked this book because Adam over at Roof Beam Reader highly recommends it. And I absolutely agree with Adam! I only recently began reading it myself (slightly ahead of the event) and it really leaves an impression. Moreover, I noticed quite a number of people participating in the event have shown an interest in reading it.

Everyone participating in The Literary Others event can enter. I am willing to ship anywhere in the world, so there are no restrictions on your location.

The rules:

  1. You must be over 13 years of age.
  2. One entry form per person.
  3. You can earn extra entries by (see form):
    – Recommending an LGBT (themed) book in the comments of this blog post.
    – Subscribing to this blog.
    – Tweeting about the event.
    – Tweeting about this giveaway.
  4. Winners must respond to my e-mail within 48 hours.

[edit] Entries are closed. Winners will receive notice later today (October 9th)!
Giveaway will take place October 3 – October 8.

The Literary Others

The Literary Others

October is LGBT History Month in the US (in the UK it’s February) and Roof Beam Reader is hosting The Literary Others: An LGBT Reading Event. The goal is to read as many LGBT-themed/related books, or books by LGBT authors.

You can still sign up HERE, so go go go! Adam over at Roof Beam Reader has put up an extensive list of possible reads (see the aforementioned link) to give you some ideas (and some are just as suitable for The Classics Club challenge!).

I have quite a few lgbt(related) books on my to-read list and I’m excited to start reading. I think I may be a bit too ambitious, but among them there’s a few books that I definitely want to read in October.

Also… this event means I will be hosting my first giveaway! Stay tuned 😉