The 24-Hour Read-a-thon! #readathon

24hourreadathon

It’s almost time to start the 24 Hour Read-a-thon! Over 1,500 (!) book bloggers and other book lovers all over the world will be reading as much as they can within 24 hours. Some will read 6 hours, some will try and read the full 24 hours.

Everyone starts at the same time, 12 GMT, which is 2pm for me here in the Netherlands. I do need my sleep, but I will try and read for 16-18 hours.

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This is what I’ll be reading from:

Readathon pile

[Finished] An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell by Deborah Levy – A short one to keep the spirits up.

[Finished] The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami – Another short one, for my East-Asian month.

Boo by Neil Smith – A YA novel, looks like an easy-going read.

[Finished] The Subprimes by Karl Taro Greenfeld – Dystopia (which I love) and looks good fun.

[Abandoned for now] Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong – My oldest unread book in the TBR and for my East-Asian month.

[Reading] The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – Got it from fellow readathoner Ciska and it sounds great.

Light and Dark by Satsume Soseki – For my East-Asian month, already over 100 pages in, I’m planning to read a few short chapters every few hours.

No, I will NOT be able to read all of those but it gives me a bit of choice. The book I’ll start with is

Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong


Mini-challenge: Shelfie

shelfie

I took a shelfie for the Book Monsters‘ mini-challenge! I have more books that that, but these are my favorite shelves.


Hour 17 – After reading and sleeping

I slept from 01.00 (hour 11) to 0.630 (hour 16/17) and now I’m ready to read some more.

I read in bed last night and at breakfast and this is the score:

I read 15 pages of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Total pages after 17 hours: 572


After ten-and-a-half hours of reading

Well, I’m in bed by now! It’s 12.30 am here in the Netherlands.

I finished The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami (96 pages)

I started The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (12 pages)

Total pages after 10.5 hours: 557


After nine hours of reading

I read 160 pages of The Subprimes by Karl Taro Greenfeld and finished it.

Now reading The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

Total pages after 9 hours: 449


After six hours of reading

I read 112 pages of The Subprimes by Karl Taro Greenfeld

I also had dinner (it’s now 8 pm here) and although the sun is shining, I’ll just keep reading rather than going for a walk.

Total pages after 6 hours: 289


After three hours of reading

I read 95 pages of Wolf Totem, but put it aside for now. It’s a great book, but the story line isn’t strong and I prefer more of a page turner for the read-a-thon. So, I’ll continue reading this, but not now.

I read An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell by Deborah Levy (72 pages)

Total pages after 3 hours: 167


Opening Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? I’m reading from the Netherlands. 
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? I’m especially looking forward to The Subprimes, a dystopian book – I love dystopia!
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I got some store-bought potato salad that is really terrible, paint-stripping stuff, but I love it!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I have my own book editing business so I get to read ALL THE TIME (and I still wanted to join in the readathon – there’s nothing better than that!)
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? I’ll do what I always do: read, eat, blog, and tweet!


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Are you participating? What will you be reading?

Please leave a link to your starting post so I can easily find you.


Book Review: The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin LiuThe Three-Body Problem: What it is about

From B&N: “Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

The Three-Body Problem: What I thought

I came across this book in a book store and it looked very special, a real find. I was keen to read it soon, so I made April East-Asia month! This is the first book by an East-Asian writer that I finished this month.

It was definitely a special book, but also a little cumbersome. First of all, there was some Cultural Revolution stuff that I wasn’t interested in, but I guess it was needed, because the story did (and had to) cover that time period as well as more recent times. Secondly, there was a lot of science in this science fiction novel. I can handle a lot of science in a novel, but sometimes this went a little too far even for me. At other times, I was pleasantly surprised by a particular scientific explanation. The explanation of the three-body problem especially, in relation to three suns, was very clever.

The blurb suggested an interaction between earthlings and aliens, but it took quite a while before the aliens entered the story. This was my main attraction to the book, so that was a pity. There were some very clever ideas about these aliens (for instance, they would dehydrate when it was too cold to live on their planet and re-hydrate when the temperature was favorable again).

There were several protagonists in the book, and it was hard to feel attached to them and their story. Towards the end of the book, several chapters dealt with the aliens on their planet, trying to unfold a proton, leading to hilarious effects. This was interesting to read, but it felt a little strange to have them appear as protagonists this late in the story.

The idea of what happened on Earth when people found out about the alien contact, and the expectation that they would come to visit at some point in the future, seemed quite likely: there are of course (of course!) several factions with different ideas of what should be done, people trying to have sole access to the transmissions, etc.

While this was at times a difficult and not always interesting book, I loved the ideas that were presented. I feel reading this book was great experience, and I love the new ideas about humanity, aliens, and the future I now have been exposed to. This is the first part of a trilogy, and I both do and don’t look forward to reading the next part. I’m curious how the story continues but I do wonder whether many more great ideas can be included in the story.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 400

First published: 2006

Translated: from the Chinese by Ken Liu

I got this: bought in a book shop

Genre: science fiction

 

Winner of the Literary Blog Hop

blog-hopIt’s the end of the Literary Blog Hop and time to announce the winner.

The winner is…

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

ashfaanwer

Congratulations! I’ll send you an email to ask you for your address details. Please answer this within 3 days.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Did you take part in the hop? And… did you win anything?

Book Review: Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander EssbaumHausfrau: What it is about

From the publishers: “Anna Benz, an American in her late thirties, lives with her Swiss husband, Bruno—a banker—and their three young children in a postcard-perfect suburb of Zürich. Though she leads a comfortable, well-appointed life, Anna is falling apart inside. Adrift and increasingly unable to connect with the emotionally unavailable Bruno or even with her own thoughts and feelings, Anna tries to rouse herself with new experiences: German language classes, Jungian analysis, and a series of sexual affairs she enters with an ease that surprises even her.

But Anna can’t easily extract herself from these affairs. When she wants to end them, she finds it’s difficult. Tensions escalate, and her lies start to spin out of control. Having crossed a moral threshold, Anna will discover where a woman goes when there is no going back.”

Hausfrau: What I thought

Anna isn’t exactly an endearing main character. I found her rather frustrating. She’s been in Switzerland for nine years, but she has hardly any friends, doesn’t speak the language, and the people in the village where she lives aren’t very forthcoming. Or so she thinks. But she hasn’t tried very hard. She’s waiting for something to happen and doesn’t undertake much action herself. Until she starts her German lessons and meets new people. Ex-pats, just like her.

It was both recognizable and totally strange for me. I also spent many years in a foreign country. I spoke the language, I had friends, and made an effort not to get acquainted to ex-pats. But at times, I also felt like a foreigner who stood forever outside the real society. Still, having kids helped, and Anna should have made good use of the mothers she’d meet via her children.

The story is built up really nicely. The story in the current time is often interrupted by flash backs to a few years ago, or sometimes to a few days ago. The flash back to the past make sense, but I wasn’t sure why the author sometimes moved the current story forward by a few days or weeks, and then looked back on the days just before. There were also short paragraphs in which conversations with her therapist were related. The therapist often came with some fantastic insights, but I found her a little too clever. Also, I wasn’t quite sure when Anna actually went to see the therapist. It wasn’t mentioned as part of her daily or weekly program.

Having said that, I just loved the way it was written. Amazing, given that I didn’t particularly liked Anna. But her story was interesting, and I was wondering what would happen. Would her husband find out about her affairs? Would she finally make some friends? The ending was totally unexpected, and I’m not sure I was too happy with it. It was a possible ending, but I did not expect this, and it didn’t seem to be the most interesting conclusion to the story.

While I have some reservations about the story and, especially, about Anna, the main character, I very much enjoyed reading this novel.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (very good)

Number of pages: 328

First published: 2015

I got this: from my local Random House representative

Genre: mystery

 

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