Summer Sun And Book Vibes: My Summer Reading

Summer rolled on, the sun shone, and the temperatures climbed, my holiday was awaiting for me. Perfection condition to rest near the lake, sip cute drinks, and read books. Unfortunately, I also fell sick, so once more my statistics were not as bright as they could have been. 

Nevertheless, I managed to read 7 books in summer, one of these were given to me in exchange of an honest review - as always marked with *. There was one re-read, as well as one book in German. I also managed to finish the Metro Series, which is also where this round up starts: 


Metro 2034 

After re-reading "Metro 2033"  it was time to venture onto the second part. This is not a direct continuation of Artyom's story but plays in the same universe. This time we follow three protagonists: Homer, Hunter, as well as Sasha. 

2034 is more stream-lined and lingers less on explaining the world. It focuses on the plot and in some parts on the past. This is especially nice since Homer is middle-aged and has worked in the Metro in "the old world" thus giving an interesting but also haunting insight into the day when the bombs dropped.

However, there is a sore point that you have to be willing to over-look when reading: Sasha's story. While the story in itself is not that unrealistic, given some phrases prior and ill-chosen words, it comes with a whiff of misogyny even though you can tell that Glukhovsky had taken the time to craft the story and the character, some of it just does not translate well into 2020. 

This is one of the cases when I am willing to acknowledge this and even discuss it but I generally enjoyed the story because it adds to the atmosphere and deals with Hunter's mental trauma in the dirtiest way possible. I even liked how the characters developed and that it had a typical Metro-style ending. 

In the end, it remains a read for the fans that adds to the world but is not free of faults either. I am going to discus it in more detail in November. 


The Black Kids* 

... follows Ashley during the Rodney Kind Riots in L.A. in 1992. Despite being black, she lives a carefree life and is mostly sheltered from racism and disconnected from the black community in school. However, the longer the riots take the more her family, and daily life is influenced by it and she starts asking herself more and more questions. 

This is a coming-of-age story which discusses race and how her relationship towards it progresses during this time. It also highlights everyday racism as well as tackling more complicated questions. Ashley grows alongside the reader, which makes it easy to understand and empathise. 

The only downside this book has is that sometimes the writing style becomes a little more experimental: there are past/present switches that disrupt the whole story in an effort to give a broader picture. There is also a love story that I was never able to get behind either. 

Nevertheless, I feel "The Black Kids" is a great book and it shows how every aspect can and is influenced by race. The saddest thing about this novel is that it might as well play in the now. 

A full review is available here 

Vengeful 

Is the second book of the "Villains' Series" and it goes right up there alongside Vicious. The story telling remains the same, the old characters appear as well as new ones. The world has moved on from the events from the last novel and now everyone has to deal with the consequences.

"Vengeful" was gripping and great to read, as well as having moments in which you almost regret the bad things happening to the "bad guys." It is an amazing addition to the series, and I am glad I finally picked it up! 

A full review of Vengeful is going to be available in two weeks. In addition, you can also read my review of the first part here


Loveless 

by Alice Oseman 


This was a read that I had been looking for since last year and I am so happy to type that it was worth the wait! Finally I held a mainstream novel with an aro-ace character in my hands and the story was not about trying to fix her and neither about asexuality being explored via a romantic plot.

Instead the story is about Georgia who starts university and thinks that this is her chance to find big love. However, nothing really works but her new environment offers new insight into the LGBT+ community and she encounters the words "asexual" and "aromantic." 

Loveless by Alice Oseman

The story is not about romantic love, and instead focuses much more on friendship and loving yourself. Despite Georgia trying to fall in love, her experiences are not traumatic and/or abusive. It is almost a "softly softly" way to approach the topic - which is perfectly alright because the last thing I would want to read is a sweet YA/NA novel about learning to love yourself with a "fix it" sex scene ... 

Overall, I really enjoyed "Loveless". It has some minor flaws but is a solid book that approaches the topic of aro-ace well. 

My full review is now available here


Metro 2035 

by Dmitry Glukhovsky


And here we go full circle. I managed to snatch the last part of the Metro trilogy just a few months after re-reading the first. This time around, the story focuses once more on our brave hero Artyom.

However, things are quite different, while Artyom used to be optimistic and even a bit naive about the world, all the past events have made him cynical and bitter. Despite this he cannot believe that the Moscow metro would be the last refuge of human kind and is intend of finding signals from elsewhere: it becomes his sole obsession. This goes so far that he risks his marriage, family, and even his own health. 

One day Homer arrives at ВДНХ and tells the story of someone who had been in contact with people outside of Moscow. Thus, Artyom starts his journey through the Metro in order to meet this person. In doing so, he is followed by his past as well as stumbling across a conspiracy that might be so much bigger than him. 

"Metro 2035" is different from the other two as it reads more like a conspiracy thriller than survival with horror elements. Knowing what to expect the story was still enjoyable and I rather liked how the conspiracy was introduced in smaller elements and those got bigger and bigger. It is a long book and due to this the story sometimes slags and you feel that it has lost its drive. Nevertheless there are passages that make your blood run cold and feel the same betrayal and horror as our protagonist. 

Despite having some flaws, I enjoyed the overall experience of the book. The full review is going to come next year! 


1408 

by Stephen King 


Mike Enslin writes about haunted places, and as luck would have it he hears about Room 1408 at a New York hotel. Despite being urged not to stay there because the room has a dark history and evil essence, Enslin is not a believer of the paranormal. However, this does not stop the room to drive him insane.

I read this short-story because I was looking for a little inspiration and here we are at the master or horror's backyard: Stephen King. Despite the premise, 1408 is one of King's weaker stories, even if his writing style still shines through and there are passages that give you goosebumps. The overall plot does not feel as fleshed out as it could have been, but the idea is lovely!


Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race

by Reni Eddo-Lodge 


As the title suggests, this is a book that talks about race. Eddo-Lodge talks about various aspects of being black and living in the UK: the history, the system, white privilege, the fear of a black planet, race and class as well as races' relationship with feminism. Each of those chapters are a stand alone essay that goes into great detail. 

The writing style is enjoyable to read, and yet remains factual. She also goes so far as to add personal frustrations, and stories to the novel which makes it into more than just figures and instead adds a human touch. Despite the obvious focus on Great Britain, "Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race" is a the perfect read for every white person who wants to learn more! It even tackles such issues as why - as a white person - you are not entitled to wallow around in self-pity because you had been ignorant to certain aspects of racism. 

This book does not go easy in teaching and showing this, instead it depicts what is. As such it can be highly informative, as well as help black people find aspects that are relatable to them. 



Have you read any of those books? Which ones and how did you like them? Let me know.

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