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Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Posted: Wed May 02, 2018 6:20 pm
by MamaPata
I love 'The Color Purple'! I'll be interested to hear what you think.

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Posted: Thu May 03, 2018 8:26 pm
by Serpent
Challenge: Platypire diversity challenge
Rules: Extremely flexible. The minimum is one book :) There are monthly themes but it's fine to finish the books later. If you want to participate but aren't sure what to read, there are many suggestions.
Misc: Since 2015 or so I've kept starting "diverse" books but I've not been able to finish almost anything. My primary goal is to finish what I've already started. I'm a really slow reader and I know that right now it's better for me not to start anything new.

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:22 am
by Serpent

Book: Clotilde Chaparro - Duzinda
Challenges: Dread and read
Purchase details: got it for free from espejismo who got it in Brazil (not sure how/where)
Learner's notes: The book takes place in the 1930's and 1940's. I had to look up some words but not many. The hardest part was keeping up with who was whose brother, wife, cousin etc. Families used to be so big.
Representation notes: The book is about domestic violence and it's intended to help women recognize they're being abused [in heterosexual relationships]. The characters are ethnically diverse and based on real people. There are several descriptions of rape :cry:
There's a theme of victim vs survivor comparison that I feel uneasy about. However, abuse is definitely recognized as unfair in the book.
Other: There will be a movie based on this book. The author is active on fb and wordpress.
Overall the book feels a bit amateurish. It also just barely reaches 100 pages.
Finished on October 28.

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:09 am
by Serpent

(second pic shows the cover properly)
Book: Mijáilov - Las 19 copas mundiales de fútbol: datos estadísticos y análisis desde el punto de vista de la cienciometría
Challenges: Dread and read
Purchase details: Ordered in 2015 from for about 900-1000 roubles :? The Russian edition costs 400 roubles right now

Wow, what a disappointment. It's supposed to be an analysis of the World cups from a "scientometric" point of view. I expected something involving medicine and physics, maybe probability theory. Well this book just describes every World cup (up to 2010), the format used, which matches were played, who scored, some really basic stats like how many hattricks there were, and finally a section of some overall stats. When I was reading about the individual World cups I looked forward to the overall section, but remember that this book doesn't include the stats after 2010. So I found myself constantly wondering whether this or that record had been beaten yet, etc. Some facts were easy to look up, others had me counting manually because I was too curious :lol: Sometimes I knew one case from 2014-2018 fitting the description but wasn't sure whether there were any others.
Some expressions seem very clumsily translated, but I understand that when it comes to statistics, precision is really important, and maybe there's no better way to say it unambiguously. On some occasions the translation *is* imprecise though :cry: To the point that I could hardly understand what they meant.

Oh and there are literally 2 pages about "scientometrics", basically the Hirsch index adapted to football, and then some pages listing each team's attack index, defense index etc. Boring and pointless.

The book was published by URSS, a publishing house whose mission is to "preserve and expand the scientific heritage", basically promoting Soviet and Russian science, and translating scientific literature into Russian. Well... I'm sure there's some good stuff out there, but I'm very hesitant to give their publications another try.

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:44 am
by Serpent
Also, I've started a short stories challenge again :)

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Posted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:14 pm
by Serpent
Book: Maggie Nelson - The Argonauts
Challenges: Dread and read
Learner's notes: Very non-linear and confusing. I finished reading it while celebrating New Year, and then started rereading pretty much the whole thing. It's best read within a short time, especially if you're not familiar with the names she's referring to.
Once I got used to it, I honestly liked the (lack of) structure, but it's not for everyone. It's been translated into several languages but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're familiar with the topics in question. I've also seen English native speakers describe it as too messy and hard to read.
Representation notes: Problematic from an intersectional feminist perspective, probably too "leftie" from a non-feminist perspective.
What I found annoying to cringeworthy:
-The book is hailed for giving an insight into gender fluidity, but there are next to no mentions of that. Ok, it does describe her experience during and after her partner's transition, but that's it. To be fair, it's mostly a problem with the press coverage of the book. I definitely think that if you want to read about being gender fluid/non-binary/etc, you should seek out something else too.
-She describes how they had decided to name their kid Iggy and needed a longer "official" form. They didn't want to go for Ignatius and chose Igasho, a native American name. Her partner is supposedly part-Cherokee. They also got the "blessing" of a nurse who happens to be a "full tribe member" of Pima. But the name appears to be neither Cherokee nor Pima. And I found their reason to use it, well, superficial.
-Ableism with regard to speech defects
Surprisingly comforting about the topic of death. I didn't even know the topic is discussed but I really needed that after losing my grandmother a few months ago.
Also, New Year's Eve/day turned out to be a great time for reading about birth and death :)
I came across this book via Emma Watson's book club on goodreads (Our shared shelf), but obviously couldn't finish it within the designated month (May 2016). I'm not sure I even began it during that month.

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:00 pm
by Serpent

Challenge: Mount TBR (here's a fellow participant's description in Portuguese)
Rules: Read 12+ books you owned as of January 1, 2019. If you started the book before 2019, you should read 50% or more this year (exception: books you read for last year's challenge but didn't finish). Audiobooks and E-books may count "if they are yours and they are one of your primary sources of backlogged books".
Target: 12 books, that's the minimal goal
Giveaway: yes

I really like the new rule! Well, I didn't participate last year, but I still have some unfinished books from 2016 :lol:

Tentative list:
La gatta di Varsavia
Gli eredi degli dei
U očekivanju potresa
Die verschwundene Trommel
Fiorentina da impazzire
How the French won Waterloo (or think they did)
Europa: nascita e affermazione di una civiltà
Eurolandia contro l'Europa
The Life and Times of an Ordinary Captain: Forty Years of Flying

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:28 am
by Serpent
Challenge: European reading challenge
Giveaway: yes (giftcard for the person who reads and reviews the most books)
Rules: read 1-5 books by European authors or taking place in Europe. Each author/country can only be used once. All genres count, including guidebooks. All formats count and rereads also do.

I signed up for this challenge in 2016 but now the host has confirmed it's fine to finish a book you've started before the year began :D Aiming for at least 5 books again.

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Posted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:34 pm
by Serpent
Challenge: Diversity challenge
Rules: Very flexible, no levels and many possibilities to choose from. Poetry, non-fiction, e-books, picture books etc all allowed.
Misc: Since 2015 or so I've kept starting "diverse" books but I've not been able to finish almost anything. My primary goal is to finish what I've already started. I'm a really slow reader and I know that right now it's better for me not to start anything new.
Target: Mine is to have 75% (or at least 2/3) of the books I read count for the challenge. (You don't need to set a goal if you don't want)

Challenge: Mental Health Reading Challenge
Rules: Same but specifically about mental health. Well, they say "all formats allowed" and "both fiction and non-fiction", but not sure about for example picture books. (not planning to read any)
Misc: The books I have in mind are about depression and drug/alcohol addiction.

Re: Reading challenges: sign-up and reviews

Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:21 am
by Serpent

-click the arrows to see what the format is like
-the review contains minor spoilers, you'll see them as plain text if you quote the post.

Book: Yvonne Hergane - The Missing Drum/Die verschwundene Trommel
Challenges: Dread&Read, Mount TBR, Diversity challenge (disappointing), European Reading Challenge (Germany - takes place on Fehmarn island)
Purchase details: Had to double-check. I thought I had bought this in 2015 along with a few other books in German... Turns out I ordered it back in 2012 via European Bookshop, while I was buying HP5 in Portuguese. I probably expected to read this during the original Super Challenge :lol: I might have forgotten about it later because it wasn't available on Goodreads (I added it to the database in 2015)
This book has been to Rovaniemi with me, but I hardly read anything there.

Language learner's/geek's notes: Well, this wasn't what I expected at all. I thought this was a parallel text and expected to breeze through it. Instead it was a book in a weird format supposed to help German kids learn English.
On the other hand, this was also something I long wanted to see. A book where the dialogue is written in the language it took place in. There are some lines in Jamaican patois, some individual words in Spanish explained in the text. No lines in Dhivehi, it's translated/summarized.
I don't think the format is particularly useful for German kids, though of course more useful than just reading a story in German. Many English words are translated in the footnotes, including cognates and some really basic words. The choice of words picked for the footnotes isn't great at all.

Representation notes: That's probably the first time I'm saying it, but the multiculturalism did feel a bit forced, despite being well-researched and having valid plot reasons. Maybe the explanations feel too formal. Also, the way the theme of superstitions was handled is disappointing.

I didn't particularly like the main character, who's a teenage boy. He seems to be intentionally imperfect though. Most people he finds annoying turn out better than he thinks. And he does save the day alongside them.
There's also some heteronormative bs, but not exactly dating/romance. 8/10 in this regard. The book ends with a boring misogynistic trope: it's clear that the boy and girl are going to end up together, but he half-jokingly regrets that she wants to join him on their next holiday when they visit their new friends together. The girl either has some internalized sexism or deliberately flatters the guy.
If you believe that ACAB, you'll find the climax disappointing.

On a random note, one of the characters is called Kawani and I kept picturing someone who looks like Edinson Cavani :lol: But it's supposed to be a girl. BTW, their group of friends ends up being 3 girls and 4 boys. That's kinda symbolic to me. Overall, the book does reach the bare minimum of my expectations, but hardly goes past that.

Other: The plot was slow in the beginning but closer to the end I couldn't put the book down.
And then the book ends with a scene of a horse foaling :shock: :shock: :shock: Totally unexpected but useful for my German vocabulary :D
I'm not interested in reading anything else by this author. However, she's also translated some books into German - should be good quality.