Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic was made for me! I’m attempting to read a book from every country in the world before I’m 30, this is the Read the World Project, so I’ve read some great books that take place outside of the UK. Here are ten of my favourites I’ve read for that challenge and just generally.
Frangipani by Célestine Hitiura Vaite
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this book a lot now but it’s just so nice. Set in Tahiti, it’s about the relationship between a mother and daughter and their lives spanning about thirty years. It’s like an insight to a normal family’s life, it’s got the highs and lows but it’s also funny and never overly dramatic.
The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Riley
This book was like an action film playing in my head. Set in China, it’s revealed that scientists have actually created dragons, but of course, things don’t go to plan, nature can’t be controlled and the special guest have to survive when the dragons go on the rampage. It’s like Jurassic Park but with dragons and is a lot of fun.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Set in South Korea and Japan, Pachinko follows one family through the generations and you get to see how their lives change, for the good and the bad, and time moves on and they are affected by some major historical events. (more…)
Satrapi was the intelligent yet outspoken child of radical Marxists and the great-granddaughter of Iran’s last emperor and her childhood was always entwined with Iran’s history. As a graphic novel memoir, Persepolis follows Satrapi’s childhood in Iran during the revolution of 1979 and the Iran-Iraq War, to her adolescence in Europe and how she copes being so far from her family and her home.
There’s so much about Iran’s history and politics that I don’t know – I don’t have a very good understanding of what’s been happening in Iran recently, never mind what was happening in the country just under 50 years ago – but Persepolis did such a good job of shedding light on what growing up in Iran during a revolution and a war was like. The young Satrapi is constantly learning because the rules of her country are constantly changing. Persepolis is almost a crash course in Iran’s recent history and it’s a great introduction as you learn so much about what happened from someone who lived it. That being said, there’s still many elements that could be explored more but as it focuses on Satrapi’s experience rather than an expensive history, it’s understandable why there’s some gaps to what was happening between countries like Iraq and Iran, and Iraq and Kuwait and how countries like the USA and Britain were really involved.
Besides growing up in Iran, Satrapi also moves to Austria when she is a young teenager. She moves there alone, with no family and a limited grasp on French. In some ways Satrapi enjoys the freedom that Austria offers her compared to Iran but in others, she doesn’t feel like she understands how society in the West functions or if she fits in.
That’s what Persepolis is about really. It’s about a young girl who becomes a young woman and how she slowly discovers through trial and error who she really is and where she feels like she belongs. She may make different friends along the way and even have boyfriends but the one constant in her life, even when she was miles away from them, was her family. The relationship between Satrapi and her parents and grandmother is a wonderful element of the book and seeing how they all influenced her and helped her grow was really interesting and lovely.
The art style in Persepolis is relatively simple but effective. It’s all black and white and most of each panel is often made up of a speech bubble. The art style works because while it’s about difficult and complex topics, the language is also simple. This is because most of the book is from the perspective of someone who is twelve or a young teenager who may think she knows everything but really doesn’t.
Persepolis is a fascinating read about the difficulties of growing up in a war torn country and finding where you truly belong. It’s sometimes funny and often sad but it’s always enlightening. 4/5.
The #DiverseAThon is a week-long readathon where really the only goal is to read diversely. That could mean reading books about LGBTQ+ characters, books about or by people of colour or books featuring topics such as mental health or physical disabilities. Basically, any books where the protagonist is different to you. As I am a white British, cis-gendered twenty-something from a single-parent family that means there’s a lot of books I could choose from.
There is a group book you can read for the readathon (though it isn’t compulsory to read it) which is Homegoing by Ya’a Gy’asi. I actually bought this book a few months ago but have yet to read it so this is the perfect chance to read it. Homegoing follows a family over 300 years, so you see how history and society changes (or doesn’t) and how racism affects them all.
I’m being realistic with my TBR for the #DiverseAThon because this readathon isn’t about reading as many books as possible (though you can try and do that if you wish) it’s about reading diversely and paying attention to what the books are talking about. I have four books on my TBR including Homegoing. There’s Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi which I am currently reading and will probably finish before the readathon kicks off tomorrow but thought I’d mention it anyway. It’s a memoir-graphic novel about a girl growing up in Iran during the 1979 revolution and how life changes for her and her family. I’m almost half way through and really enjoying it at the moment because Iran’s history is something I know very little about. Also on my TBR is Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin which is about Max who was born intersex meaning he is neither fully boy nor fully girl. I’ve never read a book about an intersex character and I’ve heard good things about Golden Boy though it may make me cry. And finally I have another recent purchase, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng which is about a Chinese-American family in the 1970s dealing with the grief of losing a family member.
The readathon is from Monday 12th September at 12am to Monday 19th September at 11:59pm and is hosted by WhittyNovels, She Might Be Monica, Christina Marie and SquibblesReads. The best way to chat to the hosts and to everyone else taking part in the readathon is to use #DiverseAThon on Twitter and Instagram.
Are you going to take part in #DiverseAThon? Do you generally read diversely or is it something you have to put an effort into? I do try to read diversely whether that’s reading more books from authors who are people of colour or books about characters that are nothing like me. Sometimes it doesn’t work and sometimes it does but that’s just the way life works sometimes.
Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature created by GingerReadsLainey and hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. So this week as we are nearing the end of summer, it’s time to have a look and see what books I really want to read before the end of 2016.
Zorro by Isabel Allende
I love The Mask of Zorro staring Antonia Banderas so I really want to read an actual book about Zorro. This is kind of a biography and origin story for the legendary character and that sounds super interesting.
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
This is a classic and a short one at that. I got it from a firend who was getting rid of a lot of his books as he was moving abroad so I nabbed this one as it’s one of those books I’d been meaning to read for ages. Plus, everyone I know who has read it loved it so that just makes me want to read it more.
Fractured by Terri Terry
I read Slated earlier this year and really enjoyed it so straight away went and bought the two other books in the trilogy but I still haven’t read them. I want to at least read the second book Fractured by the end of the year and hopefully I’ll love it as much as Slated so I’ll just end up marathoning the rest of the trilogy.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This is one of my more recent purchases. I’m trying to read more diversely and Homegoing has had a lot of good reviews. Plus, it’s got a pretty cover and it’s relatively short.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
This book has been on my shelves for over a year and it’s a graphic novel so it should be a quick read. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Persepolis and it’s a couple of my friends favourite books.
What books do you definitely want to try and read before the end of the year?
Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature created by GingerReadsLainey and hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week it’s all about books I’m intimidated by, so without further ado here they are.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
This book intimidates me because of its size – it’s a seriously fat book – and because it’s loved so much and I’m worried I won’t like it as much as I’m supposed to. The only Neil Gaiman-ish book I’ve read was Good Omens and I do want to try more Gaiman but there’s just so much hype around American Gods!
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
This book intimidates me not only because it’s a classic but because it is flipping huge! I honestly think it’s the biggest book on my shelf and I have no idea how or when I’ll read it.
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
So this book intimidates me for a different reason. I absolutely love the Bourne films and I have always been interested in the books but I’m worried I won’t like the book as much as the film or I will just see the film-stuff in my head when I’m reading the book.
The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
I’ve got this series in a big, hardback bind up collection which looks beautiful but also intimidates me a lot. It’s been on my shelves for years because I just don’t really know how to read it.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
A lot of my friends love this book so know there’s all this pressure for me to love it as well. It’s a graphic novel so theoretically it wouldn’t be as hard to read but I’m still intimidated by the love it gets.
Those are five books that intimidate me, what books intimidate you?
Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week – I’m thinking I might not take part every week but just see if a week takes my fancy. This week is all about our Autumn TBR’s so here are the books I want to read before the end of the year. I have a few challenges to complete by the end of the year so some of these books will go towards them and I also want to read more books by women as I wanted to my reading to be a 50/50 split between male and female authors but at the moment I’ve read more books from male authors.
Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins
This would fill the “contemporary romance” section of the Eclectic Reader challenge. I’m not a big fan of contemporary romance but I’ve heard nothing but good things about Anna and the French Kiss and I always like reading a fun, quick read in between more dense stuff.
Winter – Marissa Meyer
I’ve started The Lunar Chronicles series by taking part in the #TLCReadAlong and now I’m really looking forward to seeing how the series comes to an end. I still have Cress and Fairest to read but the excitement around Winter is definitely getting to me.
The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty
This would fill the “a familial relation” section of the What’s in a Name challenge. My mum actually bought this book for herself but it sounds intriguing and is a family drama which could turn into a bit of a thriller. (more…)