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Tuesday 22 July 2014

Booktubeathon 2014: The Results!

If you cast your mind back there to a week ago you'll remember me wittering on about a reading challenge set up by well known youtube book reviewer Ariel Bissett, called Booktubeathon. Here are the challenges, as a reminder:

To Read over the space of one week (can double up on challenges):

  • A Book with pictures
  • Start and finish a series
  • A book with red on the cover
  • A book someone else picks out for you
  • A book from the genre you've least read this year
  • A book to movie adaptation
  • Read seven books.

I took part last year and did again this year so here's how I got on;

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
Also known as 'The Bloggess" because she writes a blog (obviously) Jenny Lawson has had a distinctly unusual and at times hilarious life, which she shares with us in this book. This woman has a very bizarre sense of humour, similar to my own at times and she really doesn't hold back in this; it feels like a stream of consciousness at times where she veers off on random tangents. That said, this was a highly entertaining, laugh-out-loud read that reminded me of David Sedaris, Mindy Kaling, Caitlin Moran or Tina Fey...except on speed. I'm now following her also hugely successful blog for more of the same, I'm a little bit addicted to her particular style of writing thanks to this.
This fits into the "book someone picked out for you" category as my sister Sarah picked it out for me and I'm very pleased she did!

Lord of the flies by William Golding
This was my "genre you haven't read much of this year" (a classic novel) and "cover with red on it". This is a disturbing book about a group of British schoolboys (ranging in age from six to 10/11) who find themselves stranded on an unknown island with no obvious route of escape and more importantly, no adults around. They quickly establish a leader, even though there is a power struggle and because of that they end up drifting into two groups; those who believe the best way to survive is to hunt for the pigs that are on the island for food (avoiding the mysterious "monster" that also resides there) and the group that believes they need to have a constant fire lit to produce a smoke signal for potential rescuers. Well, you probably have some inclination as to what happens as this is a well known classic but basically...things escalate quickly. This is one to avoid if you can't handle violence (I did find myself going "noooo!!" every so often) and I have heard some criticise the ending but personally, I really enjoyed this book. Well written, gripping and terrifying purely because of how true to life this is; it's not hard to imagine a similar scenario playing out like this. Well worth a read if like me, you've foolishly never picked it up before!

Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
This one doesn't fit into any of the categories but I had already ticked all of them off and still needed a seventh book so I picked this fella up. Waiting for Godot is a play that first premiered in 1953 about two men; Estragon and Vladimir who are waiting for the eponymous Godot to appear. They bicker throughout the play as to whether they're actually in the right place to meet him, as neither can remember what they agreed upon as the meeting place until a boy comes with a message to tell them they must wait even longer til the following night. There are other weird characters introduced, such as Pozzo and his near-mute slave Lucky, who he treats like an animal and overall it's very surreal. Asked repeatedly what the play meant at the time, Beckett replied "why people have to complicate a thing so simple, I can't make out". So there you go, it is what it is. And no one is sure of what that is, exactly.

Gotham Central by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka
I loved this! My "book with pictures" category had to be a graphic novel as I'm making more of an effort to delve into that genre this year. Plus it's a style I actually really enjoy and anything vaguely involving Batman has my name written all over it. And that's exactly what this is; a graphic novel with vague reference to Batman. This is based around the world of Gotham City Police Department, tough cops who come up against regular gritty crime but have the added extra of villains like Two face, Catwoman and Freeze to deal with also. They all have a bit of a chip on their shoulder about having to contact the B-man for help, but when a case gets too weird or difficult for them they turn on the bat signal. Even then, we only get a few small glimpses of the man himself- this really is more about the cops of GCPD. And I loved that about this; it still has all the excitement of a DC comic but with the added grimness and realism of a cop drama. Speaking of which, they've developed this into a TV series so you might want to get on to reading this if you're a fan of the superhero genre before the show hits Irish TV. 

The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth
I've been meaning to read these number one bestsellers for ages now and this was the push I finally needed- this was obviously the "read a series" challenge and also "a book to movie adaptation". These are Young Adult dystopian novels set in a future Chicago where people are divided into "factions" dependant on their most prevailing characteristic, found through an aptitude test taken as a teenager.
So there's five factions; Amity (general do-gooders), Candour (they say everything how it is, a little bit too honest), Abnegation (selfless society who draw no attention to themselves), Erudite (super smart with a craving for knowledge) and Dauntless (brave, fearless and consider themselves indestructible). Beatrice is the main character, a 16 year old girl who gets her aptitude test back and is shocked to discover that she's actually "divergent", meaning she's suited to more than one faction and is warned strongly to inform no one of this as it's fairly dangerous information.
Anyway, she chooses Dauntless cause she's sick of Abnegation where she grew up and the first book Divergent, is all about the struggles involved in her training to become a fully fledged member of the Dauntless faction. There's the beginning of a love story with a fellow Dauntless, Four, she makes new friends and changes her name to Tris. So far, interesting enough.
Book two, Insurgent tested my patience a bit more if I'm honest. There was a lot of monologue teen angst going on to do with Tris and her guilt about what she's had to do to survive an uprising and not a huge amount happened.
Book three, Allegiant is much the same. Again, not a whole lot happened until the last 20% of the book and let me just clarify that each book is about 500 pages long, so that should be an indicator as to just how much waffling went on about pseudo-science, injections, taking over factions and building new societies etc with a bit of romance thrown in every now and then (on that note, most disappointing sex scene ever. I get that it's YA but these people are of age and supposedly madly in love. Pull it together, Veronica). I did like that Allegiant is told from two perspectives; Tris and her boyfriend, Four and although both of their thoughts were a bit interchangeable at times, I still thought it was an interesting concept. I also thought the ending was well done; rushed, but not your typical YA ending and I appreciated that, even though it wasn't the happiest way things could have gone.
All in all, I wouldn't recommend the Divergent series unless you really are desperate to read them and are young enough not to care about constant repetition in your literature. That said, it can be quite violent so I don't even know how suitable these are for a younger audience. I'm conflicted on these if I'm honest. I've actually yet to see the film but will be getting on to that this week.

One great thing about the booktubeathon is it makes you realise how much you can actually read in a week, if you put your mind to it. Of course, I'm laid up at the moment in bed with a herniated disc in my back so I really don't have any option other than reading but still, food for thought.

Fellow bloggers Breige, Sharon and Roisin also took part in Booktubeathon, so keep an eye on their blogs for their results too!
Have you read any of these? Any of them on your to-be-read list?


  1. I need to read Lord of the Flies now! Just finishing up Allegiant and to be honest it's taken me a lot of motivation to even get to this stage...I just can't get "into" them...I loved The Hunger Games but the Divergent trilogy is just lacking something. X

    1. I'm so happy to hear you say that Mary! I loved the hunger games too and also really thought something was missing from the divergent trilogy- really disappointing cause I thought it'd be a lot better. Lord of the flies is great and you'll have it read super fast! X

  2. The graphic novel sounds really interesting, have to say it's a genre I never dip into!

    1. It's something I've really been enjoying lately, there's some great ones in libraries now if you want to try before you buy! X

  3. Theres actually so many books from the list you've read that I've taken note of to read myself. Thanks for that lady! x

  4. Well done Chloe, you did so well, I'm sorry you are having back trouble x I felt a little disillusioned with the way the Divergent series went too, but I'm glad I've read the series all the same! I'm nearly sure I've read some of that Jenny Lawson book, the picture looks so familiar, but I can't remember! Great choices x

    1. I know what you mean, I was disappointed with the series on a whole too but was glad in the end that I'd read them as they'd been on my tbr list for so long! Thank you, hopefully on the mend soon! Xx

  5. I'm a big fan of The Bloggess, so will add her book to my wishlist.

    1. Excellent! I think you'll enjoy the book if you like her blog. Let me know what you think!