#boutofbooks 17: summary of summaries!

So I participated boutofbooks 17, and it felt like a really productive one. I did not participate in the twitterchats *sad trombone* and did not do any challenges, because that did just not fot my (BUSY!) week.

My totals (since I love numbers!)
I listened to 105 minutes of audiobook, read 966 pages, finished 5 books and started 5 books (but one was almost done when starting this week, and one I started and did not finish yet).

This readathon kickstarted my reading again. I am a lean mean reading machine, peeps! Beware or I’ll hit you with hardbacks and punch you with pages!

(Can you tell I had a busy day at work and need ro release some stress xD)

For your calenders: next BoutOfBooks will be the first week of 2017!

Review: The Circle by Dave Eggers

I had heard about THE CIRCLE. I mean, I work in IT, I know people who read books, and some of those people tend to go for the bestseller-kind-of-book, and this book got a lot of traction. So I knew it was about privacy and something google-like, and that people found the ideas scary and fascinating. Then my book club proposed us reading it, and I fully supported this idea. We tend to read non-fiction, so doing fiction is a nice change of pace for a change, and it’s a topic I have opinions on, so all seemed swell.

And oh boy, did I have Opinions! (And those Opinions will contain spoilers, so don’t read on if you mind those).  For me it was a quick and fast-paced read, some fastfood inbetween more nourishing reading. I ended up being so annoyed that I had to tweet about it (sorry tweeps!).

I really disliked the main character however, but how she was as a person and how she must have been “set up” by Eggers. I suppose he wanted a protagonist through which he could explain all of the Circle, the fictional google-esk company that gives the book it’s title and is overtaking the whole internet with the unification of all it’s services from facebook to banking to collecting all of the data. However, that did create a protagonist who is so much like a blank slate, that she has no personality of her own. She seems constantly only being imprinted by the people – men – she meets (even her body is described by how it got more attractive to men when she gained some curves after puberty; male gaze much?).

IMG_20160823_213135676

She completely internalizes the philosophy of the Circle, becomes a spokesperson because she starts to wear a webcam-camera 24/7 (well… except bathroom visits and sleeping).The people that disagree with this, with her being so-called Transparent and the Circle’s way in general, are being portrayed as ungrateful and horrible. Mostly so her ex-boyfriend Mercer; he is being called fat and ugly multiple times throughout the book. Because being fat is the worst thing a person can be of course.

There is also casual poly-shaming. There is a comparison of people who rule companies that go for less privacy to nazi’s. And yes, of course those are just the opinions of the characters in the book, and fictional characters can say what they want, but it makes the whole book unlikable for me, since it’s seems unnecesary. If you think companies that want global surveillance for everyone are horrible, than say they are horrible. If you need an example of news that might come out that would horrify people, than don’t take the situation that one’s parents probably have or had open relationship; there is much more horrible stuff out there that does not involve people who all gave consent (yeah, I know it’s just a starter for reveiling something *really* bad, but an open relationship being portrayed as something you should be shamed for, rubs me the wrong way).

In our real, actual world we have Google and Facebook. They know much about everyone, and we often don’t know or don’t want to know how much and how they got this knowledge.Everyone is different with how the care about this. Some people (try) not to use these sites and all the (virtual) products they own. Some embrace part. Some use all and share “everything”. Not to mention that even though the internet is widespread, it is not accesible to everyone (and there is censure going on, in China, Turkey, other countries). The fact this book made all the people in the world seem as it was one homogonous group, was too farfetched for me. It also made it very western-centric, which isn’t a problem it itself, but then please don’t make it sound like it’s the whole world you’re influencing.

The book also seemed to have the underlying idea that always being connected to others over the internet, makes people needy and sensitive to possible social rejection. Again there is a generalization that this’ll work for all people, while it is way more diverse. This seems much more a personality and anxiety thing than a general rule. People are different in how much they want to give up in privacy for products. Although I must admit that general awareness of sharing things online, and how it can backfire, should get better (she said, while writing a blogpost for all the world to see).

 

It’s time for #boutofbooks again! YAY!

Bout of BooksThe Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I’m joining this time again, full-on! I actually have the day off tomorrow, so I can spend, most of my day reading! My workdays will be a bit shorter than usual (I work in IT at a school nowadays, and the students still have spring-holiday next week, so there is less need of my services), which also equals more reading time. And next weekend is also delightfully empty and this means EVEN MORE READING OPPURTUNITY! I might go to the sauna on sunday though. Which just means reading while naked.

I went goalless the last few times, which I enjoyed. The only thing I am changing this year is that I am doing some sort of TBR, which consists of the following physical books:

booksbooksbooks

I also have some ebooks I want to finish or dive into, and will continue an audiobook on my commute (at the parts where I can’t read).

A list of the aforementioned books (because lists are lovely):

  • De dinosauriërs: ontdekkingen, soorten, ondergang
  • Man en vrouw – Margaret Mead
  • Grief is the thing with feathers – Max Porter
  • Boven Water – Margaret Atwood
  • Priestess of the white – Trudi Canavan
  • Halting state – Charless Stross
  • The bonds of love – Jessica Benjamin
  • Exile – Chris Ward
  • Lean IT: Enabling and Sustaining Your Lean Transformation
  • Rendezvous with Rama – Arthur C Clarke

And now I’m off to bed (after preparing a batch of cold brew to drink tomorrow <3), and really looking forward to tomorrow!

#boutofbooks starts TOMORROW!

… and as the picture shows, I am an expert this time, which means I’ll do my usual cheering, but now I will be OFFICIAL and stuff ;) I’ve been participating every time since I discovered this readathon about 2.5 years ago, and it’s one of my favourite things of the year, so I am happy to help the awesome Amanda and Kelly who have been organizing this read-fest for the past 14 (FOURTEEN!) times. This is the 15th. Will you join us?

I decided to not do ARC’s this year, so I am reading complete range free (which is weirdly paralyzing). I’ll have the following goals next week:

  • Read (or at last start) one of the books on feminism I acquired last year
  • Read a book made of paper
  • Read a book/anthology of short stories
  • Participate in at least one challenge (besides the intro one)

And besides this I’ll spend some of my commute on twitter, and reading and commenting on other blogs. So, if you want me to drop by this week, leave a link in the comments :)

Bout of Books – How did I do?

So, I participated in Bout of Books 11, as I wrote here with only one goal:

relax and have fun

Which I did! I participated in one twitter-chat (the last one), did two challenges, and basically did just what I felt like. This meant I “only” read two books, and finished up an audiobook (which I actually started last Bout of Books…). I think this no goals-goal was a succes!

I read Percolate: Let Your Best Self Filter Through, which will get reviewed later, and The Scar by China Mieville, which I absolutely loved. So I read 908 pages last week, and listened to about 4,5 hours of audiobook. And I’ll leave you with this awesome picture of Armada, the city made out of ships, out of The Scar (sorry, I couldn’t find a source)

Armada

Bout of Books – Day Seven: 5 Book Challenge | Post-Apocalyptic Edition

The question Ashley from Taking Stept Into Another World asked us, what 5 books we woudl take along, if we had just 15 minutes to leave our houses. Given the short amount of time you are only able to take 5 books with you. What books would you pick to take with you as you escape and prepare for the end of the world.

Of course, with 15 minutes, I’d probably put my two chinchilla’s in a cage and leave with them (since they’re not that used to me yet, that will take quite some time), and not bring, books, but that was not the assignment… (it is an excuse to show a picture though!)

Gerrit (who ate a window in his house)

So, the books I would take along are as follows:

The complete works of William Shakespeare
and The Complete Stories of Sherlock Holmes: Who knows how long I’ll be in my hideout (I am assuming I will have one)? I have these two big books, with all those stories, and they’ll bring me comfort and distraction through trying times.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: It’s one of my favourite books, so it will be good as a re-read. And rere-read. And rerere-read. And it can also teach us zen-principles, and make us take the things as they come with wonder and acceptance.

Mindfulness (by Edel Maes): For similar reasons as Zen and.. I’d take this book along. Just for some grounding, as the world around us falls apart. I’m all for mental health and flexibility.

A Narrative Compass: Stories that Guide Women’s Lives: After the world is destroyed, we need to build it up again. For that task, we need inspiration. This book will give me just that.

So: what would your 5 books be you’d face the apocalypse with?

Bout of Books – Day One: Scavenger Hunt Challenge

So The Book Monster hosts this Scavenger Hunt Challenge for Bout of Books. Usually I’m not the biggest fan of scavenger hunts, but since I can do this from the safety of my own library, I decided to join. Also, I can tell you some stuff about some of the awesome books I have!

1. A Book that begins with “B” (for Bout of Books!)

Bint
Bint, by F. Bordewijk. One of my favourite books of Dutch literature that I loved more for the style than the content. Some more information in English about the author and this story can be found here.

2. A book that has been made into a movie/tv show

Het Oneindige VerhaalColors in Het Oneindige Verhaal

I guess we have all seen The Neverending Story. This is my copy of the book (in Dutch). I must have read it at least a dozen times. I love how they did printed the book: with what happens in “our” world in red, and what happens “in the neverending story” in blue.

3. A series you love

Valentina Hellebel
This is a series I loved as an adolescent, about a young woman who is a witch, and who has to deal with demons and other kinds of evils. I loved it, even at that age, because of the Necronomicon-references (and now I love the Cthulu mythos), and the fact the books seemed to take me as a reader seriously. And the stories and characters are just awesome. I still miss one or two books from this series, that I hope to get from a friend of mine who is cleaning out her stack of books.

4. An anthology of poems or short stories

Kun je de dood ook groeten?
This is a book with 101 poems about goodbye, aimed at children/adolescents. The title would be something like “Can you greet death as well?” As you can see, I have some pieces of paper in there, to reach my favourites quickly. My mom gave it to me after my sister passed away, 11 years ago. I found some comfort in the words others wrote.

5. A book on your TBR shelf, or your full TBR shelves

TBRThe higher shelf and the right half of the lower shelf consist of my TBR of physical books. (the left half is dictionaries, which don’t lend themselves well for reading cover to cover).