As the days grow increasingly rainier here in Groningen, I am getting more and more eager to spend July in hot and sunny Athens. No matter how eager I am to get out of the humidity of the Netherlands straight under the protective cold of my childhood’s bedroom a/c, the Athenian heatwaves are not a part of my vacation I am looking forward to. But, what I am looking forward to in July is spending the nights reading in my bed until dawn breaks and the birds start chirping outside the window, making my second attempt to read for 24 hours in 48 hours at the 24in48 readathon and of course, the summertime BookTubeAThon which starts on the 24th and ends on the 30th of July. There is only one problem, I have one suitcase to fit my clothes and my books. One suitcase to fit them all! So the question is, which ones do I take with me?
First things first, though. In the month of June I finished only three books (and that’s why I am participating in two, back-to-back readathons).
Read in June
I am now more than halfway through one of the longlisted book for the 2014 Man Booker prize, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell which is a trippy story following Holy Sykes since she was 15 years old and through the decades of her life. Holy has been listening to The Radio People, as she calls the voices in her head. The novel though doesn’t deal with the topic of mental disorders, but it more of a fantastical tale where contemporary meets the magical, much in the vain of Neil Gayman’s works. An interesting, albeit confusing story offering a reading experience that reminds me of a psychedelic song of the late 60s by Iron Butterfly called In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.
I’m also reluctantly making my way through Stephen King’s Finders Keepers which is the sequel to Mr Mercedes, a thriller novel that follows a retired detective, Bill Hodges trying to capture a massive murderer called referred to as the Mr Mercedes. I am only about 20% in the book, but so far – mildly and hesitantly – enjoying it. Finally, I am also striving to finish The Twelve by Justin Cronin before I have to leave for Greece, so I won’t have to carry so many books with me! This is the sequel to The Passage which I read in June and tells the apocalyptic story of humanity’s massive eradication due to vampire-like creatures that were created thanks to a secret U.S. government experiment gone wrong.
To Be Read in July
As I am currently reading the second novel of The Passage trilogy, The Twelve, my plan is to finish the series with the last book , The City of Mirrors in July. Again, this is a horror trilogy which starts with a secret U.S. government experiment attempting to enhance the abilities of the human body. By infecting twelve inmates of severe crimes like murder or pedophilia with a recently uncovered virus, scientists hoped to cure people of diseases such as cancer and even stop them from getting old and dying. Of course, everything goes wrong, the experiment gets out of hand and the virus spreads, eradicating humanity and leaving only a handful of survivors. The City of Mirrors was released in 2016 and concludes this epic story. Book synopsis:
The world we knew is gone. What world will rise in its place?
The Twelve have been destroyed and the terrifying hundred-year reign of darkness that descended upon the world has ended. The survivors are stepping outside their walls, determined to build society anew—and daring to dream of a hopeful future.
But far from them, in a dead metropolis, he waits: Zero. The First. Father of the Twelve. The anguish that shattered his human life haunts him, and the hatred spawned by his transformation burns bright. His fury will be quenched only when he destroys Amy—humanity’s only hope, the Girl from Nowhere who grew up to rise against him.
One last time light and dark will clash, and at last Amy and her friends will know their fate.
The second trilogy I want to finish in July is The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. I very recently discovered Abercrombie’s work, thankfully starting off with his debut novel The Blade Itself which was great. It features a diverse set of characters, from savages to magi and from vain, rich captains to former slave girls. Abercrombie’s writing is hilarious and very engaging due to his brilliant ability of bringing a made up dialogue into life. After finishing Last Argument of Kings I am planning on continuing with The First Law series with the three standalone novels that follow. Book synopsis:
The conclusion to the ‘First Law’ trilogy is here. Battles will be fought, kings will be made, love will be won and lost and cities will be destroyed. Magic is going to be unleashed, heroes will fall and the First Law will be broken once again. The end may be coming.
A few days ago I was contacted by the lovely people of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt about their new August release of a techno-thriller/ horror story by Benjamin Percy and they asked if I’d like to review it. I thought the story sounded quite unique, giving an interesting view of the horrors lurking on the web along with a supernatural twist so I was very happy to receive it. I think it will probably be one of my BookTubeAThon picks since it’s quite short and I imagine it’ll also be fast-paced and engaging. Book synopsis:
The Dark Net is real. An anonymous and often criminal arena that exists in the secret far reaches of the Web, some use it to manage Bitcoins, pirate movies and music, or traffic in drugs and stolen goods. And now an ancient darkness is gathering there as well. This force is threatening to spread virally into the real world unless it can be stopped by members of a ragtag crew:
Twelve-year-old Hannah — who has been fitted with the Mirage, a high-tech visual prosthetic to combat her blindness– wonders why she sees shadows surrounding some people.
Lela, a technophobic journalist, has stumbled upon a story nobody wants her to uncover.
Mike Juniper, a one-time child evangelist who suffers from personal and literal demons, has an arsenal of weapons stored in the basement of the homeless shelter he runs.
And Derek, a hacker with a cause, believes himself a soldier of the Internet, part of a cyber army akin to Anonymous.
They have no idea what the Dark Net really contains.
Set in present-day Portland, The Dark Net is a cracked-mirror version of the digital nightmare we already live in, a timely and wildly imaginative techno-thriller about the evil that lurks in real and virtual spaces, and the power of a united few to fight back.
One of the things I have noticed for the past few months is that I’ve been getting behind on my reading goal for the year and one of the reasons that this is happening is that I’ve been reading many books that are longer than 500 pages. I’m a fairly slow reader, unfortunately, so it takes me at least 10 days to get through 500 pages. But, in July, the BookTubeAThon is happening. And this time I’m going to be smart and pick only short books to read. Like this graphic novel for example! Book synopsis:
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.
Back in March I read The Danish Girl by David Ebershoff and I’ve been meaning to pick up more adult queer fiction. Continuing on the theme of reading books that have been recently turned into movies, I bought this – also quite short – lesbian novel and I am very excited to read it – probably during the BookTubeAThon. Book synopsis:
Therese Belivet, a stage designer trapped in a department-store day job, whose salvation arrives one day in the form of Carol Aird, an alluring suburban housewife in the throes of a divorce. They fall in love and set out across the United States, pursued by a private investigator who eventually blackmails Carol into a choice between her daughter and her lover. With this reissue, The Price of Salt may finally be recognized as a major twentieth-century American novel.
Coming to the third small and fast novel I’ve picked to read in July and again, possibly during the BookTubeAThon. A Monster Calls is a book that I discovered through BookTube a few years back when everyone was raving about it. The book itself looks beautiful, decorated with black, scary illustrations which promise a dark story of nightmares. I’m looking forward to finally reading it and of course watching the movie after. Book synopsis:
The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.
But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.
Finally, I have here another big novel which I am planning on starting at the end of July but I will be definitely reading into August. This is the third Neal Stephenson novel I own and the first one I will ever attempt to read which is ridiculous. I just can’t seem to stop buying books from authors who love to write epic tomes even if I’ve never read anything by them (like in this case) and even if I have read quite a few books from them before and did not enjoy them (like Stephen King’s books). This is not a candidate for the BookTubeAThon but I might be reading it during the 24in48 readathon. Book synopsis:
Across the globe, millions of computer screens flicker with the artfully coded world of T’Rain – an addictive internet role-playing game of fantasy and adventure. But backstreet hackers in China have just unleashed a contagious virus called Reamde, and as it rampages through the gaming world spreading from player to player – holding hard drives hostage in the process – the computer of one powerful and dangerous man is infected, causing the carefully mediated violence of the on-line world to spill over into reality. A fast-talking, internet-addicted mafia accountant is brutally silenced by his Russian employers, and Zula – a talented young T’Rain computer programmer – is abducted and bundled on to a private jet. As she is flown across the skies in the company of the terrified boyfriend she broke up with hours before, and a brilliant Hungarian hacker who may be her only hope, she finds herself sucked into a whirl of Chinese Secret Service agents and gun-toting American Survivalists; the Russian criminal underground and an al-Qaeda cell led by a charismatic Welshman; each a strand of a connected world that devastatingly converges in T’Rain. An inimitable and compelling thriller that careers from British Columbia to South-West China via Russia and the fantasy world of T’Rain, Reamde is an irresistible epic from the unique imagination of one of today’s most individual writers.
So these are all the books I wish to carry all the way over to Greece with me and hopefully finish them there so I don’t have to carry them back here in the Netherlands. Books are heavy! When the BookTubeAThon challenges are announced I will be making a post about my BookTubeAThon TBR, even though I already have – obviously – quite a few reads in mind.
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