Read Harder – April Progress

Well…April was a very weak month, as I was the only person who actually read any books for Read Harder. I managed more than last month, but the majority of my reading energy was again directed at The Hub’s challenge. I had big plans for my trip to Thailand, but decided instead to go crazy and socialize with other people (making military guys do jazz hands multiple times while suffering through somewhat formal wedding photography was a definite highlight).

Challenge-wise, it looks like there are only four categories untouched by any of us:

  • #8 – pub in birth decade
  • #10 – more than 500 pages
  • #12 – transgender author/mc
  • #20 religion (fiction or nonfiction)

I’m hoping to get three of those done in May, but I can’t speak for either Sophia or my husband. The latter of whom has been turning up his nose at the RHC acceptable books I’ve been throwing his way. Why read when you can build lethal roller coasters on RollerCoaster Tycoon 3?

With out further ado:

Me 15/24
My Husband 6/24
Sophia 14/24

#6 – Biography

edward

A Great and Terrible King: Edward I and the Forging of Britain by Marc Morris
My interest in Edward I stems from a book I read last year, The Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power Behind Five English Thrones by Thomas Asbridge. Pretty much anything I know about Edward comes from Braveheart, and I wanted to learn more about him. His invasion/domination of Scotland only took place in the last decade-ish of Edward’s life, and the motivations behind it was much more complex than I realized (not surprising). His entire life reinforced the idea that medieval kings were pretty much all about the money, strong-arming anyone and everyone in order to get it. Mo’ wars, mo’ crusades.

gimme cash

 

#16 – First book in a series by minority author

dawn

Dawn (Xenogenesis #1) by Octavia Butler
To start with – where has Octavia Butler been all of my sci-fi reading life? This goes back to when I was around 10 years old, so I don’t know what kind of excuse I can even come up with for not reading her before now. Dawn was an amazing book. There is enough going on that it takes a while to realized it’s actually all happening. Yes, the Oankali have come to save humans from themselves, but the cost is tremendous – both in what humans lose and how the aliens accomplish their “trade”. The Oankali justify the wholesale destruction of species and planets because they feel their trade makes the receiving species better. Their trade essentially strips away everything that makes humans human, with the belief that humans should be happy and grateful for the interference. After reading the trilogy, as far as I’m concerned, the Oankali are biochemically-sexual manipulative parasites. I had a hard time listening to parts of Imago because it was just so squidgy. Imago was written from the perspective of a human-Oankali Ooloi (the genderless Oankali in charge of reproduction and genetic manipulation), which put a whole different spin on what was going on. This trilogy is a gold mine for critical analyses.

#18 – Movie adaptation

martian

The Martian by Andy Weir
I did this task backwards, watching the movie before reading the book. As to which one is better? I guess it depends on what you like. The movie is more streamlined, cutting out huge chunks of time and challenges. The book goes into more detail, which clarifies some of the situations in the movie that felt either out of place or not fleshed out. That being said, I know I will watch the movie again, but I don’t know if I’ll read the book again. Matt Damon was the perfect choice for Mark Watney, and I liked that ABBA’s “Waterloo” was the montage music used when Watney stripped the Aries 4 MAV to beyond the bare minimum.  In both formats, I like that his adversary was a planet. There were no bad guys, no aliens; just man against himself and nature. I also liked his nerd-boy humor.

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