Author Archives: oddvolumes

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon (Oct 2017): Update

It doesn’t matter how much you read, it matters if you’ve had fun. This was my first ever 24 hour reading challenge and I had a blast! I’m a slow reader and given to re-reading paragraphs over and over again if I enjoy them. It was weird to race through the book and not keep going back to previous pages. Here’s how I spent my 24 hours:

(In my time zone, the challenge began at 5:30 PM on Saturday)

Saturday morning: I began reading The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory (from page 400-ish) to get a head start. It has a total of 735 pages in my mass paperback edition.

5:30 PM: The challenge begins and where am I, you ask? I’m at my friend’s place getting progressively tipsier. Great.

6:30 PM: I get home and begin to read The Other Boleyn Girl… or do I?

8:00 PM: Oops, I just spend all my time on YouTube watching Graham Norton episodes. I officially start reading now, I promise!

9:00 PM: On page 500 now. The plot is monotonous as hell…

9:30 PM: I have a little dinner: delicious Thai green curry and rice. I continue reading while enjoying a cup of flavoured yoghurt.

12:00 AM: Some painfully slow reading continues (on page 544) and I’m tired so I go to bed!

8:00 AM: I wake up and talk to my beau. The reading can wait!

8:30 AM: I start reading The Other Boleyn Girl again.

9:30 AM: Page 560. The plot is finally progressing and getting more fast paced.

11:30 AM: Page 640.

12:30 -1:30 PM: A glorious nap is taken. Later, lunch and a break!

3:30 PM: Page 680

4:30 PM: I finish reading my novel (I’ll link my review for this soon). I start with Last Sext by Melissa Broder, a short poetry collection.

5:15-ish PM: I finish the poetry book. Feeling confused but being glad to have understood and enjoyed a handful of poems.

Fin. Thanks for reading!

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Autumn Readathon TBR 🍁

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So many exciting readathons! I’ve been looking forward to Mercy’s reading challenge all month. It takes place between 22nd – 28th October. Here are my picks for the Autumn Readathon challenges:

(1) Read a gothic or spooky book: The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James

(2) Read a non-fiction novel that is “autumnal”: American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse

(3) Read a novel set in a cold location: Same as 1. I believe it’s set in England during the wintertime

(4) Read a historical novel: Same as 1.  It’s set during the 1920s, haha!

Additional challenges:

(5) Read a short story collection: I’m going to choose between The Dead Husband Project by Sarah Meehan Sirk or Helen Oyeyeami’s What is Not Yours is Not Yours!

(6) Read an adult novel with young female protagonist: The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss (I started this one recently, but finding it a bit slow atm)

I haven’t decided if I’ll be posting my updates periodically or all at once at the end of the week.

In the meantime, happy reading! ☕

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon (Oct 2017) TBR

I really wanted to participate in ReadByZoe’s 24 hour Halloween reading challenge but life came in the way, I suppose. But fret not because Dewey’s day long readathon is happening this Saturday (21st October). In my timezone, it’s 5:30 PM on Saturday until 5:30 PM the next day. Frankly, I didn’t read last week and I’m in a mini-slump. I hope this book challenge will help me get out of it and encourage me pick up more novels this month.

What I’m hoping to finish reading for Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon:

  1. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory: I’m about 350 pages in this massive 735 page novel! Fingers crossed I finish it soon.
  2. The Bay of Foxes by Sheila Kohler: I’m about 30% into this little novel. The plot is a bit slow but intriguing so I will continue on with this one.
  3. Folk by Zoe Gilbert: I kindly received an arc of this book from the publishers via NetGalley. It’s another short one so… fingers crossed!
  4. Last Sext by Melissa Broder: I thought it would be fun to throw in a poetry collection in here because it’s very quick and fun to get through.

Happy Reading, bookworms! 😄

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (Review)

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⭐ ⭐ (2.5 Stars)

I had high expectations for Her Body and Other Parties based on the blurb and reviews I’d seen floating around the internet. After I read it, all I could think was “meh” but no, I don’t think this is a bad collection of short stories. It just didn’t work for me. This book has elements of eroticism, queerness, horror, feminism, science fiction and magical realism – a seemingly perfect read for October… 

“Many people live and die without ever confronting themselves in the darkness.”

“The Husband Stitch” was my favourite story of the bunch. I didn’t know this but the story is based on a creepy story called The Green Ribbon. I interpreted this story as a feminist tale having interesting themes like body autonomy and self-worth. The second story “Inventory” is set in a dystopian world riddled with plague in which the narrator recounts her sexual adventures. “Eight Bites” and “Real Women Have Bodies” are horrific explorations of society’s obsession with thinness. Unfortunately, I didn’t ‘get’ or enjoy the other stories in Machado’s collection.

The women in these stories are multifaceted: some are beat down (literally and otherwise) and some rise above their predicaments. Some women encounter ghosts of their pasts or society’s present, and some women get consumed by their own madness. Carmen Machado is amazing at writing and writing ideas but I didn’t adore her plots. Her Body and Other Parties is shortlisted for the National Book Awards 2017, so it’s worth checking out if the blurb piques your interest.

White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (Review)

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⭐ ⭐ ⭐ (3.5 Stars) 

Helen Oyeyemi has me stumped for words. After reading Boy, Snow, Bird, I knew I had to pick up more of her works, and truly, each novel is like a little gem. My rating might not reflect that but I’ll explain why. White is for Witching is different from anything I’ve ever read (and will ever read). Let’s start with the weird narrators, shall we?

                                                           “Miri I conjure you”

In the beginning, our young protagonist Miranda Silver has gone missing. In the first few pages, we are introduced to the three narrators: her twin brother Eliot, her friend (and lover) Ore and her house (yeah, I know). After the twins’ mother Lily passes away, Miranda’s mental health goes berserk and pica (passed down to her, matrilineally) controls her life. Pica is an obsession with eating non nutritious food and in Miranda’s case: chalk and plastic.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t like reading this book for the first 100 pages. It became a lot more interesting after that. To backtrack a little, the story is set in Dover where the Silver family own a Bread & breakfast. Grief and pain are visible and tangible elements present at the centre of it all. Miranda stops eating, there’s some weird stuff with her brother (not explained) and her father feels very much like an outsider. The house acts as a ‘protector’ to Miranda, it wants to shield her from things that can hurt her later on like love and attachment.

White is for Witching can certainly be interpreted in various ways, realistically or in a more paranormal sense. All the subtle fairy tale elements put a smile on my face. And racial issues are addressed too, but not in a huge way like in Boy, Snow, Bird. If you’re looking for a plot based narrative, steer away from this – the reason why I couldn’t rate this a 4 or 5 stars. Oyeyemi’s world building is interesting: she combines observations, psychology and magical realism in a compellingly sinister and dream-like tale.

Hello, October & a TBR list 🍂

The weather is perfectly chilly, my birthday is coming up soon and I’m super excited about all the books I’ll buy and read this month. As per the year long tradition, I will be reading spooky and scary novels (as expected) and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it. Here’s my list of books to read this October:

  • White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
  • What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
  • The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
  • Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
  • The Haunting of Maddy Clare by Simone St. James
  • Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson
  • The Tidal Zone by Sarah Moss
  • American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land by Monica Hesse
  • Gossip from the Forest by Sara Maitland

A little ambitious for me but a girl can dream! I’m also going to give a go at two reading challenges this month: a 24-hour Halloween readathon by Zoe from ReadbyZoe and the week-long #Autumnreadathon hosted by Mercy from MercysBookishMusings.

Happy reading! ☕📚

Final Girls by Riley Sager (Review)

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First of all, we need to talk about that cover. Dark forest or trees? Tick. Girl running away? Tick. Mist, dark colours, creepy atmosphere? TICKTICKTICK. I’m a fan of all the clichés. From what I gathered on the internet, Riley Sager is a pseudonym for a previously published author called Todd Ritter (don’t sue me if this isn’t true), and it’s interesting… because:

Aaaand suddenly: 

A little push from Stephen King is all that’s needed to create a bestselling thriller novel, apparently. Oh, and I bought into it. This book is fantastically entertaining. I knew this was a hyped up book and didn’t read the blurb. It’s best to get into Final Girls without any prior knowledge or anticipation of the story.

But if you’d still like to know more about it, well, keep on reading! If you’re a fan of compulsive thrilling reads or slasher films, this is for you. Personally, I’m not a fan of slasher films but I can see myself consuming books in this horrifying genre. For one, slasher stories are less scary on paper. But hey, it’s still creepy. 

So, a little bit about Final Girls: Quincy Carpenter was the sole survivor of a massacre when she was a teenager. All her friends died that night. The media calls her and women who went through similar experiences as ‘Final Girls’, named after the trope in popular horror movies. Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead under mysterious circumstances. Is Quincy next? Final Girls was simultaneously predictable and unpredictable. I thought the ending was satisfying, and one of the best I’ve read this year in thriller novels.

The writing isn’t too bad, though a little generic at times. Coming back to clichés, this novel is full of them. Just a few examples: good girl gone bad, sex hurts for her first time, girls with frenemies. Despite all the eye-rolls and thinking “this is clearly written by a man!” (no offence to men out there) I loved the plot and will look forward to reading Riley Sager’s future novels 😄📚