Book hauls, Memoirs, NetGalley, Sunday post

Sunday post #12 & Mini Review An exciting reading week

Linking up with the usual crew for the Sunday meme at Kimba’s book blog.

~ On The Blog ~

Hi everyone, how was your week? I have started reading something extremely exciting this week, but more on that later! This week I have blogged two times, as usual. I’ve posted two reviews – Le Chateau which was so bad it deserved a sarcastic review which might be funny for you to read, and A Closed And Common Orbit, which was slightly a let-down as a sequel of A Long Way To A Small, Angry Planet, but alright as a stand-alone.

~ Coming Up Next Week ~

Next week I am finally publishing my review of Felix Yz. Turns out the book has been published since the beginning of June and I just mixed up the dates 🙁 so sorry, Lisa Bunker – I absolutely loved it! I definitely hope that a slightly late review still does all the good it should. Also I’ll be reviewing Born Aware, a book for anyone who’s slightly into the New Age spirituality, just as I am.

~ Currently Reading ~

The Ocean At The End Of The Lane All Day The Nix

I’ve started reading The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, and it’s so exciting! I’m sure more of you will have read it, but if you haven’t, I’ll just say this – I thought Neverwhere was my favorite book by Neil Gaiman. Well, I’m not even done with The Ocean yet, but it’s totally taking over the proud spot. Neil Gaiman just weaves such incredible dark fairytales for adults. I could never get enough of them.

Also still reading All Day. Going to share a quote with you today, about how the education system is, well, equipped to turn out problematic adults:

I see a diabolical setup. I was shocked, but not surprised, to learn that many states calculate the number of future prison beds they’ll need based on failing reading levels of third graders. Funds are allocated based on these projections, so those beds have to be filled. It’s a prison preorder.

Shocking, huh? Based on levels of third graders. If you know someone who failed at reading at that age, you might imagine there was a prison room waiting right there for them. It baffles me how we as a society would rather know this is happening and prepare to incarcerate them, rather than educate and try to save someone who is still clearly in the age where you can save them from a bad future. I believe it’s a book everyone in America should read. At least, everyone who knows how important it is to learn about how the poor, the misjudged and unprivileged live. It’s never enough to have just part of the picture of the country you live in, of the world we all live in. We shouldn’t cover our eyes to the other side of it. The side nobody wants to look at.

Also still reading The Nix, it’s alright, but nothing much to report.

~ Mini-Review ~

I’ve finished Down The Up Staircase, but it wasn’t either awesome enough or bad enough (lol) to deserve a separate review, so I’m posting it along with the Sunday post.

As someone from Europe, I was very curious to find out more about Harlem and the black culture, the transformations harlemites had to go through in the 20th century. The book boasts a history of three generations of Harlem, told by a person who grew up there and saw it all. Devout Muslim believers, mink wearing divas living in a slum, pimps and dealers and college professors, and just plain simple people – the picture is so vast and colorful.

But I couldn’t say the book was quite what I expected. Perhaps it’s because it was written by a sociology professor, or perhaps because I had the advance reader digital copy, which couldn’t pride itself on good formatting, and perhaps final editing. But still, I feel like the writer couldn’t quite figure out what he wanted to say. What was the book about? His family? Or a detached history of Harlem? At times it reads like a memoir, at times – a history book. Sometimes things lapse, aren’t connected enough or are repeated as if they haven’t been said yet. So the overall experience of reading wasn’t too exhilarating, especially as I’ve read some pretty good nonfiction this year.

But I will admit that the subject matter is good – therefore I give it 3 stars. It was interesting to her certain stories of Harlem, and to gather more background about some of the bigger names in black people’s culture that, to use their own words – “advanced the race”. I loved reading about what they believed in, and despite how mistreated they were, how they still persisted. I honestly didn’t know New York was such a bad place to live in the 1970s, especially if you were PoC. So as an educational experience, it was good.

In the end, I figured out why it’s called Down the Up Staircase. Ultimately, this is a story of a family’s downfall, with the backdrop of Harlem history. And although the author didn’t really make it quite clear what the story was about, it does do it’s job and give you quite a lot of insight about the place and the day.

I thank Columbia University Press and NetGalley for giving me access to an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

 ~ General Rambling ~

This week I found out I’ve been incredibly stupid for all this time. My blog didn’t even have a WordPress follow buttons 😀 since that mistake has been rectified, please click it and follow me! Thanks, you’re the best 😘

This week I’m sharing two awesome quotes. One is from The Nix and it’s a very strong quote about the woman’s position in the 1950’s household, and, ultimately, the world. The second one is from The Ocean At The End Of The Lane and it’s a wonderful thought about how none of us ever really grow up, how adulthood is more pretend, and how even the toughest of us can be scared.

Nobody’s a real grownup and monsters can be scared too. Neil #Gaiman, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane. I have to say, this #book is unbelievable. I’m 63% into it and still retaining a vain hope that it will never end. I don’t think I’ve read anything as strong since #StephenKing’s Pet Sematary. #Mythology is used in the most satisfying ways, and the kind of deep #horror, which is sad and understandable as if “there’s simply no other way to be” is something only Neil Gaiman can write. #monsters #adulting #growingup #adulthood #neilgaiman #AmericanGods #bookstagram #book #bookish #ebooks #books #bookquotes #quote #quotes #fantasy #fiction #literature #readingrecs #whattoread #currentlyreading

A post shared by avalinah | Evelina (@avalinahsbooks) on

What about you? Have you read anything awesome this week? Have you bought or received any awesome new books?

I’m Evelina and I try to blog about books that matter, with a bit of fun there too! Disability and equality will be topics you see a lot, but there’s also a lot of scifi, fantasy and… GIFs. I’m also the proud founder of #ARCsAnonymous.

63 thoughts on “Sunday post #12 & Mini Review An exciting reading week

  1. Like you, I was slightly taken aback at the disconnect between A Small and Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit – but as I loved both books in completely different ways, I was prepared to stretch a point and treat them as part of the same series. As for the statistic regarding struggling readers – you’re right… it beggers belief. WHY not put the money earmarked for a prison place into giving them extra reading support??? Surely it has to make economic sense as well as avoiding wasted lives and the heartache involved?
    Have a great week – this is my Sunday Post –
    sjhigbee recently posted…While the Morning Stars SingMy Profile

    1. Apparently, someone HAS to go to prison. Where a white kid might be scolded and given a time out, a black kid will be sent to trial. Some of those kids are in jail because they talked back in class. What kind of nonsense is that? So yeah. Nobody cares about making them better. They just want to get rid of them. Set them up foe failure and get rid of them. Because it’s expensive to be poor.
      I strongly recommend this book. I can’t explain half the things as well as Liza Peterson does in her book.

  2. LOL oh no! I have so done that with a book review before and put down the wrong date or didn’t see a date change and I’m over here just lalalalala. lol Sometimes you just have to laugh and shake your head over the goofs. Hope your books this week are way better!

    A quick heads up! If you haven’t done the questionnaire for the get social event it’s up 🙂
    herding cats & burning soup recently posted…Tag: The Cat Herder– Edition 31–Food, Herd, SwearMy Profile

    1. Yeah! In my defense, I always mix up June and July 😀 who names months with the same two letters?? So that’s probably why the confusion happened xD
      Oh, and I haven’t – I’ll be sure to go do it, thanks for checking up on me 🙂

  3. The Nix sounds like a tempting read…and reminiscent of the times before Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. Although we still have a long way to go.

    I might have to try Neil Gaiman again. The one I picked up didn’t grab me, but perhaps another go would do it for me?

    Thanks for sharing…and for visiting my blog.
    Laurel-Rain Snow recently posted…AUTHOR’S HOME PAGEMy Profile

    1. Yeah, The Nix is surely nice, although I must warn it’s a literary one and not all people like that. But yes, you should try Neil. Which one did you read? Not all books are the same. I didn’t enjoy American Gods too much, but the rest I simply devoured. My other friend said that she only started liking him when she listened to an audiobook narrated by himself. Because then she truly got his English humor. Apparently, she wasn’t getting it before.

    1. Aw, that makes me so happy 🙂 ping me if you write a review! I would love to see what you thought about it. And you have a great week too! Thanks for dropping by.

  4. Sorry to hear ‘Down The Up Staircase’ wasn’t what you hoped it would be.
    Mixing up the dates is definitely something that happens to me too sometimes. Especially with how fast time is flying by. I sometimes think I have weeks left before my review has to be done, and then it’s suddenly next week.
    Have a great week and happy reading!
    Maureen Bakker recently posted…The Sunday Post #54: WWBookCLubMy Profile

  5. I loved Neverwhere by Gaiman! I really should give Ocean at the End of the Lane I try…I can’t explain why I haven’t picked it up before.

    1. Yep 🙂 I also had The Ocean for a long, long time before I read it. Maybe I was saving it? If you loved Neverwhere, I’m sure you’ll enjoy The Ocean, perhaps even more.

    1. I am totally a Gaiman fan as well 🙂 read the right book of his, and you simply can’t resist it. What’s your Gaiman favorite one?

    1. Where did you get Behold, BTW? I’m not finding it -.- and yes, I’d absolutely love to read Sandman, but I can only get electronic books so that’s not gonna be any fun. And also, they’re kind of expensive! So many parts, and each was like 8 dollars last time I checked. Maybe one day, but that is not today! I’ve heard they’re AMAZING though, so I know what you mean 🙂

          1. Sounds awesome 🙂 I kept the link open, I’ll consider it one last time and probably grab it (my gift card balance is on edge xD I only do gift cards on Amazon, cause… let’s just say it’s not smart to hook my card up to a book buying store :D)

    1. Yeah, I’ve mostly been reviewing new books, maybe it’s time for me to do some that people have ACTUALLY heard of already 😀 thanks for visiting!

    1. Well, not just America. It’s just that it’s overlooked in America, and people still think it’s a wonderland. I think our society should be past the Wonderland state. There is no such thing :p

  6. I hope the third Wayfarers book is more like the first one. I want more of that crew. And All Day- that’s pretty sad, but maybe not surprising since I live in the States and have grown very cynical about some of the things here lol. Still that’s tragic and unacceptable.

    Curious about Born Again too, will need to watch for your review of that. 🙂
    Greg recently posted…Sunday Post #200My Profile

    1. I hope so too! I wonder if Becky will just break our hearts again and make it about SOMEONE ELSE and not the crew though -.-

  7. I haven’t read any of Gaiman’s novels but I’m really curious about his works! I think that will be on my list for the library this week 🙂 I’m following you now, but I’m pretty sure I was seeing your posts anyway. Have a fantastic week, Evelina! Happy reading!
    Inspiration Pie
    Jo-Ann recently posted…Sunday Post June 25My Profile

    1. Yes, you should totally try it! Gaiman’s books are awesome. My suggestion would only be that you shouldn’t start with American Gods. I liked that one the least. Try Graveyard book or Neverwhere, or The Ocean At The End Of The Lane first 🙂
      Hey, thanks for following me!!

    1. Oh I’m so stoked for your review then!!! They might be the same, really, I just read this one NOW and it’s fresh in my mind. But I mean, at least we can definitely agree that #NEILROCKS

  8. You had quite a productive week. I love the quite about grown-ups looking the same on the inside. How appropriate. That is sad about prison beds and calculating rates. My husband work in the prison and some of them are very poorly educated and it makes you wonder why the system failed them. I really should read some Neil Gaiman. Hope you have a wonderful week!
    Barb (boxermommyreads) recently posted…Snotgirl – At Least I Liked Her Hair (review)My Profile

    1. Well then you know it from even closer up. Yeah, those problems do run deep. And you should definitely check out some Neil Gaiman books 🙂

  9. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is on my Wishlist. I’ve only read one Gaiman, The Graveyard Book. Sounds like you had a great week!

    1. The Graveyard Book was amazing! It was also my first book by him. Do try Neverwhere and The Ocean At The End Of The Lane 🙂 they’re amazing.

    1. Neverwhere is indeed a lot like it 🙂 I also didn’t love American Gods, for example. So I guess everything can’t always be the same 🙂 some books you’ll like, some you won’t.

  10. Sorry to hear about last week’s reads. I can see it was a struggle for you to review them. Enjoy your books and happy reading. Anyway, I think I’ve already followed you via WordPress. I’ll check out later. Have a wonderful week, my friend.
    PS: I love your insta picts. Gorgeous! 🙂

    1. Oh, thank you for your kind words!! 🙂 yeah, I think you might be following me because you’re always liking my posts <3 thank you so much!

  11. I’ll be honest and say I’ve never actually read a Neil Gaiman book before. I’ll be looking out for your review of The Ocean to see what your final thoughts were! It must be pretty good if you’re already thinking it’s your favorite one yet. I had NO idea prisons were set up based on third-grade reading levels. That’s horrible!! So many kids don’t take to reading as easily as others and if that determines someone’s future as a criminal, it just breaks my heart.
    Christine recently posted…Confessions of a Book Blog – Then vs NowMy Profile

    1. It does break your heart, doesn’t it? But there’s more than that. You should really read All Day!
      And yes, Gaiman is totally worth it, but I also only discovered him like a year or two ago!

  12. I haven’t read Oceans yet…I don’t think I’ve read anything by Gaiman to be honest (I know, I know). I actually just yesterday grabbed a used copy of American Gods. I just finished the first season and thought the entire time I watched the show: You know if I had read the book, I probably would understand this better. Lol. Happy reading!

    1. Well, American Gods isn’t the best one to start with. I liked it the least out of all his books I’ve read. So don’t judge all of his books from this one 😀 it wasn’t bad, just not as great as the others.

  13. I really appreciated the critical engagement and the honesty of your reviews. Makes me more interested in checking out the ones you loved (the Gaiman and All Day). Speaking of all day, that’s a sobering fact. A rec of my own on a related topic, Ava Duvernay’s documentary, 13th.

    1. Thank you so much, lovely things to say! And I’m glad it made you curious. I can definitely vouch for All Day. Thank you for that recommendation, I will check it out!

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