Being brutally honest about books

Sunday, 11 October 2015

My Reading Stats in 2015

This year I have read fewer books than any other year. There are several things that have got in the way of my book reading: school, TV shows, and fanfiction (both reading and writing huge amounts). I knew these would interfere with my reading even at the start of the year, so I set a fairly low Goodreads reading challenge of only 40 books. With only a few months to go, even though I just finished a 600-page novel this afternoon, I'm four books behind schedule.

So far this year I have read:
  • 2 books for school 
  • 27 books total
  • 10,309 pages
  • 16 YA books
  • 11 Adult books (I'm finding YA not mature enough, now I'm nearly 18)
  • 2 books published this year (2015)
  • 15 books published from 2010-2014
  • 7 books published from 2000-2010
  • 3 books published before 2000
  • 8 books with LGBTQIA characters (that is not a coincidence, in fact it's a factor that made me want to read some of these books in the first place)
  • 2 non-fiction books
I have given:
  • 1 two-star rating
  • 7 three-star ratings
  • 17 four-star ratings
  • 2 five-star ratings 
I have reviewed 7 books, which averages less than one review a month, which is pretty bad, but they were all positive reviews. This year I have given high ratings to nearly every book I've read. This is partly because I didn't finish 3 books as I wasn't enjoying them, but must also be because I picked interesting and unique books. 

So far this year I've added 30 books to my to-read list and only bought one book for myself. That's good self-control on the latter but definitely not the former. I haven't bought books this year because a) I don't have enough money, b) I don't have bookshelf space, and c) I already have a bunch of books I own that I need to read before I buy any more. 

Of course, summer's coming up, so after my last ever school exams (I finish high school in less than two months, eep!) I should be able to use December to catch up. I don't like to lose a challenge, so I will finish those 40 books.

How about you guys? What have your reading patterns been this year?

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Millennium Trilogy #3) by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millenium, #3)
 Date finished: 11 October 2015

I just finished the last book of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, and I'm worried that I'll never be able to enjoy anything I read ever again. I feel that no other book will compare in complexity and intrigue. It's by no means a perfect book but it is one of the most fascinating and gripping reads I've had in a long time. 

The story picks up right from where The Girl Who Played with Fire ends, which is a good thing, because the previous book ends on a cliffhanger. The plot is complex, even more so than in the prequels, and takes you on a real journey of ups and downs - just when you think it's going one way, a single piece of information discovered by a character turns it around. The result of Lisbeth's trial (what I consider the first of two climaxes of the novel) is more or less what I expected, although the chapters from the trial are still necessary for us to see the extent of the deception inside the Swedish Security Police.

As with the rest of the series, the writing is very dry. I won't go too much into that because I'll just be repeating what I've already said in my reviews of the first two books, but we are spoon-fed a lot of information. I felt exhausted after reading an almost 20-page explanation about one character and the Section, only for him to be virtually killed off a couple of chapters later. We don't even see the characters working that out on their own, we are just given the dump of information, which interrupts the flow of the story.

The ending is nice. The plot is resolved in the epilogue and the last chapter, but in the last page and a half of the epilogue the relationship between Lisbeth and Blomkvist, the two protagonists, is finally resolved as well. The characters themselves don't change much, if at all, but because the series focuses more on an amazing plot than character development, that doesn't matter. In any case, Lisbeth remains amazingly resourceful and Blomkvist just as clever and confident to the point of cockiness as she does. It's only while writing this that I'm realising how similar they are.

Since this is the last book in the series, I didn't like that there new characters introduced, adding to the long long list of minor characters. One of them is a blonde police officer whose role seems mostly to fall in love with Blomkvist and show up his one flaw: his inability to commit to a woman. Although she does get some cool police action.

This book and the series in general includes very cool use of technology, most of which goes over my head, but it's impressive. However, the series is dated, confined to its early to mid 2000s setting because past events are always given a specific date, and it's possible that in ten years it won't be relevant anymore.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest is a great conclusion to the memorable Millennium trilogy. The series is not for the faint-hearted, the common theme being violence towards women and violation of their rights, but it's like nothing I've ever read before, and I would recommend it to readers over 16 who enjoy the crime genre. Now, another author has written a sequel, , and while reading the reviews I considered not bothering with it, partly out of respect and partly because of other things people have mentioned, but I decided that I will read it, if only for the purpose of reviewing. So my adventures with this series are not over yet!
I'm Alexandria, a 19-year-old reader/writer/blogger from New Zealand. I love language, history, and sci-fi. Hi! I'm always around if you want to talk, which you can do via comments, the contact form, or Facebook.

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