Practice English Speaking&Listening with: August Reading Wrap up | 2021 [CC]

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Hello! It's Reija and welcome to another video. Today I am here to share with you

my August reading wrap up. And I normally don't talk a lot about the

books I DNF, but this month there were a few that I have been talking about

previously on the channel, so I thought that I'd share with you

what the status on those is. So I'm gonna be talking about my

DNF's slash books, that I've parked. Then I'm going to talk about the comics and

manga, that I've read. And then I'm going to talk about all of the rest of the

books. And I will of course leave timestamps down in the description. So,

without further ado, let's get started.

So, first things first I have decided to finally DNF

Palestine. Now, hear me out! I actually recommend

Palestine for... Palestine by Joe Sacco, for people who want to know more about

the situation between Israel and Palestine and the historical aspects

behind it. And

how Israel deals with Palestinians and and how the Palestinian resistance works

etc. This is a very good look at that situation and it is

a very thoroughly researched journalism. And

and I will commend Joe Sacco for his writing. So why did I

decide to DNF this? Mind you, I got to around 50% or 60%

of this book, so I made quite a bit of headway.

It's the art. Okay, I'm sorry. I just,

I'm personally just this sort of art style

is not my

jam. I

will, like I will have you know that I know

the level of skill that it takes to do this kind of art,

with like ink and like a lot of texture. It is very skillfully done, but it's

just not pleasing to me.

So that made it a bit of a chore, whenever I was trying to pick this book

up. I was like "Oh, I have to look at Joe Sacco's art, which I don't like."

So, in the end

that's why I ended up DNFing this. The writing is great, but the art

just irks me so much. So, I am looking into reading other books, like some

other non-fiction about Palestine in the future. Another book that you may have

heard me talk about in the recent Stitch and Bitch that we did, is Beowulf - A

Modern Translation. I have

parked this book. I made it to around, I want to say the 50% mark again. I'm

about halfway through. Then I had to return the book to the library and now I

have an e-copy from the Hugo voter packet, that I can

finish the book from.

However, this month there's the Magical

Readathon and Space Opera September and I have work, so there's a lot going

on. So, I am pausing this book. But note, that I am still going to be finishing it

before the Hugo voting closes. So, just a heads up on that.

And finally another book

that I DNF'd is Unraveling by Karen Lord.

And this is more of a "not for now" sort of book, because

it's basically this idea of an urban fantasy,

inside sort of like a corporate, judicial system kind of thing

with lots of fantastical elements. And I just

am a sucker for that kind of thing, where there's a lot of like bureaucracy and

office shenanigans, but there's fantastical elements.

So, I want to read it, but I just wasn't in

the right headspace for it in August, so I returned

it to the library. And maybe I will read some other book by Karen Lord first and

see if I like her writing in another setting, and then go back to

Unraveling. But yeah, those are all the books that I

DNF'd. Next up I read volumes 14, 15 and 16 of

Berserk by Kentaro Miura. Basically Eclipse is now over.

We have now gotten past the extended flashback sequence, that was the whole of

Guts' past and are back to the present timeline,

where the series started from. And Guts is back on the road, killing

demonic apostles. And

I really liked these volumes. I gave them pretty... Like I gave volume 14, four stars,

volume 15 five stars and volume 16 four stars. So I really liked this arc. This is the

Lost Children arc of the story, where basically Guts

investigates this village

where children have gone missing and it has something to do with fairies or

elves. And he is going to investigate and

once again, brutality ensues. This commentates, like this part of the series

does a lot of commentary about how children react to war, and how children

react to atrocities around them. And also how

everyone has their own sort of

battle, that they need to pursue in their life, and other people can't really

shoulder the burdens for them. You have to do it yourself. So, it's

like, it has a lot of commentary on that. And this is one of the better arcs in

the series. I really liked it. And then I started another manga series,

which is Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama. I heard that... I heard about

this first from Maija Reads and then from Rachel from Kalanadi. And I was like "Hey!

I am the person, who reads manga here!" So I decided that I will

pick it up. And I got it from the library and

Oh My God, it is so good! I really enjoyed it.

Like the art style is phenomenal! Kamome

Shirohama has this very rich and

thick inking style and the way she draws

the characters, it's like she is mimicking

this lithographic type of art style, which like basically looks like

ink printouts, that you'd see in like

medieval times, just when the printing press was invented.

And the magic system in this is all about art and drawing, and basically

all about creating like through interpreting magical

symbols and drawing the spells in your own way. So the wands

are actually like ink fountain pens. And it's like, it's great!

And the witch fashions in this series are

absolutely amazing! I just aesthetically, plot wise, world building

wise, I love everything about the series! So, I read the first three volumes.

And I gave volume one, three and a half stars. It was basically all about


We find out about this conflict between

the witches that have brimmed hats and

the witches that have like pointy caps. And

like this idea of forbidden magic, that works magic on human body and on

living things. Whereas the witches that have like

pointy cone hats, they are more about helping people and

using magic on inanimate objects and enchanting

contraptions that can help people. And basically

doing magic on a living body is forbidden.

And the main character, Coco ends up

accidentally using forbidden magic and she is brought

into the witch world. And she is an outsider,

trying to learn all about witchery. And it, this series is just

great! I love it so much. I'm hooked. I have

already, in September, read the next two volumes

and I can't wait to read more of it. It's just...

It's so good. I highly recommend it. It is great. In volume 3 there was also very

good, like colorblind representation, which I really enjoyed, so top notch.

Highly recommend. And then I read volumes 3 and 4 of the manga Jujutsu Kaisen. And

I gave volume 3, three and a half stars and volume 4, four stars. The series is

definitely getting better. It's still a little bit on shaky ground, because the

pacing is very abrupt and fast,

but it also tackles some interesting topics and

is a bit horrific at times, which is very apt considering it is more like

a horror action type of manga. And

it's interesting also for me to read it after I have watched the animated series,

because I keep comparing it to the anime,

animated series. And it's interesting to see how the anime has actually

improved upon the source material. I'm continually impressed. But yeah, volume

four has definitely been my favorite so far. We get to see my favorite

grumpy old salary man, Nanamin

who is one of my favorite characters, so yeah.

I'm eagerly continuing on this series, but

it's one of those weird things where I actually think the animated

series is better. And then finally, the last manga that I read was volume 19 of

The Promised Neverland by Kaiu Shirai and Posuka Demizu.

And I gave this volume, three stars. It was okay, but it just...

It's too convenient. There are plot things, that are way too convenient

and happen too fast to really let me enjoy the impact and the surprise.

And I just wish the author could have let this

series just breathe. Like, just let it breathe, have some more

volumes in between. Like slow it down.

And there is one more volume to go, and then the series is finished

and I am going to do a full series review.

But yeah, this has just been an overall series that had such a

fantastic start. Started out great and has just

been continually plummeting down into mediocrity, as it has gone on. So yeah, I

was a little bit disappointed, but then again, this is also one of the better

later volumes in the series. And now, on to the novels. First up I

finally, I finally finished How to Lose a Country - The Seven Steps From Democracy

to Dictatorship by Ece Temelkuran. She is a Turkish journalist, however this

book was written in English. And it's basically

all about

how, what steps

have to happen in order to, in order for like a populist,

authoritative ideology to take root in a country. And

it was very interesting. And it talks about the rise of

Nazi Germany, it talks about the polarization in the United States. It

talks about Erdogans's rise in Turkey and also like these

populist right-wing leaders in Hungary and

France, for example. And it was really interesting

in terms of the topic, and I think it has a lot of important things to say. However,

I do feel like sometimes the author writes in a very sort of, self-important

way. And also this book sometimes reeks of certain

class elitism, because the author has the resources to remove herself from the

situation by way of traveling to another country etc. And she doesn't really,

she doesn't really go over what it's like

for more marginalized people in her country, how they are dealing with

the suddenly oppressive regime of Erdogan etc. So I think

in that way the book kind of lost me. However, I do think it was an

interesting read and explores a very current topic. So, I gave it three and a

half stars. Then I read the Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. This is a literary

fiction novel about two sisters who are living in a town,

that is

all Black citizens, but they are... They have

always prioritized

lightness and have always tried, strived towards

basically having the lightest possible skin. And these twins

are born in this town and they are both very light.

And it tells the story of how they

run away from this town to live in another city, and then the

other sister

runs away from her twin and decides to pass as

white, while the other sister marries a Black man.

And it's all about this familial dynamic. It is about what,

what's the cost mentally

for this other sister to pass as white, as well as

what's the social cost of the other sister when she comes back

home with a very

dark daughter. And how her daughter deals with

living in a town where everyone looks down on her

because of her skin color. So it's very much about colorism

and the sort of social hierarchy that

results from people putting a lot of stock into skin color.

It was very interesting. Like not perfect. I think there was plenty of

instances where the author chose convenience over,

like logic, to advance the plot. But I really enjoyed it. It has a

major trans side character and

other kinds of... Like it also has... This book takes place from

the 1950s up to like the 1990s, so it very much

tackles like the Jim Crow segregation, as well as

the AIDS crisis in the 80s. So I thought that it was

an immensely interesting and thought-provoking read, as well as very

engaging and readable. Like, I read it in like a couple of days. It is very

fast to read. So, I would recommend it. I gave it four stars.

And finally I read some non-fiction and I listened to this one on audio. I read

Fearing the Black Body - The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia by Sabrina Strings.

This basically is all about the

historical origins of how we look at people's bodies today,

and how the sort of language surrounding

how we talk about people's weight and appearance

has borne out of, basically race theory and religion,

before it got brought up into the medical field. This book was really

interesting and I learned a lot. Like, I... For example, I learned that

Italy and Spain and also Netherlands were like the major three in, like

hubs that imported enslaved people into Europe,

already in the like 15th and 16th centuries. So

that gave me like an update on my time frame

on the whole Trans-Atlantic slave trade. And I would highly

recommend this. This was really interesting. It talks about like beauty

standards and how we and how,

this sort of supremacist thinking has also caused

beauty standards to shift and change

in various times, and especially during the time of enlightenment and

such. So yeah, I would highly recommend this. I

gave this four stars. And there you have it. Those were all of the books, that I

read in some capacity in August. I hope you enjoyed this video. If you did, please

leave me a

cactus emoji in the comments, because I feel a bit prickly today. So

yeah, thank you for watching and I will see

you in another video, very soon. Bye bye!

The Description of August Reading Wrap up | 2021 [CC]