Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon: April 2021

Hour 3 (9:30 AM): Going to get a late start to the readathon because as soon as I woke up, I got a text that my niece and nephew are coming over, so I’ll be spending the next couple of hours with them.

Hour 5 (11:30 AM): Now I’m going to go run errands (okay, pick up some dessert as a treat for myself later in the day!)

Hour 7 (1:00 PM): Picked up the dessert, got some food, and some balloons for my mom and now it’s time to settle in and actually read! I can’t believe 1/3 of the readathon is almost over and I’m barely getting started. But I did listen to the last hour of A Court of Silver Flames while driving around, so that’s something. And I LOVED the ending!
Audiobook time: 1 hour.

Hour 8 (2:00 PM): Finally sat in one place and just read for an hour! (Okay, more like 40 minutes.) Finished reading It Came from Ohio: My Life as a Writer and loved it!
Pages read: 50. Books finished: 2.

Hour 9 (3:30 PM): Finished reading Kill Joy, and then finished This is how you lose the time war, as well! It had a twist at the end, so I just couldn’t put the book down to come update this any earlier!
Pages read: 80+50. Books finished: 4.

Hour 11 (5:00 PM): Actually updating this at 4:47 because I just finished my next book and wanted to get back on track with my hourly updates (and also, I didn’t want to stop the book I was in right at 4 and update, especially since I had just updated at 3:30). But anyways, I finished reading Traitor and now time to decide if I want something short or long next.
Pages read: 50 + 130. Books finished: 5.

Hour 12 (6:00 PM): Finished Just Beyond: The Scare School by RL Stine (only had about 25 pages remaining), and then forced myself to finish Egyptology (only 16 pages remaining), and then got tired of reading + extremely hungry. So I took a break for a while and watched some insta stories. Then ordered some food and now it’s time to pick it up.
Pages read: 40 + 180. Books finished: 7.

Hour 13 (7:00 PM): Picked up my food and ate it while watching some Sabrina, so it has been a nice 1.5 hour break from reading that I really needed! On my way there and back, I listened to some of You Can’t Touch My Hair, and I’m not sure if the book is for me. Wayyy too many pop culture references in just the few minutes I’ve listened to + extreme overuse of the same handful of words (“okay” at the end of every other sentence; “postracial” at the end of every sentence in a certain chapter). I also tried to read a Kindle sample of When My Brother was an Aztec as my poetry read for this readathon, but the first poem didn’t make any sense to me, so I’m not sure if this book will be for me either.
Pages read: 220. Books finished: 7.

Hour 14 (8:00 PM): Read some of One by One, and then decided to break and go get some french fries because my dinner was not very satisfying and a little too sweet.

Hour 17 (11:00 PM): Finished reading One by One! It was so good! And I’m officially done for the readathon. I think I liked the idea of finishing up books on readathon day – that way I felt accomplished every hour. I didn’t even have to resort to my usual reading a children’s book, short story, poetry book, etc. to get through it!
Pages read: 150 + 220 (so a total of 370 pages for the readathon, which isn’t actually too much). Books finished: 8.

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon: October 2020

(Day before readathon thoughts: My plans for the readathon got all messed up when my sister called me and she said she came into town to surprise my mom and told me to come home too, so I packed my things in a rush – and left behind all the short books I had planned on reading for the readathon! Ugh! And I know when I’m at my parent’s house I don’t have half as much time to read. It almost makes me want to delay my readathon til next weekend when I’ll have a quiet Saturday to myself, but I do enjoy participating in a readathon when I know everyone else is, plus next Saturday is Halloween and I was thinking of eating candy and watching Halloween themed tv episodes, so we’ll see!)
(Things I wish I did for the readathon: maybe have a bunch of half-finished books because those are easier to finish during the readathon; go through my earliest entries and see what worked for me then.)

Hour 2 (8:20 AM): For once, I actually decided to wake up early for the readathon! Someone on the Dewey’s blog wrote that they found it’s not actually hard to wake up early when you’re just reading a book in bed, so I thought I’d try it out and found it relaxing! (Although as I’m writing this, it’s 10:53 and I do feel a little foggy/sleepy still). I’m going to start off with listening to Lana Del Rey’s Violet Bent Backwards as I follow along in the book.

Hour 3 (9 AM): Well, my niece and nephew showed up 10 minutes ago, so I’ve stopped my reading and went to play with them. For the 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading I did have, I had the perfect start to my readathon. I loved loved loved watching it rain outside as I listened to Lana del Rey’s audiobook. I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I did!
Pages read: 60. Books read: 1.

Hour 5 (11 AM): Finished Lana del Rey’s book! And this is the first time I’m going online. I’m going to spend some time catching up on Dewey’s blog, see what other readers are up to, then get back to reading! Actually, I think I’m going to go online, and then choose an audiobook to read, then listen to it as I go get my favorite boba tea! Maybe I’ll still have time to read a kid’s book + a short story for this hour.

Hour 8 (2 PM): How is the readathon almost 1/3 over?! Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to for the last three hours: read two kid’s books (Room on the Broom and Franklin’s Flying Bookshop), almost completed an audiobook while driving (Meeting Manson, only 2 hours long), and just now finished a short story – Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Goldbug.” I also got my boba tea, stopped at the library to see if I would feel inspired to read anything new for the readathon and also stopped by the used bookstore, and had to give my brother a ride when he dropped off his car so I didn’t really get much reading done. Hopefully this next hour will be more peaceful. I think it’s time for a graphic novel now.
Pages read: 30 + 45 minutes of audio
Total for the day: 90 pages + 45 minutes of audio + 2 children’s books

Hour 9 (3 PM): My first uninterrupted hour of reading! I started Death Vigil and got 70 pages in (out of 260). It’s okay so far. I think I’m about to break for lunch now, though.
Pages read: 70

Hour 11 (5 PM): I took a break for lunch (salad with fried chicken), and then gave my brother a ride back to the car place, sat and talked with my sister for a while, so I ended up only getting another 34 pages of Death Vigil, which I’m okay with. I’m just not feeling that into the readathon this year. Feeling sluggish (maybe due to forcing myself to wake early and or eating pratha for breakfast) and sleepy, so I am definitely going to finish fall short of my goal of finishing Death Vigil, then maybe Toil & Trouble, and ending with a romance like LJ Shen’s The Hunter.
Pages read: 34

Hour 14 (8 PM): finished reading Death Vigil. It was just okay. Haven’t been reading as much because my stomach was hurting, and then my niece and nephew were over so I spent more time with them, and my parents had people over so I was downstairs for a while. But now I should be able to read for the next few hours un-interrupted (as long as I can be in the mood for reading… we’ll see.) I also finished the last 20 minutes of Meeting Manson while laying in bed, so there’s that!
Pages read: 147 + 20 minutes of audio.

In the Company of Trees: Honoring Our Connection to the Sacred Power, Beauty, and Wisdom of Trees by Andrea Fereshteh

This book had some beautiful pictures of trees and facts with some nice quotes, but it’s definitely the epitome of a coffee table book. It’s not something that will really stay with you after you’re done reading it, it’s not a page-turner, and I sadly have already forgotten most of what I’ve read. I did enjoy learning about trees in different parts of the world and some of the traditions that go along with them, but this book just isn’t that memorable. Also, the pictures are very generic and stock picture-like (and when I got to the end, it turns out I was right – the pictures are all just bought from Getty Images). I think I would have liked it a lot more if the ‘writer’ of this book had taken these pictures herself, had explored these places herself, it would have added a level of authenticity to it and been far more enjoyable and inspirational.

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden | My first Halloween read of the season!

3.5 stars

This was such a spooky and atmospheric read for the Halloween season. It takes place in a small town in Vermont during October where Ollie, who is in the sixth grade and has recently suffered a loss, lives. One day, she is on her way home from school when she sees an old woman who is attempting to throw a book into the water. Ollie stops her and takes the book for herself while the woman gives her an eerie warning to avoid large places at night and to stick to small spaces. Over the next day, Ollie becomes engrossed in the ghost story within the book that also contains a mystery of two missing boys on a farm in Smoke Hollow. At the same time, her class is due for a field trip to the Misty Valley Farm, which, Ollie starts noticing, has a lot of similarities to the farm in her book. With scarecrows, a creepy bus driver, and the same old lady on the farm that Ollie had stolen a book from, Ollie finds herself having to solve her very own mystery.

The first half of the book was so atmospheric with a ghost story, a haunted farm, a corn maze, autumn food, and a lot more, it would have received a solid 5 stars from me, but the second half had Ollie and her friends going from here to there trying to find their way out of this other ‘world’ without much else going for it. I just wish the second half had… more. But the story did wrap up well, and I’m still excited to read the next book in the series. I just may have connected to it and enjoyed it more if it hadn’t been a middle grade read.

(It might be too early to start reading Halloween stuff, but I don’t even care. I love the season.)

Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Peña (DC Icons #4)

Superman will always hold a special place in my heart because of Smallville, so I was SO ready to love this book because I love nothing more than Clark’s story in high school. Sadly, it was such a letdown. This book tries to tackle a very relevant issue of today – immigration, and the response of angry white people who feel threatened by people who look different than them – and it deals with it by showing how immigrants start to go missing from Smallville, one by one, and Clark trying to find out what happened. At the same time, he notices a strange helicopter flying over his farm searching for something; deals with a large corporation with a shady scientist; all while dealing with the problems that come with being a teenager in high school when you feel/are different than others around you. Even with all of that going for it… the book was just boring. I didn’t feel emotionally connected to any of the characters, it feels like the author barely touched on the surface of the issues, and it felt like the book didn’t have a plot most of the time either, even when Clark was going here and there investigating things.

That’s it for my review, but because I love Smallville so much, I’m going to compare the book to the show and talk about what was different:

➽ Lex Luthor : Lex only plays a small part in the story, and he’s just a boring rich guy for the most part. It’s only at the very end that you get a tiny glimpse into who he’s turning out to be when you see that he didn’t help Clark for the sake of doing good, but so that he could steal the technology/meteorite from another company. Also, in this book, the first time Clark and Lex meet is when Lex is driving really fast down a road and almost slightly brushes past Clark, rather than actually hitting him with his car like in Smallville.

➽ Lana Lang : Here, Lana isn’t Clark’s love interest/unrequited crush, but his best friend who is kind of just like Chloe from Smallville where she’s a reporter for the high school newspaper and ever inquisitive. She was also kind of boring in the book.

➽ Jonathan and Martha Kent : They don’t play a big role either, but Martha is the one who gives Clark his Superman suit and cape, which she made out of his baby blanket that came with him in his spaceship. Also, Clark only just discovers that not only is he adopted, but that he’s not from Earth. I can’t believe it took him this long to realize he wasn’t human when he has so many ‘super powers’.

But anyway, despite the fact that I was disappointed with this book, I’m so excited they decided to continue with the DC Icons series! Next up is Black Canary, exactly who I had been hoping for two years ago when I posted my pre-review!

The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung

Dr. Jason Fung tries to address why we get fat and what to do about it. He provides a lot of excellent studies as examples, and it’s all very logical. I was ready for him to bring in something different or ground-breaking, but after he spends most of the book telling you that diets don’t work, calories aren’t what make people fat, etc… He ends it with the same old advice every other book tells you: you need to cut out sugar, processed foods, refined carbs, etc. and eat more fiber. The only thing different he does is that he says that fasting is also necessary… so basically starving yourself and only eating every other day. My problem with that comes due to the fact that he says diets don’t work and people always re-gain their weight (which they do), but then he comes and provides an even more stringent diet as if it will have any different long-term results? He doesn’t make it clear whether he wants people to starve themselves forever, or just as a diet. But if he thinks people are just going to fast 24-36 hours a day, every other day, for the rest of their lives, he’s kidding himself. And if he thinks people are only going to eat salads and salmon on their non-fasting days, he’s also kidding himself. If it was as easy as telling people to eat salads and nothing else… there’d be no such thing as obesity. He doesn’t present a realistic option at all. And he thinks his is the only “diet” that won’t cause people to re-gain their weight? Well, I’ve tried a version of it and I certainly did gain the weight back as soon as I stopped starving myself. (I won’t even touch on the fact that he encourages you not to eat on the fasting days, but then says fasts like the one Dr. Mosley recommends where you can eat up to 500 calories in a day are okay too. and that’s to say nothing of the fact that Dr. Mosley wasn’t even the first one to suggest that, Dr. Johnson did it before him, but I digress.) Also, he says he’s had success with patients who’ve lost like 20 pounds in 15 days of fasting, but that’s two consecutive weeks of fasting. If you do the alternate day fasting, you won’t have such success. I’d say 5-6 pounds per month is more realistic, and again, even that weight loss is only temporary! I could go on and on with the problems of intermittent fasting because I’ve done it before it was cool and it really doesn’t produce any results different than any other diet.

But I did like how he says obesity is a hormonal disorder, not just a lack of willpower, etc. He says it’s insulin resistance that causes obesity, and the chapters on that were interesting and eye-opening. Still, despite all I learned, I found this a disappointing read overall because he does not provide any realistic or long-lasting solution to obesity either.

Dewey’s Reverse Readathon: August 2020

Excited to participate in another readathon! Feels a little strange starting at 7 PM because I’m more of a morning person, but here we are!

Hour 1 (8 PM): Hour 1 is done, and I had a rather ‘productive’ reading hour as I read one mini graphic novel and five children’s books to get me started!
Books read: Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red (#1), The Berenstain Bears and the Mansion Mystery, Franklin’s Halloween, Arthur Lost and Found, D. W. The Picky Eater, and Arthur’s New Puppy. I’ll count each of those as having read 10 pages, which may be overestimating it, but oh well. And now I’m reading a short horror story.
Pages read: 60. Books read: 0, but 1 graphic novel + 5 kid’s books.

Hour 2 (9 PM): I finished the short story (Forest of Bones, 50 pages), and then finished a shorter short story by Nikita Gill (20 pages) as well! I’m going to see if there are any other authors I want to read in this book of poetry/short stories, and then hopefully pick up my first full book for the night.
Pages read: 70 (total: 130). Books read: 0, but 2 short stories (plus see above).

Hour 3 (10 PM): Enjoying Disconnected. At first I thought I’d just read Nikita Gill’s short story, but I got into it and read a few more poets/authors I liked. Now I’m debating if I should just read the whole book before my Kindle Unlimited subscription runs out tonight? We’ll see.
Pages read: 82 (total: 112).

Hour 4 (11 PM): Starting to lose steam. Will probably go to sleep in the next hour, but I’m going to see if I can finish Disconnected first. Only read two short stories in the last hour because I also rested my eyes for 10 minutes and dealt with a huge 6 inch bug and whatnot.
Pages read: 37.

Hour 5 (12 AM): so. sleepy. I only managed to read another 40 pages of Disconnected. Still 24 more to go + the poems at the end. I’m going to attempt to finish reading before I sleep, but we’ll see. Then I might listen to Catwoman some, then sleep. But I ended up staying up, or at least reading, a lot more than I thought I would! Even though I have yet to finish anything of substance. But I caught up on most of my Kindle Unlimited reads so there’s that.
Pages read: 40.

Hour 14.5 (9:30 AM): Not sure what hour this is since I lost track of (readathon) time… but I just compared it to my previous time update (so glad I include what time it actually is, not just what hour in the readathon!). Anyway, updates from last night: I finished reading Disconnected (64 pages) + listened to one chapter of Catwoman before I fell asleep, so not bad I guess. I’ve lost a little momentum and not totally in the readathon zone right now, but we’ll see if that changes.
Pages read: 64. Books read: 1 + see above. Audiobook time: 15 minutes (divided by 2).

Hour 16 (11 AM): I listened to 40 minutes of Catwoman while out for a walk and then while getting coffee and got really into it. Then when I got back, I read 27 pages of The Obesity Code. I only have 130 pages or so of the book left, so it’s the only hope I have of finishing a book before the readathon, I think. But it’s non-fiction and not exactly a page-turner, so I don’t want to continue with it. But I’m having a hard time starting a new book either (I tried Recursion), so I don’t know what I’ll do now. Not entirely in the mood to read anything. I’m going to browse my goodreads tbr and see if I can find a short book I want to read.
Pages read: 27. Audiobook time: 40 minutes.

Hour 17 (12 PM): After browsing goodreads for 15 minutes and sorting my books by page length, I decided to pick up Expedition 196 since it’s only 136 pages, and it’s been a good choice! It’s a quick read and it has me engrossed, so I’m a little more enthusiastic for this readathon now!
Pages read: 27.

Hour 18 (1 PM): I read til page 96, so that’s 53 more pages read! I should be able to finish the book in the next hour (or two, since I think I’m about to take a break and go pick up some lunch, but I’ll still be listening to my audiobook of Catwoman on the way, which I’m really liking).
Pages read: 53.

Hour 20 (3 PM): Went and got a gyro for lunch (and listened to Catwoman on the way there), facetimed with my niece and nephew, ate while reading (listening), and then got back to Expedition 196 and finished it! So now I’ve finished two full books for the readathon!
Pages read: 37. Audiobook time: 54 minutes (stopped at 2:57:11).

Hour 21 (4 PM): Started reading Perks of Being a Wallflower and am 48 pages into it. It’s just a 3 star read so far with the guy narrating what’s going on his life, but at least it’s a short read. If I’m lucky, I’ll finish it before the readathon is over.
Pages read: 48.

Hour 22 (5 PM): This is hard, and I’m getting bored even though I’ve read another 52 pages. But the book is just so boring and depressing and nothing is happening! Ugh, I just want to go get some ice cream and then continue binge watching Young & Hungry, which I surprisingly haven’t done in the last 22 hours even though I was so addicted to it!
Pages read: 52.

Hour 23 (6 PM): Read another 42 pages, and boy, this book just gets more depressing as it goes. And still nothing has happened. I think I may be done with the readathon now. I want to go get ice cream then go back to watching Young & Hungry.
Pages read: 42.

Hour 24 (7 PM): Ended up going to go eat some ice cream, but listened to an audiobook on the way (and while eating), so I got in another 60 minutes or so of Catwoman!
Audiobook time: 60 minutes.

Books read:
1 mini graphic novel + 5 children’s books + 1 short story + 2 full books + 3 partial books
Pages read:
Audiobook time:
169 minutes listened (at 2x speed = 84.5 minutes spent listening)
Number of hours I participated: 
What I read: Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red (#1), The Berenstain Bears and the Mansion Mystery, Franklin’s Halloween, Arthur Lost and Found, D. W. The Picky Eater, and Arthur’s New Puppy. Forest of Bones. Disconnected. Expedition 196.
Partially read: The Obesity Code (1 chapter), Perks of Being a Wallflower (140 pages), Catwoman (169 minutes).

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon: April 2020

This is my fifth official readathon (at least from what I can tell on my past posts), but I also un-officially participated twice last year, so it could be my seventh!

Anyway, I woke up late and only started participating this last hour (at 10 am), so here is my first official update:

Hour 5 (11 AM): It’s the end of hour 5, and I’ve finished my first book! I may have chosen an easier middle grade/children’s book so I could feel like I accomplished something, but hey, it worked! I finished reading Alice Hoffman’s <i>Indigo</i>. Next up, I think I’m going to start a graphic novel to continue the light reading.
Pages read: 50. Books read: 1.

Hour 6 (12 PM): I started (well, continued from a few weeks ago) the graphic novel Harley and Ivy meet Betty and Veronica, and it’s a fun read, but I’m not used to reading more than one issue of a graphic novel per day, so I’ve had to force myself to read more, but I did get through 2 3/4 issues, so that’s good! (59 pages) After the second issue, I read a couple of chapters from Maybe You Should Talk to Someone (19 pages). If it wasn’t old in essay format, and/or if I had a physical copy rather than a scribd ebook, I feel like I could finish that today too. I’m getting really hungry now though. I think after I finish the graphic novel, I may have to take a break (will continue on audio).
Pages read: 78.
Total for the day: 128 pages, 1 book

Hour 8 (2 PM): Finished Harley and Ivy meet Betty and Veronica (27 pages), then I took a break to go to a local ice cream store to pick up some of my favorite ice cream sandwiches for later, and then ran some errands. I’d say I listened to about 45 minutes of Six of Crows during that time, but that was about it. Oh, and right before leaving, I went outside and spent like 20 minutes trying to get just 3 good pictures taken for bookstagram. When I got back home, I watched a little bit of Impractical Jokers, and now I’m ready to get back to the readathon! Might read a poetry anthology next to keep the easy, quick reading going, but I might regret it later tonight when I start getting sleepy and wish I had something other than dense books to read.
Pages read: 27 + 45 minutes of audio.
Total for the day: 155 pages, 2 books, 45 minutes of audio

Hour 9 (3 PM): Started and finished the sun and her flowers by rupi kaur. It was nice to get lost in that poetry anthology for a while! (I posted more thoughts on it on my goodreads.) Now for the next hour, I may take a quick break, and then actually read a longer book! (Which I’m kind of dreading, more because I haven’t been able to get into it.) So we’ll see how that goes. I can always switch to Maybe You Should Talk to Someone if Six of Crows doesn’t work out for me. I also have the Harleen graphic novel.
Pages read: 100 (the sun and her flowers was 245 pages, but it was so short I know it doesn’t even amount to 100 pages of a regular book)
Total for the day: 255 pages, 3 books, 45 minutes of audio

Hour 10 (4 PM): Picked up Six of Crows (switched from audio to physical copy) and read about 35 pages. I’m halfway through (page 235) and still can’t get into this book. I so badly want to DNF, but I’ve made it this far into the Grisha verse, and although it might have entirely been a waste of time, I’m not giving up now. Although reading this has made me exhausted and now I just want to take a nap. Not sure if I’ll continue reading for the next hour, and if I do, whether I’ll continue this or go back to a different book.
Pages read: 35
Total for the day: 290 pages, 3 books, 45 minutes of audio

Hour 11 (5 PM): Read 30 more pages of Six of Crows, but it’s still a struggle. I had to stop reading for a while and watched some insta stories instead. I think I’m going to switch to something else for the next hour.
Pages read: 30
Total for the day: 320 pages, 3 books, 45 minutes of audio

Hour 12 (6 PM): I was able to read 50 pages of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, but now I’m even more exhausted. I was thinking of reading outside for the next hour until it’s time to get food for iftar, but not even sure I have the energy to do that. We shall see what the next hour of this readathon brings.
Pages read: 50
Total for the day: 370 pages, 3 books, 45 minutes of audio

Hour 16 (10 PM): Wow, I haven’t updated in a while. After my 6pm updated, I laid down for a while, then went outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather and relaxing by a mini waterfall. Picked up some food for iftar, watched more Impractical Jokers, played HQ, facetimed with my sister, read a little bit, but got way too annoyed with all the weird and loud noises that my upstairs neighbors were making that I just couldn’t concentrate. Finally in this past hour (around 9:15), I picked up Maybe You Should Talk to Someone and read some more. I’m on page 376, so I’ve read probably 80-90 pages of it today. Not bad, seeing as how before I had struggled to read more than a chapter of it a day. I also read more of Six of Crows, first on audio while driving, then finished up the chapter on Jesper via the physical copy because Jesper’s narrator just gets on my nerves, and I missed out on a crucial reveal about him (I thought it was about Wylan). The narrator does such a poor job he doesn’t even try to change voices for each character (then why don’t they just use that character’s actor for that part of the dialogue?). But yeah, here I am. Getting sleepy, so this might be my last update of the day. I’ll probably continue to listen to the SoC audiobook while in bed. I’m sure it’ll put me right to sleep. ha. ha.

Fraternity: An Inside Look at a Year of College Boys Becoming Men by Alexandra Robbins

Alexandra Robbins is one of my favorite non-fiction authors and journalists, so I was so excited to read her next book and get an inside look at what fraternities are really like. Throughout the book, we get to follow Jake, who is a “freshman searching for brotherhood,” and not your typical frat boy. He was an overachiever in high school whose idea of a good time on a Friday night was going to the movies and not really into drinking. He really only decides to rush because his dad was in a fraternity. Over the course of the year, we see him go through the highs and lows of rushing, pledging, hazing, wanting to give up, and the mindset that he has throughout all this. We also get to follow Oliver, who is a chapter president who has to deal with trying to keep his fraternity afloat after facing so many citations by police officers. Robbins chose these two because “they represent students missing from the media and contemporary literature: smart, goodhearted, self-aware, earnest fraternity members whom readers would root for.”

Despite it being non-fiction, she writes in such a narrative way that keeps you hooked and wondering what will happen next. Along with that, each chapter has insightful academic discussions addressing all the stereotypes about fraternities. She doesn’t sugarcoat anything and lays out all the facts, from the toxic nature of some fraternities to why fraternities are so successful even today, and why they are such a distinctly American concept. But one of my favorite parts was the fascinating social history of how fraternities began in America, then dwindled, then rose again (in large part to the picture of college life portrayed in the movie Animal House, and then to alcohol companies’ advertisements). And when the drinking age was increased to 21, that didn’t help matters any because now instead of students drinking at bars, they moved to private places like fraternity houses, who now controlled the scene, and by the 1990s, 86% of fraternity brothers became binge drinkers.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it gave me a lot to think about besides simply the stereotypes that you read about in the news. Don’t get me wrong, there are still so many racist fraternity chapters out there, but there are some good inclusionary ones too, and she highlights them both. And I am already looking forward to what Alexandra Robbins writes next!

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

“When money and morality intersect, the results can illuminate intriguing truths about human character.”

An Anonymous Girl is the much anticipated second novel by writing duo Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. It’s about a girl who signs up for a psychology study on ethics, and having studied psychology in undergrad and worked in a psychology research lab, the premise immediately intrigued me. But the setup was slow and the book quickly lost my interest and never really gained it back, for the most part.

While the study the main character Jessica, a make-up artist working for Beauty Buzz in New York, participates in starts as just answering questions on a computer, it slowly morphs into something more: she is later asked to do research in the “field”, involving people that have no clue that they are supposed to be part of a “study”. But Jessica obliges because she and her family are strapped for money and the psychiatrist running the study, Dr. Shields, is more than happy to provide.

It sounds like it could be a fascinating premise, but honestly, it just felt like your typical domestic thriller to me. If The Wife Between Us was about a husband who didn’t want to let go of his wife, then this book was about (view spoiler). There really were no surprises, and if the authors thought they were revealing something new to the readers, they really weren’t. It’s very obvious from the very beginning who the villain is and the book quickly becomes very repetitive.

The writers do mention a few psychology studies such as the invisible gorilla study and the prisoner’s dilemma, but most of those were just done in such a bland way I just couldn’t bring myself to care. (Although if I had to pick one, the prisoner’s dilemma was my favorite.)

But they do make you question, how far would you go to protect the ones you love? And how many lines would you be willing to cross for money?

All in all, this book was kind of a letdown, but maybe if you haven’t read as many thrillers or don’t have a strong background in psychology, you may have a different take on the book.