ABC Reads // Fifth Update

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Happy Friday, friends! We made it to the weekend! 🎉

Today I have the second to last update for the ABC Reads Challenge. I’ll do a final update by the end of December.

The second to last update for the ABC Reads challenge. //

This month as I started to make my way through the final letters I realized that I’ve been including one that I should have checked off the list. I had been debating what to read for the letter “J” and as I read a list of all the books mentioned during the Gilmore Girls TV show to see how many on the list I’ve read (almost 100), I saw a book that I read this year: Jane Eyre.

So I can check “J” off the list! Now for the second letter I can cross off with this update:

Y // You Deserve Nothing, by Alexander Maksik [Completed November 2016]

You Deserve Nothing is about a charismatic teacher an an international school in Paris who captures the attention of his students as he asks them to reflect on life, their beliefs and what they can do in the world. The novel is told from the POVs of three different characters: the teacher Will, his student Gilad (with whom he witnessed a violent encounter while out in the city) and another student Marie, who fantasizes about Will and with whom Will has an affair. (This is not a spoiler, it’s pretty obvious from the start what will happen and it’s in the official synopsis.)

Where to start with this book? I didn’t care for the writing. It was too repetitive. Lines like:

“Congratulations,” I said.

“For what?”

“Graduation. For graduating.”

This happened constantly. At times I felt like I understood what he was trying to do with all this repetition… but I just couldn’t handle it. It was too much. And this novel was so pretentious. Granted, after reading some of the reviews on Goodreads, it’s just not my kind of read, so maybe that was part of it, but I struggled with this one. I finished it because it allowed me to check “Y” off this list and it’s been sitting on my Kindle for years.

Now, for the other thing worth mentioning about this: it appears to be based off Maksik’s own experience teaching at an American school in Paris, where he had an affair with a student who is the “Marie” character in this novel. I don’t know if he’s ever confirmed it, but his past students–including “Marie”–have spoken out about it and talked about how painful it is to see these experiences that they had with their teacher in a novel that he’s now being praised for, especially since some details included are almost exact–like conversations he had with students and in class–and other details have been manipulated–like the affair.

It looks like it’s created a lot of conversation about whether or not it’s okay for someone to write a work of fiction based off of real life events, without releasing this information to the public and checking with/giving a heads up to the real life people involved. I have thoughts on this, but it’s probably enough to fill a post on its own. I didn’t particularly care for the book, but after reading it I thought it was fascinating to also read some of the conversation about the controversy surrounding the book. For that alone, it was worth the read, however if you don’t enjoy bookish conversations like that, it’s probably not a reason to read the book.

Read this book if:
>> It sounds like a book you’d enjoy! I didn’t care for it, but it’s not my kind of book. If you think you’d enjoy it, go ahead and check it out.
>> You’re a bookish nerd like me and get excited by these kinds of literary discussions.

Here are the letters I still need to read to complete the challenge: V, X, Z.

I’m currently reading “V” and I have “X” and “Z” picked out. (Which reminds me, I need to pick up “X” from the library.)

If you’d like to see what else I read for this challenge, here’s the list:

A // All Stories Are Love Stories, by Elizabeth Percer  [Completed March 2016]

B // Breaking Pointe, by Lani Woodland [Completed June 2016]

C // Chronicles of a Death Foretold, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez [Completed September 2016]

D // (A) Drop of Night, by Stefan Bachman [Completed June 2016]

E // (The) Ex, by Alafair Burke  [Completed February 2016]

F // Fracture, by Megan Miranda [Completed October 2016]

G // Girl Through Glass, by Sari Wilson  [Completed February 2016]

H // Half-Resurrection Blues, by Daniel José Older  [Completed April 2016]

I // Illuminae, by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff  [Completed January 2016]

J // Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë [Completed July 2016]

K // Keep You Close, by Lucie Whitehouse  [Completed June 2016]

L // Lagoon, by Nnedi Okorafor [Completed June 2016]

M // Memories of My Melancholy Whores, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez [Completed May 2016]

N // Natchez Burning, by Greg Iles [Completed September 2016]

O // (The) Opposite of Everyone, by Joshilyn Jackson  [Completed February 2016]

P // (The) Past, by Tessa Hadley  [Completed January 2016]

Q // (The) Quotidian Mysteries, by Kathleen Norris [Completed October 2016]

R // Rise of the DEO, by Maria Giudice and Christopher Ireland [Completed March 2016]

S // (The) Sister’s of Versailles, by Sally Christie  [Completed March 2016]

T // Thief of Lies, by Brenda Drake [Completed June 2016]

U // (The) Uninvited, by Cat Winter [Completed October 2016]

W // Where We Fall, by Rochelle b. Weinstein  [Completed April 2016]

Y // You Deserve Nothing, by Alexander Maksik [Completed November 2016]

What have you been reading?

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  • Reply
    December 2, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your insight with me! Sadly, I haven’t been able to read a book since this summer due to school, but the last book I read was the Happiness Project, which I ADORED.

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      December 2, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      I have heard such great things about that book! I think I actually have a copy of that on my Kindle too after seeing it on sale once. I need to read it!

  • Reply
    December 2, 2016 at 9:33 am

    What a cool challenge! Sounds like you’re doing great! 🙂

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      December 2, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      It’s been a lot of fun! And I’m not even rushing to finish it like usual, so that’s cool. 🙂

  • Reply
    Divya @ Eat Teach BLog
    December 2, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    I haven’t read a single one of those books!! Just finished The Help and absolutely loved it!

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      December 2, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      That’s awesome! I haven’t read The Help yet, but I’ve heard really good things about it. 🙂

  • Reply
    December 5, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    You’re so close to being done with your challenge! That’s amazing!!!

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      December 6, 2016 at 9:45 am

      I know! I’m so excited that I’m almost done and that I wasn’t scrambling to finish at the end of the year!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Yay! You’re almost done. 🙂 I’m reading my X book right now and then I’ll be done, yay! 🙂

    • Reply
      Crystal // Dreams, etc.
      December 6, 2016 at 9:44 am

      I know! I’m so excited. 🙂 I’m still finishing V right now (had to take a break to read the book for the book tour post today), but after that I have X and Z lined up to read!

      That’s awesome! Can’t wait to see what you read for X. I found that to be the toughest one to choose for.

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