April 2014
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Long-Awaited Reads Month

LAR Button FinalLast year I really enjoyed taking advantage of Long-Awaited Reads Month and I’m so happy that Ana and Iris have chosen to continue hosting this great event in 2014. The idea is that, throughout January, we manage to get to some of those books that have been waiting far too long, either on the shelf or not yet in our hands. I love doing this because – surprise surprise – I have a lot of these floating around on my shelves. I’m far too easily distracted by new books sometimes and I also have a tendency to choose shorter books because I can read them faster. This month gives me an excellent opportunity to change things around and try and get to some older books that I’m still really excited about.

Last year I selected four books and, while I didn’t get to them all in January, I did actually manage to read them before the end of 2013, so the tactic worked.

Ideally I’d spend the whole month reading books like these, and I still might, but here’s what I’ve pulled out:

  • Demon Angel by Meljean Brook - I’ve had Demon Angel since 2010 and, while it isn’t chunky, I’m just not quite sure why I haven’t read it yet. I mainly bought it because I wanted to read some of the later books in Meljean Brook’s Guardian series and, even though this isn’t the best of the series, I always like to start from the beginning.
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon - I think I haven’t read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay yet because it’s long and the type is ridiculously tiny. But, it’s time to give it a shot, as I’ve not managed to read any of Michael Chabon’s books and I think I have three of them, all of which I’ve wanted to read for over a year. 
  • Empress by Shan Sa – This is a rather slim volume that I’ve pulled out before to read in two different read-a-thons. I didn’t get to it in either of them and I’ve had it since 2008. I’ve been really interested in Chinese history and historical fiction for a few years now, so I’m hoping this is a great read.
  • Lastly, I’m cheating a little bit with Edward III and the Triumph of England, because it was a Christmas present, and I haven’t even been craving it for nearly as long as I’ve actually owned the other three. But I’ve wanted to read it very badly since I first heard about it, so I’m going to count that as a long-awaited read anyway. I hope I’m not breaking the rules too much.

Are you participating in Long-Awaited Reads month? What do you have waiting?

Giving Up Blogging for #nanowrimo


Hi folks! As the post title says, I’ve elected to give up blogging for the next month while I focus on NaNoWriMo. I haven’t successfully completed a novel since I started working, so I really want to reverse that trend. I just don’t think I can do both blogging and writing this much. I also think know I badly need a longer term break from blogging. If I write anything bloggy-oriented, it will wait until December. So, here we go with both of them, and I’ll see you all December 1st!

Starting the October 2013 Readathon!


Happy #readathon day!

I am a big fan of the Read-a-thon; there is little I enjoy more than a solid block of 24 hours that I’m allowed to spend just reading. Doesn’t happen often enough in my view! And at a time when my blogging motivation is probably at an all-time low, perhaps the Read-a-thon is just the way to get things kicked off to a more interesting place and feel like I’m part of the community again. Worth a try, anyway!

The little badge to the left of these words links to the website where you can learn more about the ‘thon itself and Dewey, its founder, who we all remember fondly as one of the cornerstones of our community originally.

So what do I have on my pile to read today? I think I’ve assembled one of my largest Read-a-thon piles ever. If anything this probably just shows how many books I have around that I’m seriously looking forward to. I’ve tried to keep it to a mix of fantasy, a bit of historical fiction, some easy and short non-fiction, and then some rare YA for me. All books that I want to read immediately, but that are also fairly quick and probably more attention-grabbing.

2013 Readathon

I think I’m going to start with Eleanor & Park or Picture Me GoneIronskin is also really high up on the list. I’m hoping to get through 3-4 books before the end tomorrow at 1 pm my time!

Are you joining in this time around? What are you reading?

April 2013 read-a-thon start!

deweys-readathonbutton Good afternoon everyone! I missed last fall’s read-a-thon and I’ve been looking forward to this one ever since. I’m not particularly good at the community aspect of this event usually; I like to pop in on twitter every now and again and visit some other blogs, but mostly I like to read rather than do too many mini challenges. And reading is exactly what I have planned for the rest of the day after a brief diversion taking my UK driving theory test (I passed, thankfully).

So what do I have to choose from today?

April readathon

Lots I’ve been looking forward to in this pile! But first I’m going to finish Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. I’m only on page 90 but I’m really enjoying it and finishing a book is a great way to start many hours of reading.

Are you reading today? What do you have on your pile?

Long Awaited Reads Month!

Hosted by Ana and Iris, Long-Awaited Reads Month is something I’ve been looking forward to ever since they announced it. All of January is dedicated to reading books that have been sitting, eagerly anticipated, on the TBR pile for much too long. I love the idea of getting to books which have been lingering on my shelves, and it’s something I definitely neglect on a regular basis when new, shinier, and often shorter books arrive at my house, or when I get too bogged down by books that I should be reviewing. (There are still too many of those).

I’ve already, in a sense, started this challenge, and right on the 1st of January too, with The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I have felt for some time that this is a part of my science fiction background that’s missing, and I’m glad to fill it in – it’s nice to finally get the references to towels and the number 42, among other things. I’ve finished the first book and I’m spacing out the following four with other books in between; I’ve read quite a bit about people saying not to read them straight through, so I’m giving myself breaks and reading other things.

But I have other books that have been lingering for much too long, and I’ve selected these five books to focus on for this month:

long awaited reads month

  • Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold has been in my possession since my birthday three years ago now, which seems like much too long. I can’t remember where I heard about it, but I found out that it was one of my MA dissertation supervisor’s favorite books shortly thereafter, and I don’t know why I haven’t read it since.
  • 11.22.63 by Stephen King is also a book I’ve heard tons about. Stephen King was one of my favorite authors, back when reading chunksters was pretty much all I did. Since then I’ve become more reluctant to pick up these huge books, but this is one that I really, really want to read.
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel is a book that I’ve had for another good few years; it’s been one of those books that I’ve wanted to read but never made time for. Now the film version is out and everyone asks me if I’ve read it, so it’s definitely a good time. I also needed a shorter book to balance out all these chunksters!
  • I was certain I was going to read Blackout by Connie Willis the day I bought it, yet somehow here I am a year later without having opened it. Again, I’m not sure how that happened, but this is the book I am most determined to read this month, so I’ll start it after my current read (Ghost Story by Jim Butcher).
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond has been sitting on my shelf the longest of any of these books. It sounded fascinating when I got it and it still does now, which is why I’m determined to read it this month. Plus, it adds a much-needed non-fiction element to this month for me.

Are you participating in Long-Awaited Reads Month? What do you plan on reading?

Read-a-Thon Update: Hour 5

So far so good – I’ve finished the book I was reading first, Miles in Love, and I’ve also finished my first full book, For the King by Catherine Delors. The second was actually a very good choice – historical fiction about a real-life police investigation set in nineteenth-century Paris during Napoleon’s reign. It was very easy to power through it! Also quite a nice change from the science fiction.

Number of Books 2
Pages Read 494
Time Spent Reading 4:02
Time Spent Blogging 0:26

So far I haven’t participated in any mini-challenges aside from the starting one – two were US-only and the last isn’t a giveaway that I’m interested in – but I did have lunch earlier of that pie I mentioned. It’s also nearly time for dinner, but I’m going to start my next book, first. I think it will be another change of pace with the shorter stories in A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris.

How is it going for everyone else?

Read-a-Thon Update: Hour 9

It’s time for a (late) dinner and that makes it a great time for an update! I have finished three books so far:

  1. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
  2. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

I loved Howl’s Moving Castle – it’s wonderful to have read two amazing books already today! I am definitely adding more Diana Wynne Jones to my next book order. It is a shame that I have now only discovered her after her passing, but I am glad to have a huge backlist to work through before I face the fact that there won’t be any more.

I have since started reading Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley. It wasn’t in my pile, but I didn’t really want any more fantasy and my choices suddenly seemed too fantasy-heavy. This should be a nice break from that.

As for the stats, I have read for 6 1/2 hours so far and have finished 922 pages. I’m really pleased with that – I think I’m doing better than last time!

How is everyone else doing? Have you read anything amazing so far?

Read-a-thon Update: Hour 5

We’ve now been reading for 4 hours – so entering into hour 5!

Books Read:

Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal
Touching the Void, Joe Simpson

I’ve managed to finish both, bringing me up to a total page count of about 500. I loved the first; the second I didn’t enjoy quite so much, as I’m not particularly familiar with mountaineering and while the story itself was gripping, I kept wondering why on earth Simpson ever wanted to climb the mountain in the first place! Still, though, a good read-a-thon book, as I kept reading to find out what happened to him after the accident (since he wrote the book, it’s obvious he survived).

In total I’ve been reading for 3 hours and 45 minutes. It’s been a little more difficult because it’s a lovely sunny day outside; though I’m not actually out in it, I am enjoying the sun through the windows and the nice breeze coming through at least!

How is everyone else doing? I am going to start reading again shortly, after a few blog visits; I can’t decide whether to read Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale or Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, and I still plan to finish my current read, Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint, at some point during the Read-a-thon. We’ll see!

To evoke the British countryside and provide a bit of a visual for this otherwise text-heavy post, here’s a random picture of Rievaulx Abbey:rievaulx

Read-a-Thon Starting Line

It’s time for the Read-a-Thon! This is my fifth one, which is hard to believe, but no less exciting for that! I’m looking forward to getting started today and meeting all of the new Read-a-thon participants as well as the ones I know already. I have my netbook, have eaten lunch, have snacks ready and a husband on meal duty, and a huge pile of books to choose from, so I am all set to go.

Here is the stack at the start:

There are actually two stacks there, but never mind. I couldn’t stop putting more books on the pile. As it stands, though, I am starting out with Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal. I have heard amazing things about this book since well before it was published, it’s a Nebula nominee, and it arrived in the mail yesterday so I’m very excited to read it. Best of all, it’s short and I’m told it reads quickly – so it is the perfect Read-a-Thon book! I aim to continue reading it until I’ve finished, and then come back for an update, so I’ll see you all in a couple of hours.

ETA to add the intro meme:

1)Where are you reading from today?

My flat in Beverley, England.

2)Three random facts about me… food-themed, as I’ve done this before, and part of the read-a-thon fun is the snacking:

  1. I like cheese and hamburgers but not cheeseburgers.
  2. I forced myself to like tea about 4 years ago and have become an addict, so will be drinking a lot over the next 24 hours!
  3. I would quite happily eat pizza every day.

3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?

16. I know. I got excited.

4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?

Not really, I’d like to read more than 12 hours (my current average) and at least 4 books.

5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?

Definitely pick short, fun books, don’t get sucked into the internet (particularly twitter) and take breaks when you need to!

Good luck to all the participants!

Once Upon a Time V

once upon a time v

It’s time again for Carl’s Once Upon a Time challenge! As usual, we have gorgeous buttons, and I have an immense stack of fantasy books I would like to read. Since I have eight that I’ve pulled out which are sitting in front of me, plus my monthly Wheel of Time rereads, I think I’ll easily be able to pull off Quest the First, five books of any type of fantasy. I’ve not been doing many challenges this year, but I think I can make an exception for this one. I love fantasy, after all, so what’s not to like about reading more of it??

The choices I’ve given myself include:

  1. Dreams Underfoot, Charles de Lint
  2. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin – I know I’ll read this as it’s a book club choice for April!
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
  4. Ill Wind, Rachel Caine
  5. The Native Star, M.K. Hobson – This was meant to be my first Nebula read, but I still haven’t gotten to it yet.
  6. Demon Angel, Meljean Brook
  7. Blood and Iron, Elizabeth Bear
  8. The Dubious Hills, Pamela Dean
  9. Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal – I don’t own this yet but I do plan to buy it, probably in May, which still works for this challenge!

And then, if I keep with my Wheel of Time reads, I should also be reading The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, and The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan.

Where should I start? Are you joining in?