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?
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?
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:
- 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?
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?
It’s time for a (late) dinner and that makes it a great time for an update! I have finished three books so far:
- Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
- Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
- 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?
We’ve now been reading for 4 hours – so entering into hour 5!
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:
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:
- I like cheese and hamburgers but not cheeseburgers.
- 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!
- 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!
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:
- Dreams Underfoot, Charles de Lint
- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, N.K. Jemisin – I know I’ll read this as it’s a book club choice for April!
- Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones
- Ill Wind, Rachel Caine
- The Native Star, M.K. Hobson – This was meant to be my first Nebula read, but I still haven’t gotten to it yet.
- Demon Angel, Meljean Brook
- Blood and Iron, Elizabeth Bear
- The Dubious Hills, Pamela Dean
- 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?
Hi everyone! I know I’ve been a bit quiet about my challenge, which I apologize for. My URL has even changed from the button! Regardless, I thought it would be a good idea to wrap up my own participation and to leave a space for you all to wrap up your own challenges, if you’d like. As a reminder, the different levels of participation were:
Challenge genres include history, medieval literature, and historical fiction. Medieval, for simplicity of definition, will be from 500-1500, and literature from all over the world is welcome, not just western Europe. There are 3 levels:
- Peasant – Read 3 medieval books of any kind.
- Lord – Read 6 medieval books, at least one of each kind.
- King – Read 9 medieval books, at least two of each kind.
I personally aimed for King level, but I failed pretty hard. The medieval books I read this year were:
- Eleanor the Queen, Norah Lofts
- Company of Liars, Karen Maitland
- Mistress of the Art of Death, Ariana Franklin
- Butterfly Swords, Jeannie Lin
- Shadow of the Swords, Kamran Pasha
- Katherine Swynford, Alison Weir
- The Burning Land, Bernard Cornwell
- Virgin Widow, Anne O’Brien
- The Tale of Murasaki, Liza Dalby
- The Lute Player, Norah Lofts
- Shadow of the King, Helen Hollick
- The Dark Rose, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles
- Scoundrel’s Kiss, Carrie Lofty
- The Stolen Crown, Susan Higginbotham
While I did manage to read 14 books (which is pretty paltry out of over 200 books so far this year) only one of them was history and none of them were actually medieval literature. I’m pretty ashamed and actually very surprised. Lots of the books I read were historical, so clearly I misnamed my blog, but never mind – I’m sure I’ll continue reading medieval books into 2011. I’ll consider this a partial failure.
How did you do with the challenge? Either stick your wrap-up link in the MckLinky below or just let me know in the comments.
2010 wasn’t a good year for challenges. I can say that already. I don’t think I’ve failed my own challenge – I’ve read lots of medieval stuff – but I haven’t come close to reading the books I listed at the beginning. I probably haven’t covered every category either – regardless, I’ll sum all that up at the end of the year.
2011, though, might just be different. I say might, because let’s face it, I almost always fail at challenges. But I’ve recently become much more disciplined in my reading, and if I can choose books that I definitely want to read and which I feel are worthwhile, I might have a shot.
So, first up will be A Year of Feminist Classics. I’ve been interested in this challenge ever since I heard about it. It’s hosted by four bloggers and they’re rotating which books they host each month. I’ve read hardly any books that deal with feminism and none at all on this list (I know – I’m ashamed!). So I really want to give it a try. Some of the books are expensive and not in my library, but I’ll see how I’m feeling when those months come along. Here’s the list:
January: A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollestonecraft - Amy
February: The Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor Mill - Ana
March: A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen - Emily
April: Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman - Iris
May: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf - Ana
June: The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan OR The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer – Amy
July: The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir - Iris
August: The Women’s Room by Marilyn French - Emily
September: The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf - Amy
October: Ain’t I a Woman? by bell hooks - Iris
November: Gender Trouble by Judith Butler - Ana
December: Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde - Emily
My second challenge that I’m announcing today is the What’s in a Name 4 challenge, hosted by Beth Fish Reads. I’ve never done this one before but it looks like fun. The rules are to read one book in each of the following categories between January 1 and December 31, 2011. I’ve included my options below.
1. A book with a number in the title
- Sixty-one Nails, Mark Shevdon
- The Thirteen Treasures, Michelle Harrison
2. A book with jewelry or a gem in the title
- Confucius Jade, Frederick Fisher
3. A book with a size in the title
- Small Island, Andrea Levy
- Notes from a Small Island, Bill Bryson
4. A book with travel or movement in the title
- Looking for Alaska, John Green
- A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson
5. A book with evil in the title
- Roots of Evil, Sarah Rayne
- Demon Angel, Meljean Brook
6. A book with a life stage in the title
Which challenges have you signed up for in 2011?
It’s not so early morning here, and I’ve been back and reading for a little over an hour now! I stayed up until about 1, then woke up at 8:30 to keep on going with Neither Here Nor There. I do expect to finish it before the end of the Read-a-thon, but I’ll be having a quick break for breakfast and possibly lunch, so I doubt I’ll get anything else finished. I bet I will finish a fifth book before the end of Sunday, so though I haven’t quite achieved my objective, I’ll say that’s close enough.
Strangely, I have discovered that non-fiction is definitely slower than fiction. I thought I was getting close to the same speed, but I’m really not! I don’t mind, I just think it’s bit funny, as I don’t note these things in my normal reading life. I suspect it’s because I have no real feeling of urgency to find out what happened, as I would with a book based more on plot, so I slow down a bit to enjoy.
Books Read From: 4
Pages Read: 794
Time Spent Reading: 10:15
- The Passport, Herta Muller
- The Lost City of Z, David Grann
- A Long Way Down, Nick Hornby
How is everyone else doing? Still awake or up again?