December 2023
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It’s that time of year – time for the RIP V challenge!  Thanks to Carl for hosting.


I’ll be honest – I’m not actually the world’s biggest fan of Halloween or scary books.  I don’t mind a creepy book every now and again, though, and so I’m happy to sign up to join in this awesome challenge.  My pool is tiny this year because I have even fewer creepy books than last year about, and I’m supposed to not buy any more this month!

  • Mistress of the Art of Death, Ariana Franklin
  • The Road, Cormac McCarthy
  • Her Fearful Symmetry, Audrey Niffeneger
  • Dark and Stormy Knights, P.N. Elrod et al
  • Glass Houses, Rachel Caine
  • The Alienist, Caleb Carr
  • Mr Darcy, Vampyre, Amanda Grange
  • The Snowman, Jo Nesbo
  • The Monstrumologist: The Terror Beneath, Rick Yancey

If I can get my hands on a copy, I’d also like to read We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.  If you can recommend any creepy books (which I haven’t already reviewed), please do!  My list feels sad in comparison to a few of the great ones I’ve seen out there.

Are you participating in RIP V?


How to 301 Redirect an Entire WordPress Blog (Bloggiesta – 1st Update)

Thought it would be a good idea to see where we are now.  Here’s the updated list.

  1. Make a spreadsheet of all current posts and links to make redirects easier.
  2. Change permalink structure to pretty URLs.
  3. Determine best way and then do 301 redirect pages, most recent posts, and most popular posts, noting changes in spreadsheet, and do five minutes or so every couple of hours to get more done. (if anyone else has done this before, advice would be greatly appreciated!)
  4. Change URL across internet – technorati, blogcatalog, etc.
  5. Catch up on reviews – do mini reviews of anything over 2 weeks old, schedule over next week
  6. Check for updates on review policy, about me section
  7. Find plugin for and create sitemaps
  8. Update all “Read in” pages with books read and links to reviews, add 2010 page
  9. Post reviews across to LibraryThing and Amazon
  10. Added Google Webmaster Tools.

I’ve had Keith’s help for the first three because he actually knows what he’s doing.  First we moved the site over (after a backup) from to officially and redirected all links on the old blog to go to the new one.  That’s just a line of code in the .htaccess file, which he did have to modify but should be easier for anyone who isn’t on a subfolder to start.  I found it just Googling.  Then Keith made a spreadsheet from the database of all the posts and links with the ugly URLs and we did another backup of different parts of the site.  Keith also had to fix my old images uploaded to in the database.  I then installed a plugin called Permalinks Migration and put in my old ugly URL structure (/%page_id) and saved that.  And, finally, I changed my permalinks and watched in awe as the entire thing worked and took way, way less time than I ever thought it would.

So, please let me know if any links around are broken or if any strange errors pop up at any time over the next few weeks.  It all seems to be working amazingly well here.  And if you’re using WordPress, change your permalinks!  It was amazingly easy once we figured out what we were doing, and if I hadn’t been moving my blog to a better domain it would have been even easier.

See you all tomorrow for the next six items on my agenda – I hope everyone else’s Bloggiesta is going as well!  I’ll be checking in the morning.


Bloggiesta Starting Line

I didn’t participate in Bloggiesta the last time, so I’m quite excited to do it this weekend!  I have a ton of work to get done on my blog and I’ll be starting this evening when I get back from work (this post is going to help me organize!).  Most of my work is catch up and switching over my URL for real this time.

  1. Make a spreadsheet of all current posts and links to make redirects easier.
  2. Change permalink structure to pretty URLs.
  3. Determine best way and then do 301 redirect pages, most recent posts, and most popular posts, noting changes in spreadsheet, and do five minutes or so every couple of hours to get more done. (if anyone else has done this before, advice would be greatly appreciated!)
  4. Change URL across internet – technorati, blogcatalog, etc.
  5. Catch up on reviews – do mini reviews of anything over 2 weeks old, schedule over next week
  6. Check for updates on review policy, about me section
  7. Find plugin for and create sitemaps
  8. Update all “Read in” pages with books read and links to reviews, add 2010 page
  9. Post reviews across to LibraryThing and Amazon

I think that’s plenty for now – I also would like to get through three books this weekend (The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner, Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, and Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews) so we’ll see how much I can actually accomplish.

Good luck everyone!


Read-a-Thon Wrap-Up Post

My Read-a-Thon went out with a whimper.  I got halfway through The Brontes Went to Woolworths before I started feeling nauseated from not eating in good time this morning – my husband was still sleeping or I’d have sent him.  I need to remember to keep food in the bedroom next time!  Needless to say, I couldn’t really focus on it or the computer, which is why this wrap-up is so late.  I stopped reading well before the last hour.

My final tally:

Number of Books 6 Books Read
Pages Read 1173 How I Live Now Archangel’s Kiss
Time Spent Reading 11:32 On the Edge
Time Spent Blogging 1:39 Wishful Drinking

I finished four and read from two other books which aren’t listed – Germinal by Emile Zola and the aforementioned The Brontes Went to Woolworths.

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Probably Hour 11, when I went to sleep, and Hour 22 when I started to feel sick.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

How I Live Now and On the Edge were both great choices.  Wishful Drinking was a fast read but I didn’t like it all that much.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Not for the co-hosts, they did a wonderful job!

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

Everything!  I wished I could participate more in the mini-challenges and next time I am determined to be more active on twitter during my breaks.  I felt a little isolated even though I had cheerleaders coming to my blog.  I didn’t feel that way either of the last times, so I think I need to focus a little more on community and a little less on solely reading.  I still don’t really like where my timezone is – things get most exciting after I’ve fallen asleep!

5. How many books did you read?

I finished 4 and read some from two others.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh, On the Edge by Ilona Andrews, Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher, and read from Germinal by Emile Zola and The Brontes Went to Woolworth by Rachel Ferguson.

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

Either How I Live Now or On the Edge.  Both great books.  I think I may have preferred the first one there on second thought.

8. Which did you enjoy least?

Wishful Drinking.  It would work better as the stand up act it originally was.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

I wasn’t a cheerleader.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I’m 100% likely.  Next time I want to sign up for an hour’s cheering for sure.  I want to feel more involved and not isolated in my book the entire time, but I still want to get a few books read.


Hour 21

So, I pretty much had a full night’s sleep there.  But I woke up again and finished my fourth book.  Archangel’s Kiss was okay but I’m beginning to wonder if Nalini Singh’s books are just too racy for me.  The last one did not have this much in it. I’ve got another one coming sometime soon so I’ll decide after I read that.

I missed a ton of the Read-a-Thon I’m sure but at least I can enjoy the last few hours!  I’ve given up on reading some of Germinal. I might do it later after the Read-a-Thon.  I don’t ever seem to burn out on reading as long as I mix up my genres.

Number of Books 5 Books Read
Pages Read 1063 How I Live Now Archangel’s Kiss
Time Spent Reading 10:13 On the Edge
Time Spent Blogging ######### Wishful Drinking

I don’t know what’s next – anyone still awake? Or anyone close to my timezone who has woken up again?


Hour 9

I can never remember to stop at the actual hours and post, I tend to just stop whenever I feel like it.  I’ve just read Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher for a change from fiction.  It was okay and relatively interesting, but I can tell just reading it that it would work much better as stand-up comedy.  Still, it only took me an hour.

Number of Books 4 Books Read
Pages Read 740 How I Live Now
Time Spent Reading 6:43 On the Edge
Time Spent Blogging ######### Wishful Drinking

Right now there’s a panty-worthy mini-challenge going on, hosted by Rebecca at The Book Lady’s Blog, who is definitely doing her part to make reading sexy! This one’s easy for me as I’ve had the same panty-worthy author since age 14 or so.  Stephen King.  He’s a bit, um, old for me, but I have loved his books for most of my life and I’m regularly impressed by the stuff he continues to put out.  When he’s good, he’s really, really good.  I just ignore the ones that aren’t good!

In the interest of equal opportunities, I would also quite happily choose Juliet Marillier, Jacqueline Carey, or Robin Hobb.

I can’t believe I’ve been reading so long already!  I think I’ve given up on my goal to continue reading Germinal in between.  Maybe later.  Right now, though, I’m heading for Archangel’s Kiss by Nalini Singh, which oh-so-conveniently arrived in the mail yesterday (or maybe the day before – I’m getting bad at entering books into LibraryThing when they show up!).

Oh, and I also wanted to liven up this post with a picture.  So here’s the new fish we got this morning before all the reading fun started.  We wanted a big fish for the tank and since I can’t have a cat in this apartment, I got to choose:

Yellow Fish


Hour Six

At least, I think that’s the right hour!  I’m at the moment nearly finished with On the Edge but I decided I needed a break.

Number of Books 3 Books Read
Pages Read 456 How I Live Now
Time Spent Reading 4:30
Time Spent Blogging #########

And here’s the only food passage I could find for Nicole’s mini-challenge.  On the Edge isn’t the most foodie of books but I must say I want pancakes now:

“He slid the pancake onto a three-inch-tall stack, dipped a spoon into the sugar bowl, sprinkled sugar onto the pancake, and looked at her brothers.” – p. 52



Midway through Hour 2

I finished How I Live Now, so I thought now was a good time to do the intro meme and see what everyone else is up to!  First, here’s how I’ve done so far:

Number of Books 1 Books Read
Pages Read 167 How I Live Now
Time Spent Reading 1:28
Time Spent Blogging #########

And the meme:

Where are you reading from today?

I am reading from my new flat in Beverley, East Yorkshire.

3 facts about me …

This is the one I’m bad at:

1. I like cats.

2. My favorite color is yellow (I may have used this one before …)

3. I like cheese and I like hamburgers but I don’t like cheeseburgers.

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

At the moment, there are fifteen left.  No, I will not read all of them.  I just like choices!

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)?

I’d like to read six books again.  I’d aim for seven but I think Germinal will slow me down too much. Reading more than 12 hours would be nice too.

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

Keep snacks around, choose short books, move around so you don’t feel bored and stifled in one spot!  I have different rooms to read in this time and I’m very excited about it.

How is everyone else doing, if you’ve had a chance to check posts??  Amazingly, my husband is also reading (I gave him The Sparrow, so I shouldn’t be too shocked) so it’s nice and quiet around here.  I’ll be back in a few hours, next up is my 50 pages of Germinal and then probably On the Edge by Ilona Andrews.

It’s almost Read-a-Thon time …

I’m ready for Dewey’s Read-a-Thon on the book front!  There are just four hours to go.  Here’s what I have waiting:

Read-a-Thon book pileI’m going to start off with finishing How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff.  I also want to use this exclusive reading time to make real headway into Germinal by Emile Zola, which I’m reading and enjoying for the Classics Circuit but finding it hard to take after work and things.  If I read fifty pages of it in between books, I hope to get to around the middle or something.  I wouldn’t try and read it in one go unless it really picks up!

Also, On the Edge is on top for a reason.  I’ve been saving it – I know urban fantasy is great for the Read-a-Thon, so that one will be probably be second.  After that, who knows??  I think I have a good mix though, of YA, fantasy, memoirs, and romance.  Nothing too serious or strenuous except for Germinal!

I think I’ll be posting every three hours or so.  I am probably not going to try and make it all night but we’ll see how I do.

Oh, and I’m sadly lacking on the snack front, but we do have leftover lasagna and some cookies, so I probably won’t starve!  I’m just going to envy all of you with delicious food throughout the day.

Good luck everyone!

(If you’re not reading, I hope you have a lovely Saturday anyway!)


A Tournament of Reading: Book Choices


In conjunction with my 2010 medieval reading challenge, A Tournament of Reading, I’ve come up with a list of books in each of the three categories that I recommend.  First, here’s my list of potential reads, at the King level of course:

  • Mistress of the Art of Death, Ariana Franklin (historical fiction)
  • The Making of the Middle Ages, R.W. Southern (history)
  • The Needle in the Blood, Sarah Bower (historical fiction)
  • The Knight and the Rose, Isolde Martyn (historical romance)
  • Lady of the Roses, Sandra Worth (historical fiction)
  • Cluny: In Search of God’s Lost Empire, Edward Mullins (history)
  • The Book of Margery Kempe, Margery Kempe (medieval literature)
  • English Society in the Later Middle Ages, Maurice Keen (history)
  • The Mabinogion, unknown author (medieval literature)
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, unknown author (medieval literature)

And the many books that you could read:


  • The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer
  • Blood and Roses by Helen Castor
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir
  • Queen Isabella by Alison Weir
  • The Perfect King: The Life of Edward I by Ian Mortimer
  • The Making of the Middle Ages by R.W. Southern
  • The First Crusade: A New History by Thomas Asbridge
  • The Crusades by Jonathan Riley-Smith
  • The Making of England to 1399 by C. Warren Hollister
  • Chivalry by Maurice Keen
  • English Society in the Later Middle Ages by Maurice Keen
  • The Crusades by Hans Eberhard Mayer
  • The Anglo-Saxons by James Campbell

Historical Fiction

  • Authors
  1. Elizabeth Chadwick
  2. Sharon Kay Penman
  3. Nicole Galland
  4. Susan Higginbotham
  5. Sandra Worth
  6. Helen Hollick
  7. Bernard Cornwell (Agincourt, Saxon Chronicles series, Grail Quest series, Arthurian series)
  • Books
  1. Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
  2. Katherine by Anya Setton
  3. Company of Liars by Karen Maitland
  4. The Needle in the Blood by Sarah Bower
  5. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
  6. The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End by Ken Follett
  7. Flint by Margaret Redfern
  8. Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliott
  9. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
  10. The Founding by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Medieval Literature

  • The romances of Chretien de Troyes
  • The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (and really anything else that Chaucer wrote or translated)
  • Gawain and the Green Knight by Gawain-poet
  • Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory
  • Beowulf
  • The Mabinogion
  • The Memoirs of Margery Kempe

If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments for others (and for me)!