Tag Archives: reading challenges

#24in48 Readathon Day 1 Updates

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Honestly, the first day of #24in48 went a lot better than I thought it would. I went in with very low reading expectations because I knew I had to work this morning, and I also had concert tickets to an outdoor musical festival that lasted most of the day. However, I was still able to sneak in some reading (a little over 5 hours!). The books I finished were all shorter works (a novella, a graphic novel, and a short story) and I also started a new audiobook that I’m really enjoying. Tomorrow I’m expecting to read from some longer books compared to today; there are three in particular that I have my eye on, and I’ll have to see which I’m in the right mood for. I think I’m absolutely going to meet my tentative goal to read for 12 hours during the readathon (I knew going in I’d never hit 24, and that’s OK!) and I’m really looking forward to some quality reading/relaxing time after a crazy work week and crazy day today.

So here are my stats:

# of books finished: 3

Binti by Nnedi OkoraforSaga, Volume 6 by Brian K. VaughanSix Months, Three Days

Audiobook time: 2 hours

Total time spent reading: 5.17 hours

So here’s what I finished on Day 1 of #24in48:

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – 4 stars

Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples – 4 stars

Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane Anders (short story) – 3.5 stars

And I read from these, but haven’t finished them yet:

The Jane Austen Book Club

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler (audiobook)

 

How is everyone’s readathon going so far? Let me know!

Reading Updates: Halfway Through 2016!

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Since we’re halfway through 2016 (what??? how???), I wanted to look back over my reading and see how I’m doing so far this year. Overall, it’s been a really great year for reading–I’ve had 6 five-star reads so far this year, and due to my extreme pickiness, I’m really happy about this. Last year, I only had 4 for the entire year. I feel like overall this year I’ve done a better job picking out books, and I hope that I can continue the good-books streak for the second half of 2016.

So here are my stats so far for 2016:

Number of books read: 45

#readmyowndamnbooks: 19

Read Harder Challenge tasks completed: 14 (out of 24)

 

How am I doing on my goals for 2016? Well…let’s see.

Read more classics. I am doing very poorly on this goal; unless  you stretch the definition of “classic,” I really haven’t read a single one. Wide Sargasso Sea, a feminist reinterpretation of Jane Eyre written in the 1960’s, probably comes the closest.

Read more books by authors I know I love. I’m doing well on this goal so far, having read books by already-favorites Kazuo Ishiguro, Neil Gaiman, Octavia Butler, and Seanan McGuire.

Read more long books. I’m doing OK on this one; I think the longest books I’ve read so far have been The Wise Man’s Fear and A Court of Mist and Fury. I’d really like to get in a few more doorstoppers before the end of the year, though.

Make a dent in my physical TBR shelf. I’ve read a lot of books from my TBR shelf so far, but I’ve also bought a lot of new books, so…

Read at least 50 books. I am crushing this goal–it’s only halfway through the year and I’ve almost hit 50.

Read more books I think I will love, compared to books I will just like. This goal basically meant that I didn’t want to read as many filler-type books that I sometimes pick up because they’re readily available at the library, or cheap, or to get out of a reading slump. I haven’t read any 1- or 2-star books yet this year (!) so I’d consider this a win. I also have 6 5-star books already, which is high for me as I’m super picky about rating books with 5 stars.

Participate in at least one Dewey’s Readathon. I participated in the Readathon in March, although because of work, my participation wasn’t as intense as I’d have liked it to be. But I’m definitely going to participate again in October. Also, the #24in48 readathon is at the end of July, so I’m excited for that.

 

Goals for the second half of 2016:

Actually read at least one classic, for reals this time.
Examples: Brideshead Revisited, Persuasion, North and South

Read some books by authors I’m embarrassed I haven’t read  yet. Examples: Zadie Smith, Catherynne M. Valente, literally any classic Russian author, Nnedi Okorafor

Finish Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge.
10 tasks left!

And…I also wanted to look back at my top ten books for the first half of 2016! I wonder how many of these will end up on my top ten list for the whole year? I guess it depends on how my reading goes during the second half 🙂 The first six of these were 5-star reads (or almost, and rounded up to 5 stars) and the other five were excellent 4-star reads.

The PassionBad FeministWide Sargasso SeaMr. SplitfootMy Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels, #1)Every Heart a DoorwayThe End of Mr. YThe Rook (The Checquy Files, #1)The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels #2)The Girl Wakes: Stories

The Passion by Jeanette Winterson

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

The Girl Wakes by Carmen Lau

Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante

 

How is everyone’s reading going so far this year?

Can’t Wait for the Bout of Books Readathon!

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon has just ended, and although it was fantastic, I can’t help but wish that it was longer…and then I remembered that Bout of Books starts in 2 weeks!

I participated in Bout of Books for the first time in January (Here’s my wrap-up post: https://beachesandbooks.wordpress.com/2016/01/12/bout-of-books-wrap-up/) and loved it! The week-long challenge gave me plenty of time to read, but still left flexibility for reading on a busy schedule. The extra time also gave me more of an opportunity to participate in mini-challenges, something I never seem to have the time or inclination for during Dewey’s. Last time during Bout of Books, I finished 5 books and started 2, and, most importantly, felt completely immersed in my reading each night as a fantastic break.

I’ve already started brainstorming my TBR list, and plan to try to beat my previous record by reading 6 books this time. If possible, I’d like to read as much as possible from my physical TBR, although I always end up too tempted by the library during reading challenges. I can always dream!

Is anyone else participating in Bout of Books??

(Belatedly Joining) Once Upon a Time Reading Challenge!

 

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I found out about this reading challenge, which lasts from March 21st until June 21st, from reading other book blogs. And I decided (very belatedly) that I really want to join! To participate, all you need is a loose commitment to read at least one book from the genres of fantasy, folklore, fairy tales, or mythology; it’s a very low-pressure challenge, and there are several different options depending on how far you want to immerse yourself. You can find all about the challenge here: http://www.stainlesssteeldroppings.com/once-upon-a-time-x

 

out10first

 

I decided that I’ll be participating in Quest the First: to read five books that fit within any of the four different categories. I’ve been in such a fantasy-reading mood lately that I think it’s a very doable challenge, and I’ll expand on it for myself to read as many books as I can within those genres. Maybe 10? I think I can get to 10 🙂 especially if I count retroactively.

 

Every Heart a Doorway

 

I just started a book that fits in perfectly with this challenge: Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway. It takes place at a “home for wayward children” that actually houses children who have recently returned to reality from time spent in fantasy realms and are having difficulty adjusting to the loss of associated with that. I’m only at the beginning, but I absolutely love the concept.

Here are some of my TBR book options for the challenge:

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)The Girl Wakes: StoriesA History of Glitter and BloodFables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile

Through the WoodsCity of Dark Magic (City of Dark Magic, #1)Leo@Fergusrules.Com: A NovelGet in Trouble: Stories

Gods Behaving BadlyLittle, BigMr. SplitfootRoses and Rot

 

 

Are any of you participating? Any book recommendations in fantasy/folklore/mythology/fairy tales? Let me know!

 

April TBR and Getting Psyched for Dewey’s Readathon!

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It’s my favorite part of the month: the part where I make a massive TBR list that I then immediately start to deviate from. I ranked these in order of most likely to actually read this month to least likely.

There are a couple of factors that went into my TBR decisions this month: I need to bounce back from my most recent book I thought I’d love that was just okay (Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman) and, more excitingly, I need to plan for Dewey’s 24-hour readathon on April 23rd!!!

I participated in the most recent Dewey’s readathon in October, and had an amazing time reading straight through Carry On by Rainbow Rowell in one day. I read a graphic novel too! It’s a fun and interactive celebration of reading, and I’m pumped to participate again this month. Unfortunately, I have to work the morning of the Readathon, but am planning on audiobooking to and from work and then getting down to hardcore reading/blogging as soon as I get home. I’ll be posting a more specific pre-Readathon game plan later in the month 🙂

So, here’s what I’m looking to read during April:

 

Jackaby (Jackaby, #1)Jackaby (Jackaby, #1)Jackaby (Jackaby, #1)

Jackaby by William Ritter – I already started listening to this audiobook, and it’s totally working for me. Supernatural Sherlock Homes in late 1800’s New England, with a female protagonist I really like in the Watsonish role.

Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4)Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4)Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4)

Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop – this is on a 7-day library loan, so I actually need to read it really quickly. It’s not that I can’t read a book in a week, but this series is a slower type of read that I prefer to take my time with, so this might be tricky.

NimonaNimonaNimona

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson – I’ve been hearing from so many bloggers and reviewers that this is a must-read, and I’m excited to check it out.

The Yellow WallpaperThe Yellow WallpaperThe Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – technically a short story I have on e-book. So far I have read exactly zero classics in 2016, so I should get on this.

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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – This book sounds absolutely amazing. I definitely will be starting it this month, but it is very, very long, so I doubt I’ll be able to finish it this month as well.

Through the WoodsThrough the WoodsThrough the Woods

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll – another graphic novel, this one is supposed to be quite spooky. I read a really positive review on Goodreads from Patrick Rothfuss that made me check this out from the library.

Every Heart a DoorwayEvery Heart a DoorwayEvery Heart a Doorway

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – I just requested this short novel from the library. It’s a new release about children who return to the real world after getting lost in fantasy stories. It may be a good option for Dewey’s since it’s fairly short and has been getting amazing reviews on Goodreads.

Appetites: Why Women WantAppetites: Why Women WantAppetites: Why Women Want

Appetites by Caroline Knapp – This book has been sitting on my TBR pile mocking me since college.

Mr. SplitfootMr. SplitfootMr. Splitfoot

Mr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt – I do really, really want to read this, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fit it in this month. Never say never!

 

I’d love to hear what everyone is planning on reading this month! What’s on your TBR lists? Anyone else participating in the Readathon?

 

#Weirdathon Update: Weeks 1&2

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I missed posting my Week 1 update for the #Weirdathon (I was on vacation! Stay tuned for my upcoming post about vacation reading), so here are my combined updates for the first 2 weeks of weird reading in March.

 

 

To recap: the #Weirdathon is hosted by Outlandish Lit (http://outlandishlit.blogspot.com/) and for me has been a great excuse to read even more weirdly than I normally do.

So far, the thing that’s surprised me the most about the #Weirdathon is how dependent I’ve become on switching between genres while reading. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever been very good at reading for long periods of time within only one genre, and I’m not sure that I have been. When I’m caught up in a series I tend to want to read straight through (as far as I can until the series ends) but otherwise I’m sort of a genre-hopper. I like to be reading several books at once and I want all those books to be very different from one another. I thought that focusing on weird fiction for a month might prove an exception to my typical reading trend because all of the books’ individual weirdnesses would make them so distinct from one another, but it hasn’t. While I’m loving the focus on reading weirdly, I still apparently have genre ADD; in addition to my weird reading, I’ve finished 2 nonfiction books so far this month.

Here’s how it’s gone down so far:

 

Weird books I’m currently reading:

The Gone-Away WorldThe End of Mr. Y

The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway

The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas

I like both of these a lot so far, but to be honest I’m still at the beginning in both cases. The premises are very promising and also very weird.

 

Weird books I finished:

The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1)

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley – 4.25 stars

I absolutely loved The Rook. If you enjoy fantasy combined with humor and espionage (who wouldn’t?) you really, really have to pick this one up.

The book’s premise is that a woman wakes up in a park in London with no memories, surrounded by dead bodies wearing latex gloves. From letters she finds in her pockets, she learns that the body she inhabits used to belong to a woman named Myfanwy (rhymes with “Tiffany”) Thomas, a powerful figure in a covert supernatural agency whose function is to protect the United Kingdom from otherworldly threats. The old Myfanwy was forewarned in prophecies that she would lose her memories and that another prominent member of the organization would be responsible; it is up to the new Myfanwy to discover who would conspire against her and why.

Myfanwy’s organization, the Chequy, is populated by memorably unique characters with interesting supernatural powers. There’s a character who can invade and influence dreams; one who can secrete poisons from his skin; and a being with one mind but four distinct bodies. There have been a lot of X-men comparisons, most likely due to the varied powers and existence of a school to train the Chequy’s operatives from childhood, but for me The Rook’s premise is more far-reaching and intriguing. We’re constantly hearing how the Chequy interacts with and provides explanations to the mundane world, and we’re reminded of the complexity of saving the world through the fact that Myfanwy’s position in the organization, despite her formidable powers, is mainly administrative.

The main thing I want to impart about this book is how fun it is. You will get absorbed into the world of the Chequy and invested in its outcome, but at the same time you will be laughing hysterically at the absurdity of the book’s situations and its dry humor. For me, it was a perfect vacation book–consuming, enjoyable, and well-crafted.

But I do have one issue.

While I was reading The Rook, as the concentration of pages gradually shifted from my right hand to my left, I was heartened by the fact that I’d heard its sequel will be released in June. I was so glad that the story and these wonderful characters would continue in another book, since the worldbuilding is, in my opinion, too lush for just one. But then! I found out that the sequel focuses on two new main characters, relegating Myfanwy to the background, and it made me sad. I like her too much, and I’m too invested in her as a character, for her not to be the star of the second book.

So, I’m sad. But will I still read the sequel? Heck yes.

 

2016 Reading Challenges

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Reading challenges are a relatively new thing for me, but they’re something I’ve gotten more and more interested in the past few years. Last year I participated in quite a few, and even finished one or two of them (Goodreads Challenge and Read Harder 2015). I also started a lot of others without finishing, but still had fun trying. Let’s see what I can accomplish this year!

Goodreads challenge: read 50 books. This is lower than last year, when I shot for 60, because I’m planning on tackling a bunch of very long books this year and don’t want to feel pressured.

Colorful Covers Challenge 2016: I love this challenge, mainly because it ends up looking really pretty. Basically, you challenge yourself to read between one and three books (I tend to shoot for three) with covers in every color of the rainbow and also black, white, gray, brown, and multicolored.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Challenge: from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club on Goodreads, my challenge this year is to read 12 science fiction and/or fantasy books that this group selects to place on its shelf. I’m in the middle of my first book for this challenge, The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.

2016 Goodreads Choice Awards Reading Challenge: this one’s from a group I’m in on Goodreads–I’m trying to read 20 of this past year’s Goodreads Choice Awards winners and nominees between this year and last year. I’m already at 14!

Book Riot Read Harder 2016 Challenge: I participated in the Read Harder 2015 challenge this past year through Book Riot, a fantastic book blog that I’m addicted to, and found it a really fun way to branch out in my reading. This year’s challenge looks a little more challenging, but I’m still definitely planning on completing it.

1. Read a horror book
2. Read a nonfiction book about science
3. Read a collection of essays
4. Read a book out loud to someone else
5. Read a middle-grade novel
6. Read a biography (not memoir or autobiography)
✓ 7. Read a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel
Enclave (Razorland, #1) by Ann Aguirre Enclave by Ann Aguirre
8. Read a book originally published in the decade you were born (1980’s)
9. Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award
10. Read a book over 500 pages long
11. Read a book under 100 pages
12. Read a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender
13. Read a book set in the Middle East
14. Read a book by an author from Southeast Asia
✓ 15. Read an historical fiction book set before 1900
The Passion by Jeanette Winterson The Passion by Jeanette Winterson
16. Read the first book in a series by a person of color
17. Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the past three years
18. Read a book that was adapted into a movie, then watch the movie. Debate which is better.
✓ 19. Read a nonfiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
20. Read a book about religion (fiction or nonfiction)
21. Read a book about politics, in your country or another (fiction or nonfiction)
22. Read a food memoir
23. Read a play
24. Read a book with a main character that has a mental illness

2016 Popsugar Reading Challenge: There is no way that I will accomplish this challenge. There just isn’t. But hey, I’m going to give it a shot anyways.

⌷ A book based on a fairy tale
⌷ A national book award winner
⌷ A YA best seller
⌷ A book you haven’t read since high school
⌷ A book set in your home state
⌷ A book translated to English
⌷ A romance set in the future
⌷ A book set in Europe
⌷ A book that’s under 150 pages
⌷ A New York Times best seller
⌷ A book that’s becoming a movie this year
⌷ A book recommended by someone you just met
⌷ A self improvement book
⌷ A book you can finish in one day
⌷ A book written by a celebrity
⌷ A political memoir
⌷ A book at least 100 years older than you
⌷ A book that’s more than 600 pages
⌷ A book from Oprah’s Book Club
⌷ A science fiction nover
⌷ A book recommended by a family member
⌷ A graphic novel
⌷ A book that is published in 2016
⌷ A book with a protagonist that has your occupation
⌷ A book that takes place during Summer
⌷ A book and its prequel
⌷ A murder mystery
⌷ A book written by a comedian
⌷ A dystopian novel
⌷ A book with a blue cover
⌷ A book of poetry
⌷ The first book you see in a bookstore
⌷ A classic from the 20th century
⌷ A book from the library
⌷ An autobiography
⌷ A book about a road trip
⌷ A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with
⌷ A satirical book
⌷ A book that takes place on an island
⌷ A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

#BustleReads Challenge 2016: I probably will not finish this challenge, although I’m noticing that this overlaps a lot with last year’s Book Riot challenge…and a bunch of other challenges…according to the list, they actually did this on purpose, but maybe that’ll make it easier to finish. Although it’s not a high priority for me compared to the other challenges.

1. Read a book written by a woman under 25.
2. Read a book on non-Western history.
3. Read a book of essays.
4. Read a book about an indigenous culture.
5. Read a book before you see the movie
6. Read a YA book by an author of color
7. Read a book set in the Middle East
8. Read a book about women in war
9. Read a graphic novel written by a woman
10. Read a book about an immigrant or refugee to the US
11. Read a children’s book out loud
12. Reread your favorite book from childhood
13. Read a memoir from someone who identifies as LGBTQIA
14. Read a work of post-apocalyptic fiction written by a woman
15. Read a feminist sci-fi novel
16. Read the first book in a series you’ve never read
17. Read a book set in Africa by an author from Africa
18. Read a book in translation
19. Read a contemporary collection of poetry
20. Read a book by a modernist woman writer

What reading challenges are you participating in this year?