The House Cup Reading Challenge | Sign Up & TBR

Guess what everyone? I haven’t learnt from any of my mistakes in the past few months (don’t join in on multiple readathons and readalongs, folks) and I’m enthusiastically signing up for the House Cup Reading Challenge. That’s right, it’s a Harry Potter themed readathon… so you can see why I had an issue saying no, right?

The readathon is taking place from Sunday 15th October until Sunday 1st November and is hosted by Lauren of Live, Love, Read/@BetweenDPages; Alex of Book Daisy Reviews/@booksydaisy; Kelsey of Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf/@Kelsenator; and Erica of Escape Under the Cover/@slychica08. The aim? Read some books based on the challenges which (you guessed it) are Hogwarts-themed! You earn points based on the number of books you complete which fulfill the Main and Bonus Challenges (20 points and 10 points respectively) and then report your points to your House’s Head Girl at the end of the readathon. Using the hashtag #housecupreadingchallenge on Twitter will also earn you 1 point per tweet (limited to 20 points total). Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

The Reading Challenges

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Victober 2017 | Sign Up & TBR

Hello lovely people! Can you believe it’s October already? Where has the time gone!? October means one thing though (aside from my birthday/Thor Ragnarok‘s release) and that is the return of Victorian reading month aka Victober. As you may be able to discern from its name, Victober is a month long readathon which takes place in October and focuses on reading Victorian novels, that is novels written by authors from Great Britain between the years of 1837 to 1901. If you want to know more about the readathon, please do take a look at the announcement/TBR videos of the hosts – Katie (Books and Things), Kate (Kate Howe), Lucy (Lucy the Reader), and Ange (Beyond the Pages).

I took a few Victorian literature classes in university, and read some of the big hitters of the period, but I didn’t manage to keep up that reading motivation for nineteenth-century novels after I had graduated and was no longer being assigned those novels. That’s a big shame because I really enjoyed some of the most unexpected of them, and didn’t see the fuss with other beloved examples, but Victober is a chance for me to get back in the game and really focus on reading some good, solid Victorian literature.

The lovely hosts of this readathon have devised some challenges to help participants devise their TBRs, but they’re guidelines and don’t have to be followed in order to join in on the fun. However, I could use some direction, so I’ll be trying my damndest to read books which complete the challenges, which are:

  1. Read a book by a Scottish, Welsh, or Irish author
  2. Read a lesser-known book (under 12000 ratings on Goodreads)
  3. Read a supernatural book
  4. Read a book recommended to you
  5. Read a book by a female author

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#TheReadingQuest | My Quest Progress

As you may know if you say my Sign-Up & TBR post yesterday, I am currently taking part in #TheReadingQuest, a readathon which is running from Sunday 13th August through to Sunday 10th September. This post is my place I will record all my progress – the books I’ve read, the challenges I’ve completed, and the points I’ve accrued over the course of the quest. I’ll probably be updating this periodically as I finish a book, as much as to keep myself accountable as anything else!

Experience & Health Points

Experience Points
For reference, everyone starts out with 10 Experience Points (EXP). For every book finished you get +10 EXP (unless it’s graphic novels/manga then it’s +5 EXP). However, if it’s a marginalised author, it’s +20 EXP for every completed book.

Once a Character Quest is complete, you earn another +50 EXP. Additional Character Quests completed before the Quest ends will gain +30 EXP. Characters level up with every +50 EXP.

Health Points
Everyone begins with 10 Health Points (HP). Every 10 pages read or 20 minutes listened to an audiobook gains +1HP (unless it’s a graphic novel/manga, it’s 20 pages to gain +1HP).

Tweeting on #TheReadingQuest hashtag or Instagram photos of books/TBR pile earns +1HP each. You can gain a maximum of +20HP from Social Media interactions.

 

Knight Challenges

Challenge completed: Read a book with a weapon on the cover
Book read: Kong: Skull Island novelisation
EXP gained: 10
HP gained: 38

Challenge completed: Book with a TV/film adaptation
Book read: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
EXP gained: 10
HP gained: 27

Challenge completed: First book in a series
Book read: A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
EXP gained: 10
HP gained: 35

Challenge completed: Book with a verb in the title
Book read: Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops by Jen Campbell
EXP gained: 20
HP gained: 11

Challenge completed: Book with a red cover
Book read: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander/J.K. Rowling
EXP gained: 10
HP gained: 4

Side Challenges

Challenge completed: Open World: read whatever you want
Book read: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
EXP gained: 20
HP gained: 23

+50 EXP for completing Knight quest

+20 HP for Social Media interactions (Twitter update thread here)

Overall

Level: 3
No. of challenges/books completed: 6

EXP total: 130
HP total: 158


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#TheReadingQuest | Sign-Up and TBR

What is the most sensible thing to do when you’re in the middle of doing a long readalong of a super long book AND a readathon where you read only 500+ page books AND you have a backlog of book reviews and blog posts to write? That’s right- sign up for another reading challenge! (It made sense in my head, I swear. Yes, I may be procrastinating.)

I could not resist joining in with this one though because it looks like SO MUCH FUN and has a pretty gameboard and challenges and side quests and I’m basically a sucker for anything like this. “This” is #TheReadingQuest which was created by Aentee from @ Read At Midnight. All the amazing artwork that accompanies this challenge was created by CW of Read, Think, Ponder. Be sure to check both of them out because they have great blogs! The readathon runs from tomorrow, Sunday 13th August until Sunday 10th September – so we’re in this one for the long haul, guys.

The Reading Quest Sign Up Post

The readathon is based round a challenge board, a bingo board if you will, and you pick a book to complete each square on your chosen path across the board. ‘But how do I chose my path?’ I hear you ask – well, you pick which Character Class to play as, and you start off on their quest path accordingly. There are 4 to choose from (Knight, Rogue, Mage, and Bard) and the challenges on each path reflect the chosen character type – i.e. on the Mage path you read books about magic and mythology. Just like the very best video games you can also branch off and complete side quests to earn extra points during the course of your quest. And once you’re done with one character’s path, you can then move onto the next one, and continue questing onwards! You earn experience points and health points as you go along – for a full run-down of these I’d advise everyone to go check out Aentee’s original post because she explains it better than I ever could!

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Tome Topple | August 2017 | TBR

It’s that time again – it’s Tome Topple! Apparently this is my fourth Tome Topple?!? Where does the time go? Seriously though, guys, where does it go? And how did I manage to participate (loosely) in all three previous rounds of Tome Topple? Yay for consistency!

If you don’t know already, Tome Topple is a fortnight-long readathon created by Sam aka Thoughts on Tomes and this round of the readathon is taking place from midnight in your timezone on 4th August until 11:59pm on 17th August. The aim of this readathon is to read big books aka books over 500 pages aka “tomes”. What is unique about this readathon is that it’s all about the number of pages read rather than the number of books read – this is something that greatly appeals to me as I don’t tend to have small books to read, as are favoured by a lot of other readathons. What is brilliant about Tome Topple is that there’s an incredibly supportive community all getting together at the same time to read and cheer each other on as we make our way through intimidating books. Because we all know big books can seem a chore sometime, but it feels so much better if people are recognising your efforts and cheering you on to finish that tome that’s taking you so many weeks to read. It’s so great, you guys!

If you haven’t been around these parts long enough to see my previous forays into the readathon, with varying levels of success, then please do check out my Tome Topple tag to see my previous successes/failures! Likewise, if you need more info, you can watch Sam’s announcement video or check out the readathon Twitter page and/or the Goodreads group. If you’re considering doing the readathon, I’d definitely recommend you give it a go, what have you got to lose?

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24in48 Readathon | Wrap Up

As you may or may not have seen from my sign-up post, this past weekend I took part in the 24in48 Readathon and I had a blast. Well, tradition requires me to wrap-up my weekend of reading like a good book blogger and let you know how I did generally, as well as what I thought of the books I read during that time. I’ll try to keep it as short as I can!

Let’s start off with the Big One – did I read for 24 hours? Nope. Not even close, to be honest. But I did get closer to 24 hours than I managed the last time I participated in this readathon back in January so I’m calling that a success. I read for 16 hours which is way more than I anticipated and I’m very happy with that! I’ve come to realise that for me, a person who likes sleep and WILL NOT sacrifice that unless it’s for a very, very good cause on her weekends off, I simply don’t prioritise reading enough to make myself sleep deprived. I also like to do sensible things like take a long shower and get dressed. So I don’t full commit enough to really squeeze every moment of reading out of the 48 hour period – so it’s no wonder I don’t make it to the 24 hour target but, you know what? I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m proud of my 16 hours.

Let’s take a look at what I intended to read:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer [audiobook/PB]
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee [audiobook]

And what I actually read was the following:

106 pages of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
315 pages of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
78 pages/23% of The Art of Asking [audiobook] by Amanda Palmer
224 pages, Stardust by Neil Gaiman
120 pages, Ms Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

= 843 pages

Not too shabby at all! All in all, I’d say that’s a success. I was very aware going into this readathon that I needed to make sure not to burn out during it because I’m currently participating in a War and Peace Newbies Readalong which, whilst only having a low page count to read each day, does require you to read every single day. I didn’t want to burn out and then end up falling behind with War and Peace because I’d over-read books during the weekend. But I think I’m good! This past weekend helped me to realise that I can read ahead with the W&P schedule and use my freed-up time to read some other books too, so that I don’t feel too disheartened with not having completed many books this month. Definitely something I’ll do more often during this readalong.

As far as the books I read during 24in48 went, I thoroughly enjoyed everything I read. I suspected that I’d deviate from my TBR and I did – I know myself well! I blame The Art of Asking entirely for that because I was listening to Amanda Palmer and she mentioned her husband and then that got me thinking that I really wanted to read something Neil Gaiman soon – a few minutes later and I’d picked up Stardust. The other outlier, in the form of Ms Marvel was  picked up due to necessity – I was out of the house at a BBQ on Sunday afternoon but I downloaded Ms Marvel Vol. 1 onto my phone via Amazon’s Prime Reading service so I read that in fits and starts during the afternoon. How’s that for maximising your reading time? All in all, a resounding success, huzzah!

(I am yet to find a situation I cannot illustrate with a Parks and Rec gif. Sorry/not sorry.)

Did you participate in the 24 in 48 Readathon? How did you do?
Comment below or link progress posts if you have them – I would love to hear about your weekend’s reading.


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TBR | Harry Potter Cosy Reading Night

Greetings witches and wizards, today marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! Since that very first opening line “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much” the Harry Potter books have gone on to sell over 450 million copies and have been translated into 79 languages. Not only have they spawned a series of blockbuster films and enchanted both readers and viewers of all ages, the series has had an immeasurable impact on an entire generation of fans who grew up with Harry Potter. I’d like to consider myself one of that number.

And it’s because of that that I will be participating in the Harry Potter Cosy Reading Night. For those unaware, to mark the occasion Lauren from Laurenandthebooks over on YouTube will be hosting one of her Cosy Reading Nights especially for all things Harry Potter – you can check out her announcement video here. Taking place on 26th June (today!) between 7pm-10pm BST, it’s a low-key readalong in which you make yourself comfy, get some snacks, and just READ! I very much enjoy Lauren’s Cosy Reading Nights because of how snack-based and low-key they are, so when I heard she was organising a Harry Potter one I was delighted.

This won’t be a very surprising TBR; given that it is a TBR for a Harry Potter related event that leaves a finite number of books I could possibly be reading. But tonight I have decided to go back to where it all began with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The first book has such a strong sense of nostalgia for me (it’s definitely a “cosy” read) and I get something new from it every time I (re)read it. As today is the 20th anniversary of its release it seems downright rude not to join in the Cosy Reading Night with the book that started it all. I’m going to try to make it through the entirety of Philosopher’s Stone – some quick maths (bear with me, it’s not my forte) suggests I’d need to read 223 pages in 3 hours, so that’s 74 pages an hour or just over a page per minute. That’s doable, right? Wish me luck?

Most importantly, though, I’ll be wearing my Harry Potter pyjamas, snuggling down with Philosopher’s Stone and a mug of tea and eating some lovely snacks, enjoying all things Potter for a lovely evening, and maybe popping into the #hpcosyreadingnight hashtag on Twitter. I encourage you to do the same and read along with us! And remember…

Are you joining in the Harry Potter Cosy Reading Night tonight? Have you participated in a Cosy Reading Night before, or a Harry Potter related readalong? Let me know in the comments and let’s chat all things Potter!


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Bout of Books 19 | Wrap Up

This past week saw round 19 of Bout of Books readathon happen and I am really, really glad to have taken part in my own very low-key way. At the start of the week I devised a TBR/intentions post and I think I ended up doing pretty well, even if I didn’t get to the books I mentioned in that post (I very rarely do stick to readathon TBRs, tbh). I didn’t get around to doing any of the official challenges owing to wanting to focus my free time on an evening to reading itself, but I still had a jolly good time all the same. I did manage to participate in the Saturday Twitter chat (I can never make the weekday one because it’s much too late in England) and I really enjoyed that too.There is nothing quite like interacting and flailing with other readers.

Now, I can’t deny that the fact that my friend and housemate Liz (aka Travel in Retrospect) has been away on a work trip probably lead to me reading so much for this readathon – that’s not to say that I can’t, or don’t, read when she’s home, it’s just that we often watch TV or a film together on an evening rather than picking up a book. I mostly read on train journeys or just before I go to sleep which means I grab 20 minutes of reading here and there but I don’t tend to regularly sit down for long periods of time to read unless I happen to be in the house alone.

But I really made a concerted effort to make reading a priority this week, and made sure to read on my train journey to/from work Monday through to Friday and I even spent most of my lunch hours with my nose in a book too. It helps that I am in my own office and people only come in to check their pigeonholes and occasionally pop their head in, so I had a very quiet environment in which to read at my desk.

I still managed to fit in some TV so I didn’t feel too deprived of that; when I wasn’t reading I was watching Bluestone 42, a BBC comedy show about a bomb disposal squad in Afghanistan which doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs but trust me, it’s brilliant. (It also has an army-ified Matthew Lewis, if that floats your boat at all.)

But that’s not what we’re here to discuss – we’re here to round up or wrap up how I did at Bout of Books. This round, rather than updating a blog post periodically (which I always fall out of the habit of doing somewhere around day 4), I chose to do low-key updates via Twitter – you can check out my Twitter thread of updates to see what I got up to this past week. (I know I have a few more hours left of the readathon but I don’t anticipate reading much more of my current book, Soulless, so I’m calling it now.)

The TL;DR version of how I did is this…

Finished 3 books:

from pg 345 – end/295 pages of American Gods by Neil Gaiman (5 stars)
237 pages of A Room with a View by E.M. Forster (3.5 stars)
400 pages of The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill (5 stars)
Total: 932 pages

Summary: not too shabby at all! I hereby deem my taking part in this round of Bout of Books a success! I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the ever-lovely hosts, Amanda and Kelly, and to everyone who commented or tweeted me during the readathon. I always love Bout of Books for these kind of interactions, they are truly what makes the readathon so great to participate in and keep me coming back for more.
I’ll see you all next round and, until then, happy reading!

Did you participate in this round of Bout of Books? Comment below if so, I’d love to hear how you did this past week, what you were reading, and how you liked it.


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Tome Topple | Updates Post

Hi folks, this is my Updates Post for round 3 of Tome Topple. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please do refer to my TBR post which has all the information. Basically, there’s a readathon happening for the next fortnight where you have to read tomes (i.e. books over 500 pages), and I’m going to try to not suck at it. This post will be updated at a regular intervals and is mainly my way of keeping myself accountable and hopefully reading more than I ordinarily would. Let’s see how that goes, shall we?

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Tome Topple | TBR

Some of you may remember that I participated in Tome Topple back in November (take a peek at my TBR and Updates from then, if you’re interested) and it’s back again, for Round 3! This round is taking place from midnight (in your timezone) on 7th April to 11:59pm (in your timezone) on 20th April! The basic rule is that all books read must be 500+ pages. There are some optional challenges too:

Challenges

  1. Read more than 1 tome
  2. Read a graphic novel (that’s over 500 pages)
  3. Read a tome that’s part of a series
  4. Buddy read a tome (use goodreads and twitter to find buddies!)
  5. Read an adult novel

For this round I’ll be foregoing challenge 2 completely since I don’t have any graphic novels that are even close to 500 pages, but I’ll be trying my best to complete the other challenges – everyone loves a trier!

TBR

  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (#3)
  • A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin (#3, #4, #5)
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman (#5)
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (#3, #5)
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (#3)
  • The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

As you may be able to guess this is less a TBR and more of me looking through my bookshelves and finding tomes that I might vaguely consider reading over the next fortnight. Undoubtedly I’ll actually end up reading something I never intended. I do need to finish Order of the Phoenix though because I’ve been listening to it on audiobook for a couple of months now and it’s getting faintly ridiculous that I haven’t yet finished it, so I’ll be switching over to the physical hardback and counting it for Tome Topple. Liz is potentially reading A Feast for Crows too so that’s the motivation (and potential buddy read) to try to read that again since I DNFed it sometime last year. As for the others, who knows what mood I will be in but hopefully I will pick up one of the above tomes and join in with all the Tome Topple goodness!

If you’re interested in Tome Topple, check out the Goodreads group, Twitter, or founder/host Sam’s video.

Are you participating in Tome Topple? What are you planning to read? Let me know down in the comments or link your post below!


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