Bout of Books 21 | Sign Up & TBR

Hi everyone, it’s the first readathon of the year for me – it’s Bout of Books time! Having felt a bit bogged down with readathons and reading challenges in the last quarter of 2017, I stopped putting so much pressure on myself to participate in every readathon and instead had a nice little break, so I missed out on the last Bout of Books round back in August. However, now, I’m fully rested and raring to go again with readathons so Bout of Books 21 has come at exactly the right time for me!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 8th and runs through Sunday, January 14th 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 21 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
– From the Bout of Books team

I like Bout of Books largely because it’s so low-key that there aren’t really reading challenges or any restrictions on what you can or can’t do – so long as you just read, you’re already winning at the readathon! So here we have it, this is officially my very low-key sign up. Although there aren’t specific prompts or challenges, it’s still probably advisable to have some kind of TBR in mind so I don’t go rogue and start reading something utterly ill-advised like Les Miserables or something. Here’s the stack I’ve impulsively decided on – I’ll (try to) read from this selection of books over the course of the readathon.

TBR

    1. The Fandom  by Anna Day
    2. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo
    3. The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski
    4. How Not To Be a Boy [audiobook] by Robert Webb
    5. Princess Diaries: Take Two [audiobook] by Meg Cabot

I’ve tried to include a range of genres and mediums so hopefully no matter where, or when, or what mood I’m in, I can do a bit of reading for the Bout of Books readathon in some form or another. Plus this should help jump-start my audiobook listening which was lacking, to say the least, in the latter half of 2017. Hopefully anyway… fingers crossed!

If you want to keep up with my (admittedly sparse) updates during the course of the readathon, I’ve started a Twitter thread of my updates.

Are you participating in this round of Bout of Books? Comment below if so, I’d love to chat books and we could help cheer each other on!


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Taking Stock & December TBR

Well folks, somehow it is December already – when did that happen, right?! I’m pretty sure I blinked sometime in September and now it’s the last month of 2017. December means that it’s almost the end of the year, which means that it’s high time to panic about meeting reading goals so this year I thought I would pause for a second and take stock of where I’m at with each of my reading challenges and use this to partially dictate my December TBR. I don’t really do monthly TBRs because I tend not to stick to them, but I thought it could be useful as we enter the home stretch and those finish lines are in sight.

Goodreads Challenge

I nearly always set my Goodreads Challenge at 52 books, 1 book for each week of the year, and 2017 was no exception. I often surpass this goal, but not by very much, so I never aim for the loftier target of 75 or the nearly impossible (for me) target of 100 books. I am continually amazed by those readers who consistently hit 100 books a year – how do you do it?! However, when I realised I’d surpassed 52 books quite comfortably, I did up my target to 75 books and, as of today, I’m sitting pretty at 78 books – I did it! Whilst I feel pretty confident that I’ll be able to add a few more to that number, there is no way I’m going to hit the next ‘big’ number of 100 (especially since I’ve read most of my graphic novel stashes) so I’ll just leave it as it is and celebrate the victory now.

Book Riot Read Harder

It’s no secret that the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge is intended to stretch your reading comfort zone and push you to try new things and things outside of the mainstream, especially when it comes to diversifying your reading. For this very reason, participating in the Book Riot challenge always feels like constructively trying to think about what books and authors you read and how these are perhaps not the most diverse, if you’re not being conscious of what novels you’re choosing. I fully respect and appreciate the Book Riot challenge for this noble goal. Unfortunately, I struggle most often with the Book Riot challenges, and this year is no exception. Right now, I’m sitting on 12 out of 24 challenges completed. There is no way I am going to finish this challenge, even if I binned the books I want to read before the year is out and only allowed myself to read things that would fulfil the challenge prompts. Because of this, I’m going to accept now that I’ve failed the Book Riot Read Harder challenge and come back next year ready to focus on it as a priority.

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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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Down the TBR Hole #4

Welcome folks to the fourth round of Down the TBR Hole. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my third roundmy second round or first round post or check out Lia at Lost in a Story who is the creator of this wonderful meme/project.

I’m trying to make this a regular feature of my blogging schedule because it’s good to regularly reevaluate if/why you want to read a book – that way you don’t come back to your TBR years later and have no clue why a title piqued your interest in the first place. I’ve also added a summary of results bit at the bottom of each round so I can track how many books I’ve kept and ditched from my TBR shelf in each round and overall.

Just a reminder of how this works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Let’s get going on the 10 books… 

1. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte

Why is it there? I haven’t had that much luck with the Brontes so far. I thought Jane Eyre was just ok (I enjoy the critical theory surrounding the novel more than the story itself) and I wasn’t a fan of Wuthering Heights. Even so, I have been frequently told that Anne Bronte may just be the Bronte for me so I’m willing to give her books a go. That being said, I think I’m going to remove this one from my TBR, just because there’s another Anne Bronte book that interests me more and if I don’t succeed with that one then there’s no point in keeping this one on there. I can easily re-add it later if Anne proves to be the Bronte for me.
Do I own it? N
Verdict? Ditch

2. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

Why is it there? North and South is one of my favourite novels and Gaskell’s work really intrigues me so I’m curious about this one. Kirsti from Melbourne on my Mind (one of my new favourite booktubers) always speaks so highly of this book that I have to pick this one of Gaskells up next. And considering I’m much more likely to read this than Cranford, I think this one definitely deserves to keep its place on my Goodreads TBR shelf.
Do I own it? N
Verdict? Keep

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Down the TBR Hole #3

Welcome folks to the second round of Down the TBR Hole. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my second round or first round post or check out Lia at Lost in a Story who is the creator of this wonderful meme/project.

I’m trying to make this a regular feature of my blogging schedule because it’s good to regularly reevaluate if/why you want to read a book – that way you don’t come back to your TBR years later and have no clue why a title piqued your interest in the first place. I’ve also added a summary of results bit at the bottom of each round so I can track how many books I’ve kept and ditched from my TBR shelf in each round and overall.

Just a reminder of how this works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Let’s get going on the 10 books… 

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Down the TBR Hole #2

Welcome folks to the second round of Down the TBR Hole. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my first round post, or check out Lia at Lost in a Story who is the creator of this wonderful meme/project.

After a semi-successful first round of this project, I have decided to make this a regular feature of my blogging schedule (ha, ‘schedule’ is such a kind word to describe this mess). Plus, it’s good to regularly reevaluate if/why you want to read a book – that way you don’t come back to your TBR years later and have no clue why a title piqued your interest in the first place. I’ve decided to also add a summary of results bit at the bottom of each round so I can track how many books I’ve kept and ditched from my TBR shelf in each round and overall.

Just a reminder of how this works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Let’s get going on the 10 books… 

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Bout of Books 19 | Stating My Intentions

It’s that time again – it’s Bout of Books 19! Those of you who have been around the blog for a while may remember I participated in the last few rounds (check out my BoB 18, BoB 17, or BoB 16 updates posts for how I did) but for those of who you don’t know about Bout of Books here’s a quick overview:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th 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 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

As you can see, it’s a very low-key readathon which is my kind of readathon since there are very few challenges and/or expectations of you other than to simply read. That’s the kind of readathon I can do (hopefully anyway). However, I still have a few books in mind that I’d like to get to so this is my tentative TBR for the upcoming week ahead:

  1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
    I’ve started this and I’m really enjoying it so it makes sense to carry on reading it for the readathon. Plus the TV show (which I’ve been highly anticipating) premiered last week so I’d like to start watching it asap before I miss too many episodes. So, yeah, I need to finish the book itself asap because it looks amazing.
  2. Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
    I got an eARC of this through NetGalley since I’d heard Sam Missingham from Harper Collins raving about it over on Twitter. Honestly, though? I don’t think I’m the right audience for this (since I’m not middle aged and/or married) but it’s entertaining enough. I don’t know if I will actually finish it but a readathon would be a good way to shift through it and make sure I finish it so I can review it.
  3. Spellslinger by Sebastian de Castell
    Again, another eARC I got through NetGalley, but this one sounds much more promising. I mean, for a start, it’s fantasy. Secondly, these phrases are included in the synopsis “Magic is a con game” and “perfect for fans of The Dark Tower, Firefly, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher”. Why yes, I am that easy.
  4. Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott
    I’m going to copy and paste this book’s synopsis too (sorry/not sorry): “The town of Rotherweird stands alone – there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird’s independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history.” I mean, come on, of course I want to read that. Plus I have an eARC and it’s released soon so, you know, I need to get on this right now.

I’m sure I’m going to end up reading precisely none of these books, as is the tradition with readathons, but it’s always nice to have a plan in mind. Over the course of the readathon my main hope is just to read as much as I can, prioritising that as an activity over watching a TV show or a film. I also would like to try to interact with other BoBers via Twitter, Instagram, and on here of course. I think that’s a pretty damn achievable goal so watch this space…

If you want to keep up with my (admittedly sparse) updates during the course of the readathon, I’ve started a Twitter thread of my updates.

Are you participating in this round of Bout of Books? Comment below if so, I’d love to chat books and we could help cheer each other on during the readathon. 


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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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Book TBR Jar | My Take On It

Last night, in a fit of strange productivity, I decided to make a book jar because my TBR is getting a little ridiculous considering my book buying problem. And also because I frequently forget some of the backlist books which are tucked away on my bookshelf and barely get a look-in thanks to all the shiny shiny new books jostling for pride of place.

I am an inherently indecisive person. I’m sure I have mentioned this countless times or else you may have gathered it along the way. Ask anyone who knows my IRL and they will confirm this to be a truth universally acknowledged. This personality trait makes it difficult for me to decide many things – from the most trivial and frivolous (whether to make curry or bolognese for tea) to the more important (whether me and Liz should plan a trip to D.C. and NYC or Disney World). This obviously also filters through into my reading habits and, frankly, I don’t know how I ever decide on a monthly or seasonal TBR – I think I just add books arbitrarily, which is also probably why I suck at sticking to TBRs.

So many pieces of paper!

Enter: the TBR jar. Everyone has seen the pretty examples, right? You get a jar, you write down your TBR books on little slips of paper, you fold them up tightly, and then when you’re in need of a book to read, you simply pick one from the jar. It’s almost like you are then fated to read that book because you chose it or (better yet) it chose you.

I’ve never been sure if this method is for me since I am very indecisive and don’t even trust myself to pick the right tiny slip of paper. But it’s worth a shot, right? Continue reading