Thursday Thoughts: Readathons

Today’s Thursday Thoughts, as hosted by Ok, Let’s Read, is on the topic of “readathons”.

Have you ever participated in a read-a-thon? If so, which one was it and what was your experience? If not, do you want to participate in one? Do you like the idea of read-a-thons? What’s your strategy going into a read-a-thon or a period of time where you just plan to make yourself read more than normal? Are there any tricks you use to encourage yourself during read-a-thons?

I love doing readathons, actually. I’ve already hosted one hourly challenge for Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon, and I always look forward to that event coming back round. Invariably, I read more than usual on that day, though I’m not quite sure why that does the trick, but planting myself firmly with books just for fun doesn’t (most of the time). I mean, it’s an activity I enjoy, so… brains, who understands ’em?

My problem in recent years has been that between my medication and my anxiety, it’s both hard to stay up and usually inadvisable. Quite often I’ll end up with intrusive thoughts, scared of random noises, etc. So lately I just read until I’m sleepy and then sleep, despite how much I’d like to keep participating.

When we’re talking less concentrated readathons, e.g. the Strange Chem one that’s coming up or ARC August, I… intend very strongly to do it, and then get distracted, usually. I need more intensive poking and prompting to keep to the goal. It helps for a week or two, but then I spot a new shiny and get distracted.

How about anyone else?

ARC August

I’m already signed up for one readathon this August, but hey, what’s one more…

ARC August: Hosted by Octavia @ Read Sleep Repeat

I know that there’s a couple I must get to, because they’re being released soon or have already been released.

  1. Carrie Patel, The Buried Life. Mostly I just need to get round to reviewing this, but I do have a bit to finish up and I want to read back over it a bit.
  2. Kameron Hurley, The Mirror Empire. I need to give this one some serious time, I think from what I’m told!
  3. Joe Abercrombie, Half a King. I’m just gonna make an awkward guilty face here, ‘kay?
  4. Karen Maitland, The Vanishing Witch. I may finish this before August, but I do have a busy couple of days ahead.
  5. Thomas Sweterlitsch, Tomorrow and Tomorrow. Ditto.
  6. Felicity Pullman, I, Morgana. Because Arthuriana!
  7. José Alaniz, Death, Disability and the Superhero. I already have this started, but I know I wouldn’t finish it before the start of August. It’s tough going in that it’s very academic.
  8. Jen Williams, The Copper Promise. This is a somewhat random pick from my teetering piles, on the grounds that I’ve seen it around.
  9. Edgar Cantero, The Supernatural Enhancements. Random pick based on it being one of the most recent e-ARCs I’ve received.
  10. W.B.J. Williams, The Garden at the Roof of the World. Because this is the ARC I’ve had longest, and I’ve been finding the look of it somewhat daunting.

I will probably not stick solely to this list, especially since I’m doing Strange Chemistry reading month too and I still have books they gave me to read, but it’s a start. In fact, I’m gonna make this list a to-do goal on HabitRPG, just to give me that bit more of a kick in the butt. (HabitRPG is great. Addiction, I have it. Check it out if gamifying your life, including small tasks, sounds good.)

Readathon: Hour 16 Mini Challenge

Hey everyone, and welcome to the hour 16 mini challenge! I hosted one last time before I had this blog, and now I’ve got a permanent bookish home it’s great to welcome you all back. Last time we had a guessing game, but this time I thought I’d do something a bit more interactive to give you all a bit more of a change from reading.

It’s pretty simple:

  1. Turn to page 35 in your current read.
  2. Find sentence #3.
  3. That’s the first sentence of a little piece of writing! It doesn’t matter if that’s a short story, a poem, the introduction to something bigger… anything creative counts. Bonus points if you make it a totally different genre to your original read!
  4. Leave the piece of writing in a comment here, or link to it in the comments here.
  5. I’ll pick someone at random to pick a book up to £10 in value from The Book Depository. So make sure you leave your email for me so I can get in contact with you, or you won’t be able to pick your book!

So, for example, I’ll just grab the closest book… The Bone Season (Samantha Shannon). And the sentence is: “I realised with a start that I was naked.” So here’s my little piece of writing:

I realised with a start that I was naked. That was the first thing — the fact that I was naked under the light sheet, and the quality of the light was somehow different to my own room back at home. I could hear someone moving around, careful and quiet. My chest tightened a little, and I turned my face further into the pillow, feigning a sleepy mutter.

“I know you’re awake,” he said. I knew his voice.

“Sam?”

“It’s me, sunshine.”

It was, too. It was his voice, and his nickname for me. The only trouble was, Sam had been dead three years. I didn’t open my eyes, just burrowed deeper into the pillow, trying to figure things out. He was waiting, just standing there, waiting for me to say something. If I hadn’t said anything… But hindsight, you know what they say about that. “Why are you here?”

He came across the room, and a cold hand touched my shoulder. “I’m here for you.”

Which takes a sentence completely out of context from a fantasy book I haven’t yet read and turns it into what is the beginning, or maybe the entirety, of a horror story.

So hey, whatever your writing skills, give it a go! It’ll give your brain a nice change from all the reading. This challenge will run for five hours, to give everyone a good chance to join in. I hope the rest of the ‘thon treats you well!

Readathon stack

So it’s about time I did my readathon stack post, since Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is this weekend, and I’ll be hosting a challenge here (look out for it in hour 16 of the ‘thon). As always, I think most people on this blog are used to this, but for newcomers, there’s very little chance of me sticking very closely to this, but it’s a good jumping off point for me.

Because I like organising things and then ignoring my carefully put together lists, I’m gonna set up some categories and pick five books for each. The idea is to read at least one from each category.

Library:
-Diana Wynne Jones, The Islands of Chaldea.
-Clive Finlayson, The Humans Who Went Extinct.
-Ilona Andrews, Magic Burns.
-Rosemary Sutcliff, Knight’s Fee.
-Lisa Tuttle, The Silver Bough.

Netgalley/review copies:
-James A. Moore, Seven Forges.
-Danielle L. Jensen, Stolen Songbird.
-Cassandra Rose Clarke, The Wizard’s Promise.
-Jason M. Hough, The Darwin Elevator.
-Malinda Lo, Adaptation.

2011-2013 unread:
-Gillian Bradshaw, Magic’s Poison.
-Jennifer Pelland, Machine.
-Frances Hardinge, Fly By Night.
-Janny Wurts, That Way Lies Camelot.
-Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice.

2014 unread:
-Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl.
-Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale.
-Lisa Shearin, The Grendel Affair.
-Rachel Bach, Fortune’s Pawn.
-Jo Walton, Farthing.

Comics:
-Marvel, Young Avengers: Dark Reign.
-Marvel, Ultimate Spider-man: vol. 20.
-Marvel, Ultimate Spider-man: vol. 21.
-Marvel, Ultimate Spider-man: vol. 22.
-DC, Stormwatch: vol. 1.

Subject to some editing over the next few days as I sprawl all over the place reading.

What are you reading Wednesday

What did you recently finish reading?
Well, I’ve been reading like fury today, so the answer is a lot of things. The last thing I finished was Brenda Chamberlain’s The Water-castle; before that, it was Laini Taylor’s Night of Cake and Puppets. Reviews for both of those are coming up on the blog over the next couple of days. Suffice it to say that I’ve been having a glut of books today. People normally have chocolate cravings? I have book cravings.

What are you currently reading?
As usual, the key word would be “actively”, and I’ll stick to that. I’m reading The Earth: An Intimate History, by Richard Fortey, which I’m enjoying: I’ve now read a couple of Fortey’s books and I enjoy his somewhat rambling style that conveys his sense of wonder. I also started reading the biography of Beatrix Potter I’ve got from the library, by Linda Lear. I knew even less than I thought about Beatrix Potter, and am rather enjoying the sketch of family life I’m getting here.

Fiction-wise, I’m still reading Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Wizard’s Promise, though I haven’t picked it up in a couple of days. I really should, because I know I’m going to enjoy it.

What do you think you’ll read next?
The plan is to make a concerted attack on my ARC list before the end of Clean Out Your Ereader, so I think that will entail finally finishing up Seven Forges (James A. Moore) and The Holders (Julianna Scott), for a start. After that, I’m not sure. Probably The Darwin Elevator (Jason M. Hough), because I’ve been partway through that for too long, and Sandman Slim (Richard Kadrey), since that’s been hanging around my to read list for so long and I did start it a couple of weeks ago, only to get distracted.

Long Awaited Reads Month: January

LAR Button Final
Came upon this via Lynn. Long Awaited Reads Month is about getting round to books you’ve had for a long time and haven’t got round to reading. This sounds pretty much like my entire life, but hey — getting involved with stuff! That’s supposed to be good for you, right? And it’s being held in January 2014, which also coincides with some other reading challenges.

Now, me being me, if I make a proper reading list I’ll get cranky about it, but I can at least pick out some stuff I think I’m likely to read and natter about it a bit…

-L-J Baker, Lady Knight: I’ve had it on my to-read list for ages, though I only bought the ebook in the last year or so. Basically, lesbian fantasy with a female knight, how could I say no?
-Liliana Brodoc, The Days of the Deer: I know very little about it, but it was compared to Ursula Le Guin’s work and that’s enough for me.
-Gillian Bradshaw, The Bearkeeper’s Daughter: Or possibly a different Bradshaw novel, but this one features Byzantium with Theodora and Justinian, which I loved as re-written by Guy Gavriel Kay in The Sarantine Mosaic, so it’s probably higher on my list.
-Jacqueline Carey, Dark Currents: Because the second book’s out already and Carey’s prose is always a joy to read.
-C.J. Cherryh, Kesrith: Giving Cherryh another chance, though I didn’t enjoy the one book of hers I read ’cause rapey. Also counts for the Vintage Science Fiction one.-John Crowley, Little, Big: It’s a classic and I’ve wanted to read it for ages. It doesn’t quite qualify for Vintage SF…
-Catherine Fisher, Incarceron & Sapphique: Had these on the reading list for yeaaars. It’s about time I got round to them. I can’t even remember what originally made them sound exciting — positive reviews, I think.
-Parke Godwin, Firelord & Beloved Exile: Arthurian stuff with a positive Guinevere. Should’ve read it a few years back for an essay, but ended up changing my topic, and so… never got round to it.
-M.C.A. Hogarth, The Worth of a Shell: Recommended by Lynn, I believe, and it’s been on my to read list for a while, if not for quite as long as some of the others in this list.
-Ira Levin, The Boys from Brazil: Vintage SF, and something one of my teachers always referred to back in high school. So I’ve been meaning to read it for at least six years now. Whoops.
-Seanan Maguire, Rosemary and Rue: Because everyone’s so enthusiastic about it. (Well, nearly everyone.)
-Vonda N. McIntyre, The Moon and the Sun: Veeeery high reviews from people I trust, and I remember getting excited over an excerpt. Some alternate history, I think?
-Maria V. Snyder, Touch of Power: I have no idea why I haven’t got round to this (and the sequel). I don’t think the world of this author, but I’ve always found her work solidly enjoyable.
-Jack Vance, Suldrun’s Garden: And probably the other books too, but I’ll start with Suldrun’s Garden. I’ve meant to read it sometime very soon for… years now? Everytime I think about it (like right now) I want to move it to the front of the queue. Then I get distracted by something younger and prettier.
-David Weber, The Short Victorious War: I read the first Honor Harrington book ages book and loved it. Muuuust get round to reading more.
-Jeanette Winterson, Battle of the Sun: I’ve had this for ages; I usually enjoy Winterson’s work, and I liked her other YA novel, Tanglewreck, best of all. So I’m quite hopeful about this one.

Announcing Vintage Science Fiction Month!

I’m definitely up for this! And I’ve offered to do a guest post, too, on Isaac Asimov. Probably on my favourite of his works, The Positronic Man. I read it when I was ten — I had to get that out of the library on my mother’s account, because they wouldn’t believe I was old enough to read it. I kept it so long she had the most epic library fine I can remember accruing ever.

the Little Red Reviewer

It’s almost December. you know what that means? that means it’s almost January.  And we all know what that means!

January means the return of Vintage Science Fiction month!

Vintage SF badge

Shiny new stuff is well, shiny and new, and we all love it.   But what came before it?  Your favorite author happened to mention they were inspired by the writing of Jack Vance or H.P. Lovecraft or Andre Norton or James Blish? Aren’t you curious about how your favorite authors put their own spin on the dying earth and chthonic horrors?  To get a little philosophical, by knowing where I came from, I can better see where I stand, and better see where we’ve yet to go.  This January, let’s find out.

zero_stone_1969_95960

As in past years, I’ve arbitrarily decided 1979 is the magic year for determining if something is vintage or not, and as in past years I’ll ask that…

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