Readerly Rambles: 25 July 2016

There’s still a week left of July, but I already feel the need to look at my July reading and start making a pile for August.

#24in48I had plans to participate in the 24in48 readathon and I guess you could say I did participate. I got about four hours of reading done, which was enough to get me into a book and bust my reading slump. I’m declaring that a success!

What I read: Considering I had major life disruptions July was a fairly good reading month. This month I read:

  1. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 
  2. Blind Huber: Poems by Nick Flynn
  3. The Colossus and Other Poems by Sylvia Plath
  4. The Poet, the Lion, Talking Pictures, El Farolito, A Wedding in St. Roch, The Big Box Store, The Warp in the Mirror, Spring, Midnights, Fire & All by C.D. Wright
  5. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

What’s in Progress: I’m wrapping up July with a graphic novel, Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer, and a classic, The Wind in the Willows. Seven books total for July. Not too shabby.

What’s Up Next: Ye Olde TBR for August

I’m only putting four books on my list because A Clash of Kings is huge and August is an odd back-to-school flurry of activity. In addition I plan on reading one to three poetry collections (depending on how things go) and I like to play fast and loose when picking poetry books.

Let me know what you enjoyed reading in July and if there is anything I should add to my radar for August (or later). 

Happy Reading!



Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon Begins!


And we’re off!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?  Georgia!
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?  Graphic novels galore! I’m especially looking forward to reading Bitch Planet.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Peel and eat shrimp. Trying to not go too heavy on the sweets.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!  I’m so stoked about readathoning today. I’ll mostly be updating and hanging out on social media, helping with the Readathon Instagram account and co-hosting for a few hours. My five-year-old started running a fever this evening and he and my husband have pink eye. We’ll see how much actual reading I get done!
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? I’m going to be using my kitchen timer quite a bit to make sure I have time to read and visit on social media.



2015 Reads, Bout of Books, and 2016 Reading Challenges

I have gobs of bookish activity to catch up on; let’s get right to it!

2015 Reads:

I read 47 books in 2015 and fell just 10% of my goal of 52 books. I was a little bit bummed, but then I checked my stats and this is the most I’ve read since 2010. In other words, I had Atticus in late October and my reading promptly took a dip in numbers. In 2011 I read 43 books, in 2012 I read 42 books, in 2013 I read 29 books, and in 2014 I read 38 books. Yay! I’ve set the goal to read 52 books this year. I was going to pick a smaller number, but I’ve decided against graduate school (that’s a topic for another post) and I should have time for reading this year.

My top seven books of the year (not including re-reads) are:

  1. Among Others by Jo Walton
  2. The Quick by Lauren Owen
  3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  4. The Children’s Book by A S Byatt
  5. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
  6. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  7. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

A few other stats with some interecting numbers:

  • I read 15 classics (published prior to 1960)
  • I read 11 rereads
  • I read 11 graphic novels
  • I read 7 Viragos
  • I read 4 non-fiction titles
  • I read 8 young adult books


Bout of Books


Bout of Books
I decided to start 2016 out with a bang and readathon with the Bout of Book folks. My goal is to read 700 pages. I’m on vacation this week, so as long as no small children get ill (cross your fingers) I should be able to accomplish this. The page number goal will give me a chance to dip into big classic novels and read graphic novels, smaller books, and YA. Keepin it fresh, yo.
I’ll be posting my Bout of Books updates on Twitter and Instagram, but will be sure to do a big wrap-up next week.
2016 Reading Challenges:
I always swear I won’t do these, but I’m a glutton for punishment.
First up is Andi’s #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks Challenge
My goal is to read 24 books from my stacks (i.e. already owned) and then read others from the library. I’m going on a book buying ban until my birthday at the end of April. I’m determining how much I can buy on my birthday by what I read. $2 for every book from my stacks read and $1 for each library book. Yes, I’ll still be buying books. I just need to get rid of the willy nilly book buying and stick to a budget.
I’ll be shooting for completing 12 graphic novels or comics this year.
My goal is to complete 9 of the 12 categories. Of course one classics challenge wasn’t enough for me. I also signed up for Becky’s Victorian Bingo Challenge. For Becky’s challenge I need to read five books from five different categories.
I don’t really have set lists for either classics challenge. I already know I will be pulling from my stacks for most of the books. A couple books I am especially eyeing include Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley, Wilkie Collins No Name, Trollope, Dickens, and some Virago titles.
Not really a challenge, but a side read is O’s readalong of The Pickwick Papers.
pickwick readalong
I’ve tried my damnedest to read this novel in the past and it just falls short for me. I’m hoping reading it by the publication schedule will help.
Speaking of O’s challenges, since I already love Brit Lit so much I decided (just now as a matter of fact) to participate in her Reading England Challenge.
reading england ii
My goal is to read at least 3 different counties. I decided to participate because I realize I tend to not pay attention to where books are set in England. I tend to smoosh all of it together. This will at least allow me to read with more awareness and less generalizing of British places.
One last challenge! Ali is hosting a #WoolfAlong this year.
My goal is to read some of Woolf’s shorter fiction and a non-fiction book about her.
That does it for challenges next year. I may throw some more readalongs and readathons in the mix!
Happy 2016 reading, y’all!

#Readathon: Mini-Reviews and Plans


We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson (audio) — I’ve read this book several times and truly enjoyed this audio version. It was chilling. I’ll be reviewing this book in more detail later this week.

Dark Horse Book of Hauntings – This is a compilation of haunting stories told in comic book style. It includes a standalone Mike Mignola Hellboy story. Each of the eight stories were tremendously creepy and beautifully executed.

The New Ghost by Robert Hunter – I loved this illustrations in this short graphic novel. A new ghost is nervous on the job and gets help from an unexpected friend.

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll – I adored this collection. The illustrations are stunning and the stories are evocative of Angela Carter. Thumbs way up!

In progress:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs- I started this one and didn’t get to read as much as I wanted. I gulped down the first 100 pages; I can tell I’m really going to like it!

Five Victorian Ghost Novels – I’ve only read the first novella, “The Uninhabited House” by Mrs. J.H. Riddell. It was creepy, but ends with a Scooby-Doo twist!

Next Read-a-thon:
The next read-a-thon will be on April 23rd. I’m going to try to do things a bit differently and change my schedule to fit in more reading. I tend to co-host around hour 5, so I usually spend my morning cheering, read a bit, co-host, mini-challenge and then pickup reading when the kids go to bed.

Instead I’m going to work on knocking out 5 solid hours of reading in the morning with a sprinkle of mini-challenge participating, co-host, and then cheer up until the mid-way survey. After the mid-way survey more reading and then mini-challenge hosting towards the end of the event (I already have my challenge planned and it will work best at the end). I love the social media aspect of read-a-thon, but I need to maximize my reading time too!

#Readathon: Hour 24 and Closing Survey


Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 16; I had to finally throw in the towel and go to bed
Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods was a quick, beautiful, haunting and engaging read.
Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope. Andi and Heather have it down to a science.
What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Twitter and Instagram are where its at.
How many books did you read? I finished 4 and have 2 in progress (Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Five Victorian Ghost Stories). 539 pages completed.
What were the names of the books you read? I finished an audio or Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle and three graphic novels (The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings, Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods, and Rob Hunter’s The New Ghost)
Which book did you enjoy most? I’m really digging the Ransom Riggs book, but Emily Carroll’s was pretty awesome as well (shades of Angela Carter)
Which did you enjoy least? Truly I enjoyed everything I read.
If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I have a system down for my Instagram cheering. I hit everyone who signed up at least once. Then I use #readathon and cheer for the people in my feed. I fine that often there are folks who didn’t sign-up for readathon or decided to join in at the last minute who love the cheering and it encourages other people to join in. If you signed up to get cheered for on Instagram and you aren’t readathoning on instagram then tough titties. He who participates reaps the rewards!
How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I will totally be participating next year! Cheering and co-hosting as well. I may not do a mini-challenge as they seem to piss random people off or I may do a mini-challenge that forces someone to be nice. Like, if you find anyway to bitch about this you are most likely a despicable person.

Mini-Challenge: Pumpkin Spice or Naw


I’ll admit it; I love pumpkin spice. Not everything pumpkin spice; I’m cool with skipping on the gum, convenience food, and sausage, but give me pumpkin spice in a latte or home-baked treat and I’m a happy camper. I won’t wax poetic on the joys of pumpkin spice as I’ve blogged it before, but let me say that I am secure in my pumpkin spice adoration. Haters gonna hate, pumpkin spice lovers are going to autumn-it-up like some mofos.

If you don’t like pumpkin spice that’s cool too, maybe you’re a gingerbread or apple cider lover? Or you like something else? I’d be interested in knowing how many readathoners are #TeamPumpkinSpice and how many of you are #PumpkinSpiceHaters.

Let’s have a contest. Take a selfie with smiles and a thumbs up for team Pumpkin Spice or with a frown and thumbs down for Pumpkin Spice haters. Leave me a link to your blog post/Instagram/Tweet/Tumble in the comments (keep in mind your privacy settings will need to allow me to see said post).

thumbsupYes! Pumpkin Spice!

thumbsdownNo Pumpkin Spice!

I will draw one winner from the winning team. In other words, if readathoners overwhelmingly love pumpkin spice then one of you lovers will get the prize. If pumpkin spice is vanquished, then the pumpkin spice haters will have a winner.

The winner will win a $15 Starbucks Gift Card; spend it on a pumpkin spice latte or naw.

I’ll announce a winner by midnight, EST.