Hello, folks. Another year gone, time for new goals to fail and new resolutions to forget about. A clean slate. But first – a quick flashback.
This year I technically failed my reading goal. I actually stopped going onto Goodreads in order to avoid their constant “You are nine books behind!” shaming. I had to overcome a broken ankle, a crazy exam, but more importantly – really long books. Like, reeeeally long. In 2016 I read 24 books that totaled to about 9200 pages. In 2017 I read 16 (!!) books that totaled to about 8500 pages. That’s an average book length of 572 pages (because, as we all know, Goodreads doesn’t only like shaming, they also like providing you with very detailed statistics about everything you do). That’s a difference of eight books between the two years but only 700 pages. Allow me to be impressed. Sixteen is a new low for me, and one I hope to never sink down to again, but if you go for sixteen, at least do it with style, ya know?
So what did we have?
I started reading War & Peace on July 13th, 2015, purely so that I’d be able to tell people I’d read that monstrous thing. I had a plan – read fifty pages a day and finish it in less than a month. Little did I know how unrealistic that plan was. It was my last summer vacation; I had places to go and people to see. And also, I had one thousand pages of size six font to power through. By the end of August I’d barely reached the fourth hundred page. Two more reading bursts in September and January left me with a bookmark neatly forgotten between pages four hundred thirty and four hundred thirty one. I couldn’t get myself to mark it as “abandoned” on Goodreads. According to my account, I am still “currently reading” it.
Completely unrelated, on June 27th, 2017, I broke my ankle. I also injured my wrist, and suddenly I found myself a prisoner in my own home with a cast on my leg and on my arm, in a wheelchair that barely passes through the apartment hall.
I’d never put War & Peace back on my bookshelf. It still lay around on my desk, waiting to be rescued. And suddenly, locked indoors with nothing to do and not much ability to do it with, my crazy plan seemed possible again.
So here I am. July 3rd, 2017. On page 20. Starting from scratch. These blog posts will document my second attempt. Summaries, thoughts and opinions, maybe some tips I pick up along the way for those planning to embark on this journey themselves. This time, with all five A Song of Fire and Ice novels under my belt and some experience in reading encyclopedia-sized books, I hope I make it.
I don’t know if this will be a weekly thing. Maybe twice a week. Maybe less. I might read other books in addition and I might not. I might include some medical updates along the way. I’m not setting any rules – this plan is scary enough. I invite you all to join me. Hopefully by the end of it I’ll also be able to walk again, which is not a bad incentive. (I’ll be able to walk even if I don’t finish but let’s not think about that).
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Hey y’all! I know today is Banned Books Week but I also happened to spend three days at a fantasy/sci-fi convention this week and seeing as you’re all probably SWAMPED with Banned Book posts, I’mma choose to discuss the later here for today’s post.
On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I spent my days at the wonderful world known as CONVENTIONS aka Days That Feel Like Magic And Then They’re Over and Real Life Seems Horrible. I met new people, went to panels and lectures about different aspects of sci-fi and fantasy, books, movies and tv shows. It was fascinating, but that’s not what I want to discuss.
This post is mainly about my desire to return to my good ol’ sci-fi/fantasy days. I developed my tendancy to shy away from long or complicated books sometime in the past few years. I used to love reading never-ending, million paged books, whereas today I run away from anything that’s thicker than a pizza crust. This year I’ve been trying to fix that, and I’m currently about 100 pages into a 580 page book. One of the things I’ve lost due to this habit is my love for the two genres mentioned above. I now read mostly mainstream young adult novels, which in my defense are easiest to aquire when looking for English book in a non-English speaking country.
I think my main drive for returning to my old ways is… well… fandom. Yes, it sounds silly but it’s true. I love the feeling of community, and that’s an extremely strong feature for these two genre fans. Harry Potter, Star Trek, Doctor Who… the list goes on and on. I like merchandise, I like conventions, I like stimulating discussions about fictional characters and ideas and situations. The convention this week has inspired me to start catching up, both film and literature wise. I have a whole new list of authors, books, movies and tv shows to watch. Unfortunately, I don’t have any more free time than I did before so the journey shall be a long one, but hopefully it will be worth it.
My book schedule for the remainder of 2013 is a tight one, due to my attempt at completing TWO ERCs, so major advances in MY NEW CONQUEST TO FALL BACK IN LOVE WITH SCI-FI AND FANTASY will only take place in January. Does anyone want to join? We can do it together. Sort of like a no-commitment, sort-of-book-club-ish-thing? We could decide together on reading material and/or viewing material and discuss it together. This idea is still in its early stages – in fact, I’ve only thought of it just now when I wrote that – but it could work. There are nearly one hundred of you here now (!!!) and if we have participants we can develop it together! Maybe I should provide you all with some of my TBR/TBW(atched) plans:
- TV: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (on season two), Agents of Shield (watched pilot yesterday) Firefly, Star Trek, Dollhouse, Game of Thrones
- FIlm: Serenity, Back to the Future, Star Wars, Matrix Trilogy, The Congress
- Books: Doctor Who novels, I Robot (reread), Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, American Gods, Brave New World, Farenheit 451, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, Asimov’s Robot Series, The Caves of Steel, Pandemonium (Daryl Gregory), Blindsight, Tea From an Empty Cup, Neuromancer, The futurological Congress
So, what do you guys think? Wanna join me? Lemme know in the comments. I’m actually kind of excited about this idea! Expect a follow-up post going into more detail, maybe plans of an all-genre-every-book-ever book club sometime in the future? We’ll see. For now I leave you all with this post and this list. It’s very… demanding, and it’ll take time, but I’m good at listing and planning is always a good start! This post has kind of gone off track and is very different from my original post idea but I think it’s wound up okay.
So, that’s a wrap. Book club? Maybe. Sci-fi/fantasy comeback? Definitely.
Hey there folks! As many of you may have heard or read, this week is Banned Books Week. To honor the importance of such a week I will be straying from The Broke and Bookish‘s weekly topic, and choosing to follow in the footsteps of Words for Worms‘ idea of listing favorite banned books!
Top Ten – Favorite Banned Books (A Banned Books Week Celebration)
- Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes – I’ve mentioned this book here before, it’s a beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking story about a human test subject, told through his point of view. According to Wikipedia is 43rd on the American Library’s Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-1999. The reasons for the challenges vary, but usually center on parts of the novel in which Charlie deals with his sexual desires as the medicine affects his brain.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – one of my all-time favorites. Do we really need to mention the controversial issues here? The entire book is basically just a list of social “weak spots.” Drugs, acohol, homosexuality, sex, abuse, and all of those involving teenagers.
- My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – well, whaddaya know! Even the loveliest family-life, coming of age, semi-cancer child story can be a challenged book! This wonderful creation was 7th on the ALA’s 2009 list of most frequently challenged books because of sexism, homosexuality, sexual explicity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuitability to age group, drugs, suicide, violence. Holy shit.
- Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park – not sure if I’m supposed to laugh or cry at this one. Apparently, Miss B. made it to the ALA list at #71 for the most challenged between the years of 2000-2009, and this is because she isn’t considered as a good role model due to her mouthiness and bad spelling/grammar. I just… is this a joke?
- 1984 by George Orwell – I think the reasons here are pretty clear. Great book. Go read. You can never look at anything political the same. IT ALL FEELS LIKE A CONSPIRACY NOW.
- Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary – apparently the book was removed from some school in California because a kid came across the entry “oral sex.” We start bannin’ dictionaries – everything’s going to go downhill from here.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – violence is definitely a big issue here, so I do think it’s okay to avoid letting younger kids read it, but the message of the book is one ALL people need to understand, so banning is not the option, but monitored/supervised reading for the younger ones.
- Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume – a favorite of mine growing up. The book deals with issues deemed controversial when addressed in a kid’s book, although that’s the whole porblem because the book discusses subjects which MUST BE DISCUSSED WITH KIDS but aren’t because they’re considered taboo. That’s really the irony of censorship in general. If you decide to hide something, chances are it’s something everyone needs to hear.
- Harry Potter by JK Rowling – too many people are under the impression that JK Rowling wants to create a generational Satanic cult.
- The Giver by Lois Lowry – probably need to re-read this. At the time I did not get the point of dystopian novels and so the end pissed me off. To be frank, I still don’t really get it. 1984 inspired a fit of rage, followed by acceptance of the ending and complete awe and admiration for Orwell dearest. I have a feeling dystopians tend to become Banned Book List favorites. Censorship is EXACTLY aimed at making… everything bad sort of just disappear.
That’s all for now. This has been a great learning experience – turns out there are SO many more challenged books than I thought. I may follow up with some more banned book themed posts this week, maybe even let it continue till the next. It’s a very important topic – seven days aren’t nearly enough. It should ALWAYS be on our minds. So, what banned books did YOU like? Or are you a rule follower and thus have a wonderful new by-the-host-topic-choice TTT to share with us all? Go ahead! Comment! Share!
Keep Calm and STOP CENSORSING BOOKS.
The weekly meme, hosted by Should Be Reading, in which we answer three questions about our past, present and future reading plans.
• What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading John Verdon’s Shut Your Eyes Tight. My friend and I both read and loved his debut novel Think of a Number and then when this one came out she read it and immediately urged me to do the same. I kept putting it off and then, in January, she bought it for me as a birthday gift and said that now I had no excuse, so now I’m finally getting around to that, also because it’s part of my Eclectic Reader’s Challenge 2012 2nd attempt.
• What did you recently finish reading?
I recently finished reading Tom Perrotta’s Little Children, which my cousin got me when she came to visit last week. It was excellent, and I’ll be checking out his other books as well. It took me only three days!
• What do you think you’ll read next?
Definitely something from my last Top Ten Tuesday post. Probably something short – my current read is over 550 pages. Maybe Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List? The Little Prince? Neil Gaiman’s new book? We’ll see. But def something for the Eclectics.
- Read questions.
- Think up answers.
- SHARE WITH ME.
Back to doing my Top Ten Tuesday posts! (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
I got a whole load of books when I was in the US so I have so many new books to read, not to mention I’ve realized I’m kind of behind on my attempt to cover both the 2012 AND 2013 Ecclectic Reader’s Challenges (after failing ’12). So my choices are going to be from all different genres, so that I can cover as much as I can. I’m currently reading John Verdon’s Shut Your Eyes Tight so that covers the Crime/Mystery category.
Here goes! (I’ll attach Category and Challenge Year for each one.)
Top Ten Tuesday – Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List
- Bossypants – Humor, 2013
- Silence of the Lambs – Horror, 2012
- Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List – New Adult, 2013 (I really don’t get this genre… at all. It’s too abstract.)
- Brave New World OR A Clockwork Orange OR Farenheit 541 – Dystopia, 2013 (Switched 1984 over to Classic, 2012.)
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Published in 2013, 2013
- The Trial OR The Little Prince OR The Pianist – Translated Fiction, 2013
- White Oleander – cousin recommended
- The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World – quit midway
- A Wrinkle in Time OR Lord of the Flies – Action Adventure, 2013 (the first will be my 1st reread in YEARS)
- American Gods OR Dead Until Dark – Urban Fantasy, 2013
Not bad, not bad. I just spent ’bout an hour researching titles and genres and learned a ton – especially about what the hell New Adult is because that category seems like a… mix between attempts at being more specific and attempts at making more money. We’ll see. Most of these books are books I’d planned on reading at some point anyway, so I’m happy I can incorporate them into my tight schedule. I have eleven books to read to complete both ERCs this year, which I really want to do because I don’t want to drag them into 2014 with me! I don’t really know how to define “fall,” seeing as in Israel we basically only have “hot summer” and “cold summer” so I’m giving myself till December 31st to complete this. I have eleven books for about three and a half months, and a few thrown in for personal enjoyment that don’t fit any empty genre categories. THIS IS GOING TO BE TIGHT. Wish me luck!
Are you guys doing the Eclectic Reader’s Challenge this year? Which books have you read? Does anyone else not really get the whole New Adult thang? Lemme know!
HEY EVERYONE. I’ve just returned home from a week long medical course as part of my EMS volunteer work… and in four hours I leave for the airport and a two week trip in the US – THREE STATES. I’m dead tired and dead happy. I also owe y’all a post and so here I go. I’ll try and keep up my posting as much as possible while I’m away, even if I’ll have to keep it short.
Top Ten Books I Wish Could Have Had Sequels
Today’s topic, brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish, is Top Ten Books I Wish Could Have Had Sequels. This one’s an interesting one because when I was younger I hated reading short books and I loved series because that way I got to have the character for longer, as oppsoed to these days when I fear long books and stick to smaller, sequel-less novels. I’m not sure I can answer this very well because sometimes I want a sequel but on the other hand I feel as if there’s a reason the story ends and it doesn’t have to go on. I can think of a million characters I wish I could meet again in new stories and situations but if I try and imagine a continuance to their novels it seems off. I can’t really answer this because in all honesty I don’t know what to write. For example, I love Harry Potter but I can’t imagine it going on any longer than it already has. There’s a reason books end where they do, and I can’t really see them continue further. I think the only exception to this rule is Douglas Adams’s Hitchiker’s Guide series because with him it’s less about the characters – or even the plot for that matter – and more about the writing style. So yeah. My biggest cheat yet. I’m not even answering. Well, I am. But in my way. You get my point?
The usual three question meme brought to y’all by Should Be Reading.
- What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Fish: A Memoir of a Boy in a Man’s Prison by TJ Parsell, my 2nd “prison book” in a row. I don’t think this is very healthy. I read Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison in three days, watched the entire thirteen-episode series in one, and then started this. And then had a realistically scary prison dream. I think I need to take a break from these.
- What did you recently finish reading?
Like I said above, I’ve just finished Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison. These people aren’t very creative with their titles. Kind of sound the same. I didn’t write up a review, I might do so later. It was fantastic. The show is even better. GO.
- What do you think you’ll read next?
Great question. No clue. Maybe 1984? I haven’t decided yet. Maybe another prison book. I know, I know – I said I should stop, but I really enjoy them. We’ll see.
ANSWER THESE TOO.
GOOD MORNIN’. Or evening? Dunno. It’s actually Thursday but I’m worried I’ll be so busy and I don’t want to miss posting. So anyway, GOOD *insert time of day*.
ANOTHER TUESDAY. ANOTHER TOP TEN. ANOTHER HYPERLINK TO THE BROKE AND THE BOOKISH.
Subject for today? Authors Who Deserve More Recognition. Alrighty’o. This might be tough since I read lotsa mainstream – hard to get really weird or non-mainstream whatsoever English books here. I’mm give this a shot.
- Ellen Raskin – Raskin wrote The Westing Game, one of many books I love very much. Funny thing – I’ve read this book multiple times and yet I still CAN’T remember the ending, or how the entire mystery is solved. But I remember everything else. It’s weird. Also, Raskin was a graphic artist. Didja know she designed the cover for the first edition of A Wrinkle In Time? No? Neither did I. Now we do!
- Eva Ibbotson – wrote yet another childhood favorite called Island of the Aunts, also known as Monster Mission. I remember loving this book so much as a child. Never read anything else by her… maybe I should.
- Daniel Handler – Daniel Handler is actually very famous, but by his other persona named Lemony Snicket – author of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Most have never read any of his less famous works, ones he wrote under his real name.
- J0hn Verdon – author of the brilliant mystery novel Think of a Number. Every single part of this book is absolutely genius. The idea, the way it plays out, the solution. He’s written two other books since, both including the main investigator from his debut novel. I’ve read the first, the second is unfortunately still on my neverending TBR list.
I’ve only been reading less well-known authors recently – since I got my Kindle – so this list is going to be a short one. I may update it in the future, but this is it for now. This was a pretty damn hard topic for me, so I hope I haven’t failed y’all too badly.
Also, my article in the very new Paperbook Blog Magazine is coming out on August 1st! I’ll link you guys when it comes out. SEND ME YO’ OWN TOP TENS.