In like a lion

Tomorrow sees the meteorological first day of spring with the arrival of March, a month which itself begins with St David’s Day.

For the next 31 days I shall be joining in the Wales Readathon (aka Dewithon19) by reading and reviewing books with a Welsh slant, right through to the end of the month; and you can do so too by going to Paula Bardell-Hedley’s Dewithon HQ page at Book Jotter, where you will find many bookish hints relating to Welsh literature.

This blog’s post will also focus on two great fantasy writers who left us in past March months, Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett, in the event now known as March Magics.

This was inaugurated by Kristen Meston at WeBeReading back in 2012 as DWJ March, to celebrate Diana’s legacy the year after her death, before morphing to include Sir Terry’s work after he died in March 2015.

As Kristen writes, it gives us an excuse to read our favourite DWJ and STP titles, “to pick up the books from these authors that never get old, the ones that we’ve read dozens of times already but plan to read at least a dozen more times.”

Kristen’s outline schedule is:

Saturday, 9th March — Discussion for Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men
Saturday, 23rd March — Discussion for Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle

Finally, Cathy Brown of 746books, co-host with The Fluff is Raging‘s Niall, has been successfully running Reading Ireland Month (St Patrick’s Day is March 17th) for some years now: it’s also known as Begorrathon. I hadn’t got round to joining in before but this year I hope to start in a small way.

The schedule runs thusly:

25th February–3rd March – Contemporary Irish Novels
4th–10th March – Classic Irish Novels
11th–17th March – Irish Short Story Collections
18th–24th March – Irish Non-Fiction
25th–31st March – Miscellaneous (Drama, Poetry, Film etc)

If you’re joining in on social media with any or all of these events don’t forget to use the following hashtags:

  • #dewithon19 (or #WalesReadathon)
  • #MarchMagics (or #DWJMarch)
  • and #Begorrathon19 (or #readingirelandmonth19)

to share how you’re participating.

As I shall too!

“In like a lion, out like a lamb.”

— Proverb about the weather for March. Or it may be about astrology. Or possibly something else. Maybe reading? Yes, it’s about reading!

Credit: WordPress Free Photo Library

37 thoughts on “In like a lion

  1. Your energy and application is commendable. I will be urging you on from the sidelines, but my own reading is too chaotic to contemplate anything of this nature. One day Neil Gaiman (thanks for the Mr Punch recommendation) the next day Francine du Plessix Gray.

    Recently I read about a very big readathon set up By Mookse and the Gripes. Do you anything about this?

    1. I think you’ll find any such energy and application may be short-lived and I may well be pooped out come April! We’ll see. Anyway, as with you, I’m a literary flibbertigibbert, hopping between titles as the mood takes me, so this is probably as organised as I shall get!

      Glad the Gaiman recommendation wasn’t a dud, Gert, I’m always anxious when people take up anything I’ve lauded. As for Mookse and the Gripes, I see they mostly focus on recent prize-winners, all very praiseworthy indeed but I tend to live in the past and am several steps (and often whole continents and planets) behind contemporary reading frenzies…

          1. (By the way, this includes associate membership of the Retrophiliac Club and the Palaeophile Association, providing you abide by the International Traditionalist Convention, ratified in 1848.)

  2. I JUST NOW realized that Elidor (Alan Garner) is in no way a Welsh story. It is set in Manchester and Garner lived in Cheshire. I was fooled by the Owl Service into an unwarranted assumption. So now I only have Fforde’s Last Dragonslayer book. I’m going to have to re-read the Mabinogion in self-defense at this rate. (Oh, I haven’t read the Grey King in ages. Hmmm.)

    I have Yeats and Lord Dunsany for Ireland, and a whole pile of DWJ. I just got the audio book of Wee Free Men, on my mom’s recommendation, so that will be fun. Crivens!

    1. It’s almost a Welsh story but with more of a pan-Celtic theme (by way of late Romantic mysticism) because of the four treasures—Irish—and the name Elidor—which originates from a medieval folktale told by Gerald of Wales. So despite its Mancunian setting the novel has bona fide qualifications for both the Wales Readathon and Reading Ireland!

      But otherwise you sound to be eminently prepared, Jean, now all you have to do is read … and then tell us all about it. 🙂

  3. earthbalm

    Shall be trying to follow all you discuss at a distance. The commute to work shall be quite tiring until I get accustomed to do it.

          1. earthbalm

            I’ll get wet tomorrow – plenty of time to dry out during the day to get wet again on the journey home.

  4. A commendable range of reading journeys you’ve planned for March, Chris. I’ll probably stay within Wales — but Lord Dunsany (thanks to Jean for that reminder) might tempt me into a quick jaunt to Ireland. We’ll see.

    1. There’s no need for total commitment, of course, good intentions are OK in my book, Lizzie! I’ve got a Roddy Doyle for my first Begorrathon read, but haven’t yet decided on another title yet…

  5. Inspired by your entry in the Wales Readathon I wandered about the web looking up authors associated with Wales and found Alexander Cornell and his Mortymer Saga. It looks fantastic. I was particularly attracted to the fact that the fictional family end up on the canals at some point. I have a real thing for canal and British waterways type stories from any era really but I especially like the period when the canals were used seriously by industry. More for by wishlist! ☺

    1. I really ought to read Cordell, especially as the Mortymer saga is set only about ten miles south of me over the mountains. Canals are fantastic though, we have the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal 15 minutes walk away from home and it’s such a peaceful place to stroll, especially (as you say) given the hectic life it was originally constructed for!

  6. Pingback: DHQ: Dewithon 2019 – Book Jotter

  7. Ooooooooooo I’m so excited! So I’m one of those awful Americans who has never read a single Terry Pratchett novel (please don’t stone me). What is the best Disc World novel to read for a first impression of Pratchett’s world and style?

    1. I’m afraid I’m merely an ingenue where Discworld is concerned, Jean—I’m currently enjoying the Tiffany Aching series and might suggest you start with those, otherwise I can only recommend those titles I’ve actually read so far—Mort, Equal Rites, Reaper Man—for which you can find my reviews here: https://calmgrove.wordpress.com/?s=Discworld.

      I hope you enjoy whichever one you choose; what characterises Pratchett for me is that I really invest in many of the protagonists, and that the comedy and fantasy overlays don’t disguise his deep understanding of and feeling for the human condition.

  8. I was planning to take part in both the Welsh and Irish readathons, but life has been busier than expected recently and now I’m not sure if I can fit them both in. I’ll do my best, but otherwise I’ll look forward to seeing what you and others choose to read and review.

    1. Life takes priority, Helen, doesn’t it: I’ve missed many blogging events too because of mundane matters, either critical or tedious! Feel free to join in by proxy, as it were; alternatively, many of the historical novels you read may have a not so obvious Welsh dimension, especially any Tudor-themed titles! 🙂

  9. I’ll be looking forward to your March posts, then! Polish proverb about March weather goes “W marcu jak w garncu”, which means “[Weather] In March like in a cauldron” – very magically apt 🙂

    1. Oooh, I love that simile, Ola! And weirdly the phrase almost looks Welsh with that ‘w’ and the ‘u’ terminations—how would an anglicised pronunciation appear?

        1. Yay, I wasn’t far off! I was at school with some second generation Poles so got to know a few of them with surnames like Kujawa and Czepek so had some idea about pronouncing ‘w’ and ‘j’ (though ‘w’ is literally a ‘double u’, sounding as ‘oo’, and ‘u’ is usually ‘ee’).

          1. You may still learn Polish 😉 apparently it’s one of the most difficult languages to learn, but I’m sure you’ll manage 😀

            1. We’ve got some really wonderful poetry 🙂 in a language that married Slavic and Latin everything’s possible! 😀

            2. Romanian also looks an interesting language, I’m told that French speakers don’t have too many difficulties with it and I found I was able to make sense of programme notes when we went to the Romanian National Opera’s productions of ‘Sampson and Delilah’ and ‘Madam Butterfly’.

  10. Kristen M.

    You are in for such a fun month of reading! I already started my first DWJ audiobook today and plan to start The Wee Free Men tomorrow so that I can fit all five Tiffany Aching books in and possibly leave time for more Pratchett.

    Thanks for spreading the word about MarchMagics!

    1. You’re very welcome, Kristen—I’m so glad you’re running this event again, even as the looser structure must make it more manageable for you! Looking forward to your related posts now. 🙂

  11. Pingback: In like a lion — Calmgrove – Earth Balm Creative

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