This is not a challenge

The City of Books, Aix-en-Provence

It really isn’t.

We’re now a third of the way through the year and I thought I would take stock of where I’ve travelled in the world of books. Turns out it’s not been too bad: fifteen books in around thirteen weeks, and all reviewed.

But it’s not a competition, so it turns out I’m in a win-win situation. As it’s not a contest of quantity it’s good to look at quality; and that quality will be gauged in terms of the range of authors and genres I’ve covered so far.

Continue reading “This is not a challenge”

Advertisements

“A strong female lead”

The featured challenge for March 2018 in the window of Book·ish, Crickhowell

Not long after the vernal equinox in the northern hemisphere, three quarters of the way into March — a month in fact featuring two patron saints of Celtic countries — and I’ve missed marking this period in any special way. But anyway, what’s a date but an arbitrary point in the calendar? Measure time in any way other than by the solar year and all our anniversaries, birthdays and feast days count for little.

Still I feel a little bit put out because I failed to celebrate one of my favourite authors. Maybe it’s because I’ve read almost all her books. Maybe it’s because I’ve been too busy celebrating the bicentenary of another author — Mary Shelley, ‘onlie begetter’ of Frankenstein — or was still stupefied after a revisit of Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea that I forgot to check in on Kristen’s We Be Reading blog where she hosts March Magics, a celebration of the worlds and works of Terry Pratchett and … Diana Wynne Jones.

Better late than never.

Continue reading ““A strong female lead””

This post has no title

Ross-on-Wye bookshop

You know how it is. You make yourself a resolution that you will or won’t do something. Then you yield just a little to temptation. Before you know it you’re in full flight to somewhere where you weren’t planning on going to be heading in the first place.

So it was with reading challenges / goals. I wasn’t really going to do any this year. Except read more. Then I succumbed to one that I wasn’t going to take too seriously. And then …

Continue reading “This post has no title”

A year in books

Twenty Eighteen is well under way and I’m having a think about how I’m going to go about my reading. Well, of course there are several ways to go:

  1. Pick a book at random from the pile on my bedside table
  2. Pick a book at random from the books on my shelves
  3. Pick a book at random from my local bookshop or library

Well, you get the picture. Or I could go with what I’m feeling in the mood for, a strategy that has generally served me well up to now. But I also feel the need for a bit of structure.

In the past I’ve tried a couple or so of reading challenges. These were partly successful, in that I made an effort to fulfil all the categories listed, but when I didn’t quite complete them I felt a bit of a poseur in my own eyes.

Last year’s solution was to (a) turn Challenges into Worthy Goals, thus ensuring no failure was imminent; and (b) set impossibly low expectations, such as only being required to finish 36 books over the year (I actually achieved forty-one and several fractions). Now I’m wondering what plans to go for this year.

Continue reading “A year in books”

In a spin

The City of Books, Aix-en-Provence (September 2017)

In yet another attempt to tackle my to-be-read pile I’ve decided to take a leaf out of the book put together by The Classics Club blog.

They have a concept called the ‘Classics Spin’, as detailed at https://theclassicsclubblog.wordpress.com/:

What is the spin?

It’s easy. At your blog, before next Friday, November 17th, create a post to list your choice of any twenty books that remain “to be read” on your Classics Club list.

This is your Spin List. You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the year (details to follow). Try to challenge yourself. For example, you could list five Classics Club books you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, re-reads, ancients — whatever you choose.)

On Friday, November 17th, we’ll post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List, by December 31, 2017. We’ll check in here in January to see who made it the whole way and finished their spin book!

This looks like a (just about) manageable challenge — this from one who never quite completes a challenge (looks like achieving Mount TBR for 2017 is going to be very tight). At least I know I’ve got twenty titles on my shelves that bit the bill! Here they are, in a sort of alphabetical order.

Continue reading “In a spin”

Slow progress

A kind of holy grail moment: secondhand bookshop interior in Brecon, Powys

Remember Mount TBR? I’d aimed to read twenty-four of my tsundoku titles — books that I’d bought or otherwise acquired before 2017, not including library books and rereads — to achieve a notional Mont Blanc target.

By the end of June I’d managed twelve — just at my halfway point, so theoretically by September’s end I should have achieved another six to reach eighteen books. So how have I done?

Continue reading “Slow progress”