Winter Magical Readathon — Chapter 5

I am almost done with Silver in the Wood. I think I’ll be able to finish it today, and then I’ll be all caught up and ready to start my reading for the final chapter of the Winter Magical Readathon! And that’s good because I got three new prompts this week!

Chapter 5 started with a party, and I chose dancing, because of course I did. If this was a real party, I’d be one of the first ones on the dance floor. The next day there was some helping of Neville with the Mandrogas. Then, because I followed the spiders in Chapter 4, I ended up with a rooster as my weapon of choice. And, I got my first prompt: “Read a book with a bird, winged creature or feathers on the cover!”

After scrolling through my Goodreads shelves and squinting at all the covers looking for wings and/or feathers, I came up with a couple of options. One is The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas. The other is The Reluctant Queen by Sarah Beth Durst. I’ve been meaning to read The Burning Sky forever, but I’m not ready to start a new series right now. My plan for 2020 is to finish a bunch of series that I’ve started reading. Since The Reluctant Queen is book 2 in a series I want to finish in 2020, I think I’ll go with that one. It’s also shorter. by over 100 pages.

Armed with my rooster, I headed to Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom to find out how she died and (because I didn’t go to Nearly Headless Nick’s Death Day party) to tell her an embarrassing story to cheer her up. If you want my embarrassing story, click here for my tweet per the #MakingMyrtleLaugh prompt.

Then, because I never learned in an earlier chapter that I speak Parseltongue, I ended up with another reading prompt. This one was to “Read the first book you think about!” Of course, (predictably) as soon as someone says “think of a book,” my mind goes blank. It’s like, books? What are books? Then I thought of one. The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas! This is one I’ve been meaning to get to since it came out in September. It’s book four in the gender flipped Sherlock Holmes retelling that I love. Makes sense that it would be the first one to come to mind.

I was kind of hoping that would be it for reading prompts. But, I hadn’t even made it to the Chamber of Secrets, yet. So, me and my trusty (sleeping) rooster continued. I turned right, immobilized the pixies, and found Ginny. In order to wake my rooster and fight the basilisk, I got another reading prompt. This one was “Read a book that starts with an R (for rooster).” For this one, I’m going with The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai.

That led me to the end of the story with a total of NINE prompts for the whole readathon! Woah. Luckily, there’s no real fixed end date. So I have as long as I’d like to read these three books. I think I’m going to try to get them done by next Sunday, though. We’ll see. I may not start any of them until the first of the New Year because I want to finish The Barefoot Bandit before I start any new books. I also have book 3 in my own series coming out at the end of January, and I have to finish the interior layout files and proof read it one last time.

I think I may do one final Winter Magical Readathon wrap-up post once I’ve finished reading all these books. So, stay tuned for that, if you’re curious. I’ve also got a bunch of end of year posts planned. I’m going to do posts on my favorite reads of 2019, my most disappointing reads of 2019, my 2019 reading stats, my 2020 reading goals, and (probably) another “Top 5” summary of the Powell’s Books staff top five lists, whenever those come out.

Let me know in the comments what you’re reading for these prompts (or whichever prompts you got in this chapter) and how many total prompts you ended up with for this readathon. Happy reading!

Winter Magical Readathon — Chapter 4

I finally completed the first two chapters of the Winter Magical Readathon! I finished reading The Starless Sea for my chapter one prompt (and I loved it). I also finished reading There There (another really good book) for the first of my two chapter two prompts (“book with an orange cover”) and Jean Grey, Vol. 1: Nightmare Fuel for the second (“read a comic, manga, or graphic novel”).

Lucky for me, I just found and borrowed the audiobook of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them from my library, so I can get to work on my chapter three reading prompt (“read a book published in 2001”). Fantastic Beasts is pretty short, so I should be able to finish that in a couple of long walks. Which means I’m almost caught up! Hooray!

Winter Magical Readathon reading for chapters one through three…

That (plus the fact that it’s Sunday) also means it’s time to find out what chapter four has in store for me… The short answer is spiders plus two more reading prompts. Yep. #IFollowedThe Spiders.

First up, since I didn’t join Hermione’s book club (what a bummer, I totally would have joined if I’d chosen that path), I ended up with a prompt to “read a book that starts with the letter S, for Slytherin.” My mom just sent me Spaceside by Michael Mammay for Christmas, so that was the first book that came to mind. But, then I remembered that Saga also starts with an “S” and volume two (which was one of my options for my chapter two prompt) would be a fast read. Alternatively, I have Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh on my Kindle. That one is a novella and would also be a fast read.

Some options for my chapter four reading prompts…

I’m thinking I might go with Saga, Vol. 2 for the Slytherin prompt because the other two books will also work for the second prompt I got for chapter four. See, I decided not to go with the Pollyjuice potion, and I didn’t already have the diary, so I had to go fish it out of the toilet (yuck!). That landed me with the prompt to “read a book that has been written by an author who’s last name starts with either T, M or R.” So, Silver in the Wood (Tesh) and Spaceside (Mammay) will both also work for this prompt.

Right now, I think I’m going to go for a walk and listen to some Fantastic Beasts. Then I’ll probably do a little non-Magical Readathon reading. I’d like to make some progress on The Barefoot Bandit because I hate ending the year with partially finished books. I was really hoping that it would qualify for one of these prompts, but so far it hasn’t been an option. Maybe next week…

Once I finish with Fantastic Beasts, I’ll probably start reading volume two of Saga and see what I feel like after that. I think it will depend on how close we are to next Sunday by the time I finish. Until then, happy holidays and happy reading! Wishing you all a warm beverage and an excellent book!

Winter Magical Readathon — Chapter 3

I’m still not done with my Chapter 1 & 2 prompts. I figured out that I messed up reading Chapter 2 and the comic book prompt was actually part of Chapter 2, not Chapter 3. So, I went back and read Chapter 3 for real this time (and fixed my previous post).

First choice in Chapter 3? Breakfast. Even though I love toast, I don’t really like eggs all that much. So, I went with the corn flakes. Of course, just the mere thought of toast got me craving some. There may have been a pause to go make myself second breakfast before returning to the readathon text.

My decision to go with corn flakes and toast with jam (both IRL and in the text) landed me in Herbology class. After planting Mandragoras, I had three options for my evening activity: dueling club, Nearly Headless Nick’s party, or Quidditch practice. If this were really me, I’d definitely go with Quidditch. I agree with Wood. We should totally be practicing daily.

And that, my friends, is how I ended up with the Chapter 3 prompt of reading a book published in 2001. There are two books published in 2001 that I’ve shelved on Goodreads, but haven’t read yet. I’ve been meaning to read both of them forever, but one (Kushiel’s Dart) is over 900 pages long. The other, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, I had in paperback and just unhauled it.

So, now I’m stuck. I tried searching the Googles and tried to find another option, but I couldn’t find anything appealing other than Quidditch Through The Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It turns out that both were published in 2001, and I’ve never read them. I may go with one of them since they are both Harry Potter books, and it’s a good excuse to watch the Fantastic Beasts movie after I’ve read the book, right? The only problem is, I don’t own either of those books and my local library doesn’t have them, either. See? Stuck.

I suppose I don’t need to worry about this at the moment because, as I said at the beginning, I’m still working on my Chapter 1 & 2 prompts. As of right now, my Winter Magical Readathon TBR looks like this:

Winter Magical Readathon TBR for chapters one through three…

If you have any thoughts on other (short) books published in 2001, let me know in the comments. Did anyone else get that prompt? What book did you choose? And who else is excited for the feast next week?

Winter Magical Readathon — Chapter 2

One downside of starting Book Roast’s Winter Magical Readathon with a 500 page book is that I’m not done with it yet! I am currently not quite halfway through reading The Starless Sea to complete my chapter one prompt.

But… I really wanted to see what happens next in the Magical Readathon choose your own adventure version of Chamber of Secrets. So I decided to peek ahead. That’s not cheating, right? I hope it’s not.

For chapter 2, I woke up at the Burrow and stuck with Ron. That landed me with a somewhat challenging reading prompt: “Read a book with an orange cover (or the word “orange” in the title).” I didn’t think I had a lot of books on my TBR with an orange cover, but, it turned out I had three to choose from. I went with There There by Tommy Orange because, in addition to the cover being orange, it’s less than 300 pages long and the author’s name is Orange.

Then, for the next choice in that chapter, I decided to deviate from the book a bit. When I couldn’t get through to platform 9 and 3/4, I probably would have tried to convince Ron to wait for his parents. Luckily, my good behavior landed me with an excellent reading prompt: “Read a comic book, manga, picture book or a graphic novel.”

I haven’t decide yet which of three comics I’m going to read for this prompt. I have 3 that I’ve been meaning to read all year. Jean Grey, Vol. 1: Nightmare Fuel, Bitch Planet, Vol. 2: President Bitch, and Saga, Vol. 2 (so I can finally get started on finishing Saga). If you have thoughts on which I should go with for this prompt, let me know in the comments.

Comics on my TBR…

Hopefully, I will finish The Starless Sea this week and then read There There and the comic relatively quickly. Then it’s on to Chapter 3. I’m pretty sure there’s no chance that I’ll be all caught up by next weekend.

Are you participating in this year’s Winter Magical Readathon? How are you doing? Which prompts have you been getting? Let me know in the comments!

UPDATE (12/17): Apparently I messed up. This is just Chapter 2 and not Chapter 3. I’ve corrected this post to reflect that.

Winter Magical Readathon!

It’s the first day of December and time to start Book Roast’s Winter Magical Readathon! I’m so excited! I just read “Chapter One” and got my reading prompt. I was going to share it here, but I don’t want to spoil the story if you haven’t started it, yet.

While I won’t say which path I chose through Chapter One, I will say that my prompt was to read a book on my TBR that’s over 500 pages! Yikes! What a way to start a readathon!

Luckily, I was just about to start reading The Starless Sea which is 498 pages long in hardcover. That’s close enough, right?

Are you participating in this year’s Winter Magical Readathon? Let me know in the comments, and tell me which prompt you got!

New York Times by the Book Tag (borrowed from BookTube)

What book is on your nightstand now?

The book I’m reading right now also happens to be literally sitting on my nightstand at the moment: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

What was the last truly great book that you read?

Great is *so* subjective… There are so many reasons why I might love a book and think it’s “great.” Maybe it’s because the writing is amazing, maybe I loved the world-building and/or the characters, maybe the romance was just perfect, maybe it was just so unique that it stood out from all the others, or maybe it just contained something I really needed to hear/read at that point in my life. That said, I think if forced to choose, I’d have to say that the last “truly great book” I’ve read would have to be Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This book has received so many awards, was on so many end-of-year best-of lists, and has so much positive buzz that you hardly need me to tell you how truly great it is. This book wasn’t written for me, but it did one of those things that truly great books do, it provided a window into a world and a perspective that isn’t mine. It gave me a chance to put myself in someone else’s shoes — someone completely unlike me — and practice empathy. This is one of the many reasons why reading is so powerful and why I love books so much.

If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?

I think, if I could meet any writer, I’d pick Victoria Schwab because I’d love to have the chance to try to convince her that she wanted to be my writing buddy and mentor. Every time I hear her talk about her writing process, or read her tweets when she’s working on a book, I feel this intense kinship. I’d love to have her as a mentor. That would be a dream come true. There’s nothing in particular I’d like for her to tell me. She just the most visible writer I know who embodies the type of work ethic and writing style that I aspire to. (Maggie Stiefvater would be a close second.)

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

I have this one book on etiquette that was particularly important to me in my formative teenage years. I think it’s out of print at this point, but here’s a link to some used copies on Amazon. It’s completely old-school and probably not something you’d expect to see on my bookshelf, but I love it and it maintains a place of honor on my “favorites” shelf. Plus, I think my copy was signed by the author.

How do you organize your personal library?

For the most part, my books and my husband’s books are all mixed together. Our bookshelves used to be totally organized, but they’ve become a bit chaotic since we sold our house near Portland and moved into this apartment near San Francisco. In general, our books are grouped the same way you might find them in a bookstore. There is a shelf for cookbooks, one for travel books, several shelves of non-fiction and of fiction. But, I did reserved a few shelves on one bookcase for my favorite books. That shelf has all my special edition Harry Potter books and basically all the books I’d try to save if there was a fire or an earthquake.

What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?

There are a ton of classics that I haven’t read and always meant to, but I’m more embarrassed about the sci-fi and fantasy books that I haven’t read yet. Three books in particular, all by Neal Stephenson, come to mind: Reamde, Anathem, and Cryptonomicon. I’ve had all three of these on Kindle for such a long time, and I keep meaning to read them and then never get around to it. Since so many of my friends (and my husband) love these books, I feel really embarrassed any time I have to admit that I *still* haven’t read them yet.

Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didn’t? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

One book that I’m always embarrassed to admit that I didn’t love is An Ember in the Ashes. It’s not that I didn’t like it. I did. It’s just that everyone I know LOVES this book and for me it just didn’t live up to the hype. I just didn’t care much for either of the two main characters, and I really didn’t like the “love-square” relationship drama. I’ll still read the sequel, and who knows, maybe I’ll like it more. But yeah, I just don’t have all the feels for that one.

As for last book I put down without finishing… last year, for the Read Harder challenge, I tried to read The Count of Monte Cristo, but I just couldn’t get into it. I’ll probably try again at some point.

What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

In general, I’m drawn to most sci-fi and fantasy stories, but I’m especially drawn to military space operas, alien first contact, magical boarding schools, and anything where there isn’t a clear “good” and “evil” side.

I usually steer clear of anything that involves abuse and anything with messed-up marriages. I don’t have a lot of interest in spending time in those worlds. So, if I get the sense that a popular book includes this type of thing, I usually just skip it. For this reason, I still haven’t read (and don’t really plan to read) Gone Girl, A Little Life, or pretty much anything by Jonathan Franzan.

If you could require the President to read one book, what would it be?

From what I’ve seen, the President reads a lot of really smart books, both literature and non-fiction. So, I think I’d recommend he read something just totally fun. I also think it would have to be a romance because I get the sense that President Obama loves love, but he probably hasn’t read a romance. I’d love to see him read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell because it’s not just a romance — it’s a m/m romance, a sort-of spoof on Harry Potter (and all the other “chosen one” books), and it has some pretty unique magic. Then, after he read it, I’d like to see him sit down and talk about it with the author on YouTube. That would be AWESOME. Someone please make this happen.

What do you plan to read next?

I really, really need to read the second book in the Neapolitan Novels next, The Story of a New Name. My mom just finished the fourth (last) book in the series, and I need to catch up!

Who do you tag?

I tag anyone who thinks this looks like a fun book tag and wants to give it a try. If you do this (or already did it) on your blog or your BookTube channel, post a link in the comments so I can check it out!

Booktube: And now for something completely different…

So, I’ve stumbled into the world that is “booktube” — a microcosm of book lovers within the greater YouTube community. I like books. I like talking about books. I got a new camera for Christmas… So, I thought I’d try something new and wade into the booktube community.

If you are interested, you can check out my videos on my YouTube channel. There are currently three. They are all about books or book-related topics.

I am not sure yet if I will cross-post the videos here, on the blog. Mostly, I’m just somewhat fascinated by the YouTube community and that there are similarities with the Twitterverse. That means I’m probably going to do video in the video place (there) and blogging in the blogging place (here). But we shall see.