Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon: TBR pile, Updates and Mini-Challenges

Dewey's ReadathonIt’s Readathon season once again! I am so very excited about this year’s readathon. For starters, I am going to be hosting a challenge at Hour 20 – stay tuned for that, it will be brilliant! – and I have decided to ignore all my regular TBR books, and focus on some that have been on my shelves for ages. It’s really rather self-indulgent of me – I can’t wait to get started!

No idea what I’m on about? Head over to http://24hourreadathon.com/ to find out more and to sign up! Then check out twitter and follow #readathon @readathon and #RahRahReadathon for more updates.

So, what’s on my TBR pile?

I’ve chosen a really diverse set of books this year; I’ve got anthologies, a graphic novel, some contemporary YA, a few next-in-the-series, and a first-in-the-series. Diversity is key for readathons – you always need that back-up novel for when things start to turn south.

This pile is also a shout-out to my very first Readathon back in 2010, when I read Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles and Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow. Now I’ve the sequels to those books on my pile for this readathon! Symmetry, guys, symmetry.

  • Corsets and Clockwork (Anthology)
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Graphic Novel)
  • Enthralled (Anthology)
  • The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
  • Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  • Defiance by Lili St. Crow
  • Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

Updates

Hour 2 – I’ve just started Defiance by Lili St. Crow. And… I’m a wee bit lost. I really loved the first three books in this series, but I think it’s been almost 2 years since I read them! I’m starting to get back in the swing of things now though…

Still, I think only in the Big Apple could you drop a huge white-pillared school for the half-vampire and werwulf hunters of the dark forces onto a big piece of prime parklike Manhattan real estate and nobody even care.

– p.25 Defiance

Hour 5 – I’m about half way through Defiance now – enjoying it but I get rather frustrated with Dru and Christophe. *sigh* Will have to take a quick break for work purposes, then back to reading!

Hour 8 – OK, I did take a bit of a break to eat and whatnot, but I have been reading. And I can’t firmly tell you that the Christophe/Dru business going down in Defiance is crazy.

Hour 9 – Well, that’s Defiance done. I really love how this series stars a properly tough female character, and how Lili St. Crow doesn’t shy away from the scary stuff. But the love triangle? Bloody annoying.

Now reading the Vampire Academy graphic novel – really enjoying revisiting this world!

Hour 10 – Graphic novels are awesome. They’re proper reading but are short enough to get through quickly. Think I will read Chain Reaction now!

Hour 12 – OK – nap time. But this will set my alarm so that it’s 100% Just. A. Nap.

Hour 18 – I BACK and read to rumble read!

Hour 21 – To be honest, I’ve spent the majority of the past few hours just commenting on posts. There have been so many great challenges and challenge entries – especially to my Show it Off challenge. Some of the books people have shared have been beyond stunning. ❤

Hour 22 – OK, so I am 33 pages into Chain Reaction and it is so adorable. OMG.

Hour 24 – I fully plan to continue reading Chain Reaction after the readathon ends. It’s super addictive and I don’t think I want to put it down quite yet.

Mini-Challenges

Hour 1 – Starter Questions

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Today, France!
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Probably Chain Reaction… though I’ve started Defiance, and it’s fantastic.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
The Big Bar of Chocolate I bought this morning.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Erm, hi. Kay here. UK blogger who has somehow ended up in France (at least, for now!). Lover of bookshops (especially second-hand ones) and an avid reader. When I’m not reading books, I read a lot of fanfic… which basically means I read non-stop.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
This is my third readathon, but I haven’t participated in one since 2010! They are fantastic experiences, but for some reason the last three never fit into my schedule. Rats…
This time, I am not going to get too stressed about how much I read. While, yes, one of the objectives of the readathon is to read a whole lot, it’s also a community experience.

Hour 18 – The “Challenge your Brain” challenge

A challenging book on my shelf: The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell – This non-fiction exploration of myth has been on my shelf for a while now. It was a gift from my mother and has been described as a rather life-changing book. But its weighty-ness has made it a rather difficult one to approach!

A challenging word: This one I spotted in Defiance; I understood it off the bat from the context, but the word itself was new to me!

   di·ur·nal 
   adj.

  1. Relating to or occurring in a 24-hour period; daily.
  2. Occurring or active during the daytime rather than at night: diurnal animals.

Hour 19 – Book Sentence!

I love this challenge – I managed to give my sentence an environmental message and show off my Edgar Allen Poe doll. Mission Accomplished.
Stolen, beautiful creatures forever fade.

Hour 22 – Diagram a Sentence

OK, over at Word Lily we’re being asked to diagram a sentence – something that I had never even heard of! This will be my very first attempt at venturing into the terrifying land of grammar, but I thought I should give it a try.

Hour 23 – Book to Movie

Crystal Reed as Dru (Strange Angels).

Crystal Reed as Dru (Strange Angels).

We’ve been asked to cast a book from our readathon pile over at Reading Through Life. I usually love this challenge, as I usually have an actor on the tip of my tongue… but not this time for some reason. So I had a good, hard think about it and… BAM. Got it!

My choice of actress to play Dru from the Strange Angels series would be… Crystal Reed.

She plays the fabulous Allison Argent on MTV’s Teen Wolf, and suits Dru perfectly. She’s a lean brunette – just like Dru – who already plays a character that can kick ass and take names as well as any man.

Seriously, she’s perfect. I have stars in my eyes just thinking about her starring in a Strange Angels adaptation. ❤_❤

Hour 24 – End of Event Meme

Which hour was most daunting for you?
Probably waking up at Hour 18 – I’m still pretty impressed that I did it.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Nothing specific, but people: graphic novels. Buy them/Borrow them/Steal them from your younger brother for the next readathon. They are awesome and make you feel super productive.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Nope! You guys were absolutely awesome!

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
Not sure if you did this last readathon, but I really appreciated the tweets and retweets. It was a really useful way to stay on top of all the mini-challenges

How many books did you read? What were the names of the books you read?
Two: Defiance by Lili St. Crow and Vampire Academy Graphic Novel by Richelle Mead. I also started Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles which I plan to finish today!

Which book did you enjoy most?
Hmm… well, probably Defiance. But I have a feeling that once I finish Chain Reaction, that will be the favourite!

Which did you enjoy least?
I guess that leaves Vampire Academy – which I really did like, but it didn’t have quite the same gravitas as the novel.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I really hope I can do the April 2013 readathon – it depends on my schedule! This is such a fun community event and hosting a challenge made it all the more enjoyable for me. Plan to host another if I can!

The 2012 Short Story Challenge (Not Just For, er, Short People)

This year I have decided to enjoy more short stories. They are an art form that just doesn’t get the same appreciation that the novel does. So this year, I’m resolved to read at least 40 short stories. I am actually hoping to read 52 (one a week), but 40 is already quite a bit!

To help myself out, I set up The Short Story Challenge. To complete the challenge, you only need to read 12 short stories (which is my minimum). The stories can be featured anywhere: anthologies, magazines, newspapers or even online.

I’m going to be trying out stories from all sorts of sites/publications/books, and I will make sure to list the source of the tale as I monitor my progress. So here’s what I’ve read so far:

  1. How Many Miles to Babylon? by Megan Arkenberg (Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 20 – read it for free
  2. Mazer in Prison by Orson Scott Card (read in the Federations Anthology edited by John Joseph Adams)
  3. Gene Wars by Paul McAuley (Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 20)
  4. Always true to thee, in my fashion by Nancy Kress (Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 20)
  5. Warship by George R.R. Martin and George Guthridge (read in the Federations Anthology edited by John Joseph Adams)
  6. Different Day by K. Tempest Bradford (read in the Federations Anthology edited by John Joseph Adams)
  7. ★ A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman (available for free at Neil’s website
  8. Reaper by Rachel Vincent (E-novella)
  9. The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe
  10. Kitten-Tiger & the Monk by Carolyn Crane

Not Just For Stormtroopers: The 2012 Science Fiction Challenge

I love science fiction in any and every form. I am one of those people who used to schedule their lives around Star Trek’s airtime. I grew up on the Animorphs series and own all 55 books plus the extras. Give me aliens and give me glory.

That said, I don’t actually read that much sci-fi! And ya know what? That kinda sucks. So I’ve signed up for the 2012 Sci-Fi Challenge over at Curiosity Killed the Bookworm. The challenge only requires you to read one sci-fi novel a month, but I am going to try to read 20 Science Fiction novels this year.

Oh, I should also mention that the challenge includes an optional monthly book club. I’ll be taking part in these whenever I can!

So here’s what I’ve read so far (I will keep track as I go along):

  1. Doubleblind by Ann Aguirre
  2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  3. Killbox by Ann Aguirre
  4. Aftermath by Ann Aguirre
  5. Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Sign up! The 2012 Short Story Challenge

Want to read something outside your comfort zone?
Want to try lots of new authors without reading a mountain of books?
Want to read some of the very best literature ever written?

Yes? I thought so! Then sign up for the…

This year, I’ve decided to dedicate more time to a wonderful way of telling tales: the short story. To do this, I thought “oh, I should sign up to a challenge” but alas, the only short story challenge I’ve found counts stories by anthologies (click here to sign-up for that challenge). So, I’ve decided to run one myself!

What is a short story?
Short stories are works of fiction, often written in prose. They tend to be more pointed, focused, and contained than novels.

Why do short stories matter?
The short story is one of the most exciting and important literary forms, and that it can, and should, reach the widest possible readership.

Where can I find short stories?
Anywhere and everywhere. Anthologies, magazines, newspapers, and even on-line.

Still interested? Then take a look at the must-read details:

  • The 2012 Short Story Challenge runs January 1st, 2012 to December 31st, 2012.
  • You can sign up at any time.
  • You do NOT need a blog to sign up – just somewhere online to monitor your progress (personal blog, goodreads, facebook, twitter, etc.) But please post something that shows you are participating in the challenge – it doesn’t have to be a full post, a link/tweet/sidebar listing is enough!
  • You need to read at least 12 short stories. Ain’t that easy? Easy peasy. That’s one short story a month. Of course, you can choose to read more than 12. Why would you want to? Well, because short stories are brilliant.

Still interested? Then sign up below!

ETA: Sign ups now closed – thank you to everyone who participated!

Virtual Advent Tour: It’s not Christmas without Bing!

Virtual Advent Tour 2011

Hi! Welcome to Dead Book Darling. I’m Kay, your ghost host for this stop of the Virtual Advent Tour of 2011. This is my first year participating in the tour and, after reading so many great posts by other bloggers, I was rather stumped as to what to post about. So, I thought I’d get back to the basics. Or rather, back to Bing.

You have heard of Bing Crosby even if you haven’t heard of him. He’s the crooner who sang the infamous tune “White Christmas” written by Irving Berlin. Bing’s version of the song is the best-selling single of all time. No matter the decade, people dust off the track for a timeless Christmas singalong.

And while Bing is pretty much a part of everyone’s Christmas tradition, he holds a special place in my mind whenever I think of the holidays. Not because of his roles in the Christmas films Holiday Inn and White Christmas; nor due to his wonderful rendition of the Hawaiian Christmas song “Mele Kalikimaka” (below).

You see, when I think Christmas, I think of the Road films.

The Road films, you ask? The Road films were a series of zany, off-ball comedy films that starred Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. Despite being made over 50 years ago, they can still have you laughing in the aisles. The films often broke with tradition by having the actor’s address the audience directly – like Bob Hope’s line “[Crosby]’s gonna sing, folks. Now’s the time to go out and get the popcorn.” Heh! They are brilliant films if you haven’t seen any of them, I’d start with Road to Morocco.

Alas, these films have nothing really to do with Christmas. In fact, except for Road to Utopia, all the films are set in rather hot, tropical climates! But these films are attached to a rather special Christmas memory of mine. When I was about 12, my mother and I spent a Christmas together. Er, that sounds weird. What I mean is we spent a Christmas together without any other friends/family/annoying strangers! It was just us and the dogs. And that Christmas we sat down and watched the Road movies.

That was the first time I’d ever seen the films, and I loved every second of them. Moreover, I loved watching them with my mother, the dogs, and the Christmas tree as company. Even though it was a very simple Christmas, it was probably one of my favourites. And now, whenever I think “Happy Holidays” I also think about being off on the road to Morocco…

So, there you have it! For me, it isn’t Christmas without Bing or Bob. If you’re looking for a new movie for your Christmas line-up, try the Road films! Who knows, it might start a whole new tradition…

Happy Christmas everyone!

BBAW: How blogging has changed my book shelf!

BBAW 2011So, it is day 4 of BBAW and today’s topic for discussion has us looking at our reading habits (and how they’ve changed!).

Book bloggers blog because we love reading. Has book blogging changed the way you read? Have you discovered books you never would have apart from book blogging? How has book blogging affected your book acquisition habits? Have you made new connections with other readers because of book blogging?

Book blogging has completely and utterly changed what I read. I actually started a general book blog (Stuck in a book) way back in 2006/2007 and I never really got into it. I think that was because the book blogging community was so underdeveloped at the time, but I am not all that sure.

But a few years later I read The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong and thought “I need to find more of like this”. I wasn’t looking for YA novels, I wasn’t even really looking for more Urban Fantasy or Science Fiction… but that is what I found online. And as soon as I started following YA and UF blogs, I started going out and buying them. Hell, I hadn’t even known these genres existed until I started reading book blogs!

So, really, pretty much everything I read is because of blogging. It’s not just that there are specific books I wouldn’t have picked up without reading blogs – there are entire genres I wouldn’t have picked up without blogs! Nowadays, it is extremely rare for me to go out and buy a book without hearing about it first on the blogosphere.

There are a few books I would like to highlight, though. I never would have picked these up if I hadn’t read about them online – and I am so very very very glad that I did!

 

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine (I didn’t actually like the first book in this series, but it is now one of my very favourites!)
  
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Book blogging also got me “out on the streets” meeting other book bloggers. I usually break out in hives at the thought of meeting someone off the internet… it just sounds inherently dirty. But, for the blogging community, apparently I will do all sorts of strange and unexpected things! I have loved meeting other book bloggers – it is just such an indescribably great feeling to meet other people who love books the way you do!
I’m looking forward to reading everyone else’s answers to these questions!
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