20 Books of Summer is an annual reading extravaganza hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. Now, you might have noticed that I just wrote “20 Books of Summer” but the graphic above reads “10 Books of Summer.” That’s because there are options for us slow and/or indecisive readers. I have a plan, mostly, and it should result in me reading at least 10 books cover to cover between June 1st and September 1st. (Finished Books of Summer are denoted with the ✅.)So, What’s the Plan, Stan? (Read More)
I’ve gotten my COVID vaccination so the only thing I’m coming down with is a Bout of Books!*
The Bout of Books readathon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It’s a weeklong readathon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 10th and runs through Sunday, May 16th in YOUR time zone. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are reading sprints, Twitter chats, and exclusive Instagram challenges, but they’re all completely optional. For all Bout of Books 31 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team
I haven’t set goals for Bout of Books in a while, but I want to this time. I’d like to:
- Make it to at least one of the Twitter chats. Monday’s is a prime target.
✅ Took part in Monday’s Tweet-chat! We’ll see is I make it up in time for Saturday’s.
- Take part in some of the reading in place/sprints. Especially around Thursday/Friday when my enthusiasm flags.
😬 Alas, I ended up being pretty hermit-y this week.
- Read 700 pages. That’s a pretty ambitious goal for me, a terribly slow reader.
⭕ Monday: weekly total was at 88 pages, so I’m a smidge behind. But remember, there is no failing Bout of Books!
⭕ Wednesday: At 279 pages read, I’m still a bit behind. Just kinda flailing along this week.
👍 End of Event: 648 pages, which isn’t bad!
- A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark – Already in progress and I intend to finish by Thursday to review it. So far, I’m in love like I knew I would be.
- Mosses from an Old Manse by Nathaniel Hawthorne – My Classics Club book for May. A few of the stories will be rereads, but I’m actually looking forward to that.
- Books of Blood by Clive Barker – Yes, still chipping away at Barker.
- Plus my “regular” reading: a daily chapter of God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert, some pages of Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg, and Deal Me In short stories (of which I am currently behind).
*Seriously, if you’re eligible and haven’t yet, get vaccinated. It’s safe; you protect you and you protect your community!
Dewey’s & Spring into Horror
I’m celebrating two readathons today: Dewey’s 24-hour and Spring into Horror. I’m going to do something a little different this time around for Dewey’s. Inspired by Flik Reads, I’ve set up random prompt jar. I’m going to start the day with:
- A chapter of God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert – I’m sticking to my chapter-a-day schedule.
- Into Bones like Oil by Kaaron Warren – It’s become readathon tradition to start the day with a novella.
After that, I’m going to pick from my readathon jar. Some prompts will return to the jar and some are one-time only. Prompts include:
- Stories from Books of Blood by Clive Barker – I’ll be starting vol. 2.
- The Ceremonies by T.E.D. Klein – A chapter or two or 40 minutes. We’ll see what works.
- The Call of Stories: Teaching and the Moral Imagination by Robert Coles – Hopefully, this book won’t crash my readathon momentum. It’s a book I want to make progress on.
- Other short stories!
- Plus, maybe an audio book, maybe graphic novels. Reading in all forms!
I’ll mostly be updating on Twitter. You can follow me at @katen
- What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Tempe, AZ! It’s not sunny yet, but it’s going to be a warm day.
- Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Vol. 2 of Books of Blood by Clive Barker. Barker has also become something of a readathon tradition for me.
- Which snack are you most looking forward to? I’m planning on having a Totino’s Party Pizza later on. Also have healthier things like hummus and watermelon.
- Tell us a little something about yourself! I enjoy editing formatting ebooks (as well as writing my own). If you need something extra for your stack today, I have free downloads!
- If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? As I mentioned above, I’ll be drawing from a prompt jar every few hours which is new for me!
Horror Movies A to Z
Ever since last April, I’ve been looking forward to celebrating Halfway to Halloween. I had randomly decided to do an unofficial horror movie A to Z challenge last year and late in the month realized that April is actually halfway to October.
This year, I’m officially joining the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge and will post another horror movie A to Z along with a few other Halfway to Halloween festivities. I plan to stick to movies that are new to me, but I might include an old favorite or two if I’m feeling burnt out.
I have started my list of “maybes” over at Letterboxd. If you have any horror movie recommendations, I’d love to hear them!
Back in October, I was in the throes of Halloween so I didn’t get around to answering this question from The Classics Club:
Discuss the classics you read as a child.
Who introduced you to them?
Which ones were you favourites?
Do you still reread them as an adult? Why? Why Not?
But what is time anyway? So, here’s a Classics Meme “catch-up” post.
On the weird side, I remember reading Edgar Allan Poe stories and Sherlock Holmes stories as a kid. For K-6th grade, I attended a small Lutheran school but within its library were some abridged, illustrated editions of classic horror tales, including Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” and “The Pit and the Pendulum.” I probably checked them out a dozen times each. I binged Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories one summer before junior high while enamored with Jeremy Brett’s portrayal on TV. Of course I still read Poe and Doyle. Their themes and language are a literary gift that keeps on giving.
On the less weird side, as many girls do, I went through a horse phase. I read a few of Marguerite Henry’s books (King of the Wind being my favorite) and many of Walter Farley’s Black Stallion series. These, I haven’t had any want to reread, even though my Mom recently returned the Black Stallion books I’d left with her when I moved away. Young protagonists have always been hard to sell to me; it hasn’t gotten any easier now that I’m in my 40s…
I probably would have enjoyed Roald Dahl or Lloyd Alexander, but I seemingly never crossed paths with them as a kid. Perhaps if I could go back in time I’d slip a book into young Katherine’s stack and say, “I got two words for you, kid: oracular pig.”
There aren’t enough blog-worthy things going on in my life for a Miscellanea post, so today I’ll do a tag! I picked up the Last 10 Books tag from Flik Reads; go check out her site!
The Last Book I Gave Up On
The Christmas Party by Gillian St. Kevern
There were a few things I chose to ignore for the sake of a light, fun holiday read, but ultimately drama was being heaped on drama and I just couldn’t. Plus, not enough actual Christmas party.
Last Book I Re-read
Sleight of Hand by Peter S. Beagle
I reread this book as part of the 2020 Deal Me In challenge, so I actually read the first story in January of 2020 (week 1, in fact) and the last one in December (week 50). This anthology contains one of my favorite short stories ever: “The Woman Who Married the Man in the Moon.”
Last Book I Bought
The Magic Square by John Gaspard
The 7th in the Eli Marks mysteries, one of the few series I read, mainly because Marks is a magician as well as an amateur detective. (And by magician, I mean the David Copperfield/Harry Houdini kind, not the Gandalf/Merlin kind.)
Last Book I Said I Read But Actually Didn’t
I don’t do this. Listen, there are SO MANY BOOKS. I have a degree in English literature, and pretty much the only thing that’s really given me is awareness of the gaping holes in my knowledge. Everyone is on their own reading road and it’s amazing that we ever manage to cross paths. (Then again, until recently, I was under the impression that I had read Pride and Prejudice. I didn’t purposefully lie, really! Honestly!)
Last Book I Wrote in the Margins Of
Edison’s Eve: A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life by Gaby Wood
Alas, most of my annotations were me being grumpy about things. I’m not much of a philosopher, I’m afraid.
Last Book That I Had Signed
The Line Between by Peter S. Beagle
I’m much too much of a chicken to get books signed on a regular basis. This is the last I can remember that I had signed in person by an author.
The Last Book I Lost
Friday Night in Beast House by Richard Laymon
At some point while I was straightening the shelf with my Richard Laymon books, this one just disappeared. It was a not-easy-to-find hardback edition. It has to be in the apartment somewhere.
The Last Book I Had to Replace
White Plume Mountain by Paul Kidd
Loaning books is a risky thing. On the plus side, you share something you like with someone else. On the minus side, your book may not find its way back home. No regrets since I was able to find a lightly used copy to replace mine.
The Last Book I Argued Over
Moby-Dick; or, the Whale by Herman Melville
Argument is probably too strong a word, but my husband and I have definitely been having an on-going discussion over the entertainment merits of Moby-Dick.
The Last Book You Couldn’t Find
House of Mystery: The Magic Science of David P. Abbott by Teller, Todd Karr
Not sure if this is the last book I couldn’t find; I have a pretty long “if-money-were-no-object” book list that gets attention when I go to used book stores. But his two-volume set is certainly difficult to find even if I could spend my stimulus check on it.
I read 69 books in 2020!
More books* than ever before**!
* I read quite a few shorter books and graphic novels/comic collections. According to Goodreads I read 15,841 pages. This is the second most behind 2013 when I read 17,121, but only 63 books. That year included A Storm of Swords as well as my first voracious trip to the Las Vegas casino buffet of magic-related books.
** This is based on Goodreads stats, which go back to 2010. I probably had years in college when I read more books. Those were considerably before 2010.
Average rating: 3.4 (out of 5)
I don’t publish my ratings for individual books. If I liked a book well enough but it doesn’t knock my cozy socks off, it gets three stars.
Fiction/Nonfiction: 74% / 26%
I’m guessing that if I were able to break this down by pages read, the percentages would be closer. My goal for next year is at least 30% nonfiction. (Last year: 45% nonfiction)
14% were rereads.
51% of the books I read were from the library—the vast majority of those were from various online libraries.
72% of the books I read were in some ebook form.
4% were audio books.
The biggest change this year is that I stopped reading and reviewing ARCs. I had threatened to for a few years, but I finally stopped in February 2020. I really wasn’t feeling very inspired to review books and no longer wanted the requirement to do so.
Click on the covers for details at Goodreads.