challenges

#24in48 readathon updates


So… I decided to do some tracking here on the blog. I’ll just be updating this post with any of the challenges and check ins that actually happen. 

Hour 1- 

Where in the world are you reading from this weekend? 

Adelaide, South Australia

Have you done the 24in48 readathon before?

No, I haven’t. 

Where did you hear about the readathon, if it is your first?

I heard about it on twitter, a year or so ago.

What book are you most excited about reading this weekend?

Off Reservation by Bram Connolly, it’s by a local author and I loved the first book in the series.

Tell us something about yourself.

I never know what to write for these sections. 

Remind us where to find you online this weekend.

Here on Ranty Runt of a Reader and on twitter, @bookybecksa

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Book Blogger Appreciation Week – Introduction

I’m excited to be participating in Book Blogger Appreciation Week, thank you so much to all the wonderful women at estellasociety.com for bringing back this wonderful week. I wasn’t around to participate in the previous years, but I am so excited to be involved this time.

The challenge has been put to us to select five books that represent you as a person or your interests/lifestyle. This was a HARD task, but these are the books that I went with.

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It’s hard to select a book that represents you, but so much of what makes me is my family and friends. I identify with Joe Pickett’s family, they remind me so much of what I had growing up. A father who was loving but had a time consuming and job – with strange and variable hours. A mother who would lay down her life for her children. And my sister and I are the two girls in this book – we fought tooth and nail but when it came down to it, always had each others’ backs. Our relationship has matured and become stronger with time, and I love seeing the same happen with the girls in the Joe Pickett series.

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Tracks by Robyn Davidson resonated with me. I grey up in the “Outback” although we usually just call it a rural area. I was raised on red soil and harsh hot summers. The beach was a form of salvation for me, that you could just step into the water and be cool. I grew up during drought where there was hardly any rain and everything was dry, we were on strict water restrictions so our showers were very quick affairs. We had a pool, which was a luxury, but we were not allowed to fill it with water. Tracks is the only book I have ever read that captured the feeling of dry from my early childhood. That it ends when Robyn ends up at a beach, her goal? Poetic.

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It would be remiss of me to write an introduction without the book that directed my career path and led to my greatest hobby. All Quiet on the Western Front was one of the first “serious” books I read, and I loved it. It led to me pursuing history and English at university, and then adding on an education degree so that I could share my love of books like All Quiet with students. I’ve gone on to read so many other books about war (and quite a few I have liked more than All Quiet), but this one firmly has a place in shaping who I am as a person.

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Men and Women of Australia is a book I never would have read if it wasn’t for my blog. It was one of my first netgalley reads, and I was excited to read some of the speeches from Australian history. It became much more than that – so many of these speeches remind me of the corresponding time from my life. John Howard’s speech reminds me of my dad’s hero worship for the Prime Minister. The apology to the Aboriginal People of Australia for the genocide of their people (not that any Aussie politician will ever call it genocide) and how little it did, but how needed it was. Gillard’s misogyny speech, which we quoted in university classes “I will not be lectured by you…”. I loved Cosgrove’s speech, and watched his unflinching address to his own armed forces with awe.

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Hard Landing is on this list for yet another family reason, but this one very bittersweet. This is the first book in the Spider Shepherd series, which is my favourite book series of all time. I read it when I was 15, on holiday in a wine region. I was on a romantic long weekend away – with my dad. He had booked it for my mum a few months before, and then she passed away unexpectedly. He decided that we should still go. Up to that point, I had been somewhat upset but not really connecting with what had happened. Dad let me choose any book from the newsagent for the trip, and I chose Hard Landing. I had read one of Leather’s other books (after I had been forbidden to do so by mum) and he was the only author I recognised on the shelf. I remember vividly that on the second day of our trip tragedy struck for the main character – his wife was killed in a car accident, while he was away for work. It struck such a cord with me, my own mum had just died, while my father was out of town. What really got me was the pain that the character was feeling and the indecision – it made me feel so bad for my dad (and also for myself) that I spent the next few hours bawling my eyes out. My dad was taken aback, his daughter having a melt down over a book. It actually taught me that it is okay to be sad when bad things happen, just like it is okay to be happy when good things happen. I’m certainly not crying right now. (okay, maybe a little).

Okay, so… sorry for that little mini essay about my feelings about Hard Landing, but these five books do describe my life and journey pretty well. Thank you again to our lovely hosts for doing all this work. If you want to participate in #BBAW, please get involved!

Bout of Books 15 Goals & TBR

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The illustrious Bout of Books, or Bob, is creeping up on me again. I’ve been putting off my TBR list because I’m currently mood reading but I’ve decided that like each Bob before, I will post goals and TBRs. I just can’t help myself.

My goals for this Bob:

  • Write an update post daily on Ranty Runt, even if it is just what I have read and a cumulative total
  • Participate in 2 challenges
  • Be a social butterfly and read & comment on at least three updates per day
  • Read 2000 pages.
  • POST MY CHALLENGE AT THE RIGHT TIME (uh, timezones kill me)

That final goal for me is probably the biggest, the other week long readathons I have partcipated in I have averaged 1500 – 1800p, but I really want to push myself this Bob. I will prewrite all my other blog content before the readathon starts, so all the time that I usually devote to writing blogs & hanging in my reader will be devoted to reading.

My TBR:

Dead Wake – Erik Larson

Songs for the Dead – Stuart MacBride

The Business of Dying – Simon Kernick

The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins

I will not beat myself up if I stray from this list, as there are plenty of other books that I can read. I’ve picked many of the books above because there is either lots of buzz (and I can’t believe I haven’t read yet) or because they are by my favourite authors.

Depending on how I feel, I might substitute for a classic, I have a couple that are sitting on my shelves, plus my classics club spin.

I’m looking forward to reading ALL THE PAGES with you guys! Have you set yourselves lofty goals this year? Or taking it easy and letting the reading bug take over?

2016 Challenges & Reading goals

I hope everyone has enjoyed their holidays and had a lovely Christmas. I was spoilt rotten and have eaten way too much food! I’m now watching the Boxing day test match (yes, I enjoy cricket), eating leftover prawns and doing a little work on my blog. It’s the perfect afternoon!

One of my favourite things to do at the end of the year is to set myself lofty goals and challenges that I will most likely forget before winter! I’ve decided to set myself three reading goals and two blogging goals.

I’ve decided to keep my Goodreads goal the same as 2015: 52. It is an easy number to achieve, and thinking of that target as a book a week is reassuring. Most likely I will read more than the 52, but in the past 5 years I have had a really bad reading year where I read only 30 books (which was 2014, surprisingly) so I don’t want to set a massive goal and scare myself!

Another goal that I have set myself for 2016 is to make some space on my bookshelves and to read some of those books that have been languishing on them for the past ten years. I’ve even joined a challenge – the wonderful Read My Books Challenge, hosted by The Worn Bookmark. I’ve set my goals for that challenge over here, but to achieve them I will need to read 29 books off my bookshelf, net. So if I buy a book, the number will jump up to 30! I’ll keep track of this in my monthly roundups.

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My final reading challenge is concerning classics – I am going to read at least one a month. Every month I will select (or Classics club spin) a classic that I will read. If I read two (or three) in a month, it can’t count for a different month. Each classic needs to be on my classics club list and reviewed on my blog.

Onto my blogging goals – I’ve attempted to keep these simple this year. My first one is concerning reviews. The primary reason I blog is to review books I read, so I am going to spend more time and effort on my reviews. They aren’t what gets likes, comments and views, but they certainly are the cornerstone of this blog. I’m going to commit to posting one review a week and spending more time and effort writing well thought out and interesting reviews.

My second goal is to start doing a new feature on the blog and post a new update to it every month. I’ve decided that this project will be “Curated” which will bring together my love of story telling in multiple mediums. I’ll post more information on that in January, and hopefully a few people might join in and share their favourite collections!

That’s it for my goals, hope everyone has a great 2016!

2016 Read My Books Challenge

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I’m taking part in the 2016 Read My Books Challenge hosted by Maren at The Worn Bookmark. The goal of the challenge is to spend 2016 reading our own books. If you have heaps of books that you already own and want to read some – come and join us! It is super low pressure and you set your own goals.

I haven’t set a goal of a specific number of books – because I’m a compulsive shopper who thinks that by reading a book means I can buy another book because I am contributing to the challenge by reading. To combat the book buying I have set the following goals:

By the end of 2016 my to read bookshelf will consist of (at maximum):

10 Novels (Currently 25)

5 Classics (Currently 17)

2 Nonfiction (Currently 4)

That is a current goal of 29 books. However, as I will most likely get more books over the Christmas period, and buy a couple of new releases during the year, It will mean I will read more than 29 books. I’m going to update the count at the end of each month, in my Ranty Roundup

Bout of books number 13: prizewinner and challenge wrap up

This post is coming a little later than I had wanted, but I’ve had to take the past week easy because I’ve not been well. However, this is the final thing for Bout of Books I wanted to do, and here it is. On day Four of Bout of Books I hosted the Modern to Classic Challenge and there were so many awesome responses, that I felt like I should write a little wrap up and summary of the submissions. I will not pick on anyone but I want to talk in general terms of the books that so many people spoke about. There were some trends that seemed to stick out, for example, a large bunch of these novels fell into the dystopian genre.

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The most nominated novel would have to be The Hunger Games. So many people stated that this book breathed new life into the dystopian genre and therefore would be considered a classic for years to come. I think The Hunger Games is wildly popular right now but I wonder if the popularity will last 50 years, but at this point we cannot know and I respect that most people in the book blogging community hold The Hunger Games as being one of the best novels of this generation.

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Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows also had many votes. I had a feeling if I did not put the 10 year restriction on the challenge that everyone would just say Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I did not expect so many people to still advocate the last book of the series. However, so many people love this series that I should not be surprised!

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Other novels that deserve honourable mentions include The Fault in Our Stars which I have not read or seen the film. I am not sure my views on John Green, I have seen some literature out there that criticises his style of writing and the way he portrays teenagers which makes me dubious and I usually do not recommend him to my students, because I have not read his work. He is wildly popular and maybe I need to pluck my head out of the sand and read one of his books because apparently the Fault in Our Stars is going to be a classic one day.

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Ready Player One seems to be well respected and there were many reasons for why this book would be considered a classic in the future.Its one of those books that everyone has heard of, even if they haven’t read it! Although, everyone should read it.

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It would be remiss of me if I did not mention The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak many people answered the challenge with this book, and with many different reasons. I do love The Book Thief, but  just like with The Hunger Games I am not sure if this book’s hype will last for long enough.

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Other honourable mentions go to The Help and the works of Rainbow Rowell. My ignorance of Rowell’s books will mean that I refrain from making any comment, but the winner of the challenge did pick her novel Eleanor & Park as her pick.

I noticed that so many of the books were YA or borderline YA, there were few dense heavy books put forth. This is really interesting, because I think so many of the classics of the past were dense and sometimes difficult to read, whereas most of the books of our generation that get hugely popular are easy to read. I’m not sure if this is just because of the blogosphere’s obsession with YA, or if it reflects the wider population…

I would like to congratulate Keely, of I Read It and Wept, for winning! Please check out her blog, she has some really interesting content!

Bout of Books Goals and TBR

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So, I’m really excited to be participating in this Bout of Books – I’m going to be able to set a couple of hours aside each day to read, and I can’t wait!

My goals are pretty loose this readathon – and that is to be active on twitter, to update my blog daily and to read at least two books. I will also read the first 10 chapters of Gone With The Wind. I want to participate in a challenge or two, but if I don’t feel like participating then I won’t.

My TBR includes:

Red Line by Brian Thiem

Savage Tide by Greg Barron

Australia and Canada in Afghanistan by Jack Cunningham and William Maley

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Any book that takes my fancy from my TBR bookcase.

I’m looking forward to chatting with everyone this readathon, if you are a twitterer, please add me @bookybecksa or let me know your handle so we can cheer each other on!