reading

Ranty Round Up – July

July was a strange month for me – I read quite a bit, but wasn’t as active with my blogging as I was in June, I found my month to be quite hectic, especially the last week or so. I’m only actually getting to do my wrap up a third through August, which should say something!

the house of mirthI read five books in July, I was hoping to get more read during July, while I am still on university holidays. Now I am back studying, I have less time to devote to leisure reading. The standout read for July was The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. My second of Wharton’s works, and I loved this more than Ethan Frome. My classics TBR is now bursting – I’ve just added The Age of Innocence to the list.

My participation in the readathons in July was luckluster, I barely participated at all. Just read a couple of hours and didn’t do anything out of the ordinary.

I’m still trucking along with Middlemarch, I’m about 40% through and have just stalled, but I am planning on tackling that with some gumption once I’ve finished my current pulpy read. The readalong (#eliotalong) officially ends today, but I am going to put some effort into finishing it in the next week so at least I can offer a detailed review.

August Events


20 books of summerI will be continuing on with #20booksofsummer (in winter), and I’m allowing myself to cross a couple of the bigger, chunky classics off the list and put some mood reading on the list – and I know that I will be able to finish more books if they are pulpier. So bring on the war thrillers and crime novels – I’m finishing this challenge even if it takes me out in a storm of pages. As of the 8th of August, I have read 11 of the books from my list in full, and Middlemarch is just under half way cooked – so it will be a push but I’ll put some effort in.


bout of books augus 16The other event that will be kicking off in August is Bout of Books, which is my favourite of the readathon events – but August is the ‘thon that I generally don’t take part in or low key participate. It runs from 22 – 28 August, and this year my Dad’s 60th falls just before that, and my own birthday too. My sister is also due to have her baby late August – early September and I don’t want to be focusing on something like Bout of Books when I should focus on helping and being with family. If I do participate, it will probably be a limited amount of time. Or even limiting myself to how much reading I complete.


Books Read in July – 5

The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman – Laurence Sterne – 4 stars
The Innocents – Ace Atkins – 4 stars
Fire Point – Sean Black – 4 stars
The Edge of Alone – Sean Black – 2 stars
The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton – 5 stars


Book Reviews in July – 3 full reviews, 3 tiny ones.

The Innocents – Ace Atkins
The Edge of Alone – Sean Black
House of Mirth – Edith Wharton
Review Spree: Some Unholy War – Terence Strong, Birthdays for the Dead – Stuart Macbride, One Hit – Jack Coughlin


Challenge Progress

Read My Books Challenge
Tristram Shandy

5 in 2016

Classic a Month/Classics Club Challenge

Tristram Shandy
The House of Mirth

Series a Month
Did not participate in the Series a Month Challenge in July


August TBR

Well, I’ve already read three books in August, so I’m not going to actually list which books I’m planning on reading but have already read. I’m going to be focusing on finishing my #20booksofsummer and actually mood read. There’s a couple of new release military fiction releases that I’m eyeing off… so I might give myself leave to read them this month. I’m also going to aim for at three books off my classics club list – I’ve already read Brave New World, hopefully finish Middlemarch and then one other (shorter/easier reading) classic.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons I Love Readathons

TTT

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the lovely peeps at The Broke and The Bookish. Every week the challenge is to list 10 things/books of a certain theme/question. 

So – if you have been hanging around Ranty Runt of a Reader for any period of time, you might have observed that I LOVE readathons. Here’s my list of 9 things I love about readathons, and one thing I dislike about them.

  1. I read all the things. During a week long readathon, I usually finish between 4-6 books. That’s the same number of books I would normally read in a month on average. In a 24 hour readathon I might knock off a book and a half.
  2. Readathons force me to read different genres. I read lots of thriller novels – I’d say 75% of my reading would fall in the thriller genre. But if you read six thriller novels back to back, things can get repetitive, boring and slumpy. Normally, I would include a classic and something sci-fi or fantasy themed in my TBR. If I read a romance – chances are it was during a readathon.
  3. They usually are flexible with book choice. I don’t read YA or romance – and many book blogging events revolve around those two genres. Readathons generally don’t force you to read a certain genre/book, so I feel I can participate equally with those who DO read those genres.
  4. I get excited to read. During a readathon, I need to strategically prioritize reading over other things, like hobbies, TV and work. I’m excited to add to my page count, to finish a book, to review a book. During a readathon, I’m more excited about everything.
  5. I meet new bookish people. Readathons usually have a sign-up link, and part of my preparation for a readathon is to check out other people’s blogs and friend them if I find them interesting. It’s also great to meet people who blog about different authors/genres.
  6. They provide a hook to my blog. Sometimes, I don’t post as regularly as I would wish. I program the dates of readathons into my phone (especially the bigger events) and even when I’m not feeling like blogging, a readathon will at least get me to crack open a book. Also, most likely lead me to reading other peoples blogs, and then I provide my own with some love. They are events that hook me back into blogging.
  7. They provide different content. Sometimes blogging can start to feel stale. When I first started, all I did was reviews, and that became old quick. Readathons provide something else to write about, but doesn’t require much research or preparation. Challenges within readathons are GREAT for this.
  8. Readathons continue blogging traditions/memories. Some of the more established readathons have become institutions within the blogging community. Events like Bout of Books have been running for so long that it seems like my calendar is divided into the three parts of the year between ‘thons. Also, Dewey’s 24hr readathon keeps the memory of a passed blogger. This is all important for our community.
  9. I get students to read in class. When I am teaching, and a readathon happens to be at the same time, I tell ALL my students about the readathon. Then when it’s time for silent reading I inform students that it’s my readathon time and then we see how much we can read.

And number 10. I always find out about readathons too late. I constantly find wrap-up posts/videos or update posts from during the readathon. I know there’s a couple blogs out there that try to keep track of these things, but so far no list I’ve found has been that comprehensive and kept up to date. Am I missing a resource here?

Are you hosting a readathon? Let me know. Do you love them as much as I do? Do you hate them (are you even human?)? Why?

 

#20booksofsummer (in winter) Challenge

20 books of summer

The 20 Books of Summer challenge is being hosted by Cathy over at 746 Books. Check out her blog, and join in if you so wish! I’m a little late to this party, but I’ve been undecided about what books I’m going to commit to. As always, these choices might get changed as I go, but I’m going to try and stick to this list as much as possible.

I’ve selected 10 books from my Classics Club list – in an attempt at making a serious dent in that challenge too. It means that quite a few of my books won’t be ‘easy’ reading, but I find I read more classics in winter anyway.

I’ve also made sure 10 of the books are by female authors (and I almost had 9, plus Evelyn Waugh! Oooops.) I’m trying to balance out the male/female issue I have, but then it just pained me to notice my Classics Club list is a sausage fest.

Anyway, onto the list.

# Title Author Pages Y.O.P M/F
1 Deathlist Chris Ryan 309 2016 M
2 The Innocents Ace Atkins 384 2016 M
3 This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen Tadeusz Borowski 278 2015 M
4 White Fang Jack London 155 1906 M
5 Blackout Chris Ryan 432 2006 M
6 A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess 141 1962 M
7 Tristram Shandy Laurence Sterne 630 1759 M
8 State of Emergency Andy McNab 350 2015 M
9 Fire Point Sean Black 424 2014 M
10 The Edge of Alone Sean Black 269 2016 M
11 Iron Lake William Kent Krueger 330 1998 M
12 Brave New World Aldous Huxley 268 1931 M
13 The House of Mirth Edith Wharton 416 1905 F
14 Dark Forces Stephen Leather 432 2016 M
15 Ghost Sniper Scott McEwen 416 2016 M
16 The Awakening Kate Chopin 195 1899 F
17 The Fighting Season Bram Connolly 336 2016 M
18 Journey to the Center of the Earth Jules Verne 240 1864 M
19 Bad Soldier Chris Ryan 375 2016 M
20 The Pigeon Patrick Suskind 77 1988 M

It is in no particular order, and includes 8 books off my shelves that I haven’t gotten to yet (hello Read My Books challenge), and a couple new releases I’m looking forward to during winter. Also included Tristram Shandy, my Classics Club spin, and Middlemarch for the Eliot-Along (which you should all join, btw. Details here.)

Extra brownie points will be awarded if I can manage to review them all.

Anyone else participating? Did you theme/restrict your lists like I did? Anyone else freaking out about all the guys hanging out on their Classics TBR lists?

The Classics Club Spin #13

It’s time for yet another Classics Club Spin – and although I didn’t finish the last one, I’m going to jump ahead and get myself a new spin book so I don’t have to keep staring at Dracula. I’ve thrown in a couple choices that mean I can read with someone else, but if you see we have a book in common, let me know and I’ll juggle around my list so we can read together, if you like!

Onto the list:

  1. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
  2. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  3. Casino Royale – Ian Fleming
  4. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  5. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  6. The Plague – Albert Camus
  7. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  8. White Fang – Jack London
  9. Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper
  10. The Maltese Falcon – Dashiell Hammett
  11. The Sound and the Fury – William Faulkner
  12. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  13. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  15. Tristram Shandy – Laurence Sterne
  16. Journey to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne
  17. Night and Day – Virginia Woolf
  18. A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
  19. Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
  20. The Absentee – Maria Edgeworth

Update: I’ll be reading Tristram Shandy.

 

Ranty Roundup – May

I took a bit of a reading and blogging break in March and April – a delicious combination of school, work, family commitments and my body falling apart meant reading took a backseat. However, May provided me with the opportunity to crack some spines (my own and some books) and get some reading in.

I participated – albeit on twitter – in Bout of Books 16, and that worked out well with the amount of commitments I have right now. I much prefer participating on my blog, so I hope next Bout of Books I will have the opportunity to actually fit in some blogging and challenges too.

51zj2wRqm0L._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_My favourite book I read this month was First Response by Stephen Leather. It was fresh, different and had an excellent main character. I will be posting a full review on Thursday, and will go into some of the things that I loved about this book. It’s a bit different for Stephen Leather, but it works well.

Plans for June include trying to get some review and recently published novels read and reviewed – there’s at least four novels published in the past few months that I’ve procrastinated on. I am going to attempt to be more consistent with blogging – aim for a post a week, minimum.

My other goal for June is to read at least one classic. I’ve been neglecting my Classics Club list, and I really need to get back to it and put some effort in. I’ve been sitting on a copy of Dracula for the last three months and I haven’t even opened it yet.


Books read in May – 5
Promise – Tony Cavanaugh
Some Unholy War – Terrence Strong
First Response – Stephen Leather
Off the Grid – C.J. Box
The Sandpit – Stephen Leather


Book Reviews in May – 1

Promise by Tony Cavanaugh 


Challenge Progress

Read My Books Challenge
First Response by Stephen Leather
3 in 2016

Classic a Month/Classics Club Challenge
Did not read a classic in May.

Series a Month
Did not participate in the Series a Month Challenge in May.


June TBR

I’m going to aim to read 6-8 books in June. I also have the second half of Chris Ryan’s Deathlist waiting for me.

Dracula – Bram Stoker
No Safe Place – Matt Hilton
State of Emergency – Andy McNab
Fire Point – Sean Black
Nothing Short of Dying – Erik Storey
The Wrecking Crew – Taylor Zajonc
The Twisted Knot – JM Peace

Ranty Roundup – February

So… It’s 9 days into March, and here I am, posting my summary for the previous month! Ha. I’ve got an extremely busy few months ahead of me, and I probably won’t be too active on the blog until May, but I will continue to abuse the service that is twitter, follow me @bookybecksa and I’ll follow back.

I only read two books in March, The Innocent by Sean Black and Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte. I can’t choose a favourite because I loved BOTH! I’ll be posting a review of Agnes in the next week or so, hopefully. It’s on my Classics Club Challenge list, so I really do need to review.

February was also the month of the #BBAW, which I loved participating in! I just wish I had more time/energy/resources/foresight to actually participate more. It was a great community event, and I really do hope that the organizers make it happen again next year. I met many new blogging friends and followed SO many new people on twitter who are constantly opening my reading horizons.

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I also attempted to start reading Ulysses – but then realised that reading such a challenging book (I could only tackle it in five minute moments before I would get frustrated) during uni semester is probably not the best idea.

March is going to be focused primarily on fun, genre reads. I am going to lowkey participate in the #slaythatseries which runs from March 13 – March 20. I’ll post a TBR for that readathon a day or two before it hits us!

Like usual, I will tackle a classic this month – I missed the official pick for the classics club spin, but as I have not seen which number won, I will post my list today and then check out what spun up. A little naughty, but the classics club spin is one of my favourite bookish events, so I don’t wanna miss out!


Books Read in February – 2

Agnes Grey – Anne Bronte – 4 stars
The Innocent – Sean Black – 4 stars.


Book Reviews in February

None! (such a naughty book reviewer!)


Challenge progress

Read my Books Challenge

Agnes Grey – Anne Bronte

1 book read in February / 2 in 2016

Classic a Month Challenge & Classics Club

Agnes Grey – Anne Bronte – Review to come

Series a Month

Did not participate in Series a month during February.


March TBR

One Hit – Jack Coughlin and Donald A. Davis
Promise – Tony Cavanaugh
Fire Point – Sean Black
State of Emergency – Andy McNab
Off the Grid – C.J. Box
First Response – Stephen Leather
Classic for the classics club

My Goal for the month will be to read 5-6 books.

Top 15 of 2015

It’s the end of another year! I can’t believe how quickly this year has passed. There have been some great moments and some not so great moments, but I am ready for 2016! I’ve read some great books in 2015, and I have compiled a list of the 15 best books, according to me. I’m surprised by how many new releases have made my list, most years I usually work my way through author’s backlists, but now I am actually caught up with quite a few of my favourite series. Anyway, onto the list! I’ve linked to my reviews, if I happened to review them!

 

15. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

I really enjoyed this novel, I read it so that I could teach the short story at school, but found myself wishing I could just teach the novel. It brings to mind so many questions about morals and disability.

14. Kingdom of the Strong by Tony Cavanaugh

Such a great book! So tense and well plotted out. My first foray into Cavanaugh’s work, but I’m going to go hustle up some copies of his backlist.

13. Lockdown by Sean Black

I chose to include the first book in this series in my list, despite liking book 3 just as much. I discovered this series in 2015, and I am loving it. Lock is such a great character and I love his tough-cool sidekick, Ty.

12. The Sniper & The Wold by Scott McEwen and Thomas Koloniar

Yet another series I started this year, this series follows Gil Shannon who is a sniper. I love the way Ewen and Koloniar mixes political, military, action and family drama to create really involved storylines.

11. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad

One of the better classics I have read, this one had a really great twist at the end and kept me reading through a readathon!

10. Black Ops by Stephen Leather

Leather’s Spider Shepherd series is my favourite series – and Black Ops was a solid addition to it. I get so excited to read these books when they are released, then power through all 500p in less than a day. This was a fun read, but doesn’t feature higher up the list because other books have been more memorable.

9. Diggers Rest Hotel by Geoffrey McGeachin

The first in the Charlie Berlin series – Diggers Rest Hotel is a historical mystery set in the 60’s and 70’s Melbourne. It is really interesting and the characters that McGeachin has created are second to none. This whole series is worth checking out.

8. Sandakan – Paul Ham 

Sandakan took me AGES to read – about 3 months. It was too heavy to read for prolonged periods, but I felt so compelled to know more that I kept picking it back up, reading for ten pages, and then putting it down in disgust. Not at the author, but at what happened. This is one of those non-fiction reads that made me angry (also, how could I have not been told about this in my many years studying history at university) and will stick with me for a long time.

7. Death Force – Matt Lynn

I’ve read all four books in the Death Force series, and they rate up there – each one earning at least four star ratings. My average on Goodreads is 3.2, so that tells you something about how many 4’s and 5’s I award! The big difference about these military thrillers is that it surrounds a team or mercenaries who are completing dangerous jobs not for queen and country, but for their bank balance. It adds a different element. I also like the way that these books feature a very strong ensemble of characters, from all over the world. The last book in the series would be my favourite, but I’ll always be thankful to Death Force for hooking me.

6. In The Cold Dark Ground by Stuart MacBride. – Review to come in 2016

I had MacBride’s other novel The Misisng and the Dead at number 8 in this list, but I read In The Cold Dark Ground at the very end of December and it deserves its place higher up this list. I’m a total fangirl for McRae – I love him and his boss/friend/annoyance Roberta Steel. This would be one of my favourite books of the series, I won’t give anything away but… so much happens. The ending is UNBELIEVABLE, and it made me cackle like a mad old witch.

5. Hellfire – Chris Ryan

The Danny Black series is strong. It was made stronger in Hellfire through an amazing plot featuring Caitlin. She would have to be my favourite character of the year – she was strong, capable and realistic. She was not introduced as a love interest, and although she ended up hooking up with someone, it certainly added depth to her character – not his! Hellfire was riveting, fact paced and Chris Ryan at the top of his game.

4. The Call of The Wild – Jack London

I read the whole of The Call of The Wild in my ophthalmologists waiting room. It was sensational, I loved its exploration of the similarities between beast and man. After I finished it, I was talking about it for weeks. I’ve also just built a unit plan around it and cannot wait to teach it (hopefully in 2016!)

3. The Devil’s Anvil – Matt Hilton

The Joe Hunter series is one that has cemented its place in my bookshelf and heart. The first few books in the series were good, but a bit formulaic. They combine the hunting down a serial killer trope with the action man character. That’s great, but in the past few books the plot has deepened and the characters have become more engaging. I also have an obsession with the banter between Hunter and Rink – it is so witty and hilarious.

2. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

Damn, Wilde can write. I know, that’s not news, but I hadn’t known. I wasn’t ready and I was blown away. The storyline is so well known, so how can you be surprised? I need to hunt down more Wilde now, but I haven’t squeezed him into my classics club list, so it will have to be additional to my monthly classics club read!

1. Fortress by Andy McNab

This surprises me. I like Andy McNab books, and I’ve probably read close to a dozen. They are always enjoyable, but somewhat mindless action romps in which the hero does remarkable things to save the world/the girl/the company and then proceeds like it is no big deal. Not so with Fortress. I was emotionally invested in Buckingham’s situation. I identified with his background and where he was coming from. The exploration of politics and moral issues was deep and complex, with a delicate handling of racism and right-wing extremists. I have put off reading the next book in the series because this book was so good, I can’t imagine that anything will top it, and as such, it will be a disappointment. I’ve never felt like that about a book before.

As such, Fortress by Andy McNab is the best book I read in 2015