Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Challenge Wrap Up: Once Upon a Time IV

out4 Each year, Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings hosts the Once Upon a Time challenge. It’s a chance to read fantasy, mythology, folklore and fairy tales. It is, of course, right up my alley. Last year was the first time I signed up. I didn’t quite manage to complete it, easily reading the books component, but not managing to watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I was going to take the easy way and just sign up for the books this year, but I’ve decided to take the risk. It won’t be the end of the world if I don’t manage it and it gives me something to aim for.

out4questthree So I’ve decided to aim for “Quest the Third”. The challenge is to read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time IV criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres AND top it off with a June reading of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream OR a viewing of one of the many theatrical versions of the play. I’m planning to watch the play rather than read it.

The timetable for the challenge is between Sunday, 21st March and Sunday, 20th June 2010.

My Once Upon a Time IV reading list (reviews over on Saving My Sanity...):

  1. Enchanted Glass – Diana Wynne Jones
  2. Archangel’s Kiss – Nalini Singh
  3. The Ivory and the Horn - Charles de Lint
  4. Howl's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones
  5. At Grave's End - Jeaniene Frost
  6. Silver Borne - Patricia Briggs
  7. Heart Mate - Robin D. Owen
  8. The Girl Who Chased the Moon - Sarah Addison Allen
  9. The Iron King - Julie Kagawa
  10. Many Waters - Madeleine L'Engle
  11. Sunshine - Robin McKinley

Once again I failed to watch the play (usual excuse of bad health and little energy), but I'm happy with the books I managed to get read. And if nothing else, it is lovely opportunity to see what books I'm reading in a certain genre over a certain amount of time.

Challenge Wrap Up: Sci Fi Experience 2010


Chris of Stainless Steel Dropping hosts some wonderful challenges. I haven’t tried his Sci Fi Experience before, but I going to this year and see if I can get some of those SF books languishing on the TBR read at last.

The Sci Fi Experience 2010 will take place from January 1st, 2010 through February 28th, 2010. During this time I will be following what is my natural inclination during these winter months, and that is to fully embrace science fiction, in my reading, film/tv watching, and game playing. Two years ago I decided to share this winter reading predilection with all of you wonderful readers in the hopes that perhaps others would join me in experiencing the unique joy that comes with entertaining science fiction stories. There is no official sign up, no call to read a certain number of books, no pressure to challenge yourself in any way. Nothing about this two month period of science fiction celebration should cause anyone to feel obligated to participate. I host two other very involved challenges throughout the year and the last thing I want to do is start a new year adding stress to your busy lives, or my own.

My list of potential reads is over on Saving My Sanity… Let’s see what I actually read.

  1. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
  2. Mirror Dance - Lois McMaster Bujold
  3. A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle
  4. The Ask and the Answer - Patrick Ness
  5. Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale - Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook
  6. Doubleblind - Ann Aguirre
  7. A Wind in the Door - Madeleine L'Engle
  8. This Alien Shore - C. S. Friedman
  9. Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer

Nine books completed.

June 2010 Reading

Yes, technically there’s still one more day of June to go down in this part of the world but with three books on the go and none near completion, I might as well do this now and post it.

Right now I am reading SOOOOOO slowly. I’m not sure if it’s lack of time or that the actual reading process has slowed. I rather suspect it’s a combination of both. Therefore, not surprisingly, June was a poor reading month.

With a vague feeling that I’d been struggling this time last year as well, I took a look back at my 2009 monthly posts and found some interesting numbers. To make it more interesting I also wet back to my Library Thing account to find the numbers for 2008.























Looking at this, I don’t really know if it has any significance or not. It looked quite good until I added in the 2008 data. But it is worth noting that 2009 is the year Marcus started school and the demands on my time and energy went up markedly. My reading did pick up as the year went on, so I hope that happens again as the TBR has exploded out of control and is now up to 65 books, which is huge for me.

So here you go, my 3 measly books read in June this year.

  1. Saltation – Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (400pp)
    Liaden Universe, Book 12; SF; 8/10
  2. Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale (The Final Chapter) – Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook (768pp)
    Media; Non-Fiction; Library Book; DNF
  3. Local Custom – Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (320pp)
    Liaden Universe, Book 1; SF; 9/10
  4. Feed – Mira Grant (608 pages)
    Newsflesh, Book 1; SF; Library Book; 9/10

Best book of the month = Local Custom
Biggest surprise of the month = Feed
Biggest disappointment of the month = Doctor Who: The Writer’s Tale

June Reading:
Books read this month = 3
Short Stories read this month = 0
Total reads this month = 3

10/10 reads this month = 0
DNFs this month = 1
New reads this month = 2
Rereads this month = 1
paper books : eBooks = 1 : 2  = 33 % : 66 %

Pages read this month = 400 + 320 + 608 = 1328

June Challenges Progress
Flashback Reading Challenge = 1
Big Book Challenge = 1
Once Upon a Time IV Challenge = 0

June List Progress
eBooks read = 2
SFF books read = 3
Library Books read = 1
Audiobooks listened to = 0

Spell Fail

Looking back over today's posts I see that my spelling and grammar are even more atrocious than usual. I do apologise and choose to blame the CFS brain fog which is in the ascendant at the moment.

And here's a cute photo of Marcus from our recent visit to Wellington. His cousin has SUCH a cool playground to play on.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

May 2010 Reading

Yes, I acknowledge that this post is a month late. I do apologise for that. I have no excuse beyond the usual one: bad health and lack of energy.

It was an interesting reading month. One clear favourite came through in the shape of Robin McKinley’s Sunshine,  which was one of those books that I didn’t know why I hadn’t read, but I just hadn’t. I picked it up this month and was blown away by it. I returned my library copy, only to go online and order a copy for myself. I paid a little extra to get exactly the format and cover I wanted. (Deerskin currently remains on the TBR.)

The biggest surprise of the month was Deborah Blum’s book about the development of chemical forensics in New York in the 1920s. It was on the “look at this” display shelf at the library and I picked it up out of curiosity. As soon as I started reading I was hooked as she related the development of new chemical tests for poisons to cases of the time and the lives of two of the men most closely involved. I’m very glad I picked this one up.

I continue with my grand total of zero for audiobooks this year. I just can’t manage them as all I do is fall asleep and then can never find the place where I stopped following the story and started phasing out. I’ve been listening to podcasts instead, which are marginally better if only because they are shorter, meaning I can get one finished in a few nights.

  1. Sunshine – Robin McKinley (389pp)
    Fantasy; Library Book; 10/10
  2. Fledgling – Sharon Lee and Steve Miller (384pp)
    Liaden Universe, Book 11; SF; eBook; 8/10
  3. The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York – Deborah Blum (336pp)
    Non-Fiction; Library Book; 9/10
  4. The Tender Leaves – Essie Summers (188pp)
    Romance; Reread; 8/10
  5. Devil to Pay (in the anthology Four Dukes and a Devil) – Jeannine Frost (unknown)
    Night Huntress World; Paranormal Romance; Short Story; 7/10
  6. Through Violet Eyes – Stephen Woodworth (368pp)
    Violets, Book 1; SF; Mystery; Reread; eBook; 7/10
  7. With Red Hands – Stephen Woodworth (336pp)
    Violets, Book 2; SF; Mystery; eBook; 7/10

Best book of the month = Sunshine
Biggest disappointment of the month = none

May Reading:
Books read this month = 6
Short Stories read this month = 1
Total reads this month = 7

10/10 reads this month = 1
DNFs this month = 0
New reads this month = 4
Rereads this month = 2
paper books : eBooks = 3 : 3  = 50 % : 50 %

Pages read this month = 389 + 384 + 336 + 188 + 368 + 336 = 2001

May Challenges Progress
Flashback Reading Challenge = 2 
Big Book Challenge = 0
Once Upon a Time IV Challenge = 1

May List Progress
eBooks read = 3
SFF books read = 4
Library Books read = 2
Audiobooks listened to = 0

Challenge Wrap Up: Time Quartet/Quintet Read-Along

Time Quartet/Quintet Read-Along


Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Trilogy/Quartet/Quintet books were some of my favourites growing up. So I’m going to try to take the opportunity being offered by Kailana at The Written Word to reread them in the first half of 2010.

Here are Kailana’s guidelines:

  1. You have until January 31st to finish the book.
  2. On January 15th I will post a place to talk about spoiler-related things. Things you want to talk about but can't mention in your review.
  3. The reviews should aim to be finished on the last week of January because I want to have questions that everyone answers in their posts and people need to have time to come up with them.
  4. For a sense of community I am hoping that people will come up with questions about the book. I am hoping to have them all by the 20th so I can post them and people can write their reviews. Even if you take the whole month to read the book I hope you will come up with questions. Send in a few so there are some variety. It isn't much fun if people send the same questions over and over again. How you choose to use the questions (and whether you choose to use all of them) is up to you.
  5. When I post the questions on the 20th, I will also post a place to post links to your reviews.
  6. Feel free to use the button, made by Jason, wherever you want. It's great!

Will I make it? Let us see…

  1. A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle
  2. A Wind in the Door - Madeleine L'Engle
  3. A Swiftly Tilting Planet - Madeleine L'Engle
  4. Many Waters - Madeleine L'Engle

I did start the last book, An Acceptable Time, in May, but I don't think I even finished before I realised I simply didn't feel like reading it. The lovely feeling of the earlier books seemed missing and I just wasn't interested. Since my reading is a bit of the struggle at the moment and the TBR is more out of control than usual, I decided to pass on it.

I'm still happy with my success with the challege and I really enjoyed the reread. Most of all, I'm delighted that A Swiftly Tilting Planet didn't let me down and remained the amazing read I remembered from childhood.

Thank you Ms L'Engle so a wonderful trip around the universe and down memory lane.