Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Re-readathon #2- Week 2!

Monday and Tuesday

The past couple of days have been a depressing WORK-SLEEP-REPEAT so I haven't had the chance to update... or even read all that much, really. I've slightly lost track of my page numbers too... so the figures are my best guess! I've started on Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which is so wonderful. I've read these books basically every year since 1999, and I'm still finding little things that are making me want to write fanfiction. Like, how did Petunia find out about her sister's death? Was it really just opening the door the next morning and finding her now-orphaned nephew? I like to think someone came to see her during the day when Vernon was at work- maybe Lupin or someone, because everyone else was doing stuff- and told her, and she just kind of absorbed it and didn't say a word to her husband. Because my favourite headcanon is that Petunia was secretly very fond of Lily, although she'd never admit it.

On the non-re-reading front, I've started reading The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. It's one of those books I've been hearing a lot about although I never thought it would be my cup of tea- but I'm actually really enjoying it. It's funny and sweet and just a nice, easy read.

Reading: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Pages read: 150
Total pages read: 663
Books finished: none
Total number of books finished: 2
Non-reread pages read: 198


I finished another book!

Philosopher's Stone is such a quick read- I always forget that. The mystery's solved and they go through the trapdoor and BOOM, it's over. There's a bit at the very end where the Trio are talking about wait, did Dumbledore know that this was going to happen? And in hindsight it's actually really sinister. I never noticed that before.

I'm planning to finish The Rosie Project before I move on to Chamber of Secrets

Reading: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Pages read: 73
Total pages read: 736
Books finished: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
Total number of books finished: 3
Non-reread pages read: 64

Thursday and Friday

 I spent Thursday mostly at work or finishing The Rosie Project, so not much to report on the re-reading front. But I finished it, yay! I swear, this re-readathon is doing good things for my normal reading too. I started Chamber of Secrets late on Thursday night and it's going well. It was actually my favourite book of the series for quite a bit, and I can remember why- the whole mystery of the Chamber and the petrified people is just so, so good. Also, Lockhart, who we all love to hate. And maybe love just a tiny bit.

Reading: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Pages read: 121
Total pages read: 857
Books finished: none
Total number of books finished: 3


Work was extremely busy today, so I had to stay late, and of course when I got home Doctor Who was my priority- the new series started tonight. It was great but ended in a very cruel cliffhanger. I'm not going to be able to think of much else all week...

Anyway. I've started reading Jo Walton's My Real Children, which I'm absolutely in love with so far. It's about an elderly lady with dementia who remembers two different lives and doesn't know which one is real. I'm loving the mystery of it as well as the historical perspective. So, that's distracted me a bit from Chamber of Secrets... but I still got a bit read today, as far as the Polyjuice Potion incident. I'm hoping to finish it tomorrow to wrap up the readathon nicely!

Reading: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Pages read: 48
Total pages read: 905
Books finished: none
Total number of books finished: 3


I got Chamber of Secrets finished and I decided to finish reading My Real Children instead of starting Prisoner of Azkaban. It made me cry! Seriously, such a good book. 

All in all, a really successful re-readathon! I read a total of 987 pages of rereading, and something similar in non-re-reads. It's much more reading than I've been doing lately, so it's been great to dedicate some time to some great books! Thanks to Bex for hosting, we should do this again some time :)

Reading: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Pages read: 82
Total pages read: 987
Books finished: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Total number of books finished: 4

Books finished:
  • Ready Player One - Ernest Cline (I was about two thirds in at the start of the rereadathon, but ssh!)
  • Good Omens - Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J K Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J K Rowling

  • The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood (again, about the last 100 pages)
  • Where'd You Go Bernadette - Maria Semple
  • The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion
  • My Real Children - Jo Walton

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Re-readathon challenge! - Favourite re-reads list

So Bex has challenged us to make a re-read list- either books that we re-read the most, or books that you want to re-read in the near future. To start with books I re-read most often:

Harry Potter series, JK Rowling: Yeah, no surprise to anyone who knows me. I've read the whole series almost every year since there only were three books in the series. There's something weirdly comforting about being able to come back to Harry Potter and the words I first read at the age of six that have followed me my whole life.

Among Others, Jo Walton: I read this book in January 2014, read it again several weeks later, and then reread it again recently and it still holds up wonderfully. And that's not to mention the many times I pick it up just to browse through it and read a few favourite bits. I have trouble articulating what this book means to me- I happened to read it at a time in my life when I desperately needed it, and it's been a strange source of comfort to me ever since.

Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien: I've read the LoTR series... six times? And The Hobbit a few more times than that as well. I was a massive LoTR nerd around the time the movies were coming out and I've read them again in recent years. The Hobbit is just wonderful.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte: Kind of my favourite book of all time, sort of, depending on the criteria. I love Jane Eyre- I couldn't even say how many times I've read it. I also studied it at GCSE, A Level and at undergrad. And I'm still not sick of it. I still notice different things in it each time.

And books I want to reread soon, which I won't get to this fortnight but will hopefully get to soon:

High Fidelity, Nick Hornby I loved this when I read it more than four years ago, but I don't remember it very well. I also don't read enough about music despite being a big Music Person.

The Crimson Petal and the White, Michel Faber: I've been meaning to reread this for ages, but I think I'm always put off by the size of the damn thing! I absolutely loved it when I read it though. It ticks so many of my personal boxes: evocative descriptions of the Victorian era, prostitutes, women.

Notes on a Scandal, Zoe Heller: It's weird, because I never even expected to like this book. It was assigned reading in first year of uni, and for some reason bits of it keep coming back to me- mostly Barbara stuff. She's so subtly sinister, and there's all the unreliable narrator stuff that I love.

The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling: Because more JKR, why not? Seriously though, ever since the TV adaptation came out I've been craving a reread of this. The TV show was good, but nowhere near as good as the book. Or so I remember.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Re-readathon #2

It's here! Bex is hosting another re-readathon, this time over two weeks.

I'll be taking part probably just a little bit, as I have library books and stuff to read, but I'm sure I'll be able to fit in a few old favourites. 

This is my humble book pile:

I'm keeping things pretty simple. I happen to be already most of the way through my second reading of  Ready Player One, so finishing that off will be the first order of business. Then I plan on reading Good Omens, which I haven't read in a stupidly long time and for some reason slipped my mind for the last re-readathon. Seriously, when I first read this book, I hadn't read any other Neil Gaiman except for Sandman. THAT's how long ago it was. Then I just plan on reading as much of the Harry Potter series as possible, as that's also long overdue for a reread. I'm excited!


5.45 pm: I spent most of today playing with my cats and fighting with my laptop, which has been acting very weird lately. I did manage to finish The Blind Assassin, which I wanted to get out of the way before I got stuck into rereads. I've got work tonight even though I'd much rather be reading more Ready Player One- still, I'll hopefully get a little bit read in my break and when I get home. 

Later: I not only managed to finish Ready Player One, but I got started on Good Omens as well! I realise I remember virtually nothing about it except some memorable character names- you don't forget names like Wensleydale and Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery. 

Reading: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Pages read: 109
Total pages read: 109
Books finished: Ready Player One


8.00 pm: I'm off today, so I read a bit of Good Omens in bed over a nice leisurely breakfast. Then it turned into a nice afternoon so my flatmates and I headed down to the library to read/study. Although, I actually brought a library book with me- Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple- which isn't a reread but so far I'm really enjoying it, so, shh. It'll be back to Good Omens for the rest of the day though, hopefully.

Reading: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Pages read: 55
Total pages read: 164
Books finished: none
Total number of books finished: 1
Non-reread pages read: 96


1.58 am: It's technically Thursday I suppose. I work weird hours- sometimes my shift starts at 6 am, sometimes it finishes at 6 am. This week is more along the line of work nights/sleep mornings, so plenty of unsociable hours.

I thought I didn't get much read today but I actually did, just in my break at work and for a little while when I got home. Good Omens is as hilarious as I remembered- little bits of it are coming back to me now, wonderful things like "Have you got your ane scissors?" and "They'd come here to spoon and, on one memorable occasion, to fork." And the footnotes! I never thought I'd be giggling at a footnote about firelighters. 

Reading: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Pages read: 104
Total pages read: 268
Books finished: none
Total number of books finished: 1
Non-reread pages read: 15


2.02 am: So, I actually read quite a lot this morning... the problem was, it wasn't a reread. I can't help it; I'm really enjoying Where'd You Go, Bernadette? - although the title seems pretty inaccurate to me- I'm two-thirds through it and she's only just gone missing. It's told mostly through emails and letters which is such a quick, easy, way to read and I'm just charmed by it all, basically.

So, Good Omens has fallen on the back burner a wee bit... but I am planning to read more of it before I go to bed. Which will be around 4 or 5, because my job has made me a vampire.

Reading: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Pages read: 51
Total pages read: 324
Books finished: none
Total number of books finished: 1
Non-reread pages read: 99


8.26 pm: I really need to get my chronic procrastination under control before I go back to uni. I got up at about 1, went into town, faffed about on the internet a bit, made dinner, faffed about some more... and now it's an hour before I have to leave for work and I've hardly read anything. Oh well. Hopefully I'll get a bit read during my break and when I get in in the morning if I'm not too tired... although I suppose that will technically count as Saturday reading. Night shifts, you are confusing.

Reading: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Pages read: 58
Total pages read: 382
Books finished: none
Total number of books finished: 1


8.43 pm: Between when I got home this morning and when I woke up this afternoon I managed to finish Where'd You Go Bernadette?, yay! It was great, I'm glad I'm finally cracking into my library books. It's strange that it took a re-readathon to make me do it, but there you have it... I got a bit more of Good Omens read today too, but only a wee bit- I'm back off to work now soon. Off tomorrow though!

Reading: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Pages read: 25
Total pages read: 407
Books finished: none
Total number of books finished: 1
Non-reread pages read: 


12.33 am: I finished Good Omens today, yay! I've gone back home for the night as I'm off and have been sitting reading beside two cute kitties all night. It's bliss. Except when little six-week-old Checkers tries to walk over my keyboard... he's adorable though, so I forgive him. I'm going to read some library books for a bit now but I'll hopefully make a start on Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone tonight or tomorrow!

Reading: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Pages read: 106
Total pages read: 513
Books finished: Good Omens
Total number of books finished: 2
Non-reread pages read: 93

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What I'm reading now, adventures in tattooing, and some challenges!

Hello! It's been a full two weeks since Bout of Books, so I figured an update was due.

So I started a new job during Bout of Books and I'm settling in pretty well, I think. It's actually quite nice working again- I'm so much more productive when I'm working. When I'm off I tend to just lie about watching reality TV and browsing Reddit, while if I'm at work all day and come home with just a couple of hours before bed I'm far more likely to actually want to play the ukulele or read a decent book. So that's good.

That said, I hardly read anything last week- for two days in a row I read absolutely nothing, and on the third day I managed about 10 pages. That's pretty shameful for me. A day when I read nothing at all just feels wrong.

I did finally finish NOS4R2 though, after reading it for far longer than I should have. Weirdly, that happened to me with Joe Hill's Horns as well, I think I was reading that for about the entirety of October... Overall I liked it, but I think I ruined it for myself slightly by taking so long to read it and having too high expectations after reading so many rave reviews. Still, I'd definitely recommend it if it sounds like your thing.

I've been a bit better about reading in the past few days, though- I've finally been able to give The Blind Assassin the time it deserves as well, and I'm really enjoying it. It's so hard to describe, and not really what I thought it'd be at all. Mostly it's the story of Iris Chase growing up in the Depression which is pretty fascinating, but then you've got extracts from her sister's novel (the 'The Blind Assassin' within the book) which is sort of a fantasy story within a story... it's odd and interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.

In an effort to pick myself up out of my recent reading slump, I started rereading Ready Player One which I read and loved a couple of years back. It's still so good- maybe even better than I remember, as I understand more of the references this time around. Also, I'm terrible at remembering plot intricacies so I can't remember how it ends, which is working to my advantage. In case this one slipped your radar, it's set in the future, where a sort of MMORPG called OASIS has essentially usurped society. When the creator of OASIS dies, he leaves his fortune to whomever can solve the puzzles hidden all around the world. Just everything about this book is so good- the world-building, and all the geeky references and the character. I can't put it down.

In other book-related news, I got my first ever tattoo on Tuesday! I mean I'd been totally sure what I wanted for well over four years, but I finally bit the bullet and got it done.

Yep, I finally have words from Harry Potter branded on my arm forever, and it means so much to me. I've had an obsession with Harry Potter from the age of six, and 'expecto patronum' means so much to me. I've struggled with depression for most of my life, and the Dementors = depression metaphor has always resonated strongly with me. 

Professor Lupin continued, 'The Patronus is a kind of positive force, a projection of the very things that the Dementor feeds upon - hope, happiness, the desire to survive - but it cannot feel despair, as real humans can, so the Dementors can't hurt it.' Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, p. 176

That, tied in with how books have helped me in my darkest times, all basically adds up to words that I'm proud to have on my arm. 

There's also various stuff happening on book blogs in the next few weeks, which I'm looking forward to taking part in. First up, Bex at An Armchair by the Sea is doing another re-readathon, this time over two weeks! I had a wonderful time during the last one, but I'll be taking a pretty casual approach to it this time- I've got library books and I want to finish The Blind Assassin, so I'll be rereading just a little on the side. I'm thinking I'll start with Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and then see how far I can get in the Harry Potter series :)


Then there's R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, aka RIP X, which is an event running between 1st September and 31st October encouraging reading gothic/horror/supernatural/suspense etc books. I'm a big fan of seasonal reading, so I definitely want to take part in this to some extent. The problem is, I don't have a whole lot of things on my shelves that would fit into this category! So we'll see what I can rustle up at the library, if anything.

Also, Alice over at the wonderful Reading Rambo is hosting a read-a-long of Matthew Lewis's The Monk! I study 18th and 19th century literature so I've heard a lot about this book and how influential it has been but I've never actually read it, so, time to change that with my first ever read-a-long! Also, the Amazon summary made me laugh out loud (the devil is disguised as a woman disguised as a monk, wut), so there's that.

So yeah, that's all my news! I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully, for Bex's Re-Readathon!