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buttonI had such fun taking part in the 2015 version of this challenge (I wrote my wrap-up post only the other day – you can find it here if you are interested) that I decided to take part again this year.

I’m going to stretch myself a little bit more this time around, and aim for the Fearless category, which means I have to read 11-15 horror books and if I succeed I will get a nifty badge.

I’m not doing a reading list for this as such, BUT because I’m planning to read along with and hopefully attend meetings of the Horror Book Club, I already have some books picked out which will fit in with this challenge, and these are:

  • January – The Troop
  • February – The House of Leaves (a re-read)
  • March – Anno Dracula (a re-read)
  • April – My Work is Not Yet Done
  • May –  The Heart Shaped Box (a re-read)

If I succeed with these I’ll be well on my way to meeting my goal, and I have a couple of unread Stephen King novels I can throw into the mix if I need to; should be good!

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 4.47.12 PMWhat did I say I was going to do?

As I said in my sign up post, I am aiming to be a Brave Reader, which means reading 6-10 books during the course of the year. My first quarterly update can be found here, the second one is here, and the third one is here.

How did I do?

My reading slump lasted almost until the end of the year, which was a real shame, but I did manage to read another three horror novels (two of which I haven’t reviewed as yet):

  • The Uninvited by Liz Jensen (light horror but creepy as hell)
  • Slade House by David Mitchell
  • The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King.

That brings my horror total for the year to 16 which is well above my goal of Brave Reader, so very pleased with that.

My membership of The Horror Book Club means I already have four horror titles slated for 2016 reading 😀

 

 

 

IMG_0886I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas. I was very pleased with the great selection of books I was given (picture to the right – with a couple of DVDs and an audio play).

We apply a very simple mechanism to selecting gifts – we share an enormous list of things we want, then the other selects an agreed number of presents. That means we get things we want without knowing exactly what we’re getting.

It also means that I get to make some additional purchases after the holidays to pick up things I didn’t get as presents  before I hit the end of the year and the TBR dare and self-imposed buying embargo.

But in the background I finished the Stephen King short story collection I was in the middle of this time last week, continued to move forward with Jack the Ripper and began my first read for the 2016 Sci-fi experience, The Three-Body Problem (Chinese sci-fi, very interesting).

So what did I get?:

  • The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly – Two words: The bullet. That’s all it takes to shatter her life.
  • Abomination by Gary Whitta – “Game of Thrones by way of HP Lovecraft”
  • The Visitant by Megan Chance – A crumbling palazzo in nineteenth century Venice holds a buried secret
  • Romantic Moderns by Alexandra Harris – subtitle = English Writers, Artists and the Imagination from Virginia Woolf to John Piper
  • The Lost Landscape by Joyce Carol Oates – one of my absolute favourite writers, this is “a writer’s coming of age
  • Old Man’s War by John Scalzi – because everyone tells me to read this
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn by Susan Boyd – “in search of the Tudors’ most notorious queen” (really?) because it wouldn’t be Christmas without something about the 16th Century
  • The Rim of the Morning by William Sloane – “two tales of cosmic horror” with an introduction by Stephen King
  • The Hotel on Place Vendome by Tilar J Mazzeo – “life, death, and betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris
  • The Last Policeman by Ben H Winters – can’t remember who recommended this but it’s been on my list forever
  • Made to Kill by Adam Christopher – “part Chandler, part Asimov, and part Philip K Dick” – ooooh!
  • Dreams & Shadows by C Robert Cargill – “a dark place to be

Not a bad haul! Hope Santa brought you everything you wanted too. Back to normal next weekend when the dares and challenges will be underway, and I’ll know my books read total for 2015!

sunday-salon-2This week has been dominated by the advent of Star Wars: The Force Awakens – anticipation, seeing the movie and trying not to talk about it so as not to spoil it for anyone else 😀

But in the background I finished the Stephen King short story collection I was in the middle of this time last week, continued to move forward with Jack the Ripper and began my first read for the 2016 Sci-fi experience, The Three-Body Problem (Chinese sci-fi, very interesting).

I’m still more or less sticking to my buying embargo but three book said make it onto my Kindle app this week:

  • My Work is Not Yet Done by Thomas Ligotti, for one of the Horror Book Club readings next year
  • The Pickwick Papers, for a very lengthy read along next year which I really want to take part in
  • The Thing Itself by Adam Roberts, which I had pre-ordered and was delivered on publication; quite excited about this one so I suspect I might read it pretty soon.

And it’s less than a week until the buying ban is lifted for a short period of time, then I’m planning to run it alongside the TBR Triple Dog Dare challenge and buy nothing from 1 January to 1 April, except pre-ordered stuff of course. I managed to this year and cleared quite a few books from Mount TBR so hoping for good things in 2016.

Hope everyone has a very happy Christmas, though I’ll be posting next Sunday as normal because there might be a small book or two under the tree for me, and I won’t be able to resist sharing the details 😀

 

2016scifiexp250Once again, for good reasons, I’ve missed the first month of the Sci-fi experience (which runs from 1 December to 31 January) but I am going to make a point of reading and watching sci-fi in the time left.

Although, now that I think of it, I will be starting in December because the next book I’m planning to read on my Kindle app is The Three Body Problem, and I think I can get away with describing the new Star Wars movie as science fiction 🙂

But other than those I’m not making any reading lists except to say that what I will read will be stuff I already own at midnight on 31 December in line with challenges I’m taking part in in parallel (and which have sign-up posts of their own!)

May even get around to Flowers for Algernon like I said I was going to last time *cough*

tbr-final-dareAs is traditional at this time of year I have decided to sign up for what is almost certainly the last TBR Double Dog Dare. For those new to the concept, start reading here:

The TBR Triple Dog Dare works like this….

For the first three months of 2016 read only the books that were already in your TBR stack as of midnight December 31, 2015.

You can modify this any way you like, but I’m going to be a bit purist and stick to the principle as described, but with the added burden of buying no new books in the same three month period. It worked really well for me when I tried it out this year, although I will admit there was a bit of a spending spree on 1 April.

I’m running this alongside the Clean Your Reader Challenge, and so for TBR it will only be physical books that I’ll count towards my goal. I’m also not making any projected lists because, hey, where would I start?

However.

Last year I said that if nothing else I would finally read Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates. I didn’t. Will this be the year….

CLEAN YOURI took part in this challenge earlier this year where I think it lasted only a month, and had great fun (and cleared a load of books from my e-reader. This time around it lasts for 3 months but with very much the same goals – read as many of those “I don’t remember buying this” volumes on your reader as you can in the period.

I like making lists but I’m not going to for this one, simply because I have so many ebooks that just looking at them is a bit overwhelming, and trying to decide which ones I’m going to read will probably fry my brain and I have too much to do at this time of year to allow myself to become a dribbling wreck.

But I’m going to add an extra dimension by including the comics on my Comixology app – clearing some of them out would also be a good idea. So, as many as I can before 31 March, running concurrently with the TBR Dare which I’ll blog about separately.

sunday-salon-2I haven’t made a huge amount of progress since last week’s post. In terms of books it was:

  • 1 finished (Slade House, which I loved),
  • 1 progressed ( the Jack the Ripper book, which is proving to be as entertainingly mad as I had been led to believe), and
  • 1 started (Stephen King short stories which I am galloping through at a rate of knots, if you don’t mind a mixed metaphor)

so not at all bad.

In keeping with the pre-Christmas buying embargo I have not brought any new books into the house, and all the bookish shaped Christmas presents are hidden away, waiting to be wrapped for the big day itself.

In the next few days I’ll be publishing my sign-up posts for the challenges I mentioned last week but I’m going to break with my usual habit and not make any reading lists; I’m going to spend the first 3 months reading whatever takes my fancy, apart from a couple of book club reads which I already have anyway.

And I finally published my thoughts on The Girl on the Train if you are at all interested; the link is here.

21840310I think that when I flagged up that I was going to read this I said that I must be the last person in the known galaxy to do so (that wanted to read it in any case) but I’ve discovered that I’m not so that’s gratifying. I have a natural ambivalence to books being touted as The Next Big Thing – yes, I want to read them because they are being raved about, but I don’t want to read them at the same time as everyone else because hype and also because I want the dust to settle and not be too influenced by the succession of reviews that inevitably follow.

I should also admit to not buying this but borrowing it from a friend who brought it all the way from Edinburgh for me (though it sat in Silvery Dude’s desk for a month before I was able to collect it due to everyone forgetting the plan for handing it over).

Having said all that, what’s The Girl on the Train all about (in case you’ve been under a rock or something)?

From the blurb:

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows that it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She even feels that she knows the people who live in one of the houses.

And she makes up a life story for them and then sees something unexpected which shocks her, and then the woman who lives there goes missing and Rachel inserts herself into their lives…..

Why did I want to read it?

See above. Also, as someone who regularly commuted by train into London for many years I know the pleasure of looking into people’s gardens as you trundle past.

What did I think of it?

I enjoyed reading this very much but I really think as a novel it wasn’t helped by the hype surrounding it. It’s very well written, has a story that really grips you but is not the great big new thing that the marketing campaign implied. The comparisons to Gone Girl (read and reviewed here) didn’t help either; I can see the superficial resemblance (multiple alternating viewpoints, unreliable narrators, people not being what they seem) but it has significant differences. It’s very British for a start (and I mean that as a good thing).

I also found Rachel, the main character, much more sympathetic than those in GG; I actually worried for her at several points in the book. I know that in real life she would be horrendously annoying and I would probably cross the road to avoid her but her vulnerability and desperate need to be involved to give herself some purpose was convincing and very sad.

I worked out who the baddie was likely to be about two-thirds of the way through but not the details of the solution so it didn’t get in the way of enjoying the unravelling of the mystery.

So, worth reading if you enjoy a good thriller but don’t get carried away by the marketing spiel.

 

 

sunday-salon-2Another quiet reading week, with progress made on the Mitchell and Robinson books I mentioned in last week’s post, and I also finished the Bryant & May short stories this morning. I’ve been mostly working at home and it’s clear that I miss the natural reading time that commuting into London gave me (it’s amazing what you can read in a 25 minute train journey twice a day), so I have to find a way to carve out time in my home-working day.

The coming week should be better because I not only have a day in London but a trip to Manchester, and although I tend to work on the way there I always read on the way back, and that’s nearly 3 hours, so surely I can male a dent in something 🙂

I’m behind on my blogging, still haven’t written up my thoughts on The Girl on the Train and now have the short story volume post to write to; may get to one of those this evening.

I am going to sign up to some parallel challenges:

  • The TBR Double Dog Dare – 3 months of only reading what I own at midnight on 31 December. I may run a buying embargo alongside this but not sure – maybe only for January;
  • The 2016 Sci-Fi Experience – not really a challenge and already underway (started on 1 December) I’m being realistic and only participating seriously in January;
  • The Clean Your Reader Challenge which is basically the same as the TBR one in intention and timing, the difference being its the stuff on your Kindle that you’ve forgotten about. Oh, and there’s a lot on mine, believe me.

Mysterious packages are coming into the all the time now as Christmas presents are delivered, but I haven’t bought anything for myself since mid-November. Feeling smugly virtuous.

Bride of the Book God

Follow brideofthebook on Twitter

Scottish, in my fifties, love books but not always able to find the time to read them as much as I would like. I’m based in London and happily married to the Book God.

I also blog at Bride of the Screen God (all about movies and TV) and The Dowager Bride, if you are interested in ramblings about stuff of little consequence

If you would like to get in touch you can contact me at brideofthebookgod (at) btinternet (dot) com.

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