Bout-of-books 21

Yes, I said I would participate in more read-a-thons this year, so kicking off with Bout-of-books, a week long read-a-thon. For once I’m going to make an effort to join in the daily challenges too, and I’ve already started my TBR pile!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 8th and runs through Sunday, January 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 21 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Obviously like any other book lover I was given and also bought several books over the Christmas period, and I am saving these for the read-a-thon:


I’m not going to lie, that fact that the three that aren’t Charles Dickens will be very quick reads may have influenced my choices some what, as no matter what, managing to read more than one book during a read-a-thon can be a large task to a slow reader like me and this will help me feel more accomplished. I’m also hoping to find time to write a review for each one as this is something I don’t do enough of!

I’d love to hear what you’re planning on reading for Bout of Books and how you choose what to read?


To read-a-thon or not

Like the last Dewey’s readathon I’ve ended up double booking myself but this time I’m not beating myself up about not making ALL the hours. I’ve had a great day out with various friends and lots of belly laughs, so it’s now midnight and I’m finally joining in the readathon challenges before heading to bed :

Mid-Event Survey!

1. What are you reading right now? The city of lost souls

2. How many books have you read so far? this is my first, but I normally only get through 1 or 2 standard length novels

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? See question 1, I stayed up reading the prior book in the series until nearly 2am so, pretty excited 

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I spent most of the day being way sociable with friends and decided to be chilled out about it

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? always how many books other people can read, so fast.

Bout of Books 18 and reading challenges

Heading into the New Year and one resolution I kept, or rather challenge I completed (I like to think as resolutions as challenges to keep tally of), was my Goodreads Reading Challenge, of 52 books for 2016. I’ve actually exceeded that reading a total of 63 so far  and it feels slightly premature posting this, as I fully intend to finish another tonight and there’s still tomorrow to go!


This was in no small part to joining several Read-a-thons, and I’m stoked to say the next one starts in a few days – the week long Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

Given that during the last read-a-thon I signed up to, I read nothing, as family descended on us for the whole weekend, I’m really looking forward to this one. It’s certainly more relaxed than a 24 hour read a thon lasting a whole week, and entirely in your own timezone. I haven’t decided what to read yet, I downloaded a few e-books over Christmas, and acquired a few more physical books during December (ok, more than a few, 11 to be exact, with 2 more in the post.. but who’s counting really?). So come Monday 2nd January, I’ll be reading on the bus, in my lunch break, after work, in my bed… wherever I can.

Bout of Books 18

Bout of Books Day 3-4

So my week of reading is not going quite as planned, I’ve been really busy as well as trying to fight off a stinking cold that is threatening to ruin my long standing plans to run a 10K this weekend. But I managed to find time to do the day 3 challenge for Bout of Books “5 Favourites” and with that I present 5 of my favourite book covers. I would say that a good cover design is definitely something that will make a book stand out – particularly when in a physical store (especially if the cover is embossed and made of a nice feeling paper), although buying online can be a visual game as well I guess.


Don DeLillo – is one of the newer, sexy Penguin Modern Classics covers that come in silver and white. I have loads of these actually, but this is a favourite because of the stereotypical images of Americana on the front. Top right is Tom Perrotta’s the Abstinence Teacher, not entirely sure what it was about this, perhaps the white border that complements the white trim of the shorts so well?

Road to nowhere – this was a Goodreads giveaway win, I’ve taken so many photos myself of this nature, roads with vanishing points, empty expanses. Also the cover is made with this really unusual matt paper, it feels very nice to hold, I think I liked the cover more than the story. The final two I bought together, they were on display at Daunt books in London, which many other lovely designed books. the Camus one is almost booklet ish, being around 30 pages in total, the Baudelaire cover attacked me because of the letterpress style type face, and the cover is slightly embossed, I have no idea whether it was traditionally printed by letterpress or whether it’s printed modernly to look vintage in style, either way I love it, unfortunately though the cover does not have any sort of protective film and therefore porous which means it’s already getting grubby from being in bag to and from work!

Day 4 of the readathon I didn’t get too much done again, I have my Critical Reading class on Thursday nights, so I spent my day checking out some poetry for a mini assignment. I went with Maya Angelou’s Women Work as we had to say what made the poem poetic, thinking about structure and language. I don’t really know much poetry thanks to school not managing to make it engaging (sorry, War Poetry was not interesting to this girl at 14), so it’s only in the last year (after going to a poetry reading) that I’ve had an interest. I feel like a complete novice as I don’t really know what a lot of the terms mean and keep having to look things up, but at least I’m learning something.

Bout of books day 1-2

So today’s reading has been interesting to say the least. My usual peaceful commute via bus into Oxford was disturbed by someone’s phone screeching out bagpipes music for the most of it.

Currently I’m trying to finish ‘The Art of Travel’ which I started during the Dewey’s readathon, however the current chapter on the Lake District and Wordsworth is boring me slightly meaning I’m finding it hard to push through…


Updating a day later, and it’s finished – here’s my brief ‘review’ from Goodreads

“One of those books where I’m kicking myself I didn’t read it earlier, it was everything I expected and more. Split into sections prefixed with ‘On’ such as On Anticipation or On the Sublime, each one with a little grid that displays the place(s) and the guide (s) that will be your travelling companions in that chapter. Looking at reasons why people started travelling, and why, and why people go where… there was only one chapter that I didn’t like (I absolutely hated in fact) which was the one with the Lake District (place) with Wordsworth (guide), as I don’t really like either. Kind of funny that my reasons for not liking the lakes were echoed in this book, around pre-conceptions.
Absolute must read for anyone interested seeing whilst travelling. “

This book has given me so much more to think about /research in relation to my art/photography work based on travel. The section on the Sublime had some interesting quotes from Edward Burke’s A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful, that excited me so much I’ve already ordered it from Amazon, in a month I promised myself I wouldn’t buy any excessive books (but I had a voucher so that makes it ok right?).

So after finishing on that high note today, it was straight onto We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a perfect readathon book, given that it was so quick to read (probably under 40 minutes). Based on a TED talk she gave a few years ago, she talks about her personal experiences in Nigeria, of women not being equal, about male friends who’ve not realised that equality is not yet ‘there’ until it’s slapped them in the face. I’d recommend this to everyone.

Readathon round up… and onwards

OK it’s a bit late in the day, but I’ve been busy sorting out prints for two exhibitions.

So my final tally for the Dewey’s Readathon was:

Finishing 1 book of 23 pages- The Sea Close By, by Albert Camus

73 pages of Bad Blood by Arne Dahl

138 pages of The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton 

Not as much as I hoped, but given how busy the last few weeks have been, managing to set aside that much time to read really helped.

I also found a couple more blogs to follow of fellow readathon-ers! (Hi ich lese  and Cat Litterary!) which is always nice, although sometimes I feel like I need a readathon style day to catch up with all the great blogs I follow.

Another great thing about the readathon was finding out about other readathons, so I hereby declare myself signing up to Bout of Books

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 9th and runs through Sunday, May 15th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 16 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

So expect more bookish posts sometime soon.

Readathon Hours 4 – 12?

OK so technically we’re into hour 11, 9 for me as i started so late.. which makes me feel slightly better about that fact that I haven’t read as much as I intended.

I did read Albert Camus – The Sea Close By, although short (it’s actually two stories, 23 pages long), it wasn’t like a modern fiction novel that I could speed read, it required ingestion of the words and took a lot longer than anticipated. I did however enjoy it, but I think today I’ve spent entirely too much time checking out other people’s posts and challenges.. it’s like oh the clock is hitting the hour -a new challenge is due, and before I know it, there’s less than 30 minutes left in that hour.. Arrg! Not to mention an impromptu trip to the supermarket to get snack and stuff..

Arne Dahl - Bad Blood
Arne Dahl – Bad Blood

For my second book I chose Bad Blood by Arne Dahl, I feel like these translations are a long time coming compared perhaps to other Scandi/Nordic crime fiction. I struggled to find my books on Goodreads as well which was new to me and given that the TV versions of the book were first shown on BBC4 three years ago, it feels like there is some delay compared to others in the genre. An interesting point about this book series (for me at least) was realising that in the TV version they made the A Unit team leader a woman, same name, just swapped gender, I’m going to guess because the novel has such a male orientated cast and it needed evening out for TV? Also reading this reminded me to log into Duolingo and do my daily Swedish practice ( I think I can probably order a meal for for men and women, particularly if that meal includes turtle). My intention was to read ‘a few chapters’ before moving to something else, but I’m at chapter 10 already so I may just stick with it tonight, as i’m probably going to flake soon and read something different in the morning.

I also tried reading standing up tonight, mostly because I was trying to hit 10k steps today, so the only way was to read whilst ‘walking’ and a bit whilst dancing as I’ve been listening to 6 Music since about 8pm. My overall take home, whilst it certainly works, and keeps me awake, it also leaves me a bit unsteady on my feet – circuits of the living room particularly. Jogging on the spot is probably easiest to manage book in hand, but also the most boring. I’ve also reached that stage of “my eyes hurt because they’ve dried out” so contacts out, glasses on, eye drops being liberally applied, all in the name of reading just a few more pages before bed

Readathon 2016 – Hours 1-3

It’s my second ever readathon, and what a busy day to start on. I’m actually a bit late to the party because I was doing a ‘shift’ on a local market, promoting Jericho Artweeks (more on that later).Today is also St George’s day (missing out on free beer!), Shakespeare’s Birthday (missing special bookish events at the Bodleian) and World Book Day… but I’m happy to be spending the day reading. This year I’ve sort of planned, by gathering some small-ish books I’ve been meaning to read, as well as some chunkier ones and even e-books and audio books as I know what my moods are like.

So yeah in the UK the readathon starts at 1pm, I didn’t get home until about half 2, then spent a good 15 minutes looking for my kindle, making lunch, putting the kettle on, reading the hourly updates I’d missed… so yes it’s into the 3rd hour and I’ve hardly done any reading. But I’m going to spend a few minutes taking part in a couple of mini challenges I’ve missed…

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? the decidedly sunny / not sunny North Oxford (Oxford UK, not the other ones) 
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? I think ‘The Art of Travel’ sounds like a right hoot
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I have some Thai crackers that will knock my socks off later
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! erm… I’m in the middle of preparing for an art exhibition that is pretty much consuming all my thoughts at the moment, today is a nice breather before panic sets back in on Sunday when I have to try and rebuild my website..
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? as mentioned above, I’ve planned multiple options, rather than just trying to read an entire book like last time (although it was an interesting one, I still haven’t finished it from 6 months ago!), variety to keep me entertained. Also I have a stack of records for background listening, it means I have to stop to change the record a fair bit, but how else will I reach my goal of 10k steps a day if I’m spending most of it in an armchair?


  1. My overarching memory, was that in infant school (age 4-7) we had to stand at the teacher’s desk and read aloud to her for books to ‘count’ (there was a bit of unspoken competition between me and a couple of other kids, as you progressed through the school books in order, green was the highest level and we all wanted to be the ‘best’ reader). Well the teacher got called away for something and told me to wait there a moment, so I kept reading. In fact when she returned after break (she’d forgotten about me and then assumed I would go out when the bell went) I was still stood there reading aloud at her desk. I can’t remember the books though.
  2. The library – my mum took us to the village library almost every week, we could get 6 books out at a time, and I did. At some times it felt Iike I’d read every children/teen book they had, when I was a bit older, I was allowed to join the library in the next town over that was huge in comparison. So that was another 6 books per fortnight I could read, and again I did. My abiding memory is that there was a lot of Sweet Valley and Asterix books.
  3. The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe – I think this resurfaced as there was a BBC dramatisation in the 1980s of the book, so I read this first. I bought it from the wise owl book club at school – you could buy stamps each week (which were cool owl stickers) valued at anything from 1p to 50p and then every so often we were allowed in the ‘library’ where books were brought it for us to buy. I would’ve been 8-9 ish? A few years later on my first trip to London, my parents bought me the box set of the entire Chronicles of Narnia. I remember it was £50 and seemed ridiculously expensive, but hey books = education so no need for guilt? I still have the set and it was probably the books I re-read the most.
  4. Enid Blyton – I was a huge fan and still have plenty of them at my mum’s house. Favourite series’s were the Faraway Tree stories and the Secret Seven, oh and the Mallory Towers / St Clare’s series. We used to try and make our fishing nets into lacrosse nets so we could play like in the books. At one point I had over 80 books by Enid Blyton, not sure how many I still have.
  5.  Playing librarian – I begged my parents to buy me a date stamping set so we could play librarians, because I loved the noise the stamp made at the library. Of course mine wasn’t that fancy and didn’t make a noise, so we made it with out mouths…

I think that’s enough mini challenges for now…


Mid- point, 12 hours of reading

It’s been a long day. Being my first Readathon, I thought it was as much reading as possible on the 17th October kinda thing. But there is a fixed 24 hour period – mine started at 1pm (because of my time zone), I found out after getting up at 8:30, ON A SATURDAY!

Anyways, half way point passed, the first 12 hours were spent on 1 book, a very interesting book that made me think about lots of things, so combine that with eating, seeing what other people are up to on twitter and instagram, trying to complete challenges, blogging, being distracted by my husband, the TV, etc I’ve only made it through 25% ish of the book. And although that seems like a small amount, given that the book is covering maths, neurology and philosophy and lots of other stuff, that’s pretty good going.

However, I’ve now switched books, I remembered that I had an unfinished ebook one of my newly favourite authors – Elizabeth Hunter. If you like PRN check out her Elemental series and spin off series’ – I promise I will actually publish my review/ thoughts on this series & characters.. one day. Maybe before the year is out

Oh this is how tired I am, I realised after posting that my point of blogging was a mini challenge…

1. What are you reading right now?
Lost letters and christmas lights – Elizabeth Hunter (it’s part of a joint ebook release, I confess I haven’t read the other book)

2. How many books have you read so far?
2, completed, 0

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
The above book that I just started reading, or trying to finish Blinded Man by Arne Dahl tomorrow

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Plenty, mostly self imposed, ignored, or distracted.. I’m just trying to stay focused and sitting in my reading chair

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
When you check just the sheer amount of posts on instagram or twitter via the #readathon hashtag and realise how immense it all is, then you spot that several people are reading the same book, and go look that book up on Goodreads, then you realise you’ve lost half an hour online, again

7th Hour

So I’m heading in to the 7th hour of the Readathon. Time for some challenge entries – this one from the Un-abridged Chick is to post your ‘Cover Escape’, a book cover that you’d want to escape into.

I chose this one from Evan Shapiro – the empty road leading into the distance of who knows where is one I have coveted over and over, it hints at the unknown and the joy of a spontaneous road trip

a book cover showing an empty road leading into a vanishing point
Road To Nowhere – Evan Shapiro

I’ve even attempted similar shots myself in the past

Lonely Road


Update on my reading, so far I’m up to page 89 of Are The Androids Dreaming Yet? by James Tagg. I know, 6 hours in and only 90 pages, but i keep getting distracted by challenges, and checking out what people are up to on twitter.

This book is awesome, it’s mostly about whether computers can think, like a human. Within the preface I was hooked, as the author talked about Mathematicians Andrew Wiles and Roger Penrose and soon was an image of M C Escher’s impossible staircase print. This was exiting to me, as only 3 days previous I had listened to Roger Penrose give a talk about M C Escher and the impossible staircase and maths and art, all from within the Andrew Wiles building. Geeking out is not the word. The book has also featured Alan Turing’s work, the film Inception (which I loved) and philosophy. (It was also a book I won on a Goodreads Giveaway, so bonus for being a free book!)

Back to the reading…