Literary Ladies Summer Reading Challenge – final check in

I was supposed to write this check in post yesterday since it was the last day of the challenge, but we were out from 8.30 a.m. until really late so it wasn’t possible. I didn’t finish anyway, but for the sake of consistency I’ll check in. I’m read two books this month, and also have one to add which I actually read before this month but have only just realised it counts!

In September, I completed two categories:

  • Read a YA book: Darkness, Be My Friend by John Marsden (the fourth book in the Tomorrow series, having read book 3 for another category).
  • Read a book with a one word title: Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston.

The other category I completed previously without realising was:

  • Read a book that has been on your TBR list for a year or more. I read The Shadow of the Wind because it’s on the BBC Big Read Top 200, and since I set myself the challenge to read everything on that list well over a year ago, by default every book on that list has by default been on my TBR for over a year! I read it in July, so it definitely counts for this challenge. Yeah, apparently I’m an idiot…

So here’s my final list:

  1. A YA book – Darkness, Be My Friend by John Marsden
  2. Non US Author Quite a few, to be fair, but: The Sea Sisters by by Lucy Clarke (British author)
  3. A book that was recommended by a blogger – Didn’t complete 😦
  4. A book that has been on your TBR list for a year or more – The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  5. A book with a kickass female character – The Third Day, The Frost by John Marsden
  6. A book that is or will be a movie (or TV show) – I’ve been reading Captain Corelli’s Mandolin since July and still haven’t finished, so another fail for this category.
  7. A book written by a celebrity – Nope, another failure.
  8. A book with a one word title.  Zorgamazoo by Robert Paul Weston
  9. A mystery or thriller – Without You by Saskia Sarginsson. It may have been a terrible thriller, but it still claimed to be a thriller 😉
  10. A book about Summer/with Summer in the title – I Know What You Did Last Summer by Lois Duncan

So, seven (and a half) categories out of ten completed. Hmm. The Semi-Charmed Winter Reading Challenge is coming up (in November) so hopefully I’ll do a better job with that. By that time Captain Corelli should finally be out of my hair…

To see what other people read for the challange, go here.

2014 Winter Reading Challenge – month 2

I’m a day late with my check-in post because I’ve only just got back from Zurich. Another month of the winter reading challenge is over and I still haven’t completed it… mainly because I was waiting for my final book to arrive. I found it in my mailbox when I arrived home today though, so I’ll be done soon. On the meantime, here are the categories I managed to complete this month.

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.
The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley – This is the sixth book in the Flavia de Luce series and so far I’ve loved them all. In some ways, this book felt like a filler, or a kind of bridge between past events and what’s to come. There seemed to be less happening than in previous books in the series. But I love Flavia so I gave it five stars anyway. My full review is here.

15 points: Read a book that was originally written in a language that is not your native language.
Die Nacht des Zorns by Fred Vargas (original French title: L’armée furieuse) – My boss gave me this book for my birthday in August so it was about time I read it! It’s a crime novel, but the quirky characters make it different to your usual crime/thriller. I guessed the twist before I got to the end, but I still enjoyed the story and will probably pick up another book in the series at some point. I gave this one four stars out of five. You can read my full review here.

15 points: Read a book written by a local author (either an author from your state if you live in the United States, or from your country if you live somewhere else).
Liebesfluch by Beatrix Gurian – I tried to read a book by a Karlsruhe author for this one, but when it turned out the one I had chosen only had 190 pages and I failed to find another one that interested me, I had to widen my search to all of Germany. Beatrix Gurian is the pen name of Beatrix Mannel, who was born in Darmstadt and now lives in Munich. Liebesfluch is a young-adult thriller novel. Sixteen-year-old Blue is overjoyed when she gets job as an Au pair in Germany. Okay, the Odenwald isn’t as exciting as her home city Las Vegas, but the twins are adorable and she’s excited to explore the village her grandmother came from. When she makes friends with Ju and Felix life seems perfect. But appearances can be deceiving and soon not only Blue but the twins lives are at risk…
This was another book that I really enjoyed. Each chapter started with an extract from a letter… but it wasn’t clear until the very end who the letter was from – or indeed to. Every time I thought I knew what was going on, the author managed to lead me in the wrong direction, but in the end everything did make sense. I also liked that the book was written mostly from the Au pair’s perspective – as a foreigner in Germany it was interesting to see things through similar eyes (although Blue is obviously much younger than me and I’ve never been an Au pair). Some parts were slightly less believable than others but overall the author did a good job. 4 stars.

That makes 35 points for this month. Added to last month’s 140, that gives me a total of 175 so far with one more category to go: “read a book from a genre you don’t usually read”, which is worth 25 points.

Semi-Charmed Winter 2014 Reading Challenge – updated preliminary list

I wrote an initial preliminary list of books to read for the Winter 2014 Reading Challenge the day the categories came out (I got a bit overexcited), but today is the day of the preliminary lists linkup and I’ve had some more time to think about what to read, so here is my updated preliminary list. Books subject to change depending on what I can get hold of cheaply and whether my picks actually turn out to have enough pages to count for the challenge…

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules. – To be decided

10 points: Read a book written by an author who has published at least 10 books. – So many authors! I’ll have to let you know on this one too.

10 points: Read a book of short stories. –  Different Seasons by Stephen King (hopefully novellas are short enough to count!)

10 points: Read a book with a food in the title. — Coffee is not a food, so I’m still thinking about this one. I’ve found a few possibilities so will have to see what I can get hold of cheaply.

15 points: Read the first book in a series that is new to you (so no rereads for this one!). — The Various by Steve Augarde. I bought this a while ago but hadn’t read it yet and I just discovered that it’s the first in a trilogy. Perfect!

15 points: Read a book that was originally written in a language that is not your native language. — I’m thinking of reading a book in German that was originally written in French for this. I hope that doesn’t make me seem like a show off!

15 points: Read a book written by a local author (either an author from your state if you live in the United States, or from your country if you live somewhere else). — Technically I only  need a German author, but I’m going to try and find a Karlsruhe one for this. To be confirmed.

20 points: Read a “bookish book” (in which books play an important role, e.g. the setting involves a bookstore or library, a major character is an author, or a book that celebrates reading and books. Examples: The Book Thief, The Shadow of the Wind, The Thirteenth Tale, etc.) — The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows.

20 points: Read a book with a direction in the title (e.g. north, south, east, west or any combination of those). — I’ve orded a book called  Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea. I hope it arrives soon!

25 points: Read a book from a genre you don’t usually read. — I went through several “genre” book lists on Good Reads and didn’t find a single genre where I hadn’t read anything! I think science fiction is probably my least read genre though, and Jan has suggested Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, so that’s currently my plan.

25 points: Read a book with a song lyric in the title. Be sure to tell us the song name and artist as well! — My current ideas are A Room With a View by E. M. Forster  (song A Room With a View by Danish singer Tina Dico) or Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer (song of the same name by Sara Bareilles). I’m still kind of hoping to find something more interesting though, i.e. where the book title is a lyric from a song without book and song having the exact same title.

30 points: Read two books with a different meal in each title (e.g. breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, brunch). — I am hopefully going to read The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams for this (sequel to Dirk Gently’ Holistic Detective Agency), but I have a horrible feeling it may have less then 200 pages… For my second book, I’ve chosen Lunch Money by Andrew Clements. It’s actually surprisingly difficult to find books with meals in the title!

If you are joining in with the challenge, write a post with your preliminary reading list then head over to Megan’s blog to link up. Looking forward to seeing what you’re all going to be reading this winter!