Saturday 12 November 2016

Semi-Charmed Winter 2016 Book Challenge

Flushed with success from finishing the last Semi-Charmed Book Challenge with a month to spare, I’m excited to be taking part in the Winter 2016 one.  Here are my preliminary choices:

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 150 pages long.

TBC from the huge pile of books I have beside my bed...

10 points: Read a 2016 finalist (longlist or shortlist) for one of the following literary prizes: National Book AwardMan Booker or Man Booker International.

His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnett (280 pages) - a shortlist finalist for the Man Booker and donated to me by my sister

10 points: Read a brand-new release (something published between November 1, 2016, and January 31, 2017).

The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane (260 pages) - published 1st December

15 points: Read a book by an author of a different race or religion than you.

Three Sisters by Bi Feiyu (288 pages) - a Chinese author

15 points: Read a book featuring a main character who is of a different race or religion than you.

A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche (248 pages) featuring main character Giselle who is Rwandan

20 points: Read a modern retelling of a classic (e.g. an Austen Project novel, Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler, etc.) — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Kaity.

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (237 pages)

25 points: Read a book with an alcoholic beverage (neat or cocktail) in the title. — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Kerry. 

Martini Henry by Sara Crowe (416 pages)

30 points: Read a book with a character that shares your first or last name. (Alternate spellings are okay, e.g. Megan and Meghan or Smith and Smyth.) — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Ericka.

The Recruit by Robert Muchamore (342 pages) featuring character Kerry Chang

30 points: Read two books: a nonfiction book and a fiction book with which it connects. For example: A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie and one of Christie's mystery novels that features poison, or The Monuments Men and All the Light We Cannot See. The possibilities are endless, so have fun with this one! — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Bev. (And remember you must finish both books to get the 30 points! No partial points will be awarded.)

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert (285 pages)
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin (322 pages)

40 points: Read two books: one by an author whose first name is the same as the last name of the author of the other book. For example: You may read a book by Martin Cruz Smith and a book by George R.R. Martin, or a book by James Joyce and a book by Joyce Carol Oates. The shared name must be spelled exactly the same, no variations. — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Jamie. (And remember you must finish both books to get the 40 points! No partial points will be awarded.)

What Would Mary Berry Do? by Claire Sandy (450 pages)
A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall (272 pages)

Thursday 13 October 2016

On alcohol and reading...

It was with great pleasure I accepted the invitation to choose a category for the Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge 2016!  After (just) finishing in fourth place in the Summer Challenge, I finally achieved a goal I’ve held since summer 2013.  Mostly I have a small boy to thank for it.  His sleeping pattern is so non-existent that many a night our room is illuminated from the glow of a kindle as I try to nurse him back to sleep.
Anyhow, my category is thus:
Read a book with an alcoholic beverage (neat or cocktail) in the title.
And I promised Megan that I’d come up with some suggestions.  Here they are roughly categorised.  While I haven’t read most of them, I’ve linked each one to its goodreads entry – I hope you find something that whets your appetite!
Wine Books

Cider Books

Whiskey/Whiskey Books

Vodka Books

Rum Books

Gin Books

Various Other Drinks

The first five Murder, She Wrote series by Jessica Fletcher are all alcohol based.  I won’t be trying these due to an irrational hatred of Murder, She Wrote, which came about when we first moved to France and it was the only thing on television. Ever.
There also exists a series of Jack Daniels Mysteries by J. A. Konrath, the first six of which are named after famous cocktails.
And you could be sneaky with this one too.  Many words contain the word ‘gin’ – begin, aubergine, avenging, belonging, engineer – or ‘rum’ – crumb, drum, forum, grumble, instrument. My sleep addled brain is probably missing out on many more (and possibly being optimistic that there is a book out there with aubergine in the title).
I don’t think you’ll have any difficulty in finding a book that fits into this category.  My list is by no means exhaustive.  For what it’s worth, I heartily recommend Campari For Breakfast by Sara Crowe which is a beautiful and hilarious novel about a young woman coming of age pursuing her dream to become a writer while living with her aged aunt in a rundown, ramshackle mansion.  I’ll be choosing the sequel, Martini Henry for this category in the challenge.
Thank you, Megan, for hosting another challenge.  Have fun reading and good luck!

Edited: I’ve since been on goodreads and found a huge number of books with aubergine in the title.  Seriously, my category could have been Read a book with the word aubergine in the title and you’d have been spoiled for choice!


Sunday 3 January 2016

Oh, boy...

This is Ross.  Milk drinker, co-sleeper, night waker, poo maker.  And responsible, since his arrival in mid-November, for turning his mother's brain into mush.  So much so that she can't concentrate on any books that require a modicum of thought.  Which is why I sadly need to resign from The Semi-Charmed Winter 2015 Book Challenge. I hope to get round to reading most of the planned books during the year to come, but at the moment I'm happy to indulge in the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.  A guilty pleasure maybe, but a pleasure I can easily partake of in the middle of the night by the light of my kindle.