52 Book Challenge: Escape Clause

After much thought and a great amount of regret, I’ve decided to give up the challenge.  Personal issues are taking over my ability to concentrate, and the challenge is starting to add to the overwhelm.  On a less important note, it’s also stopped being fun.  I feel like I’m forcing myself to read now, rather than enjoying it.  That’s a problem.

My new challenge is quite alot easier– I am challenging myself to at least read every day.  I won’t worry about meeting a deadline or dividing books in to equal sections.  Instead, I’ll just read.  After all, the whole point of doing this challenge was to get myself reading more.  I’ll still finish books by reading a bit every day.  Just not as quickly.  That is more do-able for me at this time.  Maybe I’ll pick back up with the challenge next year.  Maybe I won’t.  Life is about adapting to meet your needs as well as possible without being truly counter-productive.  This is my adaptation of the 52 Book Challenge.

Good luck to all of you who are carrying on!

52 Book Challenge: Week Ten

Last week was almost a disaster.  The Lord of the Rings is divided in to three parts.  Unless we’re referring to the anthology in which I am reading them.  It is divided in to six parts.  I didn’t realise that and found myself 160 pages from finishing The Fellowship of the Ring on Friday.  My heart sank.  I was about to lose the challenge, and all for a stupid mistake.  I thought about graduate school and all the reading I had to do through that time.  Then, resolve strengthened, I finished the bloody book in two days.  Yes, that’s right.  I read half of The Fellowship of the Ring in two days just to complete last week’s challenge book.  My brain *still* hurts.

I’ve moved on to The Two Towers now and am enjoying it, particularly since I don’t have to read like a mad woman.  If nothing else, I have it easy by comparison.

52 Book Challenge: Week Nine

Last week’s book became almost impossible to get through.  Between the psychological things and what I found to be a snail’s pace narrative, I really thought I’d lose the challenge.  It’s been dragging a bit in general.  This week is going much better, though.  I’m re-reading the first book of the Lord of the Rings set: The Fellowship of the Ring.  Having not read this in years, I’m surprised at how much I’ve forgot.  The pace has quickened a great deal, though, and I have no doubt that I’ll get through the next few weeks.  Hopefully, by the time I’ve completed the series, things will have calmed down in my personal life and I will be able to approach the challenge with steadier confidence.

52 Book Challenge: Week Eight

Switching back to non-fiction this week.  Re-reading the two L’Engle books was interesting, but it proved to me that I prefer the ‘higher’ works these days.  Literature and –dare I say– the whole non-fiction bit that gave me fits earlier in this challenge.  The idea of reading non-fiction simply out of interest in the subject helped me tremendously.

This week’s book is related to my shameless Downton Abbey addiction.  It is Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey by the Countess of Carnavron.  It’s a bit more involved than the other non-fiction I’ve read so far, as it has quite alot of historical information.  I’m quite keen on learning it, though.

Another strategy tip: divide books in to equal sections and note the sections so that you know you’re keeping on pace.  For me, it’s been overwhelming and somewhat nerve-wracking to try to keep track of that without having definite guidelines.

Happy reading, all!

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Carnavron, the Countess of.  Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey.  New York: Broadway Books,  2013.  Print.

52 Book Challenge: Week Seven

Re-reading A Ring of Endless Light was great fun.  Even though it is, at best, a young adult novel, I got caught up in the characters.  Madeleine L’Engle was an amazingly talented writer.  My plan was to return to novels that make me feel less like a cheat and more like an adult this week.  However, Ring was so good that I’ve chose to read the sequel this week.  The book is called Troublina Star and is the last in L’Engle’s Austin series.  Highly recommended.  As an adult, I can analyse the characters with a sense of nostalgia.  Remember the world as a teenager?

For those of you who are also working through this challenge– if you find yourself slowing down or feeling like leaving the challenge, do try reading a very simple and easy book.  For me, at very least, it was just the trick for re-gaining momentum.

This does make me feel a bit of a cheat, but I’ll push through the shame one more week and read another novel well below my age group.  😉

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L’Engle, Madeleine.  Troubling a Star.  New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell.  Print.

52 Book Challenge: Week Six

Week five was a particularly difficult reading time for me.  Trauma– the actual main subject of this blog– took hold of my mind.  I had a fairly difficult therapy session and was already having trouble with my book at that time.  Therapy and all the Stuff it brings did not help.

*However* I did finish Nocturnal Witchcraft.  I really wanted to like it more than I did.  With a nod of respect to the author, it seemed at times to be like parlour tricks.  Maybe I was searching more for theory than practice.  It is a nice book for learning more about the energy of the night and helping to shape your life based on that energy.  The actual rites, however, felt a bit over-complicated on the whole, with circle casting having over twenty steps.  I enjoyed Konstaninosis’s views on soul types, and his particularly interesting take on the afterlife.  That part is definitely worth the read.  All in all, I’m giving it three stars.

This week I’m almost cheating.  I’m reading a fiction book for young adults called A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle.  It’s a book I read many years ago and shouldn’t take more than a couple of days to finish.  As with any challenge, though, the most challenging bits require rest.  I’ve had two weeks of non-fiction and struggled greatly through week five.  To keep moving forward and finish this challenge, I need to make this week particularly easy.  On we go!

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L’Engle, Madeleine.  A Ring of Endless Light.  New York: Dell Laurel-Leaf, 1980.  Print.

52 Book Challenge: Week Five

The Walrus and the Elephants was a great read. I thought for a bit that it might slow me in terms of staying on task, as the nonfiction bit almost seemed intimidating. Someone told me to remember I wouldn’t be quizzed on the information so I could just read and enjoy it. After that, the book became an easy read.

I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to learn more about post-Beatles Lennon, as well as American counterculture in the 1970s. I learnt a great deal about both. Fascinating material. Very little was mentioned about the Beatles, however, so Beatles scholars will be best served elsewhere. If you’re interested in Lennon himself, this will be an excellent read!

This week’s book is also nonfiction but in a completely different vein. Today is the Wiccan sabbat of Imbolc, the halfway point between winter and spring. I’ve selected Nocturnal Witchcraft by Konstantinos. I saw this in a bookshop a month or so ago and was immediately interested. It’s about harnessing the energies of the night– *not* black magic– and using that time to practice. I’m looking quite forward to learning more!

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Konstantinos.  Nocturnal Witchcraft: Magick After Dark.  Llewellyn Publications: 2002.  Print.

52 Book Challenge: Week Four

This week, I’ve decided to depart from the Hitchhiker series and from the world of fiction as a whole. I’m taking on a book called The Walrus and the Elephant: John Lennon’s Years of Revolution by James A Mitchell. It will be interesting to see if/how nonfiction changes the pace.

Life, the Universe & Everything was a good book, and I heartily recommend Adams’s series. I just felt like he was reaching a bit to keep the characters’ stories going. Almost like he was writing out of force instead of desire. There are two more books in the series. I might well start back with them, but for now, I’m going headlong in to a completely different mode.

I’m quite enjoying this challenge. Reading has always been a hobby of mine, and I’ve strayed a bit from that in recent years. I probably read three books as a whole last year. Now, I’m starting my fourth for the month.

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Mitchell, James A.  The Walrus and the Elephants:  John Lennon’s Years of Revolution.  Seven Stories Press: 2013.  Print.

52 Book Challenge: Week Three

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe was great.  I really enjoyed getting back to the story and spending more time with characters who are well developed and interesting.

Life, the Universe and Everything, on the other hand, isn’t going as well.  I’m half way through it but can’t say I’m particularly enjoying it.  The stories of the characters have become too fragmented.  They’re still interesting, to some extent, but it’s starting to become like a collection of short stories.  I’m getting annoyed, but trudge on I shall.  Not sure yet whether I’ll move on to the fourth book in this series, but part of me says I should just finish it out at this point.

Current book aside, this challenge is actually quite fun!

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Adams, Douglas.  Life, the Universe and Everything.  Harmony Books: 1982.  Print.

52 Book Challenge: Week Two

This week really has been a challenge for reading.  Sunday, I was diagnosed with H1N1 flu, so reading has happened as sporadic bursts between sleeping.  I am, however, half-way through Douglas Adams’s second Hitchhiker book, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.  So far, it is as hysterical, dry, and weirdly funny as the first.  I’m told that the series declines as it goes on, so I’ll have to have a look at the third before planning for next week.  And hopefully this bloody flu will have left by then, as well.

Happy reading, Everyone!

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Adams, Douglas.  The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.  Del Ray: 1995.  Print.