The cosy mystery is where my writer heart resides, but my reading of them is pitiful. There are so many talented writers that I am missing out on and so my aim for this challenge is to ‘scope out’ the future competition (haha, a girl can dream right?!) and ‘feed my need to read cozy mysteries’.
Once again I am picking level one, which for this challenge is called Peckish and will consist of 1-10 mysteries, which I think is a great benchmark to kick start my ‘research’.
I had to sign up to this challenge, I just had to! I love romance.
My kindle is fit to bursting with cowboys, aliens, shifters, military/fire/police (you wear a uniform? this girl loves ya!) MC bad boys, assassins, spies and sexy geeks… the only thing I don’t read is historical romance (unless it’s a time travel story, those I like!)
Before I discovered the joys of eBooks I owned a lot of Mills & Boon, I mean in the hundreds, and they are still hidden in various places around the house with a limp-hearted promise of one day going through them and donating all but my favourites. Alas (rejoice?)that day has not come, but I also no longer hoard the great smelling paper goodness that is the romance novel and instead binge-read digital bits-and-bytes.
Despite my love (obsession?) okay obsession for this delicious genre I have never reviewed them so the true challenge for me will be to write reviews for the books I read and with that in mind I am starting at level one, 5-9 books. I shall ‘capture the bad boy’ but the truth is I could munch through those in a day. Time shall tell, maybe I’ll be ‘taking the bad boy to the alter’ before the year is through!
I am really excited to embark on this challenge because I have a real fear of “the Classics”. I worry that I won’t enjoy them or have the same literary experiences as other readers and it sets my anxiety level to explosive. However, 2017 is the year of exploration and acceptance and something that I need to accept is that my opinions are valid. They may be simple, they may not concur with popular thought, but that the fact remains they have worth.
I think for this challenge I will take a good look at my digital and physical bookshelves before I make a final decision, but the plan is to read books from 6 categories from the list below:
1. A 19th Century Classic – any book published between 1800 and 1899.
2. A 20th Century Classic – any book published between 1900 and 1967. Just like last year, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later, such as posthumous publications.
3. A classic by a woman author.
4. A classic in translation. Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language. (You can also read books in translation for any of the other categories).
5. A classic published before 1800. Plays and epic poems are acceptable in this category also.
6. An romance classic. I’m pretty flexible here about the definition of romance. It can have a happy ending or a sad ending, as long as there is a strong romantic element to the plot. 7. A Gothic or horror classic. For a good definition of what makes a book Gothic, and an excellent list of possible reads, please see this list on Goodreads. 8. A classic with a number in the title. Examples include A Tale of Two Cities, Three Men in a Boat, The Nine Tailors, Henry V, Fahrenheit 451, etc.
9. A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title. It an actual animal or a metaphor, or just the name. Examples include To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, The Metamorphosis, White Fang, etc.
10. A classic set in a place you’d like to visit. It can be real or imaginary: The Wizard of Oz, Down and Out in Paris and London, Death on the Nile, etc.
11. An award-winning classic. It could be the Newbery award, the Prix Goncourt, the Pulitzer Prize, the James Tait Award, etc. Any award, just mention in your blog post what award your choice received.
12. A Russian Classic. 2017 will be the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, so read a classic by any Russian author.
The complete original thread can be found by clicking the link the caption:
Last year I had to make the tough decision to cancel my Audible subscription, but having discovered that my library is part of Overdrive I am eager to add this to my very first Reading Challenge List.
I have listened to many audiobooks over the years, I find them especially helpful as a student and as I have returned to my studies I think that now is the perfect time to re-engage.
I am aiming for Weekend Warrior, which is 5-10 audiobooks (though I am, of course, secretly hoping to reach a much higher level) however my to listen list isn’t firm. I know Hamlet will be on there, as I am studying that in the coming month, but I hope to find a few hidden gems and be introduced to new writers as the year goes on.
For some this list of lists seems like a lot, for others it’s child’s play. I have been quite conservative with my choices especially ones like The Bad Boys of Romance, I’ve read 5-9 of those in a day before! What I haven’t done before is review a book, even on a small scale and that is something I want to do. Part of this reading journey is to discover what works in terms of the writing process not just what I enjoy as a reader.
Over theses last days of 2016 I am going to create sign-up posts for each challenge and start thinking of which books I will chose. I also need to set up a GoodReads account…
NaNoWriMo ended a month ago and I have spent the last few weeks struggling with my mental and physical health. The muses have been silent, but to be honest I have not been calling to them. I was careful to write down my ideas during NaNoWriMo and I know that once I am at a point of wellness I will be able to return to the characters and worlds that danced in my dreams.
With my health aside, my thoughts have started to turn to the New Year that is rushing towards us. I have long struggled with setting and keeping goals and making plans and the truth I have had to face is that my brain just does not work that way. And that’s okay.
2017 is going to be my year of exploration and the heady world of the written world is a journey I am excited to embark on.
One of the things I learnt after I crashed out of NaNoWriMo with barely a word written was that I don’t read enough, I certainly do not read a variety of texts, and that needs to change! However, I don’t want to go through this blindly as telling myself to read more isn’t likely to help me make a change in my habits so I have decided to sign up for a few challenges. Some fit my current reading habits (romance, romance and a dash more romance. Did I say romance?) but the majority are to help me gather the confidence to step outside of my current reading rut and enable me to explore more of what the literary world has to offer.
I don’t want to make this something stressful, so I have considered my future writing plans, my uni commitments and my low pressure, high procrastination threshold I have settled on challenges that will offer variety, stability and fun.
I am committing only to the lowest threshold each challenge has to offer, like I said, this is about exploration NOT pressure or obligation and I want to track my journey and see if becoming a better reader will enable me to become a better writer.
NaNoWriMo is about the enter it’s second week and my word count sits stagnant at just over 3,000 words. At first I was really mad at myself., and I found myself caught in a loop of thinking that basically went:
“You are a failure”
“You can’t do anything right!”
“How did you mess this up?!”
Yeah… not so great.
I wallowed there for a couple of days and then last night I realised something: I really enjoyed writing those 3000+ words. I have loved interacting with various writing communities on Facebook and Twitter; the friendships and support is wonderful to experience and even better to be a part of. Additionally, those 3000 words are more than I have written in a really long time because I self-edit and criticise to the point of destruction. The whole point of my participating in NaNoWriMo this year was so that I broke that cycle; and once I stepped away from the familiar negative thought cycle I realised that I had.
I am writing every day. No, it’s not thousands of words, it’s not even hundreds but every day I am writing. Everyday I am thinking about my world and my characters, and creating dozens more. I want to take this month as a time to build the habits of being creative every day, and right now that means building a diesel unk interbellum London. With this in mind I plan to spend the rest of this month not focused on numbers but on world-building. I may make it to 50,000 words, but maybe I won’t and you know what? That’s okay.
For me writing is an act of self-care and by comparing myself to others I was not engaging with that, quite the opposite actually.
So, I am freeing myself from my word-count.
I am no longer going to bemoan not meeting the 1,667 daily target, instead I am going to focus on creating something every day, because I want this story to exist outside of November and more importantly, I am more than a number.