The latest (and last) reading challenge

I have attempted a reading challenge for the last 4 or 5 years but never completed one yet, mostly because there’s always at least one category that I can’t find a book for. Sometimes the categories are so random or vague that I spend more time researching than I get to actually reading, such as an epic romance, a 20th century classic, or a book with bad reviews.

So I took to good old Google for ideas for a new challenge and I found one that I know I can complete, although it will take longer than a year. The A-Z reading challenge, I am going to aim to read at least one book a month and will update the blog along the way. I’m not going to start at A and work to Z instead will read what I fancy and fill the gaps as I go. I will include E-books, as I read a lot of these on holiday,  but won’t include any audio books or podcasts.

I’m still enjoying listening to audio books too, especially when digging on the allotment, and I may run an A-Z audio book challenge also.

Any book recommendations will be happily received, here we go ….

 

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A little about me …

There are often these lists floating about on social media, and usually I don’t complete them, but love reading people’s answers, you learn surprising facts about people you think you know quite well.

I thought it would be a good way for you to learn a little about me.

  • Who are you named after : I am named after an elderly lady my mum knew. Unfortunately just after I was named the Gilbert O’Sullivan song – Clare was released and it became a hugely popular name. Personally I don’t like it, but not sure what I would prefer to be called. 
  • What is your favourite meal : I enjoy flavoursome food, strange thing to say but let me explain. I love chilli, ginger and garlic. I love Indian, Italian, and Thai food. Well cooked, well seasoned food. I can’t abide coriander, lemongrass and mashed potato. 
  • What is your favourite smell : I love the smell of newly cut grass, of lavender in the garden, lilies and tomatoes in the greenhouse, but my most favourite smell is my freshly showered boy snuggled up next to me watching tv. 
  • What was your favourite holiday : A difficult question to answer, I’ve been very lucky to visit some wonderful places and many I would love to return to for various reasons, but there are so many places still to visit. However there are two places that I will definitely return to again, India and Italy. I love India and have been a few times, the last time I was 6 weeks pregnant. The people, food and country are amazing, so many temples, shrines, cities, and beaches to see. Italy is beautiful, and where I was married. A country of historic cities, Rome, Milan, Venice, Verona, and my favourite Florence.
  • What is your favourite book, author and/or genre : I’ve always loved thrillers and horrors, Stephen King is still a firm favourite but over the last couple of years I’ve discovered Liane Moriarty, I’m not sure what genre these books would fall into but she is a wonderful storyteller with characters full of warmth and life. I have laughed and cried during these books, they leave you feeling like you’ve made some new friends and wanting to know them more. 
  • What is your favourite ice cream flavour : I love a really good vanilla ice cream, a honeycomb, last year I had a gorgeous rhubarb and ginger. 
  • What was the last movie you watched : Aquaman (in the cinema) and all the Spiderman films (not my choice – at home) 
  • What is one thing you like about yourself : I’m a caring person and will try and help anyone, if I’m able, or get help and advice when I can’t help directly. 
  • If you were a crayon what colour would you be : Without doubt I would be purple.
  • What is your hair colour : Light brown, with lots of  hidden grey (with help).
  • What is your eye colour : Brown 
  • Coffee or tea : I discovered a few months ago Moroccan mint tea in a restaurant, they make it themselves, after chatting with the owner she gave me the name of a few brands that have a similar one, my favourite is Tea People Moroccan mint, its a loose leaf tea so you can add as much as you wish to make it weaker or stronger. I’m avoiding coffee, only because I prefer it  with sugar and am trying to be good.

So that’s a little about me. Anything else you’d like to know feel free to ask, however I reserve the right not to answer…

 

2018 reading challenge update

Well we’re six months in and I’m not even half way through. I’ve been rubbish with reading this year, I can’t seem to settle or concentrate for long enough. I can happily pick up my allotment handbook and veg growing guides to flick through but have struggled with ‘proper’ books. I have still been listening to the audio books and even Oscar is enjoying them.

So here we go ….

  1. A book with more than 500 pages –
  2. A book with a number in the title – Three wishes – Liane Moriarty
  3. A book by a female author – Then she was gone – Lisa Jewell
  4. A popular authors first book –
  5. A book with non-human characters –
  6. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit –
  7. A book from your childhood –
  8. A book with a colour in the title –
  9. A graphic novel –
  10. A book by an author you’ve never read before – The cellar – Minettte Walters
  11. A book you own but have never read – The casual vacancy – J K Rowling
  12. A book that was originally written in another language – The Leopard – Jo Nesbo
  13. A book from an author you love but haven’t read – The hypnotist’s love story – Liane Moriarty
  14. A book with bad reviews –

So far 6 out of 14 completed, not great but better than I thought. I have ideas for 1,4,7 and 8 but I’m struggling with number 14, any ideas would be appreciated also 5 and 9.

Just a thought but would the audio books but acceptable for this challenge ? or would it be cheating because it’s not ‘actual’ reading.

I would like to complete this years challenge as I didn’t manage to complete 2016 or 2017 although both had around 26 books to choose, find and read.

Harry Potter revisited

We had a few days away at half term and took the opportunity to revisit the Harry Potter Studio tour since they’ve added lots of new areas since our last visit and it didn’t disappoint.

We spent around 6 hours wandering, reading and exploring the studios where the Harry Potter films were made over 10 years. It’s a fascinating place, especially seeing the attention to detail that has gone into making all the props, costumes, tapestries, paintings, even the books are fully printed inside just in case they were caught on camera during a scene.

The forbidden forest and creatures are all new since our last visit and it was good fun walking through the mists unsure of what or who we may encounter.

We even got to see the Hogwarts express this time, that wasn’t there on our last visit. They even had costumes and props from the fantastic beasts film (which was partly filmed in Liverpool)

Since our visit Oscar has started listening to the audio books thanks to the library.

 

Reading Challenge 2018

I didn’t quite manage to finish the 2017 reading challenge, I was let down by ‘Epic Romance’ and ‘published this year’ – all the other categories I completed and found a couple unread authors I will be reading more of.  Here’s the link Reading challenge 2017 – update

Now for the new challenge.

  1. A book with more than 500 pages.
  2. A book with a number in the title.
  3. A book by a female author.
  4. A popular authors first book.
  5. A book with non-human characters.
  6. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit.
  7. A book from your childhood.
  8. A book with a colour in the title.
  9. A graphic novel.
  10. A book by an authors you’ve never read before.
  11. A book you own but have never read.
  12. A book the was originally written in another language.
  13. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read.
  14. A book with bad reviews.

I have a couple of ideas from a few categories but any suggestions are always welcome.

Happy reading.

Audio-books

I’ve never been much of a music fan, I listen to the radio but more for the chat between songs than the music itself. However, there are times when music helps soothe the nerves or calm the soul.

Where I’m working they have the radio on all day, the problem is that different people have different radio stations on, although neither is loud it can be ‘just noise’.

So I invested  in some noise cancelling headphones and downloaded some pod casts, they were great but most are very short and working an eight hour day you need a bit more. Then I came across Overdrive, an app which allows you to link your library card and download E-books and audio-books directly from your local library.

I noticed a few Jo Nesbo books that I’d been wanting to read for a while and these were my first. I really enjoyed them. I could dip in and out of them as required plus they were longer stories so lasted a couple of days. Then I noticed the Harry Potter books, again longer stories but books I had read some time ago. Once again, well produced and lovely to listen too.

I recently heard Stephen Fry talking about audio-books as he also has started listening to them whilst walking/exercising but something he said made me think. He said ‘I’m listening to books I should have read, the classics and such’ and I this is what I’m going to do. All those books I’ve been putting off because they looked ‘heavy’ or ‘difficult’.

So I’ve been through and bookmarked a fair few and downloaded the first ready for Monday morning, and I’m starting with The Hobbit, because I’ve never read any of the books or seen the films (for the same reason) because they look like hard work, but someone else can do the hard part, I’ll just listen.

So what do you think ? Cheating or clever ? Have you listened to any ? What books/series do you recommend ?

Reading Challenge Dilemma

I’v almost finished the Reading challenge 2017 – update, however the one category that has been given my the most problems.

An epic romance – this isn’t an area I normally read and at first glance it was all classic novels, pride and prejudice, Jane Eyre etc but I read these in school and found them a little dull to be honest.

So I took to the internet and Instagram for inspiration and ideas of what other people read for this category and this is where my dilemma started. I noticed that both the twilight and Harry Potter series have been put into the this category by a few people so I started thinking along these lines and had an idea.

During last years The Reading Challenge I had to read a book from the year I was born – I selected interview with the vampire written by Anne Rice and I think it could also fit into the epic romance category, but I didn’t want to re-read it, so I’m currently reading the second book in the series – the vampire Lestat and think this would also suit the category. The other book I have read recently that I think also works is Bram Stokers Dracula (the vampire thing was coincidence)

So what do you think ? Have you rad these, allowable or dubious ? Any other suggestions, preferably not on the school reading curriculum.