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.

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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.

 

Reading challenge 2017 – update

I’ve not looked at the Reading Challenge for a few months but I’m always reading plus at the beginning of the year when the challenge started I made a note of books for some of the categories on the list.

  1.  About a place you wished you lived – The leaving of things – Jay Antani (India)
  2. In a genre you usually avoid – The lost city of Z – David Grann
  3. With yellow on the cover – The case of the broken doll – Alison Golden and Grace Dagnell
  4. That is becoming a movie in 2017 – The dinner – Herman Koch
  5. A book with a one word title – Greyhound – Steffan Piper
  6. An Audiobook – The descent of man – Grayson Perry
  7. You can get for free – Most of my books are from the library so are free
  8. You planned to read last year but didn’t – End of watch – Stephen King
  9. You read on a trip – Now you see me – SJ Bolton
  10. Suggested by a friend – State of wonder – Ann Patchett
  11. From a series you started but have yet to finish – Finders Keepers – Stephen King
  12. You finish in a day – Blackout – Emily Barr
  13. Published this year –
  14. With an epic romance –
  15. That takes you somewhere warm – Summer in Tuscany – Elizabeth Adler
  16. Short stories or under 200 pages – Public library and other stories – Ali Smith
  17. Considered a 20th century classic – The magic toy shop – Angela Carter
  18. Set in the future – The Circle – Dave Eggers
  19. You choose for the cover – The watcher – Ross Armstrong
  20. With a reputation of Un-put-down-able – The memory box – Eva Lesko Natiello
  21. With a mother/daughter relationship – The taken – Alice Clarke-Platts
  22. Free choice – Breaking Silence – Linda Castillo

It’s going well, considering there’s still 4 months left and only 3 categories left to complete. The hardest will be epic romance as this is not a genre I usually read/look for I have just completed the Harry Potter series (again) and could possibly use that if nothing else comes along before the end of the year.

Suggestions gratefully received….

 

A bit of plastic

A couple of weeks ago a small piece of plastic came into our lives and made quite a difference. What is this ?

 

A fidget cube, a small cube, 6 sides with something different on each side to fidget with. Very simple, but also effective. I fits neatly into the palm of your hand and even for a child its comfortable to hold. I bought it for Oscar, to try and stop his nail biting (he’s hardly got any left) and it’s working. Each side has a different action, some click whilst others are silent, each has a different feel.

It was originally designed as an anti-stress ‘toy’ for adults, however for children with anxiety or sensory issues it also has advantages.

After a quick chat with the teacher it was decided that he could have it in class, provided he didn’t ‘mess’ about with it or use the clicker too often. It has been successful. He says it makes him feel calmer and it helps him concentrate.

Unfortunately the small size also makes it easy to lose, as was the case a few days ago. We turned to house upside down but nothing. I ordered a couple of spares, and true to form the original one turned up on the day the spares arrived. I find myself quite often holding it and it is calming.

 

50 things

It started as a joke during a quieter moment in work. 50 things to do before reaching 50. So the list began, simple things, visit more museums, reading more, activities to try but then we really started to talk about it. How about adding things that would enrich a life, mine or others, learn new things. So the list grew. Finally we had a list :

  1. Be a tourist in your own city – started and will continue to blog about it.
  2. Spend the day at the spa.
  3. Go on a ghost hunt/tour. – completed 13th August 2016 (shiverpool Ghost tour)
  4. Do 50 random acts of kindness – well underway, will continue
  5. Watch every movie on IMDb top 250 list – started (see blog post The list)
  6. Complete a book challenge – didn’t complete 2016 one but will update 
  7. Watch the sunrise and sunset in the same day.
  8. Visit 50 new museums – started – still ongoing
  9. Visit 50 castles/stately homes.
  10. Knit for charity – completed but will continue (see blog post I’m knitting again)
  11. Ride a segway.
  12. Sponsor a child – have been researching and will start this soon.
  13. Climb a rock wall.
  14. Indoor skydive.
  15. Do a zip line.
  16. Do an abseil (I’m changing this) – I completed a 50ft powerfan jump from the tower N is for …
  17. Plant a tree (or two)
  18. Start a blog – started 
  19. Go camping.
  20. Start a fire without matches.
  21. Leave an inspirational message on a sticky note in a bathroom or public place.
  22. Learn a language and use it.
  23. Complete a 5 km.
  24. Complete a 10 km.
  25. Complete a half marathon.
  26. Complete a full marathon.
  27. Ride a horse.
  28. Start a scrap book.
  29. Do a 365 photo project.
  30. Find someone with the same name.
  31. Send a message in a bottle or balloon, keep trying until you get a reply.
  32. Visit Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh and London.
  33. Walk along Hadrian’s wall.
  34. See the white cliffs of Dover.
  35. Visit the Eden project.
  36. See the Giants causeway.
  37. Visit Bath.
  38. Explore Oxford and Cambridge.
  39. Go to the Chelsea flower show.
  40. Go canoeing.  – completed see N is for … 
  41. join a book group or craft club.
  42. Hug someone everyday, family not included. – started 
  43. Eat fish and chips on a pier (Blackpool/Southport not included)
  44. Take a selfie at John O’Groats and Lands end.
  45. Swim with dolphins/sharks. – completed see A dream come true
  46. Climb the Great Orme or Snowdon.
  47. Treetop/rope walk
  48. Enter a competition, keep trying until you win (lottery not included)
  49. Ice skate – completed December 2016
  50. Picnic on the beach.

So this is it, some things easily achievable whilst others take a bit of planning, time and money. 8 years to complete all above, should be easy, right ?

Wish me luck I think I’ll need it….