Day Three | The Reading Rush 2020

Thoughts for the day: I finished my first book of the readathon today, and in doing so, managed to tick off three of the challenges! Although I do always like to choose seven books for The Reading Rush, I do it knowing that it’s more for fun than anything, and that when it comes down to it, I will end up doubling up to meet the challenges with some of my books. I just love trying to choose a book for every challenge! As we’re on day three, and I have completed three challenges, I’d say that I am on track so far…

The book that I finished today was The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. As my first venture into her works, I had been made aware that this was going to be a difficult read, but I still don’t think I was prepared for just how harrowing this story is. Toni Morrison makes every single line count: every word has a purpose and demonstrates another facet of Pecola’s story and the trauma, both voiced and internalised, that she faces in the novel. I said yesterday that I was left a little confused by the sudden switch in narrators that takes place in the second half of this book, and that it was a jarring change. When reading the foreword and afterword, however, I found that this illuminated a lot of the decisions that Morrison had made throughout the novel, including why she had chosen Pecola’s story, her aims, and the problems she navigated when telling it. Overall, I rated the novel 3.5/5 stars. It was a difficult read, but one that I will be thinking about for a long time to come.

The next book that I picked up today was The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I loved this series when I was about fifteen, and after a recent rewatch of all of the films I decided it’s finally time to re-read the books.


Pages read today: 80

Total pages read so far: 242

Challenges completed today: 3 (#2: Read a book that starts with the word “The”, #6: Read a book in a genre that you’ve always wanted to read more of, #7: Read a book that takes place on a different continent than where you live)

Total challenges completed so far: 3

Total books read so far: 1


Three days in already! Where does the time go in this readathon?!

Bex ♥

Goodreads | Instagram | My Reading Rush Account | Twitter

 

 

Day Two | The Reading Rush 2020

Thoughts for the day: In the glorious contradiction that is my Reading Rush attitude for this year, I took it slow today. I watched BookTube this morning when I had meant to read, and there was work that I wanted to get going with. In the evening, though, I began to get the feeling that has been coming back to me lately that I really wanted to spend it reading, rather than making myself do it to keep up with my goals. I picked up my book again and went forward thinking, you know what, I am going to read as much as I read and if that doesn’t mean I finish the book today, I can just continue tomorrow! 

I read about a quarter of The Bluest Eye today. I didn’t hit my 100-page target, but I’m really setting aside tomorrow as a day for a lot of reading throughout the day, so I am confident that I will finish it then… just as I said I would today.

From around the 100-150 page mark, the novel began to take a turn into following two different characters, which I wasn’t expecting. With their perspectives being focused more on telling the story of these characters’ pasts in large sections of recollection rather than dialogue in the present, I found it took a lot longer to get through these sections – especially when you consider the events that are described in these pages. Toni Morrison has a style of writing that blends poetic language with an absolute unwillingness to hold back on harrowing detail, which constantly makes you look deeper. I don’t know where the novel will go from here, but I will find out tomorrow.


Pages read today: 54

Total pages read so far: 162

Challenges completed today: 0

Total challenges completed so far: 0

Total books read so far: 0


Do you find with readathons that your reading fluctuates, or do you read lots at the start and less at the end, or vice versa?

Bex ♥

Goodreads | Instagram | My Reading Rush Account | Twitter

 

Day One | The Reading Rush 2020

Thoughts for the day: Going into this year’s Reading Rush, I think I assumed that I would tackle it in the same way that I have done in years past – by reading as much as I possibly could (especially in the first couple of days), even if I felt as though I’d reached a natural point to stop. I’ve read some books during this readathon in the past that I really didn’t enjoy, but I finished them in the name of wrapping up my challenges. It soon dawned on me today that I want to do this one differently.

I’ve been in one of the biggest reading slumps I’ve ever been in since May, and instead of burning myself out with this readathon and racing through books, I’m taking it a little slower this year. I’m taking time to do other things in my day and hopefully will slowly but steadily find my way back to making reading a habit once again. That said, this is The Reading Rush, and I just can’t seem to stop myself from wanting to make a few goals for myself! If I can read around 100 pages a day, that will really get me back into the swing of things without, hopefully, pushing it too far and putting me into a slump once again.

So… for today’s reading! I decided to begin with The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison because it is one of the books I was most hoping to get to this week. When I finish it, it will also count towards three challenges, which makes it an excellent place to start! I’ve found that I have really fallen into the novel so far, and I flew through the first fifty pages at least without even realising it. I wasn’t expecting the multiple perspectives that Morrison presents us with as there was no indication of them in the blurb, but I’m finding that having Claudia’s perspective running alongside Pecola’s story is really adding to the portrayal of the many complexities surrounding race and family dynamics in the novel so far. I definitely think that I will be finishing this one tomorrow.


Pages read today: 108

Total pages read so far: 108

Challenges completed today: 0

Total challenges completed so far: 0

Total books read so far: 0


I’d love to know how your first day went if you have been taking part in The Reading Rush! Do you have any goals you’ve set for yourself?

Bex ♥

Goodreads | Instagram | My Reading Rush Account | Twitter

My Reading Rush 2020 TBR

I’m not typically a TBR-maker – in fact, I can’t think of many occasions at all where I have made them in the past. The game changer is, as always, The Reading Rush. Choosing my TBR for this year has been a bit different because I usually like to read a mixture of my own unread books and books that I’ve picked to perfectly fit the challenges from the library. This year, the library has been a very limited option, so I’m working these challenges around what I have! I guess you could say this is the perfect opportunity to start ticking off some of the books that I’ve got on my physical TBR…

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#1: Read a book with a cover that matches the colour of your birthstone

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Also fits: 2, 5, 7)

This has been on my radar ever since all of the hype began around it a couple of years ago, but after watching Hollywood on Netflix and realising that its cover is the perfect emerald colour to match my May birthstone, I figured, what better time? This will also be the first time that I will be listening to an audiobook for The Reading Rush!

Continue reading “My Reading Rush 2020 TBR”

Everything I’ve Read So Far in 2020 | Part 2 of 2

Following on from my previous post, in which I detailed some of the books that I have read so far in 2020, I finally sat down to look through everything else that I’ve read. I really did enjoy a lot of the books I was assigned to read in the first half of this year, but I must admit that it feels so refreshing to have the ability to pick up whatever I want now. I’m hoping that the next time I decide to write a wrap up, it will be full of the books that I’ve picked up for myself and really enjoyed!

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#7: The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy (1974) – 4/5 stars (Re-read)

I loved this series when I was younger – when I look back to the origins of the interest in witches that I have had for as long as I can remember, I can’t think of anything that came before The Worst Witch. Reading this so much later, and as a text to study, I was so pleasantly surprised to see that it held up really well for my enjoyment. The illustrations, I think, are just as important to the whole experience of reading this book as the words themselves, and all in all both made for an enjoyable read.


Continue reading “Everything I’ve Read So Far in 2020 | Part 2 of 2”

Everything I’ve Read So Far in 2020 | Part 1 of 2

Of the fourteen books that I’ve read so far this year, only three of those have been books that I chose for myself outside of final year reading lists. My literature module for Spring Term was on British Science-Fiction and Fantasy, featuring children’s literature as well as heavier texts from the canon, which made a refreshing change to what I’ve often studied. We talked a lot about the development of the two genres into what we see today, and the tropes that have emerged which we associate with them – pretty much the perfect module for me to wrap up the literature side of my degree with!

Outside of these books, I never found that I got much time at all in the last six months to read for myself. I plan on reading much more in the coming months to catch up on all of the books that I’ve neglected due to uni, but I wanted to make sure I kept a record of what I have read this year, and so here is part one!

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#1: The Story of the Amulet by E. Nesbit (1906) – 4/5 stars (Uni)

I never read these stories when I was younger, but I was pleased when I found this one to still be enjoyable as an adult. There was a heavy emphasis on history and archaeology in here which really helped to hold my interest, and the blending of science-fiction principles of time travel with the more fantastical elements of magic worked really well to carry those themes across. Continue reading “Everything I’ve Read So Far in 2020 | Part 1 of 2”

Getting Back to Blogging

It is only sitting down to write this blog post after handing in the final work of my degree that I realise quite how long it has been since I was last here. I always knew that my final year would be intense, but I don’t think I was really prepared for quite how intense it would be and unfortunately something, which turned out to be my blog, had to be put to the side for a while. Summer though, for me, has always been symbolic of a time when I get to really put in the time for this tiny space on the internet that I call my own, and I suppose why I wasn’t concerned about leaving it for a little while, because I always knew I’d come back. Just writing a few words has instantly reminded me why.

I have a lot of ideas for posts to come and a lot of them inevitably involve my degree because for myself more than anything, I want to remember the books that I read and the parts of my degree that I loved. I also want to write some detailed reviews and lots more discussion pieces, because they’re what I enjoy the most, and I never want to stop thinking deeply about the books that I read even though in academic terms I now don’t have to. I also want to keep having conversations about what I read because that is something I think I will soon start to sorely miss.

I feel as though I have fallen out of the habit of really setting time aside for reading the books that I want to read and there are so many books on my shelves that I can’t wait to get to – I just need to put the time in now, and I can. I do believe that reading is a habit as well as a passion and something that I personally have to make sure I keep working at when so many other things have the potential to take over. So, that is what I am going to do.

This post was meant to be a way for me to ease back into making this a habit. A lot is going to change now that I am entering a new phase in my life. What I do know is that a creative space of my own is something that has fallen away in the last few months, but it is an integral part of me and important that I find my way back to it.

I am so excited to be back and to start reading other people’s work again. More posts will be on their way very soon!

Bex ♥

Reflection: June & July 2019 | Space Junkyards and Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam

In June and July, I was finally able to delve into the books that I wanted to read because my exams were over and almost four months of summer were beginning to stretch out in front of me. Here’s everything that I read!

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Book #17: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

What I really wasn’t expecting was just how fun this book would be from the outset. TLWTASAAP is one of those books that you find genuine enjoyment in reading: the cast of characters is like one big eclectic family and their adventures to seemingly-abandoned moon colonies and space junkyards were something I didn’t really know I needed but loved!

The standout features for me, though, were the often-poignant reflections that Chambers weaves in to an otherwise light-hearted read. This book isn’t without its commentary on our world today, and it’s all the better for it.

My rating: 4/5 stars Continue reading “Reflection: June & July 2019 | Space Junkyards and Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam”

Day Six + Seven (27 + 28/07/19) | The Reading Rush

General thoughts: In practice – in terms of the cold hard numbers – this hasn’t been my most successful readathon ever. I didn’t read so much as last year, and I may have taken some liberties when it came to fitting my books to the challenges… I did, however, manage to read a decent amount on the final two days of the readathon!

On Saturday, I managed to get more of The Gracekeepers read. I think it was by this point that I began to notice the read really going downhill for me. I was reluctant to keep picking it back up, because certain aspects of it kept on unimpressing me.

Sunday was dedicated to getting this book finished. With just under one hundred pages left at that point, I threw myself into my final reading sprint of the readathon, which definitely gave me the motivation that I needed! I finished the book at about 7pm, and intended to then finish the last sixty pages of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but I think I was so reading-exhausted by then that it just never happened! I’m going to have a full review of The Gracekeepers going up soon, because I have so many thoughts that the book really warrants its own post – two stars from me.

On reflection, I think this week was still wonderful because I truly love immersing myself in the book community for a full seven days. I didn’t join in so much this year, although I think a lot of that is down to the fact that alongside the readathon I was simultaneously trying to research a dissertation and complete an internship – both of which, on their own, involve a lot of reading. I was definitely beginning to feel that reading burnout, and the headache which accompanies that is not the best!

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I’m grateful that I managed to read as much as I did, however! I read two books this week – and I have been averaging one book per week over summer – so I literally increased my reading rate by 100%. I also saw so many people smashing it and getting involved, which gives me so much faith in our amazing community!

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Pages read today: 80 (Saturday) and 92 (Sunday)

Total pages read: 736

Challenges completed today: An author’s first book (The Gracekeepers is Logan’s first *novel* so I am taking that!)

Total challenges completed: 2

Total books read: 2


I’d love to hear about your experience if you took part in The Reading Rush this year! Did you reach your targets? Did you feel any reading burnout? Let me know!

Bex ♥

My Reading Rush Account | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter

 

Day Five (26/07/19) | The Reading Rush

General thoughts: I managed to read more on day five of the readathon than on days three and four put together! I began reading The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan a couple of minutes before midnight on day four, and so a lot of my reading on day five was taken up by that. It’s a very slow-paced read, and sometimes the multiple narrators seem slightly unnecessary, but I’m intrigued by it and the flooded world setting is fascinating and so original to read about. I wanted to mention one particular quote, because it really struck me and shows Logan’s intent with this world:

Over time the landlockers had learned to blame the banks, the relentless drive for more money, for the rising seas and the loss of their land. Once upon a time they’d had a whole planet of fields and plains and deserts and forests. Now they had to make do with the patched-up corners of gutted cities, to cluster their homes around half-dead copses, to scrape what they could from their tiny footholds in a swallowing sea.

I had already planned to do some dissertation research this week, and in order to do both that and continue making progress with the readathon, I picked up A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well for the first time (I know!) I’m reading that as my book that I read in one spot because it’s relatively short. I’m halfway through it, and I’m finding it okay at the moment, but I’m definitely beginning to think that when it comes to drama, tragedies have more impact than comedies, for me.

Tomorrow, I plan to at least finish The Gracekeepers!


Pages read today: 178

Total pages read so far: 564

Challenges completed today: 0

Total challenges completed so far: 1

Total books read so far: 1


We’re well over halfway there now, but I’m not giving up on my hopes of reading a total of one thousand pages! Have you reached any goals yet if you’re taking part?

Happy readathoning,

Bex ♥

My Reading Rush Account | Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter