Now that summer is in full-swing, this means that it is so nearly time for one of my favourite weeks in the entire year to come around. BookTubeAThon (BTAT) 2018 is running from the 30th July to the 5th August, and I intend to fully immerse myself in it once again.
For those who are unsure as to what BTAT is, it is a week-long readathon hosted by Ariel Bissett on YouTube, in which seven bookish tasks are set which you aim to complete throughout the week. There are also video and photo challenges on YouTube and Instagram, as well as sprints on Twitter where everyone reads for a set amount of time and then feeds back. There’s no expectation to complete everything; the main point is that you are reading and having a great time! For me, I just adore seeing the strength of our lovely bookish community coming together.
Challenge #1) Let a coin toss decide your first read
My pick: Carnivalesque by Neil Jordan (2017)
Synopsis: “To Andy and his parents, it looks like any other carnival: creaking ghost train, rusty rollercoaster and circus performers. But of course it isn’t. Andy enters the hall of mirrors and is hypnotised by the many selves staring back at him. Sometime later, one of those selves walks out and rejoins his parents – leaving Andy trapped inside the glass, snatched from his suburban home and transported to a world where gravity is meaningless and time performs acrobatic tricks. And now an identical stranger inhabits Andy’s life, unsettling his mother as mysterious events start unfolding in their Irish coastal town…”
Why I chose it: If I’m honest, I can’t think of many blurbs that enticed me instantly more so than this. For some reason, I’ve always had a slightly weird fascination with halls of mirrors and other assorted creepy fairground things, so this seemed right up my street. I’d never heard of Carnivalesque until I picked it up at the library, so I’m going into it with virtually no pre-conceived ideas!
Challenge #2) Read a book about something you want to do
My pick: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett (2018)
Synopsis: “Best-friends-turned-worst-enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together. What could possibly go wrong? As the two travel deeper into the wilderness, fighting each other as well as the forces of nature, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can they make their way to safety? And will Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world?”
Why I chose it: I haven’t read a YA contemporary in a long while, but as soon as I saw that Jenn Bennett had a new release, I thought that it must be the time to pick one up again. I flew through Night Owls and loved it, so I have high hopes for Starry Eyes. The link to “something you want to do” for the challenge is quite tenuous but the best I could manage: a group camping trip sounds fantastic!
Challenge #3) Read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation
My pick: Stardust by Neil Gaiman (1999)
Synopsis: “At the dawn of the Victorian era, life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall. Young Tristan Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester, but Victoria is as cold and distant as the star she and Tristan see fall from the sky one evening. For the prize of Victoria’s hand, Tristan vows to retrieve the star for his beloved. It is an oath that sends the lovelorn swain over the town’s ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining.”
Why I chose it: I absolutely adore the film adaptation of Stardust, as well as its soundtrack, and I really feel as though I need to read the book now to see where everything started! I’ve also never read a Neil Gaiman novel…
Challenge #4) Read a book with green on the cover
My pick: The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (1937) – Reread
Synopsis: “Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey ‘there and back again’. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon…”
Why I chose it: I was finding it so difficult to locate a book I wanted to read with a green cover! When I saw my gorgeous edition of The Hobbit though I thought, why not give one of my favourite novels of all time a reread this week?
Challenge #5) Read a book while wearing the same hat the whole time
My pick: How to be a Medieval Woman by Margery Kempe (c.1430)
Synopsis: “Advice on marriage, foreign travel and much more from the irrepressible Margery Kempe: medieval pilgrim, visionary and creator of the first autobiography.”
Why I chose it: I have a seminar on Margery Kempe next term, and when I saw this little book by chance in the library, I figured that it was a good chance to get some background knowledge. Also, I’m finding the thought of reading How to be a Medieval Woman while wearing a hat quite amusing.
Challenge #6) Read a book with a beautiful spine
My pick: Circe by Madeleine Miller (2018)
Synopsis: “In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft. When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, vengeful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home. There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.”
Why I chose it: I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since it first came out, and although I didn’t mention it to anyone, I ended up getting bought it for my birthday! The cover is just so gorgeous, too.
Challenge #7) Read seven books
My pick: By Night the Mountain Burns by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel (2008)
Synopsis: “By Night the Mountain Burns recounts the narrator’s childhood on a remote island off the West African coast, living with his mysterious grandfather, several mothers and no fathers. We learn of a dark chapter in the island’s history: a bush fire destroys the crops, then hundreds perish in a cholera outbreak. Superstition dominates, and the islanders must sacrifice their possessions to the enraged ocean god. What of their lives will they manage to save?”
Why I chose it: Last BTAT I read In Darkness by Nick Lake (would massively recommend) and found it so interesting to read a book from a perspective that I had truly no prior knowledge about. Due to that, I’ve decided that for each BTAT from now on, I will always include at least one book about a culture that I am completely new to reading about.
Woah. Thank you if you made it to the end of this post! I am so, so excited for this year’s BTAT. Once again, I will be doing daily progress reports right here on the blog, as well as taking part in the photo challenges on my Instagram for the first time ever! I’d love to know if you’re taking part, and if you are, leave your links below so that we can encourage each other throughout!
Have a beautiful day, and good luck if you’re taking part this year!