Tome Topple Readathon Wrap Up (June 2016)

I took part in another readathon for 2 weeks, the Tome Topple Readathon which focuses on reading tomes (books over 500 pages) and was really fun. I loved how active their twitter account was and the challenges so would love to do this one again sometime.

Wrap Up

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Claire

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)

Batman: Arkham Asylum (15th Anniversary Edition) by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean – I had already started this so only read 48 Pages but isn’t a tome anyway, just my book for the graphic novel challenge

Gone by Michael Grant

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Challenges

I completed all of the challenges which is awesome so here’s the list and which of my books counted:

Read more than one tome (500+ pages)  – I ended up reading 3 tomes

Take a graphic novel break (doesn’t need to be over 500 pages!) – For this I read the Batman graphic novel

Read a tome that is part of a series – All 3 of my tomes are actually the first book in their series

Read over 500 pages in one week – I read Lady Midnight in 3 days, The Cuckoo’s Calling in 4 days, and Gone in 4 days so I completed this challenge will all 3 tomes too

Read an adult novel – I read The Cuckoo’s Calling for this one

Links

Here’s the link to the main post for Tome Topple including the YouTube video:

Tome Topple Readathon Sign-Up | Readathon + Giveaway

And here is where I find out about readathons:

http://www.littlebookowl.com/p/read-thon-calendar.html

My next readathon will be the June Duodecathon which I will do a wrap up post for too.

Exam Period Reading Wrap Up

ReaThis is just going to be a wrap up of my opinions on the books I read through the couple months of exams and revision, so I’m not going to go into a load of detail or give proper reviews but just random thoughts about each book.

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by JK Rowling (Audiobook – Stephen Fry Edition)

The Harry Potter series has always been a part of my life pretty much, but over the last couple years has become a really large part of it. I have met a lot of friends through the fandom and had a lot of fun because of it all. The Stephen Fry audiobook versions finally became available on Audible so I thought it would be a great way of being able to reread the series. I think that I last reread the series before reading the Deathly Hallows for the first time, which must have been about 7 years ago now, and there is just so much that I had forgotten and really appreciate now. The narration by Stephen Fry is amazing and I’m going to continue with listening to the series as I have some spare audible points saved up.

Everyman by Anonymous

So this is just a play that I had to read for university and it is basically just an old morality play where a character called Everyman is told that he is going to die and so has to go around and find evidence that he’s a good guy before he is then judged by God. I found this pretty hard to read because although the story is really simple, the language is hard to get through and the iBooks edition that I was reading wasn’t always clear about who was speaking.

Light in August by William Faulkner

This was another university book and I read it through the audiobook, and although I think that this is a good book, and has some really interesting messages, I did not like reading it. Basically, parts of it just made me uncomfortable, which I understand is kind of the point, but still just means it’s not fun to read, although I would still say it’s worth reading, just be aware of this.

Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare

Another university book, but I really like Shakespeare so it was fine, my only problem was that I had to revise both this and his other play The Merchant of Venice at the same time and so kept getting confused between the two. However, Measure for Measure is a comedy about a law forbidding sex outside of marriage, and so Isabella’s brother is going to be executed and she has to go prevent, it which basically means a bad time for her. It’s a pretty short play and I quite liked it, but I do prefer Shakespeare’s tragedies to his comedies.

The Book of the Courtier by Baldassare Castiglione

So this book was yet another university book and consists of 4 sub-books: book 1 is about what makes a great courtier in general, book 2 is about humour, book 3 is about what makes a good court lady (and stories of women being brave etc), then book 4 is what makes a good ruler and good politics. My favorite was book 3 which is strange because it also made me the most annoyed as some of the statements in this one from certain characters are pretty misogynistic, but then that just made it interesting in comparison to the rest of the book which I thought was mostly really dull.

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Claire, Maureen Johnson & Sarah Rees Brennan

I loved this book! Obviously, this one is not for my university course but was just for fun, as it is a collection of short stories so was quite nice to read over a long time while revision was going on. Cassandra Claire has quickly become one of my favourite authors as I read the mortal instruments and infernal devices series, along with watching the film and first series of the TV show (which I am obsessed with and cannot wait for the next season). I thought this book was just great as it gave some brief background to Magnus’s life and I liked the later stories especially, but don’t want to really say any more about that here because of spoilers about the mortal instruments series. Basically to avoid spoilers in any of Cassandra Claire’s books make sure you read them in the order that she wrote them because the series all overlap, which is a lot of reading but so worth it!

The Faerie Queene (Books 1&2) by Edmund Spenser

Back to university books I had to read the first two books of this, and so due to the language being so tricky I had the audiobook on while I read the physical book which worked pretty okay. Shmoop has amazing summaries for each canto if you need to study this, but I really didn’t like this book. It’s meant to be a great English epic about knights and quests etc. but I feel like a lot of the plot is repetitive and then, in the end a lot just comes down to fate/chance.

The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli

So this one is really similar to The Book of the Courtier as they can be seen as handbooks for how to be a good prince/courtier. Again, I’d say this was pretty dull, but was good to use in comparison with Castiglione in an exam.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon

So it has been 20 days since I last posted even though I said it would only be a week, but in this time, I finished my last piece of coursework for the year and have planned and begun my exam revision too. I then decided to take part in Dewey’s 24-hour readathon for the first time both because I thought it would be fun and because I have a LOT of books to read in my revision.

The readathon began at 1pm here in England but I didn’t start until 7pm, yet on day 1 I finally managed to finish Everyman (by Anon), a play from the 15th century that I had been halfway through for months despite how short it is. I then read 6 chapters of Light in August (by William Faulkner) on audiobook before taking a break from uni books to start The Rise of the Hotel Dumont (by Cassandra Claire and Maureen Johnson) which is one of the stories within The Bane Chronicles.

On day 2 I then finished The Rise of the Hotel Dumont before listening to another 6 chapters of Light in August until the readathon ended at 1pm again.

However, after the fun of the fun of the readathon I then didn’t want to wait until the next of Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathons in October so tracked down a list of readathons happening this year and there just happened to be another one on there starting today! So having finished a 24-hour readathon, I have now begun a week-long one: the Duodecathon (which can be found here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/156177-duodecathon).

Details for Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon for anyone who wants to join in October: http://www.24hourreadathon.com/

Hope any of you participating in the readathon had fun, and if you didn’t participate I would definitely recommend it!

Knitting and Working out

I mentioned in one of my last couple blog posts that I’ve been doing pilates and yoga so thought I would quickly say a little more about that. I have a mat which I got cheap from a local sports store but that’s the only thing I’ve bought for it. I thought I’d also just post the links here as I do my work outs to YouTube videos:

Pilates: https://www.youtube.com/user/blogilates

Yoga: https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene

Both of these are great and have loads of stuff for beginners which is awesome as I’ve loved being able to see myself get better through these, although I had a slump recently where I didn’t do anything for a week which isn’t great but I’ve started up again now.

So my other big stress relievers are just going for walks to get coffee and knitting; the walks are nice just because I can go outside when I’ve been cooped up at my desk doing work all day and getting a coffee gives it a purpose and is just nice. Knitting is something my nanny taught me, but I never got very far with it as she only taught me the knit stitch and I wasn’t that great but a while ago I taught myself the purl stitch too and so can now make basic patterns! I’ve bought a few different balls of wool now (all just for about a pound each just in discount stores), and although I’ve made a whole load of random scraps for practice and odd things, I have now also made a pair of finger-less gloves (2 coIours as I made one and then ran out of that colour), and a scarf (which is too short so I may make into something else or add to).

I bought a knitting book as well, called 250 Knitting Stitches and is by Debbie Tomkies which I just think is so good as it is all sectioned out my the type of stitch each of the patterns uses so I’m still in the first section of Knit and Purl stitches but once I’ve made all of these I may start trying out some of the others. My project at the minute is to just make squares of a few of the patterns and then to make a patchwork bag out of them to keep all my knitting stuff in but I’m not sure how that will turn out yet. It’s just really relaxing to do so I am loving it right now.

I still keep dropping stitches or doing the wrong type at the wrong time though so some of the things which I have made are slightly wrong in places but hopefully that will stop once I’m more used to knitting. I’m a bit embarrassed about knitting though because it’s generally something that only old people do but is fun to do and I love just scrolling through patterns too as I now like to look for ones I could do one day on pinterest, ravelry and a couple knitting subreddits.

I think I’ll finish this post here as I want to talk about my new organisation system for all my to-do lists and stuff but I will probably be able to write quite a bit about it so will just make it into a separate post as I’m in a self-improvement kick at the minute. I’ll probably start doing more posts on books and things like that once term is over as at the minute I have loads of essays to do so an having to start reading the books for my course only to then not have enough time and have to leave it unfinished so that I can have at least read some of the next weeks books for my course. I am going to really sort out all my course reading after this term though!