Hello to you all and a happy new year! It's a grey, dreary, blustery day down here, with the promise of storms later. My sister has been packed off on a ferry and a train to London, hoping to beat the weather home and not wanting a repeat of the travel chaos of Christmas Eve. I'm not working today, for the first New Year in five years, which is probably for the best as I'm still feeling rather bleary-eyed from the late night.
I'm quite pleased it's a new year. The end of the year seems to be all about leading up to Christmas, and once that's been and gone, the year feels tired, and you can't be bothered to do anything, start anything; it is the winding-down time of year. But now 2014 has started, and it's a good chance to think about doing new things and planning new adventures. One of my new year's resolutions is to do new things, gain new experiences and make memories, by doing twelve things I've never done before, whether that's visiting a new place, trying a new food, meet new people (perhaps a blogger meet-up and book shopping spree?) or maybe, just maybe, start getting those driving lessons I've been meaning to take for about ten years.
As far as the blog is concerned, I'm quite happy with how it's going at the moment. I recently introduced a "Sunday Summary" feature, so that I can keep you up to date with my reading and news, even when I don't write a full review. I'm also contemplating a semi-regular "Fangirl" feature in which I look at the stories I love and ponder what it is that makes them great. As well as, hopefully, being an interesting read and discussion point, I'm hoping it will help me get up the enthusiasm for my own writing, which has been so important to me for so long, but which has fallen by the wayside in the last few years.
Last year I didn't sign up for any reading or blogging challenges, deciding instead to focus on enjoying my reading rather than to aim for any targets and beating myself up when I inevitably failed to reach them. I took part in several readathons, which were a great excuse just to get lost in a good book (although often I ended up getting lost in the internet instead.) A new year gives us the chance to start as we mean to go on, and a readathon is a great way to make a head start on some more reading. Bout of Books has been one of the most popular and enduring readathons, and the next one starts on Monday for a week. The Christmas and New Year rush should be well and truly over in town, and the kids heading back to school, and I'm expecting to be back to working part-time, so it'll be a great chance to work down my to-read pile.
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog
. - From the Bout of Books teamYes please!
I'm not going to overload my reading time with challenges, but this year I couldn't resist the Lucky No. 14 reading challenge, from Books to Share. Astrid has really been creative in coming up with different categories of books to read, and different ways of battling the to-read pile. The challenge is to read one book in each of the following categories:
1. Visit The Country: Read a book that has setting in a country that you really want to visit in real life. Make sure the setting has a big role in the book and it can make you know a little bit more about your dream destination.
2. Cover Lust: Pick a book from your shelf that you bought because you fell in love with the cover. Is the content as good as the cover?
3. Blame it on Bloggers: Read a book because you’ve read the sparkling reviews from other bloggers. Don’t forget to mention the blogger’s names too!
4. Bargain All The Way: Ever buying a book because it’s so cheap you don’t really care about the content? Now it’s time to open the book and find out whether it’s really worth your cents.
5. (Not So) Fresh From the Oven: Do you remember you bought/got a new released book last year but never had a chance to read it? Dig it from your pile and bring back the 2013.
6. First Letter’s Rule: Read a book which title begins with the same letter as your name.
7. Once Upon a Time: Choose a book that’s been published for the first time before you were born (not necessarily has to be a classic book, just something a little bit older than you is okay. You can read the most recent edition if you want to)
8. Chunky Brick: Take a deep breath, and read a book that has more than 500 pages. Yep, the one that you’ve always been afraid of!
9. Favorite Author: You like their books, but there are too many titles. This is your chance, choose a book that’s been written by your fave author but you haven’t got time to read it before.
10. It’s Been There Forever: Pick up a book that has been there on your shelf for more than a year, clean up the dust and start to read it now :)
11. Movies vs Books: You’ve seen the movie adaptation (or planned to see it soon) but never had time to read the book. It’s time to read it now, so you can compare the book vs the movie.
12. Freebies Time: What’s the LAST free book you’ve got? Whether it’s from giveaway, a birthday gift or a surprise from someone special, don’t hold back any longer. Open the book and start reading it now :D
13. Not My Cup of Tea: Reach out to a genre that you’ve never tried (or probably just disliked) before. Whether it’s a romance, horror or non fiction, maybe you will find a hidden gem!
14. Walking Down The Memory Lane: Ever had a book that you loved so much as a kid? Or a book that you wish you could read when you were just a child? Grab it now and prepare for a wonderful journey to the past :) Comic books or graphic novels are allowed!