Blog Housekeeping · That Reading Life

March Challenge Progress Report!

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Oh, this is so late. I’m sorry. I’m still making progress on my 2018 Reading Challenges! Now that March has left us, let’s see what I accomplished this month!

My Goodreads Reading Challenge goal is 175 books, and so far I’ve completed 45/175. GR tells me I’m 2 books ahead of schedule. Woohoo! We’ll see how long that lead lasts for.

Next, let’s check in on the Literary (&) Lacquers Reading Bingo, over in the Literary Lacquers facebook fan group. So far I’ve checked off 3/16 prompts. (If you participate, there are discounts for completion!)

  • A Graphic Novel – Paper Girls Vol. 1
  • A Book Written by an Author From a Different Country – Markswoman
  • A Book With a Green Cover – The Book of Life

On the Book Riot Read Harder challenge, I haven’t checked much off. 4/24, a little behind.

  • A Book About Nature – Our Native Bees
  • The First in a New To You YA or Middle-Grade Series – Markswoman
  • A Comic Written or Illustrated by a Person of Color – Paper Girls Vol. 2
  • A Sci-fi Novel With a Female Protagonist by a Female Author – The Tea Master and the Detective

*I realized I had read one of the prompts incorrectly and had to dock myself a prompt. 😦

I’ve made more progress for Popsugar’s Reading Challenge. 13/47

I also added my local library’s 10 To Read challenge and have made no progress this month. 3/10

  • A Young Adult Book – Godsgrave
  • A Book Set in a Place You’ve Never Been – Tricks for Free
  • A Book About Food – Acid Trip

I did my third buddy read of The Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone with my blogging buddy Marzie. Check out the discussion posts of Full Fathom Five. Part one was over at Marzie’s Reads and part two was on my blog here. Look for our reviews and discussion posts of book four, Last First Snow later this month!

The Hugo nominees were announced over Easter weekend so I will be starting to hit that reading hard soon. If you missed the announcement, the list of nominees is here. I’ve read some of the nominees already.

Here’s what I’ve read so far:

  • Best Novella: Down Among The Sticks and Bones
  • Best Short Story: Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience TM
  • Best Graphic Story: Bitch Planet, Vol 2: President Bitch; Monstress, Vol 2: The Blood; Paper Girls, Vol 3
  • Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form: Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Thor: Ragnarok; Wonderwoman
  • Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form: The Good Place, Michael’s Gambit; The Good Place, The Trolley Problem
  • Best Series: InCryptid, The Memoirs of Lady Trent (minus the final book.)
  • Best YA (Not A Hugo): In Other Lands

I…..have a LOT of reading ahead of me. From this list, I’ve read maaaaaaybe 10% of nominated works.

In addition to all that, I am hosting an 11-book Read Along of the entire October Daye series as we prepare for book #12 Night and Silence to release in September. Over in the Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant Fans group on Facebook (which I help admin), we’re discussing one book every three weeks. We’ve made it through books 1-4, and will be tackling book 5, One Salt Sea on April 22.

What have you been reading this month?

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Blog Housekeeping · That Reading Life

February Challenge Progress Report!

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I’m still making progress on my 2018 Reading Challenges! Now that February has left us, let’s see what I accomplished this month!

My Goodreads Reading Challenge goal is 175 books, and so far I’ve completed 25/175. GR is telling me I’m still 2 books behind schedule.

Next, let’s check in on the Literary (&) Lacquers Reading Bingo, over in the Literary Lacquers facebook fan group. So far I’ve checked off 3/16 prompts. (If you participate, there are discounts for completion!)

  • A Graphic Novel – Paper Girls Vol. 1
  • A Book Written by an Author From a Different Country – Markswoman
  • A Book With a Green Cover – The Book of Life

On the Book Riot Read Harder challenge, I haven’t checked much off. 4/24, a little behind.

  • A Book About Nature – Our Native Bees
  • The First in a New To You YA or Middle-Grade Series – Markswoman
  • A Classic Genre of Fiction – The Silkworm
  • A Comic Written or Illustrated by a Person of Color – Paper Girls Vol. 2

I’ve only made a little more progress for Popsugar’s Reading Challenge. 9/47

  • A Book About a Villain or Antihero – Godsgrave
  • A Book With An Animal in the Title – Our Native Bees
  • A Book by a Female Author Who Uses a Male Pseudonym – The Silkworm
  • A Book by an Author of a Different Ethnicity Than You – Markswoman
  • A Book You Borrowed or Were Given as a Gift – Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
  • A Book by a Local Author – Tricks for Free (review next week )
  • A Book That’s Published in 2018 – Tempests & Slaughter 
  • A Book You Meant to Read in 2017 But Didn’t Get To – Strange Practice
  • A Book By Two Authors – The Tangled Lands

I also added my local library’s 10 To Read challenge and have made reasonable progress. 3/10

  • A Young Adult Book – Godsgrave
  • A Book Set in a Place You’ve Never Been – Tricks for Free
  • A Book About Food – Acid Trip

I did my second buddy read of The Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone earlier this month with my blogging buddy Marzie. Check out the discussion posts of Two Serpents Rise.  Part one was on my blog here and part two was over at Marzie’s Reads. Look for our reviews and discussion posts of book three, Full Fathom Five next month!

The Hugo reading hasn’t kicked in yet (soon, I imagine) but because I am a masochist, I guess, I am hosting an 11-book Read Along of the entire October Daye series as we prepare for book #12 Night and Silence to release in September. Over in the Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant Fans group on Facebook (which I help admin), we’re discussing one book every three weeks. Last month we started with Rosemary & Rue. On February 18, we discussed book #2, A Local Habitation. Next up is book #3 An Artificial Night on March 11.

What have you been reading this month?

Blog Housekeeping · That Reading Life

January Challenge Progress Report!

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It’s early in the year, and I’m making progress on my 2018 Reading Challenges! Now that January has left us, let’s see what I accomplished this month!

My Goodreads Reading Challenge goal is 175 books, and so far I’ve completed 12/175. GR is telling me I’m 2 books behind schedule.

Next, let’s check in on the Literary (&) Lacquers Reading Bingo, over in the Literary Lacquers facebook fan group. So far I’ve checked off 2/16 prompts. (If you participate, there are discounts for completion!)

  • A Graphic Novel – Paper Girls Vol. 1
  • A Book Written by an Author From a Different Country – Markswoman

On the Book Riot Read Harder challenge, I haven’t checked much off. 2/24, roughly on target though.

I’ve been doing a bit better on Popsugar’s Reading Challenge. 7/47

  • A Book About a Villain or Antihero – Godsgrave
  • A Book With An Animal in the Title – Our Native Bees
  • A Book by a Female Author Who Uses a Male Pseudonym – The Silkworm (review next week)
  • A Book by an Author of a Different Ethnicity Than You – Markswoman
  • A Book You Borrowed or Were Given as a Gift – Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance
  • A Book by a Local Author – Tricks for Free (review the week before release)
  • A Book That’s Published in 2018 – Tempests & Slaughter (review this week)

I also added my local library’s 10 To Read challenge and have made reasonable progress. 2/10

  • A Young Adult Book – Godsgrave
  • A Book Set in a Place You’ve Never Been – Tricks for Free

I did my first buddy read of The Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone earlier this month with my blogging buddy Marzie. Check out the discussion posts of Three Parts Dead! Part one is on Marzie’s blog here and part two is back here at Alex Can Read here. Look for our reviews and discussion posts of Two Serpents Rise later this month!

The Hugo reading hasn’t kicked in yet (soon, I imagine) but because I am a masochist, I guess, I am hosting an 11-book Read Along of the entire October Daye series as we prepare for book #12 Night and Silence to release in September. Over in the Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant Fans group on Facebook (which I help admin), we’re discussing one book every three weeks. Last Sunday we started with Rosemary & Rue. On February 18, we’ll discuss book #2, A Local Habitation. Join us!

What have you been reading this January?

Blog Housekeeping · Fantasy · Science Fiction

Why Read Science Fiction or Fantasy?

I keep coming across this question in book groups and it’s one of those questions that just knocks around my head. “Why do you read about things that aren’t real? Why read science fiction or fantasy? (Those are separate genres, for the record… a rant for another day.)

And I just keep coming back to “Why not?”

Non-fiction and general or historical fiction are all well and fine, but they’re planted firmly in reality, which is honestly pretty mundane. Don’t get me wrong, the right memoir or the right historical fiction story might spark something for me, but in general, I’m not drawn to stories about real life.

Simply put, I read for escape. I’m perfectly happy with my normal, drama-free life but I love to live vicariously through the eyes of characters experiencing what is impossible for me to experience. No matter how exciting my life might turn out to be, I’ll never be chased by a dragon or launched into space. I’m never going to dine with fairies or participate in epic battles with magic trees and elves.

Not only that, but there’s an extra layer of imagination from the author to craft a good science fiction or fantasy novel. Not to knock writers of general fiction, but there’s less imagination required to describe how a middle-class neighborhood and social circle functions than there is to create a functional system of magic or define a new society ruled by technology.

There’s something special about cracking open a book and discovering a new take on elven society or a system of magic that’s unlike anything I’ve read before. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve finished and simply marveled at the amount of imagination it takes to create something like what I just read (Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence comes to mind.)

I’m not drawn to the fictional tales of people’s sad, broken lives. There are only so many stories of brokenhearted wives discovering their husband cheating on them that I can stand. I lead my own mundane life and while I’m happily married and leading a drama-free life, I find it somewhat voyeuristic to consume the stories of others’ run of the mill unhappiness.

You’ll find the occasional non-fiction or general fiction novel featured on this blog, which will hopefully signal when I’ve found something that does catch my fairly narrow fancy.

That’s why I read science fiction and fantasy – but what about you, Reader? Do you read scifi or fantasy? If so, why? If not, why not?

Blog Housekeeping

Finally Fall and Looking Forward to October Reading

It’s finally fall here in the Seattle area, and typically the weather can’t make up its’ mind. Last week I was wearing fleece lined tights and last night we ran the air conditioner at bedtime. For the first time in memory, I’m excited for the summer to end and for fall to descend. It’s been long, hot and very smoky here and I was *done* with summer by mid-July.

One of the things I’m looking forward to most about fall is Halloween at our new house. We bought a house earlier this year in a neighborhood full of kids. We never got trick or treaters when we lived in apartments. One year the guy who lived below us brought his two kids up, but that was only because I mentioned that we had some candy and would be generous. This year, our neighborhood is teeming with elementary and middle-school aged kids, so I’m anticipating at least a 300% increase in doorbell rings. I love seeing kids in costumes.

Okay, so back to the books – this is a book blog after all. I’ve got an exciting lineup for you this month – lots and lots of ARCs!

This month, you’ll see reviews for:

  • Our Native Bees
  • City of Lies
  • Digital Branding
  • Deadlands: Boneyard
  • Plague of Giants
  • Tethered Mage
  • The City of Brass
  • Booke of the Hidden

I also have an enormous stack of library books sitting next to the bed. I’ll squeeze in as many of those as I can as well.

I think this might be the most “seasonal” TBR list I’ve ever had. I don’t usually read seasonally since I generally read whatever comes in from the library, but Deadlands is definitely a Halloween-feeling book.

What about you, Reader, do you read seasonally?

Blog Housekeeping

September, already?

Where has this year gone!? I can’t believe it’s already September. My life, Reader, has been so full of things this year that time has evaporated around me.

Just two months ago, a friend talked me into starting the book blog I’d been waffling about – and here it is! And here you are! Thank you, thank you, Reader, for being here spending time on Alex Can Read. I appreciate it.

I’ve got some fun things lined up for September, and can’t wait to dive in!

This month I’ll have ARC reviews of:

  • The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill. I have seen bits of this cute comic on Tumblr. I’m excited to dive into the whole story!
  • Nyxia by Scott Reintgen. Nyxia is a YA sci-fi space thriller!
  • Distillery Cats by Brad Thomas Parsons. I love spirits and cats – and can’t wait to read about the cats who reside in distilleries.
  • Queso! by Lisa Fain. My husband loves queso dips, so I’m looking forward to trying some new variations out.

That’s what I’ve got planned, but I also have a large stack of books from the library to fit in. I like leaving myself unplanned reading time, to read what appeals to me in the moment.

What are you planning to read this month, Reader? Do you plan your reading for the month or read whatever appeals to you in the moment?