Saturday, January 31, 2015

Gentle Spectrums 2015

I didn't do this one last year and since it starts on February 1, I'm signing up today.  I'll be doing both games, and will try for Level One on the Limitless Pallet (maybe more).  Sign up here. 

Gentle Spectrums 2015

I love matching books to creative themes;  like a scavenger hunt at home!  Some challenges particularly this year have such finely-tuned criteria;  what we can include is narrow.  I thought about the kind of mixing & matching I would enjoy and last year, created “Gentle Spectrums”.
I forever appreciate the first members of my trio:  “Gentle Spectrums”, “My Kind Of Mystery,
and Ethereal.  You have my thanks.

I present broad themes, so a great deal more titles fit.  It is also important to me that if we surpass a minimum quantity, those have somewhere to go.  For our grande finale, a point system rewards everyone who keeps on reading & reviewing.  From the moment you sign-up, all Gentle Spectrums prize activities fromFebruary 2015 to February 2016, are for you!  RIEDEL Fascination prizes are for all members internationally.  It’s especially nice that your matieral for my categories may belong to any genre under the sun.

I think of you as guests in my parlour.  If you are keen on (A) or (B):  here we go!  :)  If you decide on both;  your first sign-up suffices.  Surprise me with a comment that you’re doing more.  Since my games are separate:  if a book fits them both, go ahead and use it dually!

If you blog, please give my reading challenge a post, with no more than 3 others on it.  I can’t load bogged-down webpages.  I also appreciate that your post gives our group visibility.  Input it into the linky near the bottom of this page.

If you aren’t a blogger:  use any publicly-viewable forum (not ‘facebook’) that lets you make lists and write.  Give our URL, tell people why you’re joining, and type in your progress.  Alternatively, use the URL of your Goodreads profile page for the linky further below, or contact me with any questions.

A sentence or two to explain your star rating is ample.  I complile all of them in my blog’s top menu.  Your reviews will be there for future browsers;  no efforts wasted when our year concludes.  I review at Amazon, Goodreads, and Book Depository.

I keep finding colour titles.  I wished to read whatever I liked;  not hold back for a year, because a colour got used.  Ask and ye shall receive!  For the first time in any circle:  choose a colour level!  Accepted now:  Colourful, colour, bright, light, iridescent, iridescence, dark, shade, hue, spectrum, rainbow, prism.
Limitless Pallet Levels

Books for Part A:
  1. The Color Purple--Alice Walker
  2. Down a Dark Hall--Lois Duncan
  3. The Girl in Blue--P.G. Wodehouse
  4. The Chocolate Cat Caper--Joanna Carl
  5. The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop--Lewis Buzbee
  6. Cat With an Emerald Eye--Carole Nelson Douglas
  7. Blue Ridge Reunion--Mia Ross
  8. Pink Ice--Susanna Carr
  9. The Witch of Blackbird Pond--Elizabeth George Speare
  10. This Present Darkness--Frank E. Peretti
  11. Piercing the Darkness--Frank E. Peretti
  12. Blizzard of the Blue Moon--Mary Pope Osborne
  13. Cream Puff Murder--Joanne Fluke
  14. The Silver Kiss--Annette Curtis Klause
  15. The Devil in the White City--Erik Larson
  16. Charms and Chocolate Chips--Bailey Cates
  17. Grey--E.L. James
  18. The Dark Garden--Eden Bradley
  19. Blackberry Pie Murder--Joanne Fluke
  20. All the Light We Cannot See--Anthony Doerr
Part A completed on December 30

**** (B)  GENTLE SUBJECTS ****
We are going to revisit some favoured subjects and new ones I created!  Broad and easy to fulfill.  Please complete 1 each, of these 10 subjects.  Keep on adding anything that fits for extra points.

~ (1)  STONES  ~

Variations of the word, gems, jewellery, ruins, geological formations.

~  (2)  CHEERFUL  ~

Uplifting, positive messages;  conveys pleasant thoughts, images.

~  (3)  NATIONS  ~Cultures, locations:  lakes, towns, even well-known places;  fictional included.
~  (4)  PLANTS  ~

Trees, flowers, lawns, fields, grasses, grains, and gardening paraphernalia.

~  (5)  WATER  ~

Water bodies, proper names, closely-connected components:  taps, sinks, pools.

~  (6)  SPACE  ~

The sky, its contents, spatial matter, concepts, tools.  Star Trek / Star Wars-related.

~  (7)  DAUNTING  ~

Any title that has you thinking:  “Oooo!  That does not sound good”!

~  (8)  STRUCTURES  ~

A building, its rooms, proper names, any of a structure’s parts.

~  (9)  TIME  ~

Any signifiers of time, like seasons.  Any unit-measurers, like watches and calendars.

~  (10 HUMOROUS  ~

Odd, or anything that gives you a grin.  I’ll accept a ‘pun laid on too thick’ grimace too!

Books for Part B:

  1. Stones:  Cat With an Emerald Eye--Carole Nelson Douglas
  2. Cheerful:  Kira-Kira--Cynthia Kadohata
  3. Nations:  The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul--Deborah Rodriguez
  4. Plants:  Strawberry Girl--Lois Lenski
  5. Water:  Sea Glass--Anita Shreve
  6. Space:  The Martian--Andy Weir
  7. Daunting:  Still Alice--Lisa Genova
  8. Structures:  Down a Dark Hall--Lois Duncan
  9. Time:  Chosen at Nightfall--C.C. Hunter
  10. Humorous: The Cupcake Queen--Heather Hepler
Part B completed on May 19

Saturday, January 24, 2015

2015 Mental Illness Awareness Reading Challenge

Another one I want to do.  I think this is a good idea to read about, and since I've gone through mental health services, this one seems like one for me.  I'll try to read up to four books, but may do more, time permitting.  Go here to sign up for this one.

I've decided to create my own Mental Illness Awareness Reading Challenge for 2015! 

This is a low pressure reading challenge meaning it's about quality not quantity. I'd rather you read one or two books and get the most out of them then speed through as many books as you can. I say this for myself as well as you. I've been known to skim a section because the info seems to be a review of something I think I already know but sometimes I learn something new that I would have otherwise missed.

However, this challenge isn't just for reading informative books. It's also for reading fiction and memoir. I once heard someone say the best therapy they ever received was from reading the memoirs of people who have recovered from mental illness. There is some comfort in reading about people that have experienced mental illness or have friends or family with mental illness because you know you are not alone.

This reading challenge is also for those who are newly diagnosed or have friends or family that have been recently diagnosed and want to learn more about a particular mental illness.

What Counts as a Book About Mental Illness? 
When I say mental illness, I include a wide range of illnesses and disorders. Books that include but are not limited to multiple personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, hoarding, sleep disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, baby blues and postnatal depression, suicide, self harm, eating disorders, asperger's and autism, mental retardation, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, social and narcissistic disorders, phobias, alcoholism and addiction can all be counted.

When it's informative nonfiction it's easy to know if it counts towards the challenge but when it's a memoir or fictional story this gets trickier. For the book to count towards the reading challenge, there must be at least one character with a mental illness or disorder that contributes significantly to the story. This means the story could not exist without that character's mental struggles.

Sometimes books you wouldn't think would be about mental illness will touch on the subject. For example, last year I read Wishin' and Hopin' by Wally Lamb. This charming Christmas story begins with a nun who has bipolar disorder having a mental breakdown and a substitute teacher coming in to replace her. I would count this book for the challenge.

Some books do not always help end the stigma of mental illness. Books such as Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn or People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck can do more harm than good. I leave it up to your own discretion whether or not to read these books. I think it's good to be aware of the misinformation out there so you can correct it. If you do choose to read books like these please read a good informative book on the same mental illness as well.

The Rules: 

The reading challenge runs from Jan 1, 2015 to Dec 31, 3015.

You may sign up anytime during the year to participate.

Books read in part or whole before Jan 1, 2015 do not count.

You may include books of any format including traditional books, ebooks, or audiobooks.

Books may be novels, advice, informative, medical, or memoirs.

Books must be read in their entirety.

You may reread books.

Books may count towards other reading challenges.

If you could be so kind, please place the 2015 Mental Illness Awareness Reading Challenge banner on your blog to help spread the word.

Please link back to this blog, post about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, and so on to help spread the word.

Use the hashtag #MIAReadingChallenge

If you write a review of the book, come back here and post the link in the comments.

Please choose a level. You may change levels at anytime. You may go up or down. Remember this is a low pressure challenge.

Curious: 1 - 2 books

Aware: 3 - 4 books
Familiar: 5 - 6 books
Knowledgeable: 7 - 8 books
Informed: 9 - 10 books
Expert: 11 or more books

My books for this one:

  1. Still Alice--Lisa Genova
  2. Of Mice and Men--John Steinbeck
  3. Hannah--Hannah Westberg
  4. Multiple Choice--Janet Tashjian
  5. Devil in the Details-Jennifer Traig
NOTE:  The blog for this challenge was deleted several months ago, so I will call this challenge complete as of June 14. 

Back to the Classics Challenge 2015

Want to do this one now.  I think it's a good one to try. Sign up here.

It's back!!  Once again, I'm hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge.  I'm hoping to encourage bloggers to read more classics.  By reading and posting about a minimum of six classic books, one lucky winner will receive a $30 gift from or The Book Depository!

This year I've made two changes to the format.  First of all, there are no required categories.  That's right!!  If there is a category you don't like (or more than one), you can just skip it, and still qualify for the drawing! 

Secondly, I've increased the categories from eleven to twelve.  I had so much fun choosing categories, I couldn't decide, and so this year I've decided to make it an even dozen.  This results in a slight change to the way I'll calculate entries into the drawing.  Here's how it's going to work:

  • Complete six categories and you get one entry.
  • Complete nine categories, and you get two entries.
  • Complete all twelve categories, and your name is entered into the drawing three times!
So without further ado, here are the categories for the Back to the Classics Challenge 2015:

1.  A 19th Century Classic -- any book published between 1800 and 1899.

2.  A 20th Century Classic -- any book published between 1900 and 1965.  Just like last year, all books must have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify as a classic.  The only exception is books that were published posthumously but written at least 50 years ago.)

3.  A Classic by a Woman Author

4.  A Classic in Translation. As in last year's category, this can be any classic book originally written or a published in a language that is not your first language.  Feel free to read it in its original form if you are comfortable reading in another language.  

5.  A Very Long Classic Novel -- a single work of 500 pages or longer, regular-sized print.  This does not include omnibus editions combined into one book, or short story collections.  Updated:  The 500 pages MUST be the actual text of the novel, not including endnotes, appendices, etc.  When in doubt, check more than one edition, and use an average page count.

6.  A Classic Novella -- any work shorter than 250 pages.  For a list of suggestions, check out this list of World's Greatest Novellas from Goodreads.

7.  A Classic with a Person's Name in the Title.  First name, last name, or both, it doesn't matter, but it must have the name of a character.  David Copperfield, The Brothers Karamazov, Don Quixote -- something like that. It's amazing how many books are named after people!

8.  A Humorous or Satirical Classic.  Humor is very subjective, so this one is open to interpretation.  Just tell us in the review why you think it's funny or satirical.   For example, if you think that Crime and Punishment and funny, go ahead and use it, but please justify your choice in your post. 

9.  A Forgotten Classic.  This could be a lesser-known work by a famous author, or a classic that nobody reads any more.  If you look on Goodreads, this book will most likely have less than 1000 ratings.  This is your chance to read one of those obscure books from the Modern Library 100 Best Novels or 1001 Books to Read Before You Die.  Books published by Virago Modern ClassicsPersephone, and NYRB Classics often fall into this category.  

10.  A Nonfiction Classic.  A memoir, biography, essays, travel, this can be any nonfiction work that's considered a classic, or a nonfiction work by a classic author.  You'd be surprised how many classic authors dabbled in nonfiction writing -- I have nonfiction books by Dickens, Trollope, Twain, and Steinbeck on my shelves. 

11.  A Classic Children's Book.  A book for your inner child!  Pick a children's classic that you never got around to reading.  

12.  A Classic Play.  Your choice, any classic play, as long as it was published or performed before 1965.  Plays are only eligible for this specific category.  

And now for the rest of the rules:  

  • All books must be read in 2015.  Books started prior to January 1, 2015, are not eligible.  Reviews must be linked by December 31, 2015. 
  • All books must have been published at least 50 years ago; therefore, 1965 is the cutoff date.  The only exception is books published posthumously, but written before 1965. 
  • E-books and audiobooks are eligible!  Books may also count for other challenges you may be working on.  
  • Books may NOT cross over categories within this challenge.  You may NOT count the same book twice for different categories in this challenge.  One book per category -- otherwise, they won't count.  
  • If you do not have a blog, you may link your review from Goodreads or other publicy accessible online format.  
  • Please sign up for the challenge using the linky below BEFORE MARCH 31, 2015.  If possible, please link to your sign-up announcement post, if possible or applicable.
  • You do NOT have to list your books prior to starting the challenge, but it's more fun if you do!  You can always change your list at any time.  Books may be read in any order.
  • Please identify the categories you've read in your wrap-up post so that I can easily add up your entries for the prize drawing!  Adding links within the post would be greatly appreciated. 
  • The prize will be awarded the first week of January, 2016.  All qualifying participants will receive one or more entries, based on the categories completed.  One winner will be randomly drawn from qualifying entries.  The winner will receive a $30 (US) gift card from or The Book Depository, as long as they live in a country that can receive shipment.  See here for list of countries.

Here is what I am reading:
1.  19th Century:  Wuthering Heights--Emily Bronte
2.  20th Century: Of Mice and Men--John Steinbeck
3.  Woman Author:  Pride and Prejudice--Jane Austen
4.  Translation:  Beowulf--Unknown
5.  Very Long Classic Novel:  The Grapes of Wrath--John Steinbeck
6.  Classic Novella:  The Time Machine--H.G. Wells
7.  Person's Name in Title:  Emma--Jane Austen
8.  Humorous or Satirical:  The Most of P.G. Wodehouse
9.  Forgotten Classic:  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall--Anne Bronte
10. Nonfiction Classic:  Travels With Charley--John Steinbeck
11. Classic Children's Book:  Strawberry Girl--Lois Lenski
12. Classic Play:  Antigone--Sophocles

... Challenge completed September 20 ...

The Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge

I just now came across this challenge and want to do it now, too. I like the ones with different categories and I know a lot of these categories will overlap with those in my other challenges.  Some stuff I've already read fits the categories for this one as well. Sign up at Book Riot.

 goodreads footer

Whatever your preference for reading challenges, we here at the Riot enjoy the odd challenge. We’ve written before about the benefits of a reading challenge; they can stretch your reading, whether the intention is to push you to read more of your TBR, more classics, more backlist, more new releases, or just to read more. Or even if the intention is to read less.
January 1st brings with it both an abundance of challenges for the new year and an abundance of resolutions. These are often connected for readers, many of whom – Rioters included – make reading resolutions. As many of us here resolve to read more diversely, in any number of ways, we thought it would be a good idea to come up with our own reading challenge for 2015 to help you stretch your reading limits.
I’ve included 24 tasks, averaging out to two per month, that will hopefully inspire you to pick up books that represent experiences and places and cultures that might be different from your own. We encourage you to push yourself, to take advantage of this challenge as a way to explore topics or formats or genres that you otherwise wouldn’t try. But this isn’t a test. No one is keeping score and there are no points to post. We like books because they allow us to see the world from a new perspective, and sometimes we all need help to even know which perspectives to try out. That’s what this is – a perspective shift – but one for which you’ll only be accountable to yourself.
Where applicable, I’ve linked to previous Book Riot posts, to Goodreads lists, or other resources that might help you find books to fit the tasks.*
We hope this challenge will help you not only to read more, but to Read Harder.
We’ll be checking in here on the Riot periodically throughout the year, but we’ll also be talking about this challenge on social media with the hashtag #ReadHarder. Share your books, share your challenge plan, share your recommendations.

1.  A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25:  The DUFF--Kody Keplinger
2.  A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65:  A Year Down Yonder--Richard Peck
3.  A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people):
Summer Days--Lisa Jackson
6.  A book by a person whose gender is different from your own:  The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963--Christopher Paul Curtis
8. A book by an author from Africa:  The Company You Keep--Neil Gordon (South Africa)
11.  A YA novel:  Redeemed--P.C. Cast
14.  A National Book AwardMan Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade:  Life of Pi--Yann Martel (Man Booker Prize)
15. A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.):    Ruby's Slippers--Leanna Ellis
18.  A book that someone else has recommended to you:  This Present Darkness--Frank E. Peretti
19.  A book that was originally published in another language:  Like Water for Chocolate--Laura Esquivel
20.  A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind:  Peach Girl Volume 1--Miwa Ueda
21.  A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over):  A Salty Piece of Land--Jimmy Buffett
22.  A book published before 1850:  Pride and Prejudice--Jane Austen
24.  A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”):  A Woman's Worth--Marianne Williamson

Challenge Completed on September 15