Dewey’s October 2022 READER Sign-Ups

And the next Dewey‘s Readathon is just around the corner. I signed up. And as usually I do not know how much I will actually read. My current plans for October:

– BR Redshirts, ebook, owned. I‘ve been meaning to read this for quite a while.
– BR Polaris Rising, ebook. New to me author.
– StoryGraph #2 Komisch, alles chemisch!, paper, non-fiction. Not sure I want to read this.
– BR Chosen, ebook. Ongoing series.
– BR Ship of Destiny, paper. Doorstopper number 3 in this trilogy.
– BR Memnoch the Devil, paper. High likelihood of getting dumped, as I didn‘t like the Body Thief anymore.
– NG Into the Riverlands, ebook. Thank you, Netgalley! Ongoing series. Or #3 of a trilogy? Not quite sure.

BR = buddy read. Yes, I am overcommitted and reading too many buddy reads. Maybe next year will be my year of mood reading and the diminishing of my existing TBR pile.

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

Welcome, welcome one and all! The October 22, 2022 Readathon is coming up fast, and we would LOOOOVE for you to join us! Can’t read the whole day? No big deal! Make this Readathon your own with as little or as much reading as you want! We’re just happy to have you along for a celebration of books.



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Banned Books Week (September 18-24, 2022)

I don‘t usually follow Banned Books Week. I know it exists, but it doesn‘t have a lot of immediate relevance for me here in Germany. Still, my mind boggles over this every year. Awareness is important. So, here you go, the current top ten. The content below the banner is copy-and-past, links to the original pages are below the texts.

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. For 40 years, the annual event has brought together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/banned

Top 10 Most Challenged Books Lists

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2021. Of the 1597 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

  1. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images
  2. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  3. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  4. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit
  5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda
  6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term
  7. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women
  8. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit
  9. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.
  10. Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit. 

https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10

A second chance for Foreigner…

Inheritor (Foreigner, #3) by C.J. Cherryh — currently reading

I abandoned the audiobook around halfway in 2019, as I was bored. Very bored.

The first book, Foreigner, was also a mixed bag. I really liked the first two sections of that novel. First the arrival in the planetary system, then a fast forward of a few generations to the planetary settlers and first contact with the indigenous population of their chosen planet, the Atevi. I enjoyed the setting in space and the glimpse at societal differences. Down below I had fun reading from the POV of an Atevi. His human counterpart was an interesting character as well. Unfortunately, with the beginning of the main storyline, my enjoyment took a nosedive. I was not fond of Bren, who I called a whiney little shite in my review back in 2017. I gave the book 2 stars, but was fascinated enough to continue. I actually loved Invader (Foreigner #2) so much that I gave it 5 stars.

Long story short, I abandoned this one halfway, but I delved into a few really long books in the meantime (practicing my endurance!) and I really want to like this series, so I decided to give it another try.  

Here is the review for first book (I just plagiarized myself above), as I never posted it here. I am taking it with a grain of salt, as my reading habits have yet again changed in the last five years. The review would probably look different, if I read this now.

Foreigner (Foreigner, #1) 

Review from 2017, spoilers for the general storyline.

I really liked the first two sections of this novel. First the arrival in the planetary system, then a jump of several settler generation to the first contact with the indigenous population of their chosen planet, the Atevi. I enjoyed the setting in space and the glimpse at societal differences between the humans on planet and onboard the ship. Down below I had fun reading from the POV of an Atevi. His human counterpart was an interesting character as well.

Unfortunately, with the beginning of the main storyline, my enjoyment took a nosedive. Another jump to several hundred years later. Humans and Atevi have been at war and resolved it by exiling the humans on an island. 

Bren, our main character, lives among the Atevi as the sole human, a diplomat and interpreter of the sometimes incomprehensible language and cultural concepts of the Atevi. The Atevi don’t know the concepts of friendship or trust. They also don’t comprehend the idea of borders and separate nations. Instead there is loyalty, betrayal, complicated relationships with other factions, sanctioned assassinations and people with delicate sensibilities.

The culture of the Atevi reminded me of feudal Japan and made me want to re-read Shōgun by James Clavell

Could have been fantastic, but isn’t explored as much as I would have liked. Instead we are shown this world through the limited view of Bren, who is a whiny little shite that obsesses endlessly about inconsequential things like getting his mail and being perpetually worried, but never does anything. By the halfway point of the book I was annoyed, bored and skimming. 

On top of Bren being an annoying character, the writing was repetitive and progressed glacially slow. I like my stories plot-driven, endless navel-gazing over the same points and ideas for pages after pages holds little interest for me. Also much of the story happened in the off. Bren spent most of his time sitting around, agonizing over one thing or another. There was very little doing. Except for the last 50 pages or so, when we got a little action.

The other characters were even shallower than Bren. Not much character development. Little humour.

The last 20 pages were not bad, I just wish the rest of the book had been that lively. Mostly it dragged, I was bored. I did not connect to any of the characters, the story was pretty bloodless. 

Nonetheless I am actually interested to find out what happens next. Maybe I will get the next book at some point. Considering that there are about a million sequels after this book, I think it is safe to say that this first book is set-up. One can hope, that there will be more plot development in the next installments…?

And the other reviews:

Invader (Foreigner #2), review from 2019

Inheritor (Foreigner #3), the review of my first aborted attempt at reading this.

And last, but not least, here is what I did yesterday, whilst restarting the audiobook of Inheritor!

It‘s one of the Botanical sets by Lego, called Succulents. It‘s now sitting on my window sill in the living room, next to another flower set… A friend of mine watered my plants in June, while I was away on holiday — she actually watered that one accidentally… 😝

2022 TBR Masterpiece Challenge — next Dewey‘s

Our next readathon will be happening in October. Between now and then, we have a new challenge to keep us busy. But, by this part of the year many of…

2022 TBR Masterpiece Challenge

I will probably join the next Readathon in October. Not so sure about the in-between reading list or the whole TBR preparation. I am already plenty overbooked in the next few months…

Here is that first list of prompts…

Fall Pre-Readathon Reading Challenge

  1. A non-fiction book.
  2. A book with more than one poem in it.
  3. A play written by a woman.
  4. 5 books with autumn colored spines or covers.
  5. A short story collection by an author who did not publish a full-length novel.
  6. A book by Stephen King, John Grisham, Clive Cussler, Louis L’Amour, James Michener, Michael Crichton, or Robert Ludlum.
  7. A book by Anita Shreve, Jane Smiley, Barbara Kingsolver, Jan Karon, Pearl S. Buck, Jane Austen, or Edith Wharton.
  8. A book set on each continent (7 total- North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, Antarctica/Oceania) 
  9. A book about the future, published before 1960.
  10. A book from a series of more than 3 books.

It‘s very unlikely that I will read something to fit everything on this list until the readathon in October. I have various doorstoppers on the go and I prefer to enjoy them. Not rushing. We‘ll see, I might accidentally tick some of these off…

July 2022 Wrap-up

My July 2022:

Severance by Ling Ma ★★★½☆ audio, a millennial‘s coming of age, literary fiction with a touch of zombies.

Black Tide ★★★★¼ audiobook, horror. End of the world, alien invasion meets creature feature. I had fun, couldn‘t put it down. Looking forward to everybody else‘s comments.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune ★★★☆☆ ebook, novella, magical China, the life of an empress in very broad strokes, didn‘t do much for me.

– The Iron Duke ★★★★★ paper, StoryGraph #1 August, officially marketed as PNR, but much more steampunk-pirates-zombie-swashbuckling fun.

– Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Audio Collection, narrated by Stephen Fry:

#1) A Study in Scarlet, Watson meets Holmes. And Mormons. ★★★½☆ 

#2) The Sign of Four, Watson meets Mary. And we take a trip to the Andaman Islands. ★★★★☆

#3) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, A Scandal in Bohemia, Holmes & Watson meet The Woman / The Adventure of the Re-Headed League / A Case of Identity / The Boscombe Valley Mystery / The Five Orange Pips / The Man with the Twisted Lip / The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle / The Adventure of the Speckled Band ★★★★☆


Short story anthology The Best Science Fiction of the Year: Volume Six: (ongoing)

– YELLOW AND THE PERCEPTION OF REALITY by Maureen F. McHugh ★★★★★ how do we perceive reality? For free here: https://www.tor.com/2020/07/22/yellow…

– EXILE’S END by Carolyn Ives Gilman ★★★★☆ The painful process of repatriation of stolen art. For free here: https://www.tor.com/2020/08/12/exiles…

– INVISIBLE PEOPLE by Nancy Kress — parents find out that their adopted daughter has been genetically altered as an embryo. Besides the ethical questions this throws up, it‘s a well-written thriller. Great character development for a short story, I was with them every step of the way. ★★★★★

– RED_BATI by Dilman Dila — a conscious pet robot fighting for its life and meaning on a mining ship. Read this before in Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora and found it a bit blander this time around. ★★★☆☆


Comics:

– Copra: Round One, DNF at 42 pages, eComic, StoryGraph #1 July, rip-off/homage of Suicide Squad, messy art, no plot.

– We Stand On Guard ★★★★★ eComic, StoryGraph #1 September, Canada is invaded by the US in a war for water.

– Saga #60 ★★★★★ eComic, the end of this arc. I cried.

– They’re Not Like Us, Vol. 1: Black Holes for the Young, DNF at 47 pages, eComic, StoryGraph #2 September, teens with psychic powers, took too long to get going, didn‘t like the artwork.


Currently reading:

Ship of Magic, paper, I am about halfway and like it. Doorstopper of almost 900 pages, very dense, so this will take a few more weeks.

– How the Earth Works, audio, Great courses lectures.

– Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Audio Collection, narrated by Stephen Fry: #3) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, all the other stories…


Specfic Movies & TV watched:

– Dune, new movie ★★★★★ re-watch. Part II end of 2023, why???

– Obi-Wan Kenobi, S1, Ep 6, season completed ★★★★☆ hard to come to a satisfying ending, when you know that they all live to fight another day.

– Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ★★★★☆ Entertaining, a little silly, a little absurd. I think I like my entertainment to be a little less wacky. Pretty forgettable, actually.

– A Discovery of Witches, S1 completed ★★★½☆ Meh. Read the blurb of books 2 + 3, most likely a pass.

– Resident Evil, S1 completed, Netflix series ★★★★☆

(- Night Sky, S1, Eps 3… not sure if I am all that interested in continuing….

– For All Mankind, S3, Eps. 1-3 ★★★★★ OMG, I wish this was real. So cool.


And last, but not least — I finally finished my Lego tree house…

Some statistics:

Just noticed—the format page only seems to be counting the finished books. Oh well…

Reverse Readathon! July 2022

Well hello there! Welcome to the July 2022 Reverse Readathon! What’s a RR you ask? Well it’s a Readathon that starts at 8pm Eastern time on Friday, …

Reverse Readathon! August 2022 (no, I don‘t know why it says August…)

Opening Survey! 

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? — Germany, hence the nutty starting time!
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? — I will continue with my current read Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders, #1)
by Robin Hobb. I might mix it up with some comics, audio or a novella.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? — I don‘t usually snack and don‘t really stock up with snacks for readathons either.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! — I am so tempted right now to find my opening survey from last time for some copy-and-paste action…. I‘m German, I live close to Stuttgart, I predominantly read in English, mostly specfic with the odd mystery or romance thrown in. Non-fiction tends to be natural sciences.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? — sleep more, probably, due to the timing. I am not sure yet if I will use a timer at all. I will probably simply count my pages and minutes via StoryGraph. Here are my stats before the start of the readathon:

The Reverse Readathon starts in a little under an hour, at 2 AM CET, if I calculated that correctly. I wanted to stay up for the start at least, but I am tired. I won‘t last that long anymore. Also, I want to go to the farmer‘s market tomorrow morning or at least to the supermarket for some grocery shopping and don‘t want to get up so late.

I should get some reading done tomorrow evening—I‘ll be house- and dog-sitting all on my lonesome…

July 2022 Reverse Readathon

I just signed up for this. Will you take part? If I am calculating that correctly, I would start at 2 A.M. on Saturday and read until 2 A.M. on Sunday of that weekend…

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

Beachy scene with a small pile of books, sunglasses, and the words Reverse Readathon
8PM July 22 – 8PM July 23rd

It’s that time friends! Ready to come read with us? It’s time to sign up for the Reverse Readathon! We’ll be reading from Friday, July 22nd, 8 PM Eastern Standard Time until Saturday, July 23rd, 8 PM EST, as the intent of the Reverse Readathon is to give our friends on the other side of the world a chance to start early!

Keep in mind, you do not HAVE to read the entire 24 hours. If you can only join us for 30 minutes or even less, we want you to do it! And enjoy it! Read with friends around the world. Everyone is welcome. Sign up now and follow us on all the social media places (we are on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Facebook, Litsy, and kindasortawedontknowwhatwearedoing TikTok [now…

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StoryGraph and currently reading

I started using StoryGraph at some point last year. I had an account longer than that and had also imported my Goodreads data, but never really did anything with it. The usual discussion with friends about the failings of Goodreads results in another hunt for options. Which, sadly, still doesn‘t exist.

However, I took another closer look at StoryGraph and decided that I like their stats. I started logging my reading progress regularly this year. A few days ago they added a new feature—tracking audiobook minutes. Something that GR never managed to set up in a satisfying manner. So, here we are—I checked and hopefully caught all those audios from last and this year and switched them back to their proper audiobook settings.

This is what my May looked like with pages read only: May Wrap-up — 2.042 pages. And with audiobooks I get this:

A little less than half my pages were audio. And my 2021 now looks like this:

My June is plodding along with longer and slower offerings again, hence the lack of updates. I am still reading Dead Silence by S.A. Barnes and Middlegame (Alchemical Journeys, #1) by Seanan McGuire. And I started March to War (The Walking Dead, #20) by Robert Kirkman. Incidentally, all books with horror themes. Well, ok, Middlegame not so much, but it had tendencies towards that genre.

Middlegame is pretty odd so far. A linear timeline with some jumps, twins with supernatural powers that have been separated at birth, an evil alchemist with a scary scheme for world dominance… I am about halfway and have slowed down a bit, the middle bits often do that to me.

Dead Silence is moving into haunted house territory. Or in this case haunted ship in space. So not my thing, really, I generally find psychological horror like this boring as hell. Odd, I know. This is ok so far, but the suspense is not killing me. Plus the audiobook narrator with her breathy and sometimes frantic voice is grating on my nerves just a bit. And the MC is too whiny. And the whole book is told by the MC looking back. I hate that kind of thing, when you already know from the start who lives and who dies. So this book does not have a lot going for it right now.

March to War Is another one in the endless comic series of The Walking Dead. Getting ready for that ultimate confrontation with Negan. So far, so good.