Sunday, 1 May 2016

Taleathon 2016: 6-8 May!

Last year, the first weekend of May we ran our little readathon. It had a grand total of 2 participants (you guessed it, they were both us). There are no prizes, no competition, no rules, no requirements to participate outside "read something". The idea is just to read more than you would normally, but we have a few challenges if you (like us) like to check things off a list to feel like your are making progress!

We want you to finish that book you've been reading forever, but keep putting down for other things, try a new genre or a new format, broaden your reading life a little bit, try a new author, and move outside your comfort zone a little bit!

Entirely optional challenges:

Read a graphic novel or comic (The first Saturday of May is "Free Comic Book Day", so we encourage you to read one then!)
Read something translated
Read something by an author who is not European or from North America.
Read something by a LGBTQIA+ author
Read a different text type/format than you normally read (ie. if you read novels normally you might try a poem, short story, essay or non-fiction of some kind).

We want to challenge ourselves to read more, more stories, more diversely, more types of writing. If you want to count what you're reading then we recommend counting works, so that a poem and a novel are equal and/or time spent, but really you can count however you want.

We will be present here on the blog and on our twitter account, where we will be using the hashtag #Taleathon because why not? Feel free to use it too and keep us from talking to ourselves all the time! Our twitter:

We're GMT +2 hours (Central European Summer Time be damned!) and will start reading at 12:00 (noon!) May 6, and end at 23:59 May 8, but you are welcome to start according to your timezone.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Kristine's Taleathon TBR

Okay, so I have a lot of book that should be no this TBR, but I decided to keep it simple, mostly due to the giant book in the pile:
I want to finish Max, Mischa & Tetoffensiven by Johan Harstad, I'm over the halfway point, but have 400 or so pages to go. Then I've got Prudence by Gail Carriger, which I'm also in the middle of. Then I've got Woolf's A Room o One's Own, because I should have read this years ago, and also in April. Rivers of London is the comic book verson of Ben Aaronovtich's Peter Grant and I'm so exited. After that? I don't know. These only tick a few boxes in the challenge and I do want to tick all of them, but I've got some other things in mind if I still have time or decide to take a break from one of these,

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Taleathon 2016 - Kats TBR

So, I've made myself a little tbr for the upcoming readathon that we're hosting, from the 6th to the 8th of May.

We have some challenges to try to read a bit more diversly than usual, which are entirly optinal and you can read more about them in the info post about the Taleathon. Read it here

This is the books I'm going to try and get through next weekend.

- Exquisite Corps by Poppy Z. Brite (A book by a LGBTQIA+ author)
- Rat Queens volume 1: Sass and Sorcwery by Kurtis J. Wiebe (Graphic novel)
- Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami (Book by an author from that isn't from Europe or North America and a translated book, which I will read in norwegian)
- Some poems from my book The Poetry of Emily Dickinson or Blood Sugar by Nicole Blackman (to read a format I don't usually read)

What are you gonna read?

Happy reading

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Cat's Tale Book discussion of Hounded by Kevin Hearne

April book - House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill

In april we will be reading House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill. Why? Because I really love horror and this author and it was my turn to pick this month.

Before I tell you what the book is about, I want to let you know that we did make a video about Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer, but it was such a mess, so we won't be posting it here.

Catherine's last job ended badly. Corporate bullying at a top television production company saw her fired and forced to leave London, but she was determined to get her life back. A new job and now things look much brighter. Especially when a challenging new project presents itself -- to catalogue the late M H Mason's wildly eccentric cache of antique dolls and puppets. Rarest of all, she'll get to examine his elaborate displays of posed, costumed and preserved animals, depicting scenes from World War I. When Mason's elderly niece invites her to stay at the Red House itself, where she maintains the collection, Catherine can't believe her luck. Until his niece exposes her to the dark message behind her uncle's 'Art'. Catherine tries to concentrate on the job, but M H Mason's damaged visions raise dark shadows from her own past. Shadows she'd hoped had finally been erased. Soon the barriers between reality, sanity and memory start to merge. And some truths seem too terrible to be real ...

Happy reading! 


Monday, 18 January 2016

Kristine's thoughs on Shadowshaper

The first book I read this year (that I hadn't started in 2015) was Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older. I'd been meaning to read his books since early 2015, but kept reading other stuff, so I decided to just get on with it already, and I do not regret it.

Paint a mural. Start a battle. Change the world.

Shadowshaper has the best tagline, and a beautiful vibrant cover that really fits the story. The girl with the curls, the colors, the city skyline. This story is about Sierra who is spending her summer painting a mural and hanging out with her friends, but then already dead people start coming after her and the murals around town start to change. Sierra starts looking into things and discover shadowshaping "a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories." (Goodreads) an art that has deep ties in her family. As if that wasn't enough someone is after her.

I loved this book, I listened to it on audio and it was great. Sierra is a complex and recognizable character who is stubborn, smart and barrels on even though she feels like breaking down. She stands up for herself, loves her friends and is both unsure and confident at once. This is her experience of uncovering the truth, battling an elusive enemy and the business of just being alive.

There are quite a lot of characters here, and they all manage to stand out as individuals. Which I appreciate as a large supporting  cast often can feel like there's just two or three other characters that happen to have five different names. Not the case here, I never had any trouble remembering anyone, though of course there also wasn't that much room for character development here (though this also plays out over a relatively short time span, and there is limits to how much there is to be revealed).

This story is set in New York, a city that I don't know. It's big, full og people and it shows up on TV and in movies a lot. That's it. I have read a few books set there, but it is not familiar to me, and while the city (or mostly Brooklyn) is a presence (and maybe a character of its own in a way if you are familiar with it, but I can't really tell). Sierra has an ordinary life, she's a teenager who struggles with identity, family, self-image and then, as if out of the blue, she discovers this whole other aspect of the world, magic, and it has deep ties with her family and ancestry. It adds dimensions to the world, yet normalcy is still everywhere. I love that.

Sometimes the plot felt a bit convenient, other times I reacted to things that were either foreshadowing or red herrings that just pulled me a little out of the story. The ending was also a bit too neat for my tastes, though I appreciate that friendships were made stronger, forgiveness dealt and new relationships were formed. I would have liked a bit more.

Another "complaint" I have is that this isn't a movie or graphic novel, because I bet the visuals would be both stunning and terrifying.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

February readalong: The Swords of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard)

Remember when Kat and I used to read a book a month on here? That is literally why we started this blog, and stopped because of life reasons, and now we wanted to read something together for February! We decided on Rick Riordan's new series about Magnus Chase The Sword of Summer (affiliate link).

Here's what Goodreads has to say about the book:
Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.
One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.
The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.
When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.
Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die

I (Kristine) have never read a Riordan book, but I do know that his other books are well loved and I have a pretty good idea about what rests within their covers, this seems to be in the same vein as his other works, but the mythology at play here is norse. This appeals to both of us since we are Scandis and have both had at least one period of our lives were we were obsessed with norse mythology (so much weirdness to be found there). So we're interested in seeing how it is handled here. This is a middle grade novel.

If you want to read with us we have a (somewhat dormant) Goodreads group: The Cat's Tale
Or you can leave a comment here until the end of the month when we will be wrapping up!

Edit: As some of us (erm, Kat) is very bad at managing her time, we have decided to extend our reading of this book until the 15th of March, and then we will try to wrap up with either a liveshow or a video where we discuss the book. Happy reading!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

My 2015 in books!

In 2015 I kept a spreadsheet of all the books that I read, and I tracked a lot of things (the sheet ran all the way to Q), and most of it is barely interesting, or can be gleaned easily from just looking at my Goodreads, but I wanted to go through a few stats anyway. I started the sheet to examine my reading habits, not change them, and while I aim for a few changes this year I'll still mostly be reading with my gut.

I read 54 books total (over 17k pages), so that is the number too keep in mind when looking at percentages. I'm mostly interested in diversifying my reading in various ways, I want to read outside my genre norm for instance, and I want diverse authors, old and new books etc.

I'm starting with language:
Most of the books I read in 2015 were in English, only 5.6% were in my mother tongue, Norwegian. Shame on me. I hope that when I do this next year I'll find that raised to at least 10%, preferably more, but that at least is manageable. 

Gender, is something I don't think about when I choose books, but that I find interesting to look at in hindsight. I read more women than men. The "Other" is just an umbrella for mixed gender books (anthologies, writing duos etc) trans and non-binary people, which means there are both men and women in that category as well (mostly those really). I'm have no desire to change this pie, it fluctuates a lot, though I'd love to read some more from those who aren't gendered. 
Format is interesting, it shows that I read mostly digitally. Ebooks and Audiobooks make up more 60% of my reading. This is mostly because I've resolved not to do mindless book shopping. I'll buy something if I want to read it now, and if I really do want to read something immediately the internet is closer than my local bookstore (that for most of my reads don't have what I need anyway) or the library. I'm happy with these stats too, they're mostly just for logging my habits. Format doesn't matter to me.  

All those dots represent the year the books I read were published, as you can see I read 10 books from 2015 and the same for 2014. Most of the books I've read have been published in the past 5 years (almost a quarter of the books), and only 4 were published prior to 2000. I want to change this a little. I have a lot of older books I want to read, so I'm aiming for 10 pre-2000 and then I'll read at will everything else. 

Finally I wanted a look at the nationality of the writers. Too many people from the US compared to the UK and Norway. I'm not surprised by the fact that I've only read 7.8% Norwegians seeing as I've hardly read any books in the language, but I am surprised by the fact that I've read so many books by people from the US this year, especially in comparison to the UK number, and I'm also sad that no other nationalities turned up. I know that there might be some hidden in the sea of blue that is the US in my chart, as I'm fairly certain some of the authors are immigrants (based on info I found about them), but I don't know what their passports says etc. In those instances I put down where they've been living the past few years. Most info comes from the authors or their publishing houses (the author bio usually mentions where someone is from). I have also been tracking ethnicity/race, but those stats are super incomplete as I haven't found a sorting system that works for me. I can say that non-hispanic caucasians are in abundance, but also that I don't have a clue about a good percentage of the authors, which is why I can't and won't include a chart, but it's safe to say about 87% percent are for sure caucasian. So I'd like try and lower that to about 80%.

Finally I'd like to talk about genre. I have no charts for this as most books that I read fit into more than one category, but I read speculative fiction the most, and within that again urban fantasy. I read about 50/50 young adult and stuff not labeled as such. I've also been reading quite a few memoirs. I think in 2016 I'll try to find a better way to sort this stuff so that I have a better idea of what exactly I'm reading.