2015 Authors A to Z – Challenge Completion Post

Welcome to the completion post for the 2015 Authors A to Z Reading Challenge! If you’ve finished the challenge, please use the following form to link your wrap-up post or list, which also acts as your entry submission for the booktastic prize: any book of your choosing for up to £10 from The Book Depository (or, if you don’t have a book in mind, I could recommend one of my favourites).

2015-authors-bannerEntries are accepted until 3 January 2016 in case you need a bit of extra time to get your post together, but you must have read all your books by 31 December 2015. I’ll use a randomiser to pick a winner, and notify you sometime in the first week of January. If you have any questions or comments, do please drop me a line below.

If you’ve manage to complete the challenge this year, then many, many congratulations for your alphabetastic feat! If you’re still working through the last few authors (which I’m doing), then all the best for the next few weeks! In either case, thank you for taking on the challenge—I hope you’ve had lots of fun, broadened your reading horizons, and discovered a gem or two!

Books from July to December (Music, comedy, erotica, Russian greats)

Yup, this post is looooong overdue. Over these past few months, I’ve read the following funfunfun books:

18. Vikram Seth – An Equal Music (11 July)
19. Stephen Fry – The Liar (2 Aug)
20. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – The Communist Manifesto (3 Aug)
21. Leo Tolstoy – Resurrection (7 Aug)
22. Fyodor Dostoevsky – Netochka Nezvanova (9 Sept)
23. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees (18 Sept)
24. Kit Rocha – Beyond Shame (30 Nov)
25. Miles Jupp – In and Out of the Kitchen (3 Dec)
26. James A. Grymes – Violins of Hope (6 Dec)
27. Euripides – Electra and Other Plays (7 Dec)

An eclectic selection, perhaps, but books are books are books. ♥

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April to July(-ish): 8 funfunfun books

It seems real life has gotten in the way of reading and “reviewing” again… And so, here’s what I’ve read since March (I know, I know–but better late than never!):

10. Marian Keyes – Watermelon (25 April)
11. Roberto Bolaño – Antwerp (25 April)
12. Cicero – On the Good Life (trans. Michael Grant; Penguin) (3 June)
13. Lois Lowry – Messenger (5 June)
14. Ruth Ozeki – A Tale For the Time Being (12 June)
15. Sarah Quigley – The Conductor (27 June)
16. Anne Bishop – Murder of Crows (28 June)
17. Evelyn Waugh – A Handful of Dust (3 July)

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2015 Authors A to Z Reading Challenge – Quarterly Check-in

Hi everyone, I hope you’ve been enjoying the Authors A to Z reading challenge so far! We’re a quarter of the way through the year (!!), and I thought I’d ask about your progress. How many books have you read? Are you on track? Have you discovered any new authors? Do tell all, and link your progress page/s–I’d absolutely love to know!

On my part, I’ve been a little swamped by many work commitments, and have only managed to read 7 books that qualify for the challenge. Of these, I’ve not yet pushed myself to go out of my comfort zone, but I suspect that as I progress further in the challenge, I’ll be picking up books I wouldn’t usually read. And that’s an exciting thought indeed! You can find my progress list here.

March books: Rebecca and Cranford

March was a pretty crazy month for me, with teaching classes, some hard-core PhD writing, and quite a bit of work for Regency Love, so I only managed two books. Two wonderful books, though, so I’m not complaining!

8. Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca (7 March)

08-rebeccaBlurb: Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers…

Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

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February books

February turned out to be a lot busier than anticipated, primarily due to a teaching position I was offered at the university that was very, very last-minute. But yay, I managed to squeeze in four books during my (sometimes sleepy) bedtime reading!

4. Alexander Pushkin – The Queen of Spades and Other Stories (trans. Rosemary Edmonds; Penguin) (8 Feb)
5. Joanna Briscoe – You (17 Feb)
6. Jennifer E. Smith – The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (22 Feb)
7. Vladimir Nabokov – Despair (28 Feb)

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Reviews: January classics (Nesbit, Gaskell, Aeschylus)

January wasn’t anywhere near as booktastic as I would’ve liked, but the three I’d finished were all very enjoyable. I had decided to start working on the Classics Reading challenge first, and now I’m finding it hard to put down those lovely old books!

1. E. Nesbit – The Story of the Treasure Seekers (3 Jan)
2. Elizabeth Gaskell – Mary Barton (16 Jan)
3. Aeschylus – Prometheus Bound, The Suppliants, Seven Against Thebes, The Persians (trans. Philip Vellacott) (31 Jan)

As always, I’ve included cover images of the version I’d picked up. Some of them were a little difficult to find, so please pardon the poor image quality!

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2015 Reading Challenges and General Booktastic Insanity

I had so much fun with my two reading challenges from 2014, I’ve decided to sign up for four more in 2015, and also host (and participate in) my own reading challenge.

Yup, you’ve read that right—I’ll be taking on five reading challenges in 2015. Thankfully, I’ve been frequenting my local library lately, which means I won’t be amassing too many books here that may need to be donated once/if I leave this part of the world. And if I get super duper desperate, I can always include an academic monographs or fifty. (Actually, no, I won’t. My only self-imposed pre-requisite for these books is that they are to be “funfunfun” and unrelated to my PhD research.)

The five three challenges I’ve decided to take on are:

  • Authors A to Z Reading Challenge
  • Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge
  • Back to the Classics Challenge

(Completed!)

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2015 Authors A to Z Suggestions

A massive thanks to those who have signed up for the 2015 Authors A to Z Reading Challenge—I hope you’re all as excited as I am to dig into those delicious books!

A few of you have commented on the difficulty of finding Q, X, and Z authors, and I thought I’d compile a list of suggestions. Q and Z were surprisingly easy to find (as evidenced by a browse through my local library and Oxfam bookshop), but X has been quite a tricky one indeed.

Q: Anthony Quinn; Karen Quinn; Julia Quinn; Amanda Quick; Erica Quest; Matthew Quick, Ellery Queen (thanks, Karen!). Also check out Wiki.
X: XU Xi; XUE Xinran; Malcom X (thanks, Lisa!).
Z: Carlos Ruiz Zafón; Paul Zindel; Markus Zusak; Cecily von Ziegesar; Helen Zahavi, Emile Zola; Gabrielle Zevin (thanks, Karen!). Also check out Wiki.

If you know of any other authors, please let me know in a comment and I’ll add it to the list. Hope this helps!

Update (2 June 2015): Since X has been causing a bit of strife, any author with X in their last name (not necessarily as the first letter) qualifies for the challenge. Hope that’ll make things a little more manageable!