The #ReadICT Challenge – Six Months!

I haven’t posted much lately – I’ve been a little busy doing other things like avoiding my manuscript at all costs. However, one thing I have been able to do is read! As the old saying goes, if you want to be a good writer, there are two things you have to do:  write a lot, and read a lot.

I had actually not read in a long time, not seriously. I’ve downloaded books onto my Nook, and perused Amazon and local bookstores, but always found myself in a quagmire of doubt. Does this premise sound intriguing enough? Is the writing good enough to sustain the book? Is this going to be another book I throw across the room, like that God-awful The Lovely Bones?! 

But, since I decided to do the #ReadICT Challenge this year – 12 books, 12 categories, 12 months – I have to read. My original post:  https://kswriterteacher.wordpress.com/2019/01/01/new-years-resolutions-and-the-2019-ict-reading-challenge/

And I’m happy to say – I’m almost there!!!!!

 

  1. A book with a face on the cover.
  2. A book from a genre you don’t normally read. This turned out to be a book I got last year, To Sing Hallucinated:  First Thoughts on Last Words by Nathan Brown. Brown is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma; I picked this up last year and forgot it was in a bag until last month! It’s really quite a good book of poetry about – you guessed it – famous last words.
  3. A book that makes you LOL. I said I’d read the last entry in the Charley Davidson series, and I did. I laughed. I cried. I am anxiously waiting to find out what happens to Osh and Beep in the new series. Come on, Darynda, hurry up !
  4. A book set in the place you were born. Deadly Design, by my good friend Debra Dockter.
  5. A classic, or a retelling of a classic. I read Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay – it was quite good. I reviewed it last month:  https://kswriterteacher.wordpress.com/2019/03/02/hate-romeo-and-juliet-try-juliet-immortal-instead/
  6. A book you have avoided or didn’t finish. I intended to read a totally different book for this one, but back in March, I went through a time when I couldn’t sleep, and I picked up Island of Lost Maps by Miles Harvey. This book looks at the infamous ‘career’ of Gilbert Bland, who stole dozens, perhaps hundreds, of antique and irreplaceable maps from libraries across North America. I’d put it down last year for some reason, and just never picked it back up.
  7. A translated book. On the recommendation of just about everyone who’s read it, I chose A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman. Oh my God. I literally bawled and laughed all the way through this book. Mostly bawled. If you are one of the few people who hasn’t yet read this book, GO GET IT NOW. You will not regret it, I promise, though you will want the tissues handy.
  8. An award-winner. 
  9. A book recommended by a child or teenager.chernow
  10. A biography, autobiography, or memoir. FINALLY. I finished it. It feels like climbing Mount Everest. I’m going to write a full review later, but for now, I can honestly say that even though I’ve taken many classes on Early American History, I never knew all the hostility and animosity that existed between the Founding Fathers. The backstabbing, the machinations, the factions, the . . . wow. And even though I’ve always hated Aaron Burr, I’m going to say this:  he was despicable. If his ghost is reading this, he knows what I mean. To him, I say:  sir, bring it. 
  11. A book that features a character different fro you in some way. Done! Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. What a sweet, surprising read – probably the most surprisingly good book I’ve picked up lately. If you haven’t read it  yet, do so right after you read Ove. Seriously. They pair together quite well. 
  12. A book by an author slated to come to Kansas in 2019. Oh, I did this one, too! Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer. It was a fun – and good – read, actually better than I thought it would be.

So I’m left with three categories! Any suggestions? I’m all ears! 🙂 

And if you’re interested in Nathan Brown’s work, here’s his website:  https://www.brownlines.com/

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New Year’s Resolutions and The 2019 ICT Reading Challenge

Ah, yes. New Year’s Eve. The time when goblins and ghosties and . . . nope, wait, sorry, wrong Eve. Let’s start over.

New Year’s Eve. The night when we revel and ring out the old and ring in the new and make resolutions we may or may not keep. There. That’s better!

Like many, I’m also making resolutions for this year, some of them to do with my writing. But another is to do with reading. Every year, the Wichita Public Library sponsors the ICT Reading Challenge. It’s pretty simple, really – 12 books, 12 categories, 12 months. I tried it last year and got about halfway through before becoming stumped by some of the categories (for instance, I despise graphic novels and refused to read one).

But this year, I decided I’d really try to go for it. I’m planning out some of my books in advance, so I can go ahead and get started. I have a feeling some of them will come to me over the course of the year. But for now, the categories, and my tentative books, are:

  1. A book with a face on the cover.
  2. A book from a genre you don’t normally read. (I read YA, historical fiction, historical nonfiction, fantasy, romance, paranormal anything that doesn’t involve things that shift and engage in menages, books on writing, mysteries . . . what other genres ARE there?!)
  3. A book that makes you LOL. (Aha! My first! This will absolutely be the 13th entry in the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones.)
  4. A book set in the place you were born. (I will probably go back to Deadly Design on this one, though ‘In Cold Blood’ is a serious contender as well.)
  5. A classic, or a retelling of a classic. (I think I’m going with Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay on this one – hoping it’s as good as it sounds! Juliet, murdered by Romeo and destined to defend lovers against him through the centuries -!)
  6. A book you have avoided or didn’t finish. (Hah! Funny story; this is actually the category I left out of the list originally! There are so many I could choose here . . . of course, the problem is, if I’ve avoided it up until now, it’s because I didn’t want to read it to begin with . . . so this one will be tricky. But I think I’ve settled on Dominion by C.J. Sansom – one I started last summer and just couldn’t make myself finish. Not because it was bad, but because it was so damn scary. For my partial review, see this post:  https://kswriterteacher.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/beach-reads-well-maybe-not-these/)
  7. A translated book.
  8. An award-winner. (I may go back to a childhood favorite, Sinbad and Me, by Kin Platt; I absolutely adore this book and if you like middle-grade and YA mysteries, read it – though good luck finding it, as it’s been out of print for ages!)
  9. A book recommended by a child or teenager.
  10. A biography, autobiography, or memoir. (Hands down, already knew this one before the list was published, Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton. I’m so obsessed with the musical that the cats are sick of hearing me sing “You’ll Be Back.” Time will tell, you’ll remember that I served you well, you’ll be back . . .) 
  11. A book that features a character different fro you in some way.
  12. A book by an author slated to come to Kansas in 2019. (There are already two, Elizabeth Letts and B.A. Shapiro, that I’ve read before, loved, and are coming to Wichita in March, so I’ll likely choose one of their books.)

Well, not so bad:  5 of 12 so far! I think that’s a great start. Other books are going to come to light as the year progresses; the Facebook group for the Challenge is close-knit and vocal about their recommendations, so I may pick up some ideas from them as well.

If you live in Kansas and want to participate, it’s easy! You can join the ICT Reading Challenge group on Facebook, or download the list from the Wichita Public Library (link below).

For now, I’ve got some reading to do. 🙂

 

http://www.wichitalibrary.org/readict – The official ReadICT website.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/16-new-upcoming-retellings-classic-plays-novels-tales/ – A list from Barnes & Noble of upcoming retellings of classic stories.

https://www.bookbub.com/blog/2016/03/23/retellings-of-classic-books – Another good list from BookBub of re-told classics.

http://www.dublinliteraryaward.ie/news/48-novels-in-translation-on-the-2018-longlist/ – The 2018 long list of Dublin Literary Award winners for translated novels.