Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Happy Book Lovers Day!

August 9th is Book Lovers Day, widely celebrated around the world (or at least on the Internet). Since a lot of our A to Z challenge participants are authors or book bloggers, we though it would be nice to acknowledge this cheerful and bookish day.



If you have a book that was born from an A to Z theme, please drop links in the comments!

To celebrate, I wanted to share my favorite reading challenge with you. There are a lot of amazing reading challenges out there - please share YOUR favorites in the comments!

The challenge I have been enjoying the most in the past years is run on a Hungarian book site ( by community members. It's called Polymath Training. Every January they announce 12 topics that participants have to read freely selected nonfiction books for. Topics range widely from astronomy to animation to church history to classical music. 11 topics are the same, the 12th is generated randomly for each participant (using Wiki articles). I have found amazing books through this challenge that I would have never found (or been interested in) otherwise, and I learned a whole lot of fascinating things about the world. Whenever I finish the list early, I usually generate some more topics for myself just for the heck of it. There really are no prizes or anything, just the adventure of discovery.

Whatever your genres and tastes are, I hope you have a great time reading today! :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

P is for Pages #AtoZchallenge

How many pages have you read this year? In India, people spend about 10 hours a week reading. The A to Z challenge has always been predominantly authors and book reviewers, all who make excellent sources for recommending pages to read.

For those of you who enjoy participating in challenges with your fellow bloggers (I have a feeling that's most of you), and would like some extra page-turning motivation, allow me to suggest a few blogs:

The Herd Presents posted some year-long challenges in December, and adds a few more every now and then.

Wishful Endings has the Tackle Your TBR (to be read) challenge, which is in September.

Bout of Books starts on May 14, right after the A to Z challenge.

Feed Your Fiction Addiction has an extensive list.

Need some books?
If you read New Adult fiction (main characters are mostly ages 18 to 25), there's the New Adult Scavenger Hunt in June and December. If you prefer Young Adult fiction (main characters are mostly ages 14 to 18), there's the YA Scavenger Hunt - one just happened, but another comes around in October.

Are you hosting a reading challenge on your blog? Have you ever participated in a reading challenge? 

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Are you doing a Reading Challenge this year?

A to Z is a couple of months away, and your hosts are already working behind the scenes. But blogging is not the only challenge you can face this year! Since so many of our participants each year write book blogs, or plan on having reading-related themes (*raises hand*), I wanted to write about reading challenges today.

Are you doing any?
Are you planning to?
Why / why not?

I have stumbled upon this question recently through the Hungarian version of Goodreads. On that site, people can create challenges of their own, and invite others to participate. The result is literally thousands of challenges, of all shapes, sizes, and difficulty levels. Some invite you to read one specific books; some require dozens; some ask you to read something with a season in the title, etc. For completing a challenge, you earn a badge on your profile.

I am a sucker for badges.

I learned one very important thing as I got sucked into the rabbithole of reading challenges:

Pick the challenge for the book, not the other way around.
No one should read piles of books they are not interested in, just for bragging rights.
(... all right, so there are probably many people who do that.)

There have been articles floating around on social media about challenging yourself in your book diet. Some people suggested reading internationally; there is even a TED talk making the rounds, about reading one book from each country in the world. There are reading challenges focused on diversity (very important!), and my personal home turf: fairy tales and their adaptations. Emma Watson, everyone's favorite Hermione, just started a feminist book club open to everyone! Some Reading Challenges even have levels of difficulty you can pick.

Challenges are supposed to push you, and coax you outside your comfort zone. My advice, though: Be careful - you don't want reading to become a task. Those of you who are in graduate school probably do way too much of that anyway (my reading challenge is called Dissertation Lit Review...).

Go grab some books. (Yes, I'm enabling you)
Have fun.
Tell us about it!

Monday, October 5, 2015

The A-Z Process

Since I'm a procrastinator, I still haven't settled on my theme for the 2016 Challenge. Not good (although I still have time). There are just so many good themes that I'm running off in a different direction every time a shiny new idea hits. The thing is though, no matter what I decide on, I basically take the same approach to the month's blogging.

Read – I do copious amounts of reading whenever I'm embarking on a new adventure. It's a way to steep myself in my subject matter and get a good feel for it.

Research – This aspect is the fun part. Of course, this can mean information overload which makes it difficult for me to settle my mind and sit down with the aim of putting it all together. Balance is key here, since I sometimes get so carried away with research, I find it hard to move past this phase.

Write – This is where the action comes in—knitting all the useful bits together into cohesive articles that will be of interest and help people who stop by to read each day.

Revise – When all the research and writing are done, I take a bit of time to re-read what I've prepared to make sure I'm on point with the data I'm sharing.

What else do you do when you're preparing your articles for the Challenge?

J.L. Campbell writes fiction and non-fiction and blogs at

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What Do You Read? Is It What You Write?

I don’t think that I write what I read. I LOVE to read Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mysteries, Spy Thrillers, Romance, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and some non-fiction, like true stories about amazing people or biographies/memoirs. I tend to read a lot. I like to read authors I'm familiar with, but also new ones, to help with honing my own craft at times. I've read a few written by folks participating in the A to Z. I have found more than a few Indy-published authors that I really like and I buy their books whenever they come out.
But I don’t write , strictly speaking, in any one genre. I guess you could say I mix it all up. The first novel I published was a mystery/women’s fiction/ghost story (which nowadays is called Paranormal). When someone asks, I say mystery. It’s easier. But the genre boundaries are spreading across lines, crossing into one another. I wonder how this is affecting the market, and my chances for sales.  
Are you someone who writes to a market? Are you someone who writes whatever you feel like writing? Are you someone who writes in one genre? We all write for different reasons and I think those reasons have a lot to do with what we write.
I write fiction in whatever form it comes to me because it’s the only way to get the stories (those voices!) out of my head. And, I don’t want to do anything else. When I write, not only does it (almost always) make me a better, happier person to live with, but I, crazy fool that I am, realize that I want to be read. I want other folks to read my work and tell me what they think. I don’t like it when they don’t like what I’ve written, but hey, I’ll take the bad with the good. Hopefully it makes me a better writer. It also helps me to keep my personal introspections more positive. Writing makes me more apt to listen to my positive blah blah instead of the negative. The negative is always worse when I’m not writing. I get mad at my husband (poor guy) when I don’t write and usually don’t realize I’m taking out my frustration on him until I’ve opened mouth and crammed the proverbial foot inside.
So, after that little “walkabout” in my head, do you write what you read?

Lisa Buie-Collard's blog is found at: Please drop by, and if the mood suits you, leave a comment. She always returns the visit!

Images from:


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How's Your To-Read List?

To-Read, TBR, the pile of books in the corner... whatever you call it, is it under control, or eating you alive?

About three years ago, I went to a conference on becoming a published children's author.  One piece of advice was to read great children's books.  They mentioned some books and authors, so I scribbled them down: Skellig, the Tiger Who Came For Tea, Liz Kessler, The White Giraffe Series, Eva Ibbotson, Laura Marker series, David Almond, Marcus Sedgwick, Sally Gardner, Meg Roscoff, Anabelle Pilcher, Jonathan Gould, Pongwiffy, Boy in Striped Pyjamas....   These have a UK bias, but the ones I've read are great books. 

First I put them on a reading list on my blog.  Then I found Goodreads and put them on there - other book sites are available: I also belong to Librarything, for example.

So about twenty books found a home on my reading list.  Then I got my kindle app on my laptop, and discovered free books...  you know the story. I had 100 books very quickly.  Then I started getting books I wanted to read, as opposed to those that looked good.  Last November I went into a bookstore with a £25 ($40) book token.  I spent over £35 (nearly $60), and have only just started on those.  I listed ten more I'd like to read but didn't buy.

I am trying to read a book a week.  But I make the error of entering blog review tours, and get advance or free copies to review for the tour.  I have read some wonderful books that way, but my plan to read 60 books from my TBR list this year is under severe strain.  The book that was number 4 at the start of the year is now number 1.  And I am skipping down a way because I really want to read and review the books I won in Giveaways last year.

I'm beginning to feel anxious about all these books I have to read.  And my list isn't even that big.  Go on, guess how many it is.  I'll tell you at the end.

I saw a lovely short post from The Story Reading Ape at the end of April:  What’s YOUR TBR pile like?
Click the link and it'll open in another tab or window.

Feel familiar?  I bet!

What's even funnier is reading the comments - I'm sure they'll resonate with you, too.

I'm looking for the person with the longest current TBR list on Goodreads (or any other list, but it needs to be verifiable).  Just flicking through people who have my first book The Princelings of the East on their Goodreads TBR list, they seem to range from less than 8 books to over 29,000! (Authors, you can find this by looking at your Author Dashboard and the TBR listing for your book).

Can you beat that?

Mine's currently 270.  I have copies, print or ebook, of around 90 of them.  You can add another to yours if you want to download my latest book, Bravo Victor, which is free today on Amazon.

How many books do you currently want to read?  What's your strategy for getting through them?  I'd love to know.

Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for Vietnam

Welcome to V day happy challengers! 

I'd like to be slightly serious for a moment and share a book title with you about the Vietnam War.  To be sure, war is not a kid subject but it provides a good opportunity for kids to study the reasons and the effects of war.  The problem is, though, that sometimes the subject matter is too intense for our little ones to handle.

I found a series, mostly aimed at the younger fellows, that brings the serious subject to a level they can understand.

Vietnam: I Pledge Allegiance by Chris Lynch

Few authors write about history and war and this is just the kind of stuff young guys like to read about. Read the blurb from and see if you don't think your guy might like this:
Four best friends. Four ways to serve their country.

Morris, Rudi, Ivan, and Beck are best friends for life. So when one of the teens is drafted into the Vietnam War, the others sign up, too. Although they each serve in a different branch, they are fighting the war together--and they pledge to do all they can to come home together.

Haunted by dreams of violence and death, Morris makes it his personal mission to watch over his friends--and the best place to do that is in the US Navy. Stationed off the coast of Vietnam on the USS Boston, Morris and his fellow sailors provide crucial support to the troops on the ground.

But the Boston itself isn't safe from attack. And as Morris finds his courage and resolve tested like never before, he keeps coming back to a single thought.

He made a pledge. He must keep them safe.
What do you think? Sounds great right?  The only other author I know of that writes about this topic for the guys is Walter Dean Myers.

What do you think? Have you read anything by Chris Lynch or Walter Dean Myers?

~Pammy Pam, An Unconventional Librarian

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And the Survey Says...

I was a big fan of Family Feud growing up...and I've been formulating a bit of a survey in the back of my head as I read the wonderful guest posts here and observe the interactions between bloggers and readers and writers and others who drop by. We thank you ALL for visiting. The A-Z is NOT just for writers. There just happen to be a lot of us who joined. However, it is an event for BLOGGERS.

So to all you BLOGGERS out's your chance to participate in the behind the scenes survey that they revealed the results of on the show. Of course, the answers will be public, but if necessary, I will do a follow up post tallying the answer should there be (gasp!) so many comments (I hope..) that you can't possibly read them all.

Please read each question carefully. Some will sound a bit alike. Are you ready?By the way, no right or wrong answers, just hoping to start a dialogue, or perhaps if I get lucky, a knock-down, drag out DEBATE! I love those comment lay it on us, total truth please:

  1. AS A BLOGGER, how do you interact with your commenters?

  2. AS A COMMENTER, what is your preferred method of being noticed for taking the time to leave a comment?

  3. Now here's the rub: are those answers the same? Why or why not?

  4. Do you tend to read blogs that are similar to yours, say a writer learning from another how to market well, or to get tips, etc?

  5. Do you read a variety of blogs, and if so why?

  6. How do you decide who goes in your blog roll in your side-bar? Is it ALL the blogs you follow?

  7. Do you return follow just based on unspoken etiquette principle, or is there more to your decision?

  8. To you have link back signature? If not, why? If yes, why?

Also, please feel free to only answer the ones you're interested in, but for survey tallying, please number your answers for this math nerd. I do love long, rambly comments, but for the sake of my purpose here...please play along according to my admittedly, totally, control-freak bossy tendencies.

As Brenda (The Closer) would say, “Thank you, thank you so much!” Or something. I've only watched one episode and am hooked. In my netflix queue. Feel free to correct my quote...

If you don't me well enough, in your opinion, please pay me a visit. I blog here @ Life is Good.  I have a fairly decent "About Me" tab.

If you missed my April 2012 A-Z Challenge "Postcards from Sweden", it's not too late to read those either ;-)


P.S Of course I'll answer all of these myself. But at the end of the day so as to not influence the totally truthful results. Snork.