comic books

O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon 2019

The O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon is the invention of Gi at Book Roast on YouTube. It’s a challenge I heard about last year, but I wasn’t aware of it in time to take part – this year I’m more prepared! The challenge is based on the Hogwarts examinations in the Harry Potter series but you neither have had to have read the Harry Potter books or be a Harry Potter fan to take part.

The basic premise is that each Hogwarts subject has its own prompt, you read a book that fits that prompt and then you’ve achieved an O.W.L. in that subject. This readathon lasts the entirety of April so it gives you plenty of time to try and cram in as many O.W.L.’s as possible. For more information on the readathon see Gi’s announcement video. It’s clear she puts in a lot of work into this challenge, she makes study guides and a career guide that has information on lots of magical careers and the subjects you need to study in order to be able to progress in that career.

The career I’ve chosen is Ministry Worker with the idea that I’d specialise to be able to join the Department of International Magical Cooperation after taking my N.E.W.T.’s in August. That means I’ll need O.W.L.’s in Charms, Defence Against the Dark Arts, History of Magic, Potions, Transfiguration and Muggle Studies – meaning my aim is to read six books for this challenge.

I’ve had a look at my bookshelves and theoretically I would be able to get 11 out of 12 O.W.L.’s based on the books on my TBR. Below are the books I plan to read to get my O.W.L.’s for my Ministry Worker job, but also the books for the other O.W.L.’s in case I do better than expected and can fit in a couple more books during the month.

Ancient Runes – Retelling
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi
As the title suggests it’s a Frankenstein retelling. This is a book I’ve been wanting to read for ages so even though it doesn’t fit with my chosen career path, if I finish the O.W.L.’s/books I have to read, this will be my priority.

Arithmancy – Work written by more than one author
Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam edited by Linh Dinh
A collection of short stories from Vietnamese writers.

Astronomy – “Star” in the title
This is the one subject I don’t have a book that would fit so any careers that needed an Astronomy O.W.L. was automatically ignored.

Care of Magical Creatures – Land animal on the cover
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
Technically I think this could also work for retelling (though you’re not allowed to use the same book for multiple prompts) as it’s inspired by the Evil Queen in Snow White I think? It’s a book I got from a subscription box a while ago and I’m pretty sure it’s the only book I’ve got with an animal on the cover.

Charms – Age-line: read an adult work
Augustown by Kei Miller
I actually tend to read mostly adult books so the way I chose this book was to find one of the shorter adult books I have – at just over 200 pages, Augustown was the winner.

Defence Against the Dark Arts – Reducto: title starts with a “R”
The Red Beach Hut by Lynn Michell
This is the only book I’ve got that has a title that begins with the letter R. I was pleased I found a book as Defence Against the Dark Arts is a subject needed for many career paths.

Divination – Set in the future
Old Man Hawkeye Vol. 1: An Eye for an Eye by Ethan Sacks, Marco Checchetto and Andres Mossa
Comics are totally allowed for this readathon which is great. I recently bought a bunch of Hawkeye-related comics and this one is set in an apocalyptic future where nearly all of the superheroes are dead.

Herbology – Plant on the cover
West Coast Avengers Vol. 1: Best Coast by Kelly Thompson, Stefano Caselli and Tríona Farrell
Another one from my Hawkey-binge-buy as he’s a part of this team. It has some palm trees on the front which totally counts as a plant.

History of Magic – Published at least 10 years ago
Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
It’s a classic so it’s definitely over 10 years old. Plus it’s pretty short which is always helpful for a readathon.

Muggle studies – Contemporary
Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart
I received this in a subscription box a while back and know nothing about it except it’s the shortest contemporary book I have on my TBR. I read We Were Liars years ago and sped through it so hopefully the same thing will happen with this book.

Potions – Next ingredient: sequel
Old Man Hawkeye Vol. 2: The Whole World Blind by Ethan Sacks, Marco Checchetto, Francesco Mobili and Ibraim Roberson
I don’t actually have many sequels (because I’m terrible at reading series) so my recent comic book purchases have definitely come in handy here.

Transfiguration – Sprayed edges or red cover
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
This is the longest book on this TBR but it’s one of the only books I have that has a red cover. There’s rumours that the Tome Topple Readathon will happen in April so as The Angel’s Game is over 500 pages, that’ll hopefully give me an extra push to read it.

So, this is my TBR for the O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon and pretty much my TBR for the whole month of April. Are you taking part in the readathon and if you are which O.W.L.’s are you focusing on? In August there’s the N.E.W.T.’s readathon which you use to build on what you achieve in this readathon, so I hope I manage to read all the books I need to be able to apply for a job at the Ministry of Magic.

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Get Graphic Readathon TBR

Guess what? There’s another readathon I’m going to try and take part in! This one is the Get Graphic Readathon and it’s a weekend-long readathon that’s focused on reading things like comics, graphic novels and manga – basically anything that’s illustrated. The readathon is the brainchild of BOOKadoodles, Whatskappening and PerpetualPages on YouTube and you can follow all the fun of the readathon on the #GetGraphic Twitter account. The Get Graphic Readathon starts Friday 6th October at 5pm wherever you are in the world and ends at midnight on Sunday 8th October in your time zone.

Like many a readathon there’s some challenges you can try and complete while you read as many illustrated books as possible.

Challenges:
1. Read from a new-to-you series
2. Read two instalments of the same series
3. Read a work over 300 pages
4. Read a work with black and white art
5. Read a work picked out by a friend
6. Read at least 5 works

I always base my TBR on the challenges so here we go.

For a new-to-me series I’ve chosen Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 1: The Boys are Back in Town by David Walker and Sanford Greene. After binge-watching The Defenders the day it was released, I fell in love with the dynamic between Luke Cage and Danny Rand and its got so much potential in the Netflix series. So, I went to Twitter and asked where I should start reading when it comes to the comics and this is what was recommended to me – I’m looking forward to learning more about these characters.

The two instalments of the same series will be Runaways The Complete Collection Volume Three and Four by Brian K. Vaughn and many, many others. These will also work for the work over 300 pages as they are both around 400-500 pages. If I think I’m only going to read one of The Runaways volumes during the weekend, I’ve also got Saga Volume Six and Seven by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples for the read two instalments of the same series challenge.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel will be my read for the “work with black and white art” challenge and I’m currently running a Twitter poll to decide what I’ll read for the “work picked out by a friend” challenge so feel free to go and vote on that.

Potentially I could complete all six challenges and read at least five works, will it happen though? Who knows! On Saturday I am busy, travelling up to London and back to see a couple of films at the London Film Festival, but Sunday I could spend a lot of time reading.

Are you going to take part in the Get Graphic readathon? I think it’s a great way to get some books off my TBR and I haven’t read my comics for a while.

Mid-Year Book Freak-out Tag

We’re halfway through the year (what?! How? Ahhh!) so as I was going to do a little recap of what my reading goals are and how I’m doing, I thought I’d do a tag as well.

My reading goals for 2017 was to continue with the Read the World Project (which I have been doing) put £1 aside for every book I’ve read (I’ve been doing that as well) and cut my physical TBR to 50 books – my TBR currently stands at 97 books so that one definitely needs some work and I need to stop buying books! I also set my Goodreads goal at 50 books and I’ve currently read 26 so I’m making steady progress with that.

So those were my goals and now onto the tag. This tag was created by ReadLikeWildfire over on booktube and I’ve seen many a booktuber take part and I decided I wanted to have a go too.

1. Best book you’ve read so far this year
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This book man. It’s so important and enlightening and heartfelt and brilliant. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in ages and it’s one of those books that has stuck with me.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far this year
March Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
I haven’t read many sequels at all so far this year, in fact the only sequels I’ve read was when I marathoned the March graphic novel trilogy. The third book was just as good as the rest even if I struggled to get through it sometimes due to how intolerant people were (and still are).

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
Electric Souk by Rose McGinty
This was released in March but I’ve had it for less than a month as it came in the Grand Summer Adventure NinjaBookBox. I hadn’t heard of it before it came into my possession but it is definitely a book that I’m super looking forward to reading. (more…)

X is for X-Men

I always say X-Men was my gateway to everything superhero. I watched the 90’s cartoon (the video below is of the iconic theme song) and then the X-Men: Evolution cartoon was on TV on a Saturday morning (forget about X-Men: Apocalypse, if you want to see the Apocalypse story-line, watch X-Men: Evolution, that show did it amazingly) and then of course are the films.

Now the films are a huge rolled up mess of continuity if you think about it too hard. The best way to not give yourself a headache in my opinion is think of it as; the original trilogy (X-Men, X2 and The Last Stand), the First Class trilogy (X-Men: First Class, Days of Future Past and Apocalypse) and then the various Wolverine movies are their own little trilogy. It still doesn’t really make sense as the characters in X-Men: Apocalypse are twenty years older than they were in First Class but the actors all look exactly the same, and Wolverine keeps popping up everywhere so his backstory is a huge mess if you want a straight timeline – but that’s the X-Men movies for you!

My favourite X-Men films are X-Men, X2 and Logan. I adore the attack on the school scene in X2, it shows off so many different characters’ powers and you get to see some of Wolverine’s berserker rage that you don’t really get to see that much – until Logan that is when there’s no holding back.

I’ve tried reading the X-Men comics but there’s so many timelines and so much history that I’ve found it pretty difficult so far. I’ve read and loved Old Man Logan and I read the iconic Days of Future Past story before the film came out so I think self-contained stories are the way forward for me and X-Men comics.

Still, I love everything to do with X-Men – weird, convoluted timelines and all.

F is for Frank Castle

frank castleFrank Castle aka The Punisher isn’t exactly a good guy, but you could say he does bad things for good reasons. Basically he kills people, but they are people who are murderers or rapists and who have often escaped justice so Frank dishes his own brand of justice. Frank is a vigilante who does whatever he can to take on criminals and his history in the military means not only is he comfortable in using a wide variety of weapons but he is also a tactical genius and is a master of martial arts.

Frank Castle is definitely an anti-hero but that’s what makes him so compelling. The first time I came across Frank was in The Punisher (2004) which I thought was an OK film and it got me interested in the character (have to say I love the scene where Frank has a bow and arrow), then I watched Punisher: War Zone (2008) which was brutal but brilliant. Now Frank is in the latest series of Daredevil which I’ve yet to watch but I can’t wait to see what he’s like in it – fun fact, I have only watch the first episode of the first series of Daredevil and don’t really care much about Daredevil as a character but the fact that Punisher is in the second series really makes me want to catch up.

I’ve now read some of The Punisher comics, mainly the series by Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads which I loved. I love the art style and it was a great insight into Frank’s character and the fact he does care about people even though he tries hard not to. He sees things as very black and white – you’re either good or bad and he treats you accordingly, he can be terrifying but there’s something strangely reassuring about Frank Castle.

To get an introduction to Frank Castle, one of the best places you can go is watch Dirty Laundry, a fan-made short film that is really great.

The London Bookshop Crawl aka An Awesome Bookish Day

Yesterday I spent the day going to many bookshops in London with a lot of book loving people. It was the London Bookshop Crawl which was organised by the wonderful Bex and it as so much fun!

Going into the Bookshop Crawl I didn’t know anyone. Bex had set up a Twitter list of the people who were going on the crawl so I’d followed them all to try and learn names and get to know some of them but really, I didn’t know anyone when I arrived at Foyles at 9:30am.

When I got there, there were already some people sitting in the café with hot drinks and pastries. After having a hot chocolate I went browsing the shelves of Foyles with Annette and Lauren, we talked about what genres we liked and recommended books to each other which was great. In Foyles I bought A Darker Shade of Magic and The Man in the High Castle – two books I’d been meaning to get my hands on for a while. I did start the crawl saying I’d only get one book per shop but that failed straight away! (more…)

Why I love… Secret Avengers

Secret Avengers is one of my favourite comics in the year or so I’ve been reading them. I first picked it up because I knew the majority of the characters thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes TV show so figured it was a pretty good place to start in the vast world of Marvel comics. Also it has Hawkeye in it and I’ll pick up anything that features Hawkeye.

Secret Avengers Spencer and RossI haven’t read Ed Brubaker’s or Rick Remender’s story arcs yet. Instead I started with Nick Spencer and Luke Ross’s run, because that’s the one that featured the most characters I already knew about. I did find their run a bit confusing as the main story was to do with memory wipes and you never knew entirely what was going on but I liked be art and the relationships between various characters – especially Nick Fury and Phil Coulson’s friendship.

That story arc came to an end in the middle of last year and then the series was taken over by Ales Kot and Michael Walsh and now Secret Avengers is definitely my favourite comic book series. (more…)