What I Would Like To Read This Year

1 02 2017

Even more of my books

Since joining Goodreads in 2013, I have enjoyed posting to the site what I have read, am currently reading, and want to read in the future. I don’t know exactly why, but it’s fun nonetheless. Every year since 2014 I have enjoyed the annual reading challenge the website puts up. How it works is that, you say how many books you would like to read in the year and you set that as your goal. Then when you finish reading a book, you make a note of when you finished reading it and then, as long as it’s in the current year, then it counts towards your reading challenge. The website keeps a track of the books you have read and how many, and then come the end of the year, if you are successful it will say that you succeeded. If you read more than the total number set, then even better. Since 2014, I have been successful year after year in the reading challenge, often setting myself the similar goal of about 10-15 books a year; well I am a slow reader, and so that I thought would still be a good amount. This year however I have reduced the number of books I want to read to eight.

Some of my books

During 2016, after a slow start reading one really good book, followed by a couple that were pretty low in enjoyment, I finally found my stride when I read the Anthony Horowitz Power of Five series (as well as a few Mr. Men books too). With the reading of the series going well, I had a thought. I thought that if I could finish the final book of the series; Oblivion before the end of the year, I might treat myself into reading another big book. Well, in the end I did not finish Oblivion until January. Anyway, that did not matter too much in the end, because I had another idea.

Some more of my books

In my big collection of books, there is quite a few I have collected which I have not actually read. Most of them are books that I have received as presents, or ones I have bought but not got round to yet. Anyway, some of these are kind of big; these include but are not limited to Next by Michael Crichton, Battle Royale by Koushun Takami and Stone Heart by Charlie Fletcher. Getting round to these books can be quite hard as they are not part of a series so can sometimes find themselves being muscled out of a reading schedule and then eventually forgotten. The other is due to their size, and when I have a high number of books I want to read in a year, it can feel impractical to read them as part of the challenge. So here is where my new idea came in. Not to slot them in as such, but to give them a level of commitment, and also give myself a shorter goal to work with, thinking that given how some of them are more than twice the size as other books I have read, I can then sort of fill the amount of time in with a much bigger book and give myself some slack by not committing to a high number. Therefore, what I did was slice the amount of books I read into near as half while also still challenging myself.

Hall Of Fame Book Shelf

As a result I have decided to read 8 books this year, but not only that, I have also chosen specific books I would like to read this year too. Instead of considering books like I have done in the past (so when I was reading one, I would think about the next one to read without any guarantee that I would); I have set aside a space on my book shelves and selected a group of books I want to specifically read, the plan being that when I finish a book, I can put it either in the hall of fame section (a section on my shelves where I put my absolute favourite reads: see above image), or somewhere else entirely on the book shelves, and then pick another from the specifically selected section, and carry on that way. The books I have chosen are as follows:

Books I want to read in 2017

Upon looking at that list, and the above picture, you may see that there are actually 9 books in that space. That is because I decided to include Horowitz Horror 1 by Anthony Horowitz; because (it nicely lines up the collection on display, but also) it allows me the option of reading a short story here and there instead of having to power through novels the whole time. The good thing about the books I have chosen too is that all of them but two are singular entries. Only 2 of the books (Steelheart and Stone Heart) lead into a series. Now while that is a bit of a dodgy game I have played with those two selections, by only having a couple, it allows me the chance to see if I like them before I continue the series, but also it means I am not necessarily muscling out the others either.

Steelheart and Stone Heart

That is my plan for reading this year. My plan for other books sort of comes in either next year, or when I finish the 8 main books here anyway (or if I dive into a series). Any books I buy/get/receive from here on in shall be put to one side for the time being for reading consideration another time, as right now I am both excited and optimistic of my chances of completing the reading I have selected for this year and since finishing Oblivion, I have already begun reading Burning Midnight, (because upon finishing Oblivion, I wanted to read something small). At time of writing I am nearly two-thirds through it. So with that going well, I am hopeful that I will accomplish my reading challenge for this year, plus get through the really big books too.

Burning Midnight

GENEPOOL





What Book To Read Next?

22 04 2015

The Young Elites (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers - 2014)

When you are reading a book and begin to see the end in sight (which mainly involves counting how many pages there are left) one question instantly pops into your head that requires an answer, and soon. What book am I going to read next? It’s a big question for a big reader and unless you get a new book soon, you could find yourself in a spot where you may end up not reading at all. Now if it’s the case that you are reading a book in a series, and that you are enjoying it well enough to keep reading it, then you are pretty much sorted, until the series ends and have to go out and find either a new book or a new series to read. What book to read next is a question that has been plaguing me recently, as it’s the case that I have nearly finished a book, and need a new one to begin reading, and soon. Recently I have been getting back into reading at bed time again thanks to the recent acquisition of a new bed. Reading at bed time is actually quite enjoyable and something I have enjoyed in the past, such as when I read The Hunger Games. More recently though I have been reading Eve & Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant.

Eve & Adam (Egmont - 2012)

Eve & Adam has been a lot of fun to read and I consider it one of the best books I have read this year so far (along with A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness). But with just a few chapters left to read, I needed to start thinking about which book I was going to try next. Now while I am currently reading Patrick Ness’s Monsters of Men, that has still some time to go until I have completed that, so I don’t need to worry about what after that just yet. Luckily though, I do visit Waterstones a lot and keep an eye out for books. Also, any books I have spotted either online, personal research or seen in Waterstone’s  I catalogue onto my wish list on Goodreads and put them in some sort of order as to which I most want to read next. This I find useful more as a guide though of things to look out for, especially as I know some of the titles in the list off by heart, usually the ones quite near the top. This however presents the issue of having to actually choose which one to read. My excitement for one book at a time (such as Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson) might not much be the case later on and I really need find a real way to choose one.

Steelheart (Orion Books - 2013)

Sometimes though it can be the case that my choosing of a book may depend on the books word formatting. I can find it a real struggle sometimes to read a book that has short words and not a lot of spacing, which can lead to my eyes hurting/straining. A lot of the books I read I do find give me plenty of this, and when I buy a book I do like to have a look at it to see how the words are spaced out. Sometimes I am able to read shorter text but as a result can find it harder to really get into it. This is one of the reasons that Michael Crichton’s Micro really appealed to me when I saw it on shelves in Waterstone’s. Another thing on my mind when choosing which book to read next includes considering my collection of as yet unread books. The collection is mostly made up of books I really wanted to read but did not get round to reading them as planned. The Spook’s Secret by Joseph Delaney was a case of me buying it at the same time as The Spook’s Curse, but having had Michael Grant’s GONE on my shelf for many months, I decided to give it a go, and then did not get round to reading Secret. Other books like Battle Royale by Koushun Takami are ones that I have yet to get round to reading, although I am considering reading Battle Royale after I have read Monsters of Men.

Battle Royale (VIZ Media, LLC - 2009)

As to what to the decision of choosing what my next bed time read would be however, I have had my eyes on a few things and have chosen what to read next. Roughly this time last week I was chasing up a book by Jeremy Robinson called Project Nemesis. A book which involves Giant Monsters or Kaiju trashing a city, the sort of thing I like, especially with my high interest in Godzilla films. I had once heard about the book many months ago but did not think much about it. I decide to chase it up and after having a glance at it and the other books in the series, I really wanted to read them, so when I was in Waterstone’s yesterday I asked if they had a copy of it in. They didn’t. It turned out that the book may not have been released in the UK (either yet or at all) and while I could order one, due to it not being released in the UK, it would be pricey. So with my hopes of reading it so far dashed, I had to have a think.

Project Nemesis (Smashwords Edition - 2012)

Another book I considered reading recently is a book called The Deadly 7 by Garth Jennings, a story about a group of monsters, each one representing one of the Seven Deadly Sins make friends with a boy. From the books cover it looks rather fun, however, it is not the book I asked about in Waterstone’s.

The Deadly 7 (Macmillan Children's Books - 2015)

The book I asked about was one I voted for in the Goodreads awards; The Young Elites by Marie Lu. Yes, I have not read it, but have voted for it, the reason was due to  both its cover and premise. It came to mind just as I stepped into the shop, and as it was a passing thought, I decided to ask about it. I checked the book cover and it was the one, and so it is now on order for me. So The Young Elites is to be my next bed time reading and I am really excited to read it. It’s also the first in a series, so that might cover me for a while, even though the third one may be a year or so before it is released, however, this could lead to other things. Because I did not remember the author’s name when I asked about The Young Elites, I did not realise that she had also written another book (Prodigy) in my goodreads wish list, one that’s been there for about year now (I think). More strangely though; it’s the second book in a series: The Legend series, of which I don’t know much about.

Prodigy (Putnam Juvenile - 2013)

GENEPOOL





LIGHT

5 02 2014

LIGHT

After going to see The Hunger Games in 2012, I got back into reading for the first time in years, (despite the fact that I had been unsuccessfully trying as well as struggling to read “the Smash Hit Debut Novel Mogworld by internet sensation Yahtzee Croshaw” – YAHTZEE). Since then I have regularly visited my local Waterstones looking for more books to read. One of the first ones I noticed was a book called FEAR. It was a round about the same time I was reading The Hunger Games that I noticed it, and the one thing that struck me about it was the front cover artwork. It looked interesting and so I went in for a look, and saw that it was part of a whole series of books, the first of which was called GONE. I was interested to read it, but I didn’t want to interfere with my current reading schedule at the time, So I just kept it in my mind. This past June after almost a year of wanting to read it, I started reading GONE, the first book in the series, and since then I have read through every book in the series. GONE, HUNGER, LIES, PLAGUE and I have just finished reading FEAR.

FEAR

This past Saturday I went into town, and it was a very auspicious (if that is the right word) moment as I purchased LIGHT, the final book in the series. Since June I have been consistently reading a thrilling and almost unstoppable book series, and now the end is coming. I have known about the coming of this day for a while, and it is one I am greatly excited about, and sad that it is approaching too. I feel like I am in this amazing world created by Michael Grant. I can feel like I am there and have my own feelings towards the characters and how I want their story to end, but also the world. I also have my thoughts as to how if I was in it, how I would want it to end.

GONE (Michael Grant)

One thing I am certain of though, is that whatever the ending will be, it will not be sedate. As the series has progressed, life inside the FAYZ has gone from bad, to worse than traumatic, and while FEAR has somehow ended the paranoia I have felt as the reader from LIES and PLAGUE, it is probably nothing more than the beginning of the end, a possible calm before the typhoon. But what that ending might be, I am sure it will be worth it.

GONE HUNGER LIES

The one thing getting to me at this stage though is; What am I going to read next? I have some ideas; I could finally get round to reading Mockingjay, or I could get back into The Spook’s series, or maybe read the copy of BATTLE ROYALE that is staring at me from my bookshelf. Or maybe, just maybe, I might take a gamble on a couple of books I have spotted, Stone Heart or The Fire Within. Will need to make a decision soon though.

Stone Heart

GENEPOOL





Movie Study – Battle Royale – Update

1 07 2013

Film Reel

You may remember, back in April I launched my first Movie Study. The film I chose was (as you can see by the title) was Battle Royale. Well, three months have now passed and here is an update. Here are all 12 questions about the film for you to answer. As I stated back in April there are three ways to answer these questions. Don’t feel like you have to answer them all, but give it a go, there’s no harm. The first way you can answer is by leaving a simple answer per question in the comments below. Second way is that if you have a Blog, answer the questions in a post (please send me a link so I can have a read), if you are struggling for a topic anytime soon, here is one for you. The third way is to produce a video for YouTube or any other video service (once again, please provide me with a link). So there you have it really, it’s relatively easy to get involved, and I look forward to seeing your responses.

Studying

Here are all 12 questions for you to get involved. remember to watch the film before hand as it will be easier for you.

  1. Referring only to the flashbacks, can you see any reason for the nation; as depicted in the film to fear the youth?
  2. Why do you think that Kitano is interested in Noriko?
  3. At first many of the film’s characters don’t want to kill each other (obviously), except for Mitsuko. Why do you think that is?
  4. What Similarities can you see when you compare Battle Royale to other forms of fiction.
  5. (For people who have read the novel). How closely related to the book is the film? Does the film leave anything out, add anything extra?
  6. Do the weapons provided to the students/competitors reveal anything about who they are as a person?
  7. Throughout the film there are 2 major riddles/questions being asked and don’t get answered until the end. Are these particular questions necessary? If yes, why yes and if not, why not?
  8. The film’s soundtrack uses a lot of already well known classical pieces of music, why do you think that these are used as well as the main soundtrack?
  9. What assets does the Battle Royale Program use to make the students kill each other and what is the purpose for the two characters (Kiriyama and Kawada) who are not students within the class?
  10. Why do you think that the Battle Royal Program was set up in the way it is depicted (Format) and why do you think that the program randomly chooses classes of children instead of specific children?
  11. What is your overall opinion of the film? If you have seen the film before, do you feel any different about it?
  12. Additional Question: If you were made to compete in Battle Royale, how would you react and what would your tactic to survive be?

BR18

Check back in a few weeks time as I will post up the next Movie Study, I hope to see you there.

GENEPOOL (you can check out my review of BATTLE ROYALE here)





Movie Study – BATTLE ROYALE

1 04 2013

Film Reel (Picture Temporary until I can get a proper logo/banner)

A few weeks ago I was engaged in a long discussion through my comments with my friend Matt. It was here that I came up with an idea. So as you can see by the title I am launching a new series of Blog Posts that will take place here every three months which will give readers a more in-depth knowledge of films. How does this work, well it’s simple really. Every 3 months I will set a film for whoever wants to join in to watch. After three months passes I will give participants some questions about the film to answer (I will give some questions on the reveal post to just to get you thinking) and there are 3 ways in which to answer them; Blog Post, Video Post or simply through the comments at the bottom of the post. That post will also show the details of the next film that will be studied.

Studying

When it comes down to the method in which participants may take part, it is entirely up to them. If the participants have a Blog or something along those lines, they may want to use the format to take part in this. If participants are not ones for writing much but would like to be involved they could make a video. Or if they prefer too they could just leave their feedback to the questions asked by simply leaving a comment. Whichever way you decide to take part, I only ask that you leave a link be it a video or blog post in the comments section just so I can have a read/watch for myself, as well as leave a link to the original post so their readers know what you are talking about and why you are doing it. Don’t forget that it is not compulsory to answer all/any of the questions but they do give you some ideas of what to think about when you are producing and presenting your response. So, now that all the major writing is out of the way, lets move on to the subject of the very first movie study; and it is pretty easy to guess what it is from reading the title. The film in question is of course the critically successful and cult classic Japanese Film BATTLE ROYALE.

Battle Royale (Toei Co., Ltd. - 2000)

Based on the novel of the same name by Japanese Author Koushun Takami. Described as Lord of the Flies for the 21st Century as well as being known as the most controversial book of the 20th Century, the story of the film revolves around a group of captured high school children placed on an island and forced to kill each other. While this may sound similar to many of you as The Hunger Games, do remember that Battle Royale (both book and film) were released before The Hunger Games was first published. The film was directed by Kinji Fukasaku and was released in 2000 and was met both with critical acclaim and controversy over its ideas. To date the film holds an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes as well as an 89% audience rating.

Because the film is an interesting topic I decided it was possibly the Best Film to start the series on. So, for those who wish to participate, you have 3 months to watch Battle Royale. I will give you some questions to think about now and I will give you all the questions in 3 months time (July). Then in 3 months time I will also tell you which film will be looked at next along with some more questions.

Here are some taster questions for you:

1. Throughout the film there are 2 major riddles/questions being asked and don’t get answered until the end. Are these particularly questions necessary? If yes, why yes and if not, why not?

2. Do the weapons provided to the students/competitors reveal anything about who they are as a person?

3. What assets does the Battle Royale Program use to make the students kill each other?

4. Why do you think that the Battle Royal Program was set up in the way it is depicted (Format)?

5. If you were made to compete in Battle Royale, how would you react and what would your tactic to survive be?

Battle Royale Class

I am already anticipating and looking forward to reading/watching any responses you make towards this. I may even attempt to answer some of the questions myself, but maybe not at first as this is not really about me, it is about you and your opinions.

GENEPOOL (Don’t forget to check back in June as I will be posting up a film review of Battle Royale).








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