Tuesday, 28 June 2016

King Ted Reading Challenge: 50% done

My older daughter's school (nickname King Ted) sets the children a reading challenge, and I decided this year to do it too. The pupils are challenged to read two books in each of twenty categories, without counting any author more than once. I've added my own wrinkle, that a maximum of one book in each category can be from a male writer. And while the children do the challenge over the school year, I'm doing it over a calendar year (which gives me a bit longer). On schedule so far. New books in bold.

Short story zone
1. Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Diane Williams. Bright yellow collection of super-short stories published by McSweeney's.
2. King Wolf, Steven Savile. Interesting short stories about a writer and his illustrator. Review in TQF55.

Mystery zone
1. Hunters & Collectors, M. Suddain. Science fiction novel about a celebrity food critic on a quest to eat at the exclusive restaurant of an elusive hotel. Review planned for Interzone #266.

History zone
1. The Silver Branch, Rosemary Sutcliff.

Thriller zone
1. Thieves Fall Out, Gore Vidal.

Diary zone

Witch Child by Celia Rees and review
2. [Counts as two books, if you write a review.]

Biography zone
1. Leonardo da Vinci, Giorgio Vasari. From the brilliant Penguin Little Black Classics box set. Also includes the stories of two other artists.

Science fiction zone
1. World of Water, James Lovegrove. Reviewed in Interzone #265. Follow-up to World of Fire. Enjoyed them so much I bought them both for my dad for Father's Day.

Horror zone
1. I Travel By Night, Robert McCammon.
2. Amityville Horrible, Kelley Armstrong. Subterranean Press novella about a real psychic pretending to be an ordinary (i.e. fake) psychic who goes on a reality ghosthunting show. Good but it had some very saucy bits.

Fantasy zone

Comedy zone
1. The Areas of My Expertise, John Hodgman.
2. Yes Please, Amy Poehler. Listened to the Audible version of this brilliant book. Funny, inspirational and very clever in the way it plays with the form, e.g. having other people read particular passages.

Romance zone
1. Come Close, Sappho.

Friends and family
1. Patchwerk, David Tallerman.

Classic zone
1. Mrs Rosie and the Priest, Giovanni Boccaccio.

Myths, fairy tales and legends from around the world

1. The Vor Game, Lois McMaster Bujold.

1. The Caped Crusade, Glen Weldon.
2. The Accidental Indexer, Nan Badgett. I have to do a tiny bit of indexing in my day-to-day work, and I felt it was somewhere I could level up my skills a bit. This is mainly about being an indexer, rather than doing the indexing, but there's some good advice and it's really helped me improve my work.

Adventure zone
1. Jacaranda, Cherie Priest.

Crime zone

Friends recommended
1. Stet, Diana Athill. A present from my co-editor John and his wonderful family! A fascinating book about an editor who worked with big names like V.S. Naipaul and Jean Rhys, with scandalous stories about them all.
2. The Third Policeman, Flann O'Brien. Another present from John and co. Didn't get far into this before thinking it reminded me a lot of Lost – e.g. weird guys in an underground office taking measurements of reality, and a threatening ghostly figure in an abandoned house – and turns out that indeed this was referenced on the show.

So halfway through the year I'm halfway through the challenge. I'll post an updated version of the list when (or if) I get to 75% and 100%. I'm currently reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, only a decade after I bought it, which'll go into Fantasy, and A Hippo Banquet by Mary Kingsley, which'll go into Adventure.

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