Tag Archives: Challenges

The 7th Canadian Book Challenge

Brought to us by John Mutford at The Book Mine Set, this is a challenge to read books by Canadian authors or about our neighbors to the north.  I am hoping this will get me back into writing about books I love.  Information about the challenge and how to join in can be found here.



Filed under Canadian Book Challenge 7

2013 Global Reading Challenge

2013 global reading challengeKerrie at Mysteries in Paradise is organizing the 2013 Global Reading Challenge.  I have found in the past that joining this challenge helped me expand my reading to include more diverse authors and books in translation.  After missing a couple of years I am joining in at the medium level.  All the information you need to join in is right here.


Filed under 2013 Challenges

2013 Historical Fiction Challenge

HFReadingChallenge2013-V2I thought I might not join in any new challenges for 2013 but because of my developing love for historical fiction I was completely drawn in by this one.

The 2013 Historical Fiction Challenge is organized by Historical Tapestry.  There are many reading levels. I hope to complete the Renaissance Reader level and read 10 books, though at the rate I’ve been going it may be more.

Some books I plan on reading:

Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason

The Sweet Girl by Annabel Lyon

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Filed under 2013 Historical Fiction Challenge, Books, Historical Fiction

Canadian Book Challenge 6!

Canadian Book Challenge 6 – July 1st, 2012 to June 30, 2013

One of my favorite reading challenges has come around again.  This one keeps me in touch with our neighbors to the north and gives me a great excuse to visit one of my favorite cities, Vancouver, B.C.  Thanks to John Mutford at The Book Mine Set for organizing another great challenge.  You can find out all you need to know right here.  And thanks to Sarah at pussreboots for the beautiful button!


Filed under Canadian, Challenges

Once Upon A Time VI

I’ve been waiting and waiting and one of my favorite yearly events is finally here.  Carl V of Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting the Once Upon A Time Challenge for the sixth year in a row.  During spring  read  fantasy, fairy tales, folklore and mythology to your heart’s content.

In Carl’s words:

The Once Upon a Time VI Challenge has a few rules:

Rule #1: Have fun.

Rule #2: HAVE FUN.

Rule #3: Don’t keep the fun to yourself, share it with us, please!

Rule #4: Do not be put off by the word “challenge”.

While this event retains the word “challenge” from its earliest days, the entire goal is to read good books, watch good television shows and movies, and most importantly, visit old friends and make new ones. There are several ways to participate, and I hope you can find at least one to your liking…

For more information follow this link.

I will be joining in and plan on completing Quest the Third, which includes a reading of or viewing of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


Filed under Challenges 2012, Events

Science Book Challenge 2012

Thanks to Jeff at Scienticity for organizing the Science Book Challenge again this year.

The rules are easy.  From Jeff’s introduction:

Read three (or more!) nonfiction books in 2012 related to the theme “Science & Culture”. Your books should have something to do with science, scientists, how science operates, or the relationship of science with our culture. Your books might be popularizations of science, they might be histories, they might be biographies, they might be anthologies; they can be recent titles or older books, from the bookstore or your local library. We take a very broad view of what makes for interesting and informative science reading, looking for perspectives on science as part of culture and history.

After you’ve read your book you can visit this link and write up a book note.  There is also a Facebook group!

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Filed under Challenges 2012, Science Book Challenge 2012

Speculative Fiction Challenge 2012

Okay. I know.  I said I would be limiting my challenges again in 2012, but here’s one I can’t pass up.

For this challenge Speculative Fiction includes: Science Fiction, Fantasy Fiction,  Horror Fiction, Supernatural Fiction, Superhero Fiction, Utopian, Dystopian, Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction. I couldn’t ask for more!

It goes right along withCarl’s  Science Fiction Experience, Once Upon a Time and R.I.P.   I am planning on rereading some of my favorite science fiction and fantasy in 2012.

Running from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012 and organized by BaffledBooks 2.0 the challenge has many levels.  I plan on ending up in Nirvana(24 books)!

Curious?  Why don’t you click the link and check it out?


Filed under Challenges

Science Book Challenge 2011

This challenge has been a favorite of mine over the last few years.  Some how I lost track of it but, thanks to Raidergirl, I’m signing up again.

Organized by Scienticity, the forth annual Science Book Challenge is easy, particularly if you are a fan of nonfiction.  All you need to do is read 3 nonfiction books related to the theme “Science & Culture”.  You can find all the information you need here, or if you are on Facebook you can join the Challenge here.

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Canadian Book Challenge 5

Thanks to John Mutford of The Book Mine Setfor running this challenge for the fifth year in a row.  It runs from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. It is one of my favorites and one I have managed to complete for two years in a row.

For those who like read-a-thons, check out Under the Midnight Sun.  I plan on started my first CBC book tomorrow, though I doubt I can read for 24 hours.


Filed under CanadianBookChallenge5, Challenges2011, Events

Fire & Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones

Fire & Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones

Collins, London, 2000

I own this one.  It is my second book for the Once Upon A Time V reading challenge.  Having just learned of Diana Wynne Jones and her wonderful books last year, I was sad to hear she had died in March.  There have been many wonderful posts about her and her work on author sites and book blogs.  She will be greatly missed.  I am glad she left us such a fine collection of books.

Fire & Hemlock is a story about memory.  At nineteen, Polly Whittacker is packing to return to college and wondering about a book she thought she read years ago.  Her memory of the stories and authors seem to be different from what is before her eyes.  There is also a picture hanging over her bed that seems to be different in ways she cannot describe.

As she begins to think back, she realizes that at some point four years in the past her memories changed.  That discovery begins to bring her past to the surface.  She remembers a different life, a life that included heroic adventures and interesting people, particularly a man named Thomas Lynn.

This is really a story within a story, based on the ballads Tam Lin and Thomas the RhymerFire & Hemlock references many other works including The Three Musketeers, The Lord of the Rings and The Golden Bough.  For that alone it is worth the read but it is really Wynne Jones’s ability to write fantasy that melds so seamlessly with everyday life that made it work for me.  And the writing is beautiful.

The sun reached the dry pool.  For just a flickering part of a second, some trick of light filled the pool deep with transparent water.  The sun made bright, curved wrinkles on the bottom, and the leaves, Polly could have sworn, instead of rolling on the bottom were for an instant, floating, green and growing.  Then the sunbeam traveled on, and there was just a dry oblong of concrete again.  Mr Lynn saw it too.  Polly could tell from the way he stopped talking.  From page 30.

Diana Wynne Jones understood stories and magic and the way they intersect.  She also knew that fairy stories contain certain truths.

Later they were standing looking at the Thames somewhere while Polly ate a choc-ice – she spent most of the day eating something  – and Mr Lynn asked her if she had liked the books he had sent for Christmas.

Polly did her best to be tactful.  It was not easy, because the choc-ice had just fallen apart and she was trying to balance a sheet of chocolate on her tongue while she sucked at the dripping ice cream underneath.  “King Arthur’s all right,” she said liquidly.

“You don’t like fairy stories.  Have you read them?” said Mr Lynn.  Polly was forced to shake her head.  “Please read them,” said Mr Lynn.  “Only thin, weak thinkers despise fairy stories.  Each one has a true, strange fact hidden in it, you know, which you can find if you look.”  From page 171.

Diana Wynne Jones once wrote that she wished  “to write a book in which modern life and heroic mythical events approached one another so closely that they were nearly impossible to separate.”  She accomplished this with Fire & Hemlock, a book I’m sure I will reread many times, if only for the scene  where Polly and Tom Lynne spin the huge vases outside Hunsdon House and read HERE and NOW and WHERE and NO.

I think the reason that the heroic ideal had, as it were, retreated to children’s books is that children do, by nature, status and instinct, live more in the heroic mode than the rest of humanity.  They naturally have the right naïve, straightforward approach.  And in every playground there are actual giants to overcome and the moral issues are usually clearer than they are, say, in politics.

Diana Wynne Jones, ‘The heroic ideal – a personal Odyssey’, The Lion and the Unicorn, v.13:no.1 (June 1989) discussed at Two Sides to Nowhere.

Other reviews:

A Striped Armchair

DogEar Diary

Jenny’s Books

things mean a lot

We Be Reading


Filed under Fantasy, OnceUponATime V, Review