reading challenges 2016


I joined the 9th Annual comic reading challenge with the lowest level, 12 books for Modern Age. I ended up reviewing 38 comics and so got up one level, to the Bronze Age.

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I joined the New Authors challenge for 10 new to me writers but ended up reading 25.

Happily I liked most of them and found at least four writers I will be reading more: Karl K. Gallagher, Becky Chambers, Leigh Brackett, and Genevieve Cogman

I joined Worlds Without End’s Pick & Mix reading challenge for 40 books and managed to complete it.

Initially, I thought I’d use only books from my physical TBR piles but I ended up adding ebooks and audio books, too. But for every one of the audio and ebooks, I read a book from my physical TBR pile, so I did end up reducing my mountains of books by 40!

Hopefully, I can continue the trend next year.

September has started and it’s time to enjoy R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril challenge, hosted by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings.

Welcome to R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI.

Many of you are probably frequent participants in this event, but for those who are new, or returning after an absence, I grew up reading scary stories illustrated by the incomparable Edward Gorey, watching horror films starring Vincent Price, and generally discovering the literary wonder of authors like Bram Stoker and Edgar Allan Poe. I did go through a brief high school, early-20’s phase where the overly gorey films like Nightmare on Elm Street were my fancy, and while I do not look down on anyone who continues to embrace that kind of entertainment, my first love when it comes to those lengthening Autumn nights are stories in the gothic vein, classic and modern mysteries, and the kind of atmospheric stories, in any format, that give you chills up your spine and make you want to pull the covers up tight.

It is in that spirit that this event began.

Reading and watching television are solitary activities, but can be expanded to a community if you get together to share what is exciting your interest and to discuss like passions. That is the entire point of R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril.

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XI takes place from September 1st, 2016 through October 31st, 2016.

There are only two expectations if you want to participate with us:

1. Have fun reading (and watching*).
2. Share that fun with others.

There are multiple levels of participation so that you can imbibe as much, or as little, as you desire/as time permits, and still consider yourselves a part of this community event.

The genres familiar from previous years are thrillers, mystery, dark fantasy, suspence, gothic, and horror. This year I’m concentrating on reading authors I’m familiar with. I still have three unread mystery books from Elizabeth Peters, the Serpent on the crown, Street of Five Moons, and Siluoutte in Scarlett, so I’ll try to finish them. Also, I’ve only two more books left in Kris Nelscott’s excellent historical mystery series: Days of Rage and Street Justice.

I might also get caught up with Walking Dead (the tv show). I’m at least two seasons behind.

The review site is here.

So I’m joining



Read four books, of any length, from the very broad categories earlier defined as perilous. They could all be by the same author, a series of books, a random mix of classic and contemporary or whatever you like.

Read:
1, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – Serial
2, John Helfers ed.: Fiction River: Visions of the Apocalypse
3, Elizabeth Peters: The Street of Five Moons
4, Elizabeth Peters: Silhouette in Scarlet
5, Fritz Leiber: Swords and Ice Magic
6, Jennifer Roberson: Sword-Dancer
7, Tim Powers: The Stress of Her Regard

Once Upon a Time X is over!

I signed up for the Quest the First for five books and completed that. In fact, I ended up reading eleven books:

Anne Lyle: Merchant of Dreams (historical fantasy)
Anne Lyle: The Prince of Lies (historical fantasy)
Patricia C. Wrede: Snow White and Rose Red (fairy tale)
Catherynne M. Valente: the Folded World (fantastical history)
Jordanna Max Brodsky: The Immortals (urban fantay)

Sebastien de Castell: Traitor’s Blade (fantasy)
Joanna M. Harris: The Gospel of Loki (Norse fantasy)
Aliette de Bodard: Harbinger of the Storm (Aztec fantasy)
Aliette de Bodard: Master of the House of Darts (Aztec fantasy)
Tim Powers: The Drawing of the Dark (historical fantasy)

Fritz Leiber: The Swords of Lankhmar (sword and sorcery)

I also read seven collected editions of the Prince Valiant comic but reviewed only the first two. I also read a collection of fairy tale comics:
Prince Valiant vol. 1: 1937-1938
Prince Valiant vol. 2: 1939-1940
Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales Told by Extraordinary Cartoonists edited by Chris Duffy

I also read two short story collections:
Laura Resnick: Maybe You’ve Heard of Me?
Leslie Anderson ed.: Steampunk Fairy Tales

And one non-fiction about myths:
Elizabeth Wayland Barber and Paul T. Barber: When they severed Earth from the sky: How the human mind shapes myth

Most of the books were good, some of them great, and I had a blast with the Prince Valiant comics.

I’m still knee-deep in snow here in Finland but it’s already time for Once Upon a Time X. Carl from Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting the event:

Monday, March 21st (my wife Mary’s birthday) marks the official start date of the tenth annual Once Upon a Time Challenge. This is a reading and viewing and gaming event that encompasses four broad categories: Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and Mythology, including the seemingly countless sub-genres and blending of genres that fall within this spectrum. The challenge continues through June 21st and allows for very minor (1 book only) participation as well as more immersion depending on your reading/viewing/gaming whims.

Don’t like the word “challenge”? We have something special just for you.

Come away, and I’ll tell you more…

“I felt a curious thrill, as if something had stirred in me, half wakened from sleep. There was something very remote and strange and beautiful behind those words, if I could grasp it, far beyond ancient English.”

~J.R.R. Tolkien, on reading the Cynewulf lines about the star Earendel

Now, for the particulars:

The Once Upon a Time X 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”.

I’ve had lots of fun in the previous events and I’m joining this year, too.

The review site is here.

Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time categories. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology… or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.

I still have lots of fantasy in my shelves and I’m determined to read as much of them as I have the time. So five books should be easy. 🙂

My TBR includes:
Aliette de Bodard’s Aztec inspired fantasy, Anne Lyle’s Elizabethian alternate history/fantasy, The Drawing of the Dark by Timothy Powers, and Dawn’s Early Light by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris, a steampunk book.

Of course, I’ll also read comics. Recently, I found out that the Finnish library system has some of the collected editions of Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant strips. I read them when I was growing up but not all of them were translated. Now, I’ll have the chance to revisit them and also read strips I haven’t read before.

Has anyone else read them?

Books read:
1, Anne Lyle: Merchant of Dreams (fantasy)
2, Anne Lyle: The Prince of Lies (fantasy)
3, Patricia C. Wrede: Snow White and Rose Red (fairy tale)
4, Prince Valiant vol. 1: 1937-1938 (historical fantasy)
5, Catherynne M. Valente: the Folded World
6, Jordanna Max Brodsky: The Immortals
7, Sebastien de Castell: Traitor’s Blade
8, Prince Valiant vol. 2: 1939-1940
9, Joanna M. Harris: The Gospel of Loki
10, Aliette de Bodard: Harbinger of the Storm
11, Aliette de Bodard: Master of the House of Darts
12, Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales Told by Extraordinary Cartoonists edited by Chris Duffy
13, Tim Powers: The Drawing of the Dark
14, Fritz Leiber: The Swords of Lankhmar
15, Laura Resnick: Maybe You’ve Heard of Me?
16, Leslie Anderson ed.: Steampunk Fairy Tales
17, Elizabeth Wayland Barber and Paul T. Barber: When they severed Earth from the sky: How the human mind shapes myth

This year I’m going to focus more on reading authors already familiar to me but I’m most likely going to read new authors, too, so I’m joining again New Authors challenge. This year I can choose the number of new authors I’ll read so I’m choosing 10.

1, The challenge will run from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016.
2, Since this is an author challenge, there is no restriction on choosing your novels. They can definitely be from other challenges. However, the authors must be new to you and, preferably from novels. Anthologies are a great way to try someone new, but only a third of your new authors can be from short stories/novellas or anthologies.
3, I want this to be an easy challenge, so you tell me how many new authors you want to discover. If it’s 1 or 100, go for it. It all depends on how fast you read and how adventurous you want to be.
4, After reading your new author, write your review and then come back here and add your link to the form.
5, Bloggers or Non-Bloggers alike are welcome. You don’t have to have a site to participate. You can link up via Facebook, GoodReads or even Amazon if you’d like.

Once you reach your goal, you don’t have to stop. Any new author you try, go ahead and head back here and add it to the list. Introduce us all to whoever you find. Afterall, there’s no reason to stop trying new authors, right?

I’m going to choose 10 new authors.
1, Steve Turnbull: Maliha Anderson Mysteries volume 1
2, Dan Koboldt: The Rogue Retrieval
3, Lindsay Buroker: Torrent
4, Gillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin: A Vision of Fire
5, Jodi Taylor: Just One Damned Thing After Another
6, Wesley Chu: Time salvager
7, Jordanna Max Brodsky: The Immortals
8, Sebastien de Castell: Traitor’s Blade
9, Joanna M. Harris: The Gospel of Loki
10, Laura Resnick: Maybe You’ve Heard of Me?
11, Becky Chambers: The Long Way to the Small, Angry Planet
12, Karl K. Gallagher: Torchship
13, Austin Grossman: Soon I will be invincible
14, Robert A. Heinlein: Double Star
15, Leigh Brackett: Eric John Stark: An Outlaw of Mars
16, Adam Roberts: Salt
17, Alma Alexander: Empress
18, Mikkel Birkegaard: The Library of Shadows
19, S. C. Flynn: Children of the Different
20, Genevieve Cogman: The Invisible Library
21, Claire North: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
22, China Miéville: The City and the City
23, Rachel Aaron: The Spirit Thief
24, Matthew Hughes: Majestrum
25, John David Krygelski: Time Cursor

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