2020 Novella Reading Challenge


I’m a fool for a challenge, especially a reading challenge. I’m already undertaking my own Short Story Tarot Challenge-attempting to read 78 short stories over 78 weeks, one for each card in a Tarot deck. Its purpose is to both get me back into reading more regularly and to finish a few collections from my TBR pile. I’ve kept it going for seven weeks so far and I am enjoying the short story format.

So, onto this latest reading challenge. As we all know, there is so much great fiction out there that is just waiting to be read. But–like you I’m sure–my reading time is limited. Therefore, I am launching a 2020 Novella Reading Challenge. My aim is to read more works by more authors, especially authors new to me. So I think the novella format is a great way to achieve this goal with its shorter length and reasonable price. Continue reading

Tracking Song (1975) by Gene Wolfe

‘I want to leave a record of what has happened to me, so that if someone comes for me, and finds me dead, he will understand.’

 

TRACKING SONG by Gene Wolfe was originally published in 1975. It first appeared in the anthology In the Wake of Man, which also featured stories by R.A. Lafferty and Walter F. Moudy. The story’s next appearance was in Wolfe’s own collection The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories (1980). It is 70 pages long. (You can find it here in issue #90 of Lightspeed Magazine.)

in the wake of man

Cover art by Nick Aristovulos

Brief Summary
The protagonist of the story has lost his memory and his way. He wakes up in a wintry landscape after being found by a local tribe of animal-like humanoids. He cannot remember his own name nor where he is from. The tribe members call him “Cutthroat” due to a birthmark on his neck. They tell him they discovered his unconscious body in the snow after the ‘Great Sleigh’ had passed. What the Great Sleigh is, he also can’t recall. Cutthroat sets off on a journey to find the Great Sleigh, seeking answers to who he is and where he came from. Continue reading

Short Story Tarot Challenge

The challenge is: 78 weeks, 78 short stories! Let’s see how far I get;-)

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I’m going to use a Tarot deck to randomly select a short story to read each week. I’m using the Thoth Tarot deck which was painted by Lady Frieda Harris following instructions from Aleister Crowley. It’s a beautiful deck and was recommended to me by my brother.

I have a lot of unread short stories in my tbr pile. I also have a deck of tarot cards that has been collecting dust in a drawer for years. I will combine them as a way to get me back into reading. I know very little about the tarot, so I’m hoping to learn more about it through this challenge. Continue reading

Retrospective for Year 2 – Nov. ’16 ~ Nov. ’17

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Daisen Temple, Mt. Daisen (near where I live).

Happy Autumn everyone! It’s the best time of the year for reading (according to Japanese people). What books or comics are you enjoying at the moment?…

I’m in the middle of reading Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust. So far, it has been a very comfortable read and I’m nicely into it.

dust-covers

Now that Hallowe’en is over for another year, I think it’s time for a retrospective post about my second year of blogging about books. Two years, eh? Where did the time go?… I spent some of it reading, but not enough really. I was too often tempted by some of the quality TV drama appearing on Netflix and Amazon Prime, notably Stranger Things, Mister Robot, Fargo, Jessica Jones, American Gods, Luke Cage, and Star Trek Discovery. How about you? Does TV still tempt you, or are you only in it for the books?! Continue reading

The 2017 William Gibson Read-Along

“I think I’d probably tell you that it’s easier to desire and pursue the attention of tens of millions of total strangers than it is to accept the love and loyalty of the people closest to us.” William Gibson, Idoru

 

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2016 has been the year of Dick for me, Philip Kindred Dick. Taking part in Bookpunks’ mind-warping “Exegesis with a Side of Fiction: The PKD Read-Along” has brought me closer to Dick. I regularly found myself questioning what was real after being submerged in the latest book. Despite struggling through the dense and diffuse Exegesis, I looked forward to my monthly dose of PKD paperback, wondering what kind of bizarre and unhinged world I would discover inside. It was also a great opportunity to focus on the work of one writer, to see the different worlds they had imagined and built, to compare the later stories with the earlier ones.

So, I propose spending 2017 in William Gibson territory. One book per month, commencing with his collection of short stories Burning Chrome. Continue reading

Retrospective for Year One – Oct. 2015 to Nov. 2016

 
It’s been a year since I started reviewing books on this blog, so I thought I would write a retrospective post to celebrate. It all began with Richard Matheson’s 1971 horror novel Hell House which I chose to read for Neil Gaiman’s All Hallow’s Read. His idea was to gift a scary book to a friend for Halloween:

 

“I propose that, on Hallowe’en or during the week of Hallowe’en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they’ll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they’ll enjoy.

I propose that stories by authors like John Bellairs and Stephen King and Arthur Machen and Ramsey Campbell and M R James and Lisa Tuttle and Peter Straub and Daphne Du Maurier and Clive Barker and a hundred hundred others change hands — new books or old or second-hand, beloved books or unknown. Give someone a scary book for Hallowe’en. Make their flesh creep…”

-Neil Gaiman, Blog Post “A Modest Proposal (That Doesn’t Actually Involve Eating Anyone)”, Saturday October 23rd 2010.

Continue reading

The British Science Fiction Association’s Best Novel Reading Challenge

Phew! That’s quite a mouthful.

Having been inspired by a number of bloggers who have undertaken various “Book Award Reading Challenges”, I have decided to attempt my own. Here is the challenge I am setting myself. I am going to read all of the Best Novel winners of the British Science Fiction Association’s Awards. I will need to read 46 books, (so far), to complete this challenge. One of which I am currently reading, 1974’s winner ‘Inverted World’ by Christopher Priest. Five of the books I have read before so will experience for the second time. For each book I complete I will write a *spoiler-free* review and post it on this blog.

And here is Wikipedia’s brief entry on the BSFA Awards:

‘The BSFA Awards are literary awards presented annually since 1970 by the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) to honour works in the genre of science fiction. Nominees and winners are chosen based on a vote of BSFA members. More recently, members of the Eastercon convention have also been elibigle to vote.’                                                                                                     [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSFA_Award] Continue reading