Friday, January 31, 2014

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson - thoughts

How do you review a memoir? I am sure there are perfectly legitimate ways but it still feels  a bit like attempting to judge the author's life.
Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit was published in 1985, and it is the fictional counterpart of the memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (published in 2011). I've not read Oranges..., and was worried at first whether it will take something away from the reading experience, but having finished the memoir, I'd say that these books can probably be very well read separately, although reading the other one, no matter in which order, will definitely give additional value.
I don't have a whole lot to say about Why Be Happy..., although I enjoyed it quite a lot. I didn't know much of Jeanette Winterson, other than some very basic things, and I'm glad I know more now. The main impressions I came away with were that Jeanette Winterson is one gutsy lady with gentle soul (I guess you might say the kind of people who have hard time in life because they are above average emotional and don't want to tramp over others in the name of success - I myself qualify to that category as well), and that she writes some beautiful passages. Especially the first half of the book was more lyrical, although the matter of subject (her life at home and how it was all kinds of horrible) was quite tough to read about at times.
Truth for anyone is a very complex thing. For a writer, what you leave out says as much as those things you include. /p. 8/
The book triggered some interesting thoughts in me. I've noticed it in a few books earlier that when someone writes about the real events that have taken place, and if they talk negatively about someone, I always start feeling extremely uncomfortable after a while because I feel I'm missing the other person's side of the story, and I don't like it. Then again, if it's an autobiography or a memoir, you can't expect to get anything else but very subjective experiences out of it... From this book, reader might get the idea that Jeanette's adoptive mother Mrs Winterson has horns, tail, smoke coming from nostrils, and a pitchfork in hands. However, if she was even half as horrible person as described in the book, Jeanette Winterson's need to tell this story is understandable.
That's what I think, but I am learning that time is unreliable. Those old sayings about Give It Time, and Time is a Healer depend on just whose time it is. /p. 214/

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

"[...] I've got kids that enjoy stealing. I've got kids that don't think about stealing one way or another, and I've got kids that just tolerate stealing because they know they've got nothing else to do. But nobody, and I mean nobody, has ever been hungry for it like this boy. If he had a bloody gash across his throat and a physiker was trying to sew it up, Lamora would steal the needle and thread and die laughing. He... steals too much."
Bullet point review!
  • I was hooked since the moment I realised that the main characters of this book belong to a con artist group that deals in thievery and disguise. Nerd alert - I used to be obsessed with the game called Baldur's Gate II, specifically fascinated by the guild called Shadow Thieves, and my rogue has been sneaking around, picking locks and assassinating in Dungeons and Dragons Online since 2010.
  • The characters seemed pretty good from the beginning. There is a lot of banter and cussing between them (The Ice and Fire series style), there is a lot of humour in the dialogue. What I liked most about the main characters was how different they had become from your "generic" fantasy characters. Locke Lamora is medium-height and very skinny, but *so* self-confident. And there's Jean Tannen - when Jean was introduced, my first thought was "Oh no, not another Samwell Tarly..." but no, he is no Samwell Tarly, that's for sure. (Nothing against Samwell Tarly, but let's keep him in one book series.)
  • The setting and the atmosphere were excellent. This book is not exactly what I would call descriptive, but I felt like I was on the streets of Camorr more than once or twice. The way the smells and tastes were incorporated to the story made it feel very lively. Wikipedia says that Camorr is based on late medieval Venice and it definitely has this kind of an old European merchandise city feel to it.
  • There is a lot of political scheming in the book, which I personally enjoy, but it might not be everyone's cup of tea. Fortunately, the political schenanigans are nicely balanced out with action and the parallel story that runs alongside with the main story from the past, which draws the reader closer to the present moment.
  • Scott Lynch writes for several role playing games, and people who are acquinted with this stuff can definitely detect the influences of RPG in The Lies of Locke Lamora. That being said, it is not overdone - people with no knowledge of RPG will probably detect nothing.
  • What I think can be appreciated about this book (and probably the whole Gentlemen Bastard series) is that it is an accessible book that is likely to please both, people with experience in fantasy literature and people who are still taking only baby steps.
  • I had hard time deciding whether it would be a 4 or a 5 star read. Up to the last, say, fifth of the book it was definitely going towards the fiver, but I had some problems with the ending. Nothing too major, but there was an aspect to how things wrapped up that I wasn't happy with. I'll not elaborate because I don't want to affect other people's experience. I marked it 5, but it's actually a 4.5 read for me.
Chunkster Challenge

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Snippets #16

Good afternoon, lovely people!

I just noticed that my last Sunday Snippets goes back to somewhere in the middle of December, so instead of a review I'm writing one of those today.

The winter has finally arrived - with a bit of snow and temperatures that go from -15 to -18 C. Honestly, I try to stick my nose out as little as possible just now, and am waiting for it to drop to -10 or so, because higher minuses combined with winds that we get here by the seaside are not pleasant. So mostly I've been reading, though we've also been watching some Arrested Development with Jan (finished season S2 last night and started with S3). The Bluth family is definitely the most dysfunctional family I've seen on TV (although I do love The Royal Tenenbaums a great deal as well), almost every character is uniquely hilarious - I love this show.
Book-wise, I decided to relax after Bout of Books readathon and finished off some books I had "still in process" - The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (I rated it 3.5 and it's definitely the best newer YA book I've read so far, keeping in mind I've only ever read 4 or so...), The Quantum Thief (I rated it 3, such an overwhelming experience but also very difficult to follow - I blame the GAD) and The Curse of Europa (one of those books that is so bad it's almost good - some awesome ideas, but as long as the author hit the dialogue parts in the story, it became a bit embarrassing). I will be writing about all these books longer as well.
And then I arranged my unread books on Kindle (I have currently about 10 unread books on Kindle, if anyone's interested - not as bad as I thought!) and decided to start The Lies of Locke Lamora. Ugh... what can I say - there is a lot to appreciate about this novel. A lot. And I don't mean only the kind of captivating story that keeps you up at night - I've never been obsessed with fast pace in books, but it's not that I particularly mind it either, and in The Lies of Locke Lamora there are so many other things I enjoy. Also, if you open The Lies... page on Goodreads and start scrolling down people's ratings and reviews, there is a review by Patrick Rothfuss right in the beginning there - I chuckled a bit when reading it, and it solidified my wish to read The Name of the Wind in February - the book has 4.56 average rating on Goodreads, which is pretty jaw-dropping and even more than I hope to like the book, I am merely curious to check out what is behind this almost perfect rating.
I got one book in mail this week, but what a book it is -
I have not yet decided how exactly I am going to be reading this one, but I want to start it some time soon-ish, in spring the latest. I am a bit unsure because I chose Pevear-Volokhonsky translation, and it was only after I had ordered the book that lovely Lucy over at Therapy Through Tolstoy wrote her beautiful posts on why she is not happy with this translation (and she has read War and Peace at least three times if I'm correct), but I'll give it a go anyway and hope the translation does not start annoying me too much. Here are Lucy's posts - part 1 and part 2.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Definitely Maybe * Roadside Picnic by Arkadi & Boris Strugatsky

This book, which I read in Estonian, contains two stories from Russian/Soviet Union sci-fi heavyweight Arkadi and Boris Strugatsky - Definitely Maybe and Roadside Picnic. It was a re-read.
How to even begin with these... First of all, these are very different stories. Definitely Maybe is not everyone's cup of tea - basically nothing happens. The major studies of the leading Russian scientists are threatened by something or someone, as are perhaps their lives, and the whole story basically consists of intellectuals discussing matters of mostly extraterrestrial nature while consuming wide variety of alcoholic beverages and event-appropriate foods, like caviar and pickles. The atmosphere is wonderful and the humour really funny - it is, I think, something very characteristic to Russian sci-fi, so if you know you like this kind of stuff, feel free to pick up this story. As far as the atmosphere goes, there was something very similar to The Master and Margarita (one of my all time favourite books) - it's this kind of Russian spirit thrown into the situation where things don't make any sense but at the same time, nothing is lost as long as you have vodka, cigarettes and caviar.
The real pearl here is Roadside Picnic, which I think is a story that every fan of older science fiction has at least heard of. I find it hard to say anything about Roadside Picnic for the mere reason that I feel my skill with words will do it very little justice. It's a highly captivating story full of wonderful yet humane characters and intriguing theories, it manages to be at the same time entertaining and thought provoking, examining the innermost corners of what it means to be a human.
Aliens have already visited and left behind places called Zones - places where your regular people do not go and those who do, called Stalkers, do so under extreme carefulness and often do not come back. Because there is some really weird stuff happening in Zones. None of the characters are black and white, which I always love in a book. Stalkers are intriguing; they are like some kind of reckless pirates of the post-alien-visitation world. Well, seemingly reckless, as the best Stalkers are always those who are extremely careful and never, ever underestimate the Zone. Or think that they know everything that there is inside.
The descriptions of the Zone are wonderful, the dialogue is very poignant and characters in this story are the best - even the ones that are "bad" are not bad without a reason. It is a sad story and a funny story at the same time - the best kind of story for me. Highly recommended to all the sci-fi lovers out there.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovich

Caught up in grief after the death of her sister, Nina Sankovich decided to stop running and start reading. For once in her life she would put all other obligations on hold and devote herself to reading a book a day: one year of magical reading in which she found joy, healing, and wisdom.
With grace and deep insight, Sankovich weaves together poignant family memories with the unforgettable lives of the characters she reads about. She finds a lesson in each book, ultimately realizing the ability of a good story to console, inspire, and open our lives to new places and experiences. A moving story of recovery, Tolstoy and the Purple Chair is also a resonant reminder of the all-encompassing power and delight of reading.
I had been eyeing Nina Sankovich's memoir for a while, for a few reasons - it's a book that focuses on bibliotherapy, and mainly - it's a book about books. Book about books is pretty much a magic formula that makes me act like a bee acts towards a tasty pot of honey (and I'm positive I'm not the only one). I found this one a few weeks back from a book sale, with 50% off (though I have to say that it was still quite pricey - why is non-fiction so expensive?), and couldn't pass it up.
After the death of her sister, Sankovich decided to dedicate herself to reading a book a day for one year. Without knowing any more details, this struck me as a bit of an absurd idea. What kind of books will she be reading? Does she intend to finish War and Peace in a day? Moreover, not only was she to read a book a day, she also decided to write a review on the book the next morning. Sankovich has the web site, which she used to monitor her progress and publish reviews (she still posts there, although the project has ended).
From the book I learned that she actually had quite strict rules when it came to reading - the book had to be 200-300 pages long (I hope I remember that correctly - couldn't find that place in the book just now) and if she didn't get into it within the first ten pages, she would drop it and pick another one. There were no restrictions on genre but she was not to pick a book from the same author more than once. The whole list of 365 books that Sankovich read is also published in the end of the book. She has (or had, at that point) a husband and three boys. Obviously she did not have a day job during this year, but still, I cannot imagine taking on such a huge reading project. She had about four hours per book each day, and the time of writing a review varied, depending on the book. Four hours was based on her estimation to read 70 pages in an hour - I am not sure how about you guys, but this made me feel like I'm the world's slowest reader. (Actually I haven't taken time but I'm 99% sure I can't read and understand more than a page in a minute.)
I could schedule reading, writing, cooking, and cleaning. But how to schedule caring and loving?
The year of magical reading is weaved with the memories and snippets from Sankovich's life, mainly family related, and her thoughts about books and reading. For example, the chapter on lending out books and recommending them to others was very interesting - how will the other person receive the book that is so important for you?
In general, I liked the writing in this memoir, it's simple and not pretentious and the way Sankovich explains her reading experience and the characters in the books is easily understandable. She's honest and direct in her take on some more delicate subjects like sex, exes and "what ifs". She doesn't glorify or decorate the family life overly, admitting that there were, of course, problems between her and her sister, but even so, the love and closeness between them was bigger than that, and it was very difficult for her to find the answer to the question "why do I deserve to live?"
I did enjoy Tolstoy and the Purple Chair and it gave me this kind of comforting feeling and strengthened my faith in the healing abilities of stories. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to read a good, short-ish memoir, who loves books about books, or who is interested in bibliotherapy.
A book doesn't have to be part of the canon of great literature to make a difference in the reader's life.

Edit: if I had a euro for each time I use the word "book" in this review... I could buy a few new books :p

Bout of Books: Wrap-up

Bout of Books 9.0 was a great success!
Books finished: 4
* Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovich
* Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
* Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
* Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
Books read from: 7
Another three books that I read from but didn't finish were
* The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
* Bullerby lapsed by Astrid Lindgren
* The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (probably the biggest surprise so far, this book is so much better than I expected, and definitely a lot better than all the other YA I've read so far).
Page count: 1243
Challenges participated: 4
Post daily: I did!
Regarding other goals - I didn't visit that many new blogs, but I did visit some; I could still have done better regarding Internet vs reading time, but looking at that pretty page count, I will not be too harsh on myself... Also, Packing for Mars was not in my Bout of Books TBR list (only because it arrived during that week), but I don't regret a single second I spent on this book.
Until the next time!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell - guest review

Hello everybody! as Dr. Nick would say. Jan here, Riv's fiancé. Guess this is my fifteen minutes of fame on her blog by getting to write this guest review on The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. First of all thanks to Riv and her blog for inspiring me to read more. I have to add that it's really easy too to start a book these days thanks to the bookshelves being stuffed with great books.
I've always liked historical fiction so when I saw that Mitchell had written one I just tingled with excitement. Many have probably read Cloud Atlas by him, which I thought was an excellent book and Mitchell really hooked me with his original and brilliant writing style and use of words. On the downside, his style might need getting used to and his books can be a bit daunting at first, as they are not light reads. I felt this about Cloud Atlas and I had the same feeling while reading de Zoet, meaning the start was a bit heavy and needed plenty of focus.
Mitchell's books are best enjoyed in a quiet and relaxing environment so you can concentrate on the prose and the small details. Like Cloud Atlas, it is a book that endures many re-reads. The writing is both vivid and imaginative.
"Winter Woods are creaking, knitted and knotted. Dead leaves lie in deep drifts. Needle tips of birdsong stich and thread the thicket's many layers." (p. 326)
Again, Mitchell makes use of many characters to tell the story and he has a knack of breathing life into each of them, making them feel real and creating a connection to them from the start. This is a book about different angles, cultures and people after all. It really helps to understand the events if you have some grasp of Japanese culture and early 19th century history, for example the East India Company and imperialist England.
Like in a good book, the antagonists and protagonists are not black and white, but rather grey instead. Everyone has their goals and dreams (and their demons) and there is a lot of personal conflict taking place within the characters. Through these characters Mitchell weaves a story in early 19th century Japan that is in a way connected like the characters in Cloud Atlas. Mitchell likes to make us feel like we are within the minds of the characters; that we see and focus what's going on around us and have thoughts about them.
Mitchell also deliberately creates subtle links between his books, for example I spotted a few 'Easter eggs' which reference to Cloud Atlas. In an interview, I remember Mitchell remarking that his books can be seen as a sort of a meta-universe. Much like in the form of certain fantasy worlds, I thought. I'm sure to keep my eyes open for more of this once I get to his other books.
The book shows that Mitchell put a lot of effort into studying the history because it actually feels you are there, in early 19th century Japan, witnessing the events as an observer. Back in the interview he said one sentence could take up half a day to write just because he had to check the facts on how something was done in those days. Mitchell, much to my delight, uses real historical events as a base and builds upon them or fills in the gaps. However, the book isn't just historical fiction, but rather spans over a multitude of themes such as religion, mystery, naval warfare and horror. It's one of those books that in the last pages unravel the complex threads in a gripping and touching way and leaves you thinking about the book for a good while. Highly recommended.
Thanks a lot for this lovely review! I also loved Cloud Atlas, and can't wait to get lost in Mitchell's complex worlds again.

Bout of Books: Saturday

Not much to report from Saturday, stayed in, read and watched Equilibrium with Jan. And read Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, which I will likely finish today. It's a bit of a tough book to read, though beautifully written and has its humorous aspects, but still. The family matters can be so complicated.
Today is the last day of Bout of Books 9.0 and even though the readathon has been very successful for me (my page count is now over 1000), I will be happy to get back to more relaxed schedule next week. This is exactly how I felt after the last readathon as well.

The books I read on Saturday: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson
Pages read on Saturday: 166
Books finished so far: 3
What do my cats think about the books at hand: Robert has really embraced Jeanette Winterson:

Flavour of the day: Coffee.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bout of Books: Friday

I finished my third book last night (literally - like 2 am... I can't even recall when was the last time I was up that late because of a book). I had a feeling that I will like Mary Roach and I am so happy that I do, and now I intend to read her other books as well. Packing for Mars was all kinds of interesting, captivating and inspirational. I'm so happy I read it. It also counts for my TBR Pile Challenge 2014 as an alternative choice, and that is not a bad thing.
Next I think I will pick up Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson. I would have picked Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but Jan is still reading it. Why Be Happy... is a shortish kind of book and also from the TBR Pile Challenge list, so I'm hoping I can get through it during the weekend. I also noticed this would be my third non-fiction pick this month (and year), which is already more non-fiction I read in total in 2013 :p

The books I read on Friday: Packing for Mars by Mary Roach
Pages read on Friday: 187
Books finished so far: 3
What do my cats think about the books at hand:
Still-life with a lonely cat.
What Robert thinks of Bout of Books by now.
Flavour of the day: That perfect, moist-from-the-inside crispy-from-the-outside oatmeal-raisin cookie Jan brought me from Subway.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bout of Books: Challenge - Create a Story!

Create a Story challenge is hosted by Mandi Kaye over at Never Too Fond of Books. The challenge rules are following:
  1. Open your current book to the last page you read.
  2. Using the last word of every line, create a poem or story. You must use every word (but they do not have to be in order), and you may add punctuation as necessary. If a word is split between the end of the line and the beginning of the next one, you may choose whether or not to use it.
  3. Create a post (or tweet or video) that showcases your masterpiece. If you don’t have anywhere else to post it, you can add it as a comment here and use the comment link as your entry.
  4. Add it to the linky.
My first thought was "this sounds fun but potentially more complicated than I anticipate". Given that the book I am reading is Packing for Mars and the chapter I am in is titled "Houston, We Have a Fungus: Space Hygiene and the Men Who Stopped Bathing for Science", I realised this is going to be fun indeed (and potentially really gross!).

So the words that I got from the last page I read were in the following order (I added all the split words as well):
plagued, ever, of, habits, migrate, men's, bacteria, cases, armchairs, hair, swollen, old-timey, around, "furuncle", is, a, out, normally, unwashed, buttocks, getting, hot-tub, the, the, an, Arizona, soup, the, to, until
And here's the "story":

A "furuncle"
Old-timey armchairs migrate to the bacteria plagued Arizona until the cases of normally unwashed men’s hair is getting out of an ever swollen hot-tub around a soup habits.  The buttocks!

I am sure the result would be quite different if I was reading something more poetic... But this was a fun challenge, I'm still giggling! :)

Bout of Books 9.0: Thursday

I finished Dead Souls, which brings my finished book count to very impressive 2! (Kidding of course.) But I am very happy still, because this means I'm 1/6 through my Russian Literature challenge for this year, and it's also the first chunkster I read this year (and it's, like, 10th of January only).
After that I tried to get into The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, but Packing for Mars just continued glaring at me with its shiny cover with the astronaut on it, so in the end I thought "sod it!" and gave in to the call of the space exploration. It's so good!  

The books I read on Thursday: Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol, Packing for Mars by Mary Roach, Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Pages read on Thursday: 165 (50+105+10)
Books finished so far: 2
What do my cats think about the books at hand:
Robert expresses his opinion on The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and thinks I should read Packing for Mars
instead. I am happy to oblige.
Flavour of the day: Hmm a tough one... I'd say that herb-crusted oven salmon with cheesy cauliflower-broccoli gratin I had for lunch. Followed by whipped cream-raspberry jam pancakes. (Yep, I'm living the life.)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0: Wednesday

Good morning, Bout-of-Bookers and everyone else!
Wednesday was a pretty good reading day, again - I am glad that Bout of Books is going nicely for me this time around. I read a good chunk of Dead Souls and am almost finished (sleep got me first, though...) My copy of Packing for Mars came in the mail as well, and maaaan... If one of my goals wasn't reading from Bout of Books pile only... I did read a bit and will probably read a bit more - in very small amounts. So fascinating and I'm already liking Roach's style.
Last weekend Jan finished The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (David Mitchell). In the end of 2012 I read Cloud Atlas, and loved it. He read Cloud Atlas, and loved it as well. Now he says that The Thousand Autumns was even better and I want to start it, like, right now. On another note, I usually read a book first and then he picks it up at my recommendation, so the situation with The Thousand Autumns is quite unique in our household (though I'm very proud of him for reading and like to think that I inspired it quite a bit when I started reading a lot again after creating this blog).
And on the final nerdy note, Wednesday, January 8th, was the birthday of our beloved Wilkster (also known as Wilkie Collins). Hooray! 

The books I read on Wednesday: Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol, Packing for Mars by Mary Roach (I literally could not keep my fingers from it...)
Pages read on Wednesday: 227 (218+9)
Books finished so far: 1
What do my cats think about the books at hand:
Robert reading Dead Souls - I didn't have the heart to tell him that he has the book upside down :)))
Flavour of the day: Champagne. Yep, that's how I roll.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0: Tuesday

Good morning! Tuesday was a very successful Bout of Books day. I started one of my Russian classics, Dead Souls, and this book is nothing of what I expected. I think I expected something like "devastating downfall of a tortured Russian soul, caused by moral degredation and mental poverty", but instead, I'm reading a quite funny satire with highly comical characters. Can't say I am complaining though, it certainly makes a good Bout of Books read. I'm almost half way through, so we'll see how today goes!
My copy of Dead Souls.
In Estonian we write Russian names differently (Tšitšikov - Chichikov), so the whole affair with the unpronouncable
Slavic names gets even more complicated :p
The books I read on Tuesday: Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Pages read on Tuesday: 194
Books finished: 1
What do my cats think about the books at hand:
Mammucat with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Apologies about the quality.
Jan took this out of my TBR pile, so unless he finishes it this week, I won't be reading this Harry Potter book during
Bout of Books.
Flavour of the day: Coffee with a little bit of coffee-flavoured cream liqueur (mmm...)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0: Monday

Bout of Books has started! How exciting is that? Very exciting.
My first day was somewhat of a weird reading day, as the weekend getaway to Estonia resulted in a small chaos in my blog reader (300 posts). So mainly I was reading blog posts yesterday, but I actually also managed to finish a book - though not one from my pile, but the book I had started before the readathon.
The books I read on Monday: Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovich
Pages read on Monday: 82
Books finished: 1
What do my cats think about the books at hand: Robert thought nothing of Tolstoy and the Purple Chair - it is a fairly slim book and it is not a hardcover. Maybe he will be more attracted to Dead Souls, a very old hardcover that I own.
Flavour of the day: Christmas candy, some pies made by mum, cheese curds, smoothies, probably something more - it was a catastrophe (I always am amazed at how much food exactly we are capable of dragging home from Estonia...)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0 [Goals and book pile]

Happy new year, bookish people (and everyone else, although I doubt the latter will end up in my blog)!
My first post of 2014 will be the goals and the books to choose from for the Bout of Books 9.0 readathon. Of course I will not attempt to read all of these or from all of these, but I will pick my readathon books among those:

* The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch (on Kindle) - seriously, I need to get reading this one!
* Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol (Russian Literature Challenge, Classics Club) - I want to read a Russian classic in January and this is the only one I have at home at the moment.
* Something Rotten, Jasper Fforde (Eclectic Reader Challenge) - it's been a while since I read a Thursday Next book.
* Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, Jeanette Winterson (TBR Pile Challenge) - it's a short book and I have a good feeling about it.
* Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J. K. Rowling - I really want to continue with HP books as well.
* The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley (Eclectic Reader Challenge) - it just strikes me as a pretty good readathon read.
* The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black - a YA pick from my shelves.
* Bullerby lapsed, Astrid Lindgren - a re-read of my favourite children's book, which should be such a fast read.
I have listed some goals as well, although I shall follow them quite loosely because the main goals of the readathon are simply to read a lot and to have fun while doing it. But I will also attempt the following:
1. Read books from my Bout of Books pile only (above). - Self explanatory. I just need some borders when taking part in a reading event.
2. Finish 3 books. - I base this on 3 books I finished last readathon in spring. This should be pretty doable, depending on the books I pick.
3. Post daily. - I know some people prefer making one general post and updating it as they go, but I found that for me, the daily updates as separate posts is more motivating. Since I don't really post that often (=daily) in regular circumstances, I hope people won't overly mind  my posts popping up in their readers.
4. Participate a few challenges that seem appealing. - I enjoy certain type of challenges, so I will be keeping an eye on them.
5. Prioritise reading over Internet! - This is one of the most important goals for me as I tend to get lost in the Internet space way too easily.