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  • Writer's pictureMaria Berejan

BookTubeAThon 2018 (and Reading More as an Adult)

When I was younger my favorite activity was reading. To give you an idea - my favorite presents were gift cards to Borders (RIP Borders, how I loved you.), usually in quantities of $100-200. My parents once grounded me by taking away Gone With the Wind. In 6th grade I was asked by the teachers to stop going to the library during recess and play outside instead. Yeah, I was that kid.

But then the college years hit, and then I got a job, and it felt like I never had time for... anything. Last year I managed to read 1 and a half books - which happened entirely at osteology camp in Italy when we were sequestered in an elementary school for two weeks with no internet during a heat wave, and moving anything beyond the finger necessary to turn the page resulted in melting. And that was one of the better years, reading-wise.

So, obviously, something had to change.

This year I found out about Book of the Month - a subscription box that lets you pick from 5 hardcover books every month at a very decent rate (If anyone would like to try it, sign up with this link and we both get a free book!) I figured, why not? And after a few months of using it I can say without a doubt I LOVE it. I get 3 hardcovers every month, and the selection so far has been excellent - sometimes they even offer books before the official release! Best thing is, it's heavily increased my reading. In the past 6 months I've read 14 books! It's not a huge number but remember, I still have to adult most days, so I consider this a win. What's even better is I've noticed I'm happier and calmer when I read, and now that I've started, I can't seem to stop. The floodgates have opened; I need more.

Then a few weeks ago I heard about BookTube-A-Thon from my writing friends. BookTube-A-Thon is a reading challenge originating on YouTube that's now spread to all corners of the world and social media. There's video, instagram and twitter challenges, giveaways, etc, but the real meat-and-bones of it is this: 7 day, 7 reading challenges, 7 books to read.

The books are yours to choose, and anything goes - large hardcovers, short audiobooks, everything from epics to manga or magazines or children's books. You don't even have to adhere to the challenges, though of course it's more fun to do so, and you can also mix them up if you so desire.

Now, I'm not in love with read-a-thons - I'm a slow reader, and I like to savor my books - but...why not? What have I got to lose? At worst I'll only get through part of my TBR (to be read) pile, at best I'll finish it all (and more?!) So, win win. Plus, I love a good group hype event. So, let's do this!

This year the challenge goes from July 30th - August 5th. (That's right, it's already started! And I'm making good progress on my first book, are you? Even if you haven't already got your nose in a book, don't worry - it's not too late to join!)

The Challenges are detailed in this video by the creator (and of course also below) and without further ado here is...


*Note: All synopses are taken from Amazon, and I link the names to their Amazon pages in case you'd like to read it yourself. I'm an Amazon affiliate so if you buy through the links in this blog I'll get a small percentage (but prices are unchanged).

1.) Let a coin flip decide the first book

I flipped between The Game by Diana Wynne Jones and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. As you can see, the chocolate coin favored The Game!

Synopsis: Hayley’s parents disappeared when she was a baby. Since then, she has been raised and homeschooled by her grandparents. Grandad is overworked and travels a lot; Grandma is much too strict and never lets her meet any children her own age. When Hayley does something wrong—she is not quite sure what—they pack her off to her aunts in Ireland. To Hayley’s shock, her family is much bigger than she thought; to her delight, the children all play what they call “the game,” where they visit a place called “the mythosphere.” And while she plays the game, Hayley learns more about her own place in the world than she had ever expected. This original novella by Diana Wynne Jones is sharply funny, fast-paced, and surprising until its very end—like all of this acclaimed author’s work.

2.) Read a book about something you've always wanted to do

For this one I picked voume 1 of Bakuman, written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata (the same team that did Deathnote and my favorite Hikaru no Go). This feels a bit like cheating since I've actually read this manga many years ago, but I have a terrible memory, so I figured why not read it again. When I was younger I loved manga, so naturally, I wanted to be a mangaka. Wouldn't you know it, this book is EXACTLY about that.

Synopsis: Is becoming a successful manga artist an achievable dream or just one big gamble? Average student Moritaka Mashiro enjoys drawing for fun. When his classmate and aspiring writer Akito Takagi discovers his talent, he begs Moritaka to team up with him as a manga-creating duo. But what exactly does it take to make it in the manga-publishing world? Moritaka is hesitant to seriously consider Akito's proposal because he knows how difficult reaching the professional level can be. Still, encouragement from persistent Akito and motivation from his crush push Moritaka to test his limits!

3.) Read a book-to-movie adaptation (and then watch the movie)

For this one I chose Every Day by David Levithan. The movie got less than stellar ratings but the synopsis sounds interesting so I'm hoping the book pulls through. I've read other stories by this author before and was not disappointed.

Synopsis: Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.

4.) Read a book with green on the cover

Seeing Wolf Children Ame & Yuki on the bookstore shelf was a bit of a surprise, actually - I've seen the anime movie but somehow hadn't considered that there would be a manga version of it as well. The movie was fantastic though, so I had to snatch this up.

Synopsis: When Hana falls in love with a young interloper she encounters in her college class, the last thing she expects to learn is that he is part wolf. Instead of rejecting her lover upon learning his secret, she accepts him with open arms. Soon, the couple is expecting their first child, and a cozy picture of family life unfolds. But after what seems like a mere moment of bliss to Hana, the father of her children is tragically taken from her. Life as a single mother is hard in any situation, but when your children walk a fine line between man and beast, the rules of parenting all but go out the window. With no one to turn to, how will Hana survive?

5.) Read a book while wearing the same hat the whole time

I needed a shorter one for this challenge so I'm going with a manga - volume 1 of Erased by Kei Sanbe - very excited to start this series, I've heard great things about it! Bonus: Netflix has an interesting-looking adaptation that's caught my eye before, so it will be fun to watch that after reading the series.

Synopsis: Twenty-nine-year-old Satoru Fujinuma is floundering through life. Amid his daily drudgery, he finds himself in the grip of an incredible, inexplicable, and uncontrollable phenomenon that rewinds time, a condition that seems to only make his drab life worse. But then, one day, everything changes. A terrible incident forever changes Satoru's life as he knows it...and with it, comes a "Revival" that sends Satoru eighteen years into the past!In the body of his boyhood self, Satoru encounters sights he never imagined he would see again--the smile of his mother, alive and well, his old friends, and Kayo Hinazuki, the girl who was kidnapped and murdered when he was a boy the first time around. To return to the present and prevent the tragedy that brought him back to his childhood in the first place, Satoru begins plotting a way to change Hinazuki's fate...But up against the clock and a faceless evil, does eleven-year-old Satoru even stand a chance?

6.) Read a book with a beautiful spine

This one goes to Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto by Gianni Rodari, which caught my eye at the local Half Price books.

Synopsis: When we first meet 93-year-old millionaire Baron Lamberto, he has been diagnosed with 24 life-threatening ailments—one for each of the 24 banks he owns. But when he takes the advice of an Egyptian mystic and hires servants to chant his name over and over again, he seems to not only get better, but younger.Except then a terrorist group lays siege to his island villa, his team of bank managers has to be bussed in to help with the ransom negotiations, and a media spectacle breaks out . . .A hilarious and strangely moving tale that seems ripped from the headlines—although actually written during the time the Red Brigades were terrorizing Italy—Gianni Rodari’s Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto has become one of Italy’s most beloved fables. Never before translated into English, the novel is a reminder, as Rodari writes, that “there are things that only happen in fairytales.”

7.) Read 7 books in the week

The Ocean at the End of the Lane lost the coin flip but I still want to read it, so here we go!

Synopsis: A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse where she once lived, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.A groundbreaking work as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out.

That's all I got. Questions? Comments? Fellow participants reading this? I'd love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment below. Happy readings!

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