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Jackie's 2019 5 star category challenge

2019 Category Challenge

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Edited: Jan 6, 3:14pm Top

Welcome to my 4th year of the Category Challenge! My name is Jackie, I am English but have lived in beautiful Scotland since 2005. I have a significant birthday in 2019, so will be planning a year of fun things to do to try to take the edge off the number a bit!

I'm keeping all the same categories as previous years (these are the categories that my mountain of TBR books broadly fall into), but I have chosen a new theme for 2019 - and one which is pretty apt (though I say so myself!). I am going to name each of my categories after a book which I have read in previous years which I consider to be an outstanding 5* read. The books I read in 2019 will mainly be from Mt TBR, but I am continuing my personal challenge to read at least a book a month from my local library as well.

I will continue using my Jar of Fate, which is a jar containing colour-coded slips of paper with every title of every TBR book I own, which (other than books I've chosen for particular challenges) I will pick out to decide my next read. The colour codes relate to my 11 main categories (I always have 12 categories, with the 12th one being CATs and challenges).

My categories (and their colours and 5* books) are:

1. (red/Stalin's Nose) Central/Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union. This could be travel writing or academic stuff, but equally could be Bosnian war fiction or a book on Soviet propaganda posters.
2. (dark blue/On the Front Line) Non-fiction (general). Non-fiction that doesn't fall easily into any of my other categories.
3. (yellow/The Sparrow) Contemporary fiction (1969-present). Contemporary with me, so fiction from the year of my birth onwards.
4. (dark green/Hurrah for Gin!) Sexual/reproductive health/rights; parenting; children; gender. This reflects my academic interests and experience, and also my work. This will mainly be academic, but also includes some popular non-fiction and maybe the odd bit of fiction. There is quite a lot of crossover here with my academic and central/eastern Europe categories.
5. (light green/Sea Room) Celtic. Fiction and non-fiction relating to the Celtic lands (primarily Scotland, but also potentially including Irish, Welsh, Cornish and Breton-related books).
6. (light blue/To Kill a Mockingbird) Vintage fiction (1900-1968). Fiction from the 20th century BJ (Before Jackie).
7. (pink/The Politics of Duplicity) Academic. Some of the academic books that I've acquired over the years - text books, research methodology, stuff that I've just thought looks interesting.
8. (orange/Wild Swans) Biography/autobiography/memoir/true events. Occasional overlap with other categories, but otherwise pretty self-explanatory.
9. (light brown/David Copperfield) Ancient fiction (pre-1900). Lots courtesy of Project Gutenberg, plus other bits and bobs I've picked up over the years.
10. (purple/Journey to the Edge of the World) Travel. Anywhere in the world - mainly but not exclusively non-fiction.
11. (dark brown/Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger) Religious. Mainly related to Christianity, but not exclusively. Primarily non-fiction.
12. (no colour/The Shepherd's Life) CATs and Challenges. I'm not going to go mad on CATs, but will try to complete the whole Non-Fiction challenge in the 75 group and will do CATs those months where I have a book which fits.

Note to self so I don't have to look everywhere - code for inserting a picture (surrounded by less than and greater than signs): img src="URL" width=200 length=150

Edited: Oct 23, 2018, 2:44pm Top

1. Stalin's Nose (Rory MacLean) (CEE/FSU)

Stalin's Nose tells the surreal and fictionalised story of a journey by Trabant in the early 1990s throughout the newly-transitioning countries of Eastern Europe, from East Germany south to Romania, then ending up in Moscow. But that doesn't begin to do justice to this bonkers and funny yet incredibly profound book. I went to Romania first in 1993, and lived there for a few months in 1994 teaching English, and even though this account is totally madcap in presentation, I recognised so much of it. A brilliant book.

Since first going to Romania in 1993 I've spent a couple of extended periods there and also in Moldova, and visited a few other countries of the region. Along the way I've picked up quite a number of books!

Edited: Jan 10, 7:45am Top

2. On the Front Line: The Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin (Non-fiction: general)

I read On the Front Line in 2017 and felt bereaved when I finished it. Marie Colvin was the veteran Sunday Times foreign correspondent who was killed in 2012 whilst reporting from Syria. This book contains every piece she ever wrote, and is an extraordinary testament to a remarkable woman.

This category is for all my non-fiction that does not easily fit into my other categories.

1. William Zinsser - On Writing Well, 30th anniversary edition. Finished 9.1.19. 4/5.

Edited: Oct 23, 2018, 2:45pm Top

3. The Sparrow (Mary Doria Russell) (Contemporary fiction: 1969-present)

The main character in The Sparrow, Catholic priest Emilio Sandoz, is my biggest literary crush. This is also a book which broke my heart. Life is discovered just outside of our solar system, and the Jesuits send a team to make contact (basically, if you think of the film The Mission and make it sci-fi and slightly in the future, this is it). The end result is tragic and brutal, and I've still not dared pick up the sequel, Children of God, because I know I'll have my heart broken all over again.

This category is for the fiction that is contemporary with me, so published from 1969 onwards.

Edited: Nov 3, 2018, 7:46am Top

4. Hurrah for Gin! (Katie Kirby) (Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights; parenting; children; gender)

Although many of my books in this category are academic and/or professional in scope, Hurrah for Gin! is the hilarious book by one of my favourite 'mummy bloggers'. Sweary stick people tell it like it is.

Edited: Oct 23, 2018, 2:47pm Top

5. Sea Room (Adam Nicolson) (Celtic)

Sea Room is a wonderful book - the author was the hereditary owner of the Shiants, three islands just off Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, and this details a summer spent living alone there; in effect a love letter to the islands. It complicated my rather trenchant views about rich landowners (generally I disapprove, but he was so sympathetic and thoughtful and respectful of the land and of the island population that saying 'I disapprove' suddenly felt too simplistic).

Most of my books in this category are Scotland-related, with a significant minority related to Ireland, but this category is aimed at all the Celtic lands.

Edited: Oct 23, 2018, 2:48pm Top

6. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) (Vintage fiction: 1900-1968)

I know there are all sorts of reasons that mean To Kill a Mockingbird could be considered as problematic as it is classic (the black experience being told by a white author, for one, plus its negative portrayal of the white working class), but nevertheless, this book, which I first read in the early 1980s at school, opened my eyes for the very first time to issues of racism and injustice, and for that I'll be always so grateful.

This is for all my 20th century fiction prior to my contemporary fiction category, so published between 1900-1968.

Edited: Oct 25, 2018, 12:23pm Top

7. The Politics of Duplicity (Gail Kligman) (Academic)

Gail Kligman's The Politics of Duplicity: Controlling Reproduction in Ceausescu's Romania was one of two academic books (the other one being Michele Rivkin-Fish's Women's Health in Post-Soviet Russia: The Politics of Intervention) which blew me away during my own PhD research. If I'd stayed in academia, and in the same research field, these are the books I would have loved to have written.

This category is for all my academic books.

Edited: Oct 23, 2018, 2:50pm Top

8. Wild Swans (Jung Chang) (Biography/autobiography/memoir/true events)

Wild Swans details three generations of a Chinese family at the same time as charting the events of 20th century China including the rise and rule and profound impact of Chairman Mao. I read it in the mid-90s, and I think it is one of the first non-fiction books that absolutely took my breath away.

Edited: Dec 29, 2018, 4:36pm Top

9. David Copperfield (Charles Dickens) (Ancient fiction: pre-1900)

David Copperfield is the first Dickens I ever read, and it remains my favourite (and the only one I have reread, several times). I always cry in the exact same place every single time I read it, even though I know exactly what's coming (it's the chapter where Dora dies). A lot of the books in this category are classics, but I must admit that few if any come close to David Copperfield for me.

Edited: Oct 23, 2018, 2:52pm Top

10. Journey to the Edge of the World (Billy Connolly) (Travel)

A good TV travel series tie-in book is one of my guilty pleasures, and none is finer than Journey to the Edge of the World. Billy Connolly is the most wonderful and generous travel companion - he was interested in everyone and everything he saw, and infused throughout is his wonderful humour.

I love armchair travelling with a good book.

Edited: Oct 23, 2018, 2:53pm Top

11. Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger (Ron Sider) (Religion)

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger really opened my eyes to my responsibilities towards humanity from a faith perspective, and is another I've reread several times. I fall short all the time, of course, but the longing for justice and equality never goes away.

Most of my books in this category are related to Christianity, but not all.

Edited: Jan 12, 11:34am Top

12. The Shepherd's Life (James Rebanks) (CATs and Challenges)

I read The Shepherd's Life in 2017 when the RandomCAT and my real life book group's summer theme (the Animal Kingdom) coincided, and I was blown away by this account of an increasingly precarious way of life, of environment, of education, and of farming. An absolutely extraordinary book.

This is for all my CAT and challenge reads this year.

1. Jackie Kay - Red Dust Road. January RandomCAT (Your Name in Print). Finished 12.1.19. 5/5.

Edited: Oct 23, 2018, 5:07pm Top

Great theme! Your choices fit so well! :D I especially like your choice of Hurrah for Gin ;)

Also, I'm going to have to read The Sparrow next year! Both you and a coworker of mine recommended it.

Oct 23, 2018, 5:25pm Top

Thanks for sharing all these 5-star reads, Jackie! I think David Copperfield is my favorite Dickens, too.

Edited: Oct 23, 2018, 5:36pm Top

What a wonderful way to tie in your favorite reads! I'm currently reading David Copperfield but it's still early days on it. Looking forward to seeing how it compares to my favorite Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities which is the first Dickens I ever read. I wonder if your first Dickens is always your favorite?

Oct 23, 2018, 7:43pm Top

Great categories. My eye was particularly caught on the cover of Sea Room, it really catches the feeling of having ocean, light and space around one.

Edited: Oct 24, 2018, 9:36am Top

Interesting setup, Jackie. I'll be looking forward to your Celtic category, I've been contemplating something similar for one of the next years...


Oct 24, 2018, 8:58am Top

Excellent to see you set up and ready for next year.
Oh and looking forward to seeing what you get up to for the b i g birthday. Husband hit that milestone this year. Not sure how that happened!

Oct 24, 2018, 11:35am Top

Great categories! I have Wild Swans on my ereader....just have to find the time!

Oct 25, 2018, 8:13am Top

>14 rabbitprincess: I'm sure you'll love The Sparrow, rp - by the end I couldn't stop turning over the pages, even though the sense of impending doom was threatening to swamp me!

>15 christina_reads: It just has so many wonderful and memorable characters, doesn't it?

>16 LittleTaiko: It wouldn't surprise me if the first is often the favourite! I hope you enjoy David Copperfield - after the bleakness of the opening chapters the story really does pick up.

>17 DeltaQueen50: It's a lovely cover, isn't it? There is literally just the one house on one of the islands, so you'd certainly feel a very small part of the world there!

>18 MissWatson: Since living in Scotland I've picked up a fair few books - the literary heritage here (both fiction and non-fiction, although of course non-fic is my preference) is really rich. I'm always happy to see other people getting into Scottish/Irish/other Celtic literature, and hopefully picking up a few BBs along the way!

>19 Helenliz: Yeah, how did that happen is something I'm asking myself a lot lately! I don't feel nearly half a century! What I'm hoping to do is, from June (my birthday month) doing one fun thing a month for the entire year that I'm 50. I'm still thinking about what to do, but there are a couple of places I fancy visiting, maybe a piercing or tattoo one month (mid-life crisis alert!), maybe finding an art retreat or something like that one time. What I won't be doing is any jumping out of planes (*shudder*) or boudoir shoots (nobody wants to see that, least of all me!).

>20 tess_schoolmarm: Thank you Tess! Wild Swans is pretty epic, but is so worth investing the time. It's beautifully written.

Thanks for the lovely comments so far! I am looking forward to getting into next year's reading, and have enjoyed revisiting these old favourites.

Oct 25, 2018, 8:38am Top

>21 Jackie_K: just don't do what i did when I turned 40. I decided that, in lieu of a midlife crisis, I was going to run a marathon. Nutter. Not making that mistake again. Some things are destined to remain a once in a lifetime experience and that is certainly one of them!

I asked the husband how old he felt and he decided somewhere about 30. Which as I think I'm 26 suits me just fine. >;-)

Oct 25, 2018, 12:02pm Top

>22 Helenliz: In all honesty, I don't think anyone needs to be worried about me doing a marathon! I might feel less than 50, but my knees feel considerably older!

Oct 31, 2018, 8:15am Top

>12 Jackie_K: I worked in a Bible college and seminary library for many years. That is one students were required to read in one of the core classes for the Bible college. I always heard great comments from the students about what they gleaned from reading it.

>13 Jackie_K: I think you hit me with a book bullet!

Oct 31, 2018, 2:43pm Top

>24 thornton37814: It's a great book, although I think my edition is now very old (in book terms - mid-90s I think, there's been at least one updated edition since).

I'm so pleased I got you with a BB before the challenge even starts! It's a wonderful book, I loved it and it was one of my top reads of 2017.

Oct 31, 2018, 8:13pm Top

>25 Jackie_K: It will probably arrive in a week or so. I ordered it and the other one that has more photographs of the area through Book Depository. I'm always amazed how quickly they arrive. They ship to some place in New York and that place ships to me in Tennessee.

Nov 10, 2018, 7:39pm Top

I've got both Wild Swans and The Shepard's Life on my shelf, must get to them next year!

Nov 18, 2018, 6:19am Top

So, inspired by lkernagh's walking challenge over the past 2 or 3 years, where she walked the equivalent of the length of Canada west to east, I've decided I'd like to do something similar, as I am just way too sedentary. So starting 1st January 2019, I will add up my fitbit miles (and hopefully this will encourage me to walk even more, over and above what I would usually walk) and plan to walk the equivalent of the NC500 (North Coast 500) route, a 516 mile circular route around the north coast of mainland Scotland. It's a part of Scotland I don't know very well, so this might well also be helpful for future holiday destination suggestions. It should be manageable within a year, so it will be a good way of celebrating my unmentionable significant birthday without having to actually exert myself too much in one go :D

Nov 18, 2018, 9:15am Top

>28 Jackie_K: Excellent idea! :D

Edited: Nov 18, 2018, 11:08am Top

>28 Jackie_K: A great idea Jackie, and you have inspired me! I recently purchased a set of earbuds in a case because the case was so cool! I have an audible account and buy a book about once a month to listen to while driving to and from work. I'm trying to recover from surgery and radiation so I think I will whip out those earbuds and listen to books while I walk. My goal will be to walk the length of my state (Ohio) from the most southern point to the most northern point, Cincinnati to Cleveland. It's only 250 miles so I should be able to do that with no trouble; but it's a start. I, too, will begin counting on January 1.

Nov 18, 2018, 2:53pm Top

>29 rabbitprincess: Thank you! I shall no doubt find the occasional beautiful place along the way :D

>30 tess_schoolmarm: Fantastic - we can cheer each other on!

Nov 18, 2018, 4:11pm Top

I hope you both post about your walking progress so we can cheer you on and learn about the places that you are walking through. Good luck and good walking!

Nov 18, 2018, 4:26pm Top

>32 DeltaQueen50: Thank you! I am feeling quite inspired to just follow lkernagh's example and give weekly updates (with pictures). We'll see how enthusiastic I am about that when I get going!

Nov 19, 2018, 3:30am Top

>28 Jackie_K: >30 tess_schoolmarm: Great idea, Jackie and Tess! I'll be watching...

Nov 19, 2018, 12:35pm Top

Happy walking!! Looking forward to hearing more about Scotland as you make your way along the route.

Nov 19, 2018, 4:10pm Top

>28 Jackie_K:, >30 tess_schoolmarm: I will enjoy watching you both be energetic. >:-)

Nov 20, 2018, 2:59pm Top

>34 MissWatson: >35 LittleTaiko: >36 Helenliz: Thank you! I have been looking at my recent fitbit stats, I tend to average just over 3 miles per day, so it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to try and aim for my birthday (start of June) for finishing the walking challenge.

Dec 2, 2018, 6:25pm Top

Lovely to see your Jar of Fate will be in use in 2019. Love your themes and "YAY!" for inspiring you to create your own fitness challenge! Would love to follow your (and Tess's) virtual walking. :-)

Dec 5, 2018, 1:54pm Top

Wonderful theme, Jackie! Already you have hit me with some bullets!

Dec 11, 2018, 5:23pm Top

Enjoy your challenge, Jackie. I'll look forward to your Jar of Fate updates. : ) Perhaps one year I'll borrow your idea.

Dec 22, 2018, 3:52am Top

Love all your categories! I will be following along to get some more books to add to my TBR pile (one of the risks of being here, I guess - my TBR pile will never diminish!)

Dec 22, 2018, 9:19am Top

>38 lkernagh: >39 VivienneR: >40 This-n-That: >41 JayneCM: Thank you all for popping by, I have starred all your threads to return to throughout the year. I have already picked out the books I want to read for the two challenges I'll take part in (TBRCat and the non-fiction challenge in the 75 group), lots of them are ebooks but I have stashed the paper books in a very satisfying pile by the bed. There are some really good ones there, I'm really looking forward to getting to them.

Edited: Dec 22, 2018, 10:46am Top

>42 Jackie_K: but I have stashed the paper books in a very satisfying pile by the bed.... I'll bet they are very neatly stacked but the precariously leaning tower of books always comes to mind for reading challenges. :) Looking forward to following your updates, too.

Dec 22, 2018, 1:59pm Top

>44 Jackie_K: I have stashed them in month order, which means that the precariousness of the stack increased, as I have a couple of small books lined up for the end of the year and a big hardback in the summer! Looking at it makes me happy, though!

Dec 22, 2018, 6:09pm Top

>44 Jackie_K: I agree - looking at piles of books makes me happy too! My hubby is not a reader though and they drive him crazy as to him they are just 'mess'.

Dec 23, 2018, 4:58am Top

>45 JayneCM: I'm glad I'm not alone! I am lucky that my husband is an avid reader too, but he is a very different sort of reader from me. Not just genre (which is very different - when we got together I think we worked out we only had 7 or 8 books in common, and we both had many hundreds each!), but he is much better than me at just buying a book then reading it straight away. Freak!

Dec 23, 2018, 6:11am Top

>46 Jackie_K: Sorry, but he is a freak! Next you will tell me that he will even get rid of books he has already read! Everyone knows you need to keep them in case you want to read them again!
You must have a LOT of books in your house! Do you have separate bookshelves or are they allowed to mingle?

Dec 23, 2018, 6:33am Top

>47 JayneCM: Haha - he keeps some and gets rid of some, but since we've discovered Barter Books (best second hand bookshop ever) where we can get credit for lovely books when we take the ones we don't want any more, giving them away has been less painful! We both keep the ones we know we might want to read again (or lend to other people), but the ones we know won't get read again are fair game, I think! We're reaching Peak Stuff at our house (we also have a 5 year old!) so minimal room for more shelves. Thank goodness for ebooks, I'm pretty sure that if I didn't have my kobo our house would have sunk into the ground by now with the weight of books!

And yes, we do largely have separate shelves, but that's OK because our reading tastes are so different. I'm not sure I could bear to combine them - after we'd been married about 4 years we finally combined our two CD collections, and 7 years later I've just about stopped twitching!

Dec 23, 2018, 7:38am Top

>48 Jackie_K: I think I would still be able to remember which CDs were 'mine'! Lucky I don't have to share my books or records as hubby has totally different taste.
We used to live in a town that had a bookshop like that, but we moved away. Now it is just try to sell them online or donate. So I tend to just keep - I think my house is sinking as we speak!

Dec 23, 2018, 12:25pm Top

In our house, my husband tends to read more non-fiction than fiction (80/20 split) and I tend to read more fiction than Non-Fiction (reverse ratio!) but we're both heavy readers in print, ebook, and audio. This means we have several large bookcases and hard drives to hold our material and things came to a tipping point a few years ago. Our house has beam/keel construction which means that there was supposed to be a single long beam running down the axis of hour house, from foundation wall to foundation wall (single story ranch house built in 1954.) Unfortunately, it was discovered that instead of a single beam, the contractors used three smaller bams laid end-to-end, which means that where the beams met, there were vulnerable points insofar as being load-bearing. And, you guessed it, the bookcases added additional stress. The walls in certain places began to show cracks, the pocket doors wouldn't slide properly, and a built-in sideboard started coming away from the wall! We quickly purged books by the hundreds (this was when I also purged my TBR from my LT library) but it wasn't enough, so we had to call in a contractor. They shored up the beams ($$$) and things are good house-wise, but we're still out of room. Once I used to brag about being a book hoarder, now it's my shame. I have an off-site storage locker that when I last looked at it, realized what a problem I have and have been hiding. Anyway, I still dream of a bigger house, but in lieu of that actually happening, my goal for 2019 is to clear that locker!

Dec 23, 2018, 12:37pm Top

>50 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I'd say my fiction/non-fiction split is similar to your husband's - sensible guy you have there! ;)

My goal for clearing out is actually to get all the millions of printed pdf articles I gathered for my PhD scanned so that they can go to the recycling and I get that shelf space back. I'm probably never going to look at most of them again, but the thought of just binning them is too much. It might though get to the point where binning them has to happen, as scanning them all will be a job and a half. We'll see.

This year so far (so obviously not including whatever Santa brings) I have bought 104 books, of which only 9 have been paper books. I'm quite pleased with that - whilst I love the look and feel and smell of full bookshelves (and I'm another happy double-stacker), our house really isn't that big so I'm trying to be much stricter on not bringing in too much Stuff into the house. Plus with a 5 year old, whose Stuff reproduces overnight as far as I can tell, especially at this time of year, we really don't have the room for 100+ new paper books!

Dec 23, 2018, 1:11pm Top

In the 1990s, before the digital age set in, I amassed hundreds of Xeroxed articles and notebooks in pursuit of a Masters degree. Three or four years ago, I unearthed the banker's boxes they had been stored in and made a project of getting them all into a series of binders. Considering all the time I had invested in my studies, I wanted to keep them in spite of not referring to them in years. :-)

Dec 23, 2018, 1:34pm Top

Yeah, that's exactly how I feel about all these articles. They were such a huge part of my life for so long, getting rid of them would be a wrench!

Dec 23, 2018, 1:58pm Top

>52 Tanya-dogearedcopy: >53 Jackie_K: you can scan them and keep them all on one disc!? (That's what I did)

Dec 23, 2018, 2:15pm Top

>54 tess_schoolmarm: I started to scan them but a significant percentage of papers were very fragile. It would have taken a lot of time to manually scan them (as opposed to batch-scanning.)

Interestingly, my daughter is in (high school) AP US history and English. There's quite a secondary market for their binders of notes! The teachers know about it and even encourage it as an A-student's binders can help another student see what is expected. The teachers rotate the materials involved, so there isn't any plagiarism.

Edited: Dec 23, 2018, 4:01pm Top

>52 Tanya-dogearedcopy: >53 Jackie_K: I kept all my notes, articles, etc. too. One day I decided to toss them all. I've never regretted that or missed them. There are so many new notes to keep and new articles to read.

Dec 24, 2018, 7:36am Top

A couple of years ago I decided that I really didn't need my thesis in 4 different copies. 1 hard copy, 2 complete sets (including all supporting data) amounting to ~ 20 3&1/4 floppies each set (rememebr them?) and once as a Zip disk (bulk storage format, now pretty much obsolete). It was painful, but I now only hold the hardcopy.
At the same time, I decided I no longer needed my degree notes either. It was painful at the time, but worth it. I hadn't looked at them in 2 decades (or more) I'm not going to miss them now. It is very interesting what we decided to keep.

When hubby & I moved in togethjer we discovered a similarly small number of book duplicates, despite there being some overlap in reading. Last time we moved, the movers were somewhat shocked at our 10 or so bookcases. You've surely never read all of them? Well between us probably yes, we have read most of them.
I don't read on a kindle, so I use the library a fair amount, although that does severely limit the availability of latest releases.

Dec 27, 2018, 4:49pm Top

Great idea for your 2019 thread, Jackie! And I look forward to following you virtual tour of the Scottish coast. :)

When I moved in with my boyfriend earlier this year, I had to get read of school stuff and books, because we don't have enough space in the new appartment. It was a hard task, but now, 9 months later, I can say that I haven't missed any of those things. I still have one cleaning challenge, though: my stacks of unread magazines, secretely hidden in my bedside cabinet...

Dec 29, 2018, 8:43am Top

Jackie, are you still using a jar of fate with all those categories (as I noticed you gave each one a color)?

>58 Chrischi_HH: I can relate, I finally donated about 5 years worth of National Geographics when I had read some that were so old they were sorely outdated. And.......I haven't missed them! I also got rid of all my books that I read for my Master's Degree...again, haven't missed them.

Dec 29, 2018, 9:55am Top

>59 tess_schoolmarm: Yes, I am still using the Jar of Fate! I have pulled out all the titles I plan on reading for the two challenges I'm taking part in, and the rest of my reads will be randomly pulled from the Jar. It works really well for me :)

I'm starting to veer towards just recycling all those articles, as the thought of scanning them all is making my heart sink, it would still be a huge piece of work - this is probably why I've just left them all these years. It will be hard letting go, as it will be the final acknowledgement that I'm probably not going to write anything else scholarly from my PhD, but it might also be freeing, which would be good.

Dec 29, 2018, 8:07pm Top

>60 Jackie_K: Love the Jar of Fate! What a great idea! I tend to overthink and agonise for too long over what to read next. I am thinking this challenge and the 1001 Books will give me more reading time now that I have set up the categories.

Dec 29, 2018, 9:43pm Top

>60 Jackie_K: I know how you feel about the scholarly work, Jackie; I felt the same way. I did that about 10 years ago, and there is NOTHING that I have even needed to look at, so in my mind it was a success. I thought surely somebody would have need of my article on The Kronstadt Rebellion or my critical essay on To The Finland Station......but even I didn't need them anymore, lol!

Dec 29, 2018, 10:37pm Top

Letting go is hard but it can be a good thing. And the space is then available for stuff one does use. Or so I keep telling myself ...

Just here to say hello.

Dec 30, 2018, 4:12am Top

Hallo, Hallo Jackie,

I give you a heap of credit for creating the Jar of Fate! I wanted to do this my first year as a book blogger as that is when I came across the idea (then known as the Book Jar or was it something else? hmm) -- I never could sort out if I ought to handwrite the titles on coloured construction paper OR print them; the planning took away the joy so I've been keeping a mental list of my TBR for over a decade now! #notagoodidea As this predates finding LibraryThing which I think would have simplified my life far, far sooner! Back then however, LT seemed like this albatross - meaning, I thought it was wayy over my head (similar to ) and yet, now that I'm going into my 3rd year on LT, I feel like I've found my niche of social reading joy!

I have a lot of ancestral roots from the UK; you'll also notice my written voice is AmeriBrit - something I discuss on my blog; in essence, I'm a girl who loves UK authors and stories but also has roots there as well.

Most of the books on my categories are going to be pulled directly from these sources: my public libraries (print/audiobooks via Overdrive) on the local level and through ILL'ing (interlibrary loan) or from my personal shelves; except for the Backlogue section which extends out from my book blogging life. Two of the categories are personal motivation - my Classics Club wanderings and my 70 Authors (of INSPY) challenge -- the rest were pooled from challenges I found ahead of 2019 and the ones through this lovely group.

Honestly it is the first year since I started blogging where I feel really comfortable and confident about the next year of reading!! It is a culmination of a long, long journey of having better balance as a) reader and as b) a book blogger.

I truly should have created a category for Non-Fiction - though in reality I know they will be populating through my Backlogue...

Your Celtic wanderings interest me greatly, as do your vintage fiction walkabouts!

I look forward to following your progress!

Bookish Cheers!

Dec 31, 2018, 6:43am Top

Good luck with your reading choices! Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2018, 11:04am Top

Dec 31, 2018, 3:03pm Top

Dec 31, 2018, 4:57pm Top

>61 JayneCM: You've done some really impressive planning, Jayne - if you could even read half of those books you'd be doing brilliantly!

>62 tess_schoolmarm: I know that's going to be me too, Tess - it's still a wrench though! I'm veering more towards recycling it though :)

>63 hailelib: Hello! I'm dreaming about all that space, but I think it's going to be quite a big job! I've talked about decluttering so much, but I really need to actually do it :)

>64 joriestory: Hello Jorie! In my case I wrote them out on paper and then had the colour coding idea later, so then coloured them all in, and now colour them in as I add more. The idea came from my former real life book group where we'd all add a few suggestions each to the box and pull one out each month to read. My own Jar of Fate is a bit more, er, substantial though! It'll keep me going a lot longer than a few months at a time.

>65 The_Hibernator: >66 thornton37814: >67 tess_schoolmarm: And happy new year to you all too!

Happy new year to all my LT friends - looking forward to sharing the reading with everyone!

Jan 2, 8:23am Top

So I had a go at the end of year book meme, using only titles of books I read (or abandoned) in 2018:

Describe yourself: Bossypants
How do you feel? Green Gone Wrong
Describe where you currently live: Asterix in Britain
If you could go anywhere, where would you go? The Galapagos Islands
Favorite form of transportation: Walking the Woods and the Water
Your best friend is: A Little Princess
You and your friends are: The Unmumsy Mums
What's the weather like? Fire and Fury
Your favourite time of day is: Why We Sleep
What is life for you? Peculiar Goings On
You fear: It Came from the Diaper Pail
Best advice: Nothing to Envy
Thought for the day: What We're Fighting for now is Each Other
How you would like to die: Bad Science
Your soul’s present condition: Swimming with Seals

Jan 2, 11:42am Top

What a clever theme for your challenge! I really enjoyed getting a peek into your very favorite books. And I'm looking forward to following your travels across the north of Scotland, in addition to your reading.

Jan 2, 4:00pm Top

Happy New Year, Jackie! Looking forward to following your reading again this year.

Jan 2, 4:38pm Top

Your fear made me laugh so much. Also like your best advice.

Jan 2, 4:46pm Top

>69 Jackie_K: LOLed at the idea of dying by "bad science." That would not be my first choice!

Jan 2, 7:01pm Top

Hahaha I also like your answer for fear! And "what is life for you" -- well done!

Jan 2, 10:43pm Top

I think I'm about to engage in your favorite time of day!

Jan 5, 2:43pm Top

Great meme answers, Jackie! I totally understand your fear of the diaper pail!

Jan 6, 3:12pm Top

Here's my first walking challenge update! So I'm going to try to walk the equivalent of Scotland's newest and hottest tourist trail, the North Coast 500 (NC500), which is a circular route starting and finishing in Inverness (capital of the Scottish Highlands), tracing the north coast of Scotland (the clue's in the name!). It's 516 miles long, and I'm aiming to have it completed by the beginning of June, which is when I have my significant birthday. On the way I'll post pictures of sights and places I've gone through, to hopefully give (and get) an idea of this beautiful part of the world.

Here's my mileage ticker:

And here's some information about the route itself (I found this more helpful than the official NC500 site): https://theplanetd.com/north-coast-500-guide/

So I'm starting at Inverness Castle (photo from Wikipedia):

This is a 19th century castle in Inverness city centre, overlooking the River Ness. It's apparently the official starting point of the NC500. However, I couldn't possibly be in the centre of Inverness and not visit Leakey's, so here we are, half a mile from the castle, Scotland's largest second-hand bookstore (and definitely on my bucket list!) (picture from bookstoreguide.org):

Leakey's is based in an old church, and looks amazing, there's some more pictures here: http://forreadingaddicts.co.uk/bookshop-reviews/leakeys-bookshop-and-cafe-invern...

It's been a bit of a sedentary week - only 12 miles walked since Jan 1st - but tomorrow is back to the normal work routine so hopefully I will get a few more miles done! (in a usual week I average over 20 miles a week). This is a map of the official route:


By road 12 miles will just about have got me to the town of Beauly, which sits on the River Beauly, one of Scotland's main salmon-fishing rivers. It features a ruined priory, and is also the end point of the controversial Beauly to Denny power line, which opened a few years ago. The road from Inverness to Beauly skirts the southern edge of the Beauly Firth, where it is fairly common to see dolphins. The River Ness empties into the Beauly Firth, after travelling from Loch Ness and through Inverness.

Jan 6, 3:24pm Top

Leakey's looks gorgeous! Last time I was in Inverness, we didn't have time to visit :( Have to go back!

Looking forward to following your walking challenge!

Jan 6, 3:34pm Top

>77 Jackie_K: Congratulations on setting out on a virtual walk! Looking forward to seeing more of northern Scotland!

Jan 6, 3:39pm Top

>77 Jackie_K: Excellent walking start.
I've been to Inverness, it involved ringing a peal (taking 3 hrs 11) at the catherdral. Plus a bit of sightseeing. >:-)

Jan 6, 4:17pm Top

I'm looking forward to armchair travelling as you present your walking tour of Scotland. I was looking at pictures of the Beauly Priory and I am pretty sure it was used in the filming of 'Outlander'. :) Good luck and good walking.

Jan 6, 4:23pm Top

Your walk is as interesting as your reading!

Jan 6, 4:57pm Top

>78 rabbitprincess: It looks amazing, doesn't it? I've never yet made it to Inverness (although I've been to a concert not too far away, at the Black Isle showground at Muir of Ord - Runrig's 40th anniversary bash, it was amazing!). I'm hoping to remedy that (and of course visit Leakey's) as one of my birthday treats.

>79 VivienneR: Thank you Vivienne! What little I've seen of it in real life has whet my appetite for this walk. I'm hoping I pick up some inspiration for future holidays.

>80 Helenliz: I'm embarrassed that I've never yet been, but hopefully will resolve that soon! And oh, you're part of the mysterious world of bellringing! I'm not, but have lots of friends who are, and they could all be speaking in Morse code for all I understand of the bellringing talk!

>81 DeltaQueen50: I must admit to have only had quick glimpses of Outlander while my husband has been watching it, so I doubt I'd recognise any of the locations! But I'm always happy for them to be pointed out to me!

>82 tess_schoolmarm: Thanks Tess! I am so lucky to live in such a beautiful country. Maybe I'll pick up some literary inspiration as well as getting ideas for holidays!

Jan 6, 8:20pm Top

>77 Jackie_K: - YAY for walking challenge! Inverness Castle looks like a wonderful place to visit. Love the points of interest you shared and I am looking forward to following your walking. ;-)

Jan 9, 11:00am Top

>77 Jackie_K: Wishing you a fun walking challenge and enjoy the scenery along the way!

Jan 10, 7:45am Top

>84 lkernagh: Thank you! I have already exceeded last week's 12 miles this week, just through getting back to my normal work/leisure routine after the holidays. I've not walked anywhere particularly different this week, but it all adds up!

>85 This-n-That: Thank you! I'm already learning stuff - for example, the only thing I knew about Beauly before was that it was the start of the new power line, so I imagined it as a bit bleak. Looking at photos as a result of this challenge means it's now added to my list of places I'd like to visit!

Category: On the Front Line (non-fiction: general)

William Zinsser's On Writing Well, 30th anniversary edition was one of the books I bought in the final week of 2018. I had bought Stephen King's On Writing with my Christmas money, and so kobo is now recommending loads and loads of writing craft books to me. This one was cheap, so I added it to the basket. The author was a columnist for many years with the New York Herald, and also taught creative writing at Yale and New College in New York. Some of the book I found a bit fussy (basically some of the grammar/word choice fussiness didn't work for me, possibly because I'm fussy about different grammar/word choices! Although I did get his point!), but other chapters on specific topic types (sports writing, arts/culture, etc) were better, and it was worth the money for the chapter on memoir writing alone. This isn't a how-to book (you won't find writing exercises here) so much as the author's thoughts on different genres and types of non-fiction and on the writing craft. It's very readable though, and I did enjoy where he took a newspaper article he'd written and annotated it to show why he made the decisions he did. 4/5.

Jan 10, 3:21pm Top

>86 Jackie_K: I'm a big fan of Zinsser's book as well as King's On Writing. I'm never going to be a great writer but Zinsser's basic advice about sentence structure, using active verbs, and concise expression helped me. Academic writing has changed quite a bit since I was young. For example using the passive voice was seen as more dignified and scientific when I started out, whereas now professional manuals like that of the APA encourage the active voice and a more conversational tone. Zinsser helped initiate these changes.

Jan 10, 3:46pm Top

>87 bkinetic: Oh yes - there was much in the book that I agreed with (it was mainly the stuff on choice of words, and him railing against certain words in one of the earlier chapters, that didn't quite do it for me. Although I'd just as likely rail against other words with equal passion!). In the memoir chapter I really liked his advice to just choose one strand of the story to tell (rather than every last relative's POV). And like I say, the passage about going to Timbuktu that he annotated was brilliant.

And you're so right about academic writing! I always used to tell my students to write in the passive voice, clearly I'm out of touch! (maybe that's why I'm out of academia now :D )

Edited: Jan 11, 5:44am Top

>86 Jackie_K: a BB for me!

Jan 11, 5:58am Top

>89 tess_schoolmarm: I hope you enjoy it! I'm thinking I might have an ongoing book about writing craft on the go, alongside my various challenges and the Jar of Fate. Although I know what I'm like - I'll spend so long reading about writing I won't actually get round to writing anything.

Jan 11, 8:59am Top

>90 Jackie_K: Well, I am at the end of my teaching career (almost--will retire in 2 years) and although I have not written formally for quite sometime, I thought this might be a good refresher for me.

Jan 12, 11:35am Top

>91 tess_schoolmarm: I think it will be! It was very readable, and as I say, the chapter on memoir writing was excellent.

Category: The Shepherd's Life (January RandomCAT: Your Name in Print)

I read poet Jackie Kay's collection Fiere last year, where she used her poetry to beautifully discuss identity, adoption, Scotland, Nigeria, and family, amongst other things, and I discovered then that it was published around the same sort of time as her autobiography, Red Dust Road, which covered the same sort of topics. I'm so pleased I got to read this book too - this is her account of growing up knowing she was adopted, of her adoptive family, of her search for her birth parents, of being both Scottish and Nigerian, of writing, of racism, of family, of identity. I thought it was brilliant - what could have been quite heavy was written with a light touch, and was both profound and in places very funny. I know I share a name and initial with her - I wish I shared her writing talent too! Fabulous. 5/5.

Jan 13, 4:06pm Top

My walking challenge continues - this week I managed just short of 23 miles, so almost 45 miles in total so far. Not doing anything special, just walking to the pool or into town a few times this week, plus work-related walking (I park a bit further from the hospital than I need to so I can walk a little bit more, for example).

23 miles on the NC500 takes me from last week's destination of Beauly to about a mile just short of the small village of Achanalt. On the way I'll have passed Muir of Ord (which is, I think, the only part of the route that I have actually visited in real life - in 2013, for the Scottish band Runrig's 40th anniversary concert at the Black Isle showground). The route travels through a few Highland villages, and by this point I will have just skirted the top of Loch Luichart (picture from natureflip.com):

Jan 14, 5:26am Top

I love those Celtic names!

Yesterday, 6:39am Top

That's something I miss here. Jakarta is definitely not made for walking.

Yesterday, 10:58am Top

>93 Jackie_K: Well, I never thought to count my working walking miles! Great idea!

Yesterday, 1:44pm Top

>94 MissWatson: So do I! I could listen to the phone book being read out in Gaelic, it's such a beautiful-sounding language!

>95 Robertgreaves: I'm very lucky in Scotland that there's lots of good walking. This particular walk is just me doing an equivalent in miles, rather than the actual NC500 (one day... - maybe when I've read all my TBRs, haha). But we have plenty of parks etc around here, so even without going into the mountains there are nice walks to be had.

>96 tess_schoolmarm: I'm just downloading my miles from my fitbit every Sunday, so that includes absolutely every step! Which might be cheating, but it means that I don't have to mess about working out how long walks are! But the challenge means that I am planning more walking - for example, this evening rather than picking our daughter up from the after-school club by car, we walked there and back. It's not far, only 10 or 15 minutes each way, but every little bit adds up!

In other news, I've rejigged my wishlist and think I have a big incentive now to keep on reading! I'm trying a 2-out-1-in system (presents don't count!), so want to make sure that the books I get really are the ones I'm desperate to own and read. So I went through my wishlist, which was very bloated thanks to millions of BBs from here, and moved all but the ones I want to prioritise to a separate private list. That means that if people look at my list for gift ideas they will just see those books I really really want. I'll also choose my book rewards from that list each time I've read 2 books from Mt TBR, which means that overall I'm really excited about the books I'm likely to acquire this year! And the wishlist has gone down to about 40 books (it was approaching 300 before). Once I've gone through that list, I can move some other books from the private list onto the visible list. It was every bit as fun and satisfying as sorting out my physical bookshelves! :)

Yesterday, 2:59pm Top

>97 Jackie_K: I keep two wish lists, too. One is the public one of maybe 15 or 20 books at different price points for relatives to use. The other, exponentially larger one, is a private list of every single book I'm interested in. Many of those have not yet been released, and it's just a note to myself to check the library for them after they've been published.

Group: 2019 Category Challenge

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