Tag Archives: goodreads.com

Readathon challenge August 2019

I am giving myself my own #Readathon challenge.  Between now and the 23rd of August, I hope to have finished 10 books and they are as follows;

Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton

Cabin at the end of the world by Paul Tremblay

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

Social butterflies by Michael Sanders & Susannah Hume

Riders by Jilly Cooper

Hanging out with the dream King – Neil Gaiman by Joseph McCabe

On Editing by Helen Bryant

Be your own literary agent by Martin Levin

Fantastic Fashion by Barbara Cox

And…

Mad Love by Paul Dini

I am probably being unrealistic about this challenge because I usually read three book of three hundred pages a week, on a good week and some of these books are beyond the three hundred page limit; Jilly Cooper’s ‘Riders’ alone is 919 pages long, for me that is an entire weeks’ worth of reading!

But the challenge is set and I am going to try my hardest to complete it with flying colours, because I really need to read a lot more than I do.  There is a massive backlog of ‘to read’ books in my Goodreads.com list, approximately ten thousand and it will take me fifty years to get to them all and by then I would have added another fifty thousand no doubt!

I love reading and I don’t do it enough to be honest.  I think online gaming has to end and reading and writing should consume me more than it ever has, because I don’t actually enjoy the gaming and I don’t find it very productive to be honest and I don’t like thinking of myself as unproductive, which is a great irony considering I have been like this for five years – ever since I got much worse with my health.

So this readathon is going to become the start of a new me – a new productive me.  I am determined to change my life.

Come with me on the ride if you like!

Set your own reading challenge or tackle the same books as I am in the same time frame, or decide that you are going to game less and read or write more.  Only you can change your life and make the decision to do productive things!

 

 

 

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Reading and writing past and present

I have always wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old when Mr Alistair a therapist/teacher told me that I had a gory imagination and extraordinary talent; back then my specialism was horror and it has only been in the past seventeen years that my writing has moved onto fantasy, comedy and poetry.  I started writing stories about alien invasions, vampires and alarmist ideas about climate change, El Niño and the end of the world.   I have for most of my life been a dedicated environmentalist, but since I talked so much in a spiritual forum about my concerns I lost confidence to continue writing this journalistically (is that a word? if not why not?), because I was accused of being a doom-sayer and me being a very uplifting positive person this accusation hurt me enough to stop me.

My first ever short story of any real length was based on Persephone in the underworld that I wrote when I was eleven.  I imagined how life must have felt like living in the underworld and even when I was that young I had a good clear understanding that not everyone is 100% evil or good, so I wrote about Hades in a positive form and it was very much influenced by my passion for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  This is a theme that has followed me through my writing life; if there is a misunderstanding in something, I am always willing to show another side to it – determined to prove to everyone that nothing is just black or white; it is a multitude of colours.  I can do this to the most indigestible of subjects too, according to a few people who have seen my handwritten work – thus I am sometimes known as an excellent mediator and diplomat, as long as the subject doesn’t get me too personally hot under the collar. 

One friend recently told me that they see me as society’s apologist, whatever that means.  I looked it up and I am not really that religious enough to be considered an apologist, though I suppose if you were to watch me answering questions whilst I am watching many quiz shows on religion, you’d say I seem to know an awful lot about religion for someone who isn’t interested in being religious.  You see I think this is where people misunderstand me – it is not that I am not religious, I am more humanist because I think that religion by and by causes division and I am all for world unity.  However I am a deeply spiritual person who literally believes in anything until it is absolutely solidly proven not to exist – hence why I leave milk and honey next to the stove at night for the house spirit (Nisse/elf) and ask permission to the tree itself before I prune it and honestly believe in various ancient customs and ideas – though I am still soul searching, but I will make this abundantly clear now, this is not an invitation to be converted to anything.  My ancestry history is so mixed, whenever I feel I should dedicate myself one way or another, I feel like I am upsetting some ancestor on the other side, so I don’t bother myself with dedication of that sort.

Anyway, this post was going to be about how I started writing and what I started with and where I have ended up.  I have written a lot of comedy and comic themes recently that I have noticed I have more and more of the fantasy and sci-fi comedy genre, if that is a genre.  I told Paul the other day that I feel like I am being possessed by the spirits of the deceased members of the Monty Python gang and Terry Pratchett, I try and write serious high fantasy and I can’t help putting in some silliness into it and I am seeing corny puns in everything!  The more I fight it, the funnier I get.

Unfortunately the comedy themes are rarely if ever posted on here, because I have made this mostly into a life update and poetry blog, rather than the intended fantasy blog, because I worry that my worst writing might be my best and my best my worse in the eyes of the world.  So I never really know which short stories and snippets to risk posting here.

I have decided to make this blog more of a writing diary, but again I have fears that I might reveal too much of my plans.  Fear is a major factor for me not posting much lately.

I have a handwritten diary I update about once a week on average because I keep forgetting to add to it – this diary is purely about my writing, my plans and any strange themes I have noticed that day or week.  For example, I have noticed I get a story idea in my head, then a book falls off the shelf in the library of a similar theme I was thinking about – weird coincidences like this happen a lot to me.  Then whilst television flicking, subjects of things I have been thinking about or themes of the day seem to be found everywhere, even on my sons chocolate wrappers as adverts at times!

I was thinking about sharing these day to day themes and the weird occurrences they have been discovered as part of my day to day blogging, as these things often develop into story ideas for me as I sit back and wonder what the universe wants me to do with these supposed signs?  What story is she prodding me towards and I believe this is why I have more ideas than actual work – I am never without a new idea, the problem for me is writing them down fast enough and concentrating on less than three at a time.  This is extra difficult for me because I am an attention deficit sufferer, I get bored doing the same thing or thinking about the same thing for longer than twenty minute bursts – hence why my current reading list on Goodreads usually has around twelve current books on the go!  It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a book, it just means I really can’t concentrate for more than twenty minutes.

Thinking about my reading list on Goodreads has actually just reminded me to make a point here on a matter a friend recently said to me the other day – she noticed that I have all these books on Goodreads I am currently reading but I only manage to read between ten and forty pages a day of maybe two or three books and she said that as far as she understands I am always reading but the Goodreads activities doesn’t prove it.  I said it is simple really when you consider that Goodreads is not designed to update magazines and newspapers and out of print books that are not listed on their site at all as well as local pamphlets and guides, game back stories, research websites, other people’s blogs and so forth. 

Here is a list of my magazine subscriptions and I do mean, I read them every time they are published either weekly or monthly;

Writing Magazine

Garden News

Sci-Fi Now

Gardeners World

Tesco

Yours

Pets @ home

Total TV Guide

Amateur Garden

Kitchen Garden

Lego club magazine

WWF membership news and stuff

Bibliophile

BBC History

New Scientist

Focus

Classic Rock

When I pick up a new magazine, that is the only thing I can read from beginning to end and it takes me around an hour to two hours – the reason why I can do that with a magazine rather than a novel is simple, the subject changes every few minutes.

Honestly, I am addicted to reading, I am addicted to downloading new information into my mind on a constant basis and I am a person who doesn’t enjoy sleep – I see it as a waste of time, but being ill, I have to sleep more than most and it literally drives me crazy!  All I want to do is think learn and do.

So there you have it!

Hello, I am Tina Cousins and I am a reading and writing addict and I don’t intend to cure myself of it, goodbye.

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My fantasy knowledge

My to read list is huge on Goodreads.com, and I have one book left from the library that I must read before the 4th of July, it hasn’t been read thoroughly yet because I tend to borrow the maximum each time I visit the library, note bibliophile present. The last book I have from the library that’s half read at present is “H.P Lovecraft’s book of horror” an anthology of 21 classic short horror stories which includes with my personal rating;

Supernatural horror in literature essay/introduction by H.P Lovecraft 9/10
The signalman by Charles Dickens 8/10
The house and the brain by Edward Bulwer-Lytton 8/10
The body snatcher by Robert Louis-Stevenson 2/10 (low rating yes, shock horror)
The spider by Hanns Heinz Ewers 10/10
The foot of the mummy by Theophile Gautier 9/10
The horla by Guy De Maupassant 8/10

The rest have yet to be read and they will include;

The fall of the house of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
The dammed thing by Ambrose Bierce
The upper berth by F. Marion Crawford
The yellow sign by Robert W. Chambers
The shadows on the wall by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman
The dead valley by Ralph Adams Cram
Fish head by Irvin S. Cobb
Lukundoo by Edward Lucas White
The double shadow by Clark Ashton Smith
The mark of the beast by Rudyard Kipling
Negotium Perambulans by E.F Benson
Mrs. Lunt by Hugh Walpole
The Hog by William Hope Hodgson
The great god Pan by Arthur Machen
Count Magnus by M.R James
Followed by the afterword by Lovecraft and the literature of cosmic fear:

Yesterday I finished Coraline by Neil Gaiman and other stories. Which were very compelling reads and I am what a readers quiz calls a polygamous reader, therefore I started reading H.P Lovecraft’s anthology before Coraline’s anthology, but I was so much more taken with Neil Gaiman than I was with H.P Lovecraft’s compilation, that I literally abandoned H.P Lovecraft until there was no more Neil Gaiman to read.

If I am having a good day with my health on the days I visit my work advisor I usually treat myself to a book or three at the local charity shops on the way home, it’s a habit I can’t get out of; unfortunately yesterday there were quite a few I liked, in fact, I would have by choice bought home five books, but I only had enough money for two. The ones I found and bought home were books three and four of the Eragon series (the inheritance cycle) by Christopher Paolini. I have never watched the movie Eragon and nor have I ever read the books. I had the first two books at home, never read and abandoned on the shelves until I could get the complete set and now I have them I am thrilled. Unfortunately, knowing me, it will probably be 3+ months before I start reading them, because I am currently reading 26 books according to my goodreads.com currently reading list.

That doesn’t need to get any longer does it? I am I have to start on the fifth to fourteenth book of the Wizard of Oz series before I can think of moving onto another series, also I have the last book of the Fifty Shades of Grey to read as well.
Oh the life of a bibliophile is far too short!

It’s stupid to think that I get through an average of 1 to 4 books a week and that my “to read” list is currently 4647 and that expands by no less than 20 books per week. It’s ridiculous, even if I was immortal and glued my arse to a chair and read 24/7 I would never ever catch up in reading unless there was a total ban for thousands of years of new material being published!

I hope in the future there will be a little chip inside people’s brains where you can download information immediately by the press of a button; I would opt to be a literary and historical know-all and I would also want to be proficient in all creative mediums and telepathy.

I get huge bouts of depression because I can’t do more than one thing at once. I want to read, but I have to go through a painstaking process of choosing which book gets my attention at that precise moment; but then I want to paint or write and I am sitting back thinking, well one things has to be put on hold, which will it be? What shall I do? I have so many things to write about and so many ideas, that I can never knuckle down and write them, because as I am writing I am being flooded with too much future work, that I surrender and do nothing.

I don’t suffer from writers block, I suffer from writers flood and because of that, I don’t write a majority of the time. Because it sends me mad, I write gibberish and I lack focus, because I think as I concentrate on other things, many things at once.
You can probably see this problem in my updates here.

I am a huge fantasy fan, but I don’t know much of the most commonly known fantasy books and movies because I refrain from watching or reading them if they’re popular, because they normally end up being frustrating commercialised entities that are constantly pushing out new material every few months. When I sit down to read a book and it’s a series, I like to think I have the whole series ready on my shelves before I start. If there are more books in that series coming out months later, it infuriates me, because I don’t always remember what happened in the books in great details and I do not like re-reading books if I can absolutely help it; (too many books and so little time).

The books I have not read and the movies I have not watched so far, that are popular in fantasy and family genres.

Eragon series books and movies
How to train your dragon books and movies?
The books after Harry Potter’s Goblet of Fire haven’t been read yet
The movies past Harry Potter’s order of the phoenix
Once upon a time TV series
Supernatural TV series
The lion the witch and the wardrobe book
Narnia books
Final fantasy games
World of Warcraft games
Game of thrones TV series and books
Blood ties TV series
Twilight movie and books
True blood TV series and books
Nanny McPhee and the big bang
The Terminator movies
Maleficent movie

So as you can see, I have not watch nor read the biggies; but I do know a lot of fantasy that gets people scratching their heads at me and wondering what the hell I am talking about.

Those include;

The Gor series of books
Diary of a wimpy vampire books
The Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman (though they are becoming popular)
The weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner
The play your own adventure books and fighting fantasies of Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson
Nightmare TV series
Raven TV series
Highlander TV series
The fact there are 14 stories of OZ from the Wizard of OZ and that nobody knows the world completely, that is a complete bafflement for many
The Deptford mice books
Troll movie 1986
Critters movies
Tremors movies
The Disney movie – the gnome mobile
Shirley Temple’s movie – the blue bird
Angels in America movie
Dogma the movie

So, go feast yourself on these so-called unheard of books and movies.

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