This year, I’ve been making occasional posts about my reading. After all, what is a writer without a little reading? Or, in most cases, a lot of reading. I had a few goals for reading this year. Number one, to read a book a week (or 52 in the year). Number two and three were to do with expanding my reading out from my usual fantasy genre into other genres and non fiction as well.

To help with this, and because one of my librarian colleagues and friends pointed me at it, I joined up to be one of the readers circle for the Brave New Reads of 2016.

brave new reads arrows

Brave New Reads is where readers choose six books from a long list to recommend to other readers, book clubs and literary events that go on in and around Norfolk. The Reader’s Circle is the process by which we choose these books.

So I signed up, gave they my preferences (which they seem to have ignored, and I consider this a good thing for expanding my horizons) and recommendation for books came in from all around, with the only criteria being that a book had to be published less than two years ago and an enjoyable read!

We have a long list of 109 books at the moment. Yeah, I know, it’s huge. The fact that each group was only supposed to get 6 titles to review from the long list tells you how many suggestions there were. Thankfully, we also have a huge group of volunteers from Norwich and the surrounding boroughs, as well as Cambridge and Suffolk I believe. I am in Norwich Group 6, with a few other people, and we have been given 13 books to review in stage one.

robot in gardenThe titles I have been given are:

  • A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install (Fiction)
  • Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes (Fiction)
  • Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrara (Translation)
  • Threads by Julia Blackburn (Non-fiction)
  • The Offering by Grace McCleen (Fiction)
  • Nobody is Ever Missing by Catherine Lacey (Fiction)
  • Forget Me Not by Carol McKee Jones (Fiction)
  • The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill (Fiction)
  • Shingle Street by Blake Morrison (Poetry)
  • Due North by Peter Riley (Poetry)
  • Hereward: Wolves of New Rome by James Wilde (Fiction)
  • The Amber Fury by Natalie Haynes (Fiction)
  • Man V Nature by Diane Cook (Short Stories)

It’s an interesting mix. Especially the poetry books. I mean, I read poetry for my English classes back in secondary school, and I’ve read a couple of poems for pleasure (actually I found an epic poem that I’d love to get my hands on and read the other day, Evangeline by Henry Longfellow) but never a book of them. I’m probably most looking forward to the short stories Man V Nature collection and Robot in the Garden.

I have managed to read one so far, The Amber Fury. This s because it was online from the digital library since copies of all the books are available from the writers centre, but I have yet to go into town with free time to pick some up. I’ve done a review of it here on Goodreads if you particularly want to read it.

So I’ve got quite a bit ahead of me, since I’m meant to try and read this list before the end of October. I feel some weekends being set aside in the near future.

At the end of October, we narrow down the list to roughly 50-60 books. Then we get to read pretty much whatever we want from that list, and in December whittle it down to 25 books. Then, at the end of January, we make the final selections of 6 books which will then become the Brave New Reads of 2016.

How_to_Read_a_Pile_of_BooksThis means that I am going to do a lot of reading, and a lot more reading of books that I would not normally encounter, and that is pretty much exactly what I wanted from this year or my reading. Of course, I still have a huge pile of books from the fantasy genre sitting on my desk is a messy ‘to read’ pile because I know what I like.

Also, this is going to be challenging, because I start my Master’s course at the end of the month, I fully intend to complete NaNoWriMo this year (attempting to choose my project at the moment) and I want to keep up with all my weekly commitments as well. But life’s not fun if you’re not busy, right?

Anyone else doing any marathon reading events at the moment? Or just reading in general? If you’ve got a book that you read recently that you would recommend, let’s hear about it 🙂

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