N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon – Experience and Thoughts

When I caught this last train for N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon I was torn between being happy and sad for it. In one hand it was announced to be the last O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s year and on the other hand it was my first time participating in this multifaceted reading challenge. O.W.L.s were held in April and I was kinda lost in them but trying my best to participate. You can check out my O.W.L.s Experience and Thoughts post HERE. I was not sure how things were gonna work out so I went all in trying to read as much categories and prompts as I could but I had no real direction. This left me with a couple of hurdles on the way of becoming a Librarian because I missed out on the needed prompts for it. After a lot of thinking and weighing of options that were left to me I decided to try and go for the noble profession of Mind Medic.

In order to achieve my goal I had some reading to do for five different categories of subjects: Charms – 3 books, Defence against the Dark Arts – 3 books, Muggle Studies – 2 books, Potions – 2 books and Transfiguration 2 books. Which brought my total of books up to 12!

Here is the complete list of subjects by the number of books needed for my grade and my thoughts on books I’ve picked up for them:

Charms: grade needed Outstanding – 3 books

A: Cheering Charm: read a humorous book

Suddenly, a Knock on the Door by Etgar Keret ★★★

This was my book club reading pick for August. It was a library copy. It is a book written by an Israeli author and it is a short story collection. All the short stories were small insights into a sometimes tragic and sometimes ludicrous daily lives of different characters. This was supposed to be a humorous book but I found it more sarcastic than funny. Stories were short and simple in writing style but complex and thought provoking.

E: Glacius: Freezing Charm. Rad a book set in winter

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden ★★★

This prompt was a bit tricky for me. I’m very cautious of the prompts that require knowledge of the book plot before reading it. I don’t like to research to much into the books before reading them. I considered few options and ended up with this book I had for well over a year. I got the luxurious edition form a small Croatian publisher with actual wooden blocks for hardcover, I even got the box for the book, I got the whole trilogy as a matching set with same publishing number since there was only 500 of these books made. I even got the author to sign the book for me. I invested a lot in it and was hopeful with all the positive reviews and the good reputation the book has among bloggers and booktubers. I read it and did not think it was anything that special. I could not connect with the characters and I was not moved by the story nor setting. There was winter, it all began in winter and it all ended in winter. I thought it was average and average made me feel kinda let down for all the investment I put into these books – monetary and otherwise. I even thought about selling it but have not made any decision yet…

O: Finite Incantatem: reverse spel! Read a manga!

One-Punch Man, Vol. 1 (ワンパンマン / Onepunch-Man #1) by ONE, Yusuke Murata ★★★★

I am not a fan of action manga editions but I remember watching an anime for first few episodes and some of my friends really liked it. I got the first volume of manga as a present and thought this could be a got time to read it. If I understood it correctly the story was first a web comic and then anime and after that it was translated into manga. What little I remember from anime is very well adapted in the manga as well. The characters are not very eloquent and kinda unreal but they bring out some interesting perspectives on life. It was no something I would choose for myself but it was a positive surprise.

Defence Against The Dark Arts: grade needed Outstanding – 3 books

A: Boggart: read a horror/thriller

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix ★★★★★

I was very intrigued by this book that gave me Sookie Stackhouse book series by Charlaine Harris vibes. When I read that it is about a group of middle-aged women that gather in a book club and battle a vampire I was sold! I was not prepared for what I got in this horror – thriller. This is not my usual genre. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is a well rounded book with family drama and suburban horror. I was rocked by some scenes and was blown away by the whole story. What gripped me was the nineties setting and the brazen inequality between the sexes. Some characters spoke to me more than others but I was left wondering at some racial issues as well. I wanted to know the background of this author who wrote the story and was surprised to find out that he writes satirical paranormal books. I was left with so many questions and I am still glad I read this book.

E: Kappas: water demon! Book with demons or water theme

Angel & Faith: Daddy Issues (Angel & Faith: Season 9 #2) by Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs ★★★★★

Grabbing this graphic novel series makes me uneasy. The reason for that is that I don’t have the opportunity to buy next volumes after I read this one. I love these characters and I loved this story with them. I was a bit skeptic about graphic novel continuation for both Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV shows. The artwork did not agree with me at first but I barely noticed things to complain about in this volume! The story was really good and I would love to continue reading these graphic novels!

O: Red Caps: read an epic fantasy

Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie ★★★★★

This was the first book by Joe Abercrombie I read and I hope it will not be my last. I have a strong affinity towards underdog characters and Yarvi was an excellent example of such a character. He reminded me of Maia from The Goblin Emperor by Catherine Addison (You can check out my thoughts on The Goblin Emperor HERE ) I loved reading about the journey the main character goes to and I loved brittle humor the book is filled with. The sea adventure part of the story was my favorite part and it really clicked with me this summer even though the book is not really set in summertime at all. I am apprehensive about reading the next book in the series because it centers around different characters and I would really love to read more about Yarvi. This was one of the best books I’ve read in August.

Muggle Studies: grade needed Exceeded Expectations – 2 books

A: Read a comic

White Elf, Black Heart (Elfes #3) by Olivier Peru, Stéphane Bileau ★★★★

Technically this is a graphic novel not a comic. I loved reading this graphic novel and I’m glad my friend pointed me to it. It is a series of high fantasy stories beautifully made. Each volume has different characters and the authors and artists vary from volume to volume. All volumes so far center around different types of elves and bring in stories from different parts of the same world. As I’ve been told it is all an interlude for some big fantasy showdown in latter volumes. Each story is well rounded and feels quite complete on its own so far.

E: Read a book written by an author of a different race than yourself

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie ★★★★★

This was one book I already tried and failed reading for O.W.L.s back in April. I was deeply ashamed for not reading this book sooner. It clicked with me and I loved it! Which is kinda strange because it is far from my usual fantasy or romance genre. Book is based on real events. It made me wonder about different cultures and policies. When a book brings out my inquisitive spirit I know it was a great book! I plan on pushing it for further reading for my book club and I’m looking forward to talking about it with my bookish friends.

Potions: grade needed Exceeded Expectations – 2 books

A: Ingredient: Flying Seahorse – book with the word “sky” in title, or sky on cover

Fantastic Hope by Laurell K. Hamilton, William McCaskey ★★★★

This was one of the books I bought a month before and I just had to include it in this reading challenge because I was so eager to read it. I was a bit worried how well I would pace my reading to book have enough time to read trough all twelve books I wanted to read trough. I was very eager for some of the stories by my favorite authors and I even made a review post for it. You can check my thoughts on this book HERE.

E: Doxycide: Author name starts with a letter D

The Autumnlands Vol. 1: Tooth and Claw (The Autumnlands #1-6) by Kurt Busiek, Benjamin Dewey ★★★

This prompt proved to be a bit tricky for me. As it turned out finding an author whose name starts with a letter D on my shelves was a real challenge. At the end of my options I decided to pick a graphic novel whose one author’s surname starts with the letter D. The graphic novel did not appeal to me at first. I had issues with the visual representations of animals with human physique – hands, feet, clothes …It took some time to get used to that. Story was interesting enough and it really intrigued me. This graphic novel was a present and I don’t think I will be continuing it since I don’t have the rest of the parts.

Transfiguration: grade needed Exceeded Expectations – 2 books

A: Lapifors Spell: animal on the cover/title

The World According to Bob: The Further Adventures of One Man and His Street-wise Cat (Bob The Cat #2) by James Bowen ★★★

This prompt I had several options for. I keep getting surprised at just how many animals are on the cover of the books on my bookshelves. This book was a birthday present from a friend few years back. We did not know this was a second book in a series. I was happy to say this did not influence much on my reading experience. The story is again based on the real life events. The drama was what I expected it to be and I thought the book was okay. I will probably try out some more stories with real life cats in them!

E: Draconifors Spell: book with dragons or fire (title or cover)

Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons by Andy Collins, Skip Williams, James Wyatt

This was the book that did me in this August. No matter how hard I tried I could not concentrate on reading more than a few page sin one sitting. This made the reading feel extra slow since most of the other books that had a lot more pages than this one I went trough in a few days reading. I’m still not done with this one and it will probably be a very slow year until the end of the year.

Final thoughts on my reading experience:

I think I did pretty well on this reading challenge. I even managed to read trough categories in order of the grade I needed to make progress on. As it turned out the one book I did not finish was the last book of the challenge and I feel lucky about it. If I had started reading it sooner I might have lost even more time and would have probably have more than one unfinished book for the challenge. On the positive side, reading nine books I already owned was a great score! I feel like I’m really digging into the books I own on my TBR and that makes me feel good. Most of the books I read from my own shelves make me glad I picked them up in the first place and I am making progress with culling some books I don’t feel so strongly about anymore. All the books I read for this challenge were first time reads and I feel good about that too! I’m trying to keep positive about this reading challenge and I am glad to have been a part of it. Once again if you would like to check out some content from the awesome person behind all the Magical Readathon’s from the last three years it was on go show some love for Book Roast on her YouTube channel HERE.

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