This Monday marks the beginning of The Reading Rush, a week full of challenges, community, and the opportunity to tick 7 books off your TBR Pile. This week-long readathon is open to everyone and will be the first readathon I have taken part in for about 3 years.
It’s been a while since I was a wee little book blogger caught up in the world of YA literature. But now, I’m older, have a degree in Literature and Creative Writing, and my tastes have definitely changed (well, a little). So, without further ado, here’s my TBR for The Reading Rush!
For this readathon there’s 7 prompts to help you decide what to read. And, with some of these, they can be interpreted in different ways so that you can tailor the experience to suit the books that are actually on your shelves and the location you’re in (this’ll make more sense down the line).
Prompt 1: Read a book with a cover the same colour as your birth stone.
Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno
Synopsis: Georgina is about to move away from the small island she has called home all her whole life. Spending one last summer in the tourist hot spot, Georgina meets a special visitor here to witness the magic of the island.
Format: Hardback, 256 pages
I’m kicking off my TBR with a book that I am already about 50% the way through. I started reading this one a month or two back and despite absolutely loving it as a lesbian love story, I just forgot to pick it back up.
Lucky for me, the white of this cover matches that of my birthstone, a diamond. Plus, by picking this one back up I hope to start the readathon off strong with a quick finish that’ll keep me motivated.
Prompt 2: Read a book that starts with the word “the”.
The Last Wish by Andrzey Sapkowski
Synopsis: Geralt is a Witcher, a trained and magically enhanced monster slayer. As fiends ravage the land, Geralt protects the people…for a price. But, not everything monstrous-looking is evil and not everything fair is good.
Format: Paperback, 280 pages
Now, I wasn’t 100% sure which way to interpret this prompt; whether to pick a book with a title that begins with “the” or with prose that begins with “the”. However, when I found The Last Wish in The Works for only £3 I realised this is the perfect book for this prompt.
I am a huge fan of The Witcher 3 video game (which I’m currently on my 3rd play through of) and The Witcher TV series that came out in December. The world is rich, vivid, and fully realised, there’s no limit to the amount of tales that can come from it. That’s why I’m so excited to finally read the source material, beginning with the first series of short stories released back in 1993.
Prompt 3: Read a book that inspired a movie you’ve already seen.
Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Synopsis: Opening in the Elizabethan Period and ending in the 20th century, Orlando is the tale of a noble man turned modern woman who has experienced 300 years of history.
Format: Paperback, 235 pages
In 2018, I read Orlando as part of my Literature and Film module, a class that I admittedly didn’t really attend. Not due to lack of interest as I would study the texts at home, but more due to a distaste for the tutor. However, the reading list featured some interesting picks, with Orlando being my favourite.
Sadly, I’ve forgotten a lot of what happened within the text aside from the big gender swapping elements. So, I’m going to revisit this one next week and hopefully it can leave a stronger, lasting impact this time around.
Prompt 4: Read the first book you touch.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Synopsis: We follow Esther Greenwood’s personal life from her summer job in New York with Ladies’ Day magazine, back through her days at New England’s largest school for women, and forward through her attempted suicide, her bad treatment at one asylum and her good treatment at another, to her final re-entry into the world like a used tyre.
Format: Paperback, 234 pages
For this prompt I kind of just waved my hand over my housemate’s bookcase and picked up the first book I saw that was written by a woman.
I really wanted a mix of genres and time periods within this readathon and I’ve always wanted to read the works of Sylvia Plath. Yes, I studied Literature for 10 years and didn’t once read any of her work, but now that’s going to change.
I’m about 20 pages into The Bell Jar already as I wanted to get a feel for the text, but I’m going to save the rest for further down the line.
Prompt 5: Read a book completely outside your house.
We Should All Be Feminists by Ngozi Adichie
Synopsis: What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Format: Ebook, 64 pages
I’ve picked We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in an effort to engage more with feminist texts. It’s about 60 pages long, meaning I can comfortably read it at the park or by the canal or even while socially distancing inside a Starbucks.
In October I will be attending Lancaster University to gain a Masters in Media and Cultural Studies and I have a particular interest in Feminism and LGBTQ+ representation. So, before the course begins I’m going to dive into modern and classic feminist literature.
Honestly, I don’t know much about the text as a whole, but I look forward to diving in during this readathon. This is definitely going to be an intense read and I’m going to have my highlighters at the ready.
Side note: The organisers have issued an alternative prompt for anyone who is not comfortable going outside. After all, there’s still a pandemic happening and safety should be everyone’s top priority. Alternative Prompt: Read a book by a window or put on a video of the outdoors/natural sounds while you read.
Prompt 6: Read a book in a genre that you’ve always wanted to read more of.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evanisto
Synopsis: Girl Woman Other follows a cast of twelve characters on their personal journeys through the UK and the last hundred years, all with different goals in life.
Format: Paperback, 452 pages
As I said above, I really want to read more feminist literature. And I have a particular interest in not just the exploration of the concept of feminism, but personal feminine experiences like those explored in Three Women by Lisa Taddeo and Know My Name by Chanel Miller.
Girl, Woman, Other explores the lives of 12 different women from all over the UK, a country in which I live in but rarely read about. I hope to learn a lot about how life varies for women across this island and the past 100 years.
Prompt 7: Read a book that takes place on a different continent than where you live.
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
Synopsis: Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – Camino and Yahaira are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.
Format: Ebook, 432 pages
Rounding out my week with another YA read, Clap When You Land takes place in New York City and the Dominican Republic, in North America. As I’m nestled in Europe, I thought this read would offer an interesting perspective on the very different lives people can lead across the pond.
Again, I have read a sample of this book and am already hooked, so I’m looking forward to diving back in. I know that a lot of people are expanding their TBRs and bookshelves to include more literature by black authors, featuring black protagonists and Clap When You Land seems like a quite popular pick. Hopefully, I can join in with some interesting discussions with the bookish community once I’ve completed it.
I’m really excited for this readathon to begin! I’m currently in the process of preparing my reading nook, collecting snacks, and finishing up Normal People by Sally Rooney.
On Wednesday the 26th I hope to be attending @shell’s Read-In at 6pm – you can find a Read-In in your timezone here. It’ll be an hour and a half long zoom call where we meet other bookish people, share what we’re reading and take a group photo together.
Plus, there’s a bunch of challenges taking place across social media, although I’m not sure how likely I am to take part in these. If you want to keep up with my reading progress, follow me on Instagram and Goodreads or stay tuned here for my mid-week catch-up and readathon wrap-up.
Total pages to read: 1,953
Let me know down below what you plan on reading!