My #ReadingRush TBR

This year I finally decided to take part in The Reading Rush (formerly known as BookTubeAThon), mainly because I’m profoundly masochistic. Just kidding! It’s because I love reading!

The Reading Rush is a yearly week-long reading marathon (or readathon, if you like portmanteaus), usually held at the end of July. It was created by Canadian BookTubers Ariel Bissett and Raeleen Lemay on YouTube back in 2013 and since then it has evolved into an international event spanning BookTube, Bookstragram and everything in between (BookPress? BookMySpace? Your imagination is the limit!). This is my first year taking part in this readathon so it’s all very shiny and new for me, but I believe some of it is actually shiny and new for everyone: they have a whole new design (there’s even some merch!) and a new website where you can track your progress, earn badges etc.

Now, the basic principle of this readathon is to read books based on a few challenges. This year there are 7 (+1 bonus) challenges:

  1. Read a book with purple on the cover
  2. Read a book in the same spot the entire time
  3. Read a book you meant to read last year
  4. Read an author’s first book
  5. Read a book with a non-human main character
  6. Read a book that has five or more words in the title
  7. Read and watch a book to movie adaptation
  8. (Bonus) Read 7 books!

These are all exciting challenges and obviously the most logical and sensible solution would be to pick as many short and easy books I could find that fit these challenges and then read as many as I can. Right? Well, I’m obviously going to do the exact opposite.

The main reason is that there’s a couple of books I really want to read already, and it feels like a bit of a waste not to read them – plus, they do fit some of the challenges, so it might not be a complete waste! The only problem is – they are the opposite of short and easy: one is 620 pages long, the other one has been criticised for putting people off reading with its dense and experimental prose.

RIIIIIIGHT

So without further ado, here is my Reading Rush TBR for this year!

1 The first book is Milkman, by Anna Burns. This book has a looong backstory for me, but to cut a long story short: I wanted to read it last year, got it as a gift for Christmas, my boyfriend read it first and I’ve been putting off reading it for a couple of months because I’m low-key intimidated by its reputation. However, I finally decided there’s no point in putting this one off further. I’ve actually already started it and I can confirm, it’s quite dense and challenging, but it’s also incredibly compelling and low-key hilarious?

The plot revolves around the main character, 18-year-old Middle Sister – one of the things I find clever and amusing is how every character is actually referred to with the common noun that describes its relationship to the protagonist or her family: maybe-boyfriend, third brother-in-law and so on. Anyway, she lives in a fictional town in Northern Ireland during the Troubles (also called the Northern Ireland conflict) in the late 90s. Her world is very dangerous, with a distinct segregation between ‘us’ and ‘them’ (‘us’ being the Irish nationalists wanting Northern Ireland to join the Republic of Ireland, and ‘them’ being the unionist wanting Northern Ireland to stay in the United Kingdom), paramilitary on the streets and the risk of your every word and action being interpreted the wrong way. In her world, the best survival tactic is not being noticed. For our protagonist, this changes when she is repeatedly approached by the Milkman, an older man, member of the paramilitary, who seems to have taken an interest in her.

That is all I know about the book, and I was very intrigued not only by the setting (the Troubles are one of the many chapters of British history I feel I don’t know enough about) but also by the power dynamics: the book seems to deal not only with political power dynamics, but also with gender and social ones. I want to read this book for two challenges:

  • Read a book you meant to read last year
  • Read a book in the same spot the entire time

For the same-spot challenge, I’ve been reading this on the train and I plan to keep reading it only on the train. I know there is a bit of dispute on whether reading on the train/bus counts (since theoretically speaking you’re not in effect in the same spot because the train moves – that is unless you’re on a GRW train to Didcot Parkway, and then the train stops on the tracks for 20 minutes just outside the station for no apparent reason), but I’m going to say it does count. Also I am a creature of habit so I usually sit in the same carriage and same seat every day, so I feel it definitely counts.

2 Number 2 on the list is Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon Jones, which is the first book of the Dark Star trilogy. It is also the first of my two attempts to go back to reading more fantasy. Fantasy used to represent such a big chunk of my reads when I was younger, but now I’ve almost entirely stopped reading it and I have to say I do miss it sometimes. There’s that little spark of magic that fantasy gives you and that literally no other genre can! Also, have you seen the cover? (Yes, I am a horrible human who judges books by their covers.)

The main protagonist is a hunter called Tracker, whose services have been engaged to find a missing boy. He is soon joined in his quest by a bunch of other dangerous and mysterious mercenaries with the same mission, most of whom a) are weird non-human beings like shape-shifters/giants/moon witches and b) seem to either have had sex with Tracker in the past or want to have sex with Tracker now. Yes, it’s gay. Sign me up.

I am especially intrigued by the fact that the book is supposedly based on African mythology and deals mainly with themes such as power, ambition and duty. I want to read this book for two challenges:

  • Read a book with purple on the cover
  • Read a book with a non-human main character

So, I feel like despite only having two books on my list I did pretty well challenge-wise. I also know already I won’t be able to finish either, but I want to really push myself to read more especially during other times of the day that are not my commute. I am very excited!

If you are too taking part in the Reading Rush, feel free to add me (my username is @mslibrarycard on there as well) and happy Reading Rush!

This is M signing out for now! ✨

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