2020 Reading Challenge

In 2019 I undertook a challenge to read 40 works of fiction over the course of the year, the actual number I got to was in the low 80’s. So this year I decided to do something very ambitious and read 104 works of fiction, yes that’s right 2 works of fiction for every week of the year. This is on top of a great deal of non fiction and all the paperwork and reports that I have to wade through every week too. So here is the list I’m going to be working from for the rest of the year.

Coraline- Neil Gaiman

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The Graveyard Book- Neil Gaiman

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Alloy of Law- Brandon Sanderson

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Shadow of Self- Brandon Sanderson

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The Bands of Mourning- Brandon Sanderson

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The Crystal Shard- R.A. Salvatore

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Streams of Silver- R.A. Salvatore

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The Halflings Gem- R.A. Salvatore 

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Shadow of A Dark Queen- Raymond E Feist

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Rise of A Merchant Prince- Raymond E Feist

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Rage of A Demon King-Raymond E Feist

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Shards of A Broken Crown- Raymond E Feist

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Tarkin- James Luceno

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Thrawn- Timothy Zahn

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The Priestess of the White- Trudi Canavan

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Last of the Wilds- Trudi Canavan

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Voice of the Gods- Trudi Canavan

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Otherland Volume 1- Tad Williams

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Otherland Volume 2- Tad Williams

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Otherland Volume 3- Tad Williams

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Otherland Volume 4- Tad Williams

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Starship Titanic- Douglas Adams

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The Salmon of Doubt- Douglas Adams

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The Long Earth- Terry Pratchett

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The Long War – Terry Pratchett

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The Long Mars- Terry Pratchett

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The Long Utopia – Terry Pratchett

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The Long Cosmos – Terry Pratchett

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Thief’s Magic- Trudi Canavan

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Angel of Storms- Trudi Canavan

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The Successor’s Promise- Trudi Canavan

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Dune- Frank Herbert

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Earthsea- Ursula La Guin 

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Doctor Who: At Childhoods End- Sophie Aldred

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Dwarves 1: Markus Heitz 

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Dwarves 2: Markus Heitz

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Dwarves 3: Markus Heitz

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Dwarves 4: Markus Heitz

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Dwarves 5: Markus Heitz

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War of the Worlds- H.G Wells

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The Island of Doctor Moreau- H.G Wells

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Around The World In 80 Days- Jules Verne

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20,000 Leagues Under The Sea- Jules Verne 

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The Inimitable Jeeves- P.G Wodehouse 

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Carry On Jeeves – P.G Wodehouse

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Very Good Jeeves – P.G Wodehouse

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Ankh Morpork Archives- Terry Pratchett

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The Carpet People- Terry Pratchett

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Casion Royale- Ian Fleming

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Dracula -Bram Stoker

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Frankenstein- Mary Shelly

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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde- Robert Louis Stevenson 

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The Phoenix on the Sword- Robert E Howard

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Paradise Lost- John Milton

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Lair of the White Worm- Bram Stoker 

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The Call of Cthulhu- H.P Lovecraft

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Baldur’s Gate-  Philip Athans

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Canticle- R.A Salvatore  

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In Sylvan Shadows- R.A Salvatore  

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Night Masks – R.A Salvatore  

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The Fallen Fortress – R.A Salvatore  

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The Chaos Curse – R.A Salvatore  

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Dodgers Guide To London – Terry Pratchett

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The World of Poo – Terry Pratchett

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War of the Spider Queen 1 – R.A Salvatore  

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War of the Spider Queen 2 – R.A Salvatore

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War of the Spider Queen 3 – R.A Salvatore

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War of the Spider Queen 4 – R.A Salvatore

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War of the Spider Queen 5 – R.A Salvatore

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War of the Spider Queen 6 – R.A Salvatore

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Omerta- Mario Puzo

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Odin’s Child- Tim Severin

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Sworn Brother- Tim Severin

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Kings Man- Tim Severin

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The Picture of Dorian Grey- Oscar Wilde

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Legend of Alfar Book 1- Markus Heitz 

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Legend of Alfar Book 2- Markus Heitz

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Legend of Alfar Book 3- Markus Heitz

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Legend of Alfar Book 4- Markus Heitz

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The Last Wish- Andrzej Sapkowski 

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Sword of Destiny – Andrzej Sapkowski 

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Blood of Elves- Andrzej Sapkowski 

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Time of Contempt- Andrzej Sapkowski 

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Baptism of Fire – Andrzej Sapkowski 

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The Tower of the Swallow – Andrzej Sapkowski 

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The Lady of the Lake – Andrzej Sapkowski 

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Faerie Tale- Raymond E Feist

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Doctor Who: The Missy Chronicles 

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Daughter of the Drow- Elaine Cunningham

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Tangled Webs-Elaine Cunningham

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Windwalker-  Elaine Cunningham

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Pool of Radiance- James Ward

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Pool of Darkness- James Ward, Anne Brown

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Pool of Twilight-James Ward, Anne Brown

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The Tell Tale Heart- Edgar Allan Poe

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Doctor Who: The Wheel of Ice- Stephen Baxter 

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Doctor Who: The Silent Stars Go By- Dan Abnett

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Father Christmas’s Fake Beard- Terry Pratchett

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Kull- Exile of Atlantis- Robert E Howard

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Solomon Kane: Skulls in the Stars- Robert E Howard

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El Borak: Sword of the Hills Robert E Howard

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Smith of Wootton Major- J.R.R Tolkien 

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Young Zaphod Plays It Safe- Douglas Adams 

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A Study in Scarlet- Arthur Conan Doyle

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Wonder how many I’ll get through I know 2 a week doesn’t sound like all that much, but who knows what outside influences will be effecting my free time.

Book Review: Turn Of The Screw

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This one now marks off the 10th book from my list of 30 books that I want to read before I’m dead, that is to say 30 years old. Now this book was more of recommendation than something that I had an overwhelming desire to read throughout my life, but I gave it a go anyway.

It was a pretty quick moving story, all about the reaction to irrationality and unnamed dread, but I must admit that it really wasn’t my cup of tea, horror and suspense isn’t generally my bag, and in this case it wasn’t either. It wasn’t poorly written, but it just didn’t grab a hold of me the way that I had hoped for, and probably won’t be reading anything else by Henry James in the future.

Book Review: Stardust

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I’ve been reading a lot of stuff by Neil Gaiman lately like the Sandman series  and Mr Punch and I recently started watching American Gods and one of the books on my 30 before thirty was Stardust. I’d seen the film, but wasn’t sure if it bore any resemblance to the original novella.

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So I went over to amazon to pick myself up a copy and dug right in. It was an easy read, I probably finished it in about 4 hours. The story is a pretty basic one, boy of humble and mysterious origins goes on quest to win the love of a fair maid, along the way discovers who he really is and lives up to his destiny by fighting a wicked witch and a would be usurper before living happily ever after.

Gaiman’s writing is superb and the way he world builds in such simple terms is reminiscent of Terry Pratchett in the early days, he really does manage to sum up the essence of the old European fairy stories in very few pages while actually penning a tale that both fits in and shakes up the genre quite a bit, and has actually made this one of the easier reads of my 30 before 30 thus far.

More Quotes To Make You Look Smartified

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Here are some more quotes from literature, philosophy and politics that when dropped in everyday conversation will certainly make you seem smartified.

“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”-Mohandas K Gandhi

It is a good rule in life never to apologise. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.”-P.G. Wodehouse, The Man Upstairs

“Time ripens all things. No man is born wise. “ -Miguel De Cervantes- Don Quixote de La Mancha

“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a man is to look at the people he has around him.”- Niccolo Machiavelli- The Prince 

“The more one is absorbed in fighting evil, the less one is tempted to place the good in question”- Jean Paul Sartre- Anti-Semite and Jew

“…Slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of time; erelong she shall appear to vindicate thee.”-Immanuel Kant

” one swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy”-Aristotle 

“Don’t be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.”– Arthur Miller 

“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.”Marcus Aurelius- Meditations 

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”Mark Twain- A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court   

Drop a couple of those into your conversation and you too can look smartified.

The Lazy Ramblings Of A Lazy Guy (On Being In Love)

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I was recently introduced to the Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome. The book consists of 14 essays on 14 topics

  1. ON BEING IDLE.
  2. ON BEING IN LOVE.
  3. ON BEING IN THE BLUES.
  4. ON BEING HARD UP.
  5. ON VANITY AND VANITIES.
  6. ON GETTING ON IN THE WORLD.
  7. ON THE WEATHER.
  8. ON CATS AND DOGS.
  9. ON BEING SHY.
  10. ON BABIES.
  11. ON EATING AND DRINKING.
  12. ON FURNISHED APARTMENTS.
  13. ON DRESS AND DEPORTMENT.
  14. ON MEMORY.

Jerome K Jerome is pretty much me down to a tee. He’s lazy and just writes whatever comes to mind. He doesn’t care who he offends, and I often felt that he may have been somewhat high when he picked up the pen. But Mr Jerome has inspired me, so I am going to be writing a series of posts on the topics that Mr Jerome turned his hand at. (I know I’m ripping the guy off, but quite frankly I don’t care)

On Being In Love 

Have you ever seen someone and known that they would be a terrible distraction to your life. That was how I would describe it, that feeling of knowing that this person is going to really change your life. That knowledge that this is going to be massively inconvenient.

That’s how it all begins then you slip into it, the early days are all wine and dinner and flowers and dancing, but then comes the big pants and netflix, the cups of tea, the farting and the lack of make up, if you can get through that, that is true love. The enduring real world version of the thing.

Foreigner wanted to know what love is, well its two people who have decided to just give up and settle with each other because they find the other person somewhat less detestable than the rest of humanity, that my friends is love.

This is the second in series of posts ripping off the work of Mr Jerome K Jerome and his seminal piece The Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Man.

 

Tightwad Tips: X-Mas On A Budget

Lets face it, who among us hasn’t been a little skint at times? I mean its only normal. With Christmas fast approaching here are a few tips to help you get through the festive season without breaking the bank.

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  1. Competitions: online competitions are are a god send, you can win everything from TV’s and holidays to tea samples and questionable paperbacks. For some online competitions try Goodreads or The Prize Finder.
  2. Secondhand: hear me out. Are you buying for an avid reader? Someone who’ll read a book once and pass it on? Why not go for something second hand? it’ll be cheaper and they’ll enjoy it just as much. Amazon and Ebay are a god send for such things.
  3. Homemade: Know a chocaholic? Why not make some cakes or fudge decorate them nice and put them in a fancy looking tin (the likes of which you can buy in tiger or poundland) and viola. You have a Christmas present made with love.
  4. Presentation: remember that presentation is everything, A two pound bouquet can be improved no end with a vase and a nicely tied ribbon. The same goes for things such as sweets and chocolate or even wine, putting some beers in an ice bucket would make all the difference to just handing them over in a bag.
  5. Raising Money: you could always do the old fashioned thing and raise money to pay for Christmas, sell your old games, books, DVD’s and CD’s on sites such as Ziffit, Momox or Ebay and raise the money to pay for Christmas and declutter your home in one fell swoop. And lets be honest, in this age of netflix and itunes, who listens to CD’s and watches DVD’s anymore?
  6. Free Samples: putting free cosmetic samples in a little basket proves to be a great gift for friends and relations. You can make a Gentleman’s starter pack with a few cologne, coffee and shampoo samples just by adding a comb and miniature bottle of something.

What are your tightwad tips for getting through x-mas on a she string budget?