The NEWTs Readathon

So I’m officially done with the Reading Rush for this year! I did pretty well, I hit my goals. I’ll do a full wrap up next week of the books I got through. But today I want to talk about readathons. This was not the first readathon I’ve ever been a part of but I would say it was my first successful one! I really enjoyed the motivation it gave me to pick up a book. Every chance I got (breaks in work, waiting for my tea to cook, when I’d normally binge Netflix) I had a book in my hand. The sheer quantity of extra minutes I had a book in front of me lead to of course, inevitably, more pages read.

I was in a bit of a reading rut in June and I was worried I’d spend four months reading nothing. This is exactly what I did last year so it was a real worry! Therefore, for me, the readathon came at the perfect time. The momentum I felt immediately after those seven days was electric and I want to keep it going. I’m still fourteen books off my target for the year but because of last week’s boost I’m now aiming to not just achieve that goal but smash past it.

Serendipitously, I stumbled across a video on YouTube. It was a girl I’ve never seen before talking about a readathon her friend started last year. It’s called the NEWTs Readathon. Yes, it’s Harry Potter themed. Do you even need anymore information or shall we all just sign up now? So this readathon is more complicated than any I’ve heard before but the detail is truly astounding. The amount of time and creativity put into this challenge and community is truly excellent.

So what do you need to know? Lemme try and simplify this.

– G created it over on her YouTube channel Book Roast.

– It’s the second part in a two-part yearly readathon.

– The first part was back in April and was called the OWLs Readathon.

– You don’t need to have done that to take part in the NEWTs. Just jump in.

– If you did the OWLs you will have picked subjects to ‘take’ and then ‘sit exams for’.

– The exams are simply a book prompt. One book per prompt. The more books you read the higher your grades end up being in the subject.

– For example, if I did prompt 1 in Charms I would have received an A (for Acceptable). However, if I’d done prompts 1-3 I would have received an O (for Outstanding). There’s also E in the middle (for Exceeds Expectations). Get it? Well neither did I at this point. Let’s confuse you more!

– So, journeying through to August, we’ve arrived at the NEWTs. It’s a MONTH LONG readathon. I know, how amazing.

– Have a look at the magical careers PDF and choose your career! Each career will tell you the NEWT subjects you need to acquire.

– If you sat OWLs you now use your ‘grades’ to see if you have good enough scores to progress to the NEWT level. If you don’t, I guess you need to choose a new career. However, this is also for fun so do it anyway!

– If, like me, you haven’t completed the OWLs readathon, then it’s a bloody free-for-all isn’t it!

– I’ve literally just chosen my career and will now take the NEWT subjects it requires, to the grade it requires.

Sooooo, did you follow that? I hope so. I definitely could be doing it wrong. But that’s my interpretation. I’ll leave the videos down below for you and you can try and decipher it for yourself!

Either way, I think it sounds super unique and interesting. I love that it’s a month because it’s still a big challenge but it’s more manageable that last week. The Reading Rush is fun because it’s a very concentrated, intense week. But like, I also enjoy watching movies, vegging in the evening after a long day at work, seeing other humans and like, you know, having time to sleep etc. But a month? Almost too easy.

I’ve chosen Curse Breaker. I’m required to read a total of nine books for the month (which is still a lot more than my normal monthly total, so it’s not like actually easy. I was joking before). I’ve decided to not set a TBR this time (I know, gasp!) as I’m very much a mood reader. I’ve got a list of my prompts though and each time I finish a book I’ll move on with the next one! Here’s my prompts as an example for you:

O in Ancient Runes

– book recommended by a friend

– book written in the past tense

– book that has been on your tbr for ages

O in Arithmancy

– book that ends on an even page number

– a standalone

– book that’s longer than 350 pages

E in Defence Against the Dark Arts

– book that’s black under the dust jacket

– first book that you remember just now from your tbr

A in Charms

– a book that you think has a gorgeous cover

And there you have it! Now it’s your turn.

NEWTs Explanation Video: https://youtu.be/Rq7vFHcngYs

Book Roast’s NEWTs TBR Video:

Happy NEWTs everyone!

Harry Potter Inspired ASMR – Hogwarts Library (This is an ASMR YouTube Channel I found a few years ago. The videos are incredibly relaxing and are perfect background noise for your hours of reading!)

Easy Summer Smoothie Recipes

Hey kids!

This week’s self-care post is super quick but unbelievably tasty. You guys know how I love a homemade juice. Especially in summer, they’re just so refreshing. I’ve been enjoying the heat we’ve had recently. Coupling an ice cold beverage with it? Perfection! I’ve got two for you. I’d say they cost under 30p per serving. Fuck shop bought. Super simple. Eyeball all the ingredients. Let’s go!

This first one I call Sunshine:

Frozen Pineapple

Frozen Mango

Orange Juice

Water

This second one I call Burst:

Frozen Strawberries

Frozen Raspberries

Apple Juice

Water

And there you have it! It’s almost like this post only took two minutes to write. Hehe.

True – Digital Farm Animals

Reading Rush TBR

So it’s that time of year again: The Booktubeathon! The Reading Rush! That’s right, this year Ariel has teamed up with Raeleen and rebranded the readathon to include all reading social media communities. There is a new website with forums to engage in and badges to win. I’ll also be going to the Liverpool Read In at 6pm on the 25th if anyone local wants to join. It’s at the Waterstones café and the idea is to meet other readers and just have a nice hang out.

As always, there is seven book challenges. You can pick one book to cover each challenge or one to cover several; what you do with the challenges is totally up to you! Usually the seventh challenge is to read seven books but they’ve decided to put that as a bonus eighth challenge this year to alleviate some of the pressure people used to feel. Fair enough, I’m still going to try for it cos I’m mad. So what I’ve decided to do is pick three main books that cover all seven challenges for me. I’ll read these first. I’ve then selected an addition four (which also tick off at least one challenge) that I’ll move on to if I finish those first three. If I manage to read all seven books I’ll have covered all seven main challenges and then the bonus eighth challenge. However, say I only read 5 books (which is already a lot, I know) I’ll still have covered all seven challenges already. Make sense? Simple? Not a clue what I’m talking about? Okay, well here’s the challenges and then I’ll tell you my tbr and hopefully it’ll make more sense!

The 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. Pick a book that has five or more words in the title.

7. Read and watch a book to movie adaptation.

My TBR

(Challenges covered in brackets).

The Main Three

Everblaze – Shannon Messenger (1,5,2)

Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin (7,4,3)

The Bricks That Built The Houses – Kate Tempest (1,4,6)

The Bonus Four

Rubyfruit Jungle – Rita Mae Brown (4)

Felicity – Mary Oliver (2)

The Woman Warrior – Maxine Hong Kingston (3)

If Cats Disappeared From The World – Genki Kawamura (6)

Danny’s TBR

The Catcher In The Rye – JD Salinger (3,4,6)

George’s Marvellous Medicine – Roald Dahl (1,2)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams (5,6,7)

Carrie – Stephen King (4,7)

And that’s it! Are you doing the Reading Rush? What’s your TBR?

Happy Reading!

Nintendo Game – Alessia Cara

 

Stupid Shit My Dad Has Done

So yesterday was my dad’s birthday and I was having too much fun with him to remember to write this post! I like my dad a lot. He’s a cool guy and one of my best friends. He’s taught me so much over the years and he looks after me and my siblings. He’s also dozy as fuck and says stupid, annoying shit constantly. He does stupid shit even more frequently. I’ve written a Terry appreciation post in the past (you can read it here: https://sarahwilliamsandco.com/2018/06/15/fathers-day/), and, to be honest, I don’t want his head to get any bigger. So I intend to humble him instead with this post. Below is a list of things my dad has actually said and done. Brace yourself for the biggest eye roll of your life!

1. “What’s that, er, that bubbly stuff you put on your head?” “You mean shampoo?” “Ah yeah, that’s it.”

2. He once put the petrol cap on top of the car and then drove off. We never saw that petrol cap again.

3. He used to duck his head when we’d drive into multi-storey car parks in our people carrier with the roof box as if that made us shorter.

4. “Oh it’s a lovely day, boiling outside. Shorts weather.” “It’s two degrees.”

5. He once sat on a pizza.

6. He watches movies on the iplayer on his laptop and doesn’t make it full screen.

7. He drove into a grass verge and then wondered why we had a puncture.

8. “Sarah, my phone appears to have broken.” “No, it’s just not turned on. Here, just click the power button.” “Ah, I see.”

9. When playing ring of fire last new year: “Dad come on, you’re like four sips behind!” “I’m trying but it’s so fiery!” He was drinking ginger beer.

10. Got an egg out and juggled it in his hand whilst he got a pan out too. He dropped the egg and it splattered on the floor. “Good Jesus!”

I know, I put up with a lot of shit, don’t I? I think I’ll keep him though. He gets rid of all the spiders from my room.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Long Grey Mare – Fleetwood Mac

 

Simple Self-Care

Hey kids! After Tuesday’s accidentally insanely long post I thought I’d keep today’s nice and short. We’re back with another Self-Care Thursday and this week we’re keeping it practical and simple. If you read the self-care posts you’re probably one of these people: 1) WOO, can’t wait to try a new activity, 2) Hmm yeah interesting but I probably won’t bother, or 3) Ew, so boring and cliched. Well! Whichever you are, that’s okay, you do you. BUT. You can definitely do this week’s tasks. I’m gonna give you lots of options of very small things and you just have to choose one! So easy, right? I know you can do it, lazy person, I’m looking at you. No hard thinking involved this week, the key is complete and total relaxation. Whatever that means for you. So remember, you might read one of these and go, urgh, that’s not relaxing. But that’s okay, skip it. It’s possibly relaxing for someone else but we can’t all be the same. And we shouldn’t be. Okay, we’re not idiots, we can read a list. Here we go:

Go for a walk.

Have a cup of coffee.

Light some incense.

Journal.

Bake brownies. Or cookies.

Have the fanciest bath ever.

Listen to your favourite album.

Have a nap.

Read.

Go for a massage.

Change your bedding and put new pjs on.

Try a new lipstick.

Do some yoga.

Go to a museum.

Make a fort.

Pizza.

Go see a movie.

Meditate.

Call your sister/brother/mum/dad.

Go for a run.

Binge a Netflix show.

Cook a new recipe for tea.

Light a candle.

Go for a manicure.

Lie in the garden or a park.

Go and have a beer with a mate.

And there you have it, kids. Now if anyone can get them all done in one week you’d be my hero!

Wherever I Live – Alessia Cara

Hay Festival + Book Haul

At the end of May, we drove down to Hay-on-Wye – a quaint market town on the Welsh/English border that is notable for its bookshops. Why, I hear you ask? Cos, for their less than two thousand inhabitants, there is over twenty bookshops! Often crowned ‘the town of books’, it’s been on my list for forever. We picked a nice weekend in May to go (in hopes of sun, lol jk) as we decided to do a combination trip of endless book perusing with intervals of camping and hiking in Brecon Beacons National Park. The week I planned to go just happened to also be the world renowned Hay Literary Festival. Serendipity! We decided to risk the crowds, invited my dad who loves a book, and headed down.

The festival itself was really cool. The festival bookshop, don’t even get me started, huge. It’s free for anyone to enter the site and then you just buy tickets for individual events. We decided to see a Q&A with Anna Burns, the award-winning author of Milkman. She had such a quirky, amusing manner and read her book extracts with such animation it actually really helped me understand the novel’s tone. We also saw Stephen Fry. He was due to read a couple of extracts from his books Mythos and Heroes but instead decided to do a reading from the third book he is currently writing in the series, unbeknownst to his publishers! The real treat to that event was the outstanding illustrator Chris Riddell was there live-illustrating the session! He was very impressive and hilarious.

On another day, we went for a walk at Henrhyd Falls which was a bit treacherous from the recent rain but completely picturesque and tranquil. Easily satisfied my hiking fix. Also visited the town of Brecon which was quiet and cute. Had a lovely vegan daal in an indie coffee shop there!

Hay, the town, was just lovely. It was everything you want from a small market town. It had a couple of delicious food places with great veggie options, and more importantly it had a cosy little pub, The Blue Boar, that became our local for the weekend. The atmosphere was electric with booklovers visiting from far and wide. But enough of all that, on to the bookshops!

They were everything I hoped and more.

We grabbed a little map of the book tour that most shops carry and got on our way. The second we saw a book in the display window we were in there. There was such a variety of genres, I was in heaven. There was an entire poetry shop where I wanted to purchase every single book. There was a bookshop called Murder and Mayhem which, you guessed it, was entirely crime-based. There was a bookshop with all sorts of old editions of my favourite modern classics. I found an edition of 1984 that was truly magical to find. There, simply, was too many to mention. My favourite booksellers included Addyman Books (and their Annexe), Richard Booth’s Bookshop, The Poetry Bookshop and Green Ink Booksellers.

I completely shattered my 2019 book buying system cos I just could not contain myself. I came home with fourteen books.. My five gifts from Danny (that I won from reading the entire Mistborn Trilogy in April) and nine from myself! Oops. Here’s a quick book haul, one line about each though or we’ll be here forever, kids!

Animal – Sara Pascoe

A recommendation from my mate. Quite scientific so far, as well as funny.

Felicity – Mary Oliver

Read Blue Horses and needed to devour more Oliver, especially a love poem collection!

#MeToo: A Women’s Poetry Anthology – Ed. Deborah Alma

Speaks for itself: brave, boss women who I’d like to learn from.

Wishful Drinking – Carrie Fisher

A very self-depricating, endearing memoir.

The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolf

Quoted it in my dissertation, liberally. Yet to read it.

Emma – Jane Austen

The last to complete my Austen’s. Needed the old black Penguin Classics editions as a rule.

Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

An edition that’s very special to me, to match some of my mums favourite books from her collection.

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Just have been meaning to read it. We all know the story.

The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham

Ditto. Also had a boss cover.

The Sonnets – William Shakespeare

Wanted for ages, found in an edition I enjoy. (Running theme?)

Peril At End House – Agatha Christie

Continuing my Christie journey with another Poirot!

After Dark – Haruki Murakami

Constantly hear about Murakami and haven’t read him! This one sounds mysterious and mad.

Pachinko – Min Jin Lee

When purchased was Our Shared Shelf’s pick of the month.

Silence – Erling Kagge

A little cute one Danny picked up that I know nothing about. Honing mindfulness skills I think!

All in all, a fabulous weekend. Cannot recommend Hay enough. Will be going back ASAP.

Come Alive – The Greatest Showman Soundtrack (Me and Danny had this album playing in the car all weekend. Also books make me come alive so that’s a nice little coincidence isn’t it?)