24in48 Readathon TBR

This weekend, (in less than 4 hours actually) I'll be participating in the 24in48 readathon. I've never done a lengthy readathon like this, but with an over-zealous summer reading list, and August fast approaching, I thought this would be a great opportunity to make a bit of a dent in that list of mine.

The readathon takes place this weekend, Saturday and Sunday (July 22nd-23rd), and the goal is to read for 24 out of the 48 hours. You can break up the hours in whichever way you'd like over the two days, so commitments don't need to be missed. And there's plenty of time for sleep, a shower and meals. There are some great tips, guidelines and even prizes for the readathon, for more info and/or to sign up visit 24in48.com.

I've been making lists, calculating reading times, and putting together the books I'd like to read. It has been recommended to mix up your reading material so you don't burn out. So I also have a few comics, journals, and even an audiobook I can pop on, if I need to take a bit of a break. I've been meaning to crack open a few new adult coloring books, so an audiobook will be the perfect accompaniment. I also have a plethora of favorite snacks, comfy loungewear, candles and even a jaunt to a favorite cafe planned for tomorrow, to keep me motivated. I'm all about the cozy and comfy vibes!

I decided to put together a TBR for the readathon, since I'm a bit of an organizational freak. And, having a bevy of books to choose from, will help me complete the 24 hour goal. These are the books I chose:

1. Hum If You Don't Know The Words
I'm about half way through this, and can see why this has been raved about. Set in the 1970's, the story is told through the voices of Robin Conrad, a nine-year-old white girl and Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman. Both, cross paths unexpectedly during the Soweto Uprising. And their alternating perspectives, weave a story rich with emotion, taking a close look at racism, loss, and the definition of family.

2. The Resurrection of Joan Ashby
This is an ARC I received from Flatiron Books and will be released in September 2017. The book is brilliant so far. And reminiscent of J. D. Salinger, Truman Capote and Joan Didion. I think Cherise Wolas will be an author to watch out for after this debut novel.

3. Slightly Foxed, The Real Reader's Quarterly – Issue No. 54 Summer 2017
This is my favorite literary magazine! I look forward to the new publication (released quarterly) as soon as I've finished an issue. I've been savoring this summer issue, since it's release. And this will be the perfect in between read, when I need a break during the readathon. Slightly Foxed introduces you to books that are no longer new or popular today, but stand the test of time. With a good dose of humor, and lightheartedness each essay is an absolute delightful.

4. Home
Last month I read Marilynne Robinson's novel Gilead for my Real Readers book club and absolutely fell in love with this moving story! Gilead is part of a trilogy, and Home is the second book, which tells the same story in Gilead, but from the perspective of a different character. You can see my mini review for Gilead on my Instagram account. Robinson will forevermore be an author I pick up.

5. The Elegance of the Hedgehog
One that's been on my list since 2010 (according to Goodreads). I've had it recommended to me, several times. I've also been told it is very French, which I love, and discusses, philosophy, culture, Paris and language. I'd also like to see the movie after reading the book.

6. The Dream Keeper's Daughter
Another ARC provided by JKS Communications and Ballantine Books. This one deals with time travel, archeology, lost love and a plantation in 1816 Barbados during an historic slave uprising. I can't wait to get to this one, it sounds fab!

7. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Another one that's been on my list for ages. I love the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson, but haven't gotten to the third in the series until now. Nordic Noir is one of my favorite genres; dark, thrilling, with lots of twists. Lisbeth Salander is also a favorite literary character; a strong, female protagonist is always fun to read about! Mysteries, crime fiction and thrillers also tend to be my go to, if I'm ever in a slump. So this will be perfect if I need a pick me up during the readathon.

8. The Moonstone
The Moonstone is the book choice for my Real Reader's book club for July. I have about 150 pages left in this classic, and have really enjoyed it thus far. It is considered the very first detective novel. A young heiress inherits a stunning diamond on her 18th birthday. Unaware that the precious gem is known as The Moonstone and has a dark history, after being stolen from a Hindu shrine. When it goes missing, divergent accounts share details, making the recovery of the diamond complex and full of twists and turns.

This may seem like quite a few books, but I wanted to make sure I had a great stack to pull from, for the full 24 hours. I'll be posting updates of my progress on Instagram, Twitter and Litsy (@catebutler). Followed by a wrap-up once the weekend is over.

There's still plenty of time to join, or even just pop in to say hello over the weekend. If you do participate, I'd love to know what you're reading. Just comment below, or let me know where you'll be posting, so I can check it out.

Cate xx

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Podcast Series – Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” Podcast

I’ve really enjoyed discovering and listening to podcasts for the past few years. I usually listen to them when I’m whipping something up in the kitchen, while doing chores around the house, or even on my daily walks around the neighborhood. I’ve run across so many great podcasts recently, that I decided I’d like to start a new series on my blog, sharing a podcast each month, that I love, and think you would enjoy too!

I’ve had Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” podcast series, saved for quite some time now, it wasn’t until recently though, when I got into a bit of a creative slump that I remembered this was sitting in my unplayed list. So earlier this month, I pulled it up on my phone, popped my headphones in, and decided to give it a listen. Within moments, I realized that I needed to sit down, pull out pen and paper and start to take notes. I kept thinking to myself, “this is EXACTLY what I have needed to hear!” and soon after, decided that this podcast is something that EVERY CREATIVE NEEDS TO BE LISTENING TO WHEN THEY BEGIN TO QUESTION, FEEL OVERWHELMED, OR NEED A LITTLE CONFIDENCE BOOST.

The first series has a total of 12 episodes, each around 20 mins. or less. And the second series has a total of 9 episodes. I’ve listened to about half of the first series, and have quickly fallen in love with Gilbert’s message, which correlates to her book, Big Magic. In both, she gives glimpses and support to fellow creatives – to abandon their guilt, push forward, face fears, and discover their passions – a conversation I think all makers and creatives need to hear.

One of my favorite parts of the podcast, is the reminder at the very beginning of each podcast. Liz Gilbert, (who has the most heavenly voice) describes magic lessons as “road maps for the path to creativity…the extra nudge we need when we’re feeling stuck in our creative lives.”

This is such a powerful and uplifting message! I can’t wait to continue listening, (Gilbert has a great line-up of special guests which include, Cheryl Strayed, Ann Patchett, and Neil Gaiman).

Below, I’ve listed a few gems that I had to jot down in my notebook, which I hope will inspire you to take a listen too:

Gilbert, when discussing the different ways fear can arise, hindering our ability to realize our creative dreams:

“All procrastination is fear. Anything you do that stops you for the work that is gnawing at you, the work that wants to be made through you, the creative project that is begging you to realize it…anything you do that blocks that is fear. It might look like fear, but fear also has a lot of shady disguises. It can show up as perfectionism, insecurity, guilt, procrastination…all of it is something you are too scared to do.”

Liz shares a quote by one of my favorite authors, A. S. Byatt which made me stop in my tracks:

“I think of my writing simply in terms of pleasure. It’s the most important thing in my life: making things. Much as I love my husband and children, I love them only because I am the person who makes things. I am who I am is the person who has the project of making a thing. And because that person does that all the time, that person is able to love all those other people.”

Liz, on why discovering your “essential identity” is so important:

“Immerse yourself, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually in what you want to create…be the example of someone who pursues her passions. There are sacrifices to be made in creative work, and an urgency and boundaries to be set.”

Purchase Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic: Book Depository, Amazon

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