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A blog recommendation and a free book giveaway all in one post! A friend linked me to Juciliciousss Reviews’ book giveaway, which is awesome in itself — enter a drawing for a box of 8 or 9 YA books shoved in a box and sent to your home — but I clicked through to the main page, and you know, the blog is pretty great, too. I love the occasional YA book, particularly SF or fantasy. (I think some of the most unique and interesting SF is getting written as YA right now.) And now I will have another source to browse through when looking for new books! Wait…given my current to-read list, that might not be a good idea. Oh, well.

How was your Do Nothing But Read Day?

Okay, I admit, I didn’t exactly do nothing but read, I still had Christmas presents to make. But I did put a book on in the background — the audio book of Tolkien’s Children of Hurin, read by Christopher Lee. It’s pretty maudlin (lots of doom and…okay, mostly doom) but I do love Tolkien’s prose, and Christopher Lee has an amazing talent with the languages. (Yep, I’m one of those Tolkien nerds.)

The rest of the day I read Ash: A Secret History by Mary Gentle, an epic medieval alternate-history fantasy about fourteenth century Burgundy, a Carthage that never existed, and a female mercenary captain who became famous through the writings of her devoted followers. It’s a wonderfully compelling book; even the fight scenes are both readable and believable (read: bloody and confusing), and every single one of the characters is compelling, even Ash’s useless noble husband. I’m particularly impressed that there are only two characters I tend to get confused (a Richard and a Thomas Rochester, similar English names are doom for me), since often in books with a cast of thousands there are a bunch of interchangeable people to fill in the background, but I never get that sense with the mercenary company in Ash. I’m reading the epic 1100-page British edition, but in the US it was published in four volumes; the first is A Secret History: The Book of Ash.

Do Nothing But Read Day

My fellow Madison library school student Amanda has come up with a genius idea — Do Nothing But Read Day, scheduled for Sunday, December 20th. It’s stuck in there right between finals week (for those of us who still have finals week) and holiday insanity, on one of the shortest days of the year. Sign up and promise to spend all day in your pajamas with a couple of books and a mug of hot chocolate!

I confess, this is probably what I would have been doing on December 20th anyway, but I look forward to being joined by plenty of others who would rather Do Nothing But Read. What will I be reading? Well, I want to get through some of the library books I’ve had checked out for *cough* more than six months now, so I’ll be digging into Ronald Hutton’s Witches, Druids, and King Arthur, about English mythology, and Charles Nicholl’s Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe. And if that gets too heavy for me, there’s a Georgette Heyer on the to-read stack as well. Oh, I’m looking forward to this already.

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