As I am rushing through my catch-up O.W.L.s in July (my results will be posted at the beginning of August), I’ll be ready just in time to participate in the mad awesomeness that is the N.E.W.T.s Readathon, which runs from August 1st through August 31st. G at Book Roast really created a stunning readathon, and one that motivates me to read older books like no other. Long post ahead!
This readathon is based on the tests taken in the Harry Potter world. For each school subject, there are three reading prompts. Depending on how many you manage to do (and in the right order!), your grade can range from A = Acceptable to E = Exceeds Expectations to O = Outstanding. Naturally, I’d love to get an Oustanding on all my N.E.W.T.s but realistically, I will only be able to read so many books within a month, even though I’m a Ravenclaw. This is where the careers come in handy, as they tell you which subjects to focus on so you can pursue your dream job in the wizarding world.
My chosen career is Journalist/Writer, so I’ll need to read a minimum of four books. Two of them will count toward my grade for History of Magic, one of them is for Muggle Studies, and the third can be for a class of my choice. I marked the prompts I have to fulfill with an asterisk. If I’m lucky and manage to grab a lot of reading time in August, I might check out the others to improve my marks.
And if I do very well on my O.W.L.s and there are more career options open to me, I may attempt some more N.E.W.T.s – in that case, I’d probably go for Hogwarts Professor. And just so I’m well prepared, here are all my books that would fit the prompts.
History of Magic
*A: read a fantasy
Helen Oyeyemi – Gingerbread
*E: read a book that includes a map
Margaret Rogerson – Sorcery of Thorns
O: Tom Riddle’s diary: fond memory – reread a favourite (or read a classic)
Ursula K. LeGuin – The Wizard of Earthsea (reread)
These books will very likely not be changed. I am looking forward to all of them immensely! Helen Oyeyemi is such a fantastic writer who intermingles fairy tales with real world situations beautifully. Sorcer of Thorns is on everyone’s TBR, and Earthsea has been so long ago for me that I remember only key points. It’s definitely time for a reread so I can continue the series.
*A: Cover that includes an actual photo element (person, item, place, etc.)
Rhiannon Thomas – A Wicked Thing
E: book set in our real world
Peter S. Beagle – In Calabria
O: book written by a person of colour
N. K. Jemisin – The Awakened Kingdom
I had a hard time finding a book with a photo cover but eventually, A Wicked Thing popped up. For the other two books, I chose very thin ones because I really want to read them to get a better grade than necessary. Plus, you can’t really go wrong with Peter S. Beagle and N. K. Jemisin.
Charms (my selection)
*A: read a book that you think has a gorgeous cover
Joanna Ruth Meyer – Echo North
E: read a comic/graphic novel/manga (or a book under 150 pages)
Holly Black – The Lost Sisters
O: Spongify (softening charm) – read a paperback book
Megan Whalen Turner – The Queen of Attolia
I mean, look at Echo North – look how pretty it is!
For the graphic novel, I currently only have huge collected editions on my TBR (1000 pages of a graphic novel is just too much), so I went with Holly Black’s prequel story to The Cruel Prince . I just realized that if Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman arrives on time (publication on August 20th), I can read this graphic novel for the prompt. Yay! Originally, I wanted to start The Queen’s Thief series with the N.E.W.T.s but as I’m already reading The Thief, I will just read the second volume during August.
A: Ehwaz (partnership) – read recommended by a friend
Lisa Goldstein – The Uncertain Places
E: a book written in past tense
Julia Ember – The Seafarer’s Kiss
O: a book that has been on your TBR for ages
Wolf Haas – Brennerova
I’ve been meaning to read The Uncertain Places for so long, it’s just that the cover always kind of puts me off. But not this time! I also look forward to the lesbian Little Mermaid retelling, The Seafarer’s Kiss, of which I have heard many good things. And finally, the last Brenner novel (an Austrian detective series) has been on my TBR embarrassingly long. As it’s also in German and I usually read much faster in German (duh, it’s my mother tongue), I expect to fly through this. And, Wolf Haas is also super funny, which helps.
A: a book that ends on an even page number
T. Kingfisher – Summer in Orcus
E: read a standalone
Esther Dalseno – Drown
O: a book that’s longer than 350 pages
Nicola Griffith – Hild
As I love everything T. Kingfisher writes, I can’t wait to start Summe in Orcus. My standalone book may change, however. I already have a Little Mermaid retelling on this list and I’m not sure if I’ll be up for two in one month (if I even get this far). But I really, really, really want to finally read Hild! It’s a big book and I expect it to be rather slow – character-focused, beautiful language – so this may also change.
A: moon on the cover or anywhere in the title
Vicky Alvear Shecter – Cleopatra’s Moon
E: the word “night” in the book title or series name
Charlie Jane Anders – The City in the Middle of the Night
O: read a sci-fi book (or a book with stars on the cover)
Diana Peterfreund – For Darkness Shows the Stars
I’m pretty set on this selection. I haven’t read any books about Cleopatra, so I’m curious what I’ll get. Charlie Jane Anders is amazing though, so I know I’ll probably love her latest book. And I’ve heard many good things about Diana Peterfreund’s Jane Austen retelling (both sci-fi and with stars on the cover!).
Care of Magical Creatures
A: Follow the spiders! Why couldn’t it be follow the butterflies? A book title that starts with the letter A, for Aragog
Arkady Martine – A Memory Called Empire
E: a book under 300 pages
Nnedi Okorafor – Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected
O: Grab onto Fawkes’ tail! Read a book with a bird on the cover
Ann Leckie – The Raven Tower
This is a crazy ambitious subject for me. Both A Memory Called Empire and The Raven Tower are rather chunky books. As I really want to read Nnedi Okorafors collection, however, I’ll at least try to make it through A Memory Called Empire. I look forward to reading it, it’s just the page count that’s a little daunting.
Defence Against the Dark Arts
A: a book that’s black under the dust jacket
Maya Motayne – Nocturna
E: Gilderoy’s memory charm – first book that you remembered just now from your TBR
George MacDonald – The Princess and the Goblin
O: Cornish pixie! Swat it away with a book written by an English author or set in England
Terry Pratchett – Thief of Time
Oh yeah, I love this category! I had more black-under-the-dust-jacket books than I expected but I just had to go with Nocturna (my edition is blue so it would also fit the House color prompt). Then, because I don’t want only newer books, I’ll head on to The Princess and the Goblin, and finally, some well-deserved Terry Pratchett. I’m spacing out Discworld novels, these days, because they are precious and I always want to have one unread for when I need a book that just makes me happy.
A: read a white book
Helen Oyeyemi – White is for Witching
E: read a short story or collection of short stories
Catherynne M. Valente – A Guide to Folktales in Fragile Dialects
O: read the last book you bought/took from the library
C.S.E. Cooney – Desdemona and the Deep
Another Helen Oyeyemi because I adore her! I will also definitely read a Cat Valente collection (favorite author, hello!), but the specific book may change. I have six (!) of her collections here, this just that this is one of the shorter ones. Other options include Ventriloquism, The Melancholy of Mechagirl, The Omikuji Project, The Future is Blue, and Myths of Origin.
Desdemona and the Deep just arrived in the mail – pre-orders are a beautiful thing. And C. S. E. Cooney is way up there with my favorite authors, so I can’t wait.
A: Mandrake! Quick, put your headphones on! Listen to an audiobook (if not – green cover)
Holly Black – The Wicked King
E: read a book between 350-390 pages
C. A. Fletcher – A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World
O: read a book with a flower on the cover
Lana Popović – Wicked Like a Wildfire
I want to read The Wicked King soon anyway, and I have the audiobook, so although it’s not a thin book, it fits perfectly. A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World wasn’t on my radar until I read some rave reviews of it. Now I have to read it and it fits the page count. The last book may change yet. I have a few books with flowers on the cover but I doubt I’ll even get this far in Herbology.
A: Polyjuice Potion! Read a friend’s favorite book!
Laini Taylor – Strange the Dreamer
E: House ingredient: book with a cover in your Hogwarts House color (blue)
Karen Lord – Unraveling
O: book that starts with a prologue
G. Willow Wilson – Alif the Unseen (starts with chapter zero, I hope that counts)
My real-world friends don’t really read that much but Strange the Dreamer seems to be a lot of people’s favorite book and I already started it once but life got in the way. I want to try it again and finish the story this time. My Hogwarts House is Ravenclaw, so Karen Lord’s Unraveling works well for this prompt. I thought I’d have the easiest time picking a book with a prologue because fantasy has lots of prologues… but I didn’t. I ended up with Alif the Unseen, which starts with chapter zero. If I find another book with an actual prologue, I’ll switch them but for now, this has to do.
A: read a book with LGBTQIA+ representation
Kameron Hurley – The Light Brigade
E: read a book thats not the first in a series
Mishell Baker – Impostor Syndrome
O: McGonagall does not mess around! Read a book over 500 pages
Marlon James – Black Leopard, Red Wolf
Another super exciting subject with rather ambitious book choices on my part. I have to check out The Light Brigade! I still haven’t read any fiction by Kameron Hurley but I love her non-fiction and everyone’s been raving about this book. Then, to finally finish the trilogy, I’ll go for Impostor Syndrome, and then, if I have time and a lot of ambition left, I’ll dive into the chunky tome that is Black Leopard, Red Wolf.
So this is it, all the books I could potentially read during August, although I’ll read a fraction of them at best. My priorities lie with the subjects I need to pass for my career as a writer but once that’s done, I’ll work my way through the rest of the list. If there’s a lot of time left, I might still try for a secondary career as a Defence Against the Dark Arts professor!
Some of these books have been on my TBR way too long, some are new releases that I want to catch up on. The specific books may still change, depending on what falls into my hands during the month of August. New releases or other books that fit the prompt and I just haven’t thought of yet, who knows? But I know one thing – I am super excited for this readathon, I look forward to all of the books and the interactions with other participants and the general joy that pretending to go to Hogwarts gives us all!
Are you also doing this readathon? If so, what career did you choose? Leave a link to your posts in the comments. I LOVE seeing other people’s readathon TBRs. 🙂