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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekend Discussion: JRT To Host Its First Reading Challenge!

The past week has been a slow reading and blogging week for me.  I'm just now getting over a monster cold (during which I learned I am not allowed to do important things when sick) and can get back to my regular reading and blogging schedule.  If you're lucky, a review for Seanan McGuire's Rosemary and Rue will be up tomorrow.  I am, however, very busy this weekend.  My birthday is on Monday (if you ask nicely, I will tell you my age, otherwise, live in mystery and suspense), I have some training to finish that will take the majority of my time today; Sunday is going to be spent with my family.  Monday, of course, I'll be off in Erika-land enjoying my special day. ;)

I'm spilling the beans earlier than I'd normally planned because preparation takes time.  You may have read about the upcoming reading challenge I have been planning for JRT either from hints here or at Book Love Affair (thank you, TJ!).  It's not just a rumor--I really do plan on hosting an epic challenge that spans the months of May through August (when JRT will have its one year anniversary!).  In light of the season and inspired by the amount of new book series I found myself in possession of, JRT's first reading challenge will be called: Summer of Series!

Here is a logo to give you a visual:

If you can't quite make out the covers, here are the four series (yes, four!) this challenge will cover, in this order:

MAY CHALLENGE: The Long Price Quartet by Daniel Abraham
  1. A Shadow in Summer
  2. A Betrayal in Winter
  3. An Autumn War
  4. The Price of Spring

JUNE CHALLENGE: The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. Le Guin
  1. Wizard of Earthsea
  2. The Tombs of Atua
  3. The Farthest Shore

JULY CHALLENGE: Vatta's War by Elizabeth Moon
  1. Trading in Danger
  2. Marque and Reprisal
  3. Engaging the Enemy
  4. Command Decision
  5. Victory Conditions

AUGUST CHALLENGE: Inda Quartet by Sherwood Smith
  1. Inda
  2. Fox
  3. King's Shield
  4. Treason's Shore

Now, I know what you're thinking--some of these series are 4 or even, yes, 5 books long.  And yes, two of these books are currently only available in hardcover (The Price of Spring and Treason's Shore).  The rest are available in mass market or trade format (here in particular, I am thinking of the Le Guin trilogy).  I do, however, have a reason behind choosing the order each series will be read.

Since I'm not exactly sure the Inda series will only span four books, I've left it for last.  This is so that the challenge can leave you aching for more fantasy!  You'll leave on a good note (hopefully), having read 3 fantastic series and perhaps a fourth (although, if unfinished, you'll be all caught up).  Coincidentally, Treason's Shore should be out in mass market by the end of August.

Vatta's War is scheduled for July because it seems to be the safest place to place a 5-book series.  Summer school aside, July always seems the longest summer month to me.  Everyone goes back to classes in August (or September) and so, placing it there would make it more stressful than fun to read.

And lastly, I may have preempted it a little, but there is a giveaway (FREE stuff, yay!) involved for The Long Price Quartet to kick off the challenge.  As a promotion, that series then had to go first.  Also: the first book has a title that matches the challenge well, yes?

Now: I have 4 series, 4 months, and 36 books total.  That averages out to a book per week!  Sounds like a lot, doesn't it?  Don't worry, I don't want you to be overwhelmed.  Here are the basic rules for the challenge:

1. You can choose to participate in as many months as you want.  One, two, or the entire Summer--it's up to you!

2. In the spirit of reading Fantasy and SF series, I want everyone who's willing to take up the challenge to try their best for at least one of the months.

3. Pick whichever series looks most interesting to you, pick them all, it doesn't matter.  In the end it boils down to your willingness to tuck in for the long haul.

4.  There will be a sign-up sheet closer to May for participants to put their names to be featured on JRT.

5.  Take your time reading each series in the month(s) you've chosen, but remember: there will be a Review & Discussion post for each book throughout its corresponding month.

For example: In May I will be reading The Long Price Quartet.  Each week I will post a Review & Discussion entry chronologically for each book in that series.  The first full week of May will have a Review & Discussion for A Shadow in Summer; the second week will have a Review & Discussion for A Betrayal In Winter, etc...  This will be adjusted slightly for The Earthsea Cycle (with only 3 books) and Vatta's War (with 5 books).

If you noted the colors assigned to each month, there's a reason for that, too!  I'm making some handy-dandy graphics to correspond with each series/month.  This makes it easier for folks participating in one or two challenges to place the corresponding button proudly on their blog (if they have one) for whichever month(s) they're participating.

Remember: this is a Reading Challenge.  Part of the fun comes from challenging yourself to read like there's no tomorrow.  This is going to be tough for me, too.  I'm not used to plowing through four books in series without a break in the middle.  If I want to keep up this rigorous schedule, I'm going to have to do my best!

Spread the word if you can.  I'll be posting reminders periodically until May to make sure you don't forget.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section.  I'm more than happy to answer or clarify any concerns you may have regarding the challenge.  Since this is my first challenge, there will probably be lots of bumps along the way.  Bear with me: I want this to be as much fun and stress-free on myself as it should be for you. :)

EDIT: Sign-up sheet located here.


Anonymous said...

Firstly: Happy early birthday.

Secondly: I am incredibly excited for this challenge and will put a banner up on my site next week to help promoting it. I plan to participate in every month. :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Early Birthday, indeed! I bet you're younger than me. :)

I'm curious that you chose the first three instead of the first four Earthsea books (fourth book being TEHANU), but it makes sense in light of the fact that Vatta's War is five books long.

I will probably be a partial participant. I've read ALL of the Vatta books, and the first in the Abraham and Le Guin series. I'll play it by ear, but I'll definitely keep an eye out, and try to promote if I can!

Erika said...

@TJ: Thank you for the birthday wishes! I'm excited for challenge and so glad you're participating!

@calico-reaction: Thanik you for the birthday wishes! Hahaha, I might be younger! I probably act about as young as I am so.. ;)

I was actually unaware there are 4 Earthsea books. I chose 3 because a far as I know, it's a contained trilogy. Did the fourth come out much longer after the others? I'd love to know more! I'd definitely add it to the challenge.

Anonymous said...

Oh, it did come out much later! There's actually a total of six Earthsea books. Jo Walton @ Tor.com re-read and reviewed them all rather recently. You're probably good with just focusing on the trilogy though. :)

Erika said...

@calico-reaction: I saw those! I was wondering why the titles were so different, but silly me, I never bothered to check why. I think I'll stick with the trilogy and recommend the newer titles to encourage further reading. Thank you for pointing this out. ;)

Anonymous said...

Just found this mentioned over at Calico_reaction's blog, and I will so be participating! August it the most doable for me, but I'm not sure about the rest of the summer yet (I may or may not do an internship, and I'm not sure how much of my time it will take up yet). Hopefully, by the time you have the sign up sheet, I will have a better idea on what I can do!

Great challenge :)

Anonymous said...

I also found this from calico_reaction's blog. Great idea for a challenge. I will probably be signing up for the August since it's the best time for me and also because I have been thinking about that series for while since I read Crown Duel by the same author.

Erika said...

@temporaryworlds: One month is just as fun! Good luck with your internship and I hope, if possible, you can do another one of the series. :) Sign-up sheet will be posted sometime next month.

@starmeal_oak: Thank you for stopping by! August is turning into the popular month, I'd love to have you participate. :)

Rebecca @ DSB said...

I am down with May - I've been wanting to read Abraham's Long Price Quartet for a while now. I've even got the first book ready to go.

I like your concept - I'll be sure to mention it in my Friday news post.

Erika said...

@Rebecca: Yay! Another early participant! Make sure you stop by around the first couple of weeks in April. I should have a sign up sheet for you. :)

And thank you for mentioning it in your news post! :)

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