2020 in Facts and Figures

I already posted my main 2020 in Review and Looking Ahead to 2021 posts a while ago — only on my new blog (separate post to come) –, but I held back on my 2020 reading statistics until the year was well and truly over.  And for all my good intentions when posting my mid-year summary back in early July 2020, the second half of the year continued pretty much in the same vein as the first half had begun; i.e., my statistics for the whole year are still a variation on the theme of Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover, or, 17 charts showing that 2020 was a year of reading Golden Age mysteries written by women (and following other Anglo-/ UK-centric reading proclivities); i.e. comfort reading galore … it was just that kind of year, I guess.

As a result, my Golden Age Mysteries / Detection Club reading project progressed very nicely.  Luckily, as I said in my main 2020 in Review post, I also managed to add a number of new countries to my Around the World challenge, and the gender balance is solidly in favor of women authors: I read almost 2 1/2 books by women for every book written by a man — in fact, I even reread more books by women than the total number of books by men.  So there was at least some progress in other areas, too.  And I liked or even loved most of the books I read in 2020 — including most of the new-to-me books –, which of course was another huge plus; in a year where reading was my go-to source of comfort, at that: most of my ratings were 4 stars or higher and thus, above the rating that marks “average” in my personal scale (3.5 stars).

Still, in 2021 I’m going to make a fresh attempt to refocus on my Around the World reading project, in furtherance of which I’ve also created a Diversity Bingo that I’ll try to get through in the space of this one year (though if it takes longer, it takes longer); and I’ll also try to include more books from my Freedom and Future Library in my yearly reading again.

And now, without any further ado:

Greatest New Author Discoveries of 2020

Classics and LitFic
Bernardine Evaristo
Olivia Manning

Historical Fiction
Dorothy Dunnett
Jean-François Parot
Paul Doherty

Golden and Silver Age Mysteries
Josephine Bell
Moray Dalton
Molly Thynne
Christianna Brand
Anthony Gilbert
Raymond Postgate
Patricia Moyes

My Life in Book Titles

This is a meme I’ve seen on quite a few blogs towards the end of 2020; it was created by Annabel at Annabookbel.  You’re to answer the prompts, using only books you have read in 2020; without, if possible, repeating a book title.  I thought I’d include it in my yearly roundup — and to up the ante a little bit further, I decided to use only books I read for the first time in 2020.

In high school I was Unspeakable (John Bercow)

People might be surprised by (my incarnation as) Lioness Rampant (Tamora Pierce)

I will never be The Horse You Came in On (Martha Grimes), nor Resorting to Murder (Martin Edwards, ed.; Various Authors)

My life in lockdown was like (a) Tour de Force (Christianna Brand) and (a) Tragedy at Law (Cyril Hare)

My fantasy job is The Thinking Machine at Work (Jacques Futrelle)

At the end of a long day I need to be Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi) (to my) Pilgrim’s Rest (Patricia Wentworth)

I hate being (around) Serpents in Eden (Martin Edwards, ed.; Various Authors)

Wish I had The Lost Tools of Learning (Dorothy L. Sayers)

My family reunions are (often with) Thirteen Guests (J. Jefferson Farjeon)

At a party you’d find me with My Friend Mr. Campion (Margery Allingham), Lady Molly of Scotland Yard (Emmuska Orczy), and other Bodies from the Library (Tony Medawar, ed.; Various Authors)

I’ve never been to Goodwood (Holly Throsby), Cherringham (Matthew Costello, Neil Richards), or At the Villa Rose (A.E.W. Mason)

A happy day includes A Small Place (Jamaica Kincaid) (of my own): My Beloved World (Sonia Sotomayor)

Motto(s) I live by: To Love and Be Wise (Josephine Tey); and We Should All Be Feminists (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

On my bucket list is Shakespeare’s Local (Pete Brown)

In my next life, I want to have The Grand Tour (Matthew Pritchard, ed.; Agatha Christie)

The Stats

Number of books started: 273
Number of books finished: 271
DNF: 2
Average Rating (overall): 3.9
Average Rating w/o Favorite Annual Xmas Rereads: 3.8

Note: The above chart includes my 6 annual Christmas rereads, which have a habit of slightly skewing my overall rating figures upwards; without these books, the number of 5-star books is reduced by 5 and the number of 4.5-star books is reduced by 1.

Note: “F / M (mixed)” refers to anthologies with contributions by both male and female authors, as well as to books jointly written by male and female authors. — “N / A” in the protagonist gender chart refers to Martha Wells’s Murderbot, who is deliberately created as gender-neutral.

Note: “Multi-ethnic” either refers to several persons (authors / protagonists) of different genders, or to one person of mixed ethnicity.

 

24 Festive Tasks: Door 22 – New Year’s Eve

17 - Solstice
3 - Melbourne Cup Day
21 - Kwanzaa
9 - World Philosophy Day
12 - St. Andrew's Day
24
22 - New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day
15 - International Human Rights Day
1 - dia de los Muertos
13 - Advent
18 - Hanukkah
6 - Veterans / Armistice Day
5 - Bon Om Touk
14 - St. Nicholas’ Day
7 - International Day for Tolerance
20 - Christmas
11 - Thanksgiving
23
10 - Russian Mothers' Day
2 - Japanese Culture Day
19 - Festivus
16 - St. Lucia's Day
8 - International Children’s Day
4 - Guy Fawkes Night

 

 
New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day
Door 22:  New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day
 
Task 1: Tell us: What are your reading goals for the coming year?
 
Task 2: The reading year in review: How did you fare – what was good, what wasn’t?
 
Task 3: Bibliomancy: Ask a question related to your reading plans or experience in the coming year, open one of your weightiest tomes on page 485, and find the answer to your question in line 7.
 
Task 4: Tell us: Which famous person, dead or alive and no matter from which walk of life, would you like to invite to your New Year’s Eve party, and what contribution (food, games / entertainment, etc.) would you tell them to bring?
 
Book: Read a book about an ending or a new start, where things go BOOM, with fireworks on the cover, set in medieval times, about the papacy, or where miracles of any sort are performed.
 

 
NEW: Once you’ve completed a task or tasks, please use the handy form, located in the spoiler tags (to keep things tidy) to let us know. This will make tracking points MUCH easier for the 24 Tasks Team.
[spoiler]

* Required
 

Blog Name: *

 
Festive Task Door Completed: *
Choose
Dia de los Muertos
Japanese Culture Day
Melbourne Cup Day
Guy Fawkes Night
Bon Om Touk (Korean Water & Moon Festival)
Veterans / Armistice Day
International Day for Tolerance
International Children’s Day
World Philosophy Day
Russian Mothers’ Day
Thanksgiving
St. Andrew’s Day
Advent
St. Nicholas Day
International Human Rights Day
St. Lucia’s Day
Winter Solstice
Hanukkah
Festivus
Christmas
Kwanzaa
New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day
Hogswatch
Twelfth Night / Epiphany

 
I’ve completed the following task for this holiday: *
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1
2
3
4
Book
BONUS TASK

 
Have you completed some of the tasks for this holiday already? *
Choose
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If you have completed tasks previously, which ones? * (Required if answered yes to the previous question.)
Book
T1
T2
T3
T4
BONUS
 
(Optional) Link to your blog post:

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[/spoiler]
 
Previous door’s tasks are “beneath the fold”

 

Previous Doors’ Tasks and Books

 

 
Dia de los Muertos
Door 1:  Dia de Los Muertos
 
Task 1: Compose a limerick or short poem in honor of a favorite book character.
 
Task 2:  If you like Mexican food, treat yourself to a favorite dish – and / or make yourself a margarita – and share a photo.
 
Task 3: Write an epitaph for the book you most disliked this year.
 
Task 4: Do you have any traditions or mementos of happy memories of a loved one that you feel like sharing?
 
Book: Reread a favorite book by a deceased author or from a finished series, or read a book set in Mexico or a book that either has a primarily black and white cover or all the colors (ROYGBIV) on the cover, or a book featuring zombies.
 

 

 
Japanese Culture Day
Door 2:  Japanese Culture Day
 
Task 1: Tell us about a cultural festival or event in the area where you live.
 
Task 2: Try a flavor of Kit Kat other than chocolate and report back if you liked it.
 
Task 3: Try your hand at folding a paper crane. Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-Paper-Crane-1/
 
Task 4: If you like Japanese food, treat yourself to a favorite dish.
 
Book: Read a graphic novel or a book set in a school or academic setting.
 

 

 
Melbourne Cup Day
Door 3:  Melbourne Cup Day
 
Task 1: Pick your ponies.*
 
Task 2: Roses are the official flower of Flemington Race Track; write your own “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue” poem for one of your favorite or most hated books of all time.
 
Task 3: Aussies shorten everything, so Melbourne Cup Day is just called “Cup Day” – post a picture of your favorite cup or mug for your daily fix of coffee, tea or chocolate.
 
Task 4: Prepare your favorite dessert – in a cup! Post a photo of it for us to enjoy vicariously.
 
Book: Read a book about horses, with a horse or with roses on the cover, about gardening, or set in Australia, or written by an Australian author.
 
* Ponies (horses) running the race will be posted here by Darth Pedant, guest hosting for MurderByDeath, as soon as they’re announced, or thereabouts. The official field is published on November 3rd.

 

 
Guy Fawkes Night
Door 4:  Guy Fawkes Night
 
Task 1: Make a list of the top 3 treasonous crimes against books that an author can commit.
 
Task 2: Start a revolution: What one thing would you change about the book reading world? (Be it publishing, distribution, editing, cover art, bookstores – anything having to do with books.)
 
Task 3: Make a little straw (or wood / cloth / wool / fabric) effigy of the book character you like least.
 
Task 4:

How do you order the books on your shelves?
 
Book: Read a book set in the UK, a political thriller, a book involving any monarchy or revolution, a book about arson or related to fires and burning, a book whose plot involves costumes / fancy dress, or that has masks on the cover, or that is self-published.
 

 

 
Bon Om Touk
Door 5:  Bon Om Touk
 
Task 1: List / tell us about your favorite rainy day reads.
 
Task 2: String up some fairy lights around your books / bookcase / kindle and share a picture of the results.
 
Task 3: Dragons and dragon-like serpents (imugi) are important to Korean mythology (as they are to that of other Asian peoples). So – which are your favorite literary dragons (fictional, mythological, whatever)?
 
Task 4:The South Korean flag features images of ying / yang (the blue and red circle in the center) and four sets of three black lines each representing heaven, sun, moon and earth and, in turn, the virtues humanity, justice, intelligence and courtesy. Compile a list or stack – 4 books minimum – composed of books that either have opposing words in their titles (e.g., war / peace; asleep / awake – not necessarily both words in the same title), or that feature the words “heaven,” “sun,” “moon,” “earth,” “humanity,” “justice,” intelligence,” and / or “courtesy.”
 
Book: Read a book by a Korean author or set in Korea, that takes place at sea or on a river, where the plot involves a festival, where the moon or rain plays a pivotal role in the plot, or with rain, water or the moon on the cover.
 

 

 
Veterans / Armistice Day
Door 6:  Veterans / Armistice Day
 
Task 1: Sunrise services are a staple of this day: Take a picture of the sunrise where you live and share it with us.
 
Task 2: In keeping with the minute of silence, tell us about the authors who have passed this year that you will miss the most.
 
Task 3: Rosemary is for remembrance, but it’s great for chasing away moths, silverfish and other bugs that can damage books (and linens). Make a sachet with some rosemary, lavender, dried basil, etc. to keep on your bookshelves – post a picture of the results and let us know what combinations of herbs you used. A list of possibilities can be found here: https://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/12-plants-that-repel-unwanted-insects
 
Task 4:The Forest of Compiègne, just outside Compiègne, France, is the site of the signing of the 1918 Armistice. It was also the site of the signing by the French of a truce with the Germans following the German invasion in 1940. – Find a green space in your local area (or favorite area) and go for a walk or bike ride of a mile (or 1.61 km) and post a picture or screenshot of the map of where you walked / biked.
 
Book: Read a book involving a war, battle, or where characters are active military or veterans, or with poppies on the cover, or honor the ‘unknown soldier’ of your TBR and read the book that’s been there the longest.
 

 

 
International Day for Tolerance
Door 7:  International Day for Tolerance
 
Task 1: Find a redeeming quality in a book you read this year and didn’t like.
 
Task 2: Share a story about yourself, or a story about your family that’s survived the generations, or share a particular tradition your family has passed on from generation to generation and if there’s a story behind why, tell us about it.
 
Task 3: The French expression for tolerance towards others is “laisser faire, laisser aller” (roughly: “let them do as they want, let it go”). Have you ever “let go” a book (e.g., given it away or decided not to yield to the temptation to buy it) and later regretted that choice?
 
Task 4:If you were offered an all-expenses-paid trip to one (one only!) of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, which one would you pick (and why)?
 
Book: Read a book about tolerance, or outside your comfort zone, or set in Paris (seat of UNESCO).
 

 

 
International Children’s Day
Door 8:  International Children’s Day
 
Task 1:  What was your favorite children’s book growing up? Your favorite middle grade book?
 
Task 2: Rediscover your childhood with a yo-yo, a slinky, – whatever toy you loved from childhood you still have access to, or make and blow some bubbles! Take a picture and share your fun with the rest of us.
 
Task 3: Make some art – draw a picture, or color one in and share the results with us. Free printable bookmarks can be found on Google images
 
Task 4: As a kid, did you enjoy visiting amusement parks and carnivals? Which were your favorite rides or shows? Do you still have any photos, or is there a memorable event you’re happy to share? – Alternatively, if you’re a parent now: Do you visit amusement parks / carnivals with your kids?
 
Book: Read a children’s or YA book or a book where children or teenagers play a significant role, or written by an author who was under the age of 18 at the time of publication.
 

 

 
World Philosophy Day
Door 9:  World Philosophy Day
 
Task 1:  Share your reading philosophy with us – do you DNF? If so, do you have a page minimum to read before you declare it a DNF?
 
Task 2: Share your reviewing philosophy with us – how do you rate a book? Do you have a mental template for reviewing? Rules you try to follow, or rules you try to break?
 
Task 3: How do you stay zen / sane over the holidays or in other stressful periods?
 
Task 4: Did you love or hate the books you had to read for school? Looking back, which ones (good or bad) stand out to you the most?
 
Book: Read a book about philosophy or a philosopher, or a how-to book about changing your life in a significant way or suggesting a particular lifestyle (Hygge, Marie Kobo, etc.).
 

 

 
Russian Mothers' Day
Door 10:  Russian Mothers’ Day
 
Task 1:  “Three Russian writers walk into a bar …” (Take it from here – the wilder the merrier!)
 
Task 2: Towards the end of the 17th century, there was a Russian apprentice carpenter and shipwright going by the name Peter Mikhailov in the Dutch town of Zaandam (and later in Amsterdam), who eventually turned out to be none other than Tsar Peter the Great, whose great interest in the craft would become pivotal to his programs for the build-up of the Russian navy and naval commerce.
So: Tell us about a favorite book, either nonfiction history (demonstrably true facts, please, no conspiracy theories or unproven conjecture) or fiction – all genres, not limited to historical fiction –, dealing with a member of royalty “moonlighting” as a commoner.
 
Task 3: Until WWII, the most famous part of the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo near St. Petersburg was the so-called amber room. It was looted, lock stock and barrel, by the Nazis, and has since vanished from the face of the earth, with its fate a complete mystery to the present day. Let your imagination run wild: What do you think may have happened to it? (Kidnapped by aliens? Spirited away by dwarves and hidden in a secret cavern deep below the face of the earth? Sold, piece by piece, to finance … what? The Nazi war effort? The restoration of the Romanovs to the throne of Russia? Stalin’s pogroms? What else?) Don’t hold back, we’d love to know!
 
Task 4: Forget-me-nots and handmade medals of honor are important Russian Mothers’ Day gifts. Create a medal of honor (with or without the image of a forget-me-not) for a favorite book character or for a family member or friend of yours that you’d like to pay respect to.
 
Book: Read a book set in Russia, by a Russian author, featuring a story within a story (like a Russian “matryoshka” doll), or featuring a character who is a mother.
 

 

 
Thanksgiving
Door 11:  Thanksgiving Day
 
Task 1:  If you have kids or pets, tell us about something “bad” they did that was so funny you couldn’t help but forgive (“pardon”) them. If you have neither kids nor pets, was there such an event in your own childhood – or with kids or pets in your family or circle of friends?
 
Task 2: Tell us: Of the books that you read this year, which are you most thankful for, OR was there one that turned out to be full of “stuffing”? Alternatively, which (one) book that you read anytime at all changed your life for the better?”
 
Task 3: Share your favorite turkey or pie recipe.
 
Task 4: Send a friend you’re thankful for having a postcard (in the mail!). Snap a picture of the postcard image (not the message) and share it with us.
 
Book: Read a book with an autumnal cover, set in New England, where a turkey shows up in the story, with a turkey or pumpkin on the cover, or with the theme of coming together to help a community or family in need.
 

 

 
St. Andrew's Day
Door 12:  St. Andrew’s Day
 
Task 1:  Tell us: Who is your favorite Scottish (or Scots-born / -descendant) writer?
 
Task 2: Ian Rankin likes to say that the Scottish national diet is sugar, fat and alcohol. The traditional Scottish dessert – Raspberry Cranachan – contains all three of these (and of course the alcohol in it is the national drink, whisky), but it’s also delicious! So … make Raspberry Cranachan: http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/2852/raspberry-cranachan.aspx (For a non-alcoholic version just omit the whisky – or substitute with orange juice.)
 
Task 3: St. Andrew was a fisherman by trade: Which book(s) from your TBR that you read this year turned out to be the year’s greatest “catch”?
 
Task 4: If you could create your personal tartan, what would it look like? Or if you have a favorite existing tartan, which one is it?
 
Book: Read a book set in Scotland.
 

 

 
Advent
Door 13:  Advent
 
Task 1:  Share a picture of your advent calendar.
 
Task 2: Tell us: What is your favorite holiday tradition?
 
Task 3: Prepare an apple cider wassail bowl or a wassail bowl containing your favorite drink or fruit. Post a picture and enjoy!
 
Task 4: Tell us about an event in the immediate or near future that you’re looking forward to.
 
Book: Read a pastiche, a book authorized by a deceased author’s estate, the 4th book in a series, a book with the word “four” in the title, a book featuring four siblings, or a book with a wreath, pines or fir trees on the cover.
 

 

 
St. Nicholas Day
Door 14:  St. Nicholas’ Day
 
Task 1: Write a book wish list to St. Nick / Santa Claus for books that you’ve been eyeing but can’t justify the expense of purchasing. (E.g., art books? Collector’s editions? Boxed sets?)
 
Task 2: In the Netherlands, ‘Sinterklaas’ is celebrated with ginger biscuits, marzipan and hot chocolate with cream; in Germany, it’s St. Nicholas’ Day with gingerbread, chocolate and / or nut or almond cookies, chocolate candy, and tangerines (or oranges). Choose one or more of the above as a holiday snack and post a picture for us to drool over.
 
Task 3:  St. Nicholas is a man of many names in English alone – Santa Claus, Saint Nick, Father Christmas … although in the English speaking world he only comes once (at Christmas, not also on December 6 – whereas in Germany and the Netherlands he makes his visits under different names on both occasions). Which of your favorite books were published under different titles in the same language, e.g., in North America vs. Britain? Have you ever bought a book under a title unfamiliar to you, only to discover belatedly that it was one you already own / had already read under a different title?
 
Task 4: A Czech Republic tradition for St Nick’s Day is groups of three “people” – St Nick, Angel, and Devil – to roam the streets the night before St Nick’s Day and stop children to ask them if they have been good during the year or not. Most kids say yes, sing a song or recite a poem. The three “strangers” then decide if the children are telling the truth. The good kids get candy / treats from the Angel, bad kids get potatoes or coal from the Devil. So: Post a song or poem (your own or someone else’s) that involves candy, potatoes, or coal.
 
Book: Read a book with an orange or red cover, set in the Netherlands or Germany, by a Dutch or German author, or with nuts, chocolate, coins, canals or beer on the cover.
 

 

 
International Human Rights Day
Door 15:  International Human Rights Day
 
Task 1: Cook a dish from a culture other than your own or something involving apples (NYC = Big Apple) or oranges (for the Netherlands, seat of the International Court of Justice & International Criminal Court).
 
Task 2: Create a stack of books or a list with books by some of your favorite female and / or minority authors (minimum: five) and tell us what you like about their writing.
 
Task 3:  Nominate a (fictional) character from one of the books you read this year for a Nobel Prize – regardless which one – or for a similarly important prize (e.g., the Fields Medal for mathematics) and write a brief laudation explaining your nomination.
 
Task 4: Reconstitute one of the bodies or institutions of the United Nations (Plenary Assembly, Security Council, Secretariat, International Court of Justice / Criminal Court, World Bank, etc.) with some of your favorite characters (minimum: five) and explain why you chose them and what you’d expect them to achieve.
 
Book: Read a book featuring a strong female character (or characters), by an author from any minority group, a story about a minority overcoming their oppressors, or revolving around the rights of others either being defended or abused, a book set in New York City, or a book originally written in a language other than English and / or your mother tongue or by anyone not Anglo-Saxon.
 

 

 
St. Lucia’s Day
Door 16:  St. Lucia’s Day
 
Task 1: Famous first words: Tradition has it that the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize are woken up by the St. Lucia maidens, as St. Lucia’s Day (Dec. 13) is just three days after the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony and many laureates stay long enough to be able to take in the St. Lucia festivities. Imagine one of your favorite (fictional) characters had won that prize: How would you think (s)he would greet the maidens? (If you’ve used the Nobel Peace Prize for Door 15, Task 3, this can be the same character, of course … or a different one, just as you wish.)
 
Task 2: Compile a list of five or more carols, poems, short stories, novels or other pieces of writing that feature sleigh rides.
 
Task 3:  Trolls, gnomes, dwarves and similar beings (some evil, some less so, almost all of them mischievous) are a staple of Scandinavian mythology and folklore, as well as other folklores and mythologies around the world and, of course, fantasy and speculative fiction. Who is your favorite such creature and why? (No matter whether mythological, fictional or from whatever other source.)
 
Task 4: The historic (3d century AD) St. Lucia was Italian; yet, like those of many other saints (including, e.g., St. Andrew and St. Nicholas), the most important celebrations of her holiday don’t occur in her place of origin but somewhere else in the world.
 
Book:  Read a book set in Scandinavia / Northern Europe, by a Northern European / Nordic author, with a predominantly white cover (or white with red lettering), newly released in November or December of this year, or set in the candle-lit world (i.e., before the discovery of electricity – roughly, that is, before the late 19th century).
 

 

 
Winter Solstice
Door 17:  Winter Solstice (Yule / Yaldā Night / Dongzhi / Soyal):
 
Task 1: Yule task (Germany / Scandinavia): Burn a Yule log – or if you don’t have a fireplace, light a candle to chase away the winter and welcome in the longer days. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, light a candle to mourn the slow but inexorable retreat of the sun.
 
Task 2: Yaldā Night task (Persia / Iran): Stay up all night reading a good book (or at least stay up past your usual bedtime).
 
Task 3:  Dongzhi task (China): To commemorate Marco Polo’s memoirs of his trip to China, write a fictional diary entry or letter home from an imagined trip to a faraway place (real or invented) – or if you actually have written such a letter in the past and are happy to share it with us, please do!
 
Task 4: Soyal task (Zuñi & Hopi / Native American): While systems of written symbols and communication already existed with the Pre-Columbian Native American cultures, to many tribes even today (including the Zuñi and Hopi) the oral tradition is still important. Have you ever had stories told to you (e.g., as children’s bedtime stories, or at night during a camping vacation)? Or if you haven’t, try to imagine a “storytelling” situation you’d like to experience?
 
Book:  Read a book that takes place in December, with ice or snow on the cover, where all events take place in a single day or night, that revolves around the solstice, set in Persia / Iran, China or the American Southwest or prominently featuring Persian / Iranian, Chinese or Native American characters, or a collection of poetry.
 

 

 
Hanukkah
Door 18:  Hanukkah
 
Task 1: Spin the dreidel to determine which book is going to be the first one you’ll be reading in the new year. Find a virtual dreidel here:
https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/make-a-dreidel
http://www.jewfaq.org/dreidel/play.htm
http://www.torahtots.com/holidays/chanuka/dreidel.htm
 
Task 2: Latkes or donuts are fried in oil to remind Jews of the oil that lasted for eight days: Fry yourself up some latkes or donuts. Share your recipe with us if they came out tasty.
 
Task 3:  Read a book by candle light (or flashlight).
 
Task 4: The 6th night of Hanukkah is dubbed “Candle of Righteousness”; at this time believers are expected to make a charitable donation. Make a blessing bag or food donation to a local food bank (or another charitable donation if there is no food bank anywhere near you).
 
Book: Read a book about light, miracles, featuring Jewish characters, set in Israel, that is the second book in a series, with the word “two” in the title, or with a light on the cover.
 

 

 
Festivus
Door 19:  Festivus
 
Task 1: The annual airing of grievances: Which are the five books you liked least this year – and why?
 
Task 2: Battle of the Books: pick two books off your shelf (randomly or with purpose); in a fair fight, which book would come out on top? The fight can be based on the merits of the book itself, its writing, or full-on mano a mano between two characters. Which would win the feat of strength?
 
Task 3:  Go ‘pole’mic on one of the characters from an entrant in your five least favorite books, or just have a go at one of the books (the book, not the author, please) in Task 1.
 
Task 4: As miracles go, a “Festivus miracle” … really isn’t one – it’s just something marginally unusual that someone mentions and which someone else then declares “a Festivus miracle”, as a pun on the “Christmas miracle” trope. (E.g., in the original Seinfeld episode, it’s a coincidental meeting: “Oh, I didn’t expect to run into you here …” – “It’s a Festivus miracle!”) Create a “Festivus miracle” dialogue / situation; the greater the parody the better.
 
Book: Read any comedy, parody, or satire.
 

 

 
Christmas
Door 20:  Christmas
 
Task 1: Share a picture of your holiday decorations.
 
Task 2: Watch a favorite Christmas movie.
 
Task 3:  Did your Christmas celebrations include books? Share your book haul pictures with us!
 
Task 4: What was the best Christmas / holiday present you ever received – the one that meant the most to you or gave you the greatest joy? (This can be anything; objects / material gifts as well as something someone did for you, or anything else – whatever made that particular holiday especially memorable.)
 
Book: Read a Christmas book.
 

 

 
Kwanzaa
Door 21:  Kwanzaa
 
Task 1: Share a shelfie or the picture of a stack of books or of an “object” (star, Christmas tree, etc.) created from books with red, black and green covers.
 
Task 2: Music is an important part of a Kwanzaa celebration. Which is / are your favorite book(s) where music plays an important role in the plot?
 
Task 3: Corn, in the context of Kwanzaa, symbolizes of our children and our future which they represent. Make / eat a corn dish. Recipes:
https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/photos/our-best-corn-recipes
https://www.delish.com/cooking/g1463/sweet-corn-recipes/?slide=1
 
Task 4: Cup of Unity is another Kwanzaa symbol. Either buy a friend a coffee / tea / etc. or start a small tab ($10 or less) at a local coffee shop and buy a coffee / tea for strangers behind you in line.
 
Book: Read a book set in Africa or the Caribbean, by an African, Caribbean, or African-American author, with a green, red, or black cover, or with crops of the earth or a native African animal on the cover (Lion, giraffe, cheetah, etc.).
 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2002995/24-festive-tasks-door-22-new-years-eve

24 Festive Tasks: Door 22 – New Year’s Eve

17 - Solstice
3 - Melbourne Cup Day
21 - Kwanzaa
9 - World Philosophy Day
12 - St. Andrew's Day
24
22 - New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day
15 - International Human Rights Day
1 - dia de los Muertos
13 - Advent
18 - Hanukkah
6 - Veterans / Armistice Day
5 - Bon Om Touk
14 - St. Nicholas’ Day
7 - International Day for Tolerance
20 - Christmas
11 - Thanksgiving
23
10 - Russian Mothers' Day
2 - Japanese Culture Day
19 - Festivus
16 - St. Lucia's Day
8 - International Children’s Day
4 - Guy Fawkes Night

 

 
New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day
Door 22:  New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day
 
Task 1: Tell us: What are your reading goals for the coming year?
 
Task 2: The reading year in review: How did you fare – what was good, what wasn’t?
 
Task 3: Bibliomancy: Ask a question related to your reading plans or experience in the coming year, open one of your weightiest tomes on page 485, and find the answer to your question in line 7.
 
Task 4: Tell us: Which famous person, dead or alive and no matter from which walk of life, would you like to invite to your New Year’s Eve party, and what contribution (food, games / entertainment, etc.) would you tell them to bring?
 
Book: Read a book about an ending or a new start, where things go BOOM, with fireworks on the cover, set in medieval times, about the papacy, or where miracles of any sort are performed.
 

 
NEW: Once you’ve completed a task or tasks, please use the handy form, located in the spoiler tags (to keep things tidy) to let us know. This will make tracking points MUCH easier for the 24 Tasks Team.
[spoiler]

* Required
 

Blog Name: *

 
Festive Task Door Completed: *
Choose
Dia de los Muertos
Japanese Culture Day
Melbourne Cup Day
Guy Fawkes Night
Bon Om Touk (Korean Water & Moon Festival)
Veterans / Armistice Day
International Day for Tolerance
International Children’s Day
World Philosophy Day
Russian Mothers’ Day
Thanksgiving
St. Andrew’s Day
Advent
St. Nicholas Day
International Human Rights Day
St. Lucia’s Day
Winter Solstice
Hanukkah
Festivus
Christmas
Kwanzaa
New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day
Hogswatch
Twelfth Night / Epiphany

 
I’ve completed the following task for this holiday: *
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1
2
3
4
Book
BONUS TASK

 
Have you completed some of the tasks for this holiday already? *
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If you have completed tasks previously, which ones? * (Required if answered yes to the previous question.)
Book
T1
T2
T3
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BONUS
 
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space
[/spoiler]
 
Previous door’s tasks are “beneath the fold”

 

Previous Doors’ Tasks and Books

 

 
Dia de los Muertos
Door 1:  Dia de Los Muertos
 
Task 1: Compose a limerick or short poem in honor of a favorite book character.
 
Task 2:  If you like Mexican food, treat yourself to a favorite dish – and / or make yourself a margarita – and share a photo.
 
Task 3: Write an epitaph for the book you most disliked this year.
 
Task 4: Do you have any traditions or mementos of happy memories of a loved one that you feel like sharing?
 
Book: Reread a favorite book by a deceased author or from a finished series, or read a book set in Mexico or a book that either has a primarily black and white cover or all the colors (ROYGBIV) on the cover, or a book featuring zombies.
 

 

 
Japanese Culture Day
Door 2:  Japanese Culture Day
 
Task 1: Tell us about a cultural festival or event in the area where you live.
 
Task 2: Try a flavor of Kit Kat other than chocolate and report back if you liked it.
 
Task 3: Try your hand at folding a paper crane. Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-Paper-Crane-1/
 
Task 4: If you like Japanese food, treat yourself to a favorite dish.
 
Book: Read a graphic novel or a book set in a school or academic setting.
 

 

 
Melbourne Cup Day
Door 3:  Melbourne Cup Day
 
Task 1: Pick your ponies.*
 
Task 2: Roses are the official flower of Flemington Race Track; write your own “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue” poem for one of your favorite or most hated books of all time.
 
Task 3: Aussies shorten everything, so Melbourne Cup Day is just called “Cup Day” – post a picture of your favorite cup or mug for your daily fix of coffee, tea or chocolate.
 
Task 4: Prepare your favorite dessert – in a cup! Post a photo of it for us to enjoy vicariously.
 
Book: Read a book about horses, with a horse or with roses on the cover, about gardening, or set in Australia, or written by an Australian author.
 
* Ponies (horses) running the race will be posted here by Darth Pedant, guest hosting for MurderByDeath, as soon as they’re announced, or thereabouts. The official field is published on November 3rd.

 

 
Guy Fawkes Night
Door 4:  Guy Fawkes Night
 
Task 1: Make a list of the top 3 treasonous crimes against books that an author can commit.
 
Task 2: Start a revolution: What one thing would you change about the book reading world? (Be it publishing, distribution, editing, cover art, bookstores – anything having to do with books.)
 
Task 3: Make a little straw (or wood / cloth / wool / fabric) effigy of the book character you like least.
 
Task 4:

How do you order the books on your shelves?
 
Book: Read a book set in the UK, a political thriller, a book involving any monarchy or revolution, a book about arson or related to fires and burning, a book whose plot involves costumes / fancy dress, or that has masks on the cover, or that is self-published.
 

 

 
Bon Om Touk
Door 5:  Bon Om Touk
 
Task 1: List / tell us about your favorite rainy day reads.
 
Task 2: String up some fairy lights around your books / bookcase / kindle and share a picture of the results.
 
Task 3: Dragons and dragon-like serpents (imugi) are important to Korean mythology (as they are to that of other Asian peoples). So – which are your favorite literary dragons (fictional, mythological, whatever)?
 
Task 4:The South Korean flag features images of ying / yang (the blue and red circle in the center) and four sets of three black lines each representing heaven, sun, moon and earth and, in turn, the virtues humanity, justice, intelligence and courtesy. Compile a list or stack – 4 books minimum – composed of books that either have opposing words in their titles (e.g., war / peace; asleep / awake – not necessarily both words in the same title), or that feature the words “heaven,” “sun,” “moon,” “earth,” “humanity,” “justice,” intelligence,” and / or “courtesy.”
 
Book: Read a book by a Korean author or set in Korea, that takes place at sea or on a river, where the plot involves a festival, where the moon or rain plays a pivotal role in the plot, or with rain, water or the moon on the cover.
 

 

 
Veterans / Armistice Day
Door 6:  Veterans / Armistice Day
 
Task 1: Sunrise services are a staple of this day: Take a picture of the sunrise where you live and share it with us.
 
Task 2: In keeping with the minute of silence, tell us about the authors who have passed this year that you will miss the most.
 
Task 3: Rosemary is for remembrance, but it’s great for chasing away moths, silverfish and other bugs that can damage books (and linens). Make a sachet with some rosemary, lavender, dried basil, etc. to keep on your bookshelves – post a picture of the results and let us know what combinations of herbs you used. A list of possibilities can be found here: https://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/12-plants-that-repel-unwanted-insects
 
Task 4:The Forest of Compiègne, just outside Compiègne, France, is the site of the signing of the 1918 Armistice. It was also the site of the signing by the French of a truce with the Germans following the German invasion in 1940. – Find a green space in your local area (or favorite area) and go for a walk or bike ride of a mile (or 1.61 km) and post a picture or screenshot of the map of where you walked / biked.
 
Book: Read a book involving a war, battle, or where characters are active military or veterans, or with poppies on the cover, or honor the ‘unknown soldier’ of your TBR and read the book that’s been there the longest.
 

 

 
International Day for Tolerance
Door 7:  International Day for Tolerance
 
Task 1: Find a redeeming quality in a book you read this year and didn’t like.
 
Task 2: Share a story about yourself, or a story about your family that’s survived the generations, or share a particular tradition your family has passed on from generation to generation and if there’s a story behind why, tell us about it.
 
Task 3: The French expression for tolerance towards others is “laisser faire, laisser aller” (roughly: “let them do as they want, let it go”). Have you ever “let go” a book (e.g., given it away or decided not to yield to the temptation to buy it) and later regretted that choice?
 
Task 4:If you were offered an all-expenses-paid trip to one (one only!) of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, which one would you pick (and why)?
 
Book: Read a book about tolerance, or outside your comfort zone, or set in Paris (seat of UNESCO).
 

 

 
International Children’s Day
Door 8:  International Children’s Day
 
Task 1:  What was your favorite children’s book growing up? Your favorite middle grade book?
 
Task 2: Rediscover your childhood with a yo-yo, a slinky, – whatever toy you loved from childhood you still have access to, or make and blow some bubbles! Take a picture and share your fun with the rest of us.
 
Task 3: Make some art – draw a picture, or color one in and share the results with us. Free printable bookmarks can be found on Google images
 
Task 4: As a kid, did you enjoy visiting amusement parks and carnivals? Which were your favorite rides or shows? Do you still have any photos, or is there a memorable event you’re happy to share? – Alternatively, if you’re a parent now: Do you visit amusement parks / carnivals with your kids?
 
Book: Read a children’s or YA book or a book where children or teenagers play a significant role, or written by an author who was under the age of 18 at the time of publication.
 

 

 
World Philosophy Day
Door 9:  World Philosophy Day
 
Task 1:  Share your reading philosophy with us – do you DNF? If so, do you have a page minimum to read before you declare it a DNF?
 
Task 2: Share your reviewing philosophy with us – how do you rate a book? Do you have a mental template for reviewing? Rules you try to follow, or rules you try to break?
 
Task 3: How do you stay zen / sane over the holidays or in other stressful periods?
 
Task 4: Did you love or hate the books you had to read for school? Looking back, which ones (good or bad) stand out to you the most?
 
Book: Read a book about philosophy or a philosopher, or a how-to book about changing your life in a significant way or suggesting a particular lifestyle (Hygge, Marie Kobo, etc.).
 

 

 
Russian Mothers' Day
Door 10:  Russian Mothers’ Day
 
Task 1:  “Three Russian writers walk into a bar …” (Take it from here – the wilder the merrier!)
 
Task 2: Towards the end of the 17th century, there was a Russian apprentice carpenter and shipwright going by the name Peter Mikhailov in the Dutch town of Zaandam (and later in Amsterdam), who eventually turned out to be none other than Tsar Peter the Great, whose great interest in the craft would become pivotal to his programs for the build-up of the Russian navy and naval commerce.
So: Tell us about a favorite book, either nonfiction history (demonstrably true facts, please, no conspiracy theories or unproven conjecture) or fiction – all genres, not limited to historical fiction –, dealing with a member of royalty “moonlighting” as a commoner.
 
Task 3: Until WWII, the most famous part of the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo near St. Petersburg was the so-called amber room. It was looted, lock stock and barrel, by the Nazis, and has since vanished from the face of the earth, with its fate a complete mystery to the present day. Let your imagination run wild: What do you think may have happened to it? (Kidnapped by aliens? Spirited away by dwarves and hidden in a secret cavern deep below the face of the earth? Sold, piece by piece, to finance … what? The Nazi war effort? The restoration of the Romanovs to the throne of Russia? Stalin’s pogroms? What else?) Don’t hold back, we’d love to know!
 
Task 4: Forget-me-nots and handmade medals of honor are important Russian Mothers’ Day gifts. Create a medal of honor (with or without the image of a forget-me-not) for a favorite book character or for a family member or friend of yours that you’d like to pay respect to.
 
Book: Read a book set in Russia, by a Russian author, featuring a story within a story (like a Russian “matryoshka” doll), or featuring a character who is a mother.
 

 

 
Thanksgiving
Door 11:  Thanksgiving Day
 
Task 1:  If you have kids or pets, tell us about something “bad” they did that was so funny you couldn’t help but forgive (“pardon”) them. If you have neither kids nor pets, was there such an event in your own childhood – or with kids or pets in your family or circle of friends?
 
Task 2: Tell us: Of the books that you read this year, which are you most thankful for, OR was there one that turned out to be full of “stuffing”? Alternatively, which (one) book that you read anytime at all changed your life for the better?”
 
Task 3: Share your favorite turkey or pie recipe.
 
Task 4: Send a friend you’re thankful for having a postcard (in the mail!). Snap a picture of the postcard image (not the message) and share it with us.
 
Book: Read a book with an autumnal cover, set in New England, where a turkey shows up in the story, with a turkey or pumpkin on the cover, or with the theme of coming together to help a community or family in need.
 

 

 
St. Andrew's Day
Door 12:  St. Andrew’s Day
 
Task 1:  Tell us: Who is your favorite Scottish (or Scots-born / -descendant) writer?
 
Task 2: Ian Rankin likes to say that the Scottish national diet is sugar, fat and alcohol. The traditional Scottish dessert – Raspberry Cranachan – contains all three of these (and of course the alcohol in it is the national drink, whisky), but it’s also delicious! So … make Raspberry Cranachan: http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/2852/raspberry-cranachan.aspx (For a non-alcoholic version just omit the whisky – or substitute with orange juice.)
 
Task 3: St. Andrew was a fisherman by trade: Which book(s) from your TBR that you read this year turned out to be the year’s greatest “catch”?
 
Task 4: If you could create your personal tartan, what would it look like? Or if you have a favorite existing tartan, which one is it?
 
Book: Read a book set in Scotland.
 

 

 
Advent
Door 13:  Advent
 
Task 1:  Share a picture of your advent calendar.
 
Task 2: Tell us: What is your favorite holiday tradition?
 
Task 3: Prepare an apple cider wassail bowl or a wassail bowl containing your favorite drink or fruit. Post a picture and enjoy!
 
Task 4: Tell us about an event in the immediate or near future that you’re looking forward to.
 
Book: Read a pastiche, a book authorized by a deceased author’s estate, the 4th book in a series, a book with the word “four” in the title, a book featuring four siblings, or a book with a wreath, pines or fir trees on the cover.
 

 

 
St. Nicholas Day
Door 14:  St. Nicholas’ Day
 
Task 1: Write a book wish list to St. Nick / Santa Claus for books that you’ve been eyeing but can’t justify the expense of purchasing. (E.g., art books? Collector’s editions? Boxed sets?)
 
Task 2: In the Netherlands, ‘Sinterklaas’ is celebrated with ginger biscuits, marzipan and hot chocolate with cream; in Germany, it’s St. Nicholas’ Day with gingerbread, chocolate and / or nut or almond cookies, chocolate candy, and tangerines (or oranges). Choose one or more of the above as a holiday snack and post a picture for us to drool over.
 
Task 3:  St. Nicholas is a man of many names in English alone – Santa Claus, Saint Nick, Father Christmas … although in the English speaking world he only comes once (at Christmas, not also on December 6 – whereas in Germany and the Netherlands he makes his visits under different names on both occasions). Which of your favorite books were published under different titles in the same language, e.g., in North America vs. Britain? Have you ever bought a book under a title unfamiliar to you, only to discover belatedly that it was one you already own / had already read under a different title?
 
Task 4: A Czech Republic tradition for St Nick’s Day is groups of three “people” – St Nick, Angel, and Devil – to roam the streets the night before St Nick’s Day and stop children to ask them if they have been good during the year or not. Most kids say yes, sing a song or recite a poem. The three “strangers” then decide if the children are telling the truth. The good kids get candy / treats from the Angel, bad kids get potatoes or coal from the Devil. So: Post a song or poem (your own or someone else’s) that involves candy, potatoes, or coal.
 
Book: Read a book with an orange or red cover, set in the Netherlands or Germany, by a Dutch or German author, or with nuts, chocolate, coins, canals or beer on the cover.
 

 

 
International Human Rights Day
Door 15:  International Human Rights Day
 
Task 1: Cook a dish from a culture other than your own or something involving apples (NYC = Big Apple) or oranges (for the Netherlands, seat of the International Court of Justice & International Criminal Court).
 
Task 2: Create a stack of books or a list with books by some of your favorite female and / or minority authors (minimum: five) and tell us what you like about their writing.
 
Task 3:  Nominate a (fictional) character from one of the books you read this year for a Nobel Prize – regardless which one – or for a similarly important prize (e.g., the Fields Medal for mathematics) and write a brief laudation explaining your nomination.
 
Task 4: Reconstitute one of the bodies or institutions of the United Nations (Plenary Assembly, Security Council, Secretariat, International Court of Justice / Criminal Court, World Bank, etc.) with some of your favorite characters (minimum: five) and explain why you chose them and what you’d expect them to achieve.
 
Book: Read a book featuring a strong female character (or characters), by an author from any minority group, a story about a minority overcoming their oppressors, or revolving around the rights of others either being defended or abused, a book set in New York City, or a book originally written in a language other than English and / or your mother tongue or by anyone not Anglo-Saxon.
 

 

 
St. Lucia’s Day
Door 16:  St. Lucia’s Day
 
Task 1: Famous first words: Tradition has it that the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize are woken up by the St. Lucia maidens, as St. Lucia’s Day (Dec. 13) is just three days after the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony and many laureates stay long enough to be able to take in the St. Lucia festivities. Imagine one of your favorite (fictional) characters had won that prize: How would you think (s)he would greet the maidens? (If you’ve used the Nobel Peace Prize for Door 15, Task 3, this can be the same character, of course … or a different one, just as you wish.)
 
Task 2: Compile a list of five or more carols, poems, short stories, novels or other pieces of writing that feature sleigh rides.
 
Task 3:  Trolls, gnomes, dwarves and similar beings (some evil, some less so, almost all of them mischievous) are a staple of Scandinavian mythology and folklore, as well as other folklores and mythologies around the world and, of course, fantasy and speculative fiction. Who is your favorite such creature and why? (No matter whether mythological, fictional or from whatever other source.)
 
Task 4: The historic (3d century AD) St. Lucia was Italian; yet, like those of many other saints (including, e.g., St. Andrew and St. Nicholas), the most important celebrations of her holiday don’t occur in her place of origin but somewhere else in the world.
 
Book:  Read a book set in Scandinavia / Northern Europe, by a Northern European / Nordic author, with a predominantly white cover (or white with red lettering), newly released in November or December of this year, or set in the candle-lit world (i.e., before the discovery of electricity – roughly, that is, before the late 19th century).
 

 

 
Winter Solstice
Door 17:  Winter Solstice (Yule / Yaldā Night / Dongzhi / Soyal):
 
Task 1: Yule task (Germany / Scandinavia): Burn a Yule log – or if you don’t have a fireplace, light a candle to chase away the winter and welcome in the longer days. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, light a candle to mourn the slow but inexorable retreat of the sun.
 
Task 2: Yaldā Night task (Persia / Iran): Stay up all night reading a good book (or at least stay up past your usual bedtime).
 
Task 3:  Dongzhi task (China): To commemorate Marco Polo’s memoirs of his trip to China, write a fictional diary entry or letter home from an imagined trip to a faraway place (real or invented) – or if you actually have written such a letter in the past and are happy to share it with us, please do!
 
Task 4: Soyal task (Zuñi & Hopi / Native American): While systems of written symbols and communication already existed with the Pre-Columbian Native American cultures, to many tribes even today (including the Zuñi and Hopi) the oral tradition is still important. Have you ever had stories told to you (e.g., as children’s bedtime stories, or at night during a camping vacation)? Or if you haven’t, try to imagine a “storytelling” situation you’d like to experience?
 
Book:  Read a book that takes place in December, with ice or snow on the cover, where all events take place in a single day or night, that revolves around the solstice, set in Persia / Iran, China or the American Southwest or prominently featuring Persian / Iranian, Chinese or Native American characters, or a collection of poetry.
 

 

 
Hanukkah
Door 18:  Hanukkah
 
Task 1: Spin the dreidel to determine which book is going to be the first one you’ll be reading in the new year. Find a virtual dreidel here:
https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/make-a-dreidel
http://www.jewfaq.org/dreidel/play.htm
http://www.torahtots.com/holidays/chanuka/dreidel.htm
 
Task 2: Latkes or donuts are fried in oil to remind Jews of the oil that lasted for eight days: Fry yourself up some latkes or donuts. Share your recipe with us if they came out tasty.
 
Task 3:  Read a book by candle light (or flashlight).
 
Task 4: The 6th night of Hanukkah is dubbed “Candle of Righteousness”; at this time believers are expected to make a charitable donation. Make a blessing bag or food donation to a local food bank (or another charitable donation if there is no food bank anywhere near you).
 
Book: Read a book about light, miracles, featuring Jewish characters, set in Israel, that is the second book in a series, with the word “two” in the title, or with a light on the cover.
 

 

 
Festivus
Door 19:  Festivus
 
Task 1: The annual airing of grievances: Which are the five books you liked least this year – and why?
 
Task 2: Battle of the Books: pick two books off your shelf (randomly or with purpose); in a fair fight, which book would come out on top? The fight can be based on the merits of the book itself, its writing, or full-on mano a mano between two characters. Which would win the feat of strength?
 
Task 3:  Go ‘pole’mic on one of the characters from an entrant in your five least favorite books, or just have a go at one of the books (the book, not the author, please) in Task 1.
 
Task 4: As miracles go, a “Festivus miracle” … really isn’t one – it’s just something marginally unusual that someone mentions and which someone else then declares “a Festivus miracle”, as a pun on the “Christmas miracle” trope. (E.g., in the original Seinfeld episode, it’s a coincidental meeting: “Oh, I didn’t expect to run into you here …” – “It’s a Festivus miracle!”) Create a “Festivus miracle” dialogue / situation; the greater the parody the better.
 
Book: Read any comedy, parody, or satire.
 

 

 
Christmas
Door 20:  Christmas
 
Task 1: Share a picture of your holiday decorations.
 
Task 2: Watch a favorite Christmas movie.
 
Task 3:  Did your Christmas celebrations include books? Share your book haul pictures with us!
 
Task 4: What was the best Christmas / holiday present you ever received – the one that meant the most to you or gave you the greatest joy? (This can be anything; objects / material gifts as well as something someone did for you, or anything else – whatever made that particular holiday especially memorable.)
 
Book: Read a Christmas book.
 

 

 
Kwanzaa
Door 21:  Kwanzaa
 
Task 1: Share a shelfie or the picture of a stack of books or of an “object” (star, Christmas tree, etc.) created from books with red, black and green covers.
 
Task 2: Music is an important part of a Kwanzaa celebration. Which is / are your favorite book(s) where music plays an important role in the plot?
 
Task 3: Corn, in the context of Kwanzaa, symbolizes of our children and our future which they represent. Make / eat a corn dish. Recipes:
https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/photos/our-best-corn-recipes
https://www.delish.com/cooking/g1463/sweet-corn-recipes/?slide=1
 
Task 4: Cup of Unity is another Kwanzaa symbol. Either buy a friend a coffee / tea / etc. or start a small tab ($10 or less) at a local coffee shop and buy a coffee / tea for strangers behind you in line.
 
Book: Read a book set in Africa or the Caribbean, by an African, Caribbean, or African-American author, with a green, red, or black cover, or with crops of the earth or a native African animal on the cover (Lion, giraffe, cheetah, etc.).
 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2002995/24-festive-tasks-door-22-new-years-eve

24 Festive Tasks: Door 22 – New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day: Book

A Gift Of Sanctuary - Candace Robb A Gift of Sanctuary - Candace Robb, Stephen Thorne

It’s unlikely that Candace Robb’s Owen Archer series will ever be able to replace Ellis Peter’s Brother Cadfael series in my estimation, but I liked book 1 (The Apothecary Rose) well enough to take a closer look, and this installment (book 6) is fully living up to my expectations so far.  It also seems a good one to read “out of order”, as it is set in Wales and only features some of the usual cast of characters.

(Task: Read a book about an ending or a new start, where things go BOOM, with fireworks on the cover, set in medieval times, about the papacy, or where miracles of any sort are performed.)

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1987720/24-festive-tasks-door-22-new-year-s-eve-st-sylvester-s-day-book

2018 in Reading Review, or, The Year of Listening to Mystery Audiobooks by Women Writers

24 Festive Tasks: Door 22 – New Year’s Eve, Task 2

2018 Statistics

Total number of books read in 2018: 225
Number of as-yet unread books added to “owned books” TBR in 2018: 240

— plus the 100 or so Audible downloads that I haven’t even added to my BookLikes shelves yet.

So the ratio of buying vs. reading is seriously off this year.  (Last year, I read almost 40 books more than remained unread on my “owned books” TBR of the books added over the course of the year.)

Nevertheless, I am very happy with my reading year: very few of my reads were 3 stars or less, I didn’t expect I’d even make it to 200 books (so I actually read more than expected), I finished my Women Writers project, and compared to last year, my stats have come out on the “right” side in every aspect I primarily looked at — I read more women authors than men, and more new books than rereads:

In summary, I guess you can call this my year of listening to mystery audiobooks chiefly written by women writers … which is fine, though, and in a way even what I expected this year to be.

In fact, I’m expecting to continue reading many more mysteries in 2019 as well — I’d like to complete my “inofficial” Detection Club Bingo reads for one thing, I’m planning to read more Golden Age mysteries republished as part of the British Library Crime Classics and Collins Crime club series, and I’m likely going to join Wanda and Moonlight at least for parts of “A Study in Sherlock” / “Summer of Sherlock“.  But I’m also planning to reprise my Women Writers challenge, however with a twist along the lines of the “Around the World in 80 Books” group on Goodreads.

All in all, if 2019 turns out even half as good as 2018 has been (even against the odds in some respects), I’ll color myself extremely lucky.

 

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1824626/24-festive-tasks-door-22-new-year-s-eve-task-2-2018-in-reading-review-or-the-year-of-listening-to-mystery-audiobooks-by-women-writers

 

24 Festive Tasks: Door 22 – New Year’s Eve, Tasks 1 and 3 (2019 Book Goals and Book Lottery)

Purple Hibiscus - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Wie Spreu im Wind - Uli Wittmann, Maryse Condé The Good Women of China - Xinran The Summer Before the War - Helen Simonson At The Existentialist Café - Sarah Bakewell

2019 Reading Plans:

I am planning a reprise of my Women Writers project for 2019; with a twist, however: On Goodreads, I used to be a member of the Around the World in 80 Books group (the name is pretty much self-explanatory) — I’d like to combine that basic idea with my “women writers” selections, with the aim of diversifying my reading regionally / internationally.  While my 2018 Women Writers project was a rousing success in terms of the male / female author ratio (roughly 2:1), it’s impossible to miss that I read a lot of books by English and North American authors; so in 2019, I’m going to aim for a wider spread next year, both in terms of authors and book settings.

 

(By the same token, I am also planning to continue my exploration of the world of Golden Age mysteries, so make of that what you will … there’s bound to be some juggling, I suspect.)

 

Book Lottery:

With the above diversification aim in mind, I picked my 5 candidates for the first book I am going to read in 2019:

 

… which were then folded and went into the drawing box, where they were thoroughly shaken up and mixed:

And the winner is:

… which is excellent news, since Xinran’s Sky Burial (which I just read today) is truly outstanding; even if The Good Women of China, going by what I’ve heard, makes for truly heartrending reading at times.

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1822396/24-festive-tasks-door-22-new-year-s-eve-tasks-1-and-3-2019-book-goals-and-book-lottery

24 Festive Tasks: Door 22 – New Year’s Eve

Human Rights Day

Guy Fawks Night
Russian Mother's Day

veteran's and armistace day
St. Lucia's Day
Diwali
Penance Day

Bon om Touk
Christmas
Hanukkah
dio de los meurtos

International Day of Tolerance
St. Andrew's Day
Thanksgiving
New Years

Sinterklaas / St. Nicholas Day
Kwanzaa
Jule / Solstice
Melbourne Cup Day

Festivus

Advent
Mawlid

 

December 31, the last day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, is New Year’s Eve and, simultaneously, the seventh day of Christmastide. In many countries, the holiday is also known as Old Year’s Day or Saint Sylvester’s Day.

 

The earliest known record of a New Year festival dates from about 2000 bce in Mesopotamia, where in Babylonia the new year (Akitu) began with the new moon after the spring equinox (mid-March) and in Assyria with the new moon nearest the autumn equinox (mid-September). For the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians the year began with the autumn equinox (September 21), and for the early Greeks it began with the winter solstice (December 21). On the Roman republican calendar the year began on March 1, but after 153 bce the official date was January 1, which was continued in the Julian calendar of 46 bce.

 

In early medieval times most of Christian Europe regarded March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year, although New Year’s Day was observed on December 25 in Anglo-Saxon England. William the Conqueror decreed that the year begin on January 1, but England later joined the rest of Christendom and adopted March 25. The Gregorian calendar, adopted in 1582 by the Roman Catholic Church, restored January 1 as New Year’s Day, and most European countries gradually followed suit: Scotland, in 1660; Germany and Denmark, about 1700; England, in 1752; and Russia, in 1918.

 

New Year’s Eve is frequently celebrated at evening social gatherings, where many people dance, eat, drink alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year. Some Christians attend a Watch Night service. The celebrations generally go on past midnight into New Year’s Day, 1 January.

 

In terms of time zones, Samoa, Tonga and Kiritimati (Christmas Island), part of the Micronesian Republic of Kiribati, are the first places to welcome the New Year, while American Samoa and Baker Island (a Pacific atoll belonging to the U.S.A., just north of the equator and about halfway between Hawaii and Australia) are among the last.

 

Tasks and Books

New Years

Task 1:  Your 2019 Book Goals:  what are they?

Task 2: 2018 Reading Year in Review.  Tell us about your year in books:  happy? disappointed? 

Task 3: New Year’s Book Lottery: Write the names of the first 5 books you’re planning to read in 2019 onto identical pieces of paper, fold them, place them in a bowl (or bucket, jar, box, etc.), and draw one to determine the very first book you’re going to start in the new year.

Task 4: Find a bakery that sells Krapfen (German deep-fried sweet dough dumplings) or make them yourself (recipe here: https://germangirlinamerica.com/rheinische-ol-krapfen-new-year/) and enjoy with a glass of champagne or non-alcoholic bubbly drink – but first, take and post a photo of them!

Book: Read a book about endings, new starts, or any book where things go
B O O M !

 

 
(Click “Read More” for the previous days’ tasks and books.)


 

Previous Doors’ Tasks and Books

 

Kwanzaa

Door 21:   Kwanzaa

Task 1: “Africa” was originally the name of the Roman province originating from the North African empire of Carthage, which was mythologically founded by Queen Dido and blossomed into Ancient Rome’s only lasting opponent and nemesis (until it was finally conquered by Rome in the Punic Wars). So: who are your five favorite book heroes and their respective nemeses?

Task 2: In Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, the “Finis Africae” is the hidden center of the labyrinth which constitutes the monastery’s library, protected by a number of intricate, misdirecting devices. Tell us: Where have you recently encountered clever misdirection or a labyrinthine plot in a book?

Task 3: Tell us: If you could travel to Africa (for those living on the African continent: to a part of Africa that you don’t know yet): Where would you want to go?

Task 4: Have a meal involving vegetables (= crops) and / or corn, or another form of traditional Kwanzaa dinner. Recipe suggestions here: https://kwanzaaculinarians.com/

Book: Read a book set in Africa or the Caribbean, or by an African, Caribbean, or African-American author, or a book with a green, red, or black cover.

 

Christmas
Door 20:   Christmas
Task 1:  Post a picture of your Christmas decorations.
Task 2: Tell us: If you could share Christmas dinner with any author (dead or alive), who would it be?
Task 3: Watch a favorite Christmas movie.
Task 4: Create or recreate a short text relating to Christmas (poem, carol, wish list, season’s greetings, etc.) from the titles of books on your bookshelves.
Book:  Um, Christmas books …

 

Festivus
Door 19:   Festivus
Task 1:  It’s the annual airing of grievances!  Time to list the top 5 books that disappointed you the most this year and let us know why!
Task 2:  Take a picture of your Festivus Pole (and remember this is a family site).
Task 3: Have your household scales perform a feat of strength: Place 10 of your heaviest books in a stack on your scales and tell us what their total weight comes to.
Task 4: Google the word “Festivus” and tell us or take a screenshot of what you see at the left border of the results page.
Book: Read any comedy, parody, or satire.

 

Yule / Solstice
Door 18:   Yule / Solstice
Task 1:  Bibliomancy: Grab one of your larger books and flip to the indicated page and line number to answer the following questions – then post those answers for us:
     1. Will I read all the books on my TBR?  (page 378, line 29)
     2. Will any of my 2019 reads be 5 stars? (page 227, line 31)
     3. Will I discover a new favorite book / author / series? (page 309, line 23)
     4. Will I discover that a major twist (hopefully, for the [even] better) has occurred in one of my favorite series? (page 459, line 16)
     5. Will I finish all of my reading challenges in 2019? (page 69, line 7)
     6. Will I stay within my book budget in 2019? (page 98, line 5)
Task 2:  Tell us: What book did you read this year that felt like it was never going to end?
Task 3: Round up a herd of reindeer on book covers and in book illustrations.
Task 4: Treat yourself to a bûche de Noel (French Yule log cake) – if you want to try and make it yourself, see recipe here: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/buche-de-noel-recipe.
Book:  Any book that takes place in December or with ice or snow on the cover, revolving around the (summer or winter) equinox, or a collection of poetry by Hafez

 

St. Lucia's Day
Door 17:   St. Lucia’s Day
Task 1: In honor of the Icelandic Jólabókaflóðið / Yule Book Flood tradition, create a (virtual or physical) “book flood” and post a picture of it.
Task 2: Bake a Swedish lussebulle (saffron bun – instructions and recipe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWSs-vQX0AI) or prepare some other dish containing saffron.
Task 3: Create a “crown of light” from book covers prominently featuring a lighted candle.
Task 4: Guess (scout’s honor, NO GOOGLING!): Did the Gävle Goat survive this year?
For background: The Gävle Goat is a straw effigy erected in Gävle, Sweden, every year at the beginning of Advent. It is infamous for being burned down ahead of time, which as of Advent 2017 has happened in 37 of the 51 years of the tradition’s existence. – The Yule goat lore in turn goes back all the way to the Norse myths, where the god Thor rode a chariot drawn by two goats, and to ancient Indo-European and proto-Slavic beliefs according to which the harvest god appeared in the shape of a goat. Possibly, it is also linked with Santa Claus and his reindeer-driven sled.
Book: Set in Scandinavia / Northern Europe, or by a Northern European / Nordic author, or a book newly released in November or December of this year.

 

Human Rights Day
Door 16:   Human Rights Day
Task 1:  Book hunt for human rights:  Search your shelves for books with titles containing human rights words such as: hope, friendship, equality, justice, love, liberty, etc.  Put them in a stack and take a picture for posting.  (5 book minimum).
Task 2: This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Find 3 books on your shelves with protagonists or other key characters who are — or can reasonably be assumed to be — 70 years or older.
Task 3: The symbol of Human Rights Day is the dove, which in its incarnation as a homing pigeon is also renowned for its navigational skills. – Tell us: Did you ever get so thoroughly lost (either in the days before GPS or because GPS, for whatever reason, was of no use to you) that you wished you had a homing pigeon to guide you?
Task 4: Human Rights Day was declared by the U.N. General Assembly, whose seat is in New York City. Treat yourself to a Manhattan (classic recipe: https://www.liquor.com/recipes/manhattan-2/; virgin [non-alcoholic] recipes: https://www.anallievent.com/virgin-manhattan/, http://www.1001cocktails.com/recipes/mixed-drinks/800238/cocktail-virgin-manhattan.html and https://www.liquor.com/recipes/not-manhattan/ ) or to a bagel or pastrami sandwich and share a photo with us.
Book: Read any book with strong female characters, or written by an author from any minority group; any story about a minority overcoming their oppressors either individually or as a group. OR: A book set in New York City.

 

Sinterklaas / St. Nicholas Day
Door 15:   Sinterklaas / St. Nicholas Day
Task 1:  Write a book wish list to St. Nick.
Task 2: You are King / Queen for the day and can have 3 ‘wishes’:  one for yourself, one for your community (any version) and one for the world: What are they?
Task 3: If your holiday family traditions should include bowls or plates filled with gingerbread, cookies, oranges / tangerines, chocolate, nuts and the like, share a photo with us!
Task 4: List your 3 favorite books involving children being rescued from serious peril.
Book: with an orange or red cover or with nuts, chocolate or coins on the cover, set in The Netherlands or Germany, by a Dutch or German author, or with canals or beer on the cover.

 

Hanukkah
Door 14:   Hanukkah
Task 1:  Have you had any miracles in your life?  (Kids are a given.)  Just enough change for tolls?  Just enough gas to get you to the station?  Been tragically late for a flight only to find the flight was even more tragically delayed?  Nothing is too small – share your miracles with us!
Task 2: Light 9 candles each representing something you’re thankful for (share a picture with us; sharing anything else is optional).
Task 3: Have a donut – and let us share it via a photo. Homemade donuts and shared recipes encouraged … but any donut will do just fine.
Task 4: A miracle crucial to Hanukkah is the Miracle of the cruse of oil, which concerns a jug of oil that (ostensibly) only contained enough oil for a single day, but miraculously turned out to last all of eight days. – Miracles aside, tell us: Have you ever experienced that something you had bought or you owned lasted a lot longer than anticipated … or where you expected a shortage which then fortuitously didn’t occur after all?
Book: Read a book about light, miracles, characters who are Jewish or books set in Israel.  OR: Hanukkah commemorates the re-dedication of the second temple in the second century; read the second book in a series or a book with the word “second” or “two” in the title.

 

Advent
Door 13:   Advent
Task 1:  Post a picture of your advent calendar – store bought or homemade.
Task 2: The holidays season is in full swing – tell us:  What’s your favorite tradition?
Task 3: The tradition of carol singing in the Advent / holiday season is linked to the old Anglo-Saxon (and medieval) custom of wassailing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wassailing). Prepare an apple cider wassail bowl or a wassail bowl containing your favorite drink or fruit. Post a picture and enjoy!
Task 4: Make your own Advent wreath and share a picture of it. Instructions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWw83CCa2cg
Book: Advent also means “second coming”: Read a pastiche, or a book written by an “authorised author” by the deceased author’s estate. OR: There are four Sundays in Advent. Read the fourth book of a series or a book with the word “four” in the title.

 

St. Andrew's Day
Door 12:  St. Andrew’s Day
Task 1:  Nominate someone for sainthood.  Who?  Why?
Task 2: St Andrew is revered in many countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, where he worked as a Christian missionary, long before his relics were brought to Scotland in the eighth century. – Tell us: Is there a book (regardless whether fiction or nonfiction) for which you would basically walk up to strangers and tell them: “Read this!”? What would you say and do to get people to read that particular book?
Task 3: Legend has it that the saltire or St. Andrew’s cross (white on an azure background) – which constitutes the national flag of Scotland – originated as a cloud formation, symbolizing St. Andrew’s being crucified on an X-shaped cross rather than an upright one. Do you have any pictures of unusual cloud formations? If so, share them with us!
Task 4: The town of St. Andrews, where the saint’s bones ended up in the course of the spread of Christianity to Scotland, is also famous for its golf course and tournament. List your 3 favorite books where golf is key to the plot.
Book: Andrew was the first apostle; read the first book in a series. OR:  Andrew and Peter were brothers; read a book about brothers. OR: Read books about or set in Scotland or by a Scottish author, or set in Charleston, South Carolina (which is where the celebrations as we know them today began – by a group of Scottish expats – according to scotland.org).

 

Door 11:  Russian Mother’s Day
Russian Mother's Day
Task 1:  Tell us: What is the mother of all writerly sins in your book (tropes, grammar mistakes, telling instead of showing, etc.)?
Task 2: Do you have a favorite Mothers’ Day memory that you are happy to share? Photos welcome but optional.
Task 3: Perhaps the best-known scene in the James Bond novel and film From Russia With Love is 007 being poisoned by Russian agent Rosa Klebb with a venom-laced blade hidden in her shoe. Tell us: Have you ever owned any particular / outrageous / funny / best-beloved or otherwise special pair of shoes? Post a photo if you should still own them.
Task 4: Make a traditional Russian dish like borscht, blintzes, pirogi or solyanka soup, and share a picture with us. Find recipe suggestions here: https://www.expatica.com/ru/about/Top-10-Russian-foods-and-recipes_108678.html
Book: Read a book set in Russia, or involving a story within a story / play within a play (like the Russian matryoshka dolls stuck inside each other), or where a key character (not necessarily the protagonist) is a mother.

 

Bon om Touk
Door 10:  Bon om Touk
Task 1:  Make a paper boat and post a picture of it.   Instructions, if needed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiAWx8odStA
Task 2: If you’ve ever attended a procession or an event involving festively decked out boats, post a picture and tell us about it.
Task 3: Bon Om Touk celebrates the end of the rainy season. Tell us: What’s your favorite type of rainy day book – and do you have a favorite drink or snack to go with your rainy day reading? Photos welcome!
Task 4: Which are your 3 favorite books where a key character is “moonlighting”?
Book: Read a book that takes place at sea or on a river OR with water on the cover OR where the plot involves a festival or the moon plays a pivotal role in the plot.

 

Thanksgiving
Door 9:  Thanksgiving
Task 1:  List the 3 books you’ve read this year you’re most “thankful” for (your favs) or the one book you’ve ever read that changed your life for the better.
Task 2:  Describe your perfect meal.  What would you cook for the perfect celebration, or, what would you have your imaginary personal chef cook for you?
Task 3:  Name a book you’ve read this year that you thought was full of “stuffing”.
Task 4:  Show us your 2018 book “harvest” – the books you newly acquired this year, regardless whether bought, received as gift or in whichever other way.
Book:  Autumnal covers, set in New England, or a turkey shows up in the story.

 

Penance Day
Door 8:  Penance Day
Task 1:  “Confess” your book habits.  Dog-earring?  Laying books face down?  Bending back the spines? Skimming?  OR: Confess your guilty reading pleasure, or comfort reads.
Task 2:  It’s “Pennants” day according to MbD’s husband:  post a picture of your favorite team’s logo/mascot and the last time they’ve won a championship (or not).
Task 3: In centuries gone by, penance would often end up in what might be described as a very extended bad hair day (complete with sackcloth and ashes). Tell us: What’s a bad hair day to you – and what (if anything) do you do about it?
Task 4: Early Christian spiritualists would sometimes do penance by spending time in the desert. If you’ve ever visited a desert region (or even live there), post a picture and tell us about it. Alternatively, post a picture of sand dunes (NOT with water in the background!).
Book:  Read any book concerning a man / woman of the cloth, a book about a character hiding a guilty secret or searching for absolution.

 

Mawlid
Door 7:  Mawlid
Task 1:  Make two “prophesies” you think will come to fruition in 2019 in your personal or reading life.
Task 2: The Five Pillars of Islam include almsgiving and the pilgrimage to Mekka. Tell us: Have you ever donated books or rescued them from (horror of horrors) being trashed? Alternatively: Is there a book-related place that is a place of pilgrimage to you?
Task 3: Prophets are messengers. Tell us: Which book characters are your favorite messengers (no matter whether humans, angels, (demi)gods, etc.)?
Task 4: Muhammad was a merchant before becoming a religious leader. List 5 books on your shelves in which a key character makes / undergoes a radical career change.
Book:  If you can find a copy, read Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.  Or read any book about a leader of a movement, nation, religion or large group, OR read a book with a green cover OR with a half moon on the cover.

 

International Day of Tolerance
Door 6:  International Day of Tolerance
Task 1:  Find some redeeming quality in the book you liked least this year and post about it.
Task 2: Tell us: What are the tropes (up to 5) that you are not willing to live with in any book (i.e., which are absolutely beyond your capacity for tolerance) and which make that book an automatic DNF for you? (Insta-love? Love triangles? First person present narrative voice? Talking animals? The dog dies? What else?)
Task 3: The International Day for Tolerance is a holiday declared by an international organization (UNESCO). Create a charter (humorous, serious, whatever strikes your fancy) for an international organization of readers.
Task 4: UNESCO is based in Paris. Paris is known for its pastries and its breads: Either find a baker that specializes in pastries and bring home an assortment for your family, or make your own pastries using real butter and share a photo with us.
Book:  Read any fiction/non-fiction about tolerance or a book that’s outside your normal comfort zone.  (Tolerance can encompass anything you generally struggle with, be it sentient or not.) OR Read a book set in Paris.

 

Armistice/Veterans' Day
Door 5:  Veterans’ / Armistice Day
Task 1:  Using book covers (real or virtual), create a close approximation of your country’s flag (either of residence or birth), OR a close approximation of a poppy.  Take a pic of your efforts and post.
Task 2: Make an offer of peace (letter, gift, whatever) to a book character who has particularly annoyed you this year.
Task 3: Tell us: What author’s books would you consider yourself a veteran of (i.e., by which author have you read particularly many books – or maybe even all of them)?
Task 4: Treat yourself to a slice of seedcake and post a photo. If you want to make it yourself, try out this recipe: https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/poppy-seed-cake/ … or this one: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1629633/lemon-and-poppy-seed-cake
Book:  Read any book involving wars, battles, where characters are active military or veterans, or with poppies on the cover.

 

Diwali
Door 4:  Diwali
Task 1: Share a picture of your favorite light display.
Task 2: Cleaning is a big part of this holiday; choose one of your shelves, real or virtual, and tidy / organise it.  Give us the before and after photos.  OR Tidy up 5 of the books on your BookLikes shelves by adding the CORRECT cover, and/or any other missing information. (If in doubt, see here: http://jenn.booklikes.com/post/1782687/state-of-the-database-booklikes-database-halloween-bingo-and-a-mini-rant-with-pictures).
Task 3: Eating sweets is also a big part of Diwali. Either select a recipe for a traditional sweet, or make a family favorite and share a picture with us.
Task 4: During Diwali, people pray to the goddess Lakhshmi, who is typically depicted as a beautiful young woman holding a lotus flower. Find 5 books on your shelves (either physical or virtual) whose covers show a young woman holding a flower and share their cover images.
Book: Read a book with candles on the cover or the word “candle” or “light” in the title; OR a book that is the latest in a series; OR set in India; OR any non-fiction book that is ‘illuminating’ (Diwali is Sanskrit for light/knowledge and row, line or series)

 

Melbourne Cup Day
Door 3:  Melbourne Cup Day
Task 1: Pick your ponies!  MbD has posted the horses scheduled to race; everyone picks the three they think will finish (in any order).  
Task 2:  Cup day is all about the hats.  Post a picture of your favorite hat, whether it’s one you own or not.
Task 3: The coloring of the “horse of a different color” in the movie version of The Wizard of Oz was created by rubbing the horse’s fur with jello. What’s the weirdest use of jello you’ve ever come across?
Task 4: Have you ever been to or participated in a competition involving horses (racing, jumping, dressage, whatever)? Tell us about it. Photos welcome, too!
Book: about horses or a horse on the cover.  Books with roses on the cover or about gardening; anything set in Australia.

 

 
Guy Fawkes Night
Door 2:  Guy Fawkes Night
Task 1: Burn a book in effigy.  Not that anyone of us would do such a thing, but if you HAD to, which book would be the one you’d sacrifice to the flames (gleefully or not)?
Task 2: List your top 3 treasonous crimes against books.  Not ones you’ve committed, but the ones you think are the worst.
Task 3: Share your favorite / most memorable BBQ recollections or recipe, or your favorite recipe of food “flambé” (i.e., doused with alcohol which is then set aflame and allowed to burn off).
Task 4: Find 5 uses of the word “gunpowder” in book titles in contexts other than for blowing up things or shooting people (e.g., Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs = tea).
Book:  Set in the UK, political thrillers, involving any monarchy or revolution; books about arson or related to burning.

 

 
Dia de los Muertos

Door 1:  Dia de Los Muertos

Task 1: Write a silly poem or limerick poking fun at the fiction character of your choice.

Task 2: Share your favorite gravestone epitaph (you know you have one).

Task 3: Create an altar (either digital or physical) for your favorite book, series, or book character, and post a picture of it.  Inclusion of book cover encouraged.

Task 4: If you like Mexican food, treat yourself to your favorite dish and share a photo of it.

Book: Re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author, a book from a finished (dead) series, or a book set in Mexico.

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1819055/24-festive-tasks-door-22-new-year-s-eve

Patricia Wentworth: The Clock Strikes Twelve

24 Festive Tasks: Door 24 – Epiphany, Book

 

This came with high praise from both Tigus and Moonlight, so I knew I had a lot to look forward to — and I was certainly not disappointed!  This is a New Year’s Eve story and the “family patriarch publicly announces ‘I know someone here has betrayed family interests and you’ve got until midnight to come forward and confess your sins'” classic mystery plot variant … seriously, someone should have told those Golden Age family patriarchs not to do this sort of thing because it’ll invariably get them killed.  Anyway, Wentworth had comfortably settled into her formula by the time she wrote this book, and I agree with Moonlight — this is now my new favorite entry in the series, too.  Though written strictly to Wentworth’s formula (cozy rural setting with bickering family [or village population], lovers to (re)bond, a reasonable but not impenetrable amount of red herrings, a perhaps not entirely unexpected villain, and an investigation by thoroughly competent police inspectors who are, nevertheless, easily “bested” by Miss Silver), the characters and their various conflicts are finely and credibly drawn and jump off the page as real people … and Miss Silver, as always, is a sheer delight.  Well done, Maudie!  And Patricia — and Diana (Bishop), whose reading of the Miss Silver books I’ve thoroughly come to enjoy.

I’m counting this book towards the “Epiphany” square of “24 Festive Tasks” (a book with the word “twelve” in the title).

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1809121/24-festive-tasks-doors-3-21-and-24-books-for-melbourne-cup-day-kwanzaa-and-epiphany

Stephen Brusatte: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

Yet another overhyped book


Reading Status Updates

8%

Flat Book Society November read, and also my read for the New Year’s Eve square in the 24 Festive Tasks game.

So far, it’s sounding good — at least you can tell the author is a scientist writing about the subject matter he’s studied.  This makes me hopeful.

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1805284/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-8

 

54%

Hmmm.  The science content is paleontology 101 (though the explanation of the factors that impacted the changes from one earth age to the next is quite accessible).  Only with regard to a few major species and subspecies do we get some sort of discussion of their basic attributes, strengths and weaknesses, however — other creatures falling into the same bracket are basically name-dropped in as a lengthy list, without any discussion whatsoever.  Perhaps most importantly, though, this is another huge case of titular mislabelling — this is about the author’s own career, field trips, cooperation with other scientists, and about his personal heroes as well as the notable scientists of yesteryear, at least as much as it is about the dinosaurs themselves.  I’ll finish it, but it’s not anywhere near a five-star book.

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1805370/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-54

 

100%

He redeemed himself a bit with the nonfiction part of the T-Rex chapter, but man, that narrative tone and his “I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread and I’m best buddies with all the cool kids in paleontology (even the long-dead ones)” attitude seriously grated pretty much from page 1 to literally the last words of the book.

Also, pro writing tip, Mr., um, Dr. Brusatte: If you seriously think it’s a good idea to begin a chapter with a dramatic, pseudo-fictionalized scene involving T-Rex and a bunch of other dinosaurs, and you’re telling it from the POV of one of those other dinosaurs, you’ll want to avoid describing T-Rex as “a monster bigger than a city bus”.  Because I’m pretty sure a dinosaur would have had no idea what a city bus was going to be looking like some 66+ million earth years after the extinction of its own species.  It’s all about narrative perspective, you see …

Oh, well.  Next!

Read for the Flat Book Society and the New Year’s Eve square of the 24 Tasks of the Festive Season (a book where things go BOOM!).

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1806707/reading-progress-update-i-ve-read-100-of-yet-another-overhyped-book

 

24 Festive Tasks: Door 9 – Thanksgiving, Task 3:
A Book Full of Stuffing

The proverbial stuffed turkey — full of self-praise and completely unnecessary references to the author’s interactions with paleonthologists of note; space that would have been better used for actual information on … the rise and fall of the dinosaurs.  And yes, Dr. Brusatte — I know.  Turkeys are birds, and birds are dinosaurs.

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1811806/24-festive-tasks-door-9-thanksgiving-task-3-book-full-of-stuffing