[TSS] Bookish Bliss: Readalongs

I’m SO glad I’ve discovered how much fun it is to read a book in the company of others. Fun because reading is still a very solitary thing (which I also love) but when you’re doing a readalong, it’s like being able to take a trip down the hall to the office water cooler (aka Twitter, Facebook and blog posts) for a quick chat, but with an added bonus: you certainly won’t be discussing the weather!

I’m joining in on three readalongs this month and next, with a fourth one coming in June. (One of the readalongs, alas, I’m already behind on (as in, just got the book haven’t read a thing yet, and it’s been a go for twelve days already now), so maybe I shouldn’t actually say I’m joining in on that one …)

So, first up:

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle Readalong

windmeup

I’m really really excited about this one—you can read all about it on Jill’s blog. Murakami is top on my list of “authors I want to read but oh my God they’re a bit on the intimidating side aren’t they?” and I’m going to need all the hand-holding I can get. (Strange Library doesn’t really count, because it’s more of a novella, plus it has lots of illustrations so it felt a little like reading a graphic novel or maybe a picture book for grown-ups. Although length probably doesn’t mean anything when it comes to Murakami, now that I think about it, because I’ve also read two Murakami short stories and let me just say, one of them flew right over my head. As in whoosh. I fared a little bit better with the other one.)

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle also made it to the Guardian’s list of “most disturbing novels” and after reading why it made it to the list I know there will definitely be some scenes I’ll be reading with eyes half-closed while quickly turning the pages. Because I’m squirmish like that. (My spell check is telling me that’s not a word and I should be using squeamish but squirmish feels right to me.) I have a feeling Jill is the perfect person to be reading a squirmish novel with …

So do come join us if you’re in the mood for tackling Murakami! It’s an informal readalong that runs from April 15 to May 31, so there’s lots and lots of time to read the book. The hashtag for this one is #windmeup.

And then some science fiction:

The Dune Readalong

Starting April 19, Suey, Jenni and Kami are holding a Dune readalong. I have had Dune, by Frank Herbert, on my to-read list for a very long time now. I can remember when I was a kid seeing my mom read it.

We used to have these weekly reading sessions where my sisters and I would all pile onto her bed with her, each of us with our own book, happily reading together. My mom doesn’t read fiction any more now, but when I was growing up she was a huge mystery, thrillers and SF reader. I grew up with Agatha Christie, John Le Carré, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov scattered all over the house. So I do come by my genre leanings honestly (maybe it’s even hereditary!).

And I had to smile because this cover that Suey posted with the sign-up post:

Dune_Herbert

is the very same cover of the copy of Dune that I remember my mom reading! I love that she picked this cover instead of the one that graces the more modern edition.

There will also be three Twitter chats, which sound like they’ll be fun. The Twitter hashtag for this one is #DuneRAL. If Dune‘s been on your to-read list, too, I hope you’ll join in!

The one I missed (but maybe not):

Cloud Atlas Readalong

This is the one I’ve kind of dropped the ball on—it started back on April 1—but I’m still hoping to start Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell this month, and maybe even join in some of the discussion posts. Cloud Atlas is another one of those “I’m kind of intimated by this” books, although unlike Haruki Murakami, it’s not the author himself I find intimidating, just the book. I know this because I also want to read The Bone Clocks and I’m not intimidated by the idea of reading that one at all.

(Can you all tell, by the way, this is my year for reading outside my comfort zone?)

Hosted by Katie and April, the sign-up post is here, and the Twitter hashtag is #CloudAtlasAlong.

And coming in June …

The Misery readalong, hosted by Care! This is definitely going to be my year for reading Stephen King. I love the guy but I’ve really only read his earlier novels, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

I haven’t read Misery yet so this will be a first-time read for me. Haven’t seen the movie, either, although I always picture Kathy Bates when I think of the movie. It promises to be a fun, informal readalong. The hashtag for this one is #MiseryRAL. And you really need to pop over to Care’s post to see the really scary looking Stephen King picture she’s posted.

31 thoughts on “[TSS] Bookish Bliss: Readalongs

  1. JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing

    There’s nothing like a good readalong! They’ve helped me get through quite a few long classics. Would love to join in a couple of these (especially Murakami), but have April and May pretty well booked already. Not sure I’m up to King. Enjoy!

    Reply
    1. Belle Wong Post author

      It’s so hard not to get booked up with books waiting to be ready, isn’t it? Would have loved to have you join in on the Murakami – maybe next time!

      Reply
  2. KatieMcD @ Bookish Tendencies

    There’s no behind, so join us for #CloudAtlasAlong when you get there! The discussion posts will be ready and waiting for your thoughts when you’ve gotten to those sections! I will say you have to push through the first section, and then it’s smoother sailing (so far) after that! The third section has been my favorite from what I’ve read! I need to look into that Dune readalong, because I have a copy at home begging to be read :)

    Reply
    1. Belle Wong Post author

      That’s a great idea, Katie – I can always check in on the discussion posts once I’ve finished each section! Hope you do the Dune readalong!

      Reply
  3. Bryan G. Robinson

    Once upon a time, I did readalongs…

    …and then I didn’t.

    The End

    I don’t know why, other than that I’m pretty much stuck in crime fiction and none of these book fit in my preferred genre. :) The only one I probably wouldn’t like, and because I tried it and couldn’t get into it at all, would be Cloud Atlas. It was just too much work for me. I don’t like that much work in my reading, a little but not a lot like Mitchell’s writing seems to require.

    Reply
    1. Belle Wong Post author

      I think both Cloud Atlas and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle fall into this “must work harder in my reading” for me, too. I’m not sure why I want to tackle them, actually, just that I have this strong urge (to say at least I tried, maybe?!). Crime fiction and fantasy are my preferred genres, too. We should think of a good crime fiction book for a readalong, Bryan!

      Reply
  4. Michelle

    Dune is a great book. I can only imagine how much fun a readalong of that will be. Are you going to watch the movie too?

    You now have me intrigued by the The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I’ll admit I was going to pass but one of the most disturbing books of all time? I can’t pass that up. Off to check on a copy of this one…

    Have a great week and enjoy your readalongs!

    Reply
    1. Belle Wong Post author

      Hope you can join us for the Murakami one! I’m probably not going to be watching the Dune mini-series (or movie, for that matter) (although if I lived near Suey, Jenni and Kami I sure would – I think they’re getting together to watch, which would be so much fun!)

      Reply
    1. Belle Wong Post author

      I hope I’ll be able to get these books read – my other incentive is my reading spreadsheet. I’ve been finding it’s motivation enough to keep going with a book, just so I can enter it into the spreadsheet!

      Reply
  5. Athira

    Oh I am so tempted to get into the Dune readalong. My husband loved that book but I am yet to read it. I already have four books to read after my current read, so let me see if there is any way I can squeeze it in.

    Reply
    1. Belle Wong Post author

      Hope you can, Athira – it looks like it will be fun. Especially the Twitter chats. I’ve never participated in a Twitter chat for a readalong before …

      Reply
  6. Suey

    I can’t wait to get started with the Dune thing! We had so much fun last time, I’m assuming it will be similar. The chats are great and even if you don’t watch the movie, you can follow along with our live tweets then too, just to see what silly stuff we say! :) I’m assuming we’ll tweet as we read too, which we did last time, which then lead to some impromptu chats. I love those too.

    Reply
    1. Belle Wong Post author

      I remember some of your Twitter conversations from the North and South readalong – they looked like such fun, Suey!

      Reply
  7. Care

    Whoa – that is a lot of heavy reading, imo. I have read Wind Up and didn’t find it at all difficult – only ODD. So I would say do not in the least be intimidated even tho I have yet to read the disturbing list post you link to. Cloud Atlas is the BEST for a readalong because it IS challenging and really once past page 39 you should be OK, really. I would be glad to be a person to bounce off any questions cuz it really is a fun one – language might be tough but I did OK.
    But Dune? I have tried Dune twice and just. don’t. get. it. HOWEVER, this was a long long time ago. LIke WAAAAAaaaaaaay long time ago so maybe with blogging (and all those years of maturing?!) maybe just maybe I could fall into it.
    I cheer your enthusiasm!!!

    Reply
    1. Care

      OK, back from reading that disturbing list… am now aware that I don’t tend to keep memories of disturbing events in books. Wow! I had forgotten LOTS of stuff in LOTS of books!

      Reply
      1. Belle Wong Post author

        I plan on skimming over those disturbing scenes in The Windup Bird Chronicles. That won’t take away from the essence of the book, right? (Hopefully not!)

        And I will try to stick with Cloud Atlas past page 39 – it’s very good to be know this because knowing me, I’d otherwise give up on it at the first sign of head scratching on my part, say on page 2 or something.

        Reply
    1. Belle Wong Post author

      Ooh, that’s good to know, that it’s one of your favourite King books! I’m really looking forward to the readalong :)

      Reply
  8. jilllora

    Hopefully Michelle will join us, otherwise it’s going to be a party of 2 for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles. Not that we still won’t have fun! I read about 80 pages today, and so far it’s perfectly understandable and not the least bit disturbing (there were hints of it with a phone call, but otherwise it was pretty tame).
    And OMG…Dune! I read that (with that cover, too) in junior high. I almost kind of want to revisit it.
    As for Cloud Atlas…we’ll talk when you’ve finished.

    Reply
    1. Belle Wong Post author

      You’ve already read 80 pages?! I’m still waiting for the library to get me my copy. I think I might have to go and Kindle it, though. It seems to be taking a while. And it’s good to know it’s been quite tame so far. Tame, I can take.

      Reply

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