Readathons

Magical Readathon: OWLs 2019 – TBR

A few days ago I came across Book Roast‘s amazing Magical Readathon, and I’m so excited to start it on Monday! The Magical Readathon is definitely heavily rooted in Harry Potter but anyone can take part – Potter fans or not – because the books you choose to read are nothing to do with the series. G, the amazing human behind Book Roast, has clearly put so much work into creating this readathon, it’s really impressive!

The idea is based on the OWL exams from Harry Potter. G at Book Roast has created an amazing ‘Wizarding Career Guide’ that features eighteen magical career paths. To take part in the readathon, you choose a career and then complete a prompt related to each of the subjects needed to progress towards that path. For example, if you want to be an Auror, you need to ‘take exams’ in Charms, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Potions, and Transfiguration, so to complete the readathon you would read a book that fits each of the prompts given for those subjects. Each career has a different combination of subjects; some have just two subjects if you’re looking for a relaxed reading month, others are a lot more demanding. Of course, you don’t need to choose a career at all: you can simply read as many of the twelve prompts as you like. Completing two subjects earns you an A mark, Acceptable, whilst six gets you an E, Exceeds Expectations. If you’re feeling ambitious, completing nine subjects will earn you an O: Outstanding!

Here’s Book Roast explaining the challenge in full!

In the description of the video you’ll find links to the Wizarding Careers Guide, the OWLs prompts, guidelines and an FAQ. I highly recommend checking out the Careers Guide even if you’re not interested in joining the readathon, just to admire the amazing work that went into creating it! There’s also a Twitter – @MagicalReadthn – where extra challenges like the House Cup and Quidditch Cup will take place, and a Discord server to chat with fellow readers. You can even pick your Hogwarts house and hang out in a private chat common room.

I’m honestly gobsmacked with the amount of detail that has gone into arranging this readathon!

I had a long look at all the careers, trying to decide which one to choose. I considered picking Aurologist or Astronomer because I love things like that – you can see my two tarot decks in my picture above as I’m learning to read tarot cards! – but in the end I decided on Hogwarts Professor, as it provided a lot of flexibility in the subjects I could choose. To complete the OWLs for the Hogwarts Professor pathway, I have to take exams in DADA and my teaching subject of choice (Divination), plus five more subjects. Here’s what I chose, their prompts, and the books I’m planning to read for each one:

I’m trying to work on my backlisted TBR pile and luckily a lot of my oldest reads, some mentioned in my Spring Reads post, are capable of fitting into these prompts. Let me break down my list:

  • Red Clocks by Leni Zumas: Hasn’t been on my TBR for long but is one of the few on my list that begins with R. Looking forward to reading this dystopian novel!
  • Borne by Jeff Vandermeer: I loved Annihilation and I’ve heard excellent things about Borne. Described as a ‘biotech apocalyptic’ novel, this was the only book on my TBR to be explicitly set in the future.
  • Bleaker House by Nell Stevens: This was featured in my Spring Reads post as having been on my list for a while. Surprisingly I had a few to choose from for this prompt! Bleaker House has been neglected for a while though so I went with this. It has a cute little penguin on the cover.
  • East West Street by Philippe Sands: Another one from my Spring Reads post, I think I’ve been meaning to read this for a couple of years now. I could have chosen any book for this prompt because I almost exclusively read adult lit.
  • Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras: A new-ish addition to my list, this book came out last summer. The cover features a Brugmansia, or Angel’s Trumpet.
  • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick: The third book from my Spring Reads list, this been on my TBR for a couple of years. It was written well over ten years ago, in 1962.
  • Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta: My final pick and also the last one featured in my Spring Reads post. For this prompt, ‘Contemporary’, I had a lot of books to choose from, so I decided on another that had been on my list for a while.

The Magical Readathon begins on April 1st and runs until the end of the month, with NEWTs taking place in August. I’ll post an update in the middle of April to share my progress. My calendar in April is a little all over the place; I have a lot of lovely family time scheduled and some time off work too so I should get plenty of reading done, and maybe even take a couple of extra ‘exams’ to achieve Outstanding in my OWLs!

Anyone else taking part in the Magical Readathon?
I’d love to know what career you’ve picked and which books you’re reading!

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