It’s that time again! I’ve been so excited for this, especially given a lot of us are in lockdown. I’m classed as a person at extreme risk, so I am literally not leaving the house at any point ever at all ever. What better time for a read-a-thon!?
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the Magical Read-a-thon 2020 is run by Book Roast over on YouTube. She puts so much effort into designing this Harry Potter based read-a-thon. She’s produced a whole guidebook to magical careers so you can select your O.W.L. subjects (and later your N.E.W.T.s) based on what you want to be when you grow up, and then follow the prompts when choosing your reading for the month.
It took me a while to decide what I wanted to be. In previous years, I’ve gone for a career in Magical Law Enforcement, via the Ministry. I’m a solicitor in real life and so I took the route of logical parallel. This year though, I’m a bit law-ed out, so I’m going to be a Hogwarts Professor!
The requirements for this one are quite vague – you need seven OWLs, one of which has to be DADA and one has to be the subject you wish to teach. The others are completely flexible.
I think I would end up teaching Charms or History of Magic, so I’ll aim for those. For the rest, I’ve picked a book for each prompt and we’ll see where we end up. The prompts were very specific this year, and very tight, so I have a pile of books that isn’t really what I would choose to be reading this month. But that’s okay – this TBR isn’t set in stone.
Ancient Runes – Heart Rune: a book with a heart on the cover or in the title
I literally cannot think of a single book I own that fits this description.
Oh, apart from Every Heart A Doorway, but I only read that last year.
Arithmancy – Magical Qualities of number 2: balance/opposites – read something outside your favourite genre.
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
I just never seem to reach for thrillers. I’ve read one in the last five years. It’s not that I have anything against them, it’s just that for them to interest me, there has to be something unique about it. Luckily, this book seems to fit that description. It doesn’t seem like the generic did-this-husband-kill-his-wife-or not.
Alternative option: The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F*ck by Sarah Knight
Astronomy – Night Classes: read most of this book when it’s dark outside
This prompt could fit almost anything, so I’m going to use this to fit in the books I actually want to read this month that don’t fit in anywhere else. I haven’t decided what yet, but there will definitely be something that takes my fancy that I’m not ‘allowed’ to look at!
Care of Magical Creatures – Hippogriffs: Creature with a beak on the cover
This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
I thought this would be quite hard, but it’s actually been no problem at all. Time travel is my absolute favourite fictional topic, especially time travel when used by organisations for research or educational purposes. Yes, I know it’s specific, but I love it, so I’m thrilled that I have a book with beaks on the cover that fits!
Alternative option: The Wizard of London by Mercedes Lackey
Charms – Lumos Maxima: a book with a mostly white cover
The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
I’m really excited about this one and would probably have read it this month even if it didn’t fit neatly into a read-a-thon prompt. I find Munchausen Syndrome absolutely fascinating as I’ve come across it at work a time or two, and even a fictional account fascinates me. I might actually start with this book – and plus, Charms is one of the subjects I’d like to teach!
Alternative option: The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green
Defence Against the Dark Arts – Grindylows: a book set at sea/the coast
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
I struggled with this very specific prompt but eventually came up with two options, both of which are rereads. I had been meaning to get to both eventually anyway, however. Here is my initial review – you can tell how much I adored it the first time around. Apologies if you read this before I’ve gotten around to reformatting my 2011 review…
Alternative option: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Divination – Third Eye: assign numbers to your TBR and use a random number generator to pick your read
The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell
I’m actually looking forward to reading The Sparrow – it’s a sci-fi novel about a jesuit priest sent to make first contact with aliens. I don’t get round to reading as much sci-fi as I’d like to, so it will be nice to finally make a dint in my TBR.
I ran the random number generator through twice, just so I had another choice in case I wasn’t feeling The Sparrow.
Alternative option: Slayer by Kiersten White
Herbology – Mimbulus Mimbletonia: Title starts with the letter ‘M’
Maybe You Should Talk To Someone by Lori Gottlieb
This is my non-fiction option for the Magical Read-a-thon. It’s a memoir-style look at a therapist, her patients and her own experiences with therapy. I find this industry so interesting, even though it will be from the US perspective, which is very different from British experiences.
Alternative option: The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie
History of Magic – Witch Hunts: books featuring witches/wizards
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
A lot of people seem to be using this book for this prompt! Serpent & Dove is everywhere at the moment and, while I’ve seen mixed reviews, the plot really interests me. And plus I bought it on Kindle for 99p, so you can’t go wrong really.
Alternative option: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
Muggle Studies – a book from the perspective of a muggle (contemporary)
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I’ve had this book on my TBR for a while as my friend passed it on after not really taking to it. I started this yesterday (but I’m writing this late, so it was still within the timeframe) and I’ve surprised myself by how much I like it. I don’t often read contemporary family drama type things, but this is pretty good so far!
Alternative option: War Doctor: Surgery on the Front Line by David Nott
Potions – Shrinking Solution: a book under 150 pages
The Strange Case of DrJekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
I have read this before, twice, but I do really like it and it has the added advantage of only being 88 pages long. I’m also on a bit of a gothic Victorian kick at the moment, having reread Frankenstein and currently listening to the audiobook of Dracula.
Alternative option: Caesar: The Life Story of a Panda-Leopard by Patrick O’Brian (100 pages)
Transfiguration – Animagus Lecture: a book/series that includes shape-shifting
A Throne of Swans by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr
Another one I’m looking forward to reading; maybe this list isn’t as bad as I’d thought. I bought a signed copy of this book at Forbidden Planet right before the lockdown, after hearing great things from pretty much everywhere. It sounds really unique and interesting.
Alternative option: The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey
And so there we have it – two options for every class. Well, apart from Ancient Runes, but I’m not going to run out and buy a book with a heart on it to pass a class that I don’t need!
I hope the Magical Read-a-thon provides a lovely distraction from the read world for those of you who need it.
Have you read any of these books? What are you reading for the Magical Read-a-thon 2020?