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Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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dustydigger
Posted 2023-01-05 6:12 AM (#26684)
Subject: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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Well,after a lot of mess and drama,the 2023 challenge is up and running - and I even have a few participants. daxhh and Hneite,as ever I never know what my health status will be,but I'll start out on the 40 books level.
For the most part I intend to read vintage SF,pre 1970.with only a handful of stuff after 2020. I have read all the Hugo and Nebula winners up to 2021. I am working my way through the Locus award winners,I have I think around 11 titles left,but most of them are huge tomes by authors I am not keen on,so whereas on a normal list I would definitely complete the list this year,that are a LOT of books I dont want to read. For some reason I cant take to Neal Stephenson's work Very rare that I DNF a book,in fact I just class such a book as on hiatus,but I stalled on Cryptonomicon after about 60 pages,and as for Anathem,less said the better. The book got to a description of a monastery service,and a pages long description of some sort of machine,and I couldnt take it any more!
Last month I started a concerted effort to read Samuel R Delany's Dhalgren,third attempt. I got up to 600/879 pages but put it aside to finish 2022 challenge reads. So I hope to complete it this month. That will finish off the Locus Best SF of all time list. I finished the other 49 books years ago,but couldnt read Dhalgren despite various attempts,but I think I will finally do it.
First though I must finish Adrian Tchaikovsky's Children of Time.Its on limited loan time,because the waiting list is massive. I have 7 days left of my loan,with 300 pages still left to read. Then its on to old stuff. Plus some kindle unlimited self published fluff which I read to relax,or as palate cleansers. They dont show up on WWEnd lists,so dont count for this challenge.
We'll see how it goes.










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ScoLgo
Posted 2023-01-10 12:37 PM (#26716 - in reply to #26684)
Subject: RE: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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I'm cutting back on the number of challenges this year and will focus more on the Pick & Mix. I find this to be a great challenge because it allows for a wider range of books as opposed to reading within a specific sub-genre. Starting off with 20 but might bump up to 40 if the titles add up as the year progresses. My first 2023 Pick&Mixer, (Asimov's Foundation), is done and I'm nearly finished with my 2nd, (Fahrenheit 451). The Bradbury still holds up as a 5-star read. Despite some of the 'tech-speak' being hopelessly out of date, the core messaging of the story remains much too pertinent as book-banning is again on the rise, (at least here in the states).
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dustydigger
Posted 2023-01-12 4:15 PM (#26721 - in reply to #26684)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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Hi ScoLgo. I deliberately set up a challenge with the widest parameters possible as I found doing lots of small challenges a bit time consuming or confusing.Or I found myself using books for various challenges,so I cut down to only two,the Pick N Mix and the just general ''Books read in 2022'' type. Sadly Illegible Scribble doesnt seem to be doing it this year..
I will probably read a lot of books first,then see if they fit with any challenges. I do like the look of daxxh'x Pulp fiction challenge,I tend to read a lot of such books. Like her I like the Ace doubles bookswith their gloriously pulpy covers.We'll see.
btw,how is your dog doing. I have completely forgotten his name..
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ScoLgo
Posted 2023-01-13 12:00 AM (#26724 - in reply to #26721)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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Hi Dusty,

The sleepy guy in my avatar was named 'Yorgo'. He is long gone now as he had a sudden heart attack a few years ago. I still really like the pic though so I keep it for my online profiles.

I hear you about multiple challenges getting confusing! I keep running into trouble keeping my LT tags coordinated with my WWE challenges, (it's the only way I have found that allows me to look back at past challenges). I did nine in 2022 and have decided to limit it to 5 this year, (P&M, Read the Sequel, Number of the Counting Shall be 3, Women of Genre Fiction, and Collections). I have a LOT of unread short story collections so I'm hoping to put a small dent in that section of my TBR shelf this year.

Doubles can be pretty cool. I have a really neat TOR double of 'Vintage Season' by C.L. Moore and 'In Another Country' by Robert Silverberg. I have to admit that Silverberg has been a bit hit or miss for me over the years but his response story to Moore's is masterful. If you ever run across this particular double, I highly recommend it.
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dustydigger
Posted 2023-01-13 7:13 AM (#26726 - in reply to #26724)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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Yorgo! Thats the name. I had a feeling he could be gone,its a LOONNGG long time since Shelfari,but I thought it would be more tactful doing an oblique approach.

I have been enjoying getting into short stories for a couple of years now.focusing mainly on classic vintage stuff.This site is so helpful in highlighting short fic,and showing what anthologies etc you can find them in. Excellent!
I also found a fabulous resource for free short stories,fascinating to browse through - just this morning I found P Djeli Clark's A Dead Djinn in Cairo,and Ted Chang's Exhalation,both things I want to read. I also found Peter Watts full novel Blindsight. Brilliant..All sorts of award winners or nominees,but also huge gaps,some authors barely represented at all,if their work only appeared as published books. But if they were in magazines,quite a few famous things turn up. But its also fun just picking an interesting title just out of curiosity.

check out - https://www.freesfonline.net/Authors.html
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Dlw28
Posted 2023-01-13 7:32 AM (#26727 - in reply to #26726)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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Dusty and others here who have hosted a RYO- how hard is it to set something up? I miss having the published in the current year challenge and the books read this year challenge.
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daxxh
Posted 2023-01-13 9:36 AM (#26729 - in reply to #26727)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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@Dlw28 - it is really easy to set up a challenge. I just added the Books Read This Year: 2023 challenge because I really missed a place to keep track of what I have read.

It looks to me like the person who did this challenge and the current year, short story and novella challenges hasn't been around for a while, so if you want to host them, go for it.

Edited by daxxh 2023-01-13 9:47 AM
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lisagarrity
Posted 2023-01-13 9:37 PM (#26736 - in reply to #26684)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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@Dlw28,

If you set up the published in the current year challenge, I will join. I just got Nancy Kress' new book Observer.
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ScoLgo
Posted 2023-01-17 10:55 AM (#26753 - in reply to #26726)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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dustydigger - 2023-01-13 5:13 AM

I also found a fabulous resource for free short stories,fascinating to browse through - just this morning I found P Djeli Clark's A Dead Djinn in Cairo,and Ted Chang's Exhalation,both things I want to read. I also found Peter Watts full novel Blindsight. Brilliant..All sorts of award winners or nominees,but also huge gaps,some authors barely represented at all,if their work only appeared as published books. But if they were in magazines,quite a few famous things turn up. But its also fun just picking an interesting title just out of curiosity.

check out - https://www.freesfonline.net/Authors.html


Thank you for reminding me about Free SF Online! I had looked at that site before but keep forgetting to check it for titles not available via our local Overdrive Library. Have already found a couple of Gene Wolfe short stories there that don't appear in any of the (many) collections I own. Bookmarked for further exploration - thanks again!
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dustydigger
Posted 2023-01-24 7:54 AM (#26768 - in reply to #26684)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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Its good,isnt it,ScoLgo? For SF I also regularly use the Luminist Archive site,since I read a ton of vintage stuff. And of course,my old friend Open Library, the Internet site. I would never have been able to check off hundreds of books without these sites. My library system never keeps old SF,so I rely on Luminist,Open Library and now the Free SF Online sites to happily supply mountains of great stuff for this old pensioner who cant afford to buy many books.
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dustydigger
Posted 2023-02-26 8:25 AM (#26842 - in reply to #26684)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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Sorry not been around much. Numerous health problems as usual,the worst being vertigo,so sitting at a computer has been a bit dodgy. Not read a great number of booksread this February in the SF/Fantasy genre,but there have been a few intriguing things. The major work of the month was John Milton's awesome Paradise Lost,which I had avoided in the past as intimidating or too high literary for me. I really enjoyed the sonorous blank verse,the wonderful Satan,depicted in the early part,the touching love of Adam and Eve which did lead to the Fall,as Adam was not deceived but put his love for Eve before his love for God. Thats why he is cast as the main offender,since Eve had been deceived,whilst Adam was clear eyed and deliberate in his actions. Wonderful ending,with a smidgen of hope. The angels have led them to the Gates of Eden,with flaming swords swords to block any attempt at re-entry:


Some natrual tears they dropp'd,but wiped them soon;
The world was all before them,where to choose
Their place of rest,and Providence their guide:
They hand in hand with wandering steps and slow;
Through Eden took their solitary way.

THE END

Wonderful stuff! I did attempt to get the admin to add this book to the data base, After all it is a major source of thousands of fantasy books which are on WWEnd,I thought it,and the Iliad and Odyssey should be on the site,but I never got a reply,which was a pity.
I have read G L Lewis Out of the Silent Planet trilogy several times over the years. Perelandra in particular follows theEden bible story which I clearly realized,but reading Milton just made it blindingly obviously that Lewis was heavily influenced by Milton.Irritated questions about why is Lewis doing this particular thing,now I can see the connection with Milton.
Now I must reread The Lewis trilogy with Milton in mind. I know I have missed so much by not having read Milton first April is definitely pencilled in as a C S Lewis month!
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ScoLgo
Posted 2023-03-07 6:42 PM (#26861 - in reply to #26842)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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That's interesting. I have not read Milton or Lewis, (other than Narnia during childhood). I have been meaning to remedy that for years. Now I know to start with Milton, so thank you for that.
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dustydigger
Posted 2023-04-01 3:33 AM (#26899 - in reply to #26684)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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EEK! I must get back into reading more SF/F! Of course I did read 5 of the Amber books,always fun to return to Amber,but its taking a lot of time getting through Lord of the Rings. I have about 90 pages left of the Two Towers section,then its Return of the King. Still delightful,but its taking a lot of doing,as my reading speed has slowed to a crawl, barely 20 - 25 pages an hour,since I have to take frequent rests,and the pages are densely packed.As ever I am loving the super descriptions of landscape.Tolkien is just brilliant at making the landscapes just super real. Every forest is different,unique. After crossing the Dead Marshes,and seeing the horrific desolation of the Black Gates,journeying through the heather and spring growth in Ithilien is so beautiful and refreshing. And we saw an Oliphant! Indeed when anyone mentions LOTR,what springs to my mind is eating stewed rabbit and seeing the oliphant.Still as delightful as when I carted around my big one volume paperback edition when in was released in the summer of 1968
So April must see through this latest reread of LOTR,and at least a few SF novels,though I will be spending some time on Beowulf and Grendel,and even Sophocles.
Hopefully I can get stern with myself and read a lot of SF in May. Can but hope
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dustydigger
Posted 2023-04-02 4:00 PM (#26903 - in reply to #26899)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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Finished my reread of The Two Towers. I always feel sorry for the original audience when the trilogy first came out. I think there was a gap of several months between Two Towers and The Return of the KIng. Must have been torture waiting! lol. I am starting Holly Black's debut novel,Tithe,YA but certainly making no concessions for a younger audience.
I also intend to read John Gardner's Grendel.,plus a vintage crime novel
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dustydigger
Posted 2023-05-31 4:45 AM (#27001 - in reply to #26903)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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Ouch,long time since I was on here. Too many illnesses to cope with,the occluded eye is now almost useless,still waiting for an appointment to see an eye consultant,never mind an actual operation. My back is terrible,5 minutes is the maximum I can be on my feet before the pain is overwhelming and I must sit down. Plus the anaemia is awful,the docs are worried and I have to have a bone marrow procedure to see just what is wrong. All in all,not much fun. I still read but rather sporadic. Anyhoo,lets see at least a quick outline of what I read for the Pick N' Mix in April .Couldnt cope with heavy or difficult stuff much,so I read some light fluff on kindle unlimitedwhich are not on WWEnd data bases,so I cant count them for my P&M. Pity.
I finished Two Towers and Return of the King. First read in 1968,and many times since,but this was the first time I seemed to find it dragging a little at times,the pace was rather glacially slow. Maybe it was because of my health problems and pain,but it could be that the modern style of frenetic pace has affected me at last,and older stuff feels slow. Oh dear,I hope not,all the old literary classics are like that! lol.
Certainly John Scalzi's Kaiju Preservation Society whizzes along briskly enough. I will Scalzi himself tell us about it
?KPS is not, and I say this with absolutely no slight intended, a brooding symphony of a novel. It?s a pop song. It?s meant to be light and catchy, with three minutes of hooks and choruses for you to sing along with, and then you?re done and you go on with your day, hopefully with a smile on your face. I had fun writing this, and I needed to have fun writing this. We all need a pop song from time to time, particularly after a stretch of darkness.? sheer fun and nonsense.
I enjoyed my reread of Holly Black's early novel Tithe,but had a hard time coping with Amy Kaufman's YA Aurora Rising. Too much teenage angst,rivalry etc for this old lady,but an OK fluff read.
C S Lewis's That Hideous Strength was another s-l-o-w read,but fascinating,if rather strange. Lewis readers are split bewtween thinking it is his worst,or his best book. Certainly it is very different from the first two books in the Ransom trilogy.I enjoyed it and found it thought provoking but odd. Certainly not a book for religion haters,their blood would boil continually.
And that was it for April.May was to be the Horror MAYhem challenge on Booktube. Our mission to readshorter horror works,short stories or novellas.
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lisagarrity
Posted 2023-05-31 2:12 PM (#27005 - in reply to #26684)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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Will you be participating in June on the Range? I've added 4 Day Planet and Lone Star Planet by H Beam Piper to my Pick & Mix. I'll probably reread at least Louis L'Amour as well.
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dustydigger
Posted 2023-05-31 5:47 PM (#27006 - in reply to #26684)
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Hi Lisa!. Not sure about June on the Range. Its been a long time since I read one of my all time favourite westerns,Owen Wister's The Virginian'' 50 years ago I acquired a wonderful 1923 edition,deckled edges ,crammed with awesome line drawing illustrations. I just loved it. No matter how many times I read it I thrilled to the famous quote ''When you call me that,SMILE''. And its still a shock when Steve is judged as a horse thief. Wow. That book was the first major cowboy story taken seriously as literature rather than as a penny dreadful sort of thing. But its a very long book,and I have so many commitments for June its not feasible.. If I can squeeze them in I may read some of Robert E Howard's cowboy tales with a supernatural tinge,or H P Lovecraft's ''The Mound''. I still have a bit of a hangover for SF horror in May!
Hey, maybe I could squeeze in Lonestar Planet. I have it in a H Beam Piper collection. Thanks for jogging my memory! :0)
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Janeere
Posted 2023-07-04 10:14 AM (#27055 - in reply to #26684)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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Personally, I've been focusing on exploring vintage science fiction novels, particularly those published before 1970. There's something special about delving into the early works that laid the foundation for the genre. Thank you for sharing the resource of Free SF Online; it seems like a treasure trove of classic and award-winning short fiction. I'll definitely be checking it out to discover some hidden gems. I hope you're feeling better soon and can continue enjoying your reading journey. As for me, I'm slowly making progress on my Pick & Mix challenge. I've been exploring various sub-genres, including dystopian fiction and epic fantasy. Recently, I've been engrossed in the works of Neil Gaiman, and his unique blend of fantasy and mythology has captured my imagination.
project site
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dustydigger
Posted 2023-07-31 11:01 AM (#27089 - in reply to #27055)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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I'm sorry I never replied,Janeere,been sick most of the month,but I am seeing some marginal improvement. Hope I can chat later.
For now I will just set up my monthly What Are We Reading in ....
I have vertigo and blurred vision so my reading is slow going.
As for this challenge,I still have 30 books to read. Well,actually I have read probably 90 SF/F this year,but many of them are self published so cant count on the P&M challenge
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ScoLgo
Posted 2023-11-12 12:02 AM (#28566 - in reply to #26684)
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Just finished Hopeland by Ian McDonald, which completes this year's Pick & Mix.

Four more titles to go to finish out my remaining challenges!
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dustydigger
Posted 2023-11-12 3:48 AM (#28570 - in reply to #28566)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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Well done,ScoLgo,. I still have about 12 titles to read to reach my 80 goal. EEK
My reading has picked up a bit since my eye op FINALLY took place a month ago,though,so I hope to complete the challenge.
Sadly though this is the last Pick N Mix challenge.10 years.......I havent been able to take care of it as in past years,and there'sa big drop in people taking part. Still gratifying to see how many views the thread still gets.
I will be cutting my time online a lot, in future,partly because of my health but now Mr Dusty's cognitive decline has accelerated,I will need more time to take care of him.
I'll give more about my thoughts on the challenge nearer the end of the year.
Ouch,actually thats less than 7 weeks away. Where did this crazy crazy year go?
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ScoLgo
Posted 2023-11-20 3:20 PM (#28585 - in reply to #28570)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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I'm very sorry to hear about Mr. Dusty. I'll be sad to see the P&M challenge go dormant but it's completely understandable. Real life has a way of distracting us from reading and it sure sounds as though you have other priorities at the moment. I wish you strength going forward.
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dustydigger
Posted 2023-11-30 12:15 PM (#28597 - in reply to #28585)
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Thanks,Stefan,for your kind words. We are soldiering on,waiting for an MRI scan,to finally confirm the diagnosis. So far Mr D is physically healthy,and he understands me,but cant string words together,and had reverted to his native language,which after 40 years away from Africa,I have have almost completely forgotten! Somehow we can get ideasacross,but it is time consuming..
Fortunately I have only a handful of reads left for my Pick N Mix,so I will scrape through the challenge for the final time.
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daxxh
Posted 2023-12-01 9:02 PM (#28606 - in reply to #28597)
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@dustydigger - I am sorry to hear about Mr. Dusty. Hopefully, he will improve with time. I will miss the P&M Challenge as that is where I put books that don't fit anywhere else. If you like, I can host it until you want it back. Wishing you and Mr. Dusty all the best and hope to still see you on WWE on occasion.
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lisagarrity
Posted 2023-12-01 10:41 PM (#28607 - in reply to #26684)
Subject: Re: Pick & Mix challenge 2023
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I'm so sorry to hear about Mr Dusty. Are there any services available that could help? You're doing what you need to do but outside help might make it easier for you both. I've enjoyed your challenge and thank you for hosting it. Take care.
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