O.W.L.s Magical Readathon TBRs (Featuring the Family)

As I’ve been engrossed with job hunting since the beginning of this year, I will be the first to admit that time to read for pleasure, especially when I’m over ambitious during readathons, can run away from me. However, I’m finding this pressure is lifting due to openings being pushed back and thinning out. Overall, I’m using this time to work on my CV, learn more about the market through the Get Into Book Publishing online course, read more for my PhD and… finally participate in the Magical Readathon!

This is one of BookTube’s largest readathons organised by Book Roast, running throughout April, and the sheer amount of work she puts in every year astounds me. I’ve included her announcement video below as she’s far more qualified to explain her excellent work but, to give a basic run down, this readathon is based on the O.W.L. examinations from the Harry Potter franchise. As my entire household, myself, my partner and my mum, are all insanely nerdy Harry Potter fans they both wanted to join in because of just how much fun goes into this readathon. Book Roast has created an insanely detailed Career Paths booklet (you can find all of the necessary links in her video’s description) and once you choose a magical career you will know which subjects, like Defence Against the Dark Arts, you need to pass by completing the corresponding book prompt.

In this blog I’ll be detailing the careers and books chosen by myself, a Ravenclaw, my partner and my mum who are both Hufflepuffs. I read very often but I can overestimate my reading speed and my partner and mum are using this as an opportunity to dedicate some time to get back into reading after loving it in the past. I’ll be logging our progress across my Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads before, in time, blogging.

Note: Both my mum and I are missing one book from each of our TBRs as we’re waiting for them to be delivered from Waterstones. We should be able to include them due to the length of this readathon despite the current delays in Waterstones mailing.

Vicky’s TBR

Ministry Worker: Department of Magical Law Enforcement

It was so hard for me to choose just one career path especially with so many bookish options. However, as I’m currently working to maintain positive mental health whilst searching for a job, and specifically one in book publishing, I’m using this readathon for escapism and living vicariously through the magical world. I’ve always been fascinated by the law and especially the law within literature. I haven’t used this as a basis for my choices as I’m doing a lot of reading of law and literature for my PhD, but it has both fuelled, and been fuelled by, a love of Suits. During high school I was never good at exams and far better at essays which heavily informed my choice to pursue English Literature rather than Law as a primary subject so why not study for a Magical Law Enforcement job instead!

Reading List

It is no suprise to anyone that I have the longest reading list of the family. Six books. One month. This is going to be one wild ride.

One of my subjects to pass is the Muggle studies O.W.L. by reading a book from the perspective of a Muggle/a contemporary. After loving Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare in 2019 I cannot wait for the release of her next book, The Switch, this April. I do have it on pre-order, however, as mentioned above many deliveries have been delayed and I am trying to have a break from worrying about job hunting and I believe the main character leaves her job during the narrative. Therefore, I’m leaving this spot open for a little bit of mood reading if necessary.

Vicious by V. E. Schwab for Charms

Lumos Maxima: white cover

Oh V. E. Schwab… I’ve had the first book of each duology and series on my shelf for so long and I know I’m going to love her concepts like blood, PhD idea I’m looking at you, and dark academia. For some reason reading them is a whole other story. This time I’m determined just to sit down and get it done especially after I ended up putting Ninth House down and never picking it up after Christmas. Oops. Anyway, I’m determined to turn this around and fingers crossed I’ll love it.

Victor and Eli, due to a research project gone wrong, become ExtraOrdinaries with supernatural powers. Ten years later Victor escapes from prison, determined to get his revenge on the man who put him there, while Eli has spent the years hunting down and killing other EOs. Driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the arch-nemeses have set a course for revenge…

La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust One) by Philip Pullman for Defence Against the Dark Arts

Grindylows: book set at the sea/coast

Reading this is going to be an interesting journey as it is going to be half re-read and half completely new read. I have read Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, but it was quite a while ago… and I was in high school. My love for the series was reignited twice in 2019, however, as soon as I saw firstly the television adaptation and secondly the gorgeous hardback for The Secret Commonwealth. As I worked in Waterstones over Christmas as well, I got serious F.O.M.O. whenever I sold copies of His Dark Materials and especially The Secret Commonwealth. I’m so looking forward to reading The Secret Commonwealth, I do now own a copy as my partner is an amazing listener, as I love the idea of following Lyra in her twenties and even more so as a student in Oxford. However, as it has been so long since I read His Dark Materials I felt that it was only right to reread the series before diving into the latest instalment and I do want to relish the hype of the third, and assumedly final, book whenever Pullman decides to deliver that to his publisher.

All of this to say, I didn’t read La Belle Sauvage on release and I have heard mixed things due to its status as a prequel seemingly focusing on the details preceding everything you want to read about. If I’m going to love it then reading it as a prequel sounds like the way to go.

La Belle Sauvage. Across the River is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live in quiet seclusion. But Oxford’s peace is about to be shattered. When Malcolm learns the nuns have an unusual guest with them, a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua, he finds himself drawn into a dangerous world of secrets, intrigue and vengeance.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire for History of Magic

Witch hunts: book featuring witches/wizards

I loved this book when I first read it. I also absolutely adore the musical adaptation and it is one of my golden favourites. I understand they are completely different, and I love them both in their individual capacities: the musical is empowering and connects everything up in insightful ways whereas the book is dark, gritty and actually quite creepy as are most of Maguire’s retellings. I also loved the sequel but, again, these were both high school reads for me and I’ve been meaning to reread the entire four book series for ages now. I also want to appreciate how the books connect as a series far more than I did originally.

Fingers crossed this reread will also force me to get my act together later in the year and finally read Hiddensee as that has been glaring at me from my bookshelf for so long. That one is a retelling of Nutcracker and I adore both versions of that story and actually studied it extensively for my Masters so that would be nice to revisit.

An astonishingly rich re-creation of the land of Oz, this book retells the story of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, who wasn’t so wicked after all. Taking readers past the yellow brick road and into a phantasmagoric world rich with imagination and allegory, Gregory Maguire just might change the reputation of one of the most sinister characters in literature.

The Lifted Veil by George Eliot for Potions

Shrinking Solution: book under 150 pages

Ethan this one is for you. Ethan is a wonderful friend of mine and we met during our Masters year at Cardiff University and actually went on to share a supervisor which was a lovely bonus. Where I have always studied ghosts, corpses, disability and all things creepy Ethan has completely dedicated himself to George Eliot through queer studies and his work is just amazing. My jaw drops whenever I speak to him. This one actually popped up on my Literature and Science module, the one that casually changed my life, and Ethan has actually also recommended it to me as well and it. is. tiny! I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet. I’m also hoping this is going to be helpful for my PhD research as well so two birds, one stone.

I would highly recommend giving Ethan a follow not only if his research sounds interesting but also just because he’s generally a ray of sunshine on Twitter: @authorethan

The tale of a man who is incapacitated by visions of the future and the cacophony of overheard thoughts, and yet who can’t help trying to subvert his vividly glimpsed destiny, it is easy to read The Lifted Veil as being autobiographically revealing—of Eliot’s sensitivity to public opinion and her awareness that her days concealed behind a pseudonym were doomed to a tragic unveiling (as indeed came to pass soon after this novella’s publication). But it is easier still to read the story as the exciting and genuine precursor of a moody new form, as well as an absorbing early masterpiece of suspense.

Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore for Transfiguration

Animagus lecture: book/series that includes shapeshifting

Finally, we have Blanca and Roja. I picked this up on recommendation from BooksandLala who is a huge fan of Anna-Marie McLemore. This is the one which stood out to me as I’ve heard it is heavily inspired by Swan Lake, a favourite ballet of mine, and the Ugly Duckling narrative. However, I’m not one hundred percent sure exactly how much shapeshifting there is in the narrative itself so I’m certainly curious.

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.

My Partner’s TBR

Herbologist

My partner is a massive foodie, so I predicted he was either going to pick herbologist or culinary sorcerer. He chose the one which allowed him to grow his own magical produce and experiment over simply isolating the culinary side. He’s also been gifted the shortest reading list, but it is made up entirely of new books to read whereas both my mum and I have rereads alongside new books. He’s also utterly dedicated to Terry Pratchett’s work so his reactions to the books below are going to be so interesting.

Care of Magical CreaturesHippogriffs: creature with a beak on the coverNevernight by Jay Kristoff
HerbologyMimbulus Mimbletonia: title starts with an M*Into the Woods by John Yorke
PotionsShrinking soloution: book under 150 pagesA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

*We tried very hard to find a book both in my collection and on my partner’s TBR which started with an M and we came up with literally nothing. However, he has always had his eye on Into the Woods by John Yorke so we came to the compromise that the book for Herbology could have ‘woods’ in the title.

My Mum’s TBR

Librarian

My mum is the one who got me into reading in the first place and especially  the Harry Potter franchise. However, as work got hectic time for her to read became increasingly rare. So, now that she is thankfully retired this month is the perfect opportunity for her to truly get back into reading by combining rereads and new reads. Plus, she always wanted to be a librarian and spend all of her time researching so, similarly to my career path choice, she’s living vicariously through her magical career.

Ancient RunesHeart rune: heart on the cover or in the titleHeart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
ArithmancyMagical qualities of number 2: balance/opposites – read something outside your favourite genreThe Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Defence Against the Dark ArtsGrindylows: book set at the sea/coastThe Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick
History of MagicWitch hunts: book featuring witches/wizardsHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
TransfigurationAnimagus lecture: book/series that includes shapeshiftingAs Old as Time: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell

Wow that looks like a lot when it’s written down. Fingers crossed we’re going to get through them all, but as we have the whole month of April, I’m pretty hopeful. Plus, it’ll be lovely to take part as a family and I won’t be the only one ranting about books for a change.

I’d love to know if you’re taking part in the Magical Readathon and, if you are, what you’re reading! Also, if you’ve read any of the books listed please let me know what you thought.


Each synopsis has been taken from Waterstones. I do not have any affiliate relationship with Waterstones for this blog post.

Buisness E-Mail: Vickylordreview@gmail.com

Goodreads: Vicky Lord

Twitter: @Vickylrd4

Instagram: @Vickylrd

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