This August, it’s the return of the N.E.W.Ts Readathon!
Essentially these readathons are all about reading books to fulfil prompts that help you pass your exams at Hogwarts and they’re so much fun. The idea is that whatever subjects you ‘pass’ during the O.W.Ls are the subjects you can then go on to pursue during the N.E.W.Ts, which are a little more challenging as each subject has three prompts instead of only one. If you read one book for a subject, you achieve an A (Acceptable), if you read two you achieve an E (Exceeds Expectations), and if you read all three you achieve an O (Outstanding).
This year Gi also created a really fun careers pamphlet that I’ll link here if you’ve missed it, so you could plan your readathon around the profession you’d like to pursue after Hogwarts. Most of all, though, this readathon is just about having a lot of fun!
This year, to my amazement, I managed to achieve all 12 O.W.Ls in April, so I can pursue any of the subjects I want, but there’s no way I’m going to read 36 books in August – not that you have to aim for an O in every subject.
I wasn’t really aiming for a career when I did the O.W.Ls, I just wanted to achieve as many as I could, but having achieved all 12 I’ve decided to focus my N.E.W.Ts on pursuing a career as a History of Magic Professor because I am nothing if not a history nerd.
So to become a History of Magic Professor, I need to achieve the following:
- An O in History of Magic
- An E in Defence Against the Dark Arts
- An A in two further subjects
I’ve decided to give myself a selection of four subjects for my two further subjects! Ancient Runes and Potions I’ve chosen because they’re subjects I think I would have taken if I’d gone to Hogwarts; Ancient Runes sounds like the kind of subject that would go hand-in-hand with History of Magic quite nicely and, as I’ve mentioned before, I was quite good at baking in school so I think I’d be pretty good at Potions as long as I didn’t have Snape for a teacher.
I’m also going to consider Astronomy and Transfiguration, purely because I really like the prompts for those subjects and I’d like to have plenty of choice for this readathon!
And because I have zero chill, I’m going to aim for O’s in all of these subjects. I’d have to do something pretty spectacular to achieve an O in six subjects, but I’d rather give myself a full TBR for all six of them so I don’t spend any time during the readathon trying to choose what to read next.
A: Ehwaz (partnership) – Read a book recommended by a friend
I haven’t read a short story collection in such a long time, but Daisy Johnson’s Fen has been on my radar since my friend Elena told me how much she loved it. I recently read the first story in the collection and enjoyed it, so I’d like to read the rest of it in August!
E: Read a book written in past tense
This is one of those nice prompts that means I can pick up whichever book I’m in the mood to read as long as it’s written in past tense, but for now I’m going to go with The Art of Deception by Stephanie Burgis. At only 54 pages it’s more of a novelette, and I’m in need of some shorter reads on my TBR!
O: Read a book that’s been on your TBR for ages
I definitely have books that have been on my TBR longer than Angela Slatter’s Of Sorrow and Such, although I’ve owned my copy for almost two years now, but as I mentioned above I need some shorter reads on my TBR and I’ve heard great things about this Tor novella.
A: Read a book with a moon on the cover or anywhere in the title
Shelby Eileen’s Goddess of the Hunt is a poetry collection that reimagines the life of the Greek goddess, Artemis, and explores her vow of chastity as a celebration of aromanticism and asexuality. I’m always looking for more aro and/or ace rep in books and I love poetry about myths, legends and fairy tales, so I’m looking forward to reading this one!
E: Read a book with the word “night” in the title or series name
Since last year I’ve been exploring the romance genre more and more and I’ve discovered that, when I’m in the mood for it, I love me a cheesy, feel-good, fun historical romance. Tessa Dare’s A Night to Surrender sounds like exactly that, and I find that I blast through historical romance when I read it so it’s the perfect genre to reach for during a readathon like this!
O: Read a sci-fi book (or a book with stars on the cover)
Becky Chambers is my favourite science fiction author and her first novella, To Be Taught, If Fortunate, is being released this August! I have my copy pre-ordered and I’m so excited to pick it up.
Defence Against the Dark Arts
A: Read a book that’s black under the dust jacket
E: Gilderoy’s memory charm – Read the first book that you remembered from your TBR
EDIT: Originally Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind was on my TBR, but I’ve since seen quite a few people with similar tastes to mine say that the women in this series aren’t very well written and I’m so over reading badly written women in fantasy written by men. I’ll still give it a try at some point to make my own mind up about it, but I don’t particularly want to be doing that during the N.E.W.Ts.
Two other books that have been on my mind a lot recently are A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos, translated from the French by Hildegarde Serle, and Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno. Depending on what mood I’m in, I’ll pick one of those up!
O: Cornish pixie! Swat it away with an English author or a book set in England
Honestly, I read a lot of books by English authors or set in England anyway, because I’m British and am therefore spoilt for choice with books set in my country, so I decided to take it a step further and go for a book that’s set in Cornwall. Ruth Ware’s The Death of Mrs. Westaway is a thriller following a con artist who’s mistakenly sent a letter informing her she’s inherited something from a dead relative, so she decides to put her skills to use to trick the remaining family members into believing she’s the person the letter was meant for. I love reading about con artists and I’ve been meaning to read some Ruth Ware for a while, so I’m looking forward to this one!
History of Magic
A: Read a fantasy
I’ve read primarily fantasy this year, I’ve fallen back in love with it so hard that there are so many I could choose from on my TBR, but I’m going to go with Grace Draven’s Phoenix Unbound which is also on my summer TBR. I really want to read it so I can read Dragon Unleashed this autumn!
E: Read a book that includes a map
I’ve been meaning to read something by Ruta Sepetys for years now and Salt to the Sea just happens to have a map at the front, and it’s on my summer TBR.
O: Tom Riddle’s diary: fond memory – Re-read a favourite (or read a classic)
Since one of my new favourite shows, Gentleman Jack, ended – PLEASE let season two be on its way soon! – I’ve been craving more f/f historical fiction with happy endings, so I think I’m going to re-read Gail Carriger’s Romancing the Inventor which I loved when I first read it last year.
A: Polyjuice Potion – Read your friend’s favourite book
I picked my lovely friend Natalie @ A Sea Change‘s brain for some of her favourite books, and she mentioned Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs. She’s been singing its praises to me for a while now and, considering I loved Foundryside, I’ve been meaning to try more of Bennett’s work. I just happen to have a copy of City of Stairs on my kindle, so now is the time!
E: House ingredient – Read a book with a cover in your Hogwarts House colour
I’ve been itching to read Bridget Collins’ The Binding since I picked up a copy earlier this year and still haven’t got to it even though I’m in love with the premise, so now’s the time to pick it up.
O: Read a book that starts with a prologue
I’ve completely failed at reading Asian-inspired fantasy in 2019 and this f/f fantasy has been on my TBR for months. I really want to read Natasha Ngan’s Girls of Paper and Fire before the release of the sequel, Girls of Storm and Shadow, this autumn and it’s another book on my summer TBR!
A: Read a book with LGBTQA+ representation
Like I mentioned above, I’ve been craving more f/f historical fiction since I finished Gentleman Jack and historical romances are always really quick, easy reads for me, so I’ll be reaching for Olivia Waite’s The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics!
E: Read a book that’s not a first in a series
Stephanie Burgis’s second (and final) appearance on my TBR! I read and really enjoyed her novella, Snowspelled, last winter and I’ve been meaning to pick up the sequel but somehow haven’t got around to it yet. I’m trying to fit as many novellas and easy reads on my TBR as I can, so I’ll be reaching for Thornbound if I’m in the mood for it.
O: McGonagall does not mess around! Read a book over 500 pages
I didn’t love The City of Brass quite as much as I hoped I would, but I still really enjoyed it and I want to know what happens next because the world-building is so rich. The Kingdom of Copper is quite a beast at over 600 pages long, but the audiobook is on Scribd so I’ll probably read and listen to it like I did with The City of Brass.