If you’ve been in the bookish community any time at all, then you’ve probably heard of a little something called the O.W.L.S Readathon! I’ve certainly heard of it, but I’d never seriously considered taking part until this year because I was just too busy. I had exams coming up and I wasn’t in the best place mentally, but this year I’m free of exams and the UK had just been put on almost complete lock down, so i have oodles of spare time!
My good friend Charlie, who I do the ToddDragon Collaborations with suggested I join in this year, and after some further research, I was totally on board! I even printed out all the PDF’s and put them in a cute folder because I’m just that sort of person. Before we get into my TBR and what Career I’m going to be going for, I thought I’d give a little background about the readathon. It was created in 2018 by BookRoast on YouTube, so the easiest way to learn about it is to just go and watch her original video. The basic premise though is similar to other readathons where you are given a set of prompts and you have to read a book for each one. The difference is that each prompt represents a different subject taught at Hogwarts and you have to complete the prompt for that subject in order to pass that OWL. You can now plan your readathon around whatever career you want to take. Some careers have more OWL requirements than others, so once you’ve chosen you’re career you can cut down your TBR by choosing to only do the subjects required for your career.
There is a lot more to it than that, so I highly suggest you go and check out the creators channel if you want to learn more.
Now you know a bit about the background of the readathon, let’s get into the exciting parts: prompts, TBR, my plan, career choice etc! The O.W.L.S Readathon is a month long readathon from the 1st-30th of April, which leaves me with a lot of time for reading. I’m going to be attempting to get all of my O.W.L.S, regardless of what career I’m going for because I have the time and wanted to set myself a challenge. I’ll talk about that a bit more later though, so for right now, let’s talk about the books I’m planning to read.
Ancient Runes – Hear Rune: heart on the cover or in the title
My pick for Ancient Runes is ‘Fierce Fragile Hearts’ by Sara Barnard, which obviously fits the prompt due to the fact that it has the word ‘heart’ of the cover.I started reading the second/companion novel ‘Beautiful Broken Things’ last year before quickly realising that I need to read the other book first, which I didn’t own at the time. I own it now though and thought this would be a good excuse to try again with Sara Barnard. I’m not hugely optimistic about this read because, as well as being confused, about the bit I did read of ‘Beautiful Broken Things’, I didn’t really click with the writing style. I’m willing to give it another go though and hopefully it will live up to some of it’s glowing reviews.
Arithmancy – Magical qualities of number 2: balance/opposites. Read something outside your favourite genre
I have a confession. I’ve never read a Victoria Schwab book. I’ve heard nothing but good things about them, but they’ve always intimidated me. I think it might be because she writes over several different genres, including Adult and I think I was scared to like them and then have to delve into the scary Adult category of the book shop. I decided it was time for this to change, so I picked up a copy of ‘City of Ghost’ and I’m going to delving into it this April. City of Ghosts is also a little outside of my comfort zone because it is a little on the paranormal side of things rather than the fantasy side, which I often don’t get on too well with. I’ve heard an awful lot of good things about Schwab though, so I’m hopeful I’ll enjoy it even though it is a little outside of my comfort zone.
Astronomy – Night Classes: Read the majority of this book when it’s dark outside
Reading a book mostly at night is somewhat of a challenge for me since routine is very important and I tend to go to bed quite early, so I wanted to choose a fairly short and easy to read book. With this in mind, I chose ‘Fierce Fairytales & Other Stories to Stir Your Soul’ by Nikita Gill. I have a number of short poetry books and a comic or two I could have chosen, but I chose this one specifically because I felt it fit the vibe of Astronomy (if you know what I mean) and I kind of wanted to stick with only 1 well known poet for this readathon. You’ll see later than I picked another of Nikita Gill’s books for a different prompt and I wanted to keep that theme.
Care of Magical Creatures – Hippogriffs: creature with a beak on the cover
I’ll admit that this one was difficult. I had to individually take out over a hundred books to see if they had any kind of beak on the cover until I found one, which was ‘Wren Hunt’ by Mary Watson. I believe this is just a standalone novel and has something magic related in it, but that’s pretty much all I know about it. I’m excited to give it a go and mostly just glad I actually had something that fit the prompt since all the bookshops were already closed when I started making my TBR and apparently Amazon isn’t delivery ‘non-essentials’. I don’t know about you, but I think books class as very essential, but that’s just my opinion.
Charms – Lumos Maxima: white cover
This is where my other Nikita Gill books comes in with ‘Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Mosters’. It was one of only 5 books I own that have a mostly white cover, 2 of them I’ve already read, 1 of them is technically a bind up of 3 books that are also apart of a series and the other one was Warcross by Marie Lu. I went for the poetry book in the end because I’ve never attempted to read quite this many books in a month before and this was the easiest option. Also I know Warcross has a sequel, which I currently do not own and didn’t want to risk loving it and not being able to get my hands on the sequel for a 12 weeks.
Defence Against the Dark Arts – Grindylows: a book set at the sea/coast
I struggled a little with this prompt because I feel like most books that were going to be set by the seaside would be contemporary, but I’m more of a fantasy reader. I therefore went with the only book I could think of that would have anything to do with the ocean and chose ‘To Kill A Kingdom’ by Alexandra Christo. I believe that this is a little mermaid retelling, but I’m not at all sure on that, so don’t quote me on it. I have some old children’s books about mermaids that are set at the seaside, but I’m a little old for them now and they’re also stored at my grandparents house, which I currently can’t go to because I would be putting them at risk.
Divination – Third Eye: Assign numbers to your TBR and use a random number generator to pick your read
I found the divination prompt difficult because I don’t have a complete TBR list. I organise my bookshelves by author, genre and general vibe and just know what books I have and haven’t read, so it was difficult to use the random number generator to get a book I haven’t already read or isn’t in the middle of a series. I know roughly how many books I have, so I gave the random number generator a max of 300 books and I got number 77, which luckily landed on a standalone I hadn’t already read, which happened to be ‘Moxie’ by Jennifer Mathieu. I’ve been meaning to read this since the beginning of the year, but I’ve never gotten around to it because I was in the middle of my HP re-read and then I was immersed in Tolkien’s world and then I just wasn’t feeling contemporary. I’m definitely back on the reading game now though and excited to pick this one up.
Herbology – Mimbulus Mimbletonia: title starts with an M
I originally misread this prompt as a title that starts with an I (and apparently a lot of other people did too) because of the font the prompts were written in. Now that I’ve realised that, I have chosen ‘The Midnight Unicorn by Alice Hemming, which as far as I can tell seems to be the only book on my shelves – other than Moxie, which I’ve already used – that starts with an M. I know it technically starts with a ‘T’, but I think we all agree that little words like ‘the’ don’t count right?
History of Magic – Witch Hunts: book featuring witches/wizards
And now for my first Harry Potter book! I have been wanting to re-read HP again for a few weeks now, but I’ve been holding off since I have so many other books to read, but now I have an excuse. I was genuinely trying to find another book on my shelf that features witches and wizards to the same extent that HP does and I couldn’t find one! I have the ‘Half-Bad’ Trilogy by Sally Green, which are kind of witches, but not in the same way, so I just went with good old fashioned Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K.Rowling. I read the Philosopher’s Stone before April began to prepare for the readathon, which will be explained more later because I am using Prisoner of Azkaban for a different prompt.
Muggle Studies – Book from the perspective of a muggle (contemporary)
If you watch my weekly vlogs over on my YouTube, then you’ll probably know that I’ve been meaning to start ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’ by Holly Jackson for a few weeks now. Charlie and I are doing a buddy read for one of our collaborations and this is the book we chose, so I thought the O.W.L.S readathon would be a good excuse to finally get it read since I’ve been putting it off because I just haven’t been in a contemporary mood. I hear that Charlie really liked it and it sounds like a lot of fun, so hopefully I won’t be disappointed!
Potions – Shrinking Solution: a book under 150 pages
I honestly didn’t realise how difficult it would be to find a book under 150 pages! I thought it was a fairly decent number of pages, but apparently not because I could only find one book that fit the prompt, which was stressful, but I suppose it made my choice easier! I went for ‘Renewals (selected poems)’ by John Idris Jones because it is the only book under 150 pages that I own. Renewals is a short poetry book that my grandparents bought me for Christmas a year or so ago. I’m not really sure what to expect from this book because while it was a thoughtful gift because I had mentioned I was getting into poetry, they don’t really understand ‘modern poetry’, so I’m expecting this to be a little old and stuffy for me since it was written in the early 20th century. I’m willing to give it a go though and it’s only 70 pages long, so it won’t be too time consuming.
Transfiguration – Animagus Lecture: book/series that includes shapeshifting
My final book on my O.W.L.S TBR is ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ by J.K.Rowling. Prisoner of Azkaban of course features both werewolves and animagus, so there is plenty shapeshifting, which is good because my other options weren’t that great. All of Cassie Clare’s Shadowhunter novels feature werewolves, but I didn’t want to read a random book from the series and the only other shapeshifting book I could think of was Twilight, which I consider myself to be a little bit above now. My need to read the 3rd HP book for this prompt is why I read Philosopher’s Stone in advance and chose Chamber of Secrets for my other HP read.
If you want to know all of the career choices, then I suggest you check out the PDF document on the O.W.L.S readathon website, but the career I’ve chosen to aim for is Alchemist, with a backup of Hogwarts Professor. Alchemist requires you to get all of your O.W.L.S and 6 N.E.W.T.S to a very high standard, so I’ve chosen one of the more difficult careers. I’m going to have a lot of spare time while I’m stuck at home and I’ve been in a really big reading mood recently, so I’m confident I can complete this readathon to the standard I want!
I was considering doing a timetable for roughly when I’m going to read each book, but I decided against it, so that I can just have fun with it and read at my own pace. I’m going to be vlogging the whole month, so if you want to check out the Readathon vlog at the end of the month, subscribe to my YouTube channel: Samantha Drage to make sure you don’t miss it when it goes up!
Are you taking part in the O.W.L.S readathon this year? If so what is your TBR and what career are you aiming for? I’d love to know, so leave a comment down below or come and chat to me over on my Instagram: @theoriginalbookdragon
Goodbye for now!
Over and Out