Pondathon II: The Quiet Pond’s Story-Driven Readathon. A small spade and watering can are crossed with vines wrapped around it frame the words Pondathon II. Three little forest sprites - one with a leaf on its head, another with twigs on its head like antlers, and a mushroom on the other’s head - sit on the words ‘Pondathon’.

My Pondathon Character, JR, which is a black cat that stands on two feet and holds a wicker paster in their arm.

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Introduction Post

JR, the Pin Witch

January Reading Log

Introduction Post

What is the Pondathon?

Pondathon II is a story-driven and gardening-themed readathon hosted and run by CW from The Quiet Pond. The aim of the Pondathon II readathon is to read books to earn plants and decorate your own little garden so that we can restore the forest together. More information about the readathon can be found here.

Information about Joining the Pondathon

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My Pondathon character, JR, a black cat.

JR, the Pin Witch

Age: Middle aged, mildly grumpy and wants a nap

Pronouns: She/They

Likes: Hot tea on a cold winter day, snuggling with said tea under a blanket and with a book; quiet places; old school web development; making bad art; 

Dislikes: Being out in the summer sun without a nice, cool drink like boba or unsweetened iced tea; books with strong smells (like mold or decades of cigarette); loud places; 

Bookish Likes: Different media formats - print is king but audiobooks are good too; JR actually doesn't mind digital format but lost their e-reader; age group reading - middle grade, young adult and adult but JR notices they tend to like middle grade and adult more; favored genres - science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction; ok genres - contemporary, non-fiction; tends to prefer short stories/flash fiction/novellas/novelettes over novels

Bookish Dislikes: Hardcover, its hard on the wrists; obligatory romance, honestly JR is burnt out on romances (both genre and subgenre) and in general and only wants 1 a month. Insistence that the only works worth reading is a fiction, prose novel. 

Bookish Goals: Reading more non-fiction, poetry, manga, light novels, translated works, works from authors outside the US, more horror, more short stories, reading more online pro and sem-pro writing magazines. I have 250 books as my reading goal but don't mind this being lower as I am working on getting outside more and doing things. 

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January Reading Log

1/14/12022 HE

Beyond the Clouds volume 1 manga cover Beyond the Clouds volume 1 manga cover The Last Black Unicorn audiobook cover

Beyond the Clouds Volumes 1 and 2 by Nicke - Gorgeous but very tropey and doesn't seem to be taking many risk thus far. However it is incredibly charming and has a lot of things I enjoy. If you like stories about found siblings going around the world and fantasy themes, check this one out.

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish - An amazing memoir. Often funny, amazingly performed, surprisingly thoughtful and empathetic. Although my life certainly isn't as eventful as her's, I still connected with a lot and found many sections cathartic and relatable.

Pre-Pondathon Reading

Since the Pondathon covers most of the year, I will include the few books that fall out of the reading period here but not report them for the goodies.

The Witch Owl Parliament (Clockwork Curandera #1) book coverThe Witch Owl Parliament (Clockwork Curandera #1) promotional art

The Witch Owl Parliament (Clockwork Curandera #1)

By David Bowles, Raúl the Third
Illustrated by Stacey Robinson, Damian Duffy

In the Republic of Santander, non-Christian magic is frowned upon, if not outright prohibited. But when Cristina Franco, an apprentice shaman, is killed by witch owls, her brother Enrique cannot let her go. With forbidden alchemy and engineering, Enrique brings her back to life: part human, part machine. Though her very existence is an abomination to Santander's citizens, Cristina vows to use her new abilities to protect her country from attack.

This graphic novel was one of those, I didn't know I needed this but now I can't wait for volume 2. It's an alternate history/steam punk story set in a Colonial Mexico that wasn't but pulls from a lot of history and lore from the one that existed. This story pulls a lot of inspiration and atmosphere from obvious inspirational works (Frankenstein) but manages to weave its own world and characters that I connect to more thank folx from Eurpoe

Raúl the Third is an artistic legend and there is so much detail and care in the artwork.

The one potential negative is the cliff hanger ending. But I still loved this so much.

Witch Hat Atelier Volume 8 manga cover

Witch Hat Atelier, Volume 8 By Kamome Shirahama

Synopsis for Volume 1 to avoid spoilers

In a world where everyone takes wonders like magic spells and dragons for granted, Coco is a girl with a simple dream: she wants to be a witch. But everybody knows magicians are born, not made, and Coco was not born with a gift for magic. Resigned to her un-magical life, Coco is about to give up on her dream to become a witch … until the day she meets Qifrey, a mysterious, traveling magician. After secretly seeing Qifrey perform magic in a way she’s never seen before, Coco soon learns what everybody “knows” might not be the truth, and discovers that her magical dream may not be as far away as it may seem …

I love this manga series so much.

Amazing art, world building, character development, character relationships, and a thoughtful gray morality rather than pointless edginess. 

I mostly loved this volume, I'm a bit iffy on the ending but trust Shirahama enouch to get volume 9 whenever it's translated to see where it goes.

Restaurant to Another World (Light Novel) Vol. 5 manga cover

Restaurant to Another World (Light Novel) Vol. 5 by Junpei Inuzuka

The basis for the beloved anime about a restaurant that welcomes fantasy creatures to dine!

In Tokyo lies a small restaurant called “Western Cuisine Nekoya,” ordinary in every way—save one. Every Saturday, its door connects to another world! Follow along as a cavalcade of curious guests from half-elves to samurai, dragons, halflings and vampires enter its premises, all with the same goal in mind: to fill their stomachs with the most mouth-watering of foods.

I don't read too many light novels (I want to change that in 2022) but this is my favorite. It's a series about fantasy creatures that end up in a modern Japanese restaurant and eat modern Japanese food. It isn't deep but its consistent and comforting and it's fun to see connections develop and characters grow slowly.

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