Fishbird Fiction : “O.W.L’s Magical Readathon 2019” (Part 1)

In an attempt to give my TBR stack a little structure, while still leaving room to mood read – I’ve decided to choose my next books based on random YouTube readathons and various bookish challenges that I come across.

Scheduled fun = winning! ๐Ÿ˜€

For my first challenge, I gravitated towards the “O.W.L.’s 2019 Magical Readathon” – a Harry Potter themed reading challenge for April, created and hosted by ‘G’ on her channel ‘Book Roast’. I’ll link to her announcement video below ….

G has created a list of reading prompts to see you through your Hogwart’s O.W.L exams and onto the right path for your chosen Wizarding career ๐Ÿ™‚

By the way – I am a Potter fan, but not a “FAN”. I don’t own any Harry merch and would not do well in a Potterverse pub trivia quiz. So go easy on me, if I’m getting any of the terminology wrong ๐Ÿ˜‰

Links to ‘Book Roast’s’ prompts and magical career info can be found here. She’s done a wonderful job creating PDF’s that you can print out and keep, free of charge :

O.W.L.s Prompts

Wizarding Careers

I’m not especially career focused – even in a fictional realm apparently – so rather than choose a specific Wizarding job and pass the subsequent exams, I’ve just decided to read through all the prompts and vanquish Voldemort in my own way.

As there are 12 revision topics, I thought I’d break this readathon into two parts.

I’ve finished 6 books to date, and DNF’d 2 others that I decided shouldn’t really count towards the challenge on account of they were blegh. And we all know how much Gandalf hates blegh books ๐Ÿ˜‰

What subjects have I ticked offย so far, on my Potterific journey?

  • Care of Magical Creatures : Read a book with a land animal on the cover.
    • “A Black Fox Running” – by Brian Carter


This was a beautifully written book from the alternating perspectives of Wulfgar the fox and his nemesis Scoble the Trapper. I love reading about the natural world from an animal’s point of view, and Carter paints a complex and emotional world for both fox and human. 4 out of 5 Fishbirds.

  • Charmsย : Age-Line – Read an adult work.
    • “The ABC Murders” – by Agatha Christie


What says ‘adult work’ more than a Hercule Poirot mystery?? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I picked this one up on my travels through the airport recently, and it was a fun and quick read. I don’t find these books particularly tense, as Poirot is bound to solve things eventually – however I love Christie’s turn of phrase and seeing what that clever moustache will do next. I can’t quite see John Malkovich as Poirot (as pictured on this BBC tie-in cover). David Suchet will always be the sassy Belgian detective in my mind. 5 out of 5 Fishbirds.

  • Herbologyย : Read a book with a plant on the cover.
    • “Folk” – by Zoe Gilbert


I really enjoyed this book. More a collection of connected short stories, Gilbert has created a small island village called Neverness and populated it with fantastical characters. With an olde worlde fairy tale feel, each story is beautifully told and helps to flesh out the history of the village and its people. The cover art is gorgeous, and I’d definitely recommend this book to any lovers of myth, folk or fairy tale. 5 Fishbirds out of 5.

  • History of Magicย : Read a book published at least 10 years ago.
    • “The Moving Finger” – by Agatha Christie


Agatha Christie strikes again! ๐Ÿ™‚ We had this Miss Marple book on our shelves that we’d picked up from a second hand bookshop awhile back – and it seemed to fit the bill. I enjoyed this book, but kept waiting for Miss Marple to appear. She swoops in with her knitting needles right at the end, and has about 5 minutes ‘screen time’ lol. Again, I enjoyed Christie’s back-handed language and got a giggle out of the characters. 3 Fishbirds out of 5.

  • Muggle Studiesย : Read a contemporary book.
    • “An Absolutely Remarkable Thing” – by Hank Green


I wasn’t really sure what ‘contemporary’ meant, but Google schooled me that it could mean …. “fiction that focuses on themes of growing up and confronting personal and current social problems.” … which is what Hank Green does really well in this book. He shines a light on social media, fame and disconnection while telling a cracking story about alien space robots messing with your dreams. It’s a fun read with great characters and I’m hanging out for a second book, that Goodreads tells me might be on the horizon. 5 Fishbirds out of 5.

  • Potionsย : Next Ingredient – Read a sequel.
    • “Abarat : Absolute Midnight” – by Clive Barker


I found the first two books in this series in graphic editions with beautiful and crazy illustrations. This, the third book in the series, I only have in paperback but still really enjoyed. As far as I can tell, this is one of those ongoing series that might never get finished – five books are expected and only three so far have been published. I’m still onboard with the story, though was getting a bit tired of reading this chunker by the end. 3 Fishbirds out of 5.

So they’re the books I’ve finished so far for the O.W.Ls. I did cast two books into the time-out corner, due to their meh-ness.

  • “All Among The Barley” by Melissa Harrison – This was just too slow going for my liking. I had trouble connecting with the characters and there wasn’t enough of a plot to sustain my interest.
  • “The Aquiliad : Aquilia in the New World” by S.P. Somtow – That T-Rex on the cover sold me on the book initially, however there was more ‘boring roman legion silliness’ than ‘space alien bigfoot t-rex silliness’, so it ultimately was a bust.

I hope you’re all enjoying your April Reading adventures. Let me know if you’ve found your new favourite book, or what you’ve been enjoying during the month ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally, as Anne of Green Gables said to the Mad Hatter – “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”

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