Updates from Cannonball Read
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July 2019

MsWas's Message Corner

Greetings Cannonballers,

Hooray for Bingo! Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves, and you all are so wonderfully careful about which squares you are selecting.  We did have two squares where our description wasn’t specific enough, so please see the note below about Classics and Remix.

We also have book club coming up next month, and I must admit that I don’t think I’ve ever read any original Sherlock Holmes stories. It’s hard to believe with all of the mystery series I usually read, so I’m psyched that you all selected A Study in Scarlet as our Classic. What I HAVE read - and highly recommend - is Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell series. That starts with The Beekeeper's Apprentice, which was unbelievably published 25 years ago. I’ve seen a lot of great adaptation suggestions and reviews, so I don’t know if I’ll be rereading the Mary Russell series for the retelling discussion (Sept. 20-21) or moving on to a new one. What are you planning for your Holmes retelling?

Recently I also got back into reading science fiction/fantasy. Based on a LOT of wonderful reviews, I plowed through N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, which was just as worth it as you all have said. Now I’m reading the third book in the Wayfarers series, Record of a Spaceborn Few. Becky Chambers is such a great author. I’m really loving this series. Oh and in between, I tore through Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series. I do love a feisty heroine, and Veronica is sheer perfection. Looks like I need to wait till next year for book five, A Murderous Relation. Come on, authors - write faster! 

I hope you’re reading some great books whether you’re ensconced in front of your AC this summer or you’re reading on the beach.

Take care and Happy Reading!


Q&A with a Cannonballer: Ale


How many times have you participated in CBR? Has it changed the way you read? 

This is my sixth year of cannonball and it's definitely changed how I read. I'm actually a much slower reader now since I'm reading to review instead of just to enjoy, but I was totally more prepared for close-reading during my MFA thanks to CBR. I also read much more widely now and am up for trying a book with a good review even if it's not a genre I'm normally into.

You’re an Adjunct in Creative Writing, which sounds awesome. Which is hardest to write: a one-star review, five-star review, or your own short story? 

Hands down my own short story. :) Reviewing other people's ideas is easy. Coming up with my own is tough!


See what else Ale has to say »


CBR Bingo


Bingo is underway, with reviews rolling in and reviewers desperately digging through their To Be Read piles to find things that fit categories. You've got until October 31 to complete your bingo card!

Note: Some of the categories have caused some confusion, especially about the Classics and Remix bingo squares. Each square's description mentioned the #CannonBookClub Classics and Retellings. However, the Classic square is only for a classic book, and the Remix square is only for a retelling/adaptation.

If you are crossing off these squares in conjunction with the #CannonBookClub Classics and Remix, then A Study in Scarlet would fit the Classic square; and something like Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca would fill the Remix square.

 If you already started a classic book for the Remix square, feel free to use the Reader's Choice free square. Any problems, drop Mswas a line!

We'll be running check-in posts again this year, to provide encouragement and more clarification if necessary. Look for the first one on August 1.


What counts for Cannonball

We occasionally get questions about 'what counts for Cannonball,' with readers asking about kids books, graphic novels, collections of short stories or essays, etc. If you've read something you want to write about and you're not sure if it's CBR appropriate, you have options:
  • Check the FAQ
  • Post your review and wait to see if we tease you in the comments ("wow, this sounds like a really in-depth cereal box!")
  • Ask MsWas

As a general rule, though, very few things are off limits! If you can read it and you can write at least 250 words about it, we want to hear about it.




The #CannonBookClub will be discussing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet August 16-17, and then an adaptation/retelling of your choice September 20-21. As an added incentive, this introduction to Sherlock Holmes is free on Project Gutenberg. Look for the book club suggested discussion questions post soon, and check in on the book club page if you get antsy. 

Avoiding uncategorized entries


When posting a review, don't forget to select a category. This helps us with stats, and helps other readers find good stuff. How else is anyone supposed to track down a speculative fiction cookbook mystery? 

Also, if you hit Save or Preview and don't post your review right away, Wordpress will automatically select "uncategorized." When you go back in and publish your review, make sure that to not only select a category, but remember to DE-select "uncategorized." Don't let your review languish in uncategorized purgatory! Establishing boundaries and categories is a way to show your love - to the book itself and to your CBR compatriots and staff.  

Calling creative Cannonballers


Attention word people who are also visual arts people! CBR is looking for a graphic designer (and volunteer!) to create new T-shirt designs for Cannonball Read. The last T-shirt designs were CBR10-specific for the anniversary, but this time around we're aiming for something a little broader: a design about the love of books/reading that would appeal to our awesome constituency as well as Joe Reader out there on the interwebs. Feel free to 'sign' the piece and put in your portfolio! If you're interested, please let MsWas know

A happy book story

Libraries Without Borders: such a brilliant, simple, excellent concept. Bring the books to where kids are sitting and waiting, and encourage the magic to happen. Book corners are showing up in laundromats and barber shops, and new generations of readers are forming. We just wanted to share a bright spot, and who knows! This could be something to help support or start in your own communities. 

Stuff We're Reading

Shocking: Caesar's Wife's review of The Power

Jun 08, 2023 10:26 pm
The Power is actually about the reversal of power. What if the raw, physical power held within the bodies of men was overshadowed by the raw, electrical power generated within the bodies of women? Would this changing of the guards of power cause the scales to rebalance? Would it usher in world peace? Would women, the mothers of all, take on a caring and nurturing role and reset the world to be a functioning matriarchy? Or would power redistribute to bring untold instability? Would this […]
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You Can Call Me Fred, If You’re Nasty: elderberrywine's review of Chéri and The End of Chéri

Jun 08, 2023 06:57 pm
Talk about your groomers.  Fin du siècle France, and the world of the grandes horizontales.  Léa, the epitome of her genre, has taken on the son of one of her compatriots, to tutor him to please a future wife.  She is in her fifties, and he is but fifteen, but that is as it should be.  He is devastatingly beautiful, and his mother trusts her friend to bring him up to par for the matrimonial market, shall we say.  Alas. after six years, he is […]
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Putting color back in the world: BlackRaven's review of Sasha & the City of Whispers

Jun 07, 2023 04:48 pm
Back in February 2023 a book called Sasha & the City of Whispers came out. I did not learn of it until May 2023 when a customer ordered a copy. Finding a readable copy, I read this picture book by Sara Van Horn. Now, the surface story is okay. A girl called Sasha, learns she is not good at doing the tasks her community are tasked with doing. You must always work, work and work. No time for anything else. Their town is loud, no […]
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Read them book!: BlackRaven's review of Tzimmes for Tzipporah, Just One Little Light

Jun 07, 2023 04:31 pm
It’s time for another picture book round up review. This time there are two books I enjoyed reading, but did not feel I could honestly do a full review of. Both stories are sweet, but are not necessarily for everyone.  Are you looking for a new book about getting out and about on the farm? Well Tzimmes for Tzipporah is a new book (or will be in September 2023) dealing with a farm during harvest time. It is written by Megan Hoyt and Christine Battuz […]
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Welcome to OZ: BlackRaven's review of Tin Man

Jun 07, 2023 04:05 pm
I was looking at some online reader copies the other day. I found one by Justin Madson. And I then saw they had a first book, Tin Man. Or maybe it started another way.  I am not sure, because I do not remember even seeing the book that made me want to request this book from my library.  But regardless of how it happened to be found, I found myself with a copy of the Tin Man graphic novel. When reading about it, I was […]
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Amanda Howard (aka "Bothari43")

The Cannonball Read Newsletter Editor
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