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

Desperate Housewives: jeverett15's review of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

Nov 29, 2022 07:20 pm
Grady Hendrix’s books really stand out on the bookstore shelf. In a world where way too many covers feature the same half-dozen design tropes (stop and count the vaguely outlined, oddly eyeless couples on romance novel covers the next time you pop into your local bookstore) Hendrix’s covers are refreshingly different. From the tabletop game vibe of My Best Friend’s Exorcism to the starkness of a red folding-chair against a black background on The Final Girl Support Group, they definitely stand out. The Southern Book […]
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The HEA for Trans Kids folks put together another great bundle of books. All donations go to Trans Lifeline: Emmalita's review of Winter Wonderland bundle

Nov 29, 2022 05:28 pm
Yes! It’s book bundle time at HEAs for Trans Kids. This time I’m reviewing just a few of the books in the Winter Wonderland bundle. I want you to have an opportunity to donate your minimum of $25, through December 5, so you can get your own bundle. Hither, Page by Cat Sebastian – I have previously reviewed it here, and it is still excellent. The real scandal is that I haven’t reviewed The Missing Page yet. Part of me wants to say that the […]
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share on Twitter Like The HEA for Trans Kids folks put together another great bundle of books. All donations go to Trans Lifeline: Emmalita's review of Winter Wonderland bundle on Facebook

A boy and his crane: BlackRaven's review of Love Made Me More

Nov 29, 2022 04:55 pm
A boy’s grandmother shows him how to make an origami crane. Then, the boy and that colorful crane become very good friends after that. All of this is told to us by the voice of the Crane. It tells us all the adventures the two of them have in Love Made Me More. Colleen Rowan Kosinski’s story allows us into the mind of a favorite toy. The boy of the story does all sorts of things with the paper Crane and finally starts to outgrow the […]
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share on Twitter Like A boy and his crane: BlackRaven's review of Love Made Me More on Facebook

Bunny… I mean Buddy… Story: BlackRaven's review of Bunny & Tree

Nov 29, 2022 04:46 pm
The publisher description of Bunny & Tree by Balint Zsako is around 140 words. Which is 140 more words than the book has. The cover does not even have the title on the front. And since I read it via an online reader copy from Edelweiss (due April 2023), I am not sure if it is on the spine. Of course, tht does not include the title page information. This book is a series of illustrations about a rabbit and a tree that have adventures. […]
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Dystopian Utopia: ElCicco's review of Scythe

Nov 29, 2022 01:41 pm
Imagine a future where war, poverty, crime, illness, disease and death have been conquered. Sounds like paradise, right? But the thing is, without death, the world becomes overpopulated and all the problems return. In Scythe, the first book in a trilogy, Neal Shusterman imagines this world where all knowledge and information is overseen by a god-like universal information storage system called the Thunderhead and where the world population is “managed” by individuals called scythes. Scythes are feared and revered and are an authority unto themselves. […]
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share on Twitter Like Dystopian Utopia: ElCicco's review of Scythe on Facebook


Amanda Howard (aka "Bothari43")

The Cannonball Read Newsletter Editor
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