Saturday, April 29, 2017

Dewey's Readathon Post

Wrap Up

Even though I managed to stay awake for 23 hours, only 10 of those were reading. While I'm a bit disappointed, for a girl who took a nap and didn't force anything, it's not too bad for a Saturday.



Closing Survey

1.Which hour was most daunting for you?
It started getting dicey around hour 22, and I finally went to bed at hour 23 (5 AM). The tiredness hit me a lot faster this time around.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that could keep a reader engaged for next year?
I think Bee Cottage by Frances Schultz and I Don't Know What You Know Me From by Judy Greer were both entertaining and quick reads.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the readathon next time?
Nope! Aside from the unfortunate blog sluggishness (which you were on top of), I think things went well this time!

4. What do you think worked really well this time?
This is a personal thing, but being more relaxed about reading was nearly revolutionary.

5. How many books did you read?
I finished 7, listened to half of another, and got a chapter of an ebook.

6. What were the names of the books you read?
I finished: "Nightlights" by Lorena Alvarez (56 pages)
"The Bee Cottage Story" by Frances Schultz (160 pages
"Wayward, Volume 2" by Jim Zub (136 pages)
"Scenes From My Life" by Judi Dench (224 pages)
"The Phoenix Rising, Volumes 1 & 2" by (204 & 168 pages, respectively)
"I Don't Know What You Know Me From" by Judi Dench (256 pages)
I read part of "Big Bona Ogles, Boy" by Michael Gallagher (it's so damn good!)
I listened to 4 1/2 hours of "Peggy & Me" by Miranda Hart

7. Which did you enjoy most?
"Nightlights"! I didn't know a thing about it (just saw 2 posts that Liberty made), so it was all a wonderful, colorful surprise!

8. Which did you enjoy least?
"Wayward, volume 2". It felt uneven to me, though the artwork is pretty (though gruesome at times), and I won't be continuing with the series.

9. How likely are you to participate next time, and in what role?
My usual, I'll for sure be here, and as a reader! I'm planning on cheering for the people I know, but probably won't add lots of new blogs and things to follow.

Thank you so much to Andi and Heather (and the stable of volunteers) for running this joint. It's a big deal, and so much fun! And thank you as usual to my RAT buddy, Sherry Ann! Even though she was on vacation, she rocked it, hard, and I'm so proud of her! 

Hour 20

Not sure how I'm awake right now (at 2:30 AM), but I'm doing okay. (I probably just jinxed myself.) I managed to read a few more GNs, and am working on a memoir currently. Once I get too tired to sit up and read this hardcover, I'll go to bed and work on an ebook until I fall asleep. 

I think having The Golden Girls and Bob's Burgers on in the background has helped!

Hour 13

Not many more pages read, but that's okay. I visited Winston next door (he's a cat) and he helped me take some bookish photos between scratches and Greenies. My two cats managed to get up when I got home and have been walking around the house, looking for things to chew on/knock over/rub against and knock over/etc, so the usual fun times around here. I was going to try and read "book" books mostly, but since I took book pictures next door, I think I'll just go through those instead.

Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now?
Nothing, but soon I'll be starting Phoenix Requieum, volume 1.

2. How many books have you read so far?
I've finished two, and got halfway through another.

3. What book are you most looking forward to in the second half?
The Complete Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby. It jumped off of the shelf when I was browsing earlier, and it seems like a good RAT book to do in chunks.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with them?
I just dealt with them, and didn't freak out over "losing reading time", which is a first for a readathon for me. Having a headache didn't help, certainly, but now that that's gone (hope I didn't just jinx myself!) I'm feeling more bookish than before.

5. What surprises you most about the RAT so far?
How relaxed I am this time around. It's a nice change, to be honest, since I'm a massive worrier and anxious person.


Hour 8

So far, so little reading. I've managed to finish one book, a GN, and listened to about 4 hours of an audiobook. Otherwise, it's been trying to manage the headache that won't go away. I napped for about an hour, which helped a little, and had a lackluster Lean Cuisine for lunch after I woke up starving. I took a break to talk to my Mom, and have been watching the last few weeks worth of As Time Goes By, one of my favorite shows. 

Coming up for me? I think I'll try and finish one of my current reads, maybe grab another comic or graphic novel off of my shelves. Hoping that the weather breaks and that it finally starts to rain - if it does, my headache should go away (I sound like I'm 1,000 years old) - and I still need to visit Winston next door. But maybe a long shower first? Don't know.

I do know that I should try and stay away from Litsy if I want to read some more! :)


Hours 1 & 2


Good morning, Readathonners! 

As usual, plans for the day have changed. I'll be staying home all day, rather than going to my class (bad night, low headache, v sore back), and my one jaunt out will be to visit my neighbor's cat, Winston, later this afternoon. I've managed to spend far more time than I'd like to admit on Litsy this morning, and also managed to finish my first book! 

Opening Survey
1. Which fine part of the world are you reading from today?
My cozy and cluttered house outside of Milwaukee, WI

2. Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I don't have a stack, so I don't have a favored book! 

3. Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Taco dip, mmmmmmm!

4. Tell us a little something about yourself!
I'm drawing a blank here. Uhhhhhmmm, Mom to two cats, have read 60+ books so far this year, slowly working on my family tree, and spending lots of time finding an assisted living place for my cousin. 

5. If you participated last time, what's one thing you'll do differently today?
Not making any plans at all! I'm totally winging it today.



Friday, April 28, 2017

Prepare yourselves - Dewey's is coming!


It's that time of year again - Dewey's time! This is the latest I've ever signed up (with a whopping 13 hours before the start), and the least organized I've ever been, and I'm okay with that. 

No real plans for tomorrow, no books that are screaming out to be read. No special trips to the library to check out a bunch of things "just in case". I'm planning on winging it most of the time. I've got a genealogy class downtown in the morning, so unless I can peel myself out of bed early to start reading, I won't get started until the early afternoon when I get home. And, while I'll still be here to update occasionally, I plan on spending most of my time on Litsy (LauraBrook) and Instagram (laurareadsandreads). It's easier to do a quick photo and sentence to post, rather than logging in, updating the thread... it's not like it's hard or takes hours, but I'm starting to give in and do more social media things. 

So that's my plan for this readathon - read whatever sounds good at the time, not sweat spending time posting and following people online, and not worry about needing to do some things outside of the house. Fingers crossed I still get some good books finished!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Dewey's Day - Update 2, a day late

Soooooooo yeah. I so didn't make it 24 hours. I ended up doing most of my updates on Litsy, and filling in on instagram when I thought of it. But I did keep on reading, more than usual. I ended up napping for 3 hours at 9PM my time, and then finally collapsed around 3 in the morning and slept through the end. I was really thinking I could've last longer than I did, but since I'm not pushing myself now... it was what it was.

End of Event Survey

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
3 AM / hour 18 (I think). That's when I finally petered out and had to go to bed.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next time?
I really enjoyed "The Woman in Black" by Susan Hill (under 200 pages and creepy) and the "Calvin and Hobbes" collection I read (lots to choose from, easy to squeeze in a few pages). 

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the RAT for next session?
Nope!

4. What do you think worked really well this RAT?
Cheering! I like that you made it more "unofficial" this time, giving everyone a chance to cheer if they felt like it the day of. 

5. How many books did you read?
8, plus 2 magazines.

6. What were the names of the books you read?
"Calvin and Hobbes" by Bill Waterson
"The Woman in Black" by Susan Hill
"Double Sin" by Agatha Christie (on audio)
"Freaky Friday" by Mary Rodgers
"Camera" by Jean-Philippe Toussaint
"Sad Cypress" by Agatha Christie
"A Ghostly Road Tour" by Jan Langley
"William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope" by Ian Doescher

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
It's a toss-up between Calvin (always great) and Woman in Black.

8. Which book did you enjoy least?
"Freaky Friday". Ugh.

9. How likely are you to participate again, and in what role?
I will 100% participate again, as a reader. If you guys keep the cheering more open (i.e. you don't get scheduled a group of readers ahead of time) I'd like to do that more as well.

Thank you SOOOO MUCH to my RAT buddy, Sherry Ann of Sherry Ann's Book Blog! I couldn't do this without you, you are such a great friend and support. :) 

See you all in April!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Dewey's Day - Update 1

Good Morning, Read-a-Thon-ers!

I don't know about you, but right about now, I'm very thankful that coffee exists. It's pretty much the only way I'm upright and semi-functioning. 

Like last time, I'll have only a couple of posts for the day, and will break down individual updates into chunks. You can find me here, on Litsy (@LauraBrook), and on instagram (@laurareadsandreads). 

Here are my two piles for the Thon. The top photo has my current library checkouts. If I get through one or two, that would be fine, but I'm not excited or worried about getting through them today. 




And underneath, this small stack has the few books off of my own shelves that sounded good to me earlier this week. They're all relatively short reads (or short stories), and I'm looking forward to getting through most, if not all, of these. Call me crazy, but it seems do-able from where I'm at now. (Note: This will seem very not-do-able in just a few hours.) 


Opening Meme:

1. What part of the world are you reading from today?
My mostly-books house outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

2. What book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Hmmm. Probably the "Calvin & Hobbes" collection and "Remember Me" by Christopher Pike. But if neither get read today, that's okay.

3. What snack are you most looking forward to?
My Krispy Kremes! And also greek yogurt. 

4. Tell us a little something about yourself!
I love to read, which is probably not surprising, and my two cats are very happy to rub against (and then knock over) the stacks around my house. I'm having to find a new profession/job due to some health issues, but I'm currently a massage therapist of nearly 10 years. Still getting used to the glasses that were new the last Dewey's. And I'm semi-obsessed with the Litsy app. It's one of only two internet-y places that are filled with kind, bookish people, and nary a bad vibe exists. 

5. If you participated last time (you know I did!) what's one thing different you'll do today?
Once again, sleeping is for sure on the table, as much and as often as I need it. I've been on a good reading streak the last couple of weeks, so it should be easy to slide back into the reading "zone" when I'm done with breaks. 

Hour 7 Update

I slept horribly last night (cruisers were loud on the main street a block from me, which woke me up and then I was so ticked off I couldn't calm down), and yet somehow I've managed to get a surprising amount of reading in! 

I've managed to finish two books start-to-finish, and I'm about halfway through an audiobook. My Mom stopped by quickly to drop off a surprise brunch (tacos!), and I talked to one of my best friends for awhile. Took a shower, decluttered some paperwork, and am getting ready to run outside to take out some garbage. If it's warm enough I might even read out there for a bit. 

Books finished: 2 (William Shakespeare's Star Wars by Ian Doescher, The Woman in Black by Susan Hill)
Time reading: 6 hours

Hour 12 Update

Where has the day gone? I'm surprised by how fast the daylight goes in the fall - it's dark by 6 PM now, and pretty soon it'll be dark at 4 PM. I like it, though, because I feel less bad for sitting and reading in pajamas as soon as I get home every day. 

Books finished: 2 (Camera by Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers)
Time reading: 3 hours 30 min

I'm just putting some lasagna into the oven, and I'm almost done with my audiobook. I think I'll take a break after dinner and maybe nap. This afternoon I took a big stack of books I'm hoping to read today/this weekend outside and managed to photograph them without looking like too much of a kook for my neighbors. Afterwards, it was such a nice fall day, breezy and sunny and cool, that I read outside for a couple of hours. I'll miss the warm fresh air in the early hours of the morning when I'm fighting to stay awake!

Mid-Event Meme

1. What are you reading right now?
I'm almost done listening to "Double Sin" by Agatha Christie.

2. How many books have you read so far?
I've finished 4, soon to be 5.

3. What book are you most looking forward to in the second half of the 'thon?
Nothing is jumping out at me, I'll just take it as it comes.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with these?
Just a few, and mostly self-inflicted. I just roll with it. This past spring I hardly read at all, I couldn't concentrate, and ended up watching TV mostly instead. Today, though, I've really liked reading so much, and I'm not berating myself for taking a break when I want to. 

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-Thon so far?
How much I'm reading! 




Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Dewey's is upon us once again

This time around I keep vacillating between being excited about it and feeling blasé about it. It helps that the weather has finally turned more autumnal (though it's still in the 70's far too often for this time of year in Wisconsin for my taste), and the leaves are suddenly turning colors. This is the first year that I haven't been a member of bookclubs since college, and it's been nice reading whatever I feel like and noticing the strange patterns I get myself into. (Example: whenever I see something on social media about a book I own and haven't read, it makes me pull it off of the shelf to be read "next" - and then it sits around in random piles for months on end, never quite getting into my hands to be read.) That being said, I did just pull a very small stack of books that would be nice to read for this 'thon. And if I don't get to them? No pressure, they can go right back where they came from. 

I'll post a picture once a little more time has passed, and I've figured out a few more to add to the stack. And at this point, I plan on not checking out anything from the library that wasn't already either checked out or on hold. Believe me, there are plenty of options here that I've already spent $$$ on that need reading. (I said this last time, though, and while I ended up panicking and anxiously checked out a dozen or so things the day before, it was still MUCH better than in years past.) 

While not setting a strict rule for myself this time around, I'd like to read things that are more seasonal and spooky, like short ghost stories, darker literary fiction, paranormal themes, etc. It's something I attempted 4 or 5 years ago but didn't have much luck with. But between everything I see on Instagram and LITSY, I'm getting more excited to actually give it some effort this time around. It helps that I lean toward these kinds of things already, so there's a nice stockpile at my house. 

Something else that's newer for me this time around is the pressure I put on myself to stay up and participate in everything. Or rather, that I'm letting that pressure go. I used to be able to easily make myself stay awake for the whole 24 hours (or very nearly) when I first started doing Dewey's. Within a day I was back on my regular schedule, and it was a fairly smooth transition. Now? Very different story. My health has slowly but steadily gotten worse over time and I live in a constant state of exhaustion. The idea of trying to read for a full day is still thrilling for me (why yes, I am a nerd), but the actuality of it is not only nearly impossible but also pretty bad for my health. My already mostly non-functioning adrenal glands can't take it. I get shaky and feel like I'm losing my mind. And it takes me 3 or 4 days to recover. (I'm noticing similarities to alcohol hangovers - though it's been years since that's happened to me.) The most recent Dewey's this past spring, I planned on sleeping whenever I felt like it, and it went okay. This time, I'm going to try and read for two hours and then rest. If I sleep, that's fine, I'll wake up when I wake up. If I don't sleep, I'll give my brain and eyes a break. Important, since this is a marathon and not a sprint. Plus, there are hundreds (thousands?) more participants since I started this RAT, which is a wonderful thing, and I've noticed that more younger people are doing all of the mini-challenges. Which is excellent, great, wonderful, etc, but I'm finding that they don't catch my interest like they used to. So I look forward to the few that I'll do, but don't feel bad about skipping the rest. More reading time! 

Has anyone else noticed the shift in mini-challenges? Anyone else "too old" to stay awake for a full day? Let me know in the comments, and I'll see you all again soon!



Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bout of Book #17



Hello everyone! I'm back again for Bout of Books, and I'm excited to have an excuse to read a little more than normal. I've got two books that are due for review (oh, and a few ebooks too, crap), plus 23 books checked out from the library. Between those and the ones I'm currently reading, I for sure won't have a problem finding something to read! Choosing, however, is always a fun problem to have. 

No massive goals for the week. I'd like to read 5 books, and 5 graphic novels, for a total of 10. It's a busy week at work, which is good in theory, but not for my energy or physical self, so I'm hoping that I can find enough time to both recover and read a whole bunch. 

Wondering what Bout of Books is all about?
 The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 22nd and runs through Sunday, August 28th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 17 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
Like last time, I'll use this one post as my update spot for the week. I'll also be on Litsy (a lot - I'm LauraBrook) and on Instagram (laurareadsandreads) too. Can't wait to see what you all read!


Days 1, 2, 3

I managed to finish my first two books, which is saying something with how busy I've been. 

Books finished: "Sex With Shakespeare" by Jillian Keenan (review copy) and "Murder in the Mews" by Agatha Christie. Both were 3-ish stars out of five. 

I saw the challenge for the day (#3) and wish I could have photographed every place I keep books, but that would be practically my entire house - not kidding! It was a lot of fun to see everyone else's shelves, though, I love a good shelfie.

Reading now: "Eating for England" by Nigel Slater. Was totally inspired to pick this up based on Ellie's re-read of it for Bout of Books! And seeing as it's little essay-lettes on different kinds of food and food traditions in Britain, it's perfect for a read-a-thon. Don't know why I didn't open it up and look inside sooner!


Day 4

I have the day off today and it's like my Saturday. That means a lot of laundry and house cleaning needs to get done (or as much as possible until my energy runs out - based on how I'm feeling now, it won't be that much). Reading-wise I'm hoping to finished Eating for England, and maybe another library book or two. And I'm trying to resist the urge to buy a coloring book from Barnes & Noble. They're on sale and I'm a sucker for a beautiful coloring book. Will check in later!


Days 5, 6

Lots of time spent working on Friday, only managed to get a handful of pages read before I fell asleep. And Saturday I hung out with a good friend, watching the last few episodes of Outlander and eating pizza and talking. Was fun, but I still wish I could've gotten my concentration in order and read for awhile.

Day 7

So far, I'm actually getting some pages in! Yesterday I managed to read "You Only Had One Job" by Beverly L. Jenkins. That makes book #3 out of 5, so I still have to read 2 more books today, and 5 GNs/comics. If I can stop watching reruns of "30 Rock", I think I can manage it! 

8:00PM - I finished two more books, completing half of my goal! "Curious Minds" by Janet Evanovich, which was a lot of fun, and "Eating for England" by Nigel Slater, which made my mouth water. "30 Rock" is still on (I can't help myself) but I'm going to get started on the graphic novels right now!


Monday, May 16, 2016

Review: A Practical Guide to Addison's & Adrenal Fatigue by Regan J. Heineke

 

Title:"A Practical Guide to Addison's and Adrenal Fatigue: Advice for dealing with Addison's/adrenal fatigue from a female over-achiever diagnosed at 31"
Author: Ms. Regan J. Heineken
Pages: 68
Format: Paperback

I'll start off by first recommending that you purchase a print copy of the book. To save myself over $10 on an unknown reference book, I bought the kindle version - unless you have a color e-reader, a good portion of the text will be unreadable as it appears in a light grey color - and when what I could see to read was helpful and straightforward, I purchased a print copy anyways. Plus, for a reference book like this, it's much easier to flip the the right page than tap the screen 15 times to get to the right place.

And I'm glad I did purchase a print copy. As someone who is waiting for a diagnosis of some kind of adrenal malfunction (be it Addison's, secondary, or primary adrenal failure), I found this book very helpful and informative. Since Ms. Heineke is a regular person, she can break down functions, symptoms, hormones, etc, all into non-medical language that anyone can understand. Her personal experiences and experiments with medication doses (printed in that grey color) come at just the right time. Whether it's after a wordy few pages of hormone speak or when she introduces a new topic, reading what she went through and figured out for herself was very helpful.

Addison's and adrenal fatigue are autoimmune disorders that do not have a cure. There is only treatment with pills and lifestyle changes, and as she says so accurately in the text, figuring this out is an art, not a science. Having this as a reference is already incredibly helpful in bringing my anxiety down a few notches, and it will be coming with me to my first Endocrinologist appointment next week. 

Thank you so much, Regan, for writing this book!