Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Thoughts

Well, I'm back, and am mostly recovered from Saturdays' Read-a-Thon. The cold that I hoped I wasn't getting, I now have. It's super fantastic, coughing your lungs out every 10 minutes or so. Someone called and asked me why I wasn't working today. Um, because I don't think clients would appreciate a barking cough during their massage, that's why. It's not exactly restful and relaxing, believe me.

And as promised, here's my final wrap-up of the 'Thon.

It felt indulgent and naughty to stay up and read for 24 hours, like I was skipping out of school. I kept expecting neighbors to wander over at 3AM, wondering what I was doing, but of course that didn't happen. In my over-planning for the event, I got myself too excited about updating every hour, doing mini-challenges, reading and commenting on others' blogs, wondering what snacky food to eat next... next time around, I'm going to simplify. I also thought I'd get to read (and review) two ARC copies I have, but just getting through the first one took longer than I thought. In the end, I should have picked books that I knew I wouldn't have to be intensely vigilant about paying attention to, and I should have tried to work out a better way to read the graphic novels I had as well.

For next time, I'll have a smaller pool of books (or just pick 2 or 3 I really want to read) instead of 40, I'll make more of an effort to spend more time actually reading, and I'll try to change up my reading locations. Nothing wrong with the good old couch, but that's where I spent all of my time. Also, I'll clean my house the day before, so I'm not tempted to sort through a stack of mail or do dishes instead of read. (Those of you who know me may think you mis-read that last sentence, but I assure you, my bin of dirty dishes was a real distraction. I know... I think I'm losing my mind too.)

The one thing that really surprised me (aside from how I didn't meet my personal goals - ugh!) was how many people out there have book blogs. I read so many, and had a lot of nice comments, from people all over the world! It was so much fun to read about what other people were reading! And it has been fun to go back and check out many other blogs in the aftermath of the 'Thon. I'm really looking forward to the next one in April!

Alright, back to coughing and cleaning up for me! Hope you are all doing well.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

At the end

OK, here are my final totals. I've got 17 pages left of my book, but I'm counting it as being finished.

Total pages read: 880
Total time read: 13 hours, 57 minutes
Blogs visited: 32
Books completed: 5
Mini-challenges done: 9

I'll do another post tomorrow oops I mean later today with a picture of the books read, final thoughts, etc.

Off to Bedfordshire for me! Good night everyone, and thanks for a great 'Thon!

End of Event Meme

Thought I'd complete this before I hit the book one last time...

1) Which hour was most daunting for you?
Honestly, I think the last two are hardest.

2) Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I liked "The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James
"The Little Prince" by Antoine de Sainte-Exupiry
any of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich

3) Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

4) What do you think worked really well in this years' Read-a-thon?
I really enjoyed the mini-challenges, the cheering, and getting to read so many book blogs.

5) How many books did you read?
I'm going to predict that I'll have 5 finished, even though I'm not quite done with number 5.

6) What were the names of the books you read?
-"Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: A New Zealand Story" by Christina Thompson
-"The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop" by Lewis Buzbee
-"All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque (not too sure of spelling right now)
-"The Turn of the Screw" by Henry James
-"A Royal Pain" by Rhys Bowen

7) Which book did you enjoy most?
It's a toss-up between Turn of the Screw, Yellow-Lighted, and Royal Pain, all for different reasons.

8) Which did you enjoy last?
Without a doubt, hands down, "All Quiet...". It's a wonderful book and very affecting (effecting?), but not a good motivator, kind of gross to listen to while eating, and generally depressing. I liked the book very much, but it was NOT a good pick for me for this 'thon.

9) If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year's Cheerleaders?
I wasn't a Cheer-er this year, but I'm thinking about it for next time.

10) How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you likely take next time?
I'll read again for sure, and maybe cheer. There were lots of good mini-challenges, so I'll think about doing one too.

Now...finish that darn book!

Hour 24

This is going to be the most difficult, I fear. I've caught myself too many times to count, with the book almost falling out of my hands.

Pages read: 58
Time reading: 45 minutes

Total pages read: 815
Total time reading: 13 hrs, 21 minutes

I'm going to try and really buckle down to finish this darned book in the next hour!

Hour 23

For some reason, I'm awake more now than I was an hour ago.

Pages read: 46
Time reading: 32 minutes

Total pages read: 757
Total time reading: 12 hours, 36 minutes

I'm going to try and finish this book before the 'thon is over, and I'm just about halfway through.

Hour 22

Or, I can't believe I'm still awake. Well, mostly. And with the exception of a surprise 10 minute nap, I've been awake the whole time.

Having a grand old time reading A Royal Pain.

Pages read: 45
Minutes read: 45

Total pages: 711
Total time reading: 12 hours, 4 minutes
Blogs visited: 3
Books completed: 4

Hour 21

Currently reading the book to your left, "A Royal Pain", by Rhys Bowen. It's a light, funny little mystery so far, I'm hoping it takes me through without nodding off.

Pages read: 44
Minutes read: 31 minutes

Total pages: 666 (eek!)
Total time reading: 11 hours, 19 minutes
Blogs visited: 4
Books completed: 4

Haven't decided if I'll participate in either of the 2 mini-challenges going on currently. I'll press on, but if I find myself not-so-conscious, I'll be back for extra posts.

Hour 19

Vision is starting to blur a little. It took me quite a while to finish this slim little book. Really great, creepy, and intense. A good 'thon pick, overall. I have 4 more books I'd really like to read, so I'll go with what feels right when I pick my next one in a few minutes.

Pages read: 36
Minutes read: 54 minutes

Total pages: 622
Total time reading: 10 hours, 48 minutes
Blogs visited: 1
Books completed: 4

Mini-challenge of the hour- Go to page 23 of the book you're currently reading / will be reading next and find the most entertaining phrase to complete this sentence: "I would rather read than _____ any night!"

I would rather read than have all eyes in the Savoy on me any night!
(From A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen)


Time for another tally!

Pages read: 90
Minutes read: 1 hour, 12 minutes

Total pages: 586
Total time reading: 9 hours, 54 minutes
Blogs visited: 5
Books completed: 3

Almost finished with The Turn of the Screw. It's creepy, which is good since it's keeping me awake and the sleepiness is lurking closer. Recently took a break, watched a rerun of "House", had some chicken curry and Mountain Dew (I'm trying to get a boost here, people), and enviously watched my cats sleep curled together for a few minutes. Sigh...

I'd really like to finish at least 1 more full book before this thing is over. I planned on starting "Les Miz" during the 'Thon, but that's looking less likely right now. Whatever it's going to be, I hope it's not hardcover and I hope that don't ever lay down while reading, or I'm dunzo, either by falling asleep, or by getting my nose broken because the book fell on my face because I fell asleep.

Maybe throwing another log on the fire would help keep me awake?

Another mini-challenge

This time, we're meant to list our top 5 children's books.

Here, in no particular order, are...

1) "Caddie Woodlawn" by Carol Ryrie Brink. I know it's not a childrens book outright, but every summer my Mom would read it to me under the apple tree in our backyard.

2) The entire "Toot and Puddle" series by Holly Hobbie

3) "Treat Shop", a collection of short stories for children that was first published in the late 60's/early 70's

4) "The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings" by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

5)"The Little House" series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My favorite in the series is the first, "Little House in the Big Woods". It seemed so real and full of possibilities when I was young. And of course, her name is the same as mine and it takes place in my home state, Wisconsin. I always pictured myself like her.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hour 17

Mini-Challenge: Dance-a-thon!

This little challenge is just what it says - a dance break! I'm starting to feel a little tired (but no naps so far, yahoo), and this is just what I needed.

I danced to "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" by the Scissor Sisters, and for an encore performance, "Break the Ice" by Britney Spears.

Back to hitting the books and some more relaxed music. Beethoven for Book Lovers, perhaps?

Hour 13, Part 2

Mid-event Survey

1) What are you reading right now? I'm between books currently.

2) How many books have you read so far? Three

3) What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Nothing jumps out, but A Royal Pain should be lots of fun.

4) Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? Not since my sole client cancelled yesterday. What a blessing!

5) Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I've had a couple of phone calls, but most people know that I'm doing this Read-a-thon so they've been short conversations. The only other interruptions I've had have been my own, or my brain checking out on me while reading. I don't think I can really "read" my armchair, despite where I find my eyes drifting!

6) What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Honestly, at how hard a time I'm having with this. I've lamented not being able to read all day previously, but now that the time has come, I'm finding myself wanting to do other things, like put away the clean dishes, or do laundry. Also, I'm surprised at how far I am - or rather, how far I'm not.

7) Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope!

8) What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? I'd clean my house up first, so there would be less distractions. I'd start with lighter and / or shorter books. "All Quiet on the Western Front" was not a good choice for me, in hindsight. Also, I'd probably work in a re-read or two, just to give myself a little break.

9) Are you getting tired yet? Yes, but my V8 Fusion juice is surprisingly helpful! Plus, taking a shower and running an errand, though still listening to an audiobook, was a nice change.

10) Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? I'm sure others have done and are doing this, but an audiobook was good foresight. When my eyes and arms needed a break, I could close them and listen away. I might get a Janet Evanovich audiobook for the next time, they are too funny, and would really be a break.

Hour 13

I have finally finished "All Quiet on the Western Front"! Yahoo! It was wonderful and terrible all at the same time. A great book - just don't read it while eating.

I've also finished "The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop". Have to say, it's one of my favorites of all time.

Pages read: 292
Minutes read: 1 hour, 37 minutes

Total pages: 496
Total time reading: 8 hours, 42 minutes
Blogs visited: 0
Books completed: 3
No mini-challenges this time around.

Was starting to get tired, but after drinking some V8 V-Fusion juice, I do feel better. Maybe I'll have to hook up an IV of this stuff for the next read-a-thon!

Hour 12

I have FINALLY finished a book for this challenge, and have been listening to "AQotWF" for quite awhile now. If my math is correct (which it probably isn't) I should finish up with AQ in about an hour and a half. After about 6 hours of death, fighting, war, and depression I need a break. The only question is, what should I read next?

I'll include the page count for "All Quiet" once it's over and done with.

Pages read: 40
Minutes read: 241

Total pages: 204
Total time reading: 7 hours, 5 minutes
Blogs visited: 4
Books completed: 1
Mini-challenges: Intro, Google Maps, Hourly Reader Post, Best Title Sentence

On to something short and light!

Hour 8

Still listening to "All Quiet...", getting ready to hop in the shower and run an errand, all while still listening to this book. Oy.

Not bad, just not a great choice for listening to while eating. I was just starting to eat my sandwich when he started to describe the rotting corpses. Lovely.

Not sure how to count page numbers for this, so on my next break I'll head over to Amazon and do a page-count-average for the book.

I'm gonna keep on keepin' on!

Hour 7

Almost done with "Come on Shore,..." and currently listening to "All Quiet on the Western Front". Way to be easy on myself. (Did that make sense?)

Pages read: 108
Minutes read: 101

Total pages: 164
Total minutes: 3 hours, 4 minutes
Blogs visited: 9
Books completed: 0
Mini-challenges: Intro, Google Maps, Hourly Reader Post, Best Title Sentence

Need to put something in my body aside from coffee, delicious as it may be.


The Dead Man Walks into a Room, Lost in a Good Book

Just starting Hour 4

Still reading "Come on Shore..."

Pages read: 56
Minutes read: 47

Total pages: 108
Total minutes: 83
Total mini-challenges: 2, Hours 1 and 3
Blogs visited: 7
Books completed: 0

Hour 2 and 3

OK, since I'm in to hour 3, I think I've figured out where I need to be, post-wise.

Current book: Come On Shore.... by Christina Thompson
Minutes read: 36
Pages read: 52

Mini-challenges: Hour 1 (intro) and Hour 3 (google map)

Sadly, these are my totals so far as well. Still trying to get the hang of this reading / mini-challenging / blogging thing.

The book is pretty good, though I'm getting myself confused by trying to remember every Maori word and translation I come across. Relax! If I need to remember what it says, I'm sure the author will tell me again!

Hour 1

I found out my client cancelled for today, so instead of going in to work, I'll be here, reading!!! Of course, that doesn't mean that I didn't accidentally oversleep by an hour and a half, and consequently have a late start here. Anyway....

1st Mini-Challenge

Where are you reading from today?: Various places in my house, primarily the couch and big red chofa (that's chair / sofa).

3 facts about me: I'm a lifelong booklover and reader, I have 2 cats that are essentially my children, and I'm an only child.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?: 36. Can you say crazy?

Do you have any goals for the Read-a-thon?: I'd like to try for 18 hours of reading, and 5 books completed.

That's it! It's my first time, so I'm not sure how to exactly pace myself, or if my expectations are insane or not. Also, I think I'm an hour behind on posting. Hm...I'll try and fix that.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Out with the old...

Adios, Goldie. It's been great, what with you cooking things in half the time, and burning the edges of baked goods while leaving the center surprisingly raw. Time to put you out of your (and my) misery.

And hello, gorgeous! I can't believe I finally have a new stove! It's white! And has a flat cooktop! And, what I really can't get over is the window in the oven door! No more singeing eyelashes while checking to make sure dinner isn't on fire. And there's even a light inside. And a built-in timer that is silent, instead of so loud that you could hear it in my bedroom at the opposite end of the house. Did I mention the window? AMAZING!!! I can't get over it. A window? I finally used it for the first time today, with quite a bit of apprehension. It boiled a full pot of water in 6 minutes, as opposed to over 20 minutes! The oven works great too.

Only one little thing... my entire house smells like hot plastic.

I picked up a few more titles for the Read-a-thon on Saturday. Because 30 just didn't seem like enough. My new library titles are:

Magyk and Flyte by Angie Sage
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Barrel Fever by David Sedaris
The Fugitive Queen by Fiona Buckley
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Maus II by Art Spiegelman
American On Purpose by Craig Ferguson
In Dublin's Fair City by Rhys Bowen
I Like You by Amy Sedaris

Watch, now I'll probably only end up reading 2 books since I have so stinkin' many. At any rate, I'm still excited about this Saturday. I've already got some food on hand, I've stocked up on coffee and creamer, and even toothpicks for my eyelids if it comes to that.

I may not be back between now and then, but you can expect a post an hour on Saturday, starting in the morning. Wish me luck! And that the plastic smell is gone by bedtime so I can sleep tonight!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Here I am again. Blogging twice in one day! Still drinking coffee!! Still in my pajamas!!! Will wonders never cease?

I've just been reading up on this 24-hour thing, and I'm supposed to post a list of books I intend on reading. So, um, here's my list.

In case you can't read microscopic print, here's an actual list of the books...

From top to bottom, right to left, they are:

"Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All" by Christina Thompson (An ARC to review)
"Beg, Borrow, Steal" by Michael Greenberg (Another ARC to review)
"The Circular Staircase" by Mary Roberts Rinehart
"The Turn of the Screw and Daisy Miller" by Henry James
"Yoga for People Who Can't Be Bothered To Do It" by Geoff Dyer
"Dream of a Thousand Lives" by Karen Connelly
"Driving Over Lemons" by Chris Stewart
"Falling Off the Map" by Pico Iyer
"Venice is a Fish" by Tiziano Scarpa
"Anatomy of the Spirit" by Caroline Myss
"Out of Africa" by Isak Dinesen
"Salt" by Mark Kurlansky
"Armadale" by Wilkie Collins
"The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop" by Lewis Buzbee
the red-spined book you can't really see is "Bitter is the New Black" by Jen Lancaster
"Dear Fatty" by Dawn French
"Audition" by Barbara Walters
"Official Book Club Selection" by Kathy Griffin
"The Virgin Blue" by Tracy Chevalier
"Her Royal Spyness" by Rhys Bowen
"A Royal Pain" by Rhys Bowen
"Bookends" by Jane Green
"The Seven Daughters of Eve" by Bryan Sykes
"Tilt" by Nicholas Shrady
and last but not least "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo

Now to be fair, these are the books that I need to read by the end of the year to complete my 999 Challenge on LibraryThing. I didn't just pluck them off of the shelf and say "hey, I think I'm going to try and read ALL of these in 24 hours". Despite what you may think, I'm not insane. I'd just really like to get as many of these done as possible, and that will give me enough wiggle room to skip around when I'm sick of reading a book.

I should really get a move on if I'm going to be showered and wearing actual clothes for the movie tonight. I'm thinking it would be appreciated. OK, later!

Oh, I almost forgot - that little stack on top of the big stack contains some alternates and books that are due at the library before the read-a-thon starts. They are:

"Persuasion" by Jane Austen
"Daughter of Time" by Josephine Tey
"The Dark Secret of Weatherend" by John Bellairs
"The Clutter-Busting Handbook" by Rita Emmett
and "Chocolate, Please" by Lisa Lampanelli

I think that's enough book talk for now. Peace out!

Rainy Thursday....

It's almost 1:30 in the afternoon, and I'm still in pajamas. Awesome! I've been waiting for a day like today (kinda crappy outside, chilly, nowhere to go until tonight) for quite some time. It's an actual day off and I'm only sort-of feeling guilty about it. A massive improvement, believe me. Even though I've been doing some quick work for job #2, it hasn't been a buzz-kill (sp?) and I can still chill and watch TV stress-free. So this is that "relax" thing people keep talking about!

Both jobs have been pretty busy the last few weeks, which is good and bad, and I have some exciting news on that front. I'm going to get actual support at job #1! I know! We have another therapist that is going to work full-time (she was only part-time before), another soon-to-be-grad who will be working full-time, and 5 or 6 more part-timers, all by the end of the month! I am so stinkin excited it's a little sad.

The soon-to-be-grad and I were talking about how working at the clinic actually is, and how we could better advertise our services to boost our business. She asked why I hadn't done any of it before on my own, and while I was trying to think of why that was she said "Oh, you know I just realized that if you had done that, you would have just shot yourself in the foot. You're the only one working here, you're here at least 5 days a week, usually 6 or 7, and you have another job. Once I'm up here, you'll finally have some support"! And I have to be honest that I was so happy I started crying. Not a big huge heaving sob-fest or anything, but a nice holy-crap-I'm-getting-help-and-I-so-desperately-need-it kind of a cry. Thank God for that!

Job #2 is still being mostly neglected. Once I'm able to be home more to work on it, that will all change. There are going to be some decent-sized changes in my schedule in the next 2 weeks, and I can hopefully figure out some regular working time. That's all I really want. A little more stability at work so I can maybe start to have a personal life would be great. And how sad is it that that last sentence is true? Ugh.

Anyway, on to more fun things, i.e. reading. I'm up to 59 books read this year, with only 22 to go. I think I may have a shot at completing this challenge by the end of the year. And to that effect (or is it affect? I can never remember which is which), I'll be doing a 24-hour Read-a-thon on October 24. The rules are that you read what you want, when you want, for however long you want and you blog about it. There are prizes to be won, people to help cheer you on...it should be a good time. Well, if you're a Reading Nerd like me, that is.

Unfortunately I have to work in the morning on the 24th, so I'll be starting later, but as soon as I'm done, I'm going to stay home, no distractions, and just read and blog for as long as I can stay awake. I can't wait to read for this extended chunk of time, and I'm hoping to get at least 5 books read and off of my shelf! Plus, my book posts by hour 12 or so should be fairly entertaining, so stay tuned if you need a good laugh.

Alright, I'd better eat some lunch (I'm thinking a chicken salad sandwich), and take a shower. I'm going to see "Bright Star" tonight at the movies, and I'm looking forward to popcorn and a nice period romance in the theater, instead of on my couch like normal.

Hope you're all having a nice Thursday!