Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone! Hope Santa was good to you this year!

Completed Challenges

I've completed 4 more challenges - yahoo! They are:

2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog
Read Your Name 2010 Challenge hosted by Name Reading
What's in a Name? 3 Challenge hosted by Beth Fish
Typically British 2010 Challenge hosted by Book Chick City

There are a few more books to be read in order for me to complete the last 4 challenges that I signed up for at the beginning of the year, not including reading 2 more books to complete the 1010 Challenge at LibraryThing. Next year I will either not join so many challenges or use broader categories so I'm not so tied into so many specifics. I'm hoping to read more books from my own shelves, but that's about as far ahead as I've planned for 2011.

So tell me - how are you doing on your reading challenges?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Final Read-a-thon Totals

Sorry for yet another post today. Here are my final totals from the read-a-thon!

Pages read: 1,339

Time reading: 11 hrs 48 min

Books completed: 8

Blogs visited: 7

Mini-challenges completed: 7

Overall, not too bad. I did make my goal of reading 8 books (even if it did take me slightly past my 7a.m. stopping time this morning), and I completed more mini-challenges than last time. I'm thinking of doing my own 24 Hour Read-a-thon sometime before the year is out, just to get through a few more books. I seem to really get quite a bit crossed off of the list when I read this way, and that faster reading speed (or whatever) tends to stick around for a few more weeks, so it's a good thing for me in the end. Alright, back to the movie (watching "Last Chance Harvey" with Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman, it's good so far - cute, even) and a book.

Challenges Completed (and not)

Aside from trying to read 100 books this year, and the semi-annual read-a-thon that finished up this morning, I'm crazy enough to have joined several other challenges.

The challenge that I Did Not Finish was the All About the Brontes Challenge, hosted by Laura at Laura's Reviews. You could choose the number of books, movies, etc that you wanted to have read. The challenge was just for 6 months, and I didn't really pay attention to that as the spring and summer were worked away. I only watched 1 movie, which is really fine, but I was hoping for 3 books/movies total. Oh well.

The challenge that I Did Finish is the Support Your Local Library Challenge hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog. Originally I signed up to read 25 books, but seeing as I passed that marker back in March I went up to the next step of 50 books. As of this morning, I have read 50 library books!

So, that's the good and the bad. I'm just relieved to have a couple challenges off of my plate so I can focus on the others for the next 11 or so weeks. Here's to lots more reading time!

End of Event Meme

I made it! After taking a nap (longer than I planned on), I felt much better and read a couple more books.

1.Which hour was most daunting for you?
Hours 20 and 21. It's when I first started to get really sleepy, and when I started to catch myself dropping my book over and over again.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I always enjoy Shirley Jackson so keep my blood and adrenaline pumping. Otherwise if you have a book or two from a series you know you already enjoy, that's always something to look forward to. I've read books by Rhys Bowen the last 2 times, and they've been a treat.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Nope! Really, I'd just like to have them more often (though some people probably think twice a year is enough), thought I know it takes oodles and oodles of work behind the scenes.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year's Read-a-thon?
I liked that the mini-challenges were posted early on so I could plan on little breaks every few hours or so.

5. How many books did you read?
I finished 7 1/2 by the end of the time, but I'm going to say 8 for simplicity's sake since I kept on reading to finish it up. So 8.

6. What were the names of the books you read?
"Maus" by Art Spiegelman
"Troublemaker" by Janet and Alex Evanovich
"Hood" by Stephen Lawhead
"Wishful Drinking" by Carrie Fisher (audio)
"Royal Blood" by Rhys Bowen
"Enthusiasm" by Polly Shulman
"Finn Family Moomintroll" by Tove Jansson
"The Expedition of Humphry Clinker" by Tobias Smollet

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Finn Family Moomintroll. I started it at just the right time (late in the challenge when my brain was just starting to go mushy) so its magical, child-like wonderfullness would wash over me and sweep me away. It was great.

8. Which did you enjoy least?
I didn't really have any duds, but "Humphry Clinker" would be the one I enjoyed the least. It was charming and funny, but after a while I just wanted it to be over.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year's Cheerleaders?

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
EXTREMELY! I was even thinking of doing my down version in a month or two since I enjoy it so much and I get a lot of good reading in.

Everyone setting this up and executing it was absolutely wonderful, and I'm really thankful. I don't know how you guys do it!

Now I'm looking forward to visiting the threads of all the cheerleaders who posted here and just be nosy. Sleep well tonight!

Hour 24

I did fall asleep, but I'm going to keep on reading until the clock strikes 7:00 exactly, so I'm keeping this short.

Since the last update I finished 2 more books (1 an audio book) and am reading one more still... will I finish it in time to count?

I'll save the wrap-up post until tomorrow and I've slept for a while....

Hour 20

Getting tired now for sure. Usually if I'm up at 2 a.m. I'm either trying desperately to finish a book or I can't sleep for love nor money. Now I'm voluntarily up this late/early to keep on reading! Perhaps a little juice will keep me going. I fear, however, that I'll have to lay down on the couch fairly soon, and then it could mean a nap for me. I'll try to persist and keep on truckin.

Pages read: 236
Total: 934

Time reading: 160 min
Total: 9 hrs 51 min

Books completed: 4
Blogs visited: 0
Total: 5
Mini-challenges completed: 5

I think that after I finish my current YA book, it's going to be graphic novel time for me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hour 17

At last - a return to reading! That was really much too long of a break. At least some more progress has been made...

Pages read: 219
Total: 698

Time reading: 115 min
Total: 7 hrs 11 min

Books completed: 3
Blogs visited: 0
Total: 5
Mini-challenges completed: 5

Now I don't know what to read - I may just stick my hand out and read whatever I grab.

Hour 14

I have read ZERO pages since my last check-in. I took a break to eat dinner, and then I got a phone call from a friend that lasted almost 45 minutes, so I figured "what the hell" and talked to my parents for the rest of the hour. Since I'm still not back into reading, I wanted to do the fun Hour 13 Mini-Challenge

Title Word Scramble
Unscramble all titles to win a book grab bag prize! All titles are modern fiction, classic fiction, or children's titles.

1. yfferil enal
Firefly Lane

2. aste fo eend
East of Eden

3. retwa orf pntsheea
Water For Elephants

4. ot lkli a ckomgnrbdii
To Kill a Mockingbird

5. het gtaer ysbtag
The Great Gatsby

6. yrhra tetrpo dna eth lyhdtea wollsah
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

7. hte rat fo nrgcai ni eht nair
The Art of Racing in the Rain

8. eth mite reslveart efwi
The Time Travelers Wife

9. eht rlig ithw eht gnodar ooattt
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

10. ydira fo a mypiw idk
Diary of a Wimpy Kid

11. a kwrlnei ni emit
A Wrinkle in Time

12. het rpoal sxprese
The Polar Express

13. vole dewlak ni
Love Walked In

14. reehw eth dwli hingts rea
Where the Wild Things Are

15. eht ginnhsi
The Shining

16. dnohogigt oonm
Goodnight Moon

17. vwtienrie hwti a pvmarie
Interview With a Vampire

18. eht cretse file fo eesb
The Secret Life of Bees

19. eht raesch
The Search

20. het pelh
The Help

This challenge is hosted by Sheery at Sheery's Place.

Hour 12

Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now?
I'm listening to "Wishful Drinking" and reading "Royal Blood".

2. How many books have you read so far?
I've finished 2.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
"Finn Family Moomintroll" by Tove Jansson

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
Just take today and tomorrow off of work - not a big deal, since I make my own schedule.

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Just a few phone calls, but I answered them. For me, it beats having to call a list of people back. I already have to do that with my work phone (it's my cell phone) and I'm dreading Monday morning when I turn it on again.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon so far?
At how well I'm doing, reading-wise. I was still hoping to be a little further along, but I'm not doing too badly.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
More often! Kidding! Everything runs so smoothly - major props to all of the cheerleaders, organizers, and challenge hosts!

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
I'd cook all of my food the day before, so I wouldn't be faced with the prospect of having to do so the day of. I thought it would be a nice break, something to do with my hands, etc, but it's really not my thing. So I got carry-out for dinner instead.

9. Are you getting tired yet?
Yeah, a little. But that's probably because I made the not-so-wise decision to have breadsticks with dinner, and I also have lasagna to eat later. I'm going to carb-crash for sure. But so far, so good!

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?
Honestly, having 1 place to go during the challenge really helps me out. That way, if I'm getting super drowsy or am sick of sitting all day long, I can hop in the car and walk around Target or the grocery store for a little bit. (Plus, I always listen to an audiobook while I'm driving, and listen to my iPod while I'm in the store, so I'm not missing out on any reading time.) Having something to do to shake it up a little bit gives me something to look forward to, and if I don't feel like leaving the house? I don't have to!

Back at it, Hour 13 just started!

Hour 10

Making good progress in "Royal Blood" so far. I really love this series and once this book is done I will be sad to have to wait another year for the next installment.

Pages read: 86
Total: 479
Time reading: 60 min
Total: 5 hrs 56 min
Books completed: 2
Blogs visited: 1
Total: 5
Mini-challenges completed: 3

I'll be listening to an audiobook soon, while I get ready and head to the grocery store, and then I'll be back on my behind with a book in hand.

Hour 8

So far, so good. I'm still awake, which I'm surprised at, and am looking forward to lots more reading time. Finally finished "The Expedition of Humphry Clinker". It was cute, sometimes funny, and loooooong. That is, unless you enjoy reading picaresque novels of the late 1700's!

Pages read: 149
Total: 393
Time reading: 130 min
Total: 4 hrs 56 min
Books completed: 2
Blogs visited: 0
Total: 4
Mini-challenges completed: 3

Looking forward to reading something slightly less crazed than "Humphry", and trying to plan when I'll run to the grocery store and work in the yard. I don't want to wait until I'm too tired and then I won't go at all. Big decision! Alright, back to reading!

How are you guys doing?

Hour 6

Well, we're one quarter done with the day - let's check up on the progress, shall we?

Pages read: 128
Total: 244
Time reading: 90 min
Total: 2 hrs 46 min
Books completed: 1
Blogs visited: 1
Total: 4
Mini-challenges completed: 3 (including Hour 5 below)

Making some decent progress on my book, "The Expedition of Humphry Clinker", and can't wait to have it all wrapped up! I had a few phone calls, changed the music, ran to the bathroom, got something to drink - but not too bad considering! I think I was planning on reading a book an hour (I know), so I feel a little disappointed at my progress so far, but really it's going pretty well. Speaking of, I had better get back to it!

Hour 5 Mini-Challenge

Crystal, at My Reading Room, challenged us to show a picture of our books! Here's a shot of my main TBR shelves, as of just a few minutes ago.

It should probably be noted that this is by no means all of my TBR heap. I also have other shelves in other rooms, and even a dresser drawer or two, all loaded with fresh books for me to read. Problem much?

Hour 3

Pages read: 116
Total: 116
Time reading: 1 hr 16 min
Total: 1 hr 16 min
Books completed: 1
Blogs visited: 2
Total: 3
Mini-challenges completed: 2 (Hour 1, which is below, and Hour 2, completed on

So far so good! I finished my first book (which I was 3/4 through when I picked it up today), made and ate a yummy breakfast, visited a few blogs, had some coffee, and tried to ignore my neighbors screaming child for the last 20 minutes. Seriously, what the hell - who lets their kid scream for that long, outside, on a Saturday morning?

Think I'll close my kitchen windows, grab some water and pick up book #2!

Hour 1

Good Morning Everyone!

I've got my coffee, my windows open (it's 63 degrees at 7 a.m. in Wisconsin - CRAZY!), and my first book ready to go. It looks like we've got lots of great mini-challenges this year, and I've already had one cheerleader stop by. Fantastic! I'll be doing separate posts for each hour/time I blog, so I apologize if your Reader is full of bookish updates from me today. And now, for the Hour 1 Meme!

Where are you reading from today? My couch, my big red chofa and my new recliner. I may even venture outside later on to read on the deck.

3 facts about me I'm an anglophile, I love pottery, and the amount of vitamins I take every day is verging on the ridiculous.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? This time it's only 24 books. I know, it's still a huge amount, but I may pull things in "off-pile" too. We'll see how the day goes!

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? Well, if I remember correctly, I've only read 6 books the last 2 times I participated and I had a goal of reading 10, so I'm going to shoot for the middle here and say 8 books. No page goal necessarily. I would like to get 12 hours of reading time in, and visit at least 5 blogs for each time I'm online.

If you're a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time? Don't over-caffeinate, save a few kids books or graphic novels for when your brain turns to mush (trust me, this will happen), and just relax and enjoy yourself. There will always be people who are Serious Read-a-thoners and their stats will blow you away. Don't worry about them. Just enjoy an entire day set aside to read books!

Speaking of, I best get moving here and get some reading done myself. I think I'll try to finish up "Hood" first so I can fell like I've accomplished something early on. See you later!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Read a Thon October 2010

It's that time of year again, my dearies! The 24 Hour Read-a-thon is tomorrow! I'll be up bright and early, ready to hit the books at 7 a.m.!

This is my third time joining in the reading fun, and I'm even more excited than I was the last time. I've got some healthy food all set, coffee is ready to go, and my Saturday is free and clear to read to my hearts content. I do plan on running an errand tomorrow just for a little break, and to rake my side-yard for a while (the acorns this year are Out Of Control), but other than that, I'll be reading and eating. I do plan on taking at least one nap, and if I sleep more than that, that's okay too. Now, for my ridiculously large proposed book pile:

From left to top to bottom to right:

"First to Die", James Patterson
"Enthusiasm", Polly Shulman
"Carrie", Stephen King
"The Vampire Diaries, The Awakening", L.J. Smith
"Suddenly You", Lisa Kleypas
"The Shape of Water", Andrea Camilleri
"The Frozen Deep", Wilkie Collins
"My Trip Down the Pink Carpet", Leslie Jordan
"Finn Family Moomintroll", Tove Jansson
"The Girl Who Could Fly", Victoria Forester
"Hex Hall", Rachel Hawkins
"Still Life", Louise Penney
"Royal Blood", Rhys Bowen
"Whose Body?", Dorothy Sayers
"The Happiness Project", Gretchen Rubin
"The Memoirs of Cleopatra", Margaret George
"Maus" and "Maus II", Art Spiegelman
"Gothic Classics", Ann Radcliffe
"Hood", Stephen Lawhead
"The Expedition of Humphry Clinker", Tobias Smollett

Once again, I have an absolutely enormous stack to pick from, but I have no illusions of getting through all of them. I'd like to at least finish the 2 I've already started (the last 2 on the list), read a small chunk of the Cleopatra book, and maybe read 2 more from front to back. Other than that, I'm just happy to be reading for most of the day. Well, it's early to bed for me so I can face tomorrow with a full nights sleep!

See you all tomorrow morning!

Monday, May 17, 2010

I'm alive! I'm alive, I swear! Don't ask me what has happened in the past month, I couldn't really tell you. Mostly because I don't really remember it, and I promise it's not because I was drinking. Well, except for that one time, but that wasn't really fun. I've just been working at both jobs and grating my teeth while doing it (that's what she said), getting hardly any useful work done, came close to heart attacks several times, and have only read maybe 3 books. For a frame of reference, I read 22 books in March. Seriously. So, instead of talking about books, I'll just ramble for a bit.

Do any of you read The Bloggess? I love her stuff - she's crazy, but in a delightful, humorous, sarcastic way. Perfect! Her latest weekly wrap-up (normally titled "Shit-I-Did-While-I-Wasn't-Here") included a link to a youtube video of a lecture done by Daniel Pink (author of "A Whole New Mind") about desire in the workplace. No, not that kind of desire. The regular non-pervy kind. Or was it about drive in the workplace? I don't remember. At any rate, I always click on the links that The Bloggess has, she's never steered me wrong, and this link was really interesting. I think. I couldn't really follow what he was saying because I was watching the hand drawing and writing what he was saying. It's amazingly fascinating. How can people do this?!? I know I joke about this, but I really can't draw or cut a straight line. Being talented enough to draw a picture, no matter how rudimentary, where anyone can identify a story or objects in it is totally amazing to me - this is beyond amazing. You should totally watch it just for the sake of watching it - I have no idea what he says.

Hang on, I have to run some tomato paste over to my neighbors' house, I'll be right back.

OK, I'm back. I was over there for over an hour - sheesh! She took a mental health day from work and we yapped while she made dinner and chopped veggies. All I kept thinking was "why don't I effing do this stuff for myself?!?" and staring at the clock. Not in a bad way, but you know, cuz I've got stuff at home that I need to avoid doing.

Speaking of, I should probably turn my cell/work phone on for the day, I've been avoiding it. Here goes... whew! Only one message, and it's from a friend. A nice change.

You know, after being at my neighbors' house (they have a totally new, revamped kitchen that I'm endlessly jealous of) I realized part of why I like their kitchen so much. Aside from the fact that it's beautiful, shiny, useful and has things in it that work like they're supposed to, that is. I like it because it's not filled with useless crap, and it's not treated like a giant storage area - it feels like it has life in it. Does that make sense? Mine feels dull, dead, old, used-up, and cluttered like crazy. So does most of my house, to be honest, but doesn't that really say something about my life and how I live it? Now I feel like dropping whatever I had planned on doing, pulling my big garbage can up from the alley and just start pitching shit in there. (I'd also like to do that to my office/dining room, but I need to know what I'm tossing before I toss it.) Maybe I'm entering a "pitch it" phase. Hm.

Having had more "time off" this last week (read that as working from home and not at job #1, instead of actual time spent not working) has been so eye-opening and refreshing in so many ways it's scary. I spend so little time here at home during daylight hours, no matter what day of the week it is. I do so little actual work for job #2 (instead mostly obsessively thinking about it and panicking about working is what I do). I do even littler work for this house - and even littler work for myself. I have NO IDEA how I expect myself to remember anything at all because all I do is mentally jump around like a caffeinated little dog all the time, and all of the work that I'm doing is for someone elses' benefit. I need to re-train myself in how to have one constant thought process - constant interruptions are the norm, no matter what I'm doing. Bad. Very bad.

Also, I've been thinking about that Asian saying/thought/truth/whatever about how they don't eat leftovers because it's dead food, how do you expect to feel alive if all you eat are dead things? All I eat are "dead" things. Couldn't tell you the last time I actually cooked a meal - maybe January? Let's say January for the sake of argument, it feels about right. Not cooking a meal (no matter how small and easy, I've barely scrambled an egg) in 5 months? Fuck. Not good. Really not good. Not good at all. Oh, pardon me while I eat leftover pizza and type this. See? What the hell has happened to me? How did I lose my way? I've stopped being a regular person and am now some kind of Scattered Crazy Work Robot that masquerades as a responsible adult. Damn.

Hey, this is good pizza.

Alright, I need to step away from the computer for 10 seconds altogether, so I'm going to go. And I won't watch TV, I promise. I'll maybe even do something semi-productive like laundry or sorting through a stack of paper. Or return the work phone call I just ignored. Or take a nap. Gee, which one sounds most appealing? What a toughie....

Hope you're all doing well, and I'll try and stop back again soon.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I'm a big fan of travel memoirs, so when I saw that I won this through LibraryThing Early Reviewers, I was really excited! I'm glad I "had" to read it too, because I really enjoyed it.

Kathryn keeps getting caught up in the drama of her life, specifically her accidentally running over and killing a man, and her now ex-boyfriend (whom she dumped). Because of these things, she realizes that she wants to get to know dear old Dad a little better and connect with him on this trip. This memoir of Kathryn and her father doing a wine tour around France (where he is from) is actually quite wonderful. As they travel through the country, stopping at wineries and hotels, getting into arguments and having heart-to-heart moments, pitching fits and laughing it up, they get to know each other very well. And like so many things in adult life, the more you think you know, the more you realize how wrong you are.

"Corked" is cute, funny, sad, touching, with a realistic (aka a little dysfunctional) parent/child relationship...what more can you want from a memoir? Kathryn has a wonderfully quirky writing style, with unusual and spot-on ways to describe things. I really like this book, and I hope Ms. Borel will write another book in the near future.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Quick Reviews...

Back to the swing of things. I've fully recovered from the Read a thon, and now have a few more days off of work due to Murphy's Law and my cutting my thumb while hoping I wouldn't cut my thumb. Brilliant. So, it's time for more reviews to catch up on what I've been reading this year. I think we're up to category 5, which is Anywhere But Here, Travel Lit and Travel Guides. I love me some good travel books!

"Bronte Country", ed. by Glenda Leeming
A nice book of pictures of "Bronte Country" in Yorkshire during all four seasons. Lots (and lots) of Bronte quotes accompany each page. More of a look-y book than a read-y book.

"Carnet de Voyage" by Craig Thompson
An amusing, honest, not-quite-rose-colored travel journal of Craig Thompson's European / African publicity tour for Blankets with a side trip vacation done on his own. Love it - there are many parts of traveling that I often think myself when I'm on the road, and it's an easy read. It's nice to travel with Craig, even when he's a little whiny and self-absorbed.

"Film + Travel Europe: Traveling the World Through Your Favorite Movies" by Museyon Guides
Meh. It looked interesting (I'm a cover sucker - that sounds gross) and it was only okay. It's a small book, and it does cover all of Europe, but it was mostly blurbs mentioning that such-and-such was filmed here. The only time the talked about a movie in detail (a 5 sentence paragraph) it was an obscure or "classic" movie made in the 60's that I hadn't seen. To be honest, I was bored. Not that it's not a great idea, I was just hoping for something a little more mainstream, or current (or even better, vintage 30's and 40's stuff. How awesome would that be?), or that had some content to it.

"French Milk" by Lucy Knisley
A great book, told graphic-novel style (with a few photos thrown in), about Lucy and her Mom spending 5 weeks in France to celebrate their birthdays. From her love of French milk (hence the title), to the acute hell of life after college when everything seems to be so monumental to THE REST OF YOUR LIFE that you become paralyzed, to all of the wonderful discoveries the city of Paris holds, I relished in every minute of reading this book. It was also kind of funny to read about some things that you take for granted as common knowledge - it's such a joy to learn a new city and the quirks that make it so wonderful. Love it!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

End of Event Meme

After all of my excitement and talking about the Read-a-thon this year, I most certainly did not do a very good job. I wanted to read for 10 hours, and only read for 5 hours 20 minutes. I was trying to read 10 books and only read 6 - 2 I had started previously, 1 was a children's book, 1 was quite short, 1 I only read the first quarter of (for a separate read-a-long I'm doing), and just 1 was read from start to finish. Oh well. I plan on doing much better this fall!

Pages read: 846
Time reading: 5 hours 20 minutes
Books completed: 6 (well, 5)
Blogs visited: 14
Mini-challenges completed: 3 (including the one below)

Hour 24 Mini-Challenge

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 18, when I first fell asleep.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Persepolis and Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson - though from what I hear, anything she writes would work
Metro Girl and Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Any of the Royal and Evans series by Rhys Bowen
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Blankets and Carnet de Voyage by Craig Thompson

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope! Everyone does such a fantastic job, I can't imagine improvements.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year's Read-a-thon? Everything. The assigned cheerleaders, the AMAZING hosts, fun mini-challenges.... it was all great!

5. How many books did you read? 6

6. What were the names of the books you read? Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi, A Treasury of Royal Scandals by Michael Farquhar, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl, Hood by Stephen Lawhead (partial read), More Letters from Pemberley by Jane Dawkins, and Corked by Kathryn Borel.

7. Which book did you enjoy most? Corked by Kathryn Borel. I got this for review and I enjoyed every second of it. I hope she writes another book!

8. Which did you enjoy least? Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi. Though there wasn't any one thing about it that didn't really work for me, I just remember thinking "thank god this book is short and filled with pictures". Plus, the absence of page numbers drove me crazy.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year's Cheerleaders? N/A

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I will definitely do this again, though I'll be sure not to plan anything extra on the side. One thing would have been fine, but two was too much. I'll be a reader again for sure, and will think about being a Cheerleader. It would be fun to have to read a bunch of blogs and comment, but I'd like to improve my reading stats also. Maybe next April I will trying Cheering.

For now, that's all! Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by to comment, and I look forward to running into you all again in October - maybe even sooner!

I'm out

Well, I'm afraid to say that it's curtains for me. I read another half an hour, but fell asleep, and now it's just time for me to go to bed. I found out a couple of hours ago that I no longer have to get up and go tomorrow, but my body was all ready to get some sleep, and I couldn't fight it.

I'll post a wrap up tomorrow morning. I had such a great time, but I had too many other things that came up this time, and I couldn't make it. Shoot. Oh well, there's always next time. Thanks so much for the cheering to all who stopped by!

Good night - or is it really morning?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hour 15

Well, I'm back from babysitting! While I was there I somehow managed to finish 1 book, read another, and read half of yet another! Plus, while driving there and back I finished a children's audio book. Yahoo! I feel like I'm getting somewhere finally.

Pages read: 312
Total: 509
Time reading: 3 hours / 120 min
Total: 4 hrs 5 min
Books completed: 3
Blogs visited: 4
Total: 12
Mini-challenges completed: 2

Time to hunker down and get reading once again!

Mini-challenge from hour 4

Bart from Bart's Bookshelf challenged everyone to write a book title sentence using 3 or 4 books. My sentence is "Marie Antoinette corked the billionaire's vinegar, thunderstruck."

You should check out his TwentyTen challenge also, I'm having a blast working on it!

Hour 5

Pages read: 63
Total: 209
Time reading: 35 min
Total: 125 min
Books completed: 0
Blogs visited: 1
Total: 8
Mini-challenges completed: 1

Only 77 pages left until book #1 is finished!

Hour 4

Pages read: 40
Total: 146
Time reading: 20 min (bad!)
Total: 90 min
Books completed: 0
Blogs visited: 0
Total: 7
Mini-challenges completed: 1

Currently reading "Corked" by Kathryn Borel. It's for review (which I didn't think I'd do during the readathon) and it's so charming and fun that I'm having a great time reading it. Almost halfway through, and hoping to finish it before noon!

Hour 3

Just a few stats for you...

Pages read: 107
Time spent reading: just over an hour - let's say 70 minutes
Books completed: 0
Blogs visited: 7
Mini-challenges completed: 1

Time to turn on my phone and return some work phone calls, unfortunately. Then it's back to reading!

Readathon mini challenge #1

Well, kids, it begins! I'm up a little late (can't seem to get enough sleep lately), coffee just finished brewing, and breakfast is in the toaster. I don't think I'll get much reading done this hour, just nose around and drink coffee instead.

Where are you reading from today? Mostly from my couch, or my big red chofa. Probably with at least one cat next to me at most times.

3 facts about me I think the fact that I love to read is fairly obvious, so.... I'm an only child, my imaginary friends when I was little were the gang from Scooby-Doo, and I've met Justin Timberlake. Seriously, aside from the fact that he was smaller than I thought, he really really smelled nice. (That sounds a little creepy...)

How many books do you have in your TBR pile? 35. I added 2 more last night, and I included the 3 books I'm currently reading. This is WAY MORE than I will ever possibly read, but I learned from the last thon that I need a lot of options.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, pages, hours, comments on other blogs)? I hadn't given it much thought, but I'm going to say 10 books, and 10 hours. (I know that may sound a little wimpy considering I was up for the whole 24 last time, but I'm babysitting this afternoon for 6ish hours, and I'm meeting friends for brunch on Sunday so I'll have to get some sleep or I'll swerve off of the highway while driving.) I'd also like to comment on at least 5 blogs each time I'm online too, but won't hold myself to that one.

If you're a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time? Really, aside from giving yourself a lot of reading options, I'd try and have a few healthy snacks (my brain can't concentrate on sugary junk alone, sadly), pace yourself and sleep if you need to, and if you have any graphic novels or children's books, I'd try and save those for when you're getting sleepy and for the last 6 hours if you're still awake. Having pictures is really quite helpful. Oh, and have fun! This is my second thon, and I had such a great time doing my first one last fall. Enjoy yourself, and happy reading! I'll try and post a list of good books to pick from, but that probably won't be until after the thon is over and I've recovered at least a little.

Off to stick my nose in a book!

Friday, April 9, 2010

'thon book piles

In my first pile of potential reads, pulled from my shelves (top to bottom):
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill
The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
Disney Aladdin Manga
More Letters from Pemberley by Jane Dawkins
French Milk by Lucy Knisley
Dead Ringer by Lisa Scottoline
Silver by Edward Chupack
Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

And in the so-big-it-falls-over stack of books from the library, we have (top to bottom):
The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Evanly Choirs by Rhys Bowen
Evan and Elle by Rhys Bowen
The Lady in Red by Hallie Rubenhold
The Girls of Room 28 by Hannelore Brenner
Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl
The Sundial by Shirley Jackson
Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
The Mislaid Magician by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi
GraceLand by Chris Abani
The Sisters Who Would Be Queen by Leanda De Lisle
Stitches by David Small
Small Island by Andrea Levy
My Booky Wook by Russell Brand
Here We Go Again by Betty White

Plus, I'm in the middle of three different books, AND I have three books on hold for me to pick up at the library tomorrow. Problem much? Of course, since I'm now looking at the stacks I previously pulled, only a few of them sound like I actually want to read them tomorrow. Poo.

Also, I just ate the chocolate croissant I bought for myself to eat tomorrow night. Double poo.

Read a Thon April 2010

Hey there! Just a quick heads up that tomorrow, Saturday April 10, is the next 24-hour Read-a-thon, so I'll be on here every couple of hours doing an update. Somehow I didn't mentally connect the date with the actual day and suddenly it's tomorrow! I haven't shopped for snacky food, haven't done any pictures of my planned books to be read, haven't finished cleaning up the house...aaaaah! I'll try and fill in a few things tonight, and will do my best to make it the whole time tomorrow.

Speaking of - the Thon starts at 7am for me, it's getting close to 10pm now, and I have nothing ready! Better get my behind moving. See you later!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quick Reviews...

Up to category #4 now, Get Off Of My Lawn! - Children's and YA Lit. This is one of the few categories I have almost finished, but since it includes short children's books, that's not a surprise.

"Viola in Reel Life" by Adriana Trigiani
Already reviewed here in January. Here's the link.

"Persephone and the Pomegranate" by Kris Waldherr
Great re-telling of the classic myth, wonderful pictures included.

"The Book of Goddesses" by Kris Waldherr
For kids, but an interesting read for me. There were quite a few goddesses I had never heard of before. And, once again, with wonderful pictures.

"Briar Rose" by Jane Yolen
I read this for the group readalong on LibraryThing (or, LT). This book is a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, involving the holocaust. I liked this book, but it was a little... I don't know, clunky? I realize it's for middle-grade readers, but usually I don't notice any disjointedness like I did here. I feel like she could have spent less time on the first two thirds, and more time on the last third - that's where I was really captivated by the story. I'm glad I read this book, and I'm glad it's at a new home courtesy of PaperbackSwap.

"Goodbye, Chunky Rice" by Craig Thompson
Unlike almost every other person out there, I didn't like this book. I like Craig's work, and the illustrations, but the overall "moral" or whatever didn't jump out at me, or do it for me, and the side characters just seemed like intentional "freaks" of society. Hm. Disappointed, but I like his other stuff much better.

"Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging" by Louise Rennison
Cute, picked up because of talk on LT. It is like a young Bridget Jones, and it's fun to read a lot of the English slang I'm used to hearing on TV. Will read the rest of the series when I need a little mindless book. And I mean that in the nicest possible way, I swear.

"Beauty and the Beast" by Jean Marie Leprince de Beaumont
Another pick because of LT (Retrogirl85), and it was a nice change to the usual versions you find today. (Is this the original? Hm.) It took me back to reading children's books when I was little - it's an oversize format, and the illustrations are very 60's. Despite the fact that I was born in the late 70's, it seems like a lot of the books I owned were from the 60's when my parents were in their twenties. ??? Anyway, a nice version, and thoroughly enjoyable.

"The Vicar of Nibbleswicke" and "The Minpins" by Roald Dahl
I loved both of these books. Vicar was cute, a quirky story about a dyslexic priest, with wonderful illustrations by the fantastic Quentin Blake. Minpins was really wonderful, my favorite of the two. I used to imagine little people living in forests like this when I was small, though I'm almost positive I hadn't read this previously. Great illustrations by Patrick Benson, the kind you could lose yourself in the more you looked at them. Will try to find it second-hand somewhere.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quick Reviews...

Holy cow, you guys. I have only reviewed 5 books here on my blog, and in real life I've read 40 so far this year. To help catch up, I'll be doing some Quick Reviews every once in a while. I think I'll do them by 101010 Challenge category so I can keep track.

Since I've already reviewed the one sad little book in category #1 (Because I Said So - Books my Mom recommends. The book is "Heat Wave".), and the three books I have in category #2 (And You'll Never Guess What Happened Next - Series Books), I'll start my Quick Reviews with category #3, Miss Austen and Her Relations - All things Austen and Austen-related.

"Jane Bites Back" by Michael Thomas Ford
While the reviews for this book tend to be mixed, I enjoyed it. In the interest of full disclosure, this is the first Jane Austen revamp (for lack of a better word) that I've read, despite owning at least a dozen others. Therefore, I have nothing to compare it to.

It's a clever book, filled with undead famous authors (Bronte, Byron), lots of books, mystery, and a few laughs. Jane Bites Back is certainly an easy read, and while I was a little annoyed sometimes by the conveniences that just pop up and are never remotely explained (like why Lucy, her shop assistant, just totally accepts the fact that Jane is a vampire and goes straight to joking about it - wouldn't she be at least a little bit shocked or questioning?), they're seemingly there because the author couldn't think of a way to fit the necessary information in the right place for the story line. (Despite that last sentence, I have no real issue with how this book is written.)

If you're looking for a nice twist on the classic author/monster genre that's out there, this book will certainly fit the bill. I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series!

"Mr. Darcy, Vampyre" by Amanda George
In this book, we follow Elizabeth and Darcy on their continental honeymoon. But all is not as it should be. Why is Darcy acting so strange? Why hasn't he come to their marriage bed? And who are all of these supposedly close family friends who dress so old-fashioned?

I liked this book, though I was annoyed with how dense Elizabeth was. And I like the ending, but it just seemed SO out of place and quick and different from the rest of it that it's sticking with me. Did that bother anyone else? At any rate, it's a quick read and entertaining. I'm really digging Austen revamps (pardon the pun) lately.

"Letters from Pemberley" by Jane Dawkins
Really nice, epistolary book of letters from Elizabeth to Jane in the first year of their marriage. Cute references to other Austen books abound, and it seems like it could be written by the lady herself. I'm trying to save the next book for the read-a-thon, but I don't know... it was just so enjoyable, I might not be able to wait another 2 weeks!

Have any of you read any of these books? What did you think of them?