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!