Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone's holiday was merry and bright, and filled with good food, laughter, and a nap or two.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's Over

I only got a few pages in before falling asleep. When I woke up at 4:30, I thought about forging ahead and reading again, but decided to just go to bed and call it a night. 

Total books read from: 8
Total books finished: 4
Total pages read: 1,390
Total time reading: 13 hrs 15 min (2 hrs 15 min audiobooks)

End of Event Meme:

Which hour was most daunting for you?
Just after hour 18. I was a little thrown off by having a friend over for most of the day, and since I've done 4 or 5 read-a-thons this year, I just decided to sleep and not worry about it too much. But it still bums me out a little that I couldn't stay up for the whole thing.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the RAT?
Nope! Great as usual.

What were the names of the books you read?
The ones I read from but didn't finish -
"The Professor's Daughter" by Sfar & Gulburt
"The Dark Crystal" by A.C.H. Smith
"Gate 7" by CLAMP
"Very Valentine" by Adriana Trigiani

The ones I finished - 
"Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
"Thames: The Biography" by Peter Ackroyd
"Franny & Zooey" by J.D. Salinger
"Mercury" by Hope Larson

Which book did you enjoy most? Least?
Most was the book about the Thames. Least was Franny & Zooey - definitely.

How likely are you to participate in the RAT again? What role?
I'm in again for sure, as a reader. Next time I'll probably try some free-hand cheering though.

Big thanks to my real-life friend Jenna for coming over for most of the day, and to my faithful RAT Buddy Sherry Ann for joining me once again. 

See you all in April!

Hour 18

Holy crap. I'm tired. 

Books finished: 1
Pages read/listening time: 295
Total Books read from: 7
Total books finished: 4
Total pages read: 1,379
Total time reading: 13 hrs (2 hrs 15 min audiobooks)

Instead of fighting it, I'm going to lay down and read now. This way, if I fall asleep it'll only be for a couple of hours and I can tackle the rest at least partially invigorated. I'm afraid that if I ignore it for too long I'll completely crash and then sleep straight through til it's over. That wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, I realize, but I'd like to try and finish at the correct time this go-round. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hour 14

Another break, this time for some tea and a little movement.

Books finished: 0
Pages read/listening time: 225
Total Books read from: 7
Total books finished: 3
Total pages read: 1,084
Total time reading: 11 hrs (2 hrs 15 min audiobooks)

Almost halfway...

It's a rainy day here, and the fire is going, a cat on my lap, and pizza in my belly. I fear an accidental nap may occur. 

Books finished: 1
Pages read/listening time: 284
Books read from: 7
Total books finished: 3

Total pages read: 859
Total time reading: 9 hrs 17 min (2 hrs 15 min audiobooks)

Evening is starting to sink in here too, which will make the next 12 hours that much harder to stay awake. 

Hour 7ish update

After a slowish start to the day, I've managed to finish 2 books (1 of them I was already 50 pages into), and gotten a good chunk read out of one of my bigger non-fiction titles. My friend came over around 10:30, and we just had a break for a super-healthy lunch of grilled cheese. :) Before I get back to it, I thought an update was in order.

Books finished: 2
Pages read/listening time: 575 / 2 hrs 15 min
Books read from: 6
Total time reading: 6 hrs 30 min

It's getting close to 2 p.m. here, and before the lunch break I was starting to go a little fuzzy-eyed. Not a good sign for the evening, seeing as I have quite a few hours to go. 

I gave up on 2 different books after reading a few pages. One was "The Dark Crystal", which I thought the 80's movie was based on. Turns out, it was the other way around, and if I'm going to re-visit the exact same story, I'd rather watch the movie in this case. The other was "Gate 7", by CLAMP. I normally like this collective author groups' manga, but I couldn't handle the dramatics of it all, so after 48 pages, I gave it a miss. 

Back to it!

It's that time of year again - the Dewey's Read-a-Thon is here!

Prepare yourselves for yet another 24 hour thrill ride of watching me simultaneously read more pages and lose my mind due to lack of sleep. All of my prep time yesterday completely vanished due to 5 hours of phone calls, but I've got most things in place to catch up this first hour. And of course, I have an audiobook on to accompany me so I'm not out any reading time!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
 My cozy home just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
"The Professor's Daughter" by Joann Sfarr and Emmanuel Gulbert. It's a slim graphic novel, but it looks amazing!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Oy, I don't know. It's sadly probably the chicken that I shredded yesterday with the plan of throwing some of it in with a bowl of rice and veggies. Bo-ring! But, I do have apple pie that looks mighty tasty!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I don't know what to say here any more. I'm a single gal, massage therapist, parent to two furballs, sarcastic, Anglophile lifelong reader!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? 
Actually read this time!  For some reason the April RAT is always more difficult for me to just stay reading all day, and this past one was no exception. However, I have the 9 books I'm currently reading, the 11 on my TBR Next pile, and about a dozen others checked out from the library for this very event. Believe it or not, this may be the fewest number of books I've set aside for one of these!

The only big difference this time compared to the others is that for at least the daylight hours, I'll have a friend joining me to read along!  I just hope that I'm able to not talk to her and get distracted by having someone else here. Most of my time is spent alone, so I hope I can wrangle the urge to chat just because there's another adult in the room. 

Okay, off for my first cup of coffee and to prep the fireplace before switching to a real book.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jasper Fforde!!!

I don't think there are adequate words to describe how unbelievably excited I was when I heard Jasper Fforde was coming to Milwaukee. Actually, I stayed that excited for the entire time coming up to the date, and it even increased when I was at Boswell Books last night. SQUEE!!! 

Because I'm a Nervous Nellie, I called Boswell earlier in the afternoon and played dumb.

"Hi, is the Jasper Fforde signing tonight?"
"Yes it is!"
"I know you're not psychic or anything, but are you expecting a big crowd?"
"Yeah, we are, we might hit capacity."
"Oh, so I should maybe leave work early? (I wasn't working yesterday.) I was thinking I'd get there around 6." (It started at 7.)
"Oh, yeah, definitely, leave work early for sure. I'd get there as soon as you can to make sure you get a good seat." 
"Okay, I'll get there ASAP!"

See? Nervous Nellie.

So I left home a little after 5, and walked in the door at 5:45. They were just starting to set up the seats. *sigh* I didn't want to look overly excited or nervous or anything, so I casually bought the 2 newly published books and went for a coffee next door. By the time I got back,  they had set up 2 rows of chairs. There were maybe ten people kind of milling around, trying to look like casual browsers instead of waiting for the appropriately early time to nab a seat - I was one of the 10. :) After the majority of the chairs were put up, most people ran to sit down in the armchairs and sofas that made up some of the rows. Why were they sitting so far away? I raced up to the first couple of rows - now, I didn't want to sit in the front row (too close and maybe too adoring?) and there was already a lady sitting there (the row composed of a whopping 2 chairs). I took the second row (3 chairs) and sat on the inside so I could have a more direct line of sight with Mr. Fforde when he appeared. Here's the view from my seat:

Close enough? 

I asked the nice lady if she could watch my chair and books while I went to the restroom, and we both made the same joke about throwing elbows! By the time I got back she had moved to the middle front row, right next to me, so we were the first people that he would see. Nerds! We started chatting to pass the time, and she was so unbelievably nice and funny, we had a lot in common, and the hour flew by. It was great! Then, we started hearing rumors that Jasper was at the front of the store casually signing books and chatting with people, with a backpack over his shoulder. No way!  My new friend and I were like a couple of teenagers, giggling and swooning about how awesome he is. By this point her husband had joined her and seemed half amused and half embarrassed by how she and I were quietly freaking out about this dude who writes. 

The time finally arrived, and Mr. Fforde was nattering on (his words) about all sorts of things;  how he writes, strange loopholes in classic novels, his love of "Alice in Wonderland". He spent a half hour just talking, and that didn't leave time for a reading of the new Thursday Next book, so he started answering questions. My cheeks were hurting from laughing and smiling so much! 

After the excellent talk, it was time to get the books signed! Because my friend and I were there so stinking early, we were some of the first in line. Neither of us knew what to say that wouldn't seem overly gushing or creepy (or creepily gushy) - they talked about getting a hold of UK titles for a reasonable price, and then Jasper noticed that she brought in her first US edition of "The Eyre Affair", which got this reaction:

Too cool!  They had a lovely, normally appreciative chat. Then, I walked up and was so dumbstruck (as usual) that I didn't know what to say. So, I asked him if he spoke Welsh. (He lives there, by the way.) He said he doesn't, but his children do and his wife is Welsh, so he'd better start learning soon so he can understand what they're talking about behind his back. And then I didn't know what else to say, so I mumbled something about how I have such a hard time understanding it, unless the word is basically in English like "sausage", couldn't they have more vowels and less consonants, blah blah blah. He gave me a lovely grin, said thank you, and it was all over!  

If I'm honest, I'm still a bit overly excited about the whole thing. Part of that is my new friend (Hi Erica!), but it's mostly because I finally got to see one of my favorite authors live and in person. The whole experience was only topped by another of my favorite authors, Bill Bryson, but it's quite a narrow margin between the two. Thanks to Mr. Fforde for his appearance, and for Boswell Books for hosting yet another amazing author event!  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's Over!

1. Which hour was the most daunting for you?
       Hour 21, it's when I had the hardest time staying awake. Overall though, I had a difficult time getting into this this time around, which really ticks me off.

2. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
       Nothing I can think of now.

3. What do you think worked really well in this year's 'Thon?
       The organization of all of the mini-challenges and winners. Excellently done!

4. How many books did you read?
       Just 2, which is the least that I've completed. I did read from 3 more books that I didn't finish: "Keeping Up Appearances: Hyacinth Bucket's Book of Etiquette for the Socially Less Fortunate" by Hyacinth Bucket, "A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness, and an audio version of "Wicked" by Gregory Maguire

5. What were the names of the books you read?
       "Unfamiliar Fishes" by Sarah Vowell and "Dracula's Heir" by Sam Stall

6. Which book did you enjoy most?
       Definitely "Dracula's Heir" - it was interactive, newspapers to open and read, etc,  and I loved that the last chapter was sealed. Excellent!

7. Which did you enjoy least?  N/A

8. If you were a Cheerleader...  N/A

9. How likely are you to participate in the RAT again? What role would you take next time?
       100%, and I'd be a reader again. If I get brave enough, I'd like to help out in the background in some way. 

Total pages: 478
Total time reading: 13 hrs 35 min (7 ½ hours of audiobooks)
Total books read from: 5
Total books completed: 2
Total blogs visited: 8
Total challenges completed: 5

Thanks so much for everyone who stopped by, it really helped to motivate me!  A special thanks to Sherry Ann, for being my faithful read-a-thon buddy for the last few years! :) 

Hour 21, nearly 22....

Holy crap, I'm wiped out. I keep thinking I'm okay and then my head jerks up again, popping my eyes open. Guess I wasn't wide awake there. "A Discovery of Witches" is really good but it's heavy, so that's set aside for another time, and I made a small stack of short books and a couple with pictures. I'd like to read a couple of the paperbacks I have, but the print is smaller than normal and with my eyes bobbing closed as often as they are I'm better off with something else. 

Pages read: 150
Time reading: 1 hr 30 min
Books read from: 2
Books completed: 0
Blogs visited: 0
Mini-challenges completed: 0

Total pages: 352
Total time reading: 12 hrs 50 min
Total books read from: 5
Total books completed: 2
Total blogs visited: 8
Total challenges completed: 5

It's couch time, which means I'll slowly be sliding down until I'm laying flat. I may or may not sleep.  If I can do one more thing during this 'thon, I'd like to finish one more book. While I might (hah!) make it until the end, if I do I'll most likely head straight to bed and will update later on. 

Hour 19 update

I'm still here, though I am starting to flag. It's just starting, the tiredness, because I'm freezing cold and starting to get a little shaky - soon it'll be so bad that I have to sleep for a bit. I'm going to keep pushing myself until then!

Pages read: 114
Time reading: 2 hrs 20 min
Books read from: 1
Books completed: 0
Blogs visited: 1
Mini-challenges completed: 0

Total pages: 202
Total time reading: 11 hrs 20 min
Total books read from: 4
Total books completed: 2
Total blogs visited: 8
Total challenges completed: 5

I don't know what my problem is, but until a couple of hours ago, I was really having a hard time reading. That's why I was doing laundry, as a way to get myself back into reading in 45 minute chunks - instead, I texted a couple of my friends, called my parents, ate dinner and put away the leftovers, played a couple of games on my phone, put clean sheets on my bed... THEN I was finally ready to pick up a book. (I think part of that is because I didn't have time to do the majority of house-keeping stuff this week, particularly yesterday like I had planned, and it was driving me crazy to have it sit there, waiting to be done.) I'm reading "A Discovery of Witches" now, and after some small bursts of impatience I finally got back into the swing of it. In fact, the only reason I'm updating now is so I can wake myself up a little!  Also, I've had the TV on for the last couple of hours, and I think having the distraction of people talking has helped me to tune that out and focus on the story. 

Hmmm, maybe I should grab a little something sweet to keep myself going.... :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Halfway Update

I'm still awake and reading away. Dinner is percolating in the crock pot, I've got 2 books under my belt, the third load of laundry is in, and I'm getting ready to settle in again. 

Pages read: 88
Time reading: 4 hrs
Books read from: 3
Books completed: 2
Blogs visited: 0
Mini-challenges completed: 0

Total pages: 88
Total time reading: 9 hrs
Total books read from: 3
Total books completed: 2
Total blogs visited: 7
Total challenges completed: 5

And now, for the Mid-Event Survey...

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired?
     I'm doing okay, but I am sleepy and my back hurts for reasons unknown. No tired eyes yet, but it's still early.

2) What have you finished reading?     "Unfamiliar Fishes" by Sarah Vowell, and "Dracula's Heir" by Sam Stall.

3) What is your favorite read so far?     "Dracula's Heir" - it's an interactive book, with photos to take out of envelopes, letters and newspapers to unfold and read, and a sealed ending that reveals all. It was a lot of fun!

4) What about your favorite snacks?     No snacks yet per se, but I had a yummy turkey sandwich with some jalapeno potato chips for breakfast (at noon), and my leftover chicken fajita wrap and some spicy veggie sushi rolls a few hours ago. Dinner won't be ready until around 9pm, so I've got a ways to go yet. I did buy a pack of Starburst candy for the wee hours of the morning, and I'm looking forward to that!

5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!

     Yes, more than I did the last time! I didn't write down the full details for all of them, but in no particular order, they are:
Jane Harfeld
Wall-to-Wall Books
Reading Through Life
The Thinker
Nea Barabea
     Blogs that I've been to before today and that deserve some love: Sherry Ann's Blog and 1 Librarian Reads

Hour 7 Update

Whew!  Still chugging along. I missed an hour of reading (boo!) at my financial advisor's office, signing paperwork and chatting.  After that I stopped at Walgreens and picked up a sandwich for lunch, but I had my audiobook playing the whole time, so no more missed reading minutes!  I'm almost done with my first book, and have spent a lot of time doing mini-challenges, but it's been a lot of fun. Now that it's early afternoon, it's time for me to pick up a hardcover book and settle in.

Pages read: 0
Time reading: 3 hrs – all listening to “Unfamiliar Fishes” by Sarah Vowell
Books completed: 0
Blogs visited: 3
Mini-challenges completed: 3 (Turn to Page…, Book Appetite!, and Book title sentence)

Total pages: 0
Total time reading: 5 hrs
Total books completed: 0
Total blogs visited: 7
Total challenges completed: 5

Thanks so much to all who visit and comment - it's very much appreciated!

Book sentence mini-challenge

The two of us, ruined by reading one Sunday morning.

Hour 5 read-a-thon mini-challenge, hosted by On the Wings of Books.

Reading Through Translation Mini-Challenge

Hosted by Reading Through Life for Hour 2 of the RAT.

If you could read any book that's been translated into English in its ORIGINAL language, what would it be?

This is a toughie, but I'm going to go with "The Count of Monte Cristo" by Andre Dumas, in French. I know it's an excellent book no matter what language it's read in, but it'd be great to read the original. (Plus, if I could read French, I could borrow my Frenchie friends books!)

This isn't the original cover, but it is a 1909 copy, so at least it's old.

Here's the title page from an 1850 version, and below, the first sentence in French.

Dans cette maison de la rue de Helder, ou Albert de Morcerf avait donne rendez-vous, a Rome, au comte de Monte-Cristo, tout se preparait dans lat matinee due 21 mai pour faire honneur a la parole du jeune homme.

Hour 3

Pages read: 0
Time reading: 2 hrs – all listening to “Unfamiliar Fishes” by Sarah Vowell
Books completed: 0
Blogs visited: 4
Mini-challenges completed: 2 (Intro and Reading In Translation – coming up next!)

I'm sadly still really tired, despite getting about 5 hours of sleep and having 2 giant cups of coffee. At 10:00 I have to meet with my financial advisor and sign some paperwork, so I'll be hopping in the shower soon and then running to the grocery store to pick up a couple of things before coming home for the rest of the weekend. At least I'll have some audiobook company while I'm running around! 

R.A.T. Intro

Good morning!  I've got coffee brewing and am starting out easy today by listening to "Unfamiliar Fishes" by Sarah Vowell.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
     just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I don't have anything really planned out this time around, but I'd like to finish "Shades of Grey" by Jasper Fforde. 

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
It's not a snack, but I'm making a crock pot beef stew for dinner, and I'm looking forward to that!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I'm a life-long Reader, parent to two cats (who are very excited about all of the sitting around that I'll be doing today), and have just started to work on my geneaological roots. I just found out this week that my Great-great-great Grandfather was Dutch!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
     I've certainly participated before, and the only thing that's different so far is that I've got nothing lined up either to read or eat, my house is still a semi-disaster from the work week, and I have to call/text clients today so there is still work to be done, despite my having blocked off this weekend last fall. 

Okay, it's time for me to get some of that coffee and pick up a little bit before I sit down and read a physical book.  See you soon!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dewey's Read-a-Thon is here!

It's that time of year once again -- starting tomorrow morning at 7:00, I'll be reading for 24 hours straight! I didn't have any time to really plan my reading, or take pictures, or prep... anything, so this will be a seat-of-my-pants affair. As for any goals, the only thing I'd like to do is finish at least 1 book that I'm currently reading (I have 7 to choose from), and hopefully it's either "The Night Circus" or "A Discovery of Witches" since they're probably the ones I've been reading the longest. (I really like both of them, though, I don't know why I haven't gobbled them up already.) I'm sure you'll be sick of me posting stats about a dozen times in the next day, so I'll keep this short and head to bead.  See you all soon! :)

Friday, March 23, 2012

What's in a Name 5 Challenge1

I'm back for another year of Beth Fish Reads' challenge, What's in a Name 5! To sign up for yourself, please click here. Before the year is over with, read a book with the following in the title:

1. A topographical feature:
"Impressionists By The Sea" by John House
2. Something you'd see in the sky:
"Hurricane Story" by Jennifer Shaw
3. Creepy crawly:
"Frog and Toad Together" by Arnold Lobel
4. Type of house:
"Schloss Schoenbrunn" guidebook
5. Something you'd carry in your purse/backpack/pocket:
"The Three Golden Keys" by Peter Sis
6. Something you'd find in a calendar:

Reading Challenges for 2012

I'm finally here, almost a quarter into the year. Work has been alternately crazy-busy or stone-cold-dead, after next month Job #2 is going away (the department is closing) so there've been a lot of hours spent sorting paperwork in preparation, my organizing kick is still going (mostly) strong, and sadly my new iPhone has eaten up hours of my life. Seriously, it's ridiculous.

At any rate, I've still been reading away like usual. While my total number of books read might sound impressive (it's at 45 right now), over a quarter of them are children's books by Peter Sis. He's an outstanding storyteller and illustrator and I can't recommend his books highly enough. When January 1 was getting closer on the calendar I started to think about my reading goals for this year. I wanted to keep them a little more realistic than I normally do, and I didn't want to sign up for 5 or more challenges, so I purposely avoided the book blogosphere in the first weeks of January to save myself any temptation. So, in no particular order, here are my reading goals and challenges for 2012.


1. Read books that I already own
Once again, trying to cut down on the physical stacks around here.
2. Try to even out the percentage of books read and unread
To do this I need to read (or get rid of unread - the horror!) around 150 books to even things out. Crap. If I get even half of this done, I'll be surprised, but it's something to shoot for.
3. Buy fewer books than last year
While I lost track of the number from last year, so far I'm doing well with this one. Of course, books gotten through PaperbackSwap don't count since they're "free", but anything that I pay for counts against me.


1. The 75 Books challenge on LibraryThing
Read 75 books in 2012 - no sweat!
2. The 12 in 12 challenge on LibraryThing
While the full challenge (to read 12 books in each of 12 categories) comes to 144 total, that might be stretching my yearly total quite a bit. I changed it up and did a stepped challenge (1 in 1 category, 2 in the next, etc) for a total of 78. I am counting all of the books that I read, but so far only 24 of the 45 that I've finished so far count for this one.
3. The What's in a Name 5 challenge on BethFishReads
I said I wasn't going to join this one again, but then I just read the categories and decided to do it. Look for the post for this one soon.

That's it! Nothing that seems too out of reach, but still a challenge overall.