Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon: Officially Unofficially Participating

I didn’t actually sign up officially to participate in the Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. Though I had a blast with it when I’ve participated before, I wasn’t sure I was up for the challenge this time. However, as the opening hour approached, I found myself still awake. I decided what was the harm in trying? All it really means is reading as much as possible. Which is something I’d like to do anyway.

So, here I am, reading along again with countless other Dewey’s participants. I don’t have an official TBR. I’ll only read what I was already reading before making the decision to participate. That would be:

  • Mad Ship, by Robin Hobb (physical book) – currently on page 241
  • The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt (ebook) – currently at 11%
  • The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy (audio) – 9 hr 24 min remaining

There are always other random books and things I’ll read throughout the 24 hours. My day always starts with Bible reading and a short devotional. I have a separate book I’m currently reading with each of my three children. I will read emails, tweets and blogs about Dewey’s and other things.

As usual, life will intervene and I will be unable to read for an entire 24 hours. Soccer season opens today with the first games. With two playing this season, I’ll spend a good chunk of time on the field. In the rain. Without reading material.

I’ll get tired. And I’ll get hungry. My family will need things from me. I’m supposed to write 500 words today for my Camp NaNoWriMo project. I will do these other things, but I will also read. A lot. But unofficially, because I’m not really signed up for this.

Are you participating in Dewey’s Readathon? What are you planning to read?

Reading Challenge Speed Bumps & Distractions

I haven’t finished a book from my 2018 Reading Challenge for quite a while. Consequently, I have also not posted a new book review. I haven’t quit reading, I’ve just run into a few… challenges.

Speed bumps…
Speed bumps are intended to slow traffic down. And they have the same effect on a reading challenge. They just look a little different. In this case, a speed bump looks looks a lot like an enormous book.

When I arranged my reading list for this year, I intentionally stacked my books so that the largest ones would be read first. My thought was that it would be easier to get the biggest books finished early on, and not reach the end of the year with them still looming.

As a result, I’ve ended up in the midst of my largest print book so far – Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke at 846 pages – at the same time that I am working my way through my longest audio book – This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein at 20+ hours.

Clarke’s book is sort of slow and meandering, though not dull, or boring. Besides, I am not a fast reader by any stretch of the imagination, no matter how much I’d like to be. And I usually only get to listen to the Klein book during my brief 20 minute drive home from work each day.

Distractions…
Besides the slow read through of an enormous book, I’ve found my attention pulled away by other books. I have recently acquired a number of e-books, so I’ve been trying to work my way through the backlog. After finally reaching the end of the Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe, I went back through my e-library and started with the books I’ve had the longest.

Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
Protecting Her Heart, by Chris McFarland
The Paper Magician, by Charlie N. Holgrem
Blood Sisters, edited by Paula Gruen

These were intended to be short, fun reads to keep me busy in the “in between” times, like waiting in line at the grocery store. However, I’ve found myself compelled to read them more and more, and not just in short bursts.

I also picked up Shadowplay, by Tad Williams. I started this series last year, and finally decided I didn’t want to wait any more to continue reading it. It sits on my bedside table and I read a little bit of it each night before sleeping.

Then I decided to participate in Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon and chose not to continue my current print book, but instead picked up an entirely different book – City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare. I read most of this book during the event, but couldn’t quite finish it.

So I find myself caught up in more books than is probably healthy. Worse, most of what I’m currently reading isn’t for the 2018 Reading Challenge. Up until this week, that didn’t matter since I was current, or even ahead of schedule for the Challenge.

I keep telling myself it’s only May, however. There’s still plenty of time left in the year to get past this speed bump. Now let’s see, what’s next on my e-book list…

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon – Midway & Beyond

I have survived more than half of the read-a-thon so far. I was nearing the halfway mark on City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare when I had to pack up and go out again for my semi-monthly writer’s group meeting. Since I am supposed to be working on a writing goal this month, I figured I shouldn’t skip out on this.

While I was out and about earlier today taking my boys to their soccer games, I got to read a few pages of the ebook I started prior to this challenge – Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. I read a bit more of this while I ate dinner, and I am close to finishing this book.

I also had to take a little mini-break this afternoon, and laid down with my eyes closed for about twenty minutes or so while I listened to This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein. I was a little concerned I would fall asleep, however, so I didn’t let myself get too comfortable.

I have been able to keep to a pretty normal meal schedule so far, though not particularly healthy. Things could get interesting later as I head into the wee hours. I’m still feeling pretty good so far, and I feel pretty confident I can make it through this event. Though, I do wish I was a faster reader, and could get through more books than I’ve been able to so far today.

Recap of what I’ve read so far today:
Numbers Chapter 3, by Moses – 1 page
Down Cut Shin Creek, by Kathi Appelt & Jeanne Cannella Schmitzer – 55 pages
City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare – pages 1-178, 178 pages
Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman – pages 224-270, 34 pages
This Changes Everything, by Naomi Klein – 35 minutes/20 pages (approx.)
The Silver Chair, by C. S. Lewis – pages 110-121, 11 pages
Total pages: 299

I missed the mid-point survey, so I’ll put it in here:

1. What are you reading right now?
City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare and Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman.

2. How many books have you read so far?
I finished one and read/listened to parts of four others.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
I’d just like to finish the one(s) I’m already working on!

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Just soccer games and writing group meetings. Nothing major! No, the real interruptions (the unplanned variety) have been all of my own making – checking the blog, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon so far?
I don’t think I’ve really been surprised by anything. Disappointed in my page count, perhaps, but not surprised.

Six more hours to go. What are you reading?

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon – It Begins!

I’ve been at this read-a-thon thing for three hours now, and I thought perhaps I should check in. I’ve finished one book and started another. Granted, the book I finished was a 55-page children’s book about the pack horse librarians of Kentucky – a fascinating bit of American history I’ve only recently learned about!

The book is Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky, by Kathi Appelt and Jeanne Cannella Schmitzer. It is full of period photos and great information on one of the most successful, if short-lived programs of the New Deal’s WPA. I am really excited to read about this program and now I want to know even more!

Now, at the beginning of hour 3, I’ve consumed my first cup of coffee and started reading the first book on my original TBR pile: City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare. I’m only about twenty pages in so far, but I’m off to a good start.

Soon, however, I will have my first required interruption. My kids have soccer games today, so reading will not be possible for at least a couple of hours. It will be a good chance to get outdoors and breathe some nice cool (and probably damp!) Oregon springtime air.

Here are my responses to the opening survey:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I’ll be reading today mostly from my home in Salem, Oregon. I’ll be reading around the kids’ soccer games, and my own writing challenge I’m already participating in (Camp NaNoWriMo).
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
There are way too many books on my TBR for today, mostly because I wanted to have lots of choices. I think I’m most excited to continue with Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, starting with City of Glass.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
COFFEE!! That’s a snack, right?
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I’m a mom to three boys, two cats and a dog. I love reading (obviously!) and I’m also working on writing a novel of my own.
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?
This is my first read-a-thon, and mostly, I’m looking forward to the interaction with other readers, and just seeing how much I really can read in 24 hours.

Are you participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon? How is it going for you?

Rank the Rainbow – 2017 Reading Challenge: Year of the Series

About this time last year I began pulling together a list of books to read in the upcoming new year. I chose seventeen books off my shelves that I’d been eager to read for a long time, all of which were part of a series. I arranged them in order by color and declared 2017 the Year of the Series.

Most of the books I read were the first book of a new series, a couple of them a continuation of a series I’d already started, and in one case a book I’d read before. I rediscovered some favorite authors, and found some new ones along the way. I’ve had a lot of fun this year.

I read some really fantastic books, and though it proved difficult, I put them in order of how I would choose to continue reading the different series if given the opportunity. And so, the seventeen books from my 2017 Rainbow List:

1. Red Rising, by Pierce Brown – I would continue reading this in a heartbeat! Oh, wait! I already did. There was no way I could stop reading these books once I started. They are just that good.

2. The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss – I don’t even need to finish reading this book to know it is right here at the top of my list. I was drawn right back into this world within the first ten pages!

3. The Aeronaut’s Windlass, by Jim Butcher – This was my first experience reading anything by Jim Butcher, and it won’t be my last. I loved this book, and I can hardly wait for the next book!

4. Shadowmarch, by Tad Williams – Tad Williams is one of my favorite authors, and this series has been on my shelves for way too long. I finally started reading it, and book two will be on my list as soon as I can fit it in.

5. Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson – This was a new series for me, and one I truly enjoyed. It could honestly be a toss up whether I read this one first or the next Tad Williams book (see #4).

6. Windwitch, by Susan Dennard – I am thoroughly enjoying this series, and am only waiting to read the next one because it isn’t released yet!

7. City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare – I did manage to read on to book two of this series before I resumed my previously arranged reading schedule. I’ve been eager to return to these books ever since.

8. Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas – I loved this book even more than I expected to. It combines all the elements of my favorites genres – fantasy, murder mystery and romance!

9. The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan – This book was so much fun. I will definitely read the rest of the series! Though I may have to wait for my son to finish with them first.

10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling – This was the one reread on my list for 2017. I’m really glad I picked it up again, as I couldn’t remember reading it. I loved this book, again, and can’t wait to continue.

11. The Maze Runner, by James Dashner – Though I may have been slightly disappointed in this book, I still want to read the rest of the series.

12. The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman – Another fun read that wasn’t at all what I was expecting. This was a truly fun read.

13. Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin – I loved this book. The story is intense, and well-written. Brutal, to be sure, but never boring! Nevertheless, the series isn’t complete yet, so it’s easier to not rush into the next book.

14. The Selection, by Kierra Cass – This was a fun, light read that I truly enjoyed. Though I might not have continued reading it right away if the reading prompt hadn’t been to read a trilogy.

15. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson – I had a difficult time getting into this book, but once I finally did, I couldn’t stop.

16. I Am Number Four, by Pittacus Lore – I had been eager to read this book for quite some time. It wasn’t at all what I expected, but I did enjoy it. I’ll read the rest of the series eventually, but I’m in no hurry.

17. Prince Caspian, by C. S. Lewis – The Chronicles of Narnia series are classic books that almost feel like compulsory reading. That’s sort of what reading these books has been like for me. I may have enjoyed them more if I wasn’t reading through them (very slowly!) with my children.

There, in a nutshell, is my Year of the Series. So many good books out there! If only there was more time for reading!

2017 Reading Challenge, Reprise

When I didn’t find a fun reading challenge list like I used last year, I finally went ahead and built my own list. I was quite content with it, and really, I still am. But then, I ran across this 26/52-book 2017 Reading Challenge, and it just looked like too much fun. Especially when I realized all seventeen books on my original list fit very neatly into this one.

I confess, I took the entire list of 52 and arranged it to my own liking, choosing which categories I liked best, and narrowing it back down to 26, rounding out the original seventeen books to fill in the gaps. I added in some books I’m already working on, or have queued up to read. After all, if I’m going to push myself to read more, I might as well really make it interesting.

And so, without further ado, here is my new and improved reading list. (Books marked with a * were not included on my original reading challenge list.)

1. A book from your childhood – Prince Caspian, by C. S. Lewis
Book two of the Chronicles of Narnia, this is a continuation of a series I began reading last year. I started reading the Narnia books when I was younger, but never moved past the first book. I’ve enjoyed reading this one with my boys. (Find my review of this book here.)

2. A book published last year – The Aeronaut’s Windlass, by Jim Butcher
Okay, released September 29, 2015, it doesn’t quite qualify, but I’ll go with it anyway. This book came recommended to me by a Twitter friend when I asked for a place to start reading steampunk, a sub-genre I’ve been curious about. I’ve heard good things about Jim Butcher already, having learned about him and his other book series from my book club group. (Read my review of this book here.)

3. A non-fiction book – *The Federalist Papers, by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay
I’ve been thinking it’s time I put my history degree to work and do a little research. I’ve been curious to read these and other writings from the early period of American politics. I don’t know if I’ll actually get to this one this year, but I would like to try. (You can read my comments on this book here.)

4. A book that became a movie – The Maze Runner, by James Dashner
I first became intrigued by this series of books when I saw the first movie. When I found out it was based on a book, I immediately wanted to read them. Still, it took some time before I finally picked up the books and added them to my TBR pile. (Here is my review of this book.)

5. A book published in the 20th century – Game of Thrones, by George R. R. Martin
There weren’t many books on my list written before 2000, and though not the oldest one, it is one of the few. This first book of the Song of Ice and Fire series, published in 1996, has become the basis of a very popular television series, though I haven’t watched it. I don’t typically like to start reading a series before it is completed, but perhaps it is a bit of morbid curiosity that finally led me to check this one out. (Read my review here.)

6. A book set in your hometown/region – *Dies the Fire, by S. M. Stirling
When I ran across this category on the reading list, I went looking for a book set in Oregon. I found this one and remembered this is another book I first heard about through my book club. So, even though I really don’t need to add another series to my list, I made an exception for this one. (Here is my review of this book.)

7. A book with a number in the title – I Am Number Four, by James Frey
This one was easy, the only one already on my list that fit the category. (Find my review of this book here.)

8. A book someone else recommended to you – City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare
As I mentioned in my last post, my sister strongly suggested this series to me. She took me to see the movie when it came out, and I enjoyed that. I’ve been looking forward to reading this one for awhile. (Here is my review of City of Bones.)

9. A book with over 500 pages – Shadowmarch, by Tad Williams
Tad Williams is one of my favorite authors, so picking up another series of his was easy. This isn’t the only long book on my list this year, fantasy novels have a tendency to be long. I like them that way! (Read my review of this book here.)

10. A book you can finish in a day – *A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeliene L’Engle
This is another book on my fantasy book “must read” list. When I found it on my nephew’s bookshelf, he kindly allowed me to borrow it. Can I read it in a day? I guess I’ll find out. (You can find my review of this book here.)

11. A previously banned book – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J. K. Rowling
This is the only series on my list that I have read before. Since it was first published, the Harry Potter series has been controversial in school libraries. In fact, the series made the top ten most frequently challenged books from 2001-2003. I’m not afraid of a little controversy. (Read my review of this book here.)

12. A book with a one word title – Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson
I’ve been eager to read this series by Brandon Sanderson since I finished reading the Wheel of Time books early last year. He did a great job finishing a series I really loved, and I can’t wait to see what he’s created for himself. (Here is my review of this book.)

13. A book translated from another language – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
This series, written by Swedish author Stieg Larsson, wasn’t published until after his death. Of all the books on my list this year, this one might be the most unique, a crime novel rather than fantasy, and certainly not YA. (Find my review of this book here.)

14. A book that will improve a specific area of your life – *Boys Should Be Boys, by Meg Meeker
I’m a mother of three boys. I can use all the help I can get in raising decent kids. This book is subtitled 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons. There’s little I want as much as for my boys to be happy, healthy, normal boys. If I can learn something from this book, I will be grateful. (Find my review of this book here.)

15. A play – *The Tempest, by William Shakespeare
I discovered audio books last year, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the experience. So far, I’ve chosen to listen to classic books I might not otherwise pick up. My latest pick includes a selection of famous plays including this one by Shakespeare. (Here is my review of this play.)

16. A book of short stories – *H. G. Wells, Collector’s Book of Science Fiction, by H. G. Wells
This one might be a bit of a cheat. Technically, this is part of last year’s reading challenge, but since I haven’t finished reading it yet, and it is a collection of short stories, I figured why not include it here again. (Find my review of this collection here.)

17. A trilogy or series – The Selection, by Kiera Cass
I’ve already declared 2017 as the “Year of the Series.” Therefore, filling this category was merely a matter of which series to list here. Turns out, it was an easy “selection.” (Here is my review of this series.)

18. A bestseller – The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss
Last year, The Name of the Wind was on my reading list. I quickly came to appreciate why this series of books has received such high acclaim. I have been looking forward to reading this second book of the series, and I’m not at all surprised it has achieved bestseller status. The only reason I haven’t already read this one is that book three hasn’t been released yet, and I don’t look forward to waiting for the conclusion. (Find my review here.)

19. A book you own but haven’t read yet – The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan
I’m ashamed to admit that I could almost close my eyes and grab any book off my shelf and it would fit into this category. However, since I already had several chosen to read this year, my choices were a little narrower. I’ve been eager to read this one, hoping it would be one I could interest my boys in reading with me. (Read my review of this book here.)

20. An epic poem – *Beowulf, translated by C. W. Kennedy
I decided I needed to read this one because I’m writing a novel about a bard. Epic poetry is the realm of a bard, and familiarizing myself with the form would be useful. I decided to listen to it instead, so right now, this is what I’m listening to during my commute to work. (You can find my review of Beowulf here.)

21. A book of poetry – *Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein
I found this book at a used bookstore and picked it up for my boys for Christmas. We’ve started reading it, but so far, I think I might be enjoying it more than they are. (Read my review here.)

22. A book with a color in the title – Red Rising, by Pierce Brown
I think I discovered this book through Twitter, or more likely, a newsletter from the publisher I learned about via Twitter. I was intrigued immediately, and I can’t wait to read it. (You can read my review of this book here.)

23. A book with an appealing cover – Windwitch, by Susan Dennard
I was first drawn to this series last year when I found the first book, Truthwitch, on Twitter. The cover drew me to it instantly, and I decided I had to read it. I did, loved it, and now, I’m excited to read the second book which also has a beautiful cover. As well as an intriguing premise. (Find my review of Windwitch here.)

24. A self-published book – *Necromancer Falling, by Nat Russo
This is yet one more book I discovered through Twitter. I read the first book, Necromancer Awakening and was intrigued by the idea. After a slowish start, I really enjoyed this book, and I’m looking forward to reading the next one. (My review of this book can be found here.)

25. A book by an author you haven’t read before – Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas
The Twitter marketing scheme seems to be working, at least on me. This is another book I’m sure I first encountered through Twitter. The books are beautiful and intriguing, and look to be exactly the kind of book I love. But I better start with book one, so here goes. (Find my review of this book here.)

26. A book set in a country you’ve never been to – The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
I was a little hard pressed to find a book that fit this category. Most of the books on my list are fantasy novels set in their own fantasy realm. Another is set on another planet! Of those that are set on Earth, most take place in the United States. This one, however, is apparently set, at least in part, in England, a place I’d love to go, but have never been. (Read my review here.)

 

I didn’t intend to write a second reading challenge post for 2017. I didn’t intend to try and read quite this many books. But you’ve got to admit, this list is a whole lot more interesting than my original list. I still plan to focus first on my “rainbow” of books lined out in the original post. The other books I’ll read (listen to!) as I can, and hope for the best. Now if only I didn’t need the day job, and could get paid to read books…