Saturday, October 24, 2009

R.A.T. Hour 8

Well. I just figured out that I somehow signed up for the post about what is in your Read-a-Thon stack and not the actual Read-a-Thon. Brilliant. That seems to fit the way things are going this year. I ended up with the 8 yr. old niece as well as the toddler today. Not a lot of reading going on here.

So far, I've managed to read 6 pages of Evermore, about 20 pages of Mort and 20 pages of Her Fearful Symmetry which I was unable to leave at home this morning. What I have done instead:

1. Played with Polly Pocket dolls
2. Chased a toddler for 10 minutes so I could change his diaper
3. Made lunch for the children (mac and cheese)
4. Located Midnight the hamster after he was given his freedom by the toddler
5. Banned all Kids Bop CD's for the day

I hope everyone else is enjoying the uninterrupted reading. Next year I am going to a motel!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Read-a-Thon Books

I have been combing the shelves for weeks, making piles of books, shifting them around and muttering to myself. I'm trying to read more from my own huge pile of TBR books. The end result is the semi-final Read-a-Thon stack! (There is no final stack because I reserve the right to pick up anything that looks good once the day arrives.) I'm not sure which books will make the drive to New York with me in the morning for the baby wrangling committment. I may have to haul the entire thing because; worst case scenario...I end up staying overnight...and gasp...RUN OUT OF BOOKS in the middle of R.A.T.! Oh...the horror!

Here's the list:

1. Evermore- Alyson Noel YA book. Vampires or some such, library copy

2. A little more about me- Pam Houston Non-fiction about one of my favorite authors, my book

3. If I stay- Gayle Forman YA book about a girl in a coma. Library copy

4. Secret Lives-Berthe Amoss YA book I read about in Shelf Life and just had to try. Library Copy

5. Mort- Terry Pratchett- I'm halfway through this one since I dipped in early. My book

6. The Lightning Thief- Rick Riordan, my book

7. Beautiful Boy-Dave Sheff Non-fiction read about a family coping with a son's addiction. My book

8. Fables Vol. 1- Bill Willingham I have never tried this series and ordered this book for the R.A.T. in April. It finally showed up in June.

9. Delicate Edible Birds- Lauren Groff, Short Stories, my book

I can't wait to start! It's going to drive me crazy to have to get in the car at 10:00a.m. and drive two hours to N.Y.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dewey's Read-a-Thon

I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this year's Read-a-Thon. Normally, I am so excited by this time I can barely sleep. My mind is filled with dancing images of books, snacks, places to read and plans to put life on hold for a blissful 24 hours. And then there is this year...

I promised to babysit my two-year old nephew, (a.k.a. Suspicious Baby) for the day so that my sister can take his six-year old brother to be the ring-bearer in a friend's wedding. No way to gracefully get out of this one! To make matters even more interesting, Suspicious Baby has some sort of virus, is teething and according to his mother is meaner than 10,000 hornets. I know that there will not be a lot of reading time on S. Baby's agenda, which generally includes a lot of random screaming, setting his sister's hamsters free, trying to flush random objects down the toilet and throwing himself on the floor in full-on hissy fits. Did I mention that he's two?

I thought about letting this Read-a-Thon go and just pretending it was any other day. I tried to talk myself into waiting for April because, of course, that would make sense. And then I quickly signed up anyway. Even if I only read for an hour, at least I can still be part of something wonderful; a community of readers taking a day off to do what they love and connect with each other. I'll be cheering all of you on silently as a wrangle the grumpy toddler. And who knows...there is always the possibility of a long nap!

Friday, June 5, 2009

15 Books

I read a meme that I wanted to try and then promptly forgot where I read it. The gist was to name 15 books that will always stay with you. This shouldn't take a lot of thought, just name the first 15 that come into your head. Here's mine:

1. Gone With the Wind~ Margaret Mitchell
2. Midnight is a Place~ Joan Aiken
3. Harriet the Spy~ Louise Fitzhugh
4. We Need to Talk about Kevin~ Lionel Shriver
5. Expecting Adam~ Martha Beck
6. The Secret History~ Donna Tartt
7. A Little Princess~ Frances Hodgeson Burnett
8. The Graveyard Book~ Neil Gaiman
9. Fun Home~ Alison Bechdel
10. Three Junes~ Julia Glass
11. The Stolen Child~ Keith Donohue
12. Life as We Knew It ~ Susan Beth Pfeffer
13. The Whispering Mountain~ Joan Aiken
14. A Ring of Endless Light~ Madeleine L'Engle
15. An Old Magic~ Ruth M. Arthur

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Home Game

This book is by turns hilarious and moving. Michael Lewis dares to write about the chaos that decends when a new baby joins the family. He is honest enough to admit that it takes time to find your stride as the father of a new baby, whether this baby is the first or third child. Michael Lewis writes in a clear forthright tone that suits this type of memoir. I enjoyed the true life story of this family. I only wish the book had been longer.

Friday, May 1, 2009

What I'm Reading Now

I've been having a hard time settling down with one book lately. Nothing has really grabbed my attention since The Graveyard Book. I keep plucking something off the shelves, reading 50 pages and abandoning it for the next bright, shiny book jacket. I hate it when I get into this reading and abandoning cycle because I inevitably ruin good books for myself. There's nothing worse than a book you started six months ago that you want to finish...just not right now! Here are the books caught in my current log jam:

  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County~ Tiffany Baker. I was moving along well with this one and enjoying it. I have no idea why I've stalled out on page 112.
  • Stardust~ Neil Gaiman. I think the problem with this one is that I want to save the read until I own the book. I'm only a few pages in.
  • Team of Rivals~ Doris Kearns Goodwin. Just the thing when you are in a reading slump...a huge, serious book about Abraham Lincoln. Sheesh.
  • Coraline~ Neil Gaiman. I know it's the I-don't-want-it-to-end problem. I cannot bring myself to finish it.
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks~ E. Lockhart. Boy, do I run hot and cold with this one. I started it during Dewey's Read-a-thon and just couldn't get into it. I went back to it this week and enjoyed it until about page 100 where I stalled again.

What do you think, folks? Should I continue with something on the above list? Pick up something entirely new....or go hit my head on a hard surface a few dozen times?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Binge Reading

I finished my first Neil Gaiman book about two weeks ago. Yes, I have apparently been under a rock for the past few years because how did I miss this? I read American Gods and was amazed at the originality of the story. It goes everywhere, and all at once. After finishing it, I ran to the library to find more Gaiman in time for Dewey's Read-a-Thon. I came away with The Graveyard Book and was not disappointed. I loved the tale of the orphan raised by ghosts and a mysterious guardian in a graveyard. It was magical, wonderful and full of quirky characters as befits a graveyard. I love it and may have it buried with me when I die.

Once again I dashed back to the library and came away with Anansi Boys, Stardust and Coraline. Does anyone else read this way? If one book is good then the next 12 will be better!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Read-a-thon Wrap-up

I wasn't able to complete the entire RAT this time because I had work to complete for a Monday morning deadline. I went to bed with regrets at 3:00a.m. A huge regret was that I was in the middle of the The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman by that time. Those of you who said I would love it were totally right. It's a wonderful read. Here's the wrap-up meme:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Around 2:30-3 a.m. when I wanted to stay up longer and knew that I had to get some sleep.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I adored the Graveyard Book this time around. Slam by Nick Hornby was also a good, fast read.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? No. I love and adore it now. A big "thank you" to everyone who kept this going in Dewey's name. I am so grateful that what she created lives on.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I like finding all the comments to cheer me on. Thanks goes out to all those hard working cheerleaders!

5. How many books did you read? I finished 2. First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria by Eve Waite-Brown (started before RAT) and Slam by Nick Hornby. I also made it 103 pages into The Graveyard Book.

6. What were the names of the books you read? Whoops...see above!

7. Which book did you enjoy most? Definitely, The Graveyard Book.

8. Which did you enjoy least? I enjoyed all of them this time.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I wasn't a cheerleader, but I heart them :)

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I am 100% likely to participate as a reader again.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hour 17

Whooo Hoooo! I finally finished Slam which makes my book reading total 1.5. My page total so far is 524. I thought I would be further along by now, but having to go to work really slowed me down. I'm on the couch in the living room since the boyfriend has given up his distraction project and gone to bed. The Great Dane is snoring on the other couch in this room. Funny, I never noticed a dog's snores could make you sleepy. Am feeling a little punchy now. I think it may be time for some green tea.

Hour 15

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? I am nearly done with Slam by Nick Hornby and have been dipping in and out of Disreputable History.

2. How many books have you read so far? Still only 1/2 of one (started before RAT.)

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I'm looking forward to dipping into my Neil Gaiman books.

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? Let's just say I should have made MORE arrangements to free up my day. I had a work commitment that I had to honor. It just drove me crazy to have to be away from this event for 2.5 hours. Note to self: in October the boyfriend must be occupied elsewhere!

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Yes, distractions, interruptions, and Great Dane that thought today would be a great day to bark at air. I got a little snippy with the boyfriend. The dog does not respond to snippy or anything really.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? How many people there are this year!

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope. I love, love, love it!

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? Be in a house by myself....better yet, get a hotel room for the day and order room service.

9. Are you getting tired yet? Yes. I didn't get enough sleep. I'm not sure I'll make it all night since I have work to do tomorrow as well.

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? I mentioned the Large Print books earlier...that's my best tip.

Hour 10

I'm back from work and anxious to get back to my reading. In the last three hours I've managed to read a whopping 18 pages of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart. I think it may be time to break out a book that I've really been looking forward to and head to the back porch swing. My choices are: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry, Coraline by Neil Gaiman or Slam by Nick Hornby. Any suggestions about which one will grab my interest fast?

My chief distraction i.e. boyfriend has decided to make up for his near constant talking this morning by making me a steak dinner. I can almost forgive him.

Hour 6

I am reading at a snail's pace today. I'm a little frustrated by the amount of distractions presented by the boyfriend and the Great Dane. I'm envious of the ladies in the post I read earlier who booked themselves into a hotel for the duration. (Sorry, I don't remember quite where I read about them)

On the plus side, I made a nice green salad with chicken for lunch and am steadily consuming my drink of choice. Diet Pepsi.

Total pages read since I started the Read-a-thon: 183

Books read: 1 (started before the RAT) First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria by Eve Brown-Waite. Fortunately, this book was hilarious. I got it through the Librarything Early Reviewer's program and I would highly recommend it. It 's a memoir about a Peace Corp volunteer who falls in love with her recruiter and follows him to the ends of the earth. Literally.

Since distraction is the name of this Read-a-thon, I'll have to break for a few hours of work soon. I hope to visit a few blogs when I come back and see how everyone else is doing.

Hour One

I'm awake. Well, I'm sitting up and holding a book. I'm going to try this meme to get myself going.

Where are you reading from today? Western PA which is just gorgeous today! I'm starting on the couch, but I'm hoping to move to the back porch hammock swing later in the day.

3 facts about me. 1. My computer crashed during my first read-a-thon in October 2008. I was so disappointed that there may have been some tears. 2. I will probably have to go to work for at least two hours today. Since I work one-on-one with kids I'm hoping to put some reading into our session. Due to the high activity level of this child, I may have to read to him while we are on the trampoline. I'll keep you posted. 3. Once again, I'm stricken with the knowledge that I forgot to get good snacks. Time to send the boyfriend to the store.

How many books to you have at hand? It is my dirty little secret that when I entered all my books into Librarything I realized that I have 494 books in my house that I tagged as TBR. Sheesh. Yet, I still went to the library yesterday to get, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I am incurable.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon? Nope. My only goal is to enjoy every bit of this wonderful day!

Any advice for people doing this for the first time? One thing I did last year was to get two books at the library in large print editions. In the wee small hours of the night when my eyes were tired, they were lifesavers.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


It's time to knock the dust off this blog in honor of the 2009 Read-a-thon. I will be an excited participant on April 18th-19th. I've been deciding which books will be in the stack for my 24 hours of reading pleasure. Here are the top contenders:

  • Slam by Nick Hornby
  • Love Stories in This Town by Amanda Eyre Ward (short stories)
  • Truck, a love story by Michael Perry
  • It Sucked and then I Cried by Heather B. Armstrong
  • The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
  • The O Henry Prize Stories 2008
  • The Sister by Poppy Adams

I purchased the first book in the Fables series and am disappointed that it hasn't arrived yet. Hopefully, it will make it's appearance when Saturday's mail lands on the doorstep.