26 Jan 2019

January 24in48 - Progress report

Hour 6: (noon) So officially this readathon started 6 hours ago (6am my time), and so far I have read all of ONE hour :-P That's fine though - I'd long since decided not to sweat it and aim for 24 hours this time. I want to be able to enjoy the weekend and do other things as well. So far this morning I've slept in, done a bit of knitting, tidied up the place so I'm actually able to have guests over, got the crockpot started, picked out my books for the next 24-and-a-bit hours... oh, and read some ;-) Mette and Marianne should arrive within the next hour/hour and a half, and everything is pretty much ready for them.

It's rather amusing though - this is the first time either of them have ever visited me (though I've known them for about 12 years each by now, we mostly meet up at coffee houses etc.), and we start out with as informal and unique event as the readathon? For readathons it's really important to just go ahead and feel right at home whereever it's hosted... you shouldn't feel like you have to ask to go make a cuppa, take something out of the fridge, change seats, bring in the more comfortable chair from the lounge or whatever... I hope I can convey this to them - that they shouldn't stand on ceremony, but just make themselves at home. No matter what, I am REALLY looking forward to them coming over. It'll be great to share this with them!

Hour 9: (3pm) Mette and Marianne arrived 1:30pm and got a quick tour of the house before sitting down in the library with each their book. They're both reading Danish crime novels, whereas I decided to pick up "Wyrd Sisters" by Terry Pratchett. Haven't read that one since shortly after Lars and I performed it on stage back in 2001'ish (he was Lord Felmet - I played Granny Weatherwax), so I remember very little of it. It's fun rereading it though, as bits and pieces keep popping up in my memory as I go along.

Hour 12: (6pm) Just finished "Wyrd Sisters". It was just as good as I remembered it, and I found myself sniggering more than once. Now I have to find the script from our play again, just to see how much it was changed in the adaptation. I think I'll pick up "The Martian" now, but we'll probably stop for dinner soon.

Hour 18: (midnight) We ended up taking quite a long break for dinner, as we started talking and just couldn't stop again! Always the risk at social readathons, but I wouldn't be without it for the world :-D Mette finished her first book shortly after ten, which created a natural break and they both called it a day shortly after. They were going home via public transportation though, and as the local train line was out of service due to an accident, I offered to give them a ride to the nearest hub instead. I'm glad I did, as that gave us even MORE time to talk, and I was riding a high all the way home. They're lovely people, and I'm so glad to have gotten this chance to spend time outside work with them :-D They both expressed the desire to join me again another time, so yay! :-D

And now I'm back home (obviously) and back at reading. I have another 130 pages to go of "The Martian", so I'm going to attempt to finish that before heading off to bed.

Hour 27: (9am) It took me until almost 2am, but I got stubborn and finished the book before I headed off to bed! ...which meant I didn't wake up until about half an hour ago. I wasn't really feeling any of the books I'd picked out ahead of time (so typical!) but have instead turned to an old readathon favourite - Tamora Pierce's "Lady Knight" series. We'll see how many of the books I end up getting through :-)

Hour 33: (3pm) The end for me. While the official readathon runs for another 15 hours, I decided to do the unofficial 12in24 instead (reading 12 hours out of 24 rather than twice that). While I love reading all weekend, I also like having time for other things as well ;-) I reached 12 hours at 2pm, but stuck around to finish the book I was reading. So I guess I did 13in25? :-P

But I had a great time as always, and I LOVED having Mette and Marianne join me. It was a really fun way to expand our friendship :-D

Books Read: "Wyrd Sisters" - Terry Pratchett, "The Martian" - Andy Weir, "First Test" & "Page" - Tamora Pierce
Time Spent Reading: 13 hours

1 Jan 2019

Top Ten Books of 2018

It's been a good year, reading-wise, and I had a real hard time limiting myself to just 10 books. But these are the best of the best, the books that moved me the most, and the books I'm most likely to reread and recommend to others.

A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towels Also wins the award for being the absolutely best book I have read all year. It took me completely by surprise, but ended up being one of the most unexpected comfort reads I think I have ever found. I highly recommend it.

The Loose-Ends List - Carrie Firestone Also wins the award for being the book that made me cry the hardest, however I wouldn't call it a depressing book - hardly even a sad book. It is YA when it's best. Poignant and REAL.

Illuminae - Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff Partly because of the plot (sci-fi), partly because of the writing style (epistolary), partly because of the awesome way the authors play with the media - using it to underline the plot and characters in pretty brilliant ways. I loved all three books in the trilogy, but the first was definitely the best.

Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor The sequel had too much forshadowing for me to care to continue the series, but this first book was absolutely brilliant! I'd requested book recommendations to get me out of a reading slump, and once again delivered BIG time! She hasn't steered me wrong yet! I love time-travel when done well, and here it certainly was. Absolutely awesome book!

Wolfsong - T.J. Klune A book made out of cupcakes and pine cones. Of epic and awesome. It is completely different from his "Tales From Verania" series, but every bit as awesome. He writes relationships so well!
The One - John Marrs One of the best suspense novels I've read in a long time. I couldn't put it down, forgoing sleep to read it, and it stuck with me for a long time after finishing it.

A Wish on the Stars - T.J. Klune The conclusion of the Tales From Verania quartet, and the best one since the first. I am so very grateful to Leslie and Laura for reviewing this series and have ended up falling deep in love with Sam, Gary and Tiggy... okay, and Kevin and Ryan too.

Beneath the Sugar Sky - Seanan McGuire I definitely have a weakness for surreal books, and Seanan McGuire writes surreal really, really well. Her "Discount Armageddon" came very close to earning a place on this list too, for much the same reason.

The Outsider - Stephen King A stand-alone novel in the "Finder's Keepers" universe. Stephen King is one of those authors who have most definitely improved with age and his newer books are much more to my tastes than his older ones were.

Now That You Mention It - Kristan Higgins Chick-lit with substance. It made me laugh, it made me cry and that automatelly makes me love a book.

20 Oct 2018

Dewey's 24-hour readathon - October 2018 progress report

T-2.5 I woke up early'ish this morning and hit the gym, so I'm now ready to play couch potato for the rest of the day with a clean conscience! :-) The crock-pot is slowly cooking our dinner, the books have been picked out, I just need to get lunch and pour the snacks out and then I'm all sorted and ready for my partners in crime. Mum, Dad, Rebekka and Michala will arrive somewhere between 13:00-13:30 so we're all set to start at 14:00. I've been looking forward to this for AGES! I've said it before and I'll say it again - I LOVE that the readathon has become a family tradition!!! :-)

As always I'll keep my progress report to one post so as not to spam you.

T-0.5 Everybody's here. Snacks are sorted, books are being discussed and we're getting ready to start! As per usual, the Getting To Know You survey.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Copenhagen, Denmark. Once again, we're reading from my library. "We" being Mum, Dad, Rebekka, Michala and your's truly.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Maria: I never know!!! Rereading Narnia perhaps?
Mum: I don't know... am still making up my mind.
Dad: Well... I only brought one book, so that one by default? "Leathal White" by Robert Galbraith
Rebekka: All of them? I have to check which ones I can borrow off Maria afterwards.
Michala: I have no idea! I never make up my mind until the very last minute!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Mum: Rebekka's cookies.
Mixi & Dad: Yes!
Rebekka: Chocolate licorice
Maria: A bit of everything... cookies, nuts, grapes - it's all good.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
As usual, we're reading together as a family. This is my 16th, Mum's 9th, Rebekka's 8th, Mixi's 5th and Dad's 2nd!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?
Mum & Mixi: Nothing... it's become a good tradition as it is.
Maria: Nothing really. This is my 16th readathon, so it's pretty much settled.
Rebekka: Not sure... last time I said I wouldn't go as crazy with the snacks... that didn't happen.
Dad: Not read any obligation reading!

Hour 2 (15:00):
First hour done. I think Dad's the only one who's reading the book he said he would - all the rest of us found something else we were more tempted by. Mum's reading "Throne of Glass", Mixi found "Ikk' for sjov" a memoir by Danish comedian about his fight with cancer and is laughing her way through it. Rebekka is reading a book by M.M. Kaye, but I don't know the English title, and I ended up with one of Mixi's books - "Last Chance" by Sarah Dressen. I'm almost 100 pages into it already - it's a really fast read.
Mini-Challenge - Modern Classics
Which books published in the 21st century do you think will be considered a classic 100 years from now?
Mixi: Harry Potter? I know the first ones were from the 20th Century, but the latter ones count. Or Hunger Games.
Maria: "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles
Mum & Dad: "The Hundred-Year-Old Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" by Jonas Jonasson.

Hour 3 (16:00)
Another hour gone, another 80 pages read. I only have another 60 to go now, so should finish within the hour. I like it - it's very stereotypical YA, which means it's perfect readathon material.

Mini-Challenge - Fantasy world
Which fantasy world would you most like to go visit?
Mum: Narnia
Maria: For sure!!
Dad: No doubt.
Mum: I've wanted to visit ever since I first read them.
Michala: Then I'll say Hogwarts, just to be different!
Rebekka: Hard to pick something different from what you've already said!
Maria: Yeah, you wouldn't want to live in Wonderland or Neverland...
Rebekka: Whatever the world in "Seeds of Discovery" by Breeana Puttroff is called
Dad: Malacandra (Mars in "Out of the Silent Planet" by C.S. Lewis) could also be interesting.

Hour 4 (17:00)
I finished "Last Chance" about 15 minutes ago. Not as powerful as some of Sarah Dressen's other books, but a good, clean YA that kept me nicely entertained. I liked it. Now I've switched to my kindle and "Dragon Kin: Alonia & Thrift" by Audrey Faye.

Mini-Challenge - Teenage Angst
Which books that helped you escape the angst of your teenage years?
Mixi: "The Ordinary Princess" by M.M. Kaye
Maria: Pretty much anything by Tamora Pierce, but particularly the Alanna series.
Dad: I mostly read non-fiction at that age.
Mum: The Laura books I think.
Rebekka: I used music rather than books at that age... can't think of any.

Hour 5 (18:00)
I only managed 50 pages over the last hour. I knew I read more slowly when it's an ebook instead of a physical book, but hadn't realized HOW much more slowly. Ah well, who cares. It's a good book, and I'm enjoying it, so that's the important part. All the others are reading longer books, so they're still busy with theirs.

Hour 7 (20:15)
We've had dinner since I updated last (I love my crockpot for this event!) AND I've finished book 2 :-D Now to decide what to read next. I kinda want to read the next Dragon-Kin book, but I also want to get back to physical books again... Perhaps I'll turn to "The Ordinary Princess"? I haven't read that in years, and sort of got the urge after Mixi mentioned it as her comfort book.

Mini-Challenge - Favourite Books
What is the best book you've read so far in 2018?
Mum: Bread of Angels - Tessa Afshar
Dad: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Maria: Yeah, same., A Gentleman in Moscow
Michala: Either this one ("Ikk' for sjov") or "The Loose Ends List"
Rebekka: I can't remember what I read this year!!! My PH.D. assertation?

Hour 8 (21:00)
"The Ordinary Princess" it was, and as that's only 123 short pages long, I've finished it already :-D I think my next book will be "Moskitoland", as I've been wanting to read that for quite awhile, and now seems as good a time as any. Mixi'll probably be leaving soon, but the rest of us are still at it :-)

Mini-Challenge Spring-Summer-Autumn-Winter
Do you have special books that you re-read each season?
Michala & Rebekka: Other than Christmas books, not really.
Mum: But I love "12 Days of Christmas" by Trisha Ashley
Maria: Definitely! Also, somehow winter always makes me feel like rereading the Laura books. Especially "The Long Winter" - for obvious reasons. I don't really have anything for summer or spring.
Dad: Nope!

Hour 11 (00:00)
All my partners in crime have left now. Mixi left at 21:30, Mum and Dad at 22:30 and Rebekka at 23:30! I started "Moskitoland" as expected and am really enjoying it. It is very different from what I expected, but in a good way. I only have about 80 pages to go, so hope to stay awake to finish that tonight. This will probably be my last update until morning though.

Hour 20 (09:00)
I woke up an hour ago and am back at reading. I finished "Moskitoland" just before going to bed and am now reading "Beneath the Sugar Sky" by Seanan McGuire. I read the first book in the series ("Every Heart a Doorway") at a previous readathon and LOVED it, so it seemed natural to save the sequel for another one (I know I've skipped a book in the series, but that one seems more like a companion novel than a sequel, and I wanted to get back to the Wayward Children :) )

Hour 21 (10:00)
I just finished "Beneath the Sugar Sky" and loved it every bit as much as "Every Heart a Doorway". I definitely need to add that series to my physical library! This puts me just past 1000 pages, and I still have another four hours to go! Now to decide what to read next... I think it might be "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl". I've been wanting to read that for awhile, and it seems like very suitable material for a readathon. Hopefully I'm right :)

Hour 24 (13:30)
I finished "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" with just half an hour to spare, so I'm not going to pick up anything else up for the last 30 minutes. That puts my totals at 6 books and 1376 pages, which is close to a personal record, considering that there were no graphic novels involved. Mixi and Mum finished one book each, and I have to check with Rebekka how she's fairing with hers. I was right in supposing M&E&DG would make for good readathon material, but unfortunately I didn't like it as much as I had expected to. It was a LOT more depressing than I had anticipated, and though it still ended on a positive note, it's probably not a book I'm likely to reread much. Oh well. I really liked the other books I read for the readathon (especially "Beneath the Sugar Sky" and "Dragon-Kin" and only one dud out of 5 (I'm not counting my reread here) is pretty good!

So that's it for this time! It's been fun as always, and I do love that it's a family tradition now. So much more satisfying to sit together with a group of people... even if we are just sitting and reading :-)

Books read: "Last Chance" - Sarah Dressen. (245), "Dragon Kin: Alonia & Thrift" - Audrey Faye (208), "The Ordinary Princess" - M.M. Kaye (123), "Moskitoland" - David Arnold (348), "Beneath the Sugar Sky" - Seanan McGuire, "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" by Jesse Andrews (295)
Pages read: 1376
Currently reading: None.

19 Oct 2018

Mini-Challenge: Modern Classics

Hello, fellow readers!!! Hope you're doing well and enjoying the thrill of the readathon - making a solitary activity social :-D

My challenge for you today is this:
Which books, published in the 21st century will likely be classics 100 years from now?

Personally, I think it's hard to guess in advance what will stand the test of time, but it's always fun to try anyway! So here are some the books I think will become classics.

A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles Whatever a modern classic is, this is it! A modern day Robinson Crusoe and a comfort book unlike any other I've ever read. It definitely has that undefinable something to make it pass the test of time.

Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi I know it's non-fiction, but I'm going to count it anyway. It's a brilliant and personal account of a time and place in history few of us know (enough) about.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows This has become an instant favourite with everybody I've spoken to who's read it, and like 84 Charing Cross Road before it, I have a feeling this too will be read as a different account of World War 2 for years to come.

How about you? Leave your answer or a direct link to your post with the answer in the comments, or post a photo of the books on instagram, tagging it with #deweysmodernclassics

Monday after the readathon I will use random.org to select a person to win a book from bookdepository.com of up to DKK100kr / US$15 / £10 / €13. I will notify the winner directly, but PLEASE make sure you leave me a way to get in touch with you! Otherwise I'll have to draw another winner.

Update: The winner was @readersbeadvised on Instagram who - like many others - suggested "Between Shades of Gray". I haven't read that one yet, but will definitely have to now. Congratulations @readersbeadvised, and thank you to everybody who participated!

2 Oct 2018

Dewey October 2018 sign ups

The signups for the October edition of Dewey's 24-hr readathon have just opened, and of course I'll be signing up again! Hopefully Mum, Bekka and Mixi will all join me as per usual. After all - it's tradition! :-D

October 20th - can't wait! For some reason the autumn edition always seems cozier than the spring edition. Possibly because autumn weather automatically lends itself to snuggling up with a good book. Possibly because the autumn vacation was the one I started out doing, so it's become the "original" one in my head. Either way, it's gonna be awesome, and I love that it is now a family tradition!

So I'm quietly putting books aside (only mentally so far :-P ) and figuring out what I want to read. Books currently on my "to consider" list.
-- "Flexible" and "Unbreakable" by Ruth Buchanan
-- "Moskitoland" by David Arnold
-- The next book in Nick Clausen's YA series (I read the first one for the April readathon and it was really good! Not sure why I haven't gotten around to the next one yet).
-- "Dragon-Kin 3-4" by Audrey Faye and Shae Geary

I'm considering taking a page out of the 24in48 readathon and tracking time read as well... still making up my mind on that one.

21 Jul 2018

24in48 - Progress Report

Hour 1
The official start of 24in48 was at 6:00 this morning. I decided to use the official hours, rather than push it to fit my time-zone, just to make things easier - not that it would make much difference, as I'm not going to read through the night anyway :-P. Indeed, it's currenly 7am and I've only JUST sat down to start reading. The biggest challenge will be to remember to turn on my stop-watch whenever I start reading, so I can track my reading time accurately.

Isabella is coming over at 2pm to read with me. While I'm looking forward to a low-key readathon (not that the family affairs aren't super cozy, but the structure of this encourages a more low-key approach) I'm really glad to share this with her. She's so similar to me in so many ways (how many 14 year olds do you know who'd be interested in doing nothing but sit and read for 10 hours?!) and it'll be good to have her there :)

But for now I'm going to get started reading :). I won't be posting hourly updates, but I think the hosts are posting surveys and challenges every 6 hours or so, so will probably use that as prompts for my updates as well.

Hour 7
6 hours later and I'm just about half way through my second book, having read for just about half of the readathon so far. I need to pick up my pace if I want to make it to 24 AND sleep at all tonight, but at least I'm not behind. It'll help once Isabella arrives in an hour, so I have less reason to get distracted :)

Hour 12
Another 4+ hours read since my last update, meaning that I'm now ahead of schedule! Woohoo!!! Isabella arrived at 2pm as arranged, and we've been sitting in the library reading ever since. I keep having to reassure myself that I'm neither boring nor antisocial to just leave her to read - in fact, her mother assures me she loves it - and I'm definitely enjoying the company hugely :-)

We're stopping for dinner soon, but first the challenge of hour 12:

For this challenge, share a book that has expanded your worldview or changed the way you look at something, whether it’s another culture, gender, race, a new concept, social justice issues…the possibilities are endless.

There are MANY books that fit this category. While I definitely mostly read books by and about people like me, I do branch out frequently, both in regards to culture, race, new concepts etc. However, I think the book that most expanded my worldview would have to be "Gracefully Grayson" by Ami Polonsky. This was my first real introduction to the transgender community (although not my last), and the fact that it was written for YA actually just made it even more thought provoking. I've read other books on the topic since, but this still stands out as the best one.

Hour 18
I managed another 4 hours in the last six, but now I have to call it a night. Isabella gave up about 45 minutes ago... I'm a bad influence on her ;-) She seems to have been enjoying herself though, and I've loved having her here.

Hour 26
I slept longer than expected, so can tell already now that it'll be something of a struggle to make it to 24 hours, as I have to take time out for church this morning. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying though! Isabella's still asleep, but I've moved back to the couch and have started my 4th book.

Hour 33
I took a bit of a break to get to church and hand Isabella over to her parents again. It had been my intention to listen to an audiobook in the car on my way back, but forgot my cell phone at home, so no dice! Ah well. I'm currently at 16.5 hrs, so it'll be a tight run - but not impossible - to make it to 24. Especially as audiobooks also count, so I don't have to stop to make dinner :)

Isabella's final time

The challenge of hour 30 is to post a photo of your favourite under-the-radar read. I'll save the photo itself for Instagram, but nobody who's read my bookposts for any length of time can have any doubt that my answer would have to be Debora Geary's "Witches on Parole". This marks the start of the WitchLight trilogy which is close to being my favourite series ever, but with less than 5000 reviews on Goodreads it is not nearly as well-known as it deserves to be. Unfortunately, as it has apparently gone out of print (though it can still be found as an audiobook on Audible), it's unlikely reach the place 'over the radar' where it belongs.

Hour 39
I only have another two hours left to go!!! It's just past 9pm here, so I can totally do it :-D. I'm currently rereading book two of the WitchLight trilogy by Debora Geary (the sequel to the "under-the-radar" book I mentioned above). That book always makes me feel like crying in a good way. I wanna live in WitchCentral someday!

The challenge of hour 36 is a charming one. What’s the oldest children’s book you have, or a book you’ve held onto since your childhood? Share it with us!. Many of the ones that immediately jump to mind (Lurituri for one) still resides at my parents' place, but I have brought a few with me for my own library.

Hour 50
At 11:15pm last night I made it to 24 hours! It turned out to be a lot tighter than I had expected ahead of time, but that's mostly because I'm old and tired and value my sleep :-P I made it through 5 and a bit books, for a total of a whooping 2,342 pages!!!

Turns out, 24in48 is a biyearly event too, same as Dewey, with the next one being scheduled for the last weekend of January. I don't know that I'll participate every time, but it'll be fun once in awhile. And I LOVED having Isabella join me for some of it :-D

Books Read: "Divas Don't Knit" - Gil McNeil, "Breaking Dawn" - Stephenie Meyer, "Witches on Parole" - Debora Geary, "The Library of the Dead" - Glenn Cooper, "Witches Under Way" - Debora Geary
Currently Reading: "All By My Selves" - Jeff Dunham (audiobook)

5 Jul 2018

Best books of 2018 (so far...)

We're just over half way through the year, so it's time to list my top 10 9 books of the year so far. As per usual, I'm not going to list rereads, which actually made picking my books a tad tricky as I've reread a LOT this year (which is also why I only made it to 9). Still, there were at least 3 that are sure contenders for my Best of 2018 list as well :-)

A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles Henni recommended this to me as an "unlikely comfort book", and she was spot on! I had NOT expected to love this as much as I did, but reading about Alexander Rostov's way of coping with his lot and carving out a life for him at the hotel just worked for me. I was a bit disappointed by the ending, but loved the rest.
Now That You Mention It - Kristin Hannah Kristin Hannah has written both one of the best and one of the worst books I've read so far this year. I received this as an arc and read it in no time flat. Chick-lit with substance.
A Wish Upon the Stars - T.J. Klune The last book in the "Tales from Verania" series, and every bit as sweet and funny and touching as I had expected. I expect this to be a series I reread often in the years to come.
The Loose Ends List - Carrie Firestone This book made me cry longer and harder than I had ever expected going into it. But it's not depressing. It's heartbreaking and life-affirming. Poignant and beautiful. A close contender to the best book I've read so far this year.
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor The first book in a new series and I immediately fell in love with the quirkiness of it all. Unfortunately the sequels couldn't quite live up to it, but this first one was totally worth the read.
Discount Armageddon - Seanan McGuire Once I read "Life as the chosen religious figure for a colony of cryptid mice can be a lot of things, but it's definitely never boring." I was sold!
The Tuscan Time Traveler - Claus Holm I'm not usually a huge fan of short stories, but something about this collection just appealed to me.
There's Someone Inside Your House - Stephanie Perkins I started reading this mostly because I was interested in seeing how somebody known for the romance YA could write suspense. The answer? Surprisingly well! Sure, it had a few issues, but at the end of the day, I couldn't put it down, and greatly enjoyed it.
Algeria is Beautiful Like America - Olivia Burton I know very little about Algeria, so was fascinated by this graphic memoir describing Olivia's journey through the country her parents grew up in.

2 Jul 2018

24 in 48?

Thanks to Dewey's facebook page, I recently discovered the upcoming 24 in 48 Readathon taking place July 21st-22nd. Basically it's a readathon where you read for 24 out of 48 hours - you can split up those hours however you want, as long as you start after 00:01 Saturday morning and end before 23:59 Sunday evening (official hours are ET, but you can move them to fit your time zone if you want).

I've never done any readathons other than Dewey's before, but Lars is off working that weekend anyway, and I have absolutely no plans, so I figured, why not?! On one hand the different format sounds like it might make it more low-key, but on the other hand, reading 24 hours out of 48 is a LOT... even for me.

But I'm up for a challenge, so this is me signing up :-)

28 Apr 2018

Dewey's 24-hr readathon - April 2018

T-2: (Noon) Time to set up my post for the progress report. You've all been down this particular road with me before, so know how it all works out. I'll combine all my updates for Dewey's 24 hour readathon into this one post, in order not to spam you all too much during the day. Are you reading along? Let me know, so I can come cheer you on!

I've done my shopping and spent some time in the garden (it's absolutely gorgeous weather... totally wrong for the readathon, of course, but I enjoyed getting some sun AND being active at the same time, and once this post is up, I'll go get dinner sorted. Long live the crockpot! The others should arrive in about an hour.

I'll be back at Hour 0 with the opening meme.

Hour 1 (almost): We're all here and ready to start - with twenty minutes to go! So what better time to do the Opening Meme :-D

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Lyngby, Denmark. My library, as per usual :-D

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Rebekka: "The Witness" by Nora Roberts.
Mum: "The Obsession" - also by Nora Roberts
Dad: "My Folks Don't Want Me To Talk About Slavery" collected by Belinda Hurmence
Maria: All of them? Probably "Moskitoland" by David Arnold

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Rebekka: My cookies!
Mum: Rebekka's cookies! Oatmeal cookies with raspberry and caramelized white chocolate.
Me: Chips and cookies and everything.
Dad: Grapes.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
As always we're doing the readathon as a family. This is our 8th time reading together. Dad's joining us this time for the first time ever, which is awesome! But unfortunately Mixi couldn't make it :( Next time, sweetie!

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?
Rebekka: I will try to eat less snacks, but I will fail miserably.
Mum: I'm gonna use a bookmark this time!
Maria: Nothing new... this is my.... fourteenth time or so? (Forgot to count) I've pretty much gotten it sorted by now.
Dad: Finding out if this is also my last readathon, or if it's a new tradition for me too.

6) Which book are you going to start out with?
Rebekka: The Witness.
Mum: The Obsession
Dad: "As You Like It" by Shakespeare.
Maria: Haven't quite decided yet - either "Changing Gears" or "The Lightning-Struck Heart" - I want to start out with a reread... but I NEVER make up my mind until right before.

Hour 2 (3pm): The first hour has passed, and we're all happily reading (and snacking! Always snacking. Rebekka's cookies are goooooood!!!!) I decided to start with "Changing Gears" and am about 74 pages into it. It's just as good as last time I read it, but at this pace will take a few hours to finish.

Hour 3 (4pm): None of us have finished a book yet, but dad switched to "My Folks..." earlier this hour... after reading the first two acts of "As You Like It" he needed a change (I don't blame him - Shakespeare is HEAVY!)

The mini-challenge is hosted at Just One More Thing where Tami wants to know:
"I am a big fan of old fashioned letter writing and I love having pen pals. There's nothing like a hand-written letter for really getting to know someone. So, my question for you is - what fictional character would you like to have as a pen pal, and why?"

Rebekka: Hermione Granger... I don't believe neither Harry nor Ron would ever actually sit down and write!
Mum: Laura Ingalls Wilder - wait! She isn't fictional.... Hmmm... Elizabeth Bennet then :) (we saw "Pride and Prejudice" on stage yesterday and it was AWESOME!)
Dad: Does Aslan count?
Maria: Anne Shirley. I know from "Anne of Windy Willows" that she's an excellent letter-writer.

Hour 4: Another hour gone, and another 70 pages read. At this rate I should (just) finish by dinner time. I love travelogues! It's great fun to live vicariously through others, and this one is one of my favourites as it's a happiness project and a travelogue rolled up into on book :) Definitely a good plan to start with a reread.

Hour 5 (6pm): I almost forgot to stop to update - I was so engrossed in my book! I have another 30 pages to go, so can start thinking about what I want my next book to be. Dad's returned to "As You Like It" and is quietly chuckling to himself from time to time. Apparently they could write jokes in the 16th Century as well - who knew! ;-) :-P

Hour 7 (8pm): We took a break for dinner since I updated last, but are back at reading now. I finished "Changing Gears" with about 15 minutes to spare before dinner, and decided to pick up the first "Animorphs" book for something completely different. I know they're childrens books, but I've always been fond of them as they were introduced to me by my hostbrother waaaaay back when, so they'll always remind me of him and of New Zealand. I'd forgotten how entertaining they are in their own right though. May end up continuing with more of those after this one. They are REALLY quick reads - I'm already 2/3 through.

Hour 8 (9pm): I've finished book two! But considering it was a 184p childrens book, that's not all that impressive ;-) Still counts though! I really liked it, and am definitely considering picking up more of that series. For now, I turned to a Danish book though - one I bought with Isabella in mind, but which I haven't read yet myself. It's a YA fantasy trilogy and seems quite good so far. I'm only 70 pages into the first one though, so possibly a bit too early to tell. It's very easily read though - but I've read other books by the same author, and expected nothing less.

Hour 9 (10pm): I literally just finished book 3 - but again, it was a short YA, so I pretty much expected to finish it fairly quickly assuming it could keep my interest. Fortunately it could, and while I don't think I'll go straight on to the next book in the series, I may pick it up later in the readathon. It's definitely worth reading though, and I'll have to renew my recommendation to Isabella :-)

Now I just have to figure out what to read next!

Hour 10 (11pm): I decided to pick up "The Loose Ends List" by Carrie Firestone which I borrowed off Mixi specifically for the readathon. I'm 70 pages into it and really liking it so far. It's YA but has potential to be fluff with a substance. Always a good combination for the readathon. Mum and Dad left about half an hour ago, but Rebekka and I are still going strong :-)

Hour 11 (midnight): Rebekka left not too long ago, and I'm probably going to call it a night soon too. I'm either getting old or I just value my sleep more than I used to :-P But 3.5 books isn't too shabby for the first half of the readathon :-D Even if most of the second half will be spent sleeping.

Hour 21 (10am): I've been up and reading since 8am but couldn't put my book down long enough to update. I've just finished "The Loose Ends List", and oh my goodness, it was amazing! Best YA I've read in several years - even if I did sob my way through the last 100 pages. Fluff with a substance indeed. Beautiful, heartbreaking, poignant and life-affirming all rolled up into one. It's going to be VERY hard to find a book that won't suffer from being read next. I may have to return to an old favourite (and a completely different genre) to give it even a fighting chance.

Wow. I had NOT expected that, when I first picked it up. Thanks for letting me borrow it, Mixi!

Hour 22 (11am): After a few false starts I've finally settled on "Death and the Penguin" by Andrey Kurkov. Not an old favourite - in fact, I've never read it before - but a short book that sounded just quirky enough to work. And certainly completely different from my last book. I'm only 30 pages into it so far, so way too early to say what I think of it, but I haven't been tempted to put it down at least.

Hour 23 (noon): Managed to read another 90 pages this past hour so should finish before my next update. That'll leave me with less than an hour for the final book though, so I'll have to either plan carefully or just accept that I won't finish the last one. I still can't quite make up my mind what I think of "Death and the Penguin". It's very slow-moving, but in no way boring. I own the sequel as well, but whether or not I'll bother with that one will depend a lot on what happens in the last 100 pages. Still, it's holding my interest.

Hour 24 (1:20pm): I suddenly realized I hadn't had anything to eat all morning, so got sidetracked getting that sorted, meaning I've only just finished "Death and the Penguin". With so little time left, I think I'll just call it a wrap and not start another book. It was a weird book, but part of that I think is due to cultural differences (the author's Ukranian). Still haven't decided whether or not I want to read the next one, but definitely not just now.

So that's it for this time around! With 5 books and 1380 pages read, I think that might be a personal record. And as always it was great to have company for so much of yesterday. It really is an awesome family tradition we've managed to establish :-D

Till October!

Currently reading:
Books read: Changing Gears - Nancy Sathre-Vogel (298), Animorphs #1: The Invasion - K.A. Applegate (184), Den sidste vindrytter: Udvalgt - Nick Clausen (195), The Loose Ends List - Carrie Firestone (375), Death and the Penguin - Andrey Kurkov (228)
Pages read: 1380

2 Apr 2018

Dewey Signups

The signups for the April edition of Dewey's 24-hr readathon have just opened, and of course I'll be signing up again! Mum and Rebekka are joining me for sure, and Mixi is still trying to coordinate plans so she'll be able to participate for at least some of it.

April 28th - can't wait!

I've been thinking of books to read for a few months now, and have been putting contenders aside, so I didn't "accidentally" read them too soon... with the expected result that I now have FAR too many books I want to read :-D But of course, that is exactly as it should be!

The books currently on my "to consider" list.
  • "The Yarn Whisperer" and "A Stash of One's Own" by Clara Parkes
  • "Flexible" and "Unbreakable" by Ruth Buchanan
  • Whatever book I've reached in the "Chronicles of St. Mary" series by Jodi Taylor at that point.
  • "Moskitoland" by David Arnold
  • "Den sidste vindrytter" by Nick Clausen (Danish YA series)
"Only" 9 books so far. Of course, it is very likely that I may (WILL) add to this between now and the 28th. We'll see what happens.

30 Dec 2017

Top Ten Books of 2017

Only 30 hours left of 2017, and as I'm not expecting to finish any more new books by the end of the year, I think it's time to call my Top Ten.

Readingwise it's been a much better year than 2016, and I actually had a hard time limiting myself to ten.

In no particular order...
Top Ten Novels of 2017

The Chemist - Stephenie Meyer
I dove into this book headfirst a Friday evening, and didn't come back up for breath again until I'd read the last page. So good!

The Lightning-Struck Heart - T.J. Klune
Loved this book so much! It made me laugh out loud on several occasions and I fell deeply in love with all the characters. A close contender to the best book of the year.

The Obsession - Nora Roberts
Totally unputdownable! :-) It reminded me that I actually do like Nora Roberts' books as long as I stay away from her romances.

A Soft Breath of Wind - Roseanne M. White
While I really enjoyed the first book too ("A Stray Drop of Blood") it was this sequel that really blew me away. Possibly the best book I've read all year.

Until the End of the World - Sarah Lyons Fleming
I only finished this just before Christmas, but wow - so good! Very similar to the Newsflesh trilogy in many ways, but as that's one of my favourite series, I really don't mind.

Sleeping Giants - Sylvain Neuvel
Also wins "Most Unusual Writing Style" award, which is possibly one of the reasons why I liked it so much. I've always been a huge fan of epostilary novels, and this comes close enough to count.

The Sister Circle - Vonette Bright & Nancy Moser
Delightful book with many of the same characteristics as the Yada-Yada series. I found it charming and thought-provoking... and highlighted quotes all over the place.

Every Heart a Doorway - Seanan McGuire
Delightfully quirky and right up my aisle. I loved it!

Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas
I so enjoyed the first book in this series... which just makes it all the more disappointing that the third one ended up being a DNF.

Mr. Mercedes - Stephen King
I like that Stephen King doesn't just stick with one genre, but branches out a bit. This is the first crime novel of his that I have read, and it did not disappoint. The last few chapters especially had me on the edge of my seat and turning the pages as fast as I could.

Top 7 Non-Fiction of 2017
(Yes, I'm cheating... but also not, as it seems slightly unfair to compare fiction and non-fiction. Besides, it's my blog, so I make the rules :-P )

Hva' så nu? - Geo
Every bit as good as his first book. And both of them books I'd recommend to anybody who's experienced cancer "up close and personal" - whether as a patient or a relative.

If Your Dream Doesn't Scare You - Kristine K- Stevens
Of course my list has to include at least one travelogue, and this is one of the best ones I've read in quite awhile. Kristine's way of writing really appealed to me, and her adventures were fascinating to read about.

Under bjælken - Jens Andersen
Fascinating portrait of our crown prince.

Something New - Lucy Knisley
Totally lived up to my expectations, and I found myself tearing up on more than one occasion.

Hamilton - the Revolution - Lin-Manuel Miranda
I so want to be in the room where it happens and eventually get to see this on stage!

Love and Laughter in the Time of Chemotherapy - Manjusha Pawagi
A very poignant memoir. It's purely by coincidence that I read both this and "Hva' så nu?" the same year, but both of them tackle the dealing with cancer in a very real and honest way.

Lighter Than My Shadow
Once again proving that graphic novels are an excellent way to tackle heavy subjects - including depression, eating disorders and sexual abuse.

26 Dec 2017

2017 Playlist

My playlist for this year.

1. Stars - Demi Lovato
Brenda had this as part of her 2016 soundtrack, and I immediately loved it. I love the energy of it - it's one of those can't-sit-still numbers for me :-)

2. Stressed Out - Twenty One Pilots
Sometimes a certain smell will take me back to when I was young
How come I'm never able to identify where it's coming from
I'd make a candle out of it if I ever found it

Another recommendation from Brenda and the lyrics immediately stuck with me. So well-written and relatable.

3. Not Today - Hillsong United
Fear must have thought I was faithless
When it came for my heart.
I’ll sing the night into the morning
I’ll sing the fear into Your praise
I’ll sing my soul into Your presence
Whenever I say Your Name
Let the devil know not today

No soundtrack of mine would be complete without at least one number by Hillsong. "Let the devil know not today" has been my recurring refrain whenever I've felt overwhelmed, and this song reminds me that "Fear is just a liar, running out of breath."

4. I'm an Albatraoz - AronChupa
Probably one of the songs Lars has heard the most this past year. Fortunately I quickly came to like it as well. It's definitely not my usual fare, but something about it just appeals to me. I'm also amused by the fact that the music video includes obvious mistakes by the back-stage dancers :D

5. It's Quiet Uptown - Hamilton
There are moments that the words don’t reach
There is a grace too powerful to name
We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable.
Forgiveness. Can you imagine.

As I will mention in my yearly wrap-up post, this has been my year of Hamilton. I desperately hope I'll get to see it in London next year. Michala gave me the soundtrack for Christmas last year, and I've been listening to it pretty much non-stop all year (no pun intended, but very appropriate). My favourite song is still "Alexander Hamilton", but as I used that for my soundtrack last year, I thought I'd add a different one this time, and the lyrics to "It's Quiet Uptown" never fail to move me - how you can go through the worst and darkest period of your life, and through God's grace still come out in one piece on the other side.

6. Rockabye - Clean Bandit feat. Sean Paul & Anne-Marie
A random discovery that immediately had me reaching for Soundhound to figure out what on earth that song was. A very different lullaby, that's for sure! The lyrics have no special meaning to me, but I love the music.

7. Galway Girl - Ed Sheeran
Possibly my one favourite song this year (not counting Hamilton). From the very first time Lars played it I was instantly hooked, and it's another of those songs that I can't sit still when hearing.

8. Stay the Night - Alcazar
If I was one to go out dancing, this would be my anthem :-D

9. Believer - Audio Adrenaline
Oh I believe I can walk on water with You, Lord
When I walk through the valley of the shadows
When I’m trapped in the middle of the battle
I will trust in You
‘Cause trouble comes, but you never let it take me
I hold fast ‘cause I know that You will save me
I will trust in You, I will trust in You

2017 saw a distinct change in my walk with God. Very much inspired by what I saw happening in Nina and Christian's lives. They went all out for God, and I wanted to have the same trust in Him that they do. I'm still learning, and it's definitely a work in progress, but this song is a perfect example of how I'm trying to grow. I worry too much about everything. I need to relax, and trust in God.

10. Perfect Life - Levina
Finding I bend but I don't break
I'm almost a sinner, nearly a saint
Finding with every breath I take
I'm not afraid of making mistakes
Sometimes it's wrong before it's right
That's what you call a perfect life

This year's Eurovision Song Contest was full of songs that have been added to our regular rotation ever since. The lyrics of this one resonated with me more than the music, and it's one I'll probably keep returning to.

11. Hey Mamma - Sunstroke Project
This was Sunstroke Project's second time at the ESC and both times they've brought Epic Sax Guy along. Just wait until you hear him. ... better yet, check out the actual stage show for "Hey Mamma" here or their 2010 entry "Run Away" here.

12. I Can't Go On - Robin Bengtsson
My favourite entry from the 2017 ESC. I know it's the kind of song that's a dime a dozen, but I don't care - I love it :-D

13. When God Closes a Door - Larkin Poe
When God closes a door, God leads you up the stairs
Leave your earthly cares, On the second floor
When God cracks a couple skulls, God cracks a couple more
His plate is full, On the second floor

I love the imagery of God as a bad-a** biker :-D I definitely don't agree with all the lyrics, but this imagery amuses me. Sometimes I just need to know I have a God who can "kick ass and take names".

14. Llama In My Living Room - AronChupa
I was a bit slow to really fall for this song, but fortunately Lars made sure to subject me to constant exposure... which can work either way, and this time it slowly but surely grew on me. Mostly because of the absolute INSANITY of the lyrics. I definitely have a soft spot for absurdity in lyrics.

15. Can't Sleep Love - Pentatonix
Pentatonix is one of Liz' favourite groups, so during my visits I've come to hear a lot of their music, and really enjoy them too. This is definitely one of my favourites.

16. Lady Madonna - The Swingle Singers
Man, I would LOVE to sing this in a choir. The harmonies are just perfect and - more importantly - sound like they'd be all sorts of fun to sing!

17. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - Pentatonix
Actually I wanted the version that's sung in "Outlander", but couldn't find that one on Spotify :-P.

19. So Will I - Hillsong United
If the stars are made to worship so will I
A bit slower than what I usually go for, but somehow it's come to be one of my very favourite songs of worship.

19. Hold håbet op - Marianne Søgaard
A new Christmas song I was introduced to at church earlier this month. I immediately fell in love with it. The music is very reminiscent of various musicals and the chorus is suitably haunting, and is easily a song I could see myself listening to all year around.

... and that seems like a good note(!) to end on :-)

19 Dec 2017

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

With Christmas coming up in less than a week, The Broke and the Bookish thought it about time for us to list which books we hope to find under the Christmas tree this year.

In no particular order...

The Obsession - Nora Roberts
I read "The Obsession" earlier this year, and it immediately moved to the top of my "Top Ten Books of 2017" list (which I have yet to post). I own it as an e-book, but would love the physical copy as well.

Wish Upon a Star - Trisha Ashley
Though presented as a Christmas novel, it's really not. But it IS one of the most delightfully charming and feel-good novels I've read in a long time. Unfortunately it seems to be out of print almost everywhere, but I still hope Santa can find it :-)

Hamilton: the Revolution - Lin-Manuel Miranda
Another book I read earlier this year. I got it out of the library, thinking it'd be the sort of book I'd want to read once and then that was it. I was wrong. Not only do I want to read it again, but I also want to have it to lend out to others, once they "discover" Hamilton for themselves (which may actually happen, now that it has opened in London. I so want to go over and see it!)

A Stray Drop of Blood / A Soft Breath of Wind - Roseanna M. White
Possibly the two best books I read this year. Again, I own them as e-books, but really want them for my library as well.

In Arcadia - Andrea K. Höst
Probably the last book of the Touchstone series. As I own all the others as physical copies, I'd love this one as well to complete my collection.

Under bjælken - Jens Andersen
The newly published official portrait of Crown Prince Frederik. It's been touted as being the most in-depth biography of our crown prince ever, and the few chapters that were released to promote it were really interesting. I know I could just get this from the library, but still wouldn't mind at all if Santa brought it :-)

Worsted for War - Rachael B. Anderson
One of my favourite webcomics in graphic novel form? Oh, yes please! :-D

Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters - Ann Budd
Not so much a book of patterns as a book of numbers :) Ann Budd takes five basic sweater designs and provides stitch numbers for multiple different sizes and gauges. It's a book I would've been utterly uninterested in just a few years ago, but now that I'm more inclined to use sweater patterns as inspiration rather than a recipe to follow exactly, I thought it would be fun to have.

The Rabbit Hunter - Lars Kepler
The 6th book in a series where I've read and greatly enjoyed the first five. I definitely want to finish this series.

A Wish Upon the Stars - T.J. Klune
Cheating a little bit here, as this 4th book in the series won't actually be published until March of next year (which is also why the cover is from the 3rd book), and the audiobook will probably be even later than that, but I can't wait! So thought I'd add it here anyway.