27 Dec 2015

Best Books of 2015

I know we're not quite at the end of the year yet, so there's still time to be proven wrong, but here are what I'm assuming will be the best books of 2015! It's been more difficult to chose than normal (fortunately!) so rather than limit myself to 10, I'm going to do categories. Why? Because I can! :-D And even so I still had a hard time deciding on some of the categories, as I didn't want to make them too narrow. "Best historical graphic memoir" seemed a tad too specific to be entirely fair ;) (BTW, it's "The Complete Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi, in case you were wondering ;) )

Best books of 2015

Best YA
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. I've raved so much about this book so that can hardly come as a surprise to anybody. I found this as a random netgalley pick - I knew nothing about it, but liked the cover - so came to it completely without expectations and it just blew me away. This is definitely one of the books I want to own as a physical book as well as an ebook - it belongs in my library! So I was thrilled when I found it under the Christmas tree. Thank you, Rebekka + family! :)

Best Christian Fiction
Where Are the Lions? by Claus Tondering. Some might claim I'm slightly biased, but I don't care ;) I really, really love this book, and am fascinated by the ideas set forth in it about Heaven. Some of them seem so blatantly obvious to me now that I can't understand why I'd never thought of it before. God gave us our hopes, dreams, interests and passions for a reason - why assume we won't use them in Heaven as well? Fascinating book that I've read three times already :)

Best Sci-Fi
The Martian by Andy Weir. One of the first books I read this year. I immediately claimed it the best book of the year... and I still think I might have been right. I love when I can dive right into a book, and feel absolutely delighted by each turning of the page, and "The Martian" was such a book to me. The kind of book I'd love to read more of.

Fortunately the movie didn't disappoint either :)

Best Childrens Book
Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This is either old children or young young adult, so by claiming it as the former I could add a new category and include it on the list! ;) Another semi-random discover. It suddenly turned up on podcasts everywhere, so when I found it at a library on our roadtrip, I thought I'd give it a shot. I couldn't put it down and found it incredibly moving and poignant.

Best Christian Non-Fiction
Cupid is a Procrastinator by Kate Hurley. I was surprised by how much I liked this book, and especially by how relateable I found it. As an "old married woman" one could perhaps claim that I am not the intended target audience of this book, but even so I discovered that Kate Hurley had words of wisdom for me as well, and I found myself highlighting passages all over the place. Because in the end, Kate Hurley's book is about "hope deferred" (Proverbs 13:12). For Kate Hurley, Cupid turned out to be a procrastinator. Others may be waiting on the stork, better health, a house, a job or any other milestone event. The "hopes" are different, but the way we can chose to respond and react really isn't, in the end.

Best Book in Retrospect
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I wasn't entirely sure what I thought of it while I read it, and parts of it were a real slog to get through, but when I thought back on it afterwards, I realized how brilliant it actually was, and that I'd probably want to reread it. It's not often that I like a book better in retrospect than when I actually read it (usually it's the other way around), and that charmed me.

Best Travelogue
A Dip in the Ocean by Sarah Outen. And thus began my love affair/fascination with Sarah Outen. I can't remember how I first heard about her, but this book has been standing on my shelves for ages. At the spring read-a-thon I finally got around to reading it, and I immediately found myself wanting to know more, more, more! Fortunately she has a strong presence online, so I was able to find her blog, and follow her then-current attempt at travelling around the world under her own steam -- another book in the making, I am sure, and one I know I'll buy as soon as it's published. She's an amazing and inspiring woman.

Best Graphic Memoir
Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto. I had three possible contenders for this category, but at the end of the day, I think Cancer Vixen wins. It's a touching account of the author's fight with cancer. I was very moved by it, and would recommend it to anybody who's been affected by cancer - either directly or by proxy.

Best Surprise
S. by J.J. Abrams. This is one of those books I'd never have picked up if it hadn't been for a) it being recommended in one of my favourite podcasts. b) the bookstore having a store example to browse through. It was absolutely fascinating and I loved how the story was told through all sorts of different medias. It did have some unanswered questions near the end, but was definitely an instant love affair and a great surprise.

Best Fanfic
Nothing Lost by Drayton. A "Blackout / All Clear" fanfic. I love "Blackout" and "All Clear" by Connie Willis, but it has always frustrated me a bit by the things that are only hinted at, but never explained. I'm simply just not good enough at reading between the lines, and besides - I want to know! Not just guess.

This fanfic is the story of Colin during the events of those two books and did a great job at both catching Connie Willis' writing style, as well as answering pretty much all the questions those two books left me with. A great read that I'd highly recommend :)

Best Memoir/Autobiography
Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I've wanted to read this ever since I first heard of it. Ive always known that the "Little House" series wasn't 100% accurate, and have been intrigued by what actually happened. This provided me with just that, and included heaps of extra details to boot. Funny to see how some parts of Laura's story were described exactly as they happened, and others were changed beyond recognition.

10 Dec 2015

Booking Through Thursday

This week's question from Booking Through Thursday is about audiobooks:
For me, “reading” means using my eyes, not my ears. As much as I acknowledge their usefulness while doing chores or using your hands, I only ever use audiobooks for the rare long drive–listening, no matter how pleasant, is not READING, yet people persist in telling me they like to read and that audio books are their favorites. Am I the only one to feel that’s just not the same thing?

For once I disagree vehemently with the author, but I think part of this may be semantics.

To me, "reading" means two things. There's the physical act of moving your eyes (or fingers, in the case of Braille) along the markings on a page and translating these markings into letters and words. With that definition, no, you obviously can't "read" audiobooks.

However, the more common meaning of "reading" is to take in the written word and gain a meaning from it. Whether that be from reading it yourself, or hearing it either in the form of audiobooks or having somebody present read it aloud to you, makes no difference. It's all reading.

And it sits wrong with me to deny one meaning of the word in favour of the other.

8 Dec 2015

Ten Bookish Gifts to Give for Christmas

Not sure what to buy a friend for Christmas? Or want an idea of what to stuff in your own stocking? Here are Ten Books to Give For Christmas. Links go to Goodreads.

For the Man Who Knows Everything
What If? or Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe. The author of the xkcd web-comic has written two books. I actually haven't read TE myself yet, but I read "What If" earlier this year and absolutely loved it! It's laugh out loud funny and educational at the same time.

For the Self-Acclaimed Science Geek
The Martian by Andy Weir. A book where the main character's survival depends on him being able to "science the shit out of things". Non-science geeks are likely to enjoy this as well though.

For the Tender-Hearted
Wonder by R.J. Palacio. While probably too twee for some, this will touch the heart-strings of most people who read it.

For Fans of YA
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. Without a doubt the best YA I've read in a long time. Not the least because it handles an unusual topic seldom seen in YA.

For Fanfic Readers
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Even as somebody just peripherally involved with the Harry Potter fandom, I recognized a lot of aspects of that fandom in this book. Fun and relatable.

For the Christian Reader
Where Are the Lions? by Claus Tondering. Best thing - this one is free (donwnload link on goodreads)! A thought-provoking account of what life in the New Jerusalem might be like. Really served to make me look forward to eternal life in a way I never have before.

For the LIW Expert
Pioneer Girl by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Filled with footnotes, drawings and photographs, this is one of the most comprehensive accounts of LIW's life I've ever read - all based around her own original memoir that later spawned(sp?) the Little House series.

For the 80s Child/Teen
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Chockablock full of 80s movies, music, and games references. Pure nostalgia for any kid who spent hours after school at the local arcade.

For the Knitter in Your Life
The Knit Princess by Allison Sarnoff. A web-comic-turned-book that knitters will find only too relateable. I haven't read the book yet, but loved the web-comic!

For the Reluctant Pack-Rat / Fledgling Fly-Baby
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Please note the 'reluctant' - I don't think you'd want to give this to a self-acclaimed hoarder. While I don't agree with every part of the KonMari method (and actually found myself smirking at some), I do think she makes enough good points to make this book very worth while.

19 Oct 2015

Readathon wrapup

Books read:
"Auggie & Me" - R.J. Palacio
"Destiny's Song" - Audrey Faye
"Veronica Decides to Die" - Paulo Coelho
"Cancer Vixen"
most of "Stray" - Andrea K. Höst

17 Oct 2015

Dewey's Read-a-thon 2015-2

Noon (T - 2 hrs) Mum and my sisters will arrive in about an hour, so I figured it was time to get this progress report started. As per usual, I'll keep all my updates in one post in order not to spam you more than necessary :)

I've gotten my pre-readathon workout sorted, and will go get dinner started as soon as I finish writing this post (gotta love my crock-pot!) so everything is ready by the time the others arrive. I've even picked out all the books, and as usual the table is groaning:

I usually get somewhere between 4-6 books read, but like having a selection to choose from rather than decide on all my reading in advance, so I'm still making up my mind which book to pick first, but I've just received a new ARC from one of my favourite authors (Audrey Faye), so I'm thinking that may feature high on my list.

See you on the flip side!

Semi-hourly progress
T-10 minutes: People have arrived, and the table is groaning even more than before! Candy, fruit, chips and BOOKS!!! We've mostly chosen our first books, and are ready to start!

Pre-Readathon Survey
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Copenhagen, Denmark.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Maria: "Auggie & Me" by R.J. Palacio. The companion novel to "Wonder" which I was just given as a birthday present and absolutely can't wait to read.
Mum: "Don't Hex With Tex" - the fourth book in a series Mum really enjoys.
Mixi: Don't know if I'll get through more than "Enchanted Inc."
Rebekka: Oh I don't know!!! Too many to choose between! Artemis Fowl perhaps?
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Maria: Rebekka made some awesome cakes (Napoleons hatte to my fellow Danes).
Mixi: Napoleons Hatte!
Mum: YES!
Rebekka: Yes, me too.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
It's become a family tradition to do the read-a-thon together. As Rebekka stated last year, it's become a tradition we need a really good reason to break! This is our third time reading together in some capacity.
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?
Maria: This is my 10th - I've much got it down. But I do love reading with my family instead of alone.
Rebekka: Nothing different. This seems to work :)
Mixi: Actually being here from the start, as I only halfway participated last time.
Mum: Sit closer to the goodies? Although perhaps it's just as well...

Hour 2: "Auggie and Me" is turning out to be a superquick read - I'm halfway already, and loving it. It totally lives up to my expectations :) Mixi and I convinced Rebekka she should pick "Wonder" as her first book, so I hope she'll like it as much as we do.

This hour's challenge is Cover Escape - pick a cover you'd like to disappear into. Genre, plot etc. doesn't matter, this is purely judging a book by its cover.

Well, I know I'm outing myself here, but this is my choice:
At this time of year, a nice, warm, sunny beach sounds like just the thing to me!

Hour 3: Still reading "Auggie and Me", but I only have 70 pages to go, so should finish within half an hour or so. It's three short stories from people in the Wonder-universe, so not as much about Auggie as about his friends. I'm really enjoying it :) The difficult thing will be to make up my mind what to read next!
The others are still reading their first books as well. Mum keeps laughing on a regular basis, so I'm glad I've started reading that series as well - sounds like it's a good one.

Hour 4: Finished A&M half an hour ago - loved it! Awesome first book for the readathon :) I picked up "The Ocean at the end of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman as my second book, but just wasn't feeling it at all, so after a mere 10 pages, I decided it wasn't readathon material and put it aside. I've never been a Neil Gaiman fan, but was told this was "Neil Gaiman for people who don't like Neil Gaiman", so was hoping I'd like it. I still may - just not right now.

Instead I picked up "Destiny's Song" by Audrey Faye, which is the ARC I mentioned earlier. I'm only 23 pages into it so far, but it seems intriguing. Definitely shades of "Crystal Singer" by Anne McCaffrey.

Mixi hogged A&M almost as soon as I finished it. She's read and loved "Wonder" as well, so wanted to read more... obviously don't blame her, considering I was exactly the same.

Hour 5: "Destiny's Song" is completely different from all of Audrey Faye​'s other books, but I'm loving it! Not quite half way yet, so it doesn't look like I'll finish before dinner.

The challenge for this hour is the "Ugly Cover Challenge" - pick the book with the ugliest cover ever, and explain why one should look past the cover and read it anyway.

My pick is "Seeing Me Naked" by Liza Palmer. The published cover isn't too bad, but the cover of the ebook as well as of the ARC that I was sent? Oh my... I actually found myself NOT wanting to read that in public.

However, it is one of the most delightful chick-lits I've read in a long time, as it combines the usual romance which the intriguing insights into the life of a pastry chef. I LOVE books that take place in the kitchens of restaurants, bakeries etc., so this book was a true gem.... once I got past the cover, that is :)

Hour 7: I'm back! After an hour long break for dinner, talking and a Bailey for dessert. Yum :) I still have 30 pages to go of "Destiny's Song" and am absolutely loving it! It's probably the best (most polished anyway) think she's written under that pseudonym :-)

The challenge for this hour is one of my favourite - Top Ten Things About Dewey's Read-a-thon!
In no specific order...
1. Uninterrupted reading time
2. Guilt-free snacking
3. Company while reading - taking a solitary act and making it social.
4. "Hygge" - the wonderful Danish word that is untranslatable but can be googled ;)
5. 'Permission' to turn down other invitations for reading.
6. Reading books I had never thought of. (Rebekka)
7. Reading for a longer period of time than I had ever thought of. (Mixi)
8. A new family tradition.
9. A twice-a-year event to look forward to.
10. Having somebody to discuss books with and get book recommendations from.

Hour 9: Finished "Destiny's Song" shortly after 9pm. Such a good book! I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series. I wasn't really feeling any of the other books I'd been considering, so picked up "Veronika Decides to Die" which Rebekka had brought along. Can't really make up my mind what I think about it yet - probably too early to say.

Mum and Rebekka have finished their books as well, so Rebekka has picked up "The Giver" and Mum's reading "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?". I believe Mixi has fallen asleep... the perils of silence and reading when one has a small child who doesn't sleep through the night ;)

Hour 10: 11pm, and all my partners in crime have left. On the other hand, Lars has just returned home, so I'm not completely alone :) I'm still reading "Veronika Decides to Die" - have another 75 pages to go I think. Still can't figure out what I think of it, but then I had much the same reaction when I read "The Alchemist", so perhaps it's just the way Paulo Coelho's books are.

Hour 11: Finished "Veronika..." 2 minutes ago. Rebekka did say the end would make or break it for me, and I think she's right. I don't yet know exactly what I think of it, but I'm glad I've read it.

It's almost midnight now though, and I'm beginning to feel the struggle ;) I'll have to pick something really good for my next book, or I'll have to admit defeat and head off to bed soon.

Hour 12: I had a text conversation with Rebekka shortly after my last update, and she told me she was powering through to finish her book, so I figured I'd attempt to stay awake with her. Taking the later hour into consideration (I'm such a party animal :-P ) I decided to pick up "Cancer Vixen" which I'd bought earlier this week specifically for the readathon. I'm just over half-way through and can't put it down! So while I may head off and finish it in bed, I'll definitely finish it before I throw in the towel for tonight.

And - as per usual in hour 12 - the mid-event survey
1. What are you reading right now? "Cancer Vixen" - a graphic memoir.
2. How many books have you read so far? I've finished 3.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? No clue... I haven't decided past my current book.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? No, just those of my own making, dinner and seeing my family off.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Not much any longer. It's exactly as I expect it to be, and I love it!

Hour 24: Yet another readathon is over. It's been a good one, with some amazing books read. None that I'd rate below 3 stars, and three 4.5-5 star books! Awesome! I sat up reading until 2am finishing "Cancer Vixen" (so good!) then slept for 7 hours and was back at reading shortly after 9am. Didn't feel like booting up my computer before now though, which explains the lack of updates from me. I'm currently reading "Stray" by Andrea K. Höst, and enjoying it a lot, but unfortunately I'm only about 75% through. Should finish it later today though, and then I can get started on all my reviews! I've had a terrific time, and as always, turning it into a family tradition has just made it so much more awesome!

Currently Reading: "Stray"
Books Read: "Auggie and Me" - R.J. Palacio (380), "Destiny's Song" by Audrey Faye (223), "Veronika Decides to Die" - Paulo Coelho (210), "Cancer Vixen" by Marisa Acocella Marchetto (224)
Pages Read: 1234

18 Sep 2015

October 17th-18th

Yes, it's that time of year again :) Dewey's 24 hour read-a-thon is just around the corner! October 17th-18th to be exact. Can't remember if the starting time has been announced yet, but it's usually noon UTC, so that's what I'm going with.

Of course I will be participating again - it's one of my favourite events :)

Once again, I will be joined by my Mum and two sisters. This year Rebekka's sister-in-law will be coming along as well. It's her first time participating in the read-a-thon, so I hope it'll be as good an experience for her as it has been for the rest of us. It'll be the tenth (I think) time I participate at all, and the third time I'll be reading with company - it's a LOT cozier with company :)

So I'll be spending the next almost-month brainstorming ideas for books to read (not sure what it says about me that I already have about 20 possibilities) and snacks to buy/bake. As per usual I'll spend the morning doing something active (to counteract all the sitting and eating I'll be doing for the rest of the day) and getting the crock-pot ready with something delicious for dinner, so we won't have to spend time preparing that once the reading has started.

It'll be awesome!

If you have suggestions of short'ish books / quick reads you'd recommend, I'm always very interested :)

25 Apr 2015

Dewey's Read-a-thon - April 2015 edition (#9)

T-2 I'm all set and ready to go :) I have spent the morning being active (always good when you intend to be stationary for the rest of the day), getting dinner ready in the crockpot, picking out books, and shopping for the last snacks. Everything is now ready, so I'm just waiting for the clock to turn 14:00 so I can start reading :)

A lot of these books are suggestions for Mum and Rebekka. I've made a vidcast about the books I'll be reading here.

As always, I'll keep my updates in just one post, so you can skip at will. Leave me a comment if you're reading along too, and a link if you have a progress post. I'd love to come cheer you on :)

Hour 0: Mum and Bekka arrived half an hour ago and we've been busy getting snacks ready and talking about all the books we want to read :) As always, we have faar to many books and far too many snacks - it's all good :)

Opening Meme:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Copenhagen, Denmark.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Maria: Probably "An Age of License" by Lucy Knisley I think, as I've wanted to read this for quite awhile.
Rebekka: None of those in my stack, but I have found a BUNCH of Maria's books that I need to borrow.
Mum: "Beauty Queens" by Libba Bray

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Mum: Rebekka's homemade raspberry cookies!
Maria: YES!
Rebekka: Yes, me too :)

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
This is the second time the three of us will be reading together - it's an awesome way to take a solitary event and make it social.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?
Maria: Nothing - this is my 9th read-a-thon, I've pretty much got it sorted.
Rebekka: Shorter books! I'm a slow reader and want to finish more books.
Mum: Nothing.

Hour 2: Rebekka finished a book after 40 minutes! Granted, it was "The Strange Library" by Murakami which is only 77 pages long, but still :)
I'm reading "A Dip in the Ocean" and am 132 pages into. It is really, really, REALLY good so far, so I'm pleased I chose that as my first book.
Mum is reading an old favourite childrens book, and looks to be about halfway

Hour 4: Not much new has happened, which is why I didn't update at hour 3. I'm still reading "A Dip in the Ocean" and really enjoy it! Have another 50 pages to go now, so should finish soon.
Rebekka's reading "Singularity" by William Sleator and Mum's reading "Beauty Queens" by Libba Bray - both my recommendations, so I hope they like them. But Mum's giggled a couple of times already, so I take that as a good sign.

Hour 5: I finished my book right as the clock struck 6pm! It was really, really good so I'm glad to chose that as my first book. However, it also took almost 4 hours to read, so I'm ready for something fast now. Possibly the graphic novel of "Coraline" that I loaded onto my iPad yesterday :)

We've also sent DH off to pick up my youngest sister, so further company will be arriving shortly :)

Hour 7: Mixi arrived about 6:30pm with my 4-month-old niece, so obviously that proved a bit of a happy distraction ;) We've also had a break for dinner, but I've still managed to finish "Coraline" since my last update. It doesn't take long when it's a graphic novel :) I've now started "The Strange Library" as Rebekka's main comment was "That's really, really weird!" -- and I got curious! Besides, it's only 77 pages - will be a quick read.

Hour 8: Really, really weird indeed! And not in a good way - mostly just as if it was weird for the sake of being weird. I didn't care much for it at all. At least it was short.

So now I've started an old teenhood favourite, "The Shadow of a Cloud". It's been 15-20 years since I read it last, so I remember next to nothing of it but I loved it back then, so I'm hoping it'll stand the test of time.

Hour 10: Everybody's left within the last hour, so I'm all alone with my books now. I've always enjoyed participating in the read-a-thons, but I absolutely LOVE it now that Mum and Bekka are part of it too (and Mixi for the last few hours :) ). I'm glad they want to and love sharing it with them. I do tend to be less active with the mini-challenges when they're here though... perhaps because I no longer feel the same need for online interaction during the read-a-thon, because I have the interaction IRL instead?

Anyway, I've just finished book #4. It wasn't quite as good as I seemed to remember, but good enough. It had an interesting development that I'd mostly forgotten, but which slowly came back to me as I got further through the book.

Now to decide what to read next. I'm not sure how much longer I'll last, so it should probably either be a reread or a read by an author I know can keep me captivated... or I may just decide to head off to bed soon, as I know Lars will wake me early tomorrow morning, so I can continue reading then instead.

Hour 11: Picked up "The Book of You" which I bought in London. It's about a woman being stalked and is utterly horrifying and unputdownable. Bed will have to wait awhile yet. Not entirely sure it's a good thing to be reading this while home alone...

The minichallenge this hour is a fun one, so I have to do it :) It's from The Girl Who Loved To Read where "the girl" asks which 3 books, published since 1990, will be considered classics in 2100 and why.

My three choices:
The Book Thief by Mark Zusak. Full disclosure - I didn't care much for this book myself, but I am so very obviously in the minority here. Everybody else seems to adore it, and find it very well written. Besides, it focuses on a different aspect of World War 2 than most books (and approaches it from a different angle) which will keep it relevant.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. This book - or series in fact - already reminds me a lot in style of the old classics like "The Count of Monte Cristo". I think it will stand the test of time well, and continue to fascinate readers.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer. Again it reminds me of a book that is a classic already - "84 Charing Cross Road" by Helene Hanff - which just strengthens my view that this will become a classic too. An epistolary novel about World War 2? It's a shoe-in.

Hour 12: Uhm... not entirely sure "The Book of You" was a good choice for this time of night. It's keeping me awake to be sure - but the problem is that it's so scary that it's keeping me TOO awake! However, I'm still only 1/3 of the way through, and as I stand a very good chance of being woken up at 7am I'd better start seeing about getting some shut-eye.

So the Mid-Event Survey... and then to bed!
Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? "The Book of You" by Claire Kendal. A total nail-biter.
2. How many books have you read so far? 4 where one was a graphic novel
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? One of Lucy Knisley's graphic memoirs.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? We had an unexpected visit from my youngest sister and her 4-month-old daughter. A very welcome distraction :)
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? How much MORE fun it is when I have people over to read with me :)

Hour 20: Fortunately sleep wasn't a problem :) And fortunately, I'd misremembered when Lars was coming home, so he didn't wake me up until 7:40! Woohoo :) Of course I got right back into reading, and am now half-way with "The Book of You". BTW, Claire Kendal responded to my tweet about her book last night!!! Woooo :D She was happy I liked her book, and sorry to scare me ;) Worth it!

Hour 21: A book is less scary when read at 10am instead of at 1pm, that's for sure! Still, "The Book of You" is a hard read, especially as I don't even think it's all that exaggerated an account of a stalker. I still have another 150 pages to go, so a lot can happen yet.

The mini-challenge this hour is to tell of that moment when you fall in love with a book.
It's happened twice to me this year that I read a book that just blew me away, and that I wanted everybody to know about.

The first time was "The Martian" by Andy Weir. I'd expected pretty run-of-the-mill sci-fi, and instead discovered a book I just couldn't put down and that left me speechless. I'd read it as an e-book and immediately went out to buy a physical copy, as I knew I wanted this standing on my shelves. Sure, it has its weaknesses, but as a whole, it is an amazing book.

The second time it happened was just earlier this month, when I fell over a random Netgalley. The cover intrigued me, so I sent in a request and was happy to have it approved. This was "Every Last Word" by Tamara Ireland Stone. I started it the following day, and pretty much didn't come up for air until I'd finished it. One of the best YA books I've read - very true and poignant, and the end had tears - good tears - running down my cheeks. It hasn't been published yet, but I can't wait for everybody to read it once it is. I'll absolutely be purchasing a physical copy of this as well!

Hour 23: Just two hours left to go now! And I just finished "The Book of You" a couple of minutes ago. I don't know... I loved it up until the last 30 pages, and now I don't know any longer. What I DO know is that I definitely have to find a happier book for my next read! Probably my last one, unless I find a really short one.

Hour 25: And done! My final book was "An Age of License" by Lucy Knisley which I finished with time to spare, putting my total at 6 books and 1327 pages! Slightly less impressive when you know that two of those were graphic works ;) I had an awesome time as always - made even better by having company yesterday! I'm going to be totally book-hungover for the rest of the day though!

Currently Reading: None
Pages read: 1327
Books read: "A Dip in the Ocean" - Sarah Outen (310), "Coraline" - Neil Gaiman (186), "The Strange Library" - Haruki Murakami (77), "Skyggen af en Sky" - Taru Väyrynen (207), "The Book of You" - Claire Kendal, "An Age of License" by Lucy Knisley (186)

27 Mar 2015

It's that time of year again....!

I have just signed up for the April 2015 Read-a-Thon on April 25th :) I don't know if I'll be able to dedicate the entire day to it (last year Rebekka had the audacity of inviting us to Emil's birthday party the day of the read-a-thon ;) ), but even abbreviated read-a-thons are a ton of fun :)

I already have some books in mind for the read-a-thon - some were even bought specifically with this day in mind ;) No, I'm not obsessed or anything ;)

Possible contenders...

18 Oct 2014

Dewey's Read-a-Thon: Progress Report

T-2: I've had a lovely morning visiting my cousin and his wife to see their newest boy :) He's just as adorable as kids that age always are :) I also got to play with his older sister for a bit, which was fun :) I really love my cousin and his family, and was thrilled to get to spend some time together with him this morning - even if it was just an hour and a half.

But now we're just two hours away from the start of the read-a-thon, and I need to get myself ready. I've gotten out the books for Mum, my sister and myself (26 in total... and that's not even counting the books Rebekka and Mum are bringing), and am now taking a short break in order to get this typed up, before heading out and preparing the crockpot for dinner. As per usual I'll have just this one progress post, and update this throughout the day. So if you're interested, you can bookmark it and come back to see how I fare, and if you're not, you can just scroll past it, and won't be spammed with tons of posts throughout the day. See how easy I make it for you? ;)

To the rest of you read-a-thon'ers out there today... happy reading :)

T-1: Opening Meme:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Copenhagen, Denmark.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Maria: NO clue! I was just talking to my sister and Mum about which book to start with, and there are SO many good ones lying on my table right now :) Probably "An Abundance of Katherines" by John Green, as I've bought that specifically for today.
Rebekka: "Dragon Bones" by Patricia Briggs
Mum: "Vi tre" by Estrid Ott - an old Danish favourite
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Let's see... Rebekka brought homemade chocolate covered marshmellows (at least, that's what the dictionary says it's called. It tastes SO much better than marshmellows!!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! This is my (Maria's) seventh read-a-thon. I'm being joined here today for the first time by my sister and mother - it's their first read-a-thons. We're all huge bookworms though, so I anticipate us having a blast!
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?
Maria: This is the first time I'm reading together with somebody else :) It'll be a fun change.
Mum: Coziness!!!
Rebekka: Reading uninterruptedly (Rebekka has three kids age 2-6)

Hour 1 (15:00): First hour up! Must say it's cozy to have company :) I changed my mind about 7 times the last 7 minutes, but ended up starting with "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" as I wanted to start with a book I knew I'd love. Worked like I charm, I've read 120 pages already.

Hour 2 (16:00): Only have another forty pages to go of CoS, so should finish that within the next twenty minutes or so. Lars arrived home during this past hour, so I had to take a bit of a break to say hi to him, which cut into my reading time of course ;)

Hour 3: Finished CoS at around the half-hour mark, and immediately picked up "An Abundance of Katherines" by John Green. I've read about 50 pages so far, so it's a bit too early to say what I think of it yet.

Hour 4: Only another 58 pages read this past hour - I got sidetracked by checking out other people's updates I think. Still, this puts me almost halfway through AAoK, so not too shabby :) I'm liking it well enough, but it can't compare to "Looking for Alaska" or "The Fault in Our Stars". Still, it has its moments, and has made me laugh out loud more than once at the sometimes irrelevant footnotes :)

Mum finished her first book in the past hour... Rebekka looks to be almost done with hers.

Hour 6 (20:00) Took a break for dinner, so 77 pages read since last update. I'm now 75% done with AAoK, so should finish by the next update. It's VERY different from his other books, but I like it.

Rebekka finished her first book in the past hour ("The Perks of Being a Wallflower") and has now borrowed my Kindle to read "Dragon Bones". Am still loving the company :)

Hour 7: Finished AAoK with plenty of time to spare. Can't quite figure out what I thought of it... it was VERY different from what I had expected, but that's hardly the book's fault. I have now turned to an old childhood favourite, about a toy elephant and its adventures in Denmark during WWII. If I recall correctly this was one of the few Danish books we brought with us to NZ back in 1990, so we go waaaaaaay back. I'm about half-way through, and though it's slightly more 'twee' than I remembered it, I'm still enjoying it.

Mum's finished her second book, and has now turned to Tamora Pierce - perfect read-a-thon material! :)

Hour 9 (22:00): Mum left half an hour ago, so now it's just Rebekka and me. I finished Bimbi ten minutes ago and have now picked up "The Peach Keeper" by Sarah Addison Allen. I'm only on page 15, so FAR too soon to say anything about it yet.

Hour 10: Rebekka's just left too, and since Lars' alarm clock goes off at 6:30am tomorrow, I think I'll call it a night and continue in the morning instead. I'm on page 66 of "The Peach Keeper". It's good, but not an instant favourite the way "Garden Spells" was.

(Almost) Hour 21 (9:45): I'm obviously getting too old for this... stuff ;) I went to bed at 11pm last night, but woke up with Lars' alarm clock, so I've been reading for almost 3 hours already (minus time to take a shower and have breakfast). I finished "The Peach Keeper" just before stopping for breakfast. My opinion from last night holds - it's good, but not nearly as great as "Garden Spells".

Now I'm trying to figure out what to pick for my 5th book... another new read, or an old favourite? I'm equally keen on both.

Hour 22: I ended up picking an old favourite, and am enjoying it immensely :) It's been an hour filled with interruptions though - the light bulb over the couch went out, and when I went to exchange it, I managed to drop the old light bulb on the table so it broke! Fortunately I was wearing shoes, but it took awhile to get rid of all the glass. So all in all I only made it to 72 pages this hour.

The Best of the Best Mini-Challenge
Best Book of Your Reading Year "A Modern Witch" by Debora Geary
Best Romance Book of Your Reading Year "To Love a Witch" by Debora Geary
Best YA Book of Your Reading Year "We Were Liars" by E. Lockheart
Best New Adult Book of Your Reading Year "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" by Maria Semple"
Best Mystery Book of Your Reading Year "Dødesporet" by Sara Blædel
Best Non-Fiction Book of Your Reading Year "Too Busy Not to Pray" by Bill Hybel
Best Sci-Fi Book of Your Reading Year "Crystal Singer" by Anne McCaffrey
Best Fantasy Book of Your Reading Year "Seraphina" by Rachel Hartman
Best Children’s Book of Your Reading Year "The Giver" by Lois Lowry
Best Fiction Book of Your Reading Year "Quentins" by Maeve Binchy
Best Main Character of Your Reading Year Menolly from "Dragonsinger" by Anne McCaffrey
Best Author of Your Reading Year Debora Geary
Best Supporting Character of Your Reading Year Lizard of "WitchLight Trilogy" by Debora Geary
Best Cover of Your Reading Year None stand out.
Best Character You Love To Have of Your Reading Year I assume this should say "love to hate"? If so, none.
Best Setting of Your Reading Year Zamonia from "The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear" by Walter Moers
Best Story Line of Your Reading Year "The Storyteller" by Jodi Picoult
Best Indie Author of Your Reading Year Not sure if Debora Geary counts, but if so definitely her.

Hour 23: Estrid Ott is one of those amazing authors whose books seldom loose their magic through the passage of time. "Reden" was a lovely read, and every bit as charming as when I first discovered it 20-25 years ago. Perfect choice for a late hour in the read-a-thon. Of course that means I once again have to figure out which book to pick next. It can't be too long though, as I now only have two hours left to finish it in.

Hour 24: The last hour is about to start! Looks as if I won't finish my last book though, as I'm only 1/3 of the way through. Never mind, doesn't matter. I'll head right back to reading and return in an hour for the end of event meme :)

The End: As rightly expected, I didn't finish "Tender at the Bone". I made it to page 168 though, which puts my total to 1197 pages! But now I'm HUNGRY! First of all it's 2pm and I haven't had lunch yet, and secondly there's just SO much good food mentioned in "Tender at the Bone"! Unfortunately all I have available for lunch is leftovers :-P

End of Event Meme:
Which hour was most daunting for you? None. I decided to take it easy this year and just go to bed when I was tired. This meant I was able to wake up when Lars' alarm clock went off, so I got a lot of extra reading done this morning to make up for it.
Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green, "Rocco" by Sherryl Jordan
Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? The cheerleaders were pretty much invisible this year. They're usually a lot more vocal.
What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? A lot of the challenges have moved to twitter and instagram as well, making it easier to participate.
How many books did you read? 5-and-a-half.
What were the names of the books you read? See below.
Which book did you enjoy most? I liked all of them, but probably "Reden". It's an old favourite, and it's been too long since I read it last.
Which did you enjoy least? Again, I liked them all, but probably "Bimbi". Another old favourite, but this one works better when read aloud than when read to myself, and in general I found it slightly "twee".
If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? N/A
How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Very likely! And as a reader once again. Perhaps I will host a mini-challenge as well. It was awesome to have company for the first 8 hours! I really loved having my Mum and sister over.

Currently reading: Tender at the Bone
Books read: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (251), An Abundance of Katherines (215), Bimbi er frihedskæmper (142), The Peach Keeper (273), Reden (148)
Pages read: 1197

10 Oct 2014

Dewey Dos and Don'ts

The read-a-thon is only a week away now, and I can't wait :)

If you decide to participate in the read-a-thon...
DO decide whether you want to do it full out or not ahead of time and arrange accordingly. There's nothing wrong with deciding to just to a 1, 2, 5 or 12 hour read-a-thon instead. No reason not to join in just because you might have a previous engagement that prevents you from reading the entire 24 hours. I've never once gone without sleep, and more often than not I've had to end early because I had church in the morning.

DO plan ahead. Let your family know you're not to be disturbed except in case of an emergency, figure out approximately which books you want to read and where they are, be sure to have stocked up on snacks, and know what you're going to do for dinner. I love my crockpot for this, as I can cook dinner before the read-a-thon even starts! Having a family member you can coerce to cook dinner for you or go get take-outs works too.

DON'T plan ahead. Yes, I'm contradicting myself, but while it is a great idea to have a general idea of which books you want to read, so you don't have to go hunting for them, don't have a set stack of books you HAVE to read during the read-a-thon. Anything can be a chore if you have to do it - even something as pleasant as reading - and in order to keep up your mojo for the entire read-a-thon, it's important to allow yourself to read where the mood takes you.

DO figure out what motivates you to keep going. For some people this may be the satisfaction of finally reading that 1000 page chunkster that's been standing on your shelf for ages. For me, it's finishing a book and being able to move it from my "To-Read" pile to the "Read" pile.

DO make a trip to the library ahead of time or in other ways stock up on "light" reads. You want a book that you can power through without too much effort. The books don't necessarily have to be short (see above - you may decide to go for one 1000 page book rather than five 200 page books), but you should stick with books that make for easy reading. Some chunksters I've happily read in a day include the later Harry Potter books, Phantoms by Dean Koontz, Paganini-kontrakten by Lars Kepler, The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson and Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer - all 500+p books.

DO take a break from sitting down every once in awhile and move around a bit. You're going to get SO stiff otherwise. Notice I didn't necessarily say take a break from reading - you know best yourself whether or not you're able to read and walk at the same time ;)

DON'T go nuts on snacks. I know it's tempting, but too much sugar is bad for your concentration.

DO remember that audiobooks and graphic novels also count. Variety is your friend.

DON'T feel bad if you get sidetracked being a cheerleader for other read-a-thon'ers or by doing the hourly challenges. Just like NaNoWriMo, the read-a-thon is all about taking a solitary activity and making it social :)

DO have fun. I know I will :)

18 Sep 2014

October 2014 Read-A-Thon is here :)

Dewey's October 2014 Read-a-Thon is almost here! Sign-ups opened yesterday, so here I am :)

The read-a-thon is Saturday, October 18th this year. When I first heard the date I originally figured that I wouldn't be able to join in, as it's Mum's birthday on the 19th, so chances were she'd plan something for the 18th. However, she had also mentioned wanting to join me for a read-a-thon, so I figured I'd ask her and see what happened.

Turned out, the more she thought about it, the more the thought of being part of a read-a-thon really appealed to her, so not only did she decided not to have any kind of celebration that day, she also decided to accept my invitation and come join me for the read-a-thon! My sister is coming along too, so we'll all disappear into my library for the read-a-thon, and only come back out for snacks and dinner! :)

It's going to be totally awesome! I can't wait :)

This will be either my fourth or fifth seventh!!! read-a-thon... I'm loosing track. It's been a terrific experience each and every time. When we come a bit closer I'll write my usual "Dos and Don'ts" for the read-a-thon, but right now I just wanted to sign up and wave my flag.

Bring on October 18th! :-)

13 Oct 2013

Read-a-Thon Mini-Challenge: Real Rebus

Good morning fellow readers, how are you holding up? Since I'm in Denmark, it's currently just coming up to 10am, and I must admit - I did not make it the whole night through. I had to get a bit of sleep. But now I'm back and going strong again. I've made it to 4 books and 1054 pages! How about you?

This mini-challenge is the Real Rebus challenge!

Find objects around your house that put together make out the title of a book. It may be one of the books you've read for your challenge, but it doesn't have to be.

For instance:

Light by Michael Grant

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

Post the photos on your blog and leave a link in Mr. Linky below.

For a second chance at the prize, guess these real rebuses I've prepared for you! :)

Leave your answers in a comment below. I'll turn on comment moderation so as not to spoil others ;)

For the first part of the mini-challenge a winner will be chosen randomly about the links in Mr. Linky.

For the second part of the mini-challenge, the winner will be the person who gets most of my real rebuses right! (1pt for title, 1pt for author, so a maximum of 18 points).

Both winners will receive an ebook copy of either A Modern Witch by Debora Geary or The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climed out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
If the same person wins both parts of the challenge they get both! :)

Have fun :)

The challenge is closed!
Iben won the random choice.
Nadia won the rebus challenge - she got 5 out of the 9 books correct.

Congratulations both of you!

Best Choice Awards

Best Book of Your Reading Year A Modern Witch by Debora Geary. It's so rare that I read the same book twice in one year, but here I just had to!

Best YA Book of Your Reading Year Feed by Mira Grant. Never knew that the zombie apocalypse could be so interesting!

Best New Adult Book of Your Reading Year ... Not sure what the difference between this and YA is, so I'll just skip this :)

Best Mystery Book of Your Reading Year Guilt by Association by Gilbert Morris. Not sure if it's really mystery, but I love it, so I'm going to let it count!

Best Non-Fiction Book of Your Reading Year Changing Gears by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

Best Sci-Fi Book of Your Reading Year Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card

Best Fantasy Book of Your Reading Year A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (only because I've already used A Modern Witch

Best Children’s Book of Your Reading Year Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

Best Main Character of Your Reading Year Lizard of Debora Geary's "Witchlight Trilogy"

Best Author of Your Reading Year Debora Geary (sensing a trend here? ;) )

Best Supporting Character of Your Reading Year Arwyn... sorry, too tired to look up the correct spelling. Still from A Modern Witch

Best Cover of Your Reading Year Once a Witch... unfortunately the cover was a lot better than the book.

12 Oct 2013

Read-a-thon Progress Report

It is now just coming on 1:30pm here in Denmark, and the read-a-thon starts in just 30 minutes! Yes, I'm ever so slightly kinda excited :) I've spent the morning preparing... picking out books and snacks, turning on the crock-pot (even if I DID forget to take the meat out of the freezer until this morning. Hope it'll still be aright) and even doing 20 minutes on the treadmill to get my blood flowing before I go sit still for 24 hours!

As per usual I will make one long progress report, rather than spam you with hourly updates, so come back to this post and see how I manage to read my way through the next 24 hours.

... or ignore this post completely if you don't care. See, I'm making it easy for you to skip my updates as well. I'm nothing if not considerate ;)
I've picked out a bunch of books in advance. I know there's no WAY I'm going to read them all, but actually that's not the idea anyway. I just want a lot of books easily available so I can go wherever the mood takes me. The books are split into 3 piles: rereads, new reads and ebooks. That should cater nicely to my every whim ;)

Hour 1 (14:00) 2pm will find me sitting in my couch in my library (where better to be for a read-a-thon) picking up Lise Bidstrup's Preppers - a dystopian teen novel that I was sent to review so I figured I'd better read it while my brain was still fresh ;) Usually I like to start a read-a-thon off with a reread, so I know I'm off to a good start, but I've read other books by this author and usually like her work, and besides, I LOVE dystopian YA, so this should be fine :) I've just had lunch, so no snacks on the table yet.

Introduction Meme
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Copenhagen, Denmark
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Probably "Preppers" actually, but I don't have a set list, so it's pretty open.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Haven't planned any specific snacks. I have some chips, some M&Ms and some of my favourite white wine, so it's all good :)
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! Let's see... I'm 34 years old, from Denmark, and IT geek by trade and have always been a huge bookworm. This is my 6th or 7th time doing the read-a-thon and I've been looking forward to it for ages :)
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? The only thing I'm doing different from last year is that I've made sure that I don't have Sunday School tomorrow morning, so I can take the day off church. That'll be the first time EVER I haven't had Sunday School on the Sunday of the read-a-thon, so it will be nice not to feel like I have to be sensible and go to bed early :)

Hour 2 (15:00) Finally my video has finished uploading to youtube! I recorded it before the readathon started, but it took over an hour to upload! It's something new I've decided to try (not just for the readathon but in general), so go to Reading Bliss if you want to check it out :)

I was quite right in assuming Prepper would be a good book to start off with. I've finished it already! Yay! Plot-wise it was okay. Not the best dystopian YA ever, but I liked it well enough. I would have preferred if it had been just a couple of pages longer though - I felt the ending was quite abrupt.

I haven't quite decided what to read next, so I think I may take an essay or two while I make up my mind :)

Mini-Challenge - Book Tunes
Find a song that goes with the book you're currently reading.

Since I've just finished "Prepper" by Lise Bidstrup which is a dystopian novel about a solar flare that will end life as we know it on earth, I guess a suitable soundtrack for that would be "We Will All Go Together When We Go" by Tom Lehrer: http://youtu.be/frAEmhqdLFs :)

Hour 3 (16:00) Decided to go with Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith which I have had very highly recommended by a friend of mine. It's an ebook though, and somehow doesn't seem to be as quick a read as I had expected it to be. I'm only at 25%.

Hour 4 (17:00) Still reading Crown Duel. It's surprisingly slow reading. It's okay, but not an instant favourite like I'd hoped. And at this speed it'll take me a couple of hours yet to read it. Weird, I'm usually a faster reader than this... at least with physical books. Ebooks do tend to be slower reading for some weird reason. Dinner's still a couple of hours away, but the crockpot is making the entire house smell delicious :)

Book Spine Poetry
The mini-challenge of this hour is an old favourite - book spine poetry! For some reason mine turned out really dark, but this is what jumped out at me when I picked out my books.
Blue Smoke
Light Gone
Angles Close My Eyes

Hour 5 (18:00) Paused briefly to put the potatoes for dinner in the oven. Fortunately Lars is fine with me reading while we eat dinner ;) Still reading Crown Duel. It's only 224 pages - how is it taking me so long to read???

Hour 6 (19:00) Finally finished Crown Duel. Still just okay unfortunately. Doubt I'll read the sequel. I knew that I needed to get my reading mojo back with a fast-paced book that I KNEW I'd love, so I've picked up Guilt by Association by Gilbert Morris. An old favourite that I for some reason haven't read in ages, but I've been meaning to reread it for quite awhile. Now's as good a time as any :) 20 minutes later, and I'm already 45 pages into it. That's more like it!

Hour 7 (20:00) Picked up my Kindle while eating dinner, as it's a lot easier to hold using just one hand. I've been wanting to read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight for ages anyway. Have only read about 16% - then I finished dinner and switched back to Morris' book - but I really like what I've read so far :)

Hour 8 (21:00) Guilt By Association is the PERFECT book for a read-a-thon. I can't put it down and disappear into it completely. Just like a read-a-thon read should be :) Highly recommendable :) It feels like a much quicker read than Crown Duel even though it's longer page-wise.

Books on Books
This mini-challenge is all about books with books! So here is a photo of some of my books that feature books on their cover :)
... I had more than I thought - this isn't even all of them :)

Hour 9 (22:00) Only another 60 pages to go - I should finish before the next hourly update. It's still just as good as I remembered it. Time-wise I'm still going strong. Not even remotely tired yet :)

THANK YOU to everybody for the comments! I'd forgotten that they don't get emailed to me when I turn on moderation, so now I know to remember to check on a regular basis. Loved hearing from you all - a special call-out to Team Fox :)

Hour 10 (23:00) Finished Guilt by Association as expected, and decided to read one of Anne Fadiman's literary essays before I moved on to Laced With Magic by Barbara Bretton. I'm only on page 13 of that though, so obviously too soon to say anything about it. I'm slowly starting to feel that I've been sitting still for many hours, but I'm holding out yet. May switch between books rather than reading each one to the end though - if I get tired enough, and old favourite might be preferable.

Book Trailer Mini-Challenge
Jehara's mini-challenge is to share our favourite book trailer. I know this isn't an official book trailer, but it really ought to be! It's definitely the best book trailer I've seen and portrayed my feelings about the final Harry Potter movie to a T.

Hour 11 (00:00) This is what I mean by reading where my mood takes me during the read-a-thon. After 13 pages I realized I really wasn't in the mood for Laced With Magic. It's probably brilliant - 13 pages is really too early to say either way - but I just wasn't in the mood. So instead I went with one of my newest comfort books, Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. Aaaahhh yes. MUCH better. I could feel myself relaxing into it. Perfect :) 60 pages into it and loving it :)

Self-Portrait Mini-Challenge
Really? A self-portrait challenge at hour 11? Okay.... don't say I didn't warn you...

Hour 12 (1:00) It's at this hour every year that I realize that I am just NOT a night owl. No matter how good the book (and it really is excellent!) I'm struggling to keep my eyes open. Lars reminded me that I can either go to bed early and get up early to read on or stay reading until late and wake up late as well. He doesn't seem to realize that my main goal is to go to bed late and wake up early anyway... not that I'm altogether convinced that'll actually work... ;)

However, it's a matter of personal pride to me always to make it to the midway meme, and this year is no different.

Mid-Event Survey
1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired? Very sleepy! It's waaaaay past my bedtime.
2) What have you finished reading? I've finished three books so far - Prepper, Crown Duel and Guilt by Association.
3) What is your favorite read so far? Definitely GbA! It's been one of my favourite books since I first read it as a teen.
4) What about your favorite snacks? Actually probably the glass of plain water that I'm drinking right now. It's helping me stay awake!
5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love! I've found two really cool blogs - Paperback Castles and Twenty Years From Now. Both are in Danish though.

... I'm missing 80 pages of my current book... should I set myself the goal of actually finishing it before I head off to bed? Not sure, but I can at least try!

Hour 13 (2:00) Still here! And now I'm only missing 30 pages of my book, so I definitely WILL stay up until I've finished it. I would have finished within this past hour, but I somehow got side-tracked exchanging "stay awaaaaake" tweets with a friend... we Danes have to stick together! Also, I have the idea that getting side-tracked is easier when you're tired... But 30 pages left, and I love this book... even if the essay "One Little Sock" breaks my heart every time.

The mini-challenge of this hour deserves a blogpost all of its own - it's the "Best Of" awards!!! ... even though completing that will probably mean I may not read the last 30 pages after all...

Hour 20 (9:00) Hi again! I did stay up to finish the last 30 pages, but then I crashed. Not as hard as I had expected though, and now I'm back! Oooh, I'm going to pay for that tomorrow! Nothing read other than those 30 pages, but I figured I'd complete a couple of mini-challenges before I jump into the frey again.

Book Jenga
I could have made this higher, but my husband is still sleeping, and I didn't want to wake him up!

Show it Off
Take a picture of a book from your library that you're particularly proud of. Well, I have many books I'm proud of - signed copies, rare copies, books I've been part of writing, but the type of book that I'm most proud of is the one where I know the author personally. Fortunately I have quite a number of those (even if the majority is as ebooks) but here are a few that I've managed to get hold of a physical copy of...

Six Word Challenge
Remember those six word memoirs? This is a six word celebration of the readathon! Easy. My contribution is
Readathon: Making a Solitary Act Social
... Because that still is what draws me most strongly to the read-a-thon :)

Next hour it's time for MY mini-challenge! :D

Hour 21 (10:00) Back at reading. I started easy with T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats which at 64 pages was a very quick finish. I've always loved those poems, and the musical Cats is still one of my favourites. I've seen it twice and would LOVE to see it again!
Anyway, I've now turned to Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan and am 60 pages into that one. So far I really like it, even if it does remind me an awful lot of Across the Universe. That's not a bad thing though - it's a brilliant series.

And this hour is my mini-challenge! The Real Rebus! Go check it out! :)

Hour 22 (11:00) I won?!?!?! I won, I won, I won!!! I've never won anything in a read-a-thon, but it's just been announced that I was chosen as the Door Prize winner for this hour. Squeeee!!!!!

Only 3 hours left!!! We can do it! :) I'm about halfway through Glow, so should be able to finish it before the end of the readathon... that is, if I don't get too sidetracked with all that's going on on twitter! :)

Turn the Page
For this challenge, you must turn to page 32 of the book you are currently reading (or the nearest page with text on it) and find the most entertaining phrase to complete the following sentence:

"I would rather read than ________ any day!"

Mine ended up being "I would rather read than cut the wires any day!" It was an action-filled page, so not much that would fit.

Hour 23 (12:00) I still have just over 100 pages to go. Should be able to finish before the end of the readathon, but it all depends on when we have to leave to go to my parents' place. I'll keep trying though! So no time for the challenge this hour. Gotta keep on reading!

Hour 24 (13:00) Leaving in 15 minutes. I have another 30 pages to go, so I'll bring the book along to read on the bus. Should be able to finish in time :) I'll be back tonight with my final wrap-up :)

End of Event survey
Which hour was most daunting for you? 13, definitely. I'm not a night owl!
Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? "Guilt by Association" by Gilbert Morris. "Glow" by Amy Kathleen Ryan.
Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope - I think you're doing great! :)
What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? The cheerleaders - great for when you're about to give up and go to sleep.
How many books did you read? Will hopefully have time to finish my 6th.
What were the names of the books you read? See below.
Which book did you enjoy most? Guilt By Association
Which did you enjoy least? Crown Duel
How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Very likely! Again as a reader, and probably doing a mini-challenge.

Wrap-up Finished Glow with 30 minutes to spare - all good :) It's been a brilliant read-a-thon and I broke my own records, but I am TIRED now! Will definitely be back next time though :)

Books Finished: 6 (Prepper (186p), Crown Duel (224p), Guilt by Association (296p), Yarn Harlot (219), Old Possum's Book... (64), Glow (385))
Pages Read: 1443 (+ 52 in books put aside)
Total Time Spent Reading: 12h
Currently Reading: All done :)

... I've turned on comment moderation in preparation for my mini-challenge in hour 21 (yeah, I know that's ages away, but I know myself well enough to know that I'll forget otherwise!). Capthas should still be turned off though - if not, please let me know and I'll do so immediately. I know how annoying they get at read-a-thons.

9 Oct 2013

Read-a-Thon - Dos and Don'ts

This is the... what... 6th? 7th? something like that... time I'll be participating in Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, and truth be told, I'm ridiculously excited about it. It's always been a fun experience, and I've been in a bit of a reading slump lately (due to not being able to read and knit at the same time...) so actually carving time into my schedule for reading is much necessary and appreciated.

If you're considering signing up for the first time (doooo eeeet!!!) I have a few recommendations, or Dos and Don'ts if you will, based on my experiences from previous years.

Be Prepared - But Not Too Prepared For a read-a-thon you'll want to read where the mood takes you - nothing breaks the reading mojo like a list of books you HAVE to get through - so I'd discourage setting a fixed goal for your reading. On the other hand, you don't want to be running around the house looking for the next book, when that time could be spent reading instead, so use a bit of time in advance to pick out possible reads, and load your e-Reader in advance... nothing worse than figuring out which book you want to read, and then having to down-/upload it first!

I have about 5-10 physical books I've picked out, and have just uploaded about 20 books to my Kindle into a special "Dewey" collection made just for a time as this :)

The Crockpot is your friend Living in Denmark my read-a-thon runs from 2pm Saturday - 2pm Sunday. Bad timing church-wise, but from a cooking POV it fits perfectly. I have plenty of time during the morning to set up my crock-pot, so by the time dinner rolls around I only have to take time out of my schedule to join Lars for the meal - not to actually cook it first!
(Of course if you have a husband/child/parent who'll cook for you - even better!!! Guess I could ask Lars to go get take-outs if I really wanted to, but crockpot meals are often nicer ;) )

If you don't have a crock-pot - leftovers are the way to go :) I might actually go that route this year, because I'm home alone Friday, so I might just make a big portion of lasagna which I'd then just have to reheat Saturday :)

Choose Wisely Not all books are read-a-thon material. This is not the time to attempt War and Peace (unless you've already read it 10 times and consider it one of your favourites - if so, more power to you! :) ). For read-a-thons you'll want short and light books. The feeling of accomplishment that follows finishing a book really spurs me on, so I, personally, am much more likely to read 4 books of 250 pages than 1 book of 1000 pages. Of course YMMV.

Rereads and comfort books are perfect for the read-a-thon. My favourite read-a-thon authors are Tamora Pierce, Anne McCaffrey, Laura Ingalls Wilder and C.S. Lewis.

Empty Your Calendar Of course, this all depends on how you want to prioritize, but add it to your calendar like any other appointment and give yourself permission to turn down other events for it. I mentioned earlier that the read-a-thon is bad timing church-wise in this time zone - somehow I have managed to be in charge of the Sunday School on the Sunday of the read-a-thon Every. Single. Year so far. This year I penciled in the date for the read-a-thon as soon as it was made public, and told the others that I wouldn't be able to come to church that day.

Just because it's an informal event performed at home doesn't mean that it's not a "real" event.

(This may not be an issue for you at all. I had a friend ask me if we could hang out on Saturday... I felt SO guilty about saying no, because it wasn't like I was doing anything important or had made a commitment to anybody other than myself. But I shouldn't feel that way - I've been planning for this read-a-thon for months! Of course, if this was a friend I only saw very rarely instead of one I see every week or so I'd probably have prioritized differently.)

Cheer on Other Readers The best thing about the read-a-thon is that it is a communal event. Like NaNoWriMo it takes a solitary event and makes it social. So go be social! Cheer on other readers and join mini-challenges. It means a LOT to me to get comments on my progress posts, so I try to post comments on other people's posts as well.

Hold Your Reviews If you like to review books (and I do), don't worry about reviewing them as you go along. That's what Sunday is for. Take notes if necessary, but otherwise just leave them for later.

Don't Get Overwhelmed Want to join but 24 hours sounds too daunting? Don't worry, just join in for as long as you can - whether that be 10 hours, 5 hours or even just 1 hour. No pressure at all.

Have Fun! After all, that's what it's all about :)

4 Sep 2013

Dewey's Read-a-Thon - Autumn 2013

Of course I'm signing up again! This year it's October 12th, and by an amazing stroke of luck my husband will be away with work that day AND I don't have church/Sunday school the following morning, so for the first time EVER I don't have to "be sensible" and go to bed at a reasonable hour ;)

Can't wait :) It's still far enough away that I have no clue what I'll be reading, but I thought I'd use this post to list ideas as I think of them. I know from earlier years that short'ish books are preferable as the thrill of finishing a book spurs me on, so I'd be more likely to make it through 5 books of 200 pages than 1 book of 1000 pages (I usually make it just over 1000 pages for a read-a-thon). Also physical books are better than ebooks - probably for much the same reason, I need to be able to FEEL the amount of pages left to read getting smaller.

Suggestions and recommendations are ALWAYS welcome :)

* The End of Summer - Rosamunde Pilcher
* The Descendants - Kaui Hart Hemmings
* Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer
* Joy for Beginners - Erica Bauermeister
* A Dip in the Ocean - Sarah Outen (slightly longer, but has lots of photos, so it might still work=

Slightly longer books that might still work as they seem like light reads.
* Magic or Madness - Justine Larbalestier
* Laced with Magic - Barbara Bretton
* Glow - Amy Kathleen Ryan

Possible e-books
* Crown Duel - Sherwood Smith
* Battle Magic - Tamora Pierce
* Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn
* Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
* Real Mermaids Don't Hold Their Breath - Helene Boudreau
* Holidays on Ice - David Sedaris (a book of essays could be both a good or a bad thing... we'll see...)

30 Apr 2013

Top Ten Words/Themes That Trigger Book Buying

Saw this Top Ten at Giraffe Days and thought it was brilliant! It was originally posted at The Broke and the Bookish as "Top Ten Words", but Giraffe Days expanded it to Words/Topics, and I approve of that alteration ;) There are absolutely some topics/themes that make me instantly attracted to a book.

  1. Books
    I love books about books, and possibly fiction a tiny bit more than non-fiction (although "Ex-Libris" by Anne Fadiman is terrific!). Books like "People of the Book" (Geraldine Brooks) and "The City of Dreaming Books" (Walter Moers) are among my favourites.
  2. Amnesia
    GiraffeDays mentioned this, and I have to agree. I feel drawn to it in a way I can't quite explain. ... Unless the amnesia turns out to be schizophrenia-induced though. That's a cop-out along the lines of "And then he woke up and it was all a dream" and has unfortunately been used in a few too many books.
  3. Letters
    Epistolatory novels are right up my aisle. From "Daddy Long-Legs"/"Dear Enemy" (Jean Webster) to "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" (Mary Ann Shaffer) - I love them all.
    Not just letters either - it's the same with books made up of journal entries. I LOVED Bram Stoker's "Dracula", because it was a bit of everything :)
  4. Wacky/Long Titles
    Actually it was writing the above that made me thing of this. I picked up books like "TGL&PPPS", "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" (Mark Haddon) and "The Hundred-Year-Old Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" (Jonas Jonasson) purely because of their titles. Fortunately none of them have disappointed me yet ;)
  5. Knitting
    Not just knitting, but most apparent with knitting. It must be a craft thing...or rather, the social aspect of doing a craft, but I just love reading books with knitting circles, scrapbooking societies etc.
    The only problem with this kind of book is that I'm always of two minds! Do I want to read? Or do I want to knit? Both!!! I really need to learn how to do both!
  6. Dystopia (Post-Apocalypse)
    I've been on a dystopia/post-apocalypse kick lately (I know they aren't exactly the same, but they overlap enough for me to never be quite sure whether a book is one or the other or perhaps both), and there have been very, very few that I didn't love.
  7. New Zealand
    Granted, this is mostly when I feel particularly homesick but everything else being equal I'm more drawn to a book that takes place in New Zealand than to a book that takes place almost anywhere else.
    Soul-Country indeed :)
  8. Boarding Schools
    For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by the life at boarding schools - even before I attended one myself. I still love reading about them and one of the appeals of Harry Potter was definitely all the descriptions of life at Hogwarts.
  9. Cruise
    Possibly because I've always wanted to go on a cruise myself. One of these days...
    (Yes, I'm kidding with the example, but only kinda... after all, this WAS my first introduction to the topic and quite possibly what caused it to be a trigger)
  10. Happiness Project
    This is happiness projects as a theme rather than as the actual words (although I do love Gretchen Rubin's two books :) ). Memoirs of people who go on a quest - mentally or physically - to improve their own happiness. "Julie & Julia" (Julie Powell) and "Changing Gears" (Nancy Sathre-Vogel) are two excellent examples of this genre. If you have any other recommendations, please let me know! :)