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 :)