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 :)