28 Dec 2016

Top Ten Books of 2016

It's that time of year again :-) I know we still have three days left of the year, but I'm going to call it now.

I haven't been quite as lucky with my book picks this year, for some strange reason, so the 5-star books (non-rereads anyway) have been sparser than usual, and there's been no one book that has blown me away.... which actually made it harder to pick a top 10, because once I was through the 5 star books, there were SO MANY 4 star books left to chose from! #firstworldproblems, I know ;)

In no particular order...
The Girl With All the Gifts - M.R. Carey Fascinating book that once again made me review my "I don't like zombie-novel" stance. Apparently I just don't like 'traditional' zombie novels. This was extremely clever and had me eagerly turning pages.
Britt-Marie Was Here - Fredrik Backman After having been somewhat disappointed by the first book I read by Fredrik Backman ("A Man Called Ove"), I absolutely LOVED this one! I laughed, I cried and I fell in love. Wonderful comfort read.
Caszandra - Andrea Höst The third book in the Touchstone Trilogy, but I read the first one (Stray) in 2015, so that one doesn't count. Possibly the best new series I read this year.
Wrong Way Round - Lorna Hendry No top ten list of mine is complete without at least one travelogue, apparently ;) This year it was a toss between this one and David Cohen's "One Year Off", but at the end of the day, I liked this one a tiiiny bit more... besides, I always love reading about Australia.
The Book of Life - Deborah Harkness The very suitable end to the All Souls trilogy. I felt positively book-hungover when I finished this one, and most of all wanted to turn to the very first one and read them through all over again :-) If there was a contender to "best book of the year", I think it would be this one. They just worked for me.
Time and Time Again - Ben Elton VERY different from the other books I've read by Ben Elton, and probably his best. But then, I love time travel stories, even when they sometimes take some suspension of disbelief. This had definite shades of Stephen King's "11/22/63" but with enough of a twist to not seem derivative. I loved it.
Wish Upon a Star - Trisha Ashley Don't let the cover fool you - this is not a Christmas story, it is just a very cozy comfort-read where the last few chapters happen to take place over Christmas. But what an awesome comfort-read! I have a feeling this will be a regular reread.
Delicious! - Ruth Reichl Not quite as much a foodie book as I had expected, but I still loved it, and wish we could have read more about the magazine.
The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware My favourite kind of thriller - no leaps of logic, no supernatural events, no (or little) gore and a good explanation for everything! Together with "The Couple Next Door" by Shari Lapena these were the best thrillers I've read all year.
You Were Here - Cori McCarthy NOT your run-of-the mill YA. Partly because it was written in part prose, part graphic novel and part art poetry. I didn't think it would work, but it totally did, and ended up being one of the most 'true' coming-of-age stories I've read in a long time.

Honorable Mention: Take It as a Compliment - Maria Stoian. I found this graphic memoir deeply disturbing, so couldn't in good faith call it one of the best books I read in 2016... but it's without a doubt one of the most important books I read. This should be made mandatory reading in high schools.

22 Oct 2016

Dewey's Progress Report 2016-2

T-3 (11am): Only three more hours to go! Isabella and I are getting very excited :) As always I'll combine all my updates into one entry so as not to spam you too much. Ignore at will ;)

Isabella arrived last night, so she could spend the night with me and help prepare for the readathon. We've had a lovely time knitting, talking and picking out books, and this morning we went for a loooong walk in the rain (my legs are feeling that now!), so we can play couch potatoes with a clear conscience for the rest of the day.

All that's left now is to get some lunch and get the crockpot started. Mum and Mixi will arrive around 1pm, so we have an hour to get the last things ready before it all kicks off at 2pm DK time :-)

Hour 1 (14:00): We're all here, and the table is groaning just as much as usual. I should really take a photo, but we've been too busy talking - I'll get right on that ;)

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?
Mixi: That would require me knowing which books I'm going to read! I never make up my mind ahead of time.
Isabella: The one I'm going to start with - "Urchin and the Heartstone".
Mum: "Across the Universe" by Beth Revis - Maria received it for her birthday and I've been wanting to read it ever since.
Maria: I'm like Mixi - no clue yet which books I'm going to read. I'm going to start with "Britt-Marie was here" though.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?:
Isabella: The chocolate with liquorice that Maria has.
Mixi: The marzipan Mum brought.
Mum: The cookies Isabella and I made
Maria: Yeah, same here - although the nuts are good too.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! The last several years we've been doing readathon together as a family - three generations. This is Isabella's second, Mixi's third (and a half), Mum's fifth and Maria's.... I can't even count any longer. 14th, I think? I (Maria) had a blast doing it by myself, but it's even more fun with family... even if it is a bit less reading and more talking. It's heaps cozier this way :-)

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?
Isabella: Read more than I did last time.
Mum: Try to eat less snacks, perhaps?
Mixi: Try not to fall asleep.
Maria: Nothing, I think - I've pretty much got it sorted by now.

6) Which book are you going to start with?
Isabella: The same book I mentioned before.
Mixi: "Everything Everything" which Maria recommended.
Mum: "Poison Study" - I need to reread the series to get to "Shadow Study".
Maria: "Britt Marie was Here" - a good friend of mine loaned it to me just earlier this week :)

Hour 2 (15:00): As always the first hour flew. I've read the first 98 pages of "Britt-Marie Was Here", and have laughed out loud on several occasions. So far it's a LOT better than "A Man Called Ove" - I'm really enjoying it. A bit of a slow read, so I probably won't finish this side of dinner, but that's fine... it's not like it's a race anyway :)

Hour 3 (16:00): Still hugely enjoying "Britt-Marie Was Here". It's funny and sweet and all the things everybody told me that "A Man Called Ove" was, but I just didn't see. I'm loving every minute of it :-)

Mixi has switched to an audiobook in order not to fall asleep, but Mum and Isabella are still going strong on their books.

Hour 4 (17:00): 266 pages down, another 110 to go. I love starting the readathon with a really brilliant book! As expected, I probably won't finish before dinner, but I don't care - it's awesome!

Hour 5 (18:00): 30 pages left to go. It suddenly took a change for the... neither better nor worse, just more serious. I think I might HAVE to finish it before dinner. I highly recommend "Britt-Marie Was Here" - it's blowing my mind.

Hour 7 (20:00): Finished two books since my last update. I loved, loved, LOVED "Britt-Marie Was Here". It was everything I'd hoped "A Man Called Ove" would be, but wasn't - this one delivered. SO good. Funny and poignant - a 5 star read.

The second book was different - at just 58 pages "Wool" was very quickly read, but I really don't know what I thought of it. Not at all what I had expected, and a very weird reading experience indeed. I can't figure out where Hugh Howey will go from here, and am still making up my mind if I want to continue with the next one in the series or move on to something else entirely.

Hour 8 (21:00): Finally decided to pick up "Magic Steps" by Tamora Pierce. A reread, but between saying goodbye to Mixi, being distracted by social media and two false starts (turns out I have very little patience for straight-forward chick-lit any longer), I got very little reading done this past hour, and needed something to kickstart my reading again. Ah well, 31 pages is still better than nothing! :)

This hour's Mini-challenge is a fun one:
This challenge seems simple: if money and time were no object (you’ve won the biggest lottery jackpot ever, and your boss is totally fine with you taking all of the time off work you need), where would you go to experience your favorite book(s) or series? Fictional places count too, of course.

Isabella: I would want to visit Mistmantle - the universe of "Urchin".
Mum: I want to go to Narnia - and stay long enough to explore the country - meeting walking trees and talking animals.
Maria: For once, I didn't even have to think about it. I want to go to Narnia. It's always been the "country" that fascinated me the most. I want to meet the fauns and the dryads, see the wonders of Cair Paravel and even - if I'm lucky enough - talk to Aslan, and ask to touch his mane.

Hour 9 (22:00): Mum just finished her first book ("Poison Study" by Maria V. Snyder) and she and Isabella left shortly after, as it's getting quite far past Isa's bedtime ;) So now I'm back to reading on my own again. As always, it has been a delight to have company :). I'm enjoying "Magic Steps"... Tamora Pierce has always been a good author for a readathon. Don't know if I'll continue through the entire quartet, but I still have 150'ish pages to go of this one, so there's still plenty of time (okay, an hour or two) before I have to decide.

Hour 10 (23:00): I woke up at 6:45 this morning, and am starting to feel that now. I probably won't last much longer, but at least want to finish the book I'm currently reading. That's another 70 pages, so a little under an hour at my current speed. We'll see.

Hour 11 (00:15): I got kinda distracted over the last hour as I discovered I'd won a door prize! How awesome! :-) Any book up to $15 from bookdepository.com - don't mind if I do ;-) But I've finished "Magic Steps" now, and actually got my second wind as well, so I may stay up a bit longer after all. Just need to figure out what to read next... I'm thinking it might be time to pick up "French Milk" by Lucy Knisley. The witching hour seems a suitable time for a graphic memoir.

Hour 21 (10:00): I slept in much later than I had expected to this morning - must be getting old! But since my last update I finished "French Milk" and started "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry". I've had the latter recommended to me several times, but just never got around to reading it before now. I'm only 57 pages into it, but so far it seems like a pleasant read. At 357 pages, it might be the last one for this readathon though... we'll see - all depends on how quick a read it turns out to be... and how sidetracked I get by shiny things on the internet, now that my partners in crime are no longer here ;)

Hour 22 (11:00): Can't quite make up my mind what I think of "The Unlike Pilgrimage..." It's slow-moving and charming and very British. I'm on page 127 now, so managed 70 pages within the past hour (not counting the time I messed around online ;) ), meaning I shouldn't have any problems finishing before the end of the readathon. Three more hours to go!

Hour 23 (12:00): Another 80 pages since my last update, so I'm moving at a good pace. The book is very different from what I had expected though. I'd heard it compared to "The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared", but I don't see that at all. That's not to say I don't like it - it's just not what I had thought.

Hour 24 (13:00): The last hour! As always, the readathon has sped past in no time at all! I have another 70 pages to go, so should finish my final book with time to spare :) I've spent most of the last hour snuggled up in bed next to Lars, which is always a cozy place to read :)

Hour 25 (14:00): THE END! Finished my last book with 10 minutes to spare. Unfortunately I must conclude that I really didn't care for it. It was well-written, but kinda depressing. Oh well...

But as always, I've had an awesome time with the readathon. I love sharing it with my family, and I love the way it takes a solitary event and makes it social.

'Till next time :)

End of Event Survey
Which hour was most daunting for you? 11/12 - I'm not a night-owl and usually have to give up around that time. Even more so this year, as I woke up annoyingly early Saturday morning, and was already pretty tired.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Anything by Tamora Pierce, the graphic memoirs by Lucy Knisley.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?
What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Easiest to answer these two together. I liked that all the participants were listed on the website, with where to find them - however, I would have liked for them to be listed alphabetically, and possibly in a way that didn't require quite so much scrolling (looks like the lists were imbedded in iFrames that were slightly too small for the page). Both minor details though.

How many books did you read? 5

What were the names of the books you read? See below.

Which book did you enjoy most? "Britt-Marie Was here" - SO good!

Which did you enjoy least? "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" - can't really explain why, but I didn't care for it much.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? About 110% likely! I plan to enter the date into my diary as soon as it's made public. I love participating in the readathon and would need a VERY good reason to miss it. I'll participate as a reader, and perhaps volunteer for writing a warm-up post, if they'll have me :)

Books read: "Britt-Marie Was Here" - Fredrik Backman (377), "Wool" - Hugh Howey (58), "Magic Steps" - Tamora Pierce (263), "French Milk" - Lucy Knisley (194), "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" - Rachel Joyce
Pages read: 1249
Currently reading: -

18 Oct 2016

Suggested Reading - Readathon Edition

It's almost heeeeere!!! Just a few more days left to go. This year I'll be joined by my mum, my youngest sister and my oldest niece. Not as many as last year, but a small and cozy group :-)

I like having a large group of books picked out for the readathon - far more than I'll EVER have time to read, but enough for a decent selection so I won't feel limited by my choices, while still having made some of the decisions ahead of time, so I don't get overwhelmed from quickly having to choose between the thousands of books in my physical and digital libraries.

All this to say that I KNOW the list below is ridiculously long (I usually read 4-5 books for a readathon), but I think it'll give me a nice selection to choose from on the 22nd :)

Maria V. Snyder - If it wasn't for the fact that I've just finished my recent reread of her books in the Ixia/Sitia series, I'd definitely consider these books as they are the perfect readathon material. As it is, I'll be recommending them to my mum :) I might give "Inside Out" a try though, even though I know it's a completely different genre.

Tamora Pierce - I've read all but "Battle Magic", so this might be a good opportunity to reread some of my favourites in the Circle universe, and perhaps make my way up to that one. I know from some of the earliest years, that Tamora Pierce makes for wonderful readathon reading, as her books are ridiculously readable, usually quick to get through, and always leave me wanting more.

Britt-Marie Was Here - Fredrik Backman - I read "A Man Called Ove" at the last readathon, and a friend of mine was kind enough to make sure I could get my hands on one of his other books for this one :)

Wool - Hugh Howey - I've had Hugh Howey's books recommended to me so many times that it's almost getting ridiculous that I haven't read them yet, and as each of the five individual novels that makes up the omnibus is only 50-70 pages long, a few of those seem perfect for the readathon. Especially as it isn't much of a commitment if I discover they aren't my cup of tea.

Love & Gelato - Jenna Evans Welch At 400 pages it's a bit longer than what I usually prefer for a readathon, but it looks to be a quick read, and YA often makes for good readathon material :)

Nerve - Jeanne Ryan I've been wanting to read this ever since I saw the trailer for the movie. If it's as fast-moving as the movie trailer makes it out to be, it'll be perfect for the late hours when I'm fighting to stay awake.

Pivot Point - Kasie West. YA - check. Dystopian - check. Intriguing worldbuilding - check. Again a bit longer than I usually go for, but I skimmed the first two pages and am already hooked!

French Milk - Lucy Knisley. Graphic novels / memoirs are perfect for readathons :) So far I've loved everything I've read by Lucy Knisley, so I have high hopes for this one.

Dark Matter - Blake Crouch. Don't actually have my hands on this one yet, but it's on its way in the mail, and I'm HOPING it'll arrive in time. True, it might not be readathon material at all, but I've heard so many good things about it, that I'm really eager to get started on it.

The Lost Art of Mixing - Erica Bauermeister. The two other books I've read by Erica Bauermeister have been quick and enjoyable reads, that I read in a day each, even without the lure of a readathon. I finally got my hands on this sequel to "The School of Essential Ingredients", and am eager to read it (although I may decide to reread TSoEI first, as it's been a few years, and I don't remember many details).

Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris In theory I like essay collections for readathons, as I can just pick an essay or two as the mood strikes me. In practice I tend to get caught up in the author's writing and end up reading all of it! Still, it's going on my list.

5 Jul 2016

Top Ten Books That Just Aren't Appreciated Enough

Some books disappear into obscurity through no fault of their own. In order to do a bit of signal boosting on their behalf, here are my top ten books that have under 2000 reviews on Goodreads.

I'm going to exclude Danish books (as that wouldn't be a fair fight) and new releases (as they haven't had a chance to prove themselves yet).

This was difficult! On first look-through I ended up with 20 books I'd like to give a signal boost. All taken from my 5-star shelf on Goodreads. In order to keep myself from going nuts with indecision, I decided to limit myself further to only choosing books I've read more than once, under the theory that I know these will pass the test of time or something ;)

In no particular order...
The Wild Swans - Peg Kerr
Part 17 century England, part 20th century America. seamlessly weaves together the stories of Eliza, who has to save her 11 brothers who've been turned into swans and of Elias, who battles with AIDS in 1981 New York. It's been far too long since I read this last. I absolutely adore it.

Leaning on a Spider's Web - Jennifer Rees Larcombe
(Sorry, the Danish cover is so much prettier than the English! ;) )
I can't believe this book only has 3 reviews and 12 ratings! Granted, it's not a book I'd recommend to a non-Christian, but it is one of my very favourite Christian books. I discovered it first as a teen and have reread it several times since then.

Library of the Dead - Glenn Cooper
(a.k.a. Secret of the Seventh Son)
One of the best thrillers I've ever read. Tying together events in Las Vegas and New York of 2009, Area 51 of 1947 and Isle of Wright of 777 this made for fascinating reading! It's the first book in a trilogy but is nicely contained with no real cliffhangers.

Guilt By Association - Gilbert Morris
(a.k.a. "One By One")
A Christian suspense/mystery that's fascinated me from the very first time I read it. I enjoy mysteries where the clues are out there for the reader to see... not that I came even close to guessing the first time I read it, but on subsequent read-throughs, it's fun to pay attention to them.

The Rosary - Florence L. Barclay
An underrated classic. While definitely predictable in plot (at least in places), the writing is so incredibly beautiful that it's well worth reading.

A Modern Witch - Debora Geary
Are y'all really surprised that this made the list? But with less than 1000 reviews it has definitely been overlooked by the general public. I am so grateful to for recommending it to me - it's become a fast favourite of not just me, but my entire family. Comfort reading of the best kind!

Singularity - William Sleator
More people need to read this book! This was my introduction to sci-fi as a young teen and I still love it every bit as much as I did back then - even if I do know it practically off by heart ;) At 176 pages it's short enough that it can easily be read in a single sitting - and I usually do :)

Dragonsinger - Anne McCaffrey
It really surprised me that book two in the Harper Hall trilogy had less than 500 reviews! This is without comparison my favourite Anne McCaffrey book. I love reading about Menolly's life at Harper's Hall, and wish it had been much, much longer.

And All the Stars - Andrea K. Höst
Something as rare as a stand-alone science fiction novel! I was fortunate enough to receive it as an ARC in 2012 and immediately fell in love. It's "Tomorrow When the War Began" meets "The Host". Amazing.

The Yada-Yada Prayer Group - Neta Jackson
Ending up with another huge favourite of mine. This first book in the Yada Yada series is overlooked by far too many. Granted, some may think it's too saccharine in places, but it remains by far the best Christian fiction I've ever read. I first came across this series in 2008 and have read it through 4 times already in the years since.

3 May 2016

Top Ten Childhood Characters We'd Like to Revisit as Adults

Today's Top Ten is to pick ten childhood characters we'd like to read about as adults (like a novella or something to see what they grew up to be). I thought that was a fun and unusual topic, so here goes :)

The girls from the Baby-Sitters' Club by Ann M. Martin - from about age 10-13 this was my all-time favourite series, and I still reread the best books on a regular basis as guilty pleasure reading. I'd love to know how the girls (at least the original bunch - I never got to care much for Abby) grew up.

Charlie Bucket from Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" - what happened to Charlie and his family after they moved to the Chocolate Factory? Did he stay as sweet and innocent as he was as a child?

Julian, Dick, George and Anne from Enid Blyton's Famous Five - this was my very first favourite series. I think this must have been some of the first chapter books I read, and I devoured the entire series - I prefered the originals of course, but quite liked some of the ones written by ghost-writers as well. Did they continue to get into as many scapes when they grew up? Did George finally resign herself to being a girl?

Ronja from Ronja Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren - did she and Birk manage to break away from their parents' expectations and become honest citizens?

Menolly from Anne McCaffrey's Harpers Hall trilogy - I've always found it hugely unfair that the third book wasn't really about Menolly at all. I wanted to read more about HER! I want to know more about her life as a harper, and if she ever made peace with her family (or at least her brother).

Alanna from Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness Quartet - I know that we get to see glimpses of her in the other books set in Tortall, but I'd love another book where she is the main character. She's always been my favourite, and I'd love to read more about what she's up to, balancing being a mother, a wife and a lady knight.

Melanie from Stephenie Meyer's The Host - okay, so I know this wasn't a childhood read, but seriously - what happens next?! Goodreads has been teasing me with sequels 'in the works' for YEARS now, and I'm starting to fear it just won't happen.

Gregor from Suzanne Collins' Gregor the Overlander - what happens next? Does he ever return to the Underworld? Does Boots remember any of her wild adventures as she gores up?

Cirena and Karano from Dennis Jürgensen's Dystopia - I've always been both relieved and sad that this is a stand-alone novel. Relieved, because it's so rare in the fantasy genre. Sad, because it is so amazingly brilliant! One of my top ten favourite books EVER. I reread it on a regular basis, even though I practically know it by heart by now. I'd love to hear what happens to both Dystopia and Frir/Lumber next.

... Can't think of the last one, so I'll just leave it here. Besides, if you count individual characters instead of series/books, I'm long past 10 anyway ;)

Until a few years ago, I'd have added Elizabeth and Jessica from Sweet Valley High to this list as well, but thanks to Sweet Valley Confidential, now I know!

23 Apr 2016

Dewey's Read-a-thon - Progress Report

T-4 hours: Not much longer to go now, so I figured it was time to get the placeholder for my progress report down :) I've picked out all the books, tidied the house so it's ready for the invasion, and just need to get dinner underway before the rest arrive. My niece, Isabella came over yesterday and has spent the night here, so she's kindly offered me to chop vegetables for dinner once she's finished the mouse she's currently crocheting :) We've had an awesome time getting our crafty geek on, watching movies, talking, putting on nail wraps (link goes to photo of our hands... even though hers keep falling off :-P Not sure if her nails aren't long enough, or if there's something weird going on with the chemistry of her nails, or if it's just because it doesn't work as well with a hair dryer as with a hot plate - ah well, she doesn't seem to mind terribly) and just generally having a lovely time together :) And now she's really eager for the readathon to start (so am I, mind you), so she can start both the book she brought along with her, and one of the ones I picked out for her.

Since she's here, I won't be following my usual tradition of going on the treadmill this morning, but I went both swimming and biking yesterday, so I'm going to count that!

Isabella has finished her mouse - time to go start dinner :) As usual, I'll just keep updating this post with my progress reports so I don't spam you too much... I'm so considerate that way... and modest too ;)

Let me know if you're reading along too - would love to come cheer you on :)

Hour 0: The house is full with people excited to read :D Love hearing all the chatter :)
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?
Rebekka: If I knew, I would start with that one! I want to read Fangirl, Paper Town, WitchLight, Undomestic Goddess, Casting Spells, Joy for Beginners, and Looking for Alaska!
Nina: Casting Spells
Michala: Aaaah!! I don't know either!
Isabella: Dark Tide
Mum: A Man Called Ove
Me: I don't know either - I never make up my mind until 3 seconds before we actually start.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Rebekka baked some awesome cookies as always. Mum brought along strawberries which is all kinds of excellent!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
As usual, we're turning this into a family event. I'll be my 12th time, Mum's and Rebekka's fourth time, Mixi's second time and Isabella and Nina's first time!
5) What are you most looking forward to about the readathon
Nina: Reading together with you guys.
Isabella: Because I get to read for hours of end without Mum telling me to do something else.
Rebekka: The reading experience.
Michala: The 'hygge'... and Rebekka's cookies.
Mum: Being together with you all.
Maria: Yup, me too... and then the reading of course :)

Rebekka, Michala and I still need to make up our minds which books to start with - I always change my mind 309 times within the last five minutes... that's part of the fun! ;)

Hour 1: As usual, we kept chatting until the very last minute, until Mixi suddenly called out "It's time!" and we all immediately stopped talking, and picked up our books. Nina looked around bemused, "This suddenly got silly!", but then picked up her book as well, and we've all been quietly reading ever since, with only a "please pass the M&Ms" to be heard. I ended up picking up "A Man Called Ove" as my first books, and am about 100 pages into it. I'm really enjoying it so far - much the same type of humour as "The Hundred-Year-Old Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared". Should take me another 2-3 hours to finish though, so I'll probably only have time for that one before dinner.

Mum is reading an old YA, Rebekka and Mixi are reading "If I Stay" and "Where She Went" respectively, and Nina is reading a book by Janet Evanovich. Isabella is reading "Dark Tide" as expected :)

Hour 2: Nina has finished her first book, and was very unimpressed when she heard there was no prize for doing so ;) Mixi took a small nap... having a 16-month-old daughter around takes its toll. And we've determined that Isabella reads almost as quickly as I do. Good girl!

Hour 3: Just a quick update before I get up to put the potatoes in the oven for dinner. I've another 80 or so pages to go of my book, so should finish before dinner. I can't quite make up my mind what I think of the book... It's fairly similar to "The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared" in genre, but without the same vitality that made that book so incredibly charming. I think the last quarter will make it or break it.

Last hour's Mini-Challenge was to write a five-word book story. I came up with "A full library - happiness achieved". Rebekka's was "She read it, and died."

Mum's finished her first book as well, and is trying to figure out what to read next :)

Hour 6: Took a break for dinner, but now we're back :) I finished "A Man Called Ove" just before dinner as expected. It was good, but not as amazing as I'd expected from other people's recommendations. Ah well. Haven't yet decided what to pick up next, which is why I figured I'd update here first.

Lars arrived home just in time for dinner :) Perfect timing.

Hour 8: I decided to pick up "Wrong Way Round" - an Australian travelogue, which is so far charming me completely. Mum finished her second book (another Danish YA), and has picked up "If I Stay" which Rebekka finished earlier this hour. She's picked up "Seeing Me Naked" which I remember hardly anything about, other than that it was one of the most charming chick-lit books I read in 2007.

And may I just take this moment to recount how much I LOVE that this is now a family event!!! Three generations this time, sitting around, having an awesome time with each our books. I love it :)
Nina left shortly after dinner though, and Mum and Isabella are leaving now... it's already long past a small girl's bedtime, but fortunately her mother has always been of the opinion that a good experience is worth staying up late for ;)

Hour 9: Only managed 30 pages this past hour, due to taking time to see Mum and Isabella off, as well as discussing new book ideas with Mixi who's finished "Where She Went", and after a lot of debating turned on to an audiobook as her next read. I am absolutely LOVING "Wrong Way Round" though - definitely awesome readathon material!

Hour 10: I'm starting to feel the effects of a long few days. It's 11pm and I'm getting decidedly tired. Fortunately the book is still fascinating enough to keep me captivated though - AND it's making me want to go back to Australia and see some of the sights mentioned here! Highly recommend this book if you want to live vicariously through others.

Hour 11: Rebekka and Michala left shortly after my last update, so now I'm reading on my own again (although it's nice to have Lars back :) ) and am wondering how much longer I'll last. My book is still really amazing, but surprisingly slow reading. Not quite sure what that is... the type isn't that small... perhaps it's just that I keep flipping back and forth to follow their trip on the map... or perhaps it's just that I'm getting tired ;) I have another 70 pages to go, and would like to finish that before I head off to bed, but am not quite sure I'll manage.

Hour 11.5: I'm throwing in the towel. I'm going to call it a night and read on in the morning. Totally weird to only have made it to 543 pages on the first day, but I'm just not reading this book at anywhere near the speed I usually do. No matter - I'm enjoying it hugely, and that's the important part :) However, just this once I'm going to give up before the mid-event survey... the questions all tend to be the same each year anyway ;)

See you when I wake up again.

Hour 20: Hi again :) I've been awake for an hour, and just finished "Wrong Way Round". SUCH a good book! One of the best travelogues I've read, I think. So even if it was slow reading, it made for perfect readathon material :)

Next up is "Attachments" by Rainbow Rowell. I've loved almost everything else I've read by her, so I have high hopes :)

Hour 22: Definitely a good book for a readathon! I'm flying through it, and am on page 120 already. Now that's more like it! Apparently "Wrong Way Round" was just a book one had to read slowly to savour. No matter - I'm happier having savoured it, than rushing through it, not remembering half of what I read.

But anyways, "Attachments" - light and engaging, just as I've come to expect from Rainbow Rowell. I'm about a third through, and while I don't like it quite as much as neither "Landline" nor "Fangirl", so far I'm enjoying it a lot more than "Eleanor and Park".

This hour's challenge is to describe the perfect reading day. I'm not sure I have one - any weather is perfect for reading. If it's rainy and windy outside, I curl up on the couch in our den with a blanket (can't wait for my hand-knit one to be finished! Isabella and I took it for a test snuggle yesterday, and it'll be perfect!) and a cuppa. If it's sunny but cold outside, I curl up on the couch in my library where I can enjoy the sun's rays from the warmth and comfort of inside. And if it's sunny and warm outside, I can bring out the hammock stand, and curl up there!

So obviously, "curling up" is the important thing ;)

Hour 23: Another 80 pages read since my last update, so I should easily finish this book before the end of the readathon :)

Hour 24: Final hour! The end is coming far too quickly - just as always. Lars saw me pottering around on the computer earlier and commented "It's the readathon and you're not reading. This is embarrassing!" Hehe ;) I only have another 50 pages to go of "Attachments" though, so should easily finish before 14:00. It'll be the first time I've only read 3 books, but I don't care - they've been good ones :) (And all physical books that I can now take off my TBR-shelf! Woohoo! That totally counts for something too!)

The End Finished with 10 minutes to spare. That was an utterly adorable book, and I'm glad to have read it :) Thus concludes yet another readathon. 6 people, 24 hours, 3 books and 951 pages. First time in awhile I didn't reach 1000 pages, but also the first time in awhile I read absolutely no graphic novels/memoirs as part of the readathon.

End of Event Survey
Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 11 or 12. I'm really not good at staying up much past midnight!
Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Pretty much anything by Rainbow Rowell or Tamara Ireland Stone, "Wonder", "The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight".
Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season? Not really.
What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? The cheerleaders were more visible than last year, which was nice :)
How many books did you read? 3
What were the names of the books you read? "A Man Called Ove", "Wrong Way Round" and "Attachments".
Which book did you enjoy most? "Wrong Way Round". Utterly charming and an awesome book to live vicariously through.
Which did you enjoy least? "A Man Called Ove". Not that I disliked it - not at all - it just wasn't as amazing as I had expected it to be, so I felt kinda let down.
How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? VERY likely! It's a tradition I've come to love, and which would take a VERY good reason to skip. Especially after I've started sharing it with my family :)

Books read: "En mand der hedder Ove" (358), "Wrong Way Round" (236), "Attachments" (357)
Pages read: 951
Currently reading: ---

19 Apr 2016

Top Ten Books That Made Me Laugh Out Loud

What If? - Randall Munroe
This book of scientific answers to wacky questions had me laughing out loud repeatedly - slightly embarrassing, as I read most of it on the train to and from work ;) But it was just my type of humour.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson
Aside from absolutely adoring the title, the book has to be one of the funniest and quirkiest books I've read in a long time.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
'Nuff said :)

The Martian - Andy Weir
You wouldn't expect a survival story to be laugh-out-loud funny, but Mark's dark humour just gets to me.

Hyperbole and a Half - Allie Brosh
Not all the essays, obviously, but the one with Allie's letters to her childhood self had me giggling frequently.

The City of Dreaming Books - Walter Moers
I've loved everything I've read by Walter Moers so far, but this has definitely been the funniest of the lot. I need to reread this one soon!

Ella Minnow Pea - Mark Dunn
Brilliantly clever book!

Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris
My first introduction to David Sedaris, and still my favourite essay collection by him.

All by My Selves - Jeff Dunham
I was very pleased to discover that Jeff Dunham is every bit as funny on paper as on stage. I listened to this while biking to and from work, and more than one fellow cyclist looked weirdly at me, as I'd suddenly burst into laughter.

WitchLight trilogy - Debora Geary
Although I'll have to admit this would just as often cause me to laugh with joy as because it was funny, but this trilogy is some of her best work - under both pen names!

8 Apr 2016

April 23-24th

The signups for Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon are open for both readers and cheerleaders. I've signed up again - obviously :) - for what will be my 11th readathon :) My Mum and sisters are coming over again, and my niece might even be joining us this time, which would be awesome! I'm already thinking up books for all of us, and am preparing to have as large a stack of suggestions as always :)

This blog is already filled with posts about how to prepare for the readathon, dos and don'ts etc., so I won't bore you by repeating myself there, but just say, "I can't wait!" :-) It's been an awesome tradition for years, and has only gotten better, after my family decided to join me.

I'm always more than happy to come up with recommendations for good readathon books, so you'd like some - just let me know!