Readathon Wrap-up: Nox

After not getting home from game night at a friend’s house until after midnight, I was doubting my ability to start the readathon on time.

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But I woke up even before my alarm went off! I guess I was excited.

I read or listened throughout the day until sometime during Hour 17 when I passed out on the couch so hard that I woke up 20 minutes later with what seemed like permanent lines across my entire face. I decided that I’d made a valiant attempt and went to bed.

I ended up finishing 2 books and started on another. I read a total of 1,147 pages and I listened to 2 hours and 24 minutes of my audiobook. To be honest, this is probably the most I’ve listened to since moving to Wyoming. My town is so much smaller now that I can only do audiobooks on long car trips whereas before I would listen driving around town, running errands, or on my way to work. I should start running so I have more of a chance to listen. Or if anyone has a waterproof way for me to listen while swimming, that would be ideal. 🙂

Finished Books:

  • Life after Life. 4 stars. 162 pages. A book club pick that I had started before the readathon began
  • The Fireman. 5 stars. 747 pages. Review to come!

Progress Made:

  • The Turning Point. 238 of 470 pages. I blame this book for my falling asleep – it’s really not very good.
  • The Summer Before the War. 2 hours, 25 minutes of 15 hours, 48 minutes. I’m really liking it so far, so I’ll have to find time to continue listening.

Not Read:

  • The Girls
  • Death at Breakfast

I’m glad I participated again; I was much more successful than last time. I do want to find a way to make it more interactive though. The knowledge that there are others out there doing the same thing helps, but personally I find going to the GoodReads group is more of a distraction than anything else. I’m taking over my library’s “After Hours” Book Club at one of the local bars, so maybe by October we can make it a group thing in town.

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Readathon Wrap-Up: Madeleine

I read or listened to a book pretty much straight through the day until somewhere in Hour 18, though I slowed down after about Hour 12. Due to rain/thunder/hungry cats used to being fed at 5:30AM, I woke up and read for the very last hour of the challenge too!

In total, I finished three books, made progress on three books, and didn’t even touch the remaining five books in my stack. I read a total of 1,253 pages and listened to 1 hour and 56 minutes of my audiobook.

Finished Books

  • Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard. 3 Stars. 209 pages
  • The Wrath & The Dawn. 4 Stars. 404 pages
  • The Complete Persepolis. 5 stars. 341 pages

Progress Made

  • The Happiness Project. 164 of 289 pages
  • Yes Please. 135 of 329 pages
  • Armada. 1 hour, 56 minutes of 11 hours, 58 minutes

Not Read

  • 4:50 From Paddington
  • Midnight Riot
  • Gone Girl
  • I’ll Give You the Sun
  • Illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Snacks, Social Media, and Mini-Challenges

I made this easy crockpot springtime minestrone soup and it was delicious. Also, shoutout to my roommate-sister Brenna, who felt inspired to make no-bake chocolate cookies, which was yummy surprise. She also kept me on track, drill sergeant-like. “Are you reading? You’re not going to get your page count up if you’re looking at GoodReads!”

The mini-challenges and social media were nice, because they made it feel like a group event, and not just me sitting in my apartment reading as much as possible all day.

In short, I’m really glad I participated. I’ve been jealously watching this happen over the last few years while I was in grad school. I’m glad to have been a part. Readathon also has me in the book blogging mood, so perhaps I’ll work on posting more consistently here.

Looking forward to October!

 

Dewey’s 24-Hour #readathon: Madeleine

Now that grad school is over, I can join in on something I’ve been eyeballing for awhile–my first ever readathon! Essentially, readers around the world spend the same 24 hours trying to read as much as possible. I don’t know if I’ll make it the full 24 hours, because honestly, I love sleep.

As a BONUS, Nox is also doing readathon, so we’ll be cheering each other on from afar. You can also follow my progress on Twitter: @knsievert.

The Books

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Most of what I read comes from the library. This means that I never read the books I own, because they don’t have approaching due dates. So I’ve decided to read all of my own books this time around. I’ve also thrown a few in the stack that are owned by a friend. In some cases, I’ve had the book over a year! Moral of the story–don’t loan me books without giving me a due date.

Unlike Nox, I don’t have any self control and picked out many books so I’ll have choices tomorrow. I did try to choose a variety of genres, but focused on shorter books. I also threw in the only graphic novel I have on hand that I haven’t read yet.

Titles and authors:

  • Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch. Bought in the airport because it had the better UK cover
  • 4:50 From Paddington by Agatha Christie. Stripped of its cover because I saved it from a bin of mass markets to be pulped.
  • Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desai. I, uh, recommended this in a video for work, so now I can read it!
  • The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Yay happiness?
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I saw the movie first. Don’t hate me.
  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. From ALA! Signed!
  • Yes Please by Amy Poehler. Borrowed from a friend since December 2014
  • The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Sartrapi. Borrowed from the same friend since December 2014
  • The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. Borrowed from a different friend since–October 2015, maybe?
  • Illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. This one is mine. Don’t steal it.

I also have a few audiobooks downloaded from the library, for moments when I can’t have a book in my hand.

  • Armada by Ernest Cline. Narrated by Wil Wheaton
  • Bellweather by Connie Willis. I was going to take a break from reading her backlist, but it was just sitting there in Overdrive!

Snacks

I have all my snacks purchased! I will have to make them tomorrow, but that is what the audiobook is for.

  • Blueberry muffins
  • Crockpot spring minestrone
  • Hummus, carrots, and pretzels
  • Swedish fish
  • Tea, coffee, etc.

I also still have some Girl Scout Cookies on hand in case of emergencies.

Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon: Nox

Tomorrow, I’ll be participating in my 2nd ever readathon! I attempted this same challenge back in October, but didn’t get nearly as much accomplished as I had meant to: I overslept (it starts at 6am!), I lost interest in my books, I ended up having to go into work for a while, life happened, etc. This time, I’m determined to do better.

In October I tried following along with the hourly challenges on GoodReads, but the group is so large it was overwhelming and I think ultimately made me give up faster. This time Madeleine is also participating so we can remotely hassle each other to stay motivated and I can avoid the chaos that is GoodReads.

So, what am I reading? ARCs! (for the most part) I was recently at PLA and ended up coming up with a stack of upcoming novels. I tend not to read books that I own (no library due dates looming), so the best motivation for getting those read before their release date is to do that as part of a project, like this one.


To keep from being overwhelmed, I’m going to focus on a smaller number of books tomorrow. I tried to pick some different genres and made sure that none take place at the same time in case I need to switch back and forth and can’t rember who belongs in which book. If by some miracle I do finish these, I have no shortage of other reading material in my house. In case you’re wondering, The Summer Before the War is an audiobook so I keep reading while getting ready for the day or cooking or if my eyes just need a break.

Now I must run to the store for last-minute snackies. Wish me luck! And follow my progress tomorrow on twitter @megaden.

Heartbreak at Sea

light between oceans

Author: M.L. Stedman
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 343 pages

This is the story of Tom, who after returning to Australia after fighting in World War I feels adrift. Luckily he’s able to find his new calling as a lighthouse keeper and is stationed on Janus Rock, one of the most remote stations off the coast. While on shore leave he meets Isabel who after only seeing each other a few times (he’s only on the mainland for a few days every 6 months) get married and she joins him on the Island. What begins as an adventure between two people in love becomes lonely and isolating as Isabel suffers repeated miscarriages. They finally have a chance at happiness again when a dinghy washes up on shore with a crying child. Not until years later do Tom and Isabel realize that their decision to adopt the baby as their own has had devastating consequences for another family.

The Light Between Oceans had been on my radar since it was published a few years ago. It was on bestseller lists seemingly forever, it won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction, and many of my library internet friends had read and enjoyed it. What finally convinced me to pick it up was the trailer for the upcoming movie adaption, which I hadn’t even realized was happening. Go ahead and watch it, I’ll wait.

Are you near tears? I was, so of course I decided I needed to read the book as soon as possible. Although the plot was somewhat predictable once I knew what was going on, the book was amazing due to it’s well constructed characters. Tom, Isabel and the rest of the cast are all good people at heart* who make terrible decisions and then have to live with them. The complexities of the moral dilemma these characters find themselves in was portrayed extremely well. In another author’s hands, there easily could have been villains, but in this case the motivations for each character are clear and you have sympathy for each and every person.

*Ok, Isabel is crazy-pants, but I’m blaming that on postpartum depression.

This was Stedman’s first novel and definitely isn’t perfect, but overall it was a wonderful read and now I can’t wait to watch the movie.

Modern Day Selkies

The Visitors

 Author: Simon Sylvester
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 368 pages

When I first heard about this book, I knew it included so many aspects that I love in books: an atmospheric and foggy feel, a mystery, a coming-of-age story with a female narrator, a modern day story touched by mythology, selkies, a remote island in northern Scotland. Official blurbs were throwing out lots of comparisons to Neil Gaiman and Tana French.

And the good news? I predictably really liked this book.

Flora lives with her mother, stepfather, and baby brother on the remote island of Bancree. She’s in her final year of school, and all she cares about is graduating and getting off the island. She doesn’t quite fit in at home or at school. Then, several things happen. A strange man and his daughter, Ailsa, move into an abandoned house. And men around the area, often on the fringes of the community, begin disappearing.

As Flora begins the school year, she’s drawn into a school project researching selkies. She finds a macabre book about selkies and begins collecting selkie stories from several sources, including her grandfather and a sennachie, or storyteller, who lives in a hut near the sea. And she befriends Ailsa, another girl who doesn’t quite fit in, and finds out she and her father have been moving from place to place across the Scottish coast. Motivated by his own loss, Ailsa’s father has devoted his life to tracing a string of strange disappearances, much like the disappearances that are now happening in Bancree.

The book isn’t perfect. It’s slow to start (a bit too much rumination over breaking up with the boyfriend) and gets a bit overdramatic for my taste at the end.

That being said, The Visitors is well-written, atmospheric, and evokes a sad, lonely feel for life on what feels like the edge of the world. Flora was a great narrator. The story is a mystery, but it didn’t feel like a traditional mystery story throughout. Flora doesn’t set out to solve it, like a Scottish Nancy Drew. For most of the book, it feels more like a strange backdrop, until events draw Flora in. Also, the selkie elements were wonderfully woven in. The book is sprinkled with different selkie myths that are told to Flora, and these tales were some of my favorite parts. Selkie myths are so interesting to me–stories of people torn between the land and the sea, the way love and loss are intimately braided together.

Final disclaimer: I won this book from a GoodReads Giveaway (thanks!) in return for an honest review.

Book Madness Update

Here’s an update on how we’re doing on Out of Print’s Book Madness Bracket after two rounds of voting. Who could have predicted that Little Women and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz would be able to beat Wuthering Heights and The Outsiders? Well, apparently some people, but none of us.

Current Standings going into the Sweet Sixteen:
Zelda – 50 pts
Nox – 49 pts
Madeleine – 45 pts
Sonya – 35 pts

Be sure to cast your vote! http://www.outofprintclothing.com/pages/book-madness