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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.

Capture

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. ūüôā

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.

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.

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.

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

The Shadow Hero

book cover of The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen YangTitle: The Shadow Hero
Author: Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Graphic Novel
Length: 169 pages

Verdict: Gene Luen Yang and Sony Liew breathe new life into story of Green Turtle, a short-lived comic book hero from the 1940s who was also the first Asian-American superhero.

Synposis:¬†Hank’s parents met in the US after immigrating from China.¬†His father runs a small grocery store while his disillusioned mother dreams of ways to improve her family’s position and achieve the movie star lifestyle she once dreamed of. After her life is¬†saved by another superhero, she latches on to the perfect plan to make something out of her son. She sews him a costume, tells¬†him he’s the Green Turtle, arranges martial arts lessons, and sends him off to fight crime, with slightly disastrous results.¬†

Thankfully, Hank’s father¬†has an old friend, the tortoise spirit, that he helped leave China for the US. As Hank¬†navigates life as a first-generation American and faces several injustices, including his family’s¬†troubles with a local gang, Hank might just be able to become the hero his mother dreams of, with a little help from his new shadow.

Curious? Check out the book trailer for a better taste:

Review:¬†The Shadow Hero was great. I read Yang’s¬†Boxers¬†and¬†Saints earlier this year and enjoyed them. I wasn’t disappointed with¬†The Shadow Hero. This¬†was definitely a lighter read than¬†Boxers¬†and¬†Saints, although it doesn’t avoid tough¬†subjects either.

I love the idea of reclaiming a short-lived superhero from the Golden Age and reinventing him, giving him a backstory. This particular backstory was charming in some respects. I especially¬†loved that it was Hank’s mother who wanted him to become a superhero and essentially strong arms him into it. And then proceeds to interrupt him whenever he’s trying to do superhero-y tasks and even has to save him at times.

Hank's mother presents him with the superhero outfit she made for him

 

Recreating the Green Turtle is a great way for Yang and Liew to explore life¬†in 1930’s Chinatown. I liked what Yang wrote about superheroes and the experience of immigrants:

“I‚Äôve loved superheroes all my life.¬† Superheroes are about all sorts of things, but at their core superheroes are about America.¬† They were invented in America, they‚Äôre most popular in America, and at their best, superheroes express America at its best.

Superheroes are also about immigrants. Take at look at Superman, the granddaddy of them all. His parents sent him to America in search of a better life. He had two names, one American (Clark Kent) and the other foreign (Kal-El). He wears two sets of clothes and lives in between two cultures. He loves his new home, but a part of him longs for his old one.” –Gene Luen Yang

Highly recommended.

I received an advanced copy of The Shadow Hero from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.