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Spring 2014 Read-a-thon: The Update Post

deweys-readathonbuttonWelcome to my Read-a-thon update post! Rather than spread out updates as I have done previously, I’d like to start with just this one post and update each time I’m ready for a break. It’s a rainy day outside and I’m ready for reading. I hope you are too!

Hour 0: The Starting Line

Books Finished: 0

Currently Reading: The Bees by Laline Paull. This is my current read outside of Read-a-thon day, although I’m only on page 52. It’s actually about bees, which somehow wasn’t what I expected despite the fact that it’s called The Bees, but it’s intriguing so far. I’m intending to finish it before I move on to the official stack.

Total Pages Read: None yet!

Time Spent Reading: None yet!

Mini Challenges: The kick-off meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Home in the lovely city of York, England.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

I honestly couldn’t say. I tried to pick books that were all exciting. Maybe Half-off Ragnorok by Seanan McGuire or The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. But I hope they’ll all be great.

Here’s my stack again in case you didn’t see yesterday’s post!

Spring 2014 read-a-thon

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Pizza for dinner. We’ve been healthy for the whole month, I think the Read-a-thon is a fantastic chance to have some junk food for a change. Also, not cooking, totally a plus.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

28 year old American living in the UK; I’ve loved books as long as I can remember; I’ve got two bookcases full of unread books (my husband loves this bit the least I think); I love cats, history, and museums; my day job is in online marketing. I’ve been blogging for around 7 years.

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?

I have participated in many Read-a-thons now. The different thing I’m doing today is updating this post each time I update rather than creating a new post. I’ll be hanging around on twitter for brief breaks. You can find me at @mbookworm.

Just ten minutes until the official starting line – see you in a couple of hours! And enjoy your reading, if you’re participating too!

Hour 3

Books Finished: 1

Currently Reading: Just finished The Bees. It was a really good choice – a very fast read with a lot happening. And surprisingly imaginative. I can’t say I’d ever really thought about what life is like as a bee, but this author has done a really good job.

I think next I will read Half-off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire. It’s the third book in the Incryptid series and I actually read the last one during a prior Read-a-thon, so it seems particularly appropriate.

Total Pages Read: 290

Time Spent Reading: 2 hours and 14 minutes

Mini Challenges: The kick-off meme only so far.

I think it’s probably time for a snack and a walk around the house, then I’ll be right back into it.

Hour 7 … I think?

Books Finished: 2

Currently Reading: And now I’ve finished Half-Off Ragnarok. As with Midnight Blue-Light Special, this was a great choice for the Read-a-thon. Fast-paced, engaging, and fun. I can’t resist the appeal of the Aeslin mice, although there totally could have been more of them in this book.

Next? I might read a short story before I tackle another book. Or maybe I’ll read another book. I haven’t decided! I might just go over to the pile and leaf through until one decides I should read it.

Total Pages Read: 636 pages

Time Spent Reading: 5 hours

Mini Challenges: The kick-off meme only still. I never really get terribly interested in the mini challenges. Once I start reading I think I’d rather continue.

Hope everyone else is getting along okay!

Hour 10

Books Finished: The Bees, Laline Paull and Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire.

Currently Reading: I’ve started Redshirts by John Scalzi. I’m about 80 pages in so far. I’m finding it highly amusing, but I’m wondering where he’s going to actually take this story. Not sure I’m going to make it through the book tonight, but one of the good bits about being in the UK is that I’ll undoubtedly get up tomorrow morning and have a few more hours of reading left. I hope to finish it then and potentially make a start on a final book.

Total Pages Read: 716 pages

Time Spent Reading: 6 hours (I think – I got distracted in the last couple of hours)

Food consumed: I’ve now had salmon and rice for lunch, Reese’s sticks for a snack, and pizza, cheesy chips, and onion rings for dinner. Yum. And leftover pizza for tomorrow. Can’t complain at all.

I am probably not going to update until the last few hours of the Read-a-thon when I get up again. Hope everyone else is enjoying their reads. And if you stop by, thank you!

Hour 23

Hello! I have actually been up and about for a few hours, but mostly I was too involved in The Raven Boys to turn on the computer. I have since had breakfast and continued reading, although I lost track of timing. I amazingly made it to hour 12, which is tricky for me, and finished Redshirts last night. I was really pleased with myself, as normally I am in thrall to my work schedule even on weekends and fall asleep at 10:30 no matter what I’m doing.

Books Finished: The Bees, Laline Paull, Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire, and Redshirts by John Scalzi.

Currently Reading: I’m now into The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, mostly because as soon as I put it in my pile people whose opinions I trust very much told me to read it (and who were the reasons I’d bought it anyway). Currently on page 184 and I’m suspecting you are very, very right about how I would feel about this book. No one is surprised.

Total Pages Read: 1120 pages

Time Spent Reading: 9 1/2 hours (I think – I have stopped keeping track as I left my laptop off for so long. Kind of an estimate.)

I’ve got another hour left and then I’m going to get on with my day (which I think includes visiting our shiny new re-homed Waterstones and probably finishing this book, as well as hopefully some blog posts and the end of event meme). I hope you’ve all had a great time and, if you’ve not slept yet, I am seriously impressed! Thank you to all the people who stopped by once again, I was delighted to see comments when I’d got up this morning, and I’ve really enjoyed this Read-a-thon.

End of Event Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Probably Hour 12-13, which is where I went to sleep. It always is around then.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

I thought all the ones I read were really good choices. RedshirtsHalf-Off Ragnarok (and most lighter urban fantasy) and The Bees all worked well and were fast and engaging reads. I also finished The Raven Boys later on in the day and I think it works less well, only because it’s more thoughtful and a bit longer (but I still loved it, a topic for another post).

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

No, I think it went really well this year. Andi and Heather did a great job.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

I like the way the cheerleaders were split into teams. Maybe it’s just because I had one post which could be regularly commented on, but I felt more cheering happening and more of the community atmosphere than the last couple. I still liked those, but I definitely felt more connected this time, and I liked that!

5. How many books did you read?

I officially finished 3 and most of a fourth, but I only had about 100 pages left in the last and I finished it around an hour after the official end of the event.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, Redshirts by John Scalzi, Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire, and The Bees by Laline Paull.

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

The Raven Boys. But they were all good, to be honest. I have no complaints about this selection.

8. Which did you enjoy least?

See above – I think all of them were good!

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

I wasn’t a cheerleader this time. I did like taking a short amount of time to hang out on twitter and read some other participants’ blogs, though, and I think I will do that again next time. I spent a bit more time there than this year than previously.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

Unless I absolutely have something I can’t miss, I’ll participate again as a reader. I just like the whole experience; choosing what I might read, picking from that stack, and reading uninterrupted for hours, knowing that there are literally hundreds of book lovers around the world reading at the exact same time. I love reading a book all the way through with no interruptions (you can see above that this is what I did with the first two). I think many books are best experienced that way for me. I would like to still read others’ blogs and hang around on twitter a little, though, and I will aim to do the same next time.

Almost Read-a-thon Day!

deweys-readathonbuttonHappy almost Read-a-thon day! Dewey’s 24 hour Read-a-thon is one of my favorite, if not my actual favorite, events in the blogosphere. It’s lovely to set aside all of my own other concerns for a day and just devote hours to reading and occasionally chatting with other readers.

I also have great fun putting together my potential Read-a-thon pile each time. The day is so full of possibilities and perusing my shelves beforehand reminds me of just how many there are and how exciting some of my books look. I tend to pick shorter reads that I really, really want to get to, or which are interesting and not that high up on my priority list otherwise due to other commitments.

Here’s what I’ve pulled out for this spring’s Read-a-thon:

Spring 2014 read-a-thon

I’ve tried to go for a completely different mix this time, so no matter my mood, I’ve got something to go for. Three romance novels, always a quick and easy choice, but I’ve got one historical, one contemporary, and one paranormal; two science fiction with Dreamsnake and Redshirts; an urban fantasy in a series I already know I love; a non-fiction option which looks fascinating and has sat on the shelf far too long in The Devil’s Playground about Times Square; The Raven Boys which has been recommended to me by practically everyone I trust; and finally some short stories by the utterly brilliant Jhumpa Lahiri.

I might, however, start off by finishing my current reads, The Bees by Laline Paull and Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross. A sense of accomplishment is key to starting off the Read-a-thon right, so it’s either finishing those or picking one of the shorter reads off the pile. I’ve done quite a few Read-a-thons over the years I’ve been blogging. My record is 5 1/2 books, which I doubt I’ll match as I tend to fall asleep with books in my hands these days, but it’s not about numbers really, it’s more about just enjoying spending loads of time reading. We also have a laptop again for the first time in years, so I might spend a little bit more time on social media and updating. I’ll be in for the first update tomorrow morning or early afternoon before I get started (as the event starts at 1 pm my time).

I can’t wait!

Will you be reading tomorrow?

Long-Awaited Reads Month

LAR Button FinalLast year I really enjoyed taking advantage of Long-Awaited Reads Month and I’m so happy that Ana and Iris have chosen to continue hosting this great event in 2014. The idea is that, throughout January, we manage to get to some of those books that have been waiting far too long, either on the shelf or not yet in our hands. I love doing this because – surprise surprise – I have a lot of these floating around on my shelves. I’m far too easily distracted by new books sometimes and I also have a tendency to choose shorter books because I can read them faster. This month gives me an excellent opportunity to change things around and try and get to some older books that I’m still really excited about.

Last year I selected four books and, while I didn’t get to them all in January, I did actually manage to read them before the end of 2013, so the tactic worked.

Ideally I’d spend the whole month reading books like these, and I still might, but here’s what I’ve pulled out:

  • Demon Angel by Meljean Brook - I’ve had Demon Angel since 2010 and, while it isn’t chunky, I’m just not quite sure why I haven’t read it yet. I mainly bought it because I wanted to read some of the later books in Meljean Brook’s Guardian series and, even though this isn’t the best of the series, I always like to start from the beginning.
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon - I think I haven’t read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay yet because it’s long and the type is ridiculously tiny. But, it’s time to give it a shot, as I’ve not managed to read any of Michael Chabon’s books and I think I have three of them, all of which I’ve wanted to read for over a year. 
  • Empress by Shan Sa – This is a rather slim volume that I’ve pulled out before to read in two different read-a-thons. I didn’t get to it in either of them and I’ve had it since 2008. I’ve been really interested in Chinese history and historical fiction for a few years now, so I’m hoping this is a great read.
  • Lastly, I’m cheating a little bit with Edward III and the Triumph of England, because it was a Christmas present, and I haven’t even been craving it for nearly as long as I’ve actually owned the other three. But I’ve wanted to read it very badly since I first heard about it, so I’m going to count that as a long-awaited read anyway. I hope I’m not breaking the rules too much.

Are you participating in Long-Awaited Reads month? What do you have waiting?

Giving Up Blogging for #nanowrimo

2013-Participant-Facebook-Cover

Hi folks! As the post title says, I’ve elected to give up blogging for the next month while I focus on NaNoWriMo. I haven’t successfully completed a novel since I started working, so I really want to reverse that trend. I just don’t think I can do both blogging and writing this much. I also think know I badly need a longer term break from blogging. If I write anything bloggy-oriented, it will wait until December. So, here we go with both of them, and I’ll see you all December 1st!

Starting the October 2013 Readathon!

deweys-readathonbutton

Happy #readathon day!

I am a big fan of the Read-a-thon; there is little I enjoy more than a solid block of 24 hours that I’m allowed to spend just reading. Doesn’t happen often enough in my view! And at a time when my blogging motivation is probably at an all-time low, perhaps the Read-a-thon is just the way to get things kicked off to a more interesting place and feel like I’m part of the community again. Worth a try, anyway!

The little badge to the left of these words links to the website where you can learn more about the ‘thon itself and Dewey, its founder, who we all remember fondly as one of the cornerstones of our community originally.

So what do I have on my pile to read today? I think I’ve assembled one of my largest Read-a-thon piles ever. If anything this probably just shows how many books I have around that I’m seriously looking forward to. I’ve tried to keep it to a mix of fantasy, a bit of historical fiction, some easy and short non-fiction, and then some rare YA for me. All books that I want to read immediately, but that are also fairly quick and probably more attention-grabbing.

2013 Readathon

I think I’m going to start with Eleanor & Park or Picture Me GoneIronskin is also really high up on the list. I’m hoping to get through 3-4 books before the end tomorrow at 1 pm my time!

Are you joining in this time around? What are you reading?

April 2013 read-a-thon start!

deweys-readathonbutton Good afternoon everyone! I missed last fall’s read-a-thon and I’ve been looking forward to this one ever since. I’m not particularly good at the community aspect of this event usually; I like to pop in on twitter every now and again and visit some other blogs, but mostly I like to read rather than do too many mini challenges. And reading is exactly what I have planned for the rest of the day after a brief diversion taking my UK driving theory test (I passed, thankfully).

So what do I have to choose from today?

April readathon

Lots I’ve been looking forward to in this pile! But first I’m going to finish Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. I’m only on page 90 but I’m really enjoying it and finishing a book is a great way to start many hours of reading.

Are you reading today? What do you have on your pile?

Long Awaited Reads Month!

Hosted by Ana and Iris, Long-Awaited Reads Month is something I’ve been looking forward to ever since they announced it. All of January is dedicated to reading books that have been sitting, eagerly anticipated, on the TBR pile for much too long. I love the idea of getting to books which have been lingering on my shelves, and it’s something I definitely neglect on a regular basis when new, shinier, and often shorter books arrive at my house, or when I get too bogged down by books that I should be reviewing. (There are still too many of those).

I’ve already, in a sense, started this challenge, and right on the 1st of January too, with The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I have felt for some time that this is a part of my science fiction background that’s missing, and I’m glad to fill it in – it’s nice to finally get the references to towels and the number 42, among other things. I’ve finished the first book and I’m spacing out the following four with other books in between; I’ve read quite a bit about people saying not to read them straight through, so I’m giving myself breaks and reading other things.

But I have other books that have been lingering for much too long, and I’ve selected these five books to focus on for this month:

long awaited reads month

  • Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold has been in my possession since my birthday three years ago now, which seems like much too long. I can’t remember where I heard about it, but I found out that it was one of my MA dissertation supervisor’s favorite books shortly thereafter, and I don’t know why I haven’t read it since.
  • 11.22.63 by Stephen King is also a book I’ve heard tons about. Stephen King was one of my favorite authors, back when reading chunksters was pretty much all I did. Since then I’ve become more reluctant to pick up these huge books, but this is one that I really, really want to read.
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel is a book that I’ve had for another good few years; it’s been one of those books that I’ve wanted to read but never made time for. Now the film version is out and everyone asks me if I’ve read it, so it’s definitely a good time. I also needed a shorter book to balance out all these chunksters!
  • I was certain I was going to read Blackout by Connie Willis the day I bought it, yet somehow here I am a year later without having opened it. Again, I’m not sure how that happened, but this is the book I am most determined to read this month, so I’ll start it after my current read (Ghost Story by Jim Butcher).
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond has been sitting on my shelf the longest of any of these books. It sounded fascinating when I got it and it still does now, which is why I’m determined to read it this month. Plus, it adds a much-needed non-fiction element to this month for me.

Are you participating in Long-Awaited Reads Month? What do you plan on reading?

Read-a-Thon Update: Hour 5

So far so good – I’ve finished the book I was reading first, Miles in Love, and I’ve also finished my first full book, For the King by Catherine Delors. The second was actually a very good choice – historical fiction about a real-life police investigation set in nineteenth-century Paris during Napoleon’s reign. It was very easy to power through it! Also quite a nice change from the science fiction.

Number of Books 2
Pages Read 494
Time Spent Reading 4:02
Time Spent Blogging 0:26

So far I haven’t participated in any mini-challenges aside from the starting one – two were US-only and the last isn’t a giveaway that I’m interested in – but I did have lunch earlier of that pie I mentioned. It’s also nearly time for dinner, but I’m going to start my next book, first. I think it will be another change of pace with the shorter stories in A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris.

How is it going for everyone else?

Read-a-Thon Update: Hour 9

It’s time for a (late) dinner and that makes it a great time for an update! I have finished three books so far:

  1. Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
  2. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson
  3. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

I loved Howl’s Moving Castle – it’s wonderful to have read two amazing books already today! I am definitely adding more Diana Wynne Jones to my next book order. It is a shame that I have now only discovered her after her passing, but I am glad to have a huge backlist to work through before I face the fact that there won’t be any more.

I have since started reading Lady Isabella’s Scandalous Marriage by Jennifer Ashley. It wasn’t in my pile, but I didn’t really want any more fantasy and my choices suddenly seemed too fantasy-heavy. This should be a nice break from that.

As for the stats, I have read for 6 1/2 hours so far and have finished 922 pages. I’m really pleased with that – I think I’m doing better than last time!

How is everyone else doing? Have you read anything amazing so far?

Read-a-thon Update: Hour 5

We’ve now been reading for 4 hours – so entering into hour 5!

Books Read:

Shades of Milk and Honey, Mary Robinette Kowal
Touching the Void, Joe Simpson

I’ve managed to finish both, bringing me up to a total page count of about 500. I loved the first; the second I didn’t enjoy quite so much, as I’m not particularly familiar with mountaineering and while the story itself was gripping, I kept wondering why on earth Simpson ever wanted to climb the mountain in the first place! Still, though, a good read-a-thon book, as I kept reading to find out what happened to him after the accident (since he wrote the book, it’s obvious he survived).

In total I’ve been reading for 3 hours and 45 minutes. It’s been a little more difficult because it’s a lovely sunny day outside; though I’m not actually out in it, I am enjoying the sun through the windows and the nice breeze coming through at least!

How is everyone else doing? I am going to start reading again shortly, after a few blog visits; I can’t decide whether to read Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale or Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, and I still plan to finish my current read, Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint, at some point during the Read-a-thon. We’ll see!

To evoke the British countryside and provide a bit of a visual for this otherwise text-heavy post, here’s a random picture of Rievaulx Abbey:rievaulx