Sunday, April 29, 2018

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon - Wrap Up Survey

1) Which hour was most daunting for you?

I actually didn't have a daunting hour this readathon. I started around Hour 3 (10am my time) and I read pretty well, went through the pages pretty quickly for the majority of the readathon, except for a couple of hour-long breaks. 

I did go to sleep around Hour 21, but since that was 4am my time, I just decided that it was reasonable to call it a night at that point and I didn't try to fight it, especially considering I'd read four books, beginning to end, and had a rather successful readathon experience. 

2) Tell us all the books you read!

In the order they were read:

-the last 40 pages of  The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

-The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories by Tim Burton

-Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

-Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

-the first 52 pages of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

-Bone, Vol 1: Out from Boneville by Jeff Smith

-the next 30 pages of HGttG (I was reading from the Ultimate Hitchhiker's volume, which has big pages, and HGttG is only 143 pages in this volume - so, I got through a little over half of the book - Chapters 1-16)

3) Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners?

All of these books were great, quick reads that I'd recommend

*The Thirteenth Tale is 406 pages overall, though, and not a book I'd usually pick for a readathon book if I hadn't been almost to the end already - it's a very excellent book, though; the blurb on the inside cover adequately describes it as "a love letter to reading"

4) What's a really rad thing we can do during the next read-a-thon that would make you smile?

I honestly didn't focus on the online stuff this time - but I skimmed the posts on Dewey's main site and they were really cute - I loved the Reading Quirks comic posted on Hour 17 and I ended up spending a good hour today at that website reading the rest of comics - if you all could locate similar reading/book themed funny comics to share, I'd love that!!

*I originally read this question as what was something "I" could do to make me smile next readathon - as in, what was a goal of mine for next time - and I'd like to post that here as well:

Read 5 books, from beginning to end (1 more than I'd managed this go around) and/or read all through the night, 'til the end of Hour 24 (8am my time).

5) How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep?

Very, very likely to participate as a reader again - consider that a definite

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon Mid-Event Survey

The Night Fairy

1) What are you reading right now?

I finished Number the Stars about a quarter into Hour 13 (and then went out to get supper). I'm thinking of starting Hitchhiker's Guide for my next read, though.

2) How many books have you read so far?


1) The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories by Tim Burton
2) Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
3) Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

I also started the readathon by reading the last 40 pages of The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (one of my favorite books - it was a reread this year)

3) What book are you most looking forward to in the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

4) Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

My dogs were begging for a walk around Hour 8 - I took them for a quick 20 minute walk around the neighborhood, and they settled down after that . . .

My brother also came and hung out for a little less than an hour and we watched a show, but I also read a bit during the show too ;-)

5) What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

I'm surprised how quickly I'm getting through my books. I think I did a pretty good job selecting quick reads for this read-a-thon. A lot of the times, I'll have a pile of shorter novels (250 pages or less) but they really wouldn't be that quick and easy to get through . . . It's been a while since I've had a good pile of books that I'd read from beginning to end during the read-a-thon. It feels good!

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon - Opening Meme

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

I am reading from Pilot Mountain, North Carolina

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

Hmmm . . . I'm trying not to plan out my reading too much this time around. I want to browse through my huge stack throughout today and just choose something on the spot when it's time for a new read. I've got a few children's books, graphic novels, poetry books, ect. .  . 

Although, I am hoping I get to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy today, now that I think about it. I've been wanting to read that book since middle school/high school, and it's the perfect size for a read-a-thon . . . But no pressure.  I really want this to be a light, casual read-a-thon.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I never remember to plan snacks . . . usually I tide myself over with what I have until the evening (in this case - eggs, leftover cheese pizza, coffee and citrus green tea), and then I'll go out to a fast food place (usually Taco Bell) and get something to go. . .

4) Tell us a little something about yourself.

I am an elementary school teacher. I love teaching reading, and have hopes of maybe being a literary specialist one day . . . 

I enjoy artsy activities (painting, crafts, ect.) and some outdoors activities (hiking, camping, kayaking) during my leisure time . . .

And I have two dogs, Libby and Nova.

5) If you participated in the last readathon, what's one thing you'll do different today?

I think during the last read-a-thon, I only finished one full book. I'm hoping I can have a good list of finished books by the time I conk out - and to achieve this goal, I plan on limiting myself to books that are around 150 pages or so, and are quick and easy reads . . .

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Review: Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie

Title: Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie

Author: Jordan Sonnenblick

Pages: 273

Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads Summary: From first-time novelist Jordan Sonnenblick, a brave and beautiful story that will make readers laugh and break their hearts at the same time.

Thirteen-year-old Steven has a totally normal life: he plays drums in the All-Star Jazz band, has a crush on the hottest girl in the school, and is constantly annoyed by his five-year-old brother, Jeffrey. But when Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven's world is turned upside down. He is forced to deal with his brother's illness and his parents' attempts to keep the family in one piece. Salted with humor and peppered with devastating realities, DRUMS, GIRLS, AND DANGEROUS PIE is a heartwarming journey through a year in the life of a family in crisis.

My Thoughts:  This book is amazing!! I read it with my 6th grade class during my first year teaching. It goes into some serious stuff, but it maintains its wit and comicality, so despite the heavy topics, it's still an enjoyable read. All of my students were really into the book, completely engrossed in the audio read aloud while following along with their own paper copy - I tell you, it's an amazing thing to see 20 sixth grade students turn book pages in unison like that, with everyone so caught up in the storyline.

I'm not usually into audio books, but this book's audio version is fantastic. The narrator is great! He changes up his voice well for all the different characters, and he pulls off the 13-year-old's sense of humor perfectly! 

I'm very thankful for the humorous tone in this book - stories with this kind of topic can really take their toll on me, but Steven's mildly sardonic tone kept it light enough for me so that I wasn't too overwhelmed. It was very interesting reading some of his thoughts on the common reactions people have when they find out someone has cancer, and how those reactions are usually the opposite of what the people going through such an awful situation really want or need to hear.

A lot of good discussions can come out of this book . . .

I highly recommend this one!!

Review: Famous Last Words

Image result for famous last words book  
    Title: Famous Last Word

   Author: Katie Alender

   Pages: 320

   Rating: 3.5 stars

Goodreads Summary: Hollywood history, mystery, murder, mayhem, and delicious romance collide in this unputdownable thriller from master storyteller Katie Alender.

Willa is freaking out. It seems like she's seeing things. Like a dead body in her swimming pool. Frantic messages on her walls. A reflection that is not her own. It's almost as if someone -- or something -- is trying to send her a message.

Meanwhile, a killer is stalking Los Angeles -- a killer who reenacts famous movie murder scenes. Could Willa's strange visions have to do with these unsolved murders? Or is she going crazy? And who can she confide in? There's Marnie, her new friend who may not be totally trustworthy. And there's Reed, who's ridiculously handsome and seems to get Willa. There's also Wyatt, who's super smart but unhealthily obsessed with the Hollywood Killer.

All Willa knows is, she has to confront the possible-ghost in her house, or she just might lose her mind . . . or her life.

Acclaimed author Katie Alender puts an unforgettable twist on this spine-chilling tale of murder, mystery, mayhem -- and the movies. 

My Thoughts: This book would probably have been 4 or 5 stars if I had read it a few years back when I was really into YA. I've, unfortunately, outgrown the genre, but there are the rare exceptions that I still find surprisingly entertaining, and so I continue adding YA books that I think sound interesting to my to-read list. They are often a quick fluff read that can be a nice way to pass a lazy afternoon, if anything, but there have been more and more that turn out to just be a waste of time - I don't think that means the YA genre is getting worse, but just that I'm getting over it.

I am more willing to try ghost stories, though, such as this one. The haunting scenes were some of the best in the book (if this had been a more serious book, I think it could have verged into a psychological thriller, as well, once Willa began to doubt her sanity after having so many 'hallucinations' and 'episodes'). I found the twists really predictable, but Willa was refreshingly realistic and well-written. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy paranormal YA and YA murder mysteries.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon - 10th Anniversary - Closing Survey

1) Which hour was most daunting for you?

Probably Hour 16 or so, which was around 11:00pm my time. I started getting really sleepy, although I did manage to wake myself up enough to carry on for another couple hours. I conked out during Hour 18 (which seems to be a pattern for me during the RAT). I need to make it a goal to read at least to Hour 20. I don't think I've made it that far yet - with the exception of the time I slept in during the RAT and didn't start participating until Hour 5-6.

2) Tell us all the books you read!

I only finished one book - The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I read some of House of Leaves but didn't get as far into that book as I was hoping . . . and I never did get to the graphic novels or Scary Stories book . . . I don't think starting out reading an adult literary fiction book is the best game plan for me. I should stick with quick, YA reads. I can end the RAT feeling more accomplished that way. ;-)

3) Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners?

The Westing Game made a great RAT book. It held my interest all the way through and was an easy, quick read (185 pages).

4) What's a really rad thing we can do during the next read-a-thon that would make you smile?

It seemed like there were a few mini-challenges that required Twitter/Instagram or some other social media account that I didn't have, so I was unable to participate. 

It would be great if all of the mini-challenges could be arranged so that everyone has an opportunity to participate in them, in some way. Such as, if you don't have a social media account, there should be a way to participate by commenting on the Dewey blog or something (just have multiple ways to participate  in the challenges in order to include as many read-a-thoners as possible so that no one feels excluded). 

Of course, that may have been an option all along and I was just unaware of it??

**Also - The Goodreads cheerleading challenge gave me an idea . . . Perhaps you can have an all-day cheerleading challenge for the read-a-thoners where we can use the random # generator to select 5 read-a-thoners from the Master Linky and post a cheer to them . . . then a couple winners can be selected every 5 hours or so . . . I know we all love (and miss) the cheerleaders, so I'm trying to think of something we can do to try and bring that back.

5) How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep?

I will definitely be participating again as a reader. I've also been considering donating a couple prizes for the RAT sometime . . . probably in the form of used but "like new" condition books - if that's accepted - that I can mail out to the winners afterward if that prize is chosen. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mid-Event Survey

1) What are you reading right now?

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

2) How many books have you read so far?

I haven't finished a book yet. I started out reading House of Leaves, but it was more slow going than I was expecting (a good read, but slow) . . . I switched to The Westing Game a couple hours ago.

3) What book are you most looking forward to in the second half of the Read-a-thon?

I think I'm most looking forward to Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories. I haven't read that collection since I was ten.

4) Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

I've had two "interruptions." I walked my dogs for an hour this afternoon, and I attended a church fundraising dinner this evening, from 5-7pm. As soon as I got back home from these "interruptions," I went right back to reading.

5) What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

I'm surprised I haven't made as much progress by this point. I've been reading steadily for about 5 hours or so, but the first third of House of Leaves is taking a while to get through (large pages with small print). I'm zooming through The Westing Game right now, though. Once I'm finished with that one, I plan to move on to the 2 graphic novels I have in my stack, Smile and Out from Boneville, as well as Scary Stories. Those should be quick reads, so hopefully I can say I finished 3-4 books by the end of the read-a-thon (fingers crossed!).

If there's still some time after all that (and I'm not feeling dead alive by that point), I may go back to HoL and see how much more I can read of that tome before the end. ;-)