Sunday, October 23, 2016

Read-a-Thon Wrap-Up for Oct. 2016

The official questions:

Which hour was most daunting for you?
I faded around hour 17 (9 pm my time), but a change in venue and a lighter book gave me what turned out to be my final second wind.  I called it a night at hour 21, going to bed at 1 am.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I enjoyed my novels more than my "break" books, which surprised me.  Switching from rather heavy YA to a lighter MG novel (One Came Home) also helped me keep going.  Maggot Moon's short chapters made it a pretty easy read for the latter part of the event.  

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?
Nope.  I love it. I just wish I could afford (in terms of both money, time, and obligations) to make it the center of a three day weekend at the beach by myself, or with only reader friends.  But I guess that's not really YOUR responsibility to make that happen.

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
I really like how much we can personalize it.  Want to read the entire time and come back later to write it up?  Fine.  Want to participate in every challenge, engage actively on social media, and host hours?  Fine.  Able to take the whole day to just engage in read-a-thon?  Fine.  Need to fit it around other activities, just coming back to reading in bits and pieces as time allows?  Fine.  

How many books did you read?
I read eight books: four novels, 2 graphic novels, and two children's novels in verse. 

What were the names of the books you read?
Books I Completed
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • 12 Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali by Charles R. Smith, Jr.
  • More Happy than Not by Adam Silvera
  • Thor: Goddess of Thunder vol. 1 by Jason Aaron
  • Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse by Tamera Will Wissinger
  • Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
  • One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
  • Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

Which book did you enjoy most?
More Happy than Not.  

Which did you enjoy least?
Gone Fishing

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
100% likely.  I'm not quite ready to take on official work, but I will work harder to recruit friends and even students next time.  I had several people say, "What?  Tell me more!" in response to random FB posts I shared.  

Falconer's Reflections and Additional Stats

Snack, hour six (11 am)

Coffee with whipped cream after finishing two books
  • Counting the 66 pages of I'll Give You The Sun I read before admitting I needed to call it a night, I read a total of 1,693 pages.  Counting only the novels, that would be 1,116 pages.  
  • I read during 18 of the 24 hours, slept during five, and did household chores, updated the blog, and fixed food during the remaining hour.  That's not to say I read for 60 minutes  during each hour that I read.
  • I drank two and a half cups of coffee, two cups of herbal tea, and one cup of cocoa, as well as maybe three glasses of water.
  • I did the entire thing without chocolate.  Really.  For some reason, when buying my snacks and treats, I got almond cookies and caramels, but not chocolate.  This is very confusing to me.
  • I spent most of my reading time stretched out on my couch.  When I started to fade, I went up to my reading chair (leather recliner) in the bedroom.  When my husband went to bed, I came back downstairs, but the light isn't as good, and I didn't last much longer.
  • My vision was an issue for much of the event, which is completely new.  Words were blurry, and I had to be in daylight or really direct, bright light to read easily.  I made an eye appointment on Friday because I've noticed such a decline in my vision over the past six months, and the RAT confirmed that this is needed.
    The "potential" pile I brought home with me.
  • It was fun focusing on a theme, which was "Books I Ordered Through My Grant But Haven't Read Yet So I Can't Recommend Them To Students Very Convincingly."  (Say THAT five times fast!)  I further prioritized Printz medalists and honorees, and when I was really stuck, I used a random number generator to choose the next novel.  Each time I did so, I felt like the book I subconsciously wanted to win did so.  But that might just be because I was excited about my entire stack.
    Needed a break by this point, but didn't love either of these.
  • My "light" reads were kind of a bust.  12 Rounds to Glory was good, but I'm not a comic book reader, so Thor was kind of lost on me, and Gone Fishing was much     more juvenile and cutesy that I'd expected.  I liked Honor Girl, but found it hard to figure out who the characters were (something that really bogs me down in some graphic novels) and the complete lack of resolution, even for a memoir, was frustrating.
  • "Award bait" is an intentionally loaded term.  From Oscars to Newberys, there's the idea that only a certain kind of material will be considered by the panel, and that serious & gloomy are the way to go.  All of the YA I read was kind of a downer, with much more difficult endings than you'd find in MG, or, frankly, adult literature.  They are also all highly recommended books.  But are they books teenagers themselves like?  That I'm not 100% sure of.  
  • For this reason, even though I usually grumble about the pat endings of MG novels, I really enjoyed taking a break with One Came Home, although now that I think of it, it's a book with a satisfactory, but not "happy" ending too.  
  • The cover of More Happy Than Not features part of a smiley face, which features in the plot.  But I noticed it also could be seen as a semi-colon, which has become a symbol for moving on from periods of depression or being suicidal.  Now I'm wondering if that's intentional.
  • I'm ridiculously envious of the people that posted pics of their fuzzy companions.  That's really all I was lacking--a cat.  

I'm linking up to the Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer as well, since it's Sunday, and this is definitely a "what I've been reading" kind of post!  


Saturday, October 22, 2016

RAT Checkin #3: Naps and Human Interaction

The eye fuzziness finally persuaded me to take a 45 minute nap.

I love naps.  The problem is, I tend to over-do it.  Once I'm fully asleep, I bitterly resent waking up again.  So a timed nap made me a bit nervous.  HOWEVER, my read-a-thon joy is such that I bounced out of bed the second my alarm went off.

Okay, not BOUNCED, exactly.  And it may have taken a few minutes.  But the main thing is, I didn't just roll over and go back to sleep.

The nap was neatly sandwiched between a couple of fast reads.  Before I lied down, I read Thor: Goddess of Thunder Vol. 1.  It was pretty good, but I'm not really a comics reader, and I found some of the panels confusing, as well as only having the shakiest sense of the broader universe in which it takes place.  Still, much was made of the fact that when a unknown young woman picks up Thor's hammer when Thor cannot, she becomes Thor, not "Lady Thor" or any such nonsense.

After my nap I read Gone Fishing, a novel in verse that it turns out is even more juvenile than Middle Grade.  I guess a kid might like it?  If they were into fishing?  It didn't do much for me.

My daughter had it in her mind that she wanted to make sausage rolls.  I'm not entirely sure why, but I figured I was probably also due for some form of interaction with the fam, so I agreed to coach her through the dough making process.

I'll wind up this hour with some laundry and helping my husband with a design project he's working on, then I'm going to start with another novel!

1. What are you reading right now?
Great question.  I'm between books, and deciding between several books.  I may go with a random number generator to choose.
2. How many books have you read so far?
Five: two novels, two juvenile novels in verse, and a graphic novel/comic collection.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Whichever novel(s) the generator picks from the ones I'm excited about, plus the YA graphic novel Honor Girl.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
It's been pretty good, actually, though I think my husband is starting to feel lonely.

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
I got hardly any sleep last night but am doing okay with only that one nap.  Also, I'm surprised about my vision issues.  Never been a problem before, and I'm not pleased.  

Read-a-Thon Check In #2: Through Hour 9

Well, serious thanks are owed to those who called out their favorites from my list.  I've finished the two novels that got the most enthusiasm and loved them both.  I knew We Were Liars was twisty and had an unreliable narrator, but it still fooled me entirely.  And I really didn't know anything about More Happy Than Not, other than that it had a GLBQT slant of some sort, and was highly recommended.  This is how I LOVE to go into books, and it paid of big this time.  (Though I think it says something about my shallowness that the part that made me cry was the unrequited teen love part, not the other REALLY LIFE-SHATTERING part.)  This is one of those books where you wonder how it can possibly be someone's debut.  He must have a dozen unpublished manuscripts in a drawer somewhere.  Only since it's the 21st century, I guess they'd be on a hard drive somewhere.  I don't know.

Between novels I read 12 Rounds to Glory: The Story of Mohammad Ali.  In 12 illustrated poems, it traces the major events of his life. I realized pretty soon that this is poetry that is meant to be spoken aloud, much like Kwame Alexander's poems.  Novels in verse and graphic novels are my new favorite types of nonfiction.

I'm feeling a little bit punchy after getting a whopping 4.5 hours of sleep last night, and my eyes are being annoyingly blurry.  My vision, not my eyes.  My eyes probably look like they always do.  (See above re: punchy.)  I actually made an eye exam appointment yesterday, because I've noticed over the past few months that I can't read at a distance--and over the past few years, I've also struggled to read super close, or to read tiny print.  I even bought dollar store reading glasses, but only use them for reading medicine bottles.  This blurry vision thing is new too.  This might only be my second read-a-thon, but it is NOT only the second time I've spent a Saturday reading steadily.

Current plan: read two light graphic novels--ll my reading so far has been so serious--and then take a nap to see if that clears up the vision thing.  Or a walk.  Or a shower.  We'll see.  (Not much of a plan, now that I spell it out like that.)