Bout of Books 18 Progress

Bout of Books 18Bout of Books 18 starts today, and I’ll be tracking my progress in this post. As I mentioned in my sign-up post, my goals are to read at least two books and participate in at least one Twitter chat. If I pick shorter books, I should be able to do it! Happy reading, everyone!

Monday, January 2

Books completed: Crosstalk by Connie Willis and The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I read most of Crosstalk on January 1, so I won’t count it toward my goal of two books during Bout of Books. But I really enjoyed the book, so it was the perfect way to kick off this readathon! I also LOVED The Hating Game and will definitely be reading Thorne’s next novel, which comes out this summer!

Currently reading: I’ll be starting Alan Bradley’s latest Flavia de Luce novel, Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d.

Mini-challenge: We’re asked to introduce ourselves in six words. Here’s my answer, which I posted on Twitter also: “Books and music are my life.” I think this is accurate. 🙂

Tuesday, January 3

Books completed: Crosstalk by Connie Willis; The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

Currently reading: About to start Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley.

Wednesday, January 4

Books completed: Crosstalk by Connie Willis; The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

Currently reading: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley — hoping to finish tomorrow!

Thursday, January 5

Books completed: Crosstalk by Connie Willis; The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

Currently reading: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley

Friday, January 6

Books completed: Crosstalk by Connie Willis; The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

Currently reading: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley — about 125 pages left. I haven’t read much (maybe at all) in the last couple days! *blush*

Saturday, January 7

Books completed: Crosstalk by Connie Willis; The Hating Game by Sally Thorne; Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley.

Currently reading: I’m starting Belgravia by Julian Fellowes.

Sunday, January 8

Books completed: Crosstalk by Connie Willis; The Hating Game by Sally Thorne; Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d by Alan Bradley.

Currently reading: Belgravia by Julian Fellowes.

October 2016 Readathon

24hr readathon girl readingThe October 2016 24-hour readathon has officially begun! Here’s where I’ll update my progress throughout the day. Even though I can’t read for all 24 hours this time, I’m looking forward to a fun, book-filled day!

Intro Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? East Coast USA.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Probably Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotson. I love her adult novels, but I’ve never read any of her children’s books before, and this one looks adorable!
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? The Smartfood white cheddar popcorn, obviously!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I am addicted to cute stationery and love writing letters.
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 feel like I say this every time, but I really want to take some time to visit other people’s blogs and interact more with my fellow readathon-ers. I was pretty active on Twitter last time, and I enjoyed that a lot!

Hour 3

Although I haven’t been reading nonstop since the start time, I am pretty happy with my readathon progress so far! My first book of the day is appropriately called Beginning with a Bash by Alice Tilton. It’s a fun Golden Age mystery that I could definitely picture as a movie! I was already halfway through the book  before the readathon began, and now I’m almost done, so I hope to finish it soon! But I’m about to head out the door for a couple hours, so I’ll unfortunately have to take a reading break.

Also, I did the Six Word Story challenge: She wanted to but never did.

Hour 7

Finally home after a choir rehearsal and a spontaneous lunch with a friend. Now it’s time to catch up on some mini-challenges! I tweeted my answers for A Book and a Snack,  A Puzzling Challenge, and Happy Birthday Poem, so check out my Twitter feed if you’re curious. And now, back to reading!

Hour 11

Just finished my second book of the readathon, P.S. I Like You by Kasie West. It was, in a word, adorable! And now to catch up with some challenges:

I could pick so many answers for the Literary World Tour challenge, from Jane Austen’s England to Middle-Earth. But the first literary world that really drew me in, that made me believe it was real, was the Damar of Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown. Those are some of the first fantasy novels I remember loving, and the setting absolutely captured my imagination. If I could go there, I’d want to spend at least a few weeks, ideally during the laprun trials (to observe, not to compete). But a hot, desert climate is not my ideal situation, so I don’t think I’d want to stay there permanently!

I also entered the Red, White, and Blue challenge on Twitter. Now it’s on to my next book, which I think will be We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. I want to read something a little spooky since Halloween is almost here…but I want to do it while there’s still a bit of daylight outside! 🙂

Hour 14

Just finished We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which I simultaneously liked and found deeply disturbing! Next up is Eva Ibbotson’s Which Witch?, which should provide a nice contrast.  And I’m thinking about the Video Game a Book challenge…if it doesn’t already exist, a Pride and Prejudice video game might be fun! It would be a quest-type game where the object is, of course, to marry Mr. Darcy. The player would have to complete tasks such as mastering a tune on the pianoforte, dancing a quadrille, playing a hand of whist, and finding Georgiana’s portrait at Pemberley. The Big Boss would be Lady Catherine de Bourgh, whom the player would have to fight in an epic ninja battle. Man, I really want this to exist now!

Hour 16

Just checking in. Halfway through Which Witch? now, which is just as delightful as I expected it to be. Not sure how much longer I’ll be able to stay awake, to be honest. I was hoping to make it to Hour 18 or 19, but I may not last that long! *blush*

Hour 20

It’s after 3:00 a.m. here, so I think it’s officially time for me to head to bed. I did finish Which Witch? and even managed to read one more book, Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros. I also squeezed in a few more challenges, but now I need to call it quits. Good luck to those who are still reading, and I hope everybody has/had as much fun as I did!

Bout of Books 17: Progress

Bout of BooksMonday 8/22

What I read: David D. Levine, Arabella of Mars — pp. 229-260.

Challenge: Book to Movie at Writing My Own Fairy Tale

“Clueless” is one of my all-time favorite movies, and it just happens to be a magnificent adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma! Although some aspects of the film are gloriously ’90s-tastic (the clothes, the slang, the soundtrack), the movie actually stays quite faithful to the novel’s original plot. And of course I can’t pick just ONE favorite adaptation, so I have to mention Kenneth Branagh’s “Much Ado About Nothing” as well! It’s gorgeous and exuberant and playful and just a joy to watch. On the other hand, I HATED Ron Howard’s live-action version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” The 30-minute cartoon is a lovely holiday classic, but this remake absolutely did not need to happen!

Clueless movie posterMuch Ado About Nothing movie posterHow the Grinch Stole Christmas movie poster

Tuesday 8/23

What I read: David D. Levine, Arabella of Mars — pp. 261-348. Book 1 completed!
Julianne Donaldson, Edenbrooke — pp. 1-116.

Wednesday 8/24

What I read: Julianne Donaldson, Edenbrooke–pp. 117-255. Book 2 completed!

Challenge: Show Off Your Shelves at Bout of Books


Thursday 8/25

What I read: Chris Cleave, Everyone Brave Is Forgiven — pp. 3-51

Challenge: Titles in the Tabloids at The Book Junkie

I chose the book Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine, and my tabloid headline is: “Murder! Mutiny! Martians! Runaway Teen Tells All.” The book is a good fit for this challenge because so many dramatic adventures take place! ☺️

Friday 8/26

This was a lost day for me…I read maybe one page of Everyone Brave Is Forgiven. Hopefully I’ll do better over the weekend!

Saturday 8/27

What I read: Chris Cleave, Everyone Brave Is Forgiven — pp. 52-67

Sunday 8/28

What I read: Chris Cleave, Everyone Brave Is Forgiven — pp. 69-116

Bout of Books 16: Progress

Bout of BooksIt’s a little late, but I thought I’d set up my progress post for Bout of Books!

Monday 5/9

I read most of One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding by Rebecca Mead, a fascinating look at the contemporary wedding industry, and then blew through Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl, a modern retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. I also completed the #insixwords challenge on Twitter.

Tuesday 5/10

I devoured The Raven King in its entirety! Such a wonderful and fitting end to the series. I’d really love to reread all four books, one right after the other, so that I can pick up on everything I’m sure I missed the first time through! I also tweeted a pic of my bookshelves for the #shelfie4boutofbooks challenge.

Wednesday 5/11

Thursday 5/12

Friday 5/13

Saturday 5/14

Sunday 5/15

24-Hour Readathon: Spring 2016

24hr readathon girl readingIt’s time for one of my favorite bookish events, Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon! As the name implies, it’s a worldwide event where participants stay up and read for 24 hours! Of course, not everyone can spend the whole day reading; there’s sleep to be had and life to be lived. Still, it’s nice to take a little break from our hectic schedules and get lost in a few good books!

This time around, I’m planning to devote as much time to reading as possible. I originally thought I’d be able to stay up all 24 hours (and then sleep late on Sunday), but now I actually have to Do Things this weekend. That’s unfortunate, but I’ll make the best of it! Today I went grocery shopping for some delicious snacks, including carrots & hummus, white cheddar popcorn, and caffeinated soda. I’ve also created a pretty awesome stack of potential reads, so I’m feeling super excited for tomorrow! 🙂

Logistically, this post will be my home base for major updates and challenge entries, but I’ll also be updating via Twitter @YouBookMe. Stop by and say hi! And if you’re also participating in the readathon, best of luck to you, and HAVE FUN!

Hour 1

Intro Meme

  1. What fine part of the world are you reading from today? — Washington, DC.
  2. Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? — All of them! But I’m probably MOST eager to read Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey.
  3. Which snack are you most looking forward to? — Smartfood white cheddar popcorn, always.
  4. Tell us a little something about yourself! — I’ve read my favorite book, Pride and Prejudice, at least 20 times!
  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? — This will be my first time implementing a social media “schedule.” I plan to stop reading and check the blogs/Twitter roughly once every two hours. That way I can enjoy the social aspects of the readathon (and participate in the challenges), but I’ll still have plenty of time to read!

Hour 3

I’ve already completed my first book of the readathon, Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell! (Granted, it’s only 62 pages long, but it still gives me a sense of accomplishment. :)) It was adorable, although I was slightly disappointed in the lack of kissing! Now I’m on to Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey, a historical romance/spy adventure that’s a lot of fun so far!

Mini-Challenge: Our Bookish Childhoods

I’m trying to think of my top five childhood memories that involve books and reading, but it’s proving harder than I thought! So I’ll do the best I can, but some of these “memories” might just be books I loved as a kid!

  1. When I was two years old, I had a “My First Bible,” and my favorite story was about how Pharaoh’s daughter found baby Moses in a basket in the river. (Why was this my favorite? No clue!) My mom was pregnant with my brother at the time, and I would point to her stomach and say, “Baby Moses!” Fortunately, my parents decided to go another direction with the name. 🙂
  2. I don’t actually remember this, but according to family lore, I used to be obsessed with The Cat in the Hat, to the point where I had memorized it long before I actually knew how to read. I once fooled some of my distant relatives into thinking I was a child prodigy, because I could recite the entire book and even knew when to turn the pages!
  3. For some reason, I got really into the Hardy Boys as a kid, but not Nancy Drew! I remember checking out a few Hardy Boys books from the school library, and one of my classmates was like, “Aren’t those for boys?” NOPE!
  4. Another school library story: at my elementary school, we had a general section full of children’s books, and then there was a smaller “young adult” section that only the 6th graders could use. I had read Anne of Green Gables, which was in the general section, but then Anne of Avonlea was in young adult! I wasn’t in 6th grade yet, but I pleaded with the librarian to let me check it out anyway. Bless her, she let me. 🙂 And the Anne books have always held a special place in my heart!
  5. I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time at age 13, and it’s only because my mother made me! Up until then, my reading life had mostly been Sweet Valley Twins (and Hardy Boys, as previously mentioned), and my mom insisted that it was time for me to branch out. She selected P&P for me at the library, and I remember running into my 7th-grade social studies teacher, who commented that she was a “way big Austen fan.” I think that chance remark is what convinced me to give Austen a chance…and of course, after that, there was no turning back!

Hour 5

I haven’t gotten a ton of reading done since my last update, because it took me a long time to catch up with my Twitter feed (I’m so excited for all the #readathon love! Go #TeamPenguin!) and because I finally decided to, you know, take a shower and put on real clothes. I’m about halfway through Love, Lies and Spies now, and while it’s not destined to become one of my favorite books, it’s a very enjoyable, lighthearted bit of Regency fluff.

Mini-Challenge: Road Trip

This one’s a bit tricky for me, since heroine Juliana Telford is (1) British and (2) from the early 19th century. But Juliana is a plucky girl who approaches every new experience as an adventure, so road-tripping with her would probably be fun! Here’s what I’d write on a postcard to Juliana’s best friend Carrie, if Juliana and I were driving across the U.S. together:

My dear Carrie, our journey by horseless carriage is finally properly under way. The city of Washington was a bit stuffy and crowded for Juliana’s taste, but she seemed quite impressed with the Appalachian mountains! She has also become enamored with a peculiarity of American cuisine known as “French” fries, but fears she may be seen as unpatriotic as a result. We shall keep you informed of our progress, and I know Juliana will send you word of any interesting flora and fauna! Kind regards, Christina

And I’m pretty sure the stereo would be blaring “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift! First of all, T. Swift is a necessary component of any long road trip. Secondly, Juliana is an unusual Regency lady, being more interested in the scientific study of ladybugs than in finding a suitable man to marry. As a result, she is constantly getting into embarrassing situations, and some people in society look down on her. But she’s resilient enough to “shake off” the haters!

Hour 7

Just finished Love, Lies and Spies, and I still have the same opinion: not a new favorite, but a fun read for Regency lovers nonetheless! Now I’m listening to “Wake Up” by the Arcade Fire with David Bowie (because the readathon moderators posted it on Twitter) and contemplating my next read.

Mini-Challenge: Operation Quotation!

This challenge is simple: find a quote on any topic and post it, along with the book’s title and author. Since April is National Poetry Month, I’m going with a quote by my favorite poet, W.H. Auden, from the poem “In Memory of W.B. Yeats”:

Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;
In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.

Hour 10

I’m almost halfway into the very entertaining As If! The Oral History of Clueless As Told by Amy Heckerling, the Cast, and the Crew by Jen Chaney. I actually wasn’t super enthusiastic about picking up this one — I LOVE the movie, but the book just wasn’t speaking to me today — but now that I’ve started it, I’m hooked! I would definitely recommend this to lovers of “Clueless” and to the kinds of people (like me) who like to listen to DVD commentaries.

Mini-Challenge: Share a Quote

This one’s from the beginning of As If! The Oral History of Clueless, and it legitimately cracked me up!

In mid-July of 1995 — when American culture was fixated on such matters as O. J. Simpson’s ill-fitting glove [and] TLC’s insistence on not chasing waterfalls […] let’s just say [the success of “Clueless”] was something most people couldn’t predict at the time. (You can’t blame them, really. They were very busy focusing on the rivers and the lakes they were used to.)

It’s not often you find a truly A+”Waterfalls” reference these days.

Mini-Challenge: Character Road Trip

For some reason I am feeling very unimaginative right now, so I’d love to accompany Amy and Roger, from Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, on their road trip across the country! But they missed a few places that I’d love to see, so here’s where I’d have asked them to stop:

  1. Nashville, TN — I’ve never been there, but I’m dying to experience its well-known music scene for myself! I think Roger, he of the epic playlists, would appreciate it as well. 🙂
  2. Niagara Falls — Another place I’ve never been and am dying to see!
  3. New York City — Okay, I HAVE been there a few times, but there’s still so much more to experience! I especially need to get myself to all the fabulous bookstores (Strand, I’m looking at you!). And Amy would be in theater-geek heaven!

All these places start with N, which was totally not planned!

Hour 12

You guys, I can’t believe we’re halfway there (livin’ on a prayer)! I’m still enjoying myself hugely, although feeling a bit guilty because I haven’t touched my healthy carrots-and-hummus snack, while my white cheddar popcorn got devoured hours ago!

Mini-Challenge: Alphabet Soup

These words are all from my current read, Jen Chaney’s As If! The Oral History of Clueless. Page numbers are in parentheses.

A…auditioning (39)
B…busted (44)
C…cranny (85)
D…design (125)
E…extraordinary (81)
F…filming (76)
G…grace (53)
H…hoodlum (30)
I…incestuous (8)
J…jealous (17)
K…Kangol (154)
L…lottery (62)
M…makeup (111)
N…neurotic (73)
O…obstacles (69)
P…plaid (99)
Q…quotable (3)
R…ridiculous (138)
S…stylized (26)
T…triumphantly (204)
U…understand (12)
V…videotape (35)
W…wicked (57)
X…There are officially no words in this book that start with X!
Y…youthful (21)
Z…Zahn (as in Steve) (48)

Mid-Event Survey

  1. What are you reading right now? — Almost done with As If! The Oral History of Clueless by Jen Chaney.
  2. How many books have you read so far? — Two, soon to be three!
  3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? — Probably Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk, which looks like a very cute chick lit read.
  4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? — Honestly, I’ve had very few interruptions, and it’s been fantastic! The biggest struggle has been staying away from social media for long enough to read!
  5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? — I think it’s the fact that, despite assuming I’d need to take some breaks to go outside, walk around, etc., I really haven’t wanted to! I’ve been quite content to just sit on my couch and read for hours at a time. It’s been really nice! 🙂

Hour 14

Just finished As If! and really enjoyed it! As I mentioned above, I’d definitely recommend it to fans of “Clueless.” Jen Chaney obviously loves the movie and manages to incorporate a number of quotes into her narrative. And the bulk of the book comprises statements from a ton of people involved with the movie, including Amy Heckerling, Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, and even the front man for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones (the band that plays at the college party)! There are also some interesting statements from pop culture critics and writers who talk about the movie’s enduring legacy, including — astonishingly — Ta-Nehisi Coates on its treatment of race.

Now I’m about to start my next book, The Hermit of Eyton Forest by Ellis Peters. It’s part of my beloved Brother Cadfael series, which is about a 12th-century Benedictine monk who solves mysteries. So, you know, what’s not to love? 🙂

Mini-Challenge: Mad Tea Party

If fictional characters gather for tea
In the manner of Alice, who shall they be?

To choose from one book is the easiest thing,
So all of my guests are from Lord of the Rings.

Like the March Hare, Gandalf gathers a party
Of characcters whose thirst for adventure is hearty.

The Hatter is Aragorn (a name hard to rhyme),
For to aid Middle-Earth, he must race against time.

The Dormouse, though sleepy, has stories to tell,
Just like Bilbo, now dreaming in fair Rivendell.

My Alice is Pippin, who served Denethor
Even without knowing what was in store.

While some of these match-ups have proved quite a strain,
I hope the results will at least entertain!

Mini-Challenge: Mashups

A Study in the Scarlet Pimpernel — A clever detective masks his intelligence beneath a veneer of shallow dandyism. While being pursued by French secret agents during the Reign of Terror, he must unmask a murderer who turns out to be a cab driver with a thirst for revenge. Despite some problematic portrayals of Mormons and Jews, this novel is a thrilling adventure suitable for all ages!

(Mashup: A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy.)

Hour 16

Just a quick update this time! I’m now about 1/4 of the way through Ellis Peters’ The Hermit of Eyton Forest, and it’s exactly what I expect and enjoy in a Cadfael mystery. Also, I greatly amused myself by participating in the They Said What? mini-challenge. My official entry is on Twitter, but I couldn’t resist sharing my dialogue mashup: “I do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like people who’ve been kidnapped by bloody numpties!” Obviously, this is a mashup of Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I had to get those numpties into the challenge somehow! 🙂

Hour 20

Honestly, I’m a bit surprised that I’m still awake and still reading! I can’t sleep all day tomorrow, so I really should get to bed soon…but also, I’m having way too much fun (and am weirdly not that tired yet)! So I’ll keep going for now. I’ve finished The Hermit of Eyton Forest and am moving on to Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk, which looks pretty good, if Chapter 1 is anything to go by!

Mini-Challenge: Literary Wanderlust

The Hermit of Eyton Forest is set in Shrewsbury, England, and the funny thing is that I’ve actually been there before! I was only 13 at the time, and I don’t remember doing much sightseeing (I was visiting a friend whose family had recently moved there). My impression was that it was quite a small town, albeit surrounded by beautiful countryside. But if I were in England for 36 hours, I’d definitely want to hang out in London and visit all the literary and historical sites! I’d probably make a detour to Bath to visit the Jane Austen Centre as well. 🙂

Mini-Challenge: Kickass Characters

The character that immediately springs to my mind is Aerin from Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown. She literally slays dragons but is completely matter-of-fact about it. A lot of times, I find strong characters to be really annoying, like they’re trying to prove something to the world by yelling about how strong they are. But Aerin is very undemonstrative; she just sees that the dragons are a problem and does her best to protect her people.

Mini-Challenge: Pump Up the Jam

I had a lot of fun creating this playlist that will hopefully keep you awake and maybe even get you moving! 🙂 As you can tell, I’m in a very ’80s mood at the moment!

  1. The Presidents of the United States of America, “Video Killed the Radio Star” (listen)
  2. The Kinks, “You Really Got Me” (listen)
  3. Blondie, “One Way or Another” (listen)
  4. The Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” (listen)
  5. David Bowie, “Suffragette City” (listen)
  6. A-ha, “Take On Me” (listen)
  7. Dead or Alive, “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” (listen)
  8. Queen, “Don’t Stop Me Now” (listen)
  9. Billy Idol, “Dancing with Myself” (listen)
  10. The Darkness, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” (listen)

Mini-Challenge: Scary Good

I’ve loved Agatha Christie ever since I devoured the vast majority of her books as a teen…but I must admit that her novel And Then There Were None kind of freaks me out! The premise is that 10 people are summoned by a mysterious stranger to a remote location, where they are murdered one by one with no possibility of escape. I have legitimately had NIGHTMARES about a similar situation happening to me!

Hour 24: The End

You guys, I did it! I actually stayed up and read for the entire 24 hours! Okay, I wasn’t JUST reading; I also showered and procured food (but nothing that required cooking!) and stuff like that. And of course, I spent a fair chunk of time on social media. But I didn’t think I’d be able to last all 24 hours, and I’m pleased to have proved myself wrong! 🙂

End-of-Event Survey

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? — I think it was probably somewhere around Hour 18 or 19, where I’d already stayed up past my bedtime but still thought I could get some decent sleep if I went to bed RIGHT NOW.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? — I was utterly charmed by Lindsey Kelk’s Always the Bridesmaid, which I would definitely recommend to chick lit fans!
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season? — Not really; it all seemed to go very smoothly from my perspective!
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? — Personally, I think I found a really good balance between the blog/Twitter-updating aspect and the reading aspect. Taking a reading break every 2-3 hours seems like a good move for me.
  5. How many books did you read? — 5.5! Minus one if you don’t count the very short Kindred Spirits!
  6. What were the names of the books you read? — (1) Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell, (2) Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey, (3) As If! The Oral History of Clueless by Jen Chaney, (4) The Hermit of Eyton Forest by Ellis Peters, (5) Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk, (6) the first half of Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? — Always the Bridesmaid was an unexpected pleasure!
  8. Which did you enjoy least? — I really liked all my reads this time around!
  9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? — Oh, I’ll definitely be back. 🙂 I think I might want to be a cheerleader as well as a reader…I’m not so good at visiting other people’s readathon posts or Twitter feeds, and I’d like to interact a bit more next time.

Bout of Books 15 Progress

Bout of Books

I’m so excited to be participating in another round of Bout of Books! Throughout the week, I’ll be updating this post with my progress and with my entries for the various mini-challenges. As I mentioned in my sign-up post, my overall goal is to read 1,000 pages during the read-a-thon.

Day 1: Monday 1/4

Pages read: 19 — not the world’s greatest start, but it’s better than nothing!
Books read from: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Challenge: Introduce Yourself in Six Words, hosted by Bout of Books. My six words are: Catholic, introvert, Janeite, musician, cheerful, procrastinator.

Day 2: Tuesday 1/5

Pages read: 36 — that’s progress, I guess! 🙂
Books read from: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy; The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles
Challenge: Would You Rather, hosted by Writing My Own Fairytale. She asks, would you rather…

  • Lend books to someone who dog-ears pages or to someone who reads with cheesy Cheetos fingers? I’m going with dog-ears, because you can more easily unfold a dog-ear than remove a Cheetos stain! (Says the girl who regularly eats cheese-flavored snacks while reading!)
  • Be able to meet one character of your choice or meet one author of your choice? Hmm, I think author. Tempting as it would be to meet Mr. Darcy, I’d rather meet Jane Austen! It’s her brain that created him, after all.
  • Never be allowed in a book store again or never be allowed in a library again? Hmm…I feel like I should say bookstore, because then I could still go to the library and buy all my books from Amazon. But the truth is, I can’t even imagine never going into a bookstore again! So I’m saying library.
  • Have to choose one of your favorite characters to die in their book or have to pick one of your favorite couples to break up in their book? Ugh, neither! But I suppose if I have to choose, I’d say break up. They can always get back together in the sequel…while there’s life, there’s hope!
  • Be required to read Twilight once a year for the rest of your life or The Scarlet Letter once a year for the rest of your life? The Scarlet Letter. It’s not my favorite classic, but it’s really not so bad! And, bonus — it’s shorter than Twilight!

Day 3: Wednesday 1/6

Pages read: 44 — bringing me to a grand total of 99 pages, or 9.9% of my overall goal. What can I say? I haven’t had much reading time this week, and while both of my books are good, neither one is totally grabbing me right now.
Books read from: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy; The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles
Challenge: Bookish Rainbow, hosted by Ranty Runt of a Reader. My official challenge entry is on Twitter, but I couldn’t resist sharing my rainbow here as well!

book rainbow

Day 4: Thursday 1/7

Pages read: 54, bringing me to 153 pages total. Still plugging away!
Books read from: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy; The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles
Challenge: Villain Mashup, hosted by Bingeing On Books. Hear me out, but I’d like to see a battle of wits between Don John from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Acheron Hades from Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair. Both of these characters appear to be villainous for no particular reason; they just both really like evil for its own sake. But Don John is very logical and methodical in plotting to screw over his brother, whereas Acheron Hades is more chaotic (i.e., he basically just runs around kidnapping and murdering people). I’d be interested to see these two villains match wits, and I’m honestly not sure who would win!

Day 5: Friday 1/8

Pages read: 0
Books read from: N/A
Challenge: N/A

So, life happened and I actually didn’t read anything today! But I’m definitely planning on some quality reading time this weekend…although I think it’s obvious at this point that I won’t hit my 1,000-page goal! *blush*

Day 6: Saturday 1/9

Pages read: 73
Books read from: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy; The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles
Challenge: Comfy Reading Spot, hosted by Once Upon a Chapter. My spot is pretty boring…it’s just my couch. Sometimes there’s a blanket. I usually have a glass of water on the neighboring bookshelf, so it’s within easy reach. Super exciting, right? 🙂

comfy reading spot

Day 7: Sunday 1/10

Pages read: 0
Books read from: N/A
Challenge: none

Bout of Books 14 Progress

Bout of BooksMonday 8/17

Hooray, Bout of Books 14 started today! I meant to set up a post earlier, but time just got away from me (by which I mean I was watching “Gilmore Girls” and then listening to the Gilmore Guys podcast. This is my life now). I didn’t even get any reading done today! But I did manage to take a look at the Fictional World Travel challenge, which asked us to list 3-6 books set in a country other than our own. I think we were supposed to pick 3-6 different countries, but all the books I chose are set in France! I wanted to do a fun theme…plus, I really just wanted to make a bookish Eiffel Tower!

Vive la France!

  1. The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy — One of my all-time favorite books, involving spies and romance during the French Revolution! Part of the book takes place in England as well, but I’m still counting it. 🙂
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins — A lovely YA contemporary romance about an American teen at a French boarding school who falls for the most swoonworthy boy in the world!
  3. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery — A novel about a middle-aged concierge and a 12-year-old girl, both of whom are highly intelligent social outcasts who yearn for — and eventually find — human connection. It starts slowly but gets much better as it goes on!
  4. Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda — A charming Parisian romance that develops when an artist, a chef, and an aristocrat become roommates and unlikely friends.

So, that’s my challenge entry! Any other French books or books set in France that I should check out?

Tuesday 8/18

I’m getting a head start on Bout of Books today with the Scavenger Hunt challenge! While I don’t own all of these books, each one is a book I’ve really enjoyed or can’t wait to read! Here’s what I “found” for this challenge:

Blue Lily, Lily BlueBridge of SpiesJackaby

1. A book that begins with B: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (review is here)
2. A book I’m currently reading for Bout of Books: Bridge of Spies: A True Story of the Cold War by Giles Whittell
3. A blue book: Jackaby by William Ritter (review is here)

Sorcery and CeceliaCut to the QuickLure of the Moonflower, The

4. Books from my favorite genres: Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (historical fiction & fantasy); Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross (historical fiction & mystery — review is here)
5. A book from my TBR pile: The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig

I also managed to read about 40 pages of my current book, Bridge of Spies. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, and it tends to go slowly for me because there’s no story to latch onto. But I am enjoying the book — lots of fascinating stuff about spycraft in the Cold War era!

Wednesday 8/19

Today’s MASH challenge was a real blast from the past! My friends and I definitely did this in elementary school. Here’s my game (I got the number 3 from the random number generator):


As you can see, I will marry Julian Kestrel (the detective in Kate Ross’ wonderful Regency mystery series)! We will live in a house in Stars Hollow with our pet dragon and four kids, and I’ll drive a Rolls Royce. But I’ll probably be away from home a lot because of my career as a rock star! Yes, I accept this future. 🙂

Also, I decided to switch gears with my reading today. Instead of continuing with Bridge of Spies (which I’m reading in tandem with an online friend), I read the first few chapters of Leigh Bardugo’s Siege and Storm! This is my first time reading the Grisha trilogy, and I’m enjoying it so far…hoping to finish before my pre-order of Six of Crows arrives!

Thursday 8/20

So, Thursday was a total wash for me! I didn’t do any reading, nor did I complete the daily challenge. Oh well — hopefully I’ll do better over the weekend!

Friday 8/21

Another non-reading, non-challenge-doing day! I blame Netflix; I started re-watching “Friday Night Lights” and basically lost track of everything. 🙂

Saturday 8/22

No reading, no challenges. Womp womp.

Sunday 8/23

And once again, no reading, no challenges! I certainly ended this Bout of Books “not with a bang but a whimper”!

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon

readathon - dewey's 24 hour 10-9-10The long-awaited day has finally arrived: Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon is upon us! This post will be my home base throughout the day, where I’ll be logging my progress and participating in mini-challenges. I’ve got a bunch of snacks and a stack of books all ready to go, so let the games begin!

11:04 a.m. — Argh, I overslept! So I haven’t actually started reading yet…but I’m about to get going with Every Breath by Ellie Marney! Hope everyone is enjoying his/her day so far!

Classic Words of Wisdom Mini-Challenge

From the host’s website: “[C]reate a post highlighting your favorite ‘Classic Words of Wisdom’ and then explain their meaning to you.” This is one of my absolute favorite quotes, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit:

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.

To me, this quote is a reminder to focus on life’s simple pleasures and to be “merry” whenever possible. Not bad life advice, I think!

Four Seasons, Four Books Mini-Challenge

From the host’s website: “This mini challenge is to convey the four seasons in four book covers, by colour, title, author, cover, or something a little less obvious. Just arrange your covers, snap a photo and then upload it.” Here are my choices for spring, summer, fall, and winter:

Peach Keeper, TheSince You've Been GoneOutlaws of Sherwood, TheWinter Long, The

1:21 p.m. — About halfway through Every Breath now, and it’s SO GOOD! I’ve just put the sequel on my wishlist. 🙂

3:17 p.m. — Finished Every Breath and really, really liked it! I did guess the culprit’s identity fairly early on, but the fun is in getting there, and in watching the slow burn of Watts and Mycroft’s relationship. Now I’m on to French Leave by Anna Gavalda, of which I have high hopes, since I really enjoyed Gavalda’s previous novel Hunting and Gathering!

Treasure Hunt Mini-Challenge

From the host’s website: “[F]ind a book with one of the listed items on the cover.” The listed items were a tree, snow, and a weapon, and here’s what I found:

Treasure Hunt mini-challenge

Tree — Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Snow — The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire
Weapon — The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

Book Spine Poetry Mini-Challenge

From the host’s website: “Using the titles on book spines, make a short poem at least three ‘books’ long/tall.” This is one of my very favorite mini-challenges — it’s always so much fun to get creative with the books on my shelves! Here’s my poem:

book spine poetry

A song for summer, season of storms:
Let’s get lost in the woods.
Bewitching season, endless summer.

5:07 p.m. — I just finished French Leave, which was quite charming and a perfect palate-cleanser after the intense Every Breath. I did love this one passage, which is about a conversation between four adult siblings:

And then we talked about our parents. The way we always did. About Mom and Pop. Their new lives. Their own love stories. And our future. In short, the everyday trifles and the handful of people that filled our lives.

It wasn’t much, trifles to many people, and yet a boundless fortune.

9:32 p.m. — I took a little break from the readathon this evening to play in a community orchestra concert. But now it’s back to reading, and I’m in the middle of Katie Van Ark’s The Boy Next Door, which is really making me want to watch “The Cutting Edge”!

11:40 p.m. Finished The Boy Next Door, which was fine but lacked that spark that makes me really excited about a book. Not sure it will have a permanent home on my shelves. Oh well! On to my next pick, Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).

Music Is Muse Mini-Challenge

From the host’s website: “Whilst you’ve been reading I wonder if you’ve felt a particular musical connection to a book, or a character. I want to know what songs remind you of that character, or connect you to something you’ve read today. For this hour’s mini challenge please tell me the name of the song, and the connection you feel to it.” For this challenge, I’ve assigned a song to each of the books I’ve read so far:

  • Every Breath by Ellie Marnie — “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks (listen here). I think this is a song that main character Mycroft would listen to; he has an appreciation for the classics! Plus, the book as a whole gives me the vibe of a high-energy rock song with snarly/angry vocals.
  • French Leave by Anna Gavalda — “Absolutely Cuckoo” by the Magnetic Fields (listen here). The song is short and whimsical, the perfect complement to this charming French novella! For some reason, I can imagine the characters riding bikes through the French countryside with this song as a soundtrack.
  • The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark — “Love Story” by Taylor Swift (listen here). This song is THE perfect choice for this book, which is about two young lovers who believe they’re destined to be together. And Romeo and Juliet is a prominent narrative in both the book and the song!

Reading Story Mini-Challenge

From the host’s website: “For this challenge you will be writing a six word story based on your read-a-thon experience so far or what you hope for the rest of your read-a-thon.” Here is my six-word story: “Read three books on couch. Success!”

1:13 a.m. Well, it’s Hour 18, and I think I’m going to have to call it quits! Sadly, I have to get up at a decent hour tomorrow morning. 😦 But before I go, I want to leave you all with this brilliant quote from Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), where Mindy Kaling is describing her first NYC apartment:

It was a staircase for killing someone and making it seem like an accident.

I’ve been cackling so loudly over this book that I think I’m disturbing the neighbors. Anyhow, this is me signing off, but best of luck to those of you who are still reading! You can do it!!!