Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Readathon Prep - April 2017


Seriously, it's ridiculous how much I love participating in Deweys. I stumbled across the event two years ago and was unable to participate but I immediately starting counting down the days until the October 2015 readathon. It was love at first page. This will be my fourth Deweys and each time I have changed and refined how I approach it and I am looking forward to the best one yet! 

Today we're going to cover all the important readathon prep topics beginning with, of course, 


This is my stack of twenty potential reads. I like to have options but not be overwhelmed by too many. I'm just going to give you titles and authors and the reason why they are on my stack. If you want a synopsis you can look it up yourself (or wait until after I read it and it ends up in a wrap up post).
From top to bottom:

Akin to Anne by L.M. Montgomery
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Bellwether by Connie Willis
     These three are rereads. I like to have a few rereads on hand for the later hours when I'm a little sleepy and my mind tends to wander a bit more.

The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman
Dying to Meet You by Kate Klise
Horton Halfpott by Tom Angleberger
The Farthest-Away Mountain by Lynne Reid Banks
     These are all middle grade books. Middle grade works great for readathons because they are pretty quick to get through and the plots are easy to follow. And who doesn't love a good kids book?!

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan
     Anecdotes (most less than a page) from librarians. This is going to be the book I leave in the bathroom to read a page or two when I'm in there. Side note: I highly recommend the book Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg for this same purpose.

Mandy by Julie (Andrews) Edwards
     More middle grade.

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
     This may be the book I start with at 5am on Saturday.

The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker
     More middle grade.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
     I read a book by this author a few weeks ago and immediately thought that her books would be perfect for a readathon and I had this one already on my shelves.

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett
     I've had this on every readathon TBR and I still haven't read it...maybe this year...

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
     This is the other book I am considering starting with.

A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
     Even more middle grade.

Peter Pan by J.M Barrie
     Because I need to read more classics!

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
     It has 24 hour bookstore in the title! How could I not?

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
     I have this one in both hard copy and audio book. I often listen to an audio book for an hour while I do something else but it always ends up being some random book that I don't finish because I don't listen to audio books generally. I thought this way I could switch back and forth between the two mediums. 

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
     Another reread, also the only book on the stack over 300 pages. For when I need something that makes me feel all cozy and happy. 

The People in the Castle by Joan Aiken
     Short stories. I am not usually a fan of short stories but I always try and have a few on hand during a readathon to keep things fresh. 

Obviously I will not get through all 20 of these books but I have high hopes that I will make a significant dent in the pile. 

Moving on to the second favorite readathon topic:


I've done something a little different each time around. The first readathon I did quite a bit of research on foods that keep you awake and foods that make you sleepy and planned accordingly. Honestly, I didn't feel like it made much of a difference for me so since then I have just done whatever I feel like. I always have plenty of fruit on hand and cheese and crackers. Of course some dark chocolate. This year I think I'll just pick up a pizza on Friday evening so I have some leftovers of that as well. As for drinks, I'm not a coffee drinker, in fact I avoid caffeine in general but for readathon I treat myself to Snapple Peach Tea because it's yummy and I need a little caffeine. 

Other Prep: 

The week leading up to readathon I try and get little tasks out of the way so I don't get distracted by a pile of papers on my desk or dust on the shelves or an overflowing laundry basket. I want a clean organized environment so I can fully relax on the day of. This time around I am going to be gone Thursday and Friday so I am taking today to get those things done. Friday evening I'll pick up whatever groceries I need on the way home and maybe run the vacuum over the carpet but I'm trying to get everything else done in advance so I can have a relaxing successful readathon. 

There is one other topic to touch on and that is sleep. I've tried to stay awake for the full 24 hours and it just doesn't work for me. I am on the west coast so I have a 5am start time (which I love! seriously, I do!). But by the time midnight rolls around I'm losing any semblance of sanity. I've found what works for me is to sleep for about three hours, usually about 10pm - 1am. This allows me to still participate all the way through the 24 hours and not just disappear at hour 19 or 20. Figure out what works for you! 

Whether this is your first or your fiftieth readathon I hope you have a wonderful time! If you have never participated before ir's not too late to sign up. There are no requirements. You do not have to read for the full 24 hours or even 2 hours. It's just a coming together of book lovers around the world. 

Also: shout out to my parents for babysitting my nieces and nephews on Saturday which is what I am supposed to be doing. But it would break my pathetic little heart to not get to participate in Deweys. Seriously though, Mom and Dad, I know you read this blog and you guys are awesome. I am so grateful for you.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up 4/17/17

I know, I know, I know...I didn't blog last week. But I'm back this week with an interesting stack of books that I read in the past two weeks.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
This is a middle grade novel that has become fairly well known since it was published in 2012. The story centers around August Pullman, a 10 year old with severe facial deformities. In this book he attends school for the first time after having been home schooled. A sweet story about friendship and doing the right thing no matter what anyone thinks.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Another book accomplished with the help of my reading buddy. This classic detective novel tells of the disappearance of the Moonstone, a legendary diamond. We are told the story through multiple perspectives and even though I enjoyed the book, many times it just felt like information overload.

Anthem by Ayn Rand
Though Rand is more well known for Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, this is the novel of hers that came most highly recommended to me. This dystopian story takes place in a society where individuality has been eradicated. The word "I" no longer exists. Until one man flees the society and discovers something beyond the collective "we".

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
Another middle grade novel (I love my kids books!). Follow the journey of William, a mixed race monk with the gift of extraordinary strength, Jacob, a Jew with the gift of healing, Jeanne, a peasant girl who can see the future, and Gwenforte her dog who also happens to be a saint.

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis

This was a reread for me. It is a somewhat allegorical story about a mans journey to hell and heaven, and the conversations and realizations he has while he is there.Though this is at least the third time I have read this book I think this is the first time I have really understood the point of it. Of all the books on my list this week, this is the only one that I would highly recommend!

That's all I have for you this today! There is a readathon coming up in less than two weeks so I have started preparations for that which I guarantee I will be tell you more about so stay tuned...

(Also, it's not too late to sign up here )

Monday, April 3, 2017

Weekly Wrap Up 4/3/17

Today I'm just going to touch briefly on three books.

Merlin's Keep by Madeleine Brent
Brent published several gothic romance novels in the 70s. These are clean romances with exotic settings. The story lines are all similar but they always make for enjoyable reading. However, this was, by far, my least favorite of her books that I have read. Centering around a half-caste Tibetan princess this book delves too much into eastern mysticism with healthy doses of occultism, hypnotism, and mind control. It was just a little too dark for me. 

Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
This was a reread for me and the perfect palate cleanser after Merlin's Keep. Fforde books are always full of bizarre humor, unexpected twists, and dozens of literary references, If you haven't attempted this series yet I highly recommend it. (Or if you have read it it's probably time for a reread.)

To Be or Not To Be by Ryan North
Hamlet in choose your own adventure form. Seriously. You start by choosing which character you want to follow: Hamlet, Ophelia, or the Ghost of Hamlet's Father. You can stick pretty closely to Shakespeare's original story line or choose a completely different plot. It's a lot of fun and great to pick up when you have just a few minutes and don't want to get invested in something longer. I am looking forward to checking out his interpretation of Romeo and Juliet as well.

I'm sorry for the short and rather lackluster post. I was planning to take more time but I'm off to babysit my nieces. So until next time, thanks for reading and have a lovely week!