Saturday, January 4, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0 Main Post - with Updates and partial wrapup

Right - so I have lost my mind. I am supposed to do a ton of work getting ready for next semester, cleaning up from last semester and generally getting work done, but I want to participate in Bout of Books 9.0 read-a-thon. I haven't done this before, so I have to remind myself NOT TO GET CARRIED AWAY!
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

This time of year, my normal amount of pleasure reading would be right around a giant goose egg. I generally get a chance to read for fun the last two weeks of December and starting in January I would be frantically reviewing non-fiction books or textbook.  So - a balance must be achieved ... 

Time Devoted to Reading

I plan to devote at least one hour each day (probably split between lunch and just after the kids fall asleep) to reading for pleasure.  I will also devote twice that each day to reading environmental science texts or non-fiction books and remembering to take notes on each so I can remember later in the year which ones I liked/didn't like/found useful. 


My Goals

  • To read 3 books for pleasure and examine at least 6 books for use in one of my classes.
  • Complete at least a summary review for each book read
  • I also want to participate in at least one challenge  


Books to Read For Fun

I am going to try to read three of the following ...

The Book of Heroes by Miyuki Miyabe
just 60 pages but I plan to go back when life is less stressful and read the whole book.
I found this one while rummaging around in a bookstore and was caught by the cover.  I read the first chapter in the book store and found I was caught up in the story so I bought it.

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
Completed and Reviewed
I sort of liked the Thursday Next books and found the idea interesting.  My son loves dragons so I want to pre-read this to see if I want to recommend it to him or not.  

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
90 pages, DNF and gave postmortem explaining why
Still ticked off at this book since it hit me like a speed bump 

I pretty much ignored this book while it was everywhere. Recently I got stuck someplace where there was a bit of a dearth of options, so I started reading the first few pages and I got interested so I decided I might give it a whirl. 

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
75 pages: lame sex and cannot connect to main character. Might try again later though.
I heard a discussion of this book on NPR at some point and decided that if I got a chance I would read it, so when I spotted it out in paperback I grabbed a copy.

Harriett the Spy by  Louise Fitzhugh
Apparently I am still mad a Rachel, I couldn't find this book anywhere in the house during Bout of Books. 
This choice is basically there if things get too overwhelming. Whenever I get fried from work, I start reading children's books to feel better. I never read this as a kid since it was my nemesis's favorite book for a while (which seems weird because she usually went for the "perfect" girl series choices like Little House and Wolves of Willoughby Chase). Anyhow - the book entered my consciousness when I was basically doing everything I could to be distinct from her, so I never read it.



Monday, January 6, 2014 
Number of pages I’ve read today: 560
Total number of books I’ve read: 1
Total number of pages I've read: 560 
Books: The Last Dragonslayer

Tuesday, January 7, 2014 
Number of pages I’ve read today: 156 + 60 + 17 = 233 (so far baring more insomnia)
Added insomnia reading: 240 pages
Total number of books I’ve read: 2
Total number of pages I've read: 793 + 240  =  1123
Books today: 
The Book of Heroes by Miyuki Miyabe (60 pages so far)
I finished To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell (156 pages to finish the 429 page book). 
The first chapter of The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker  (17). 
The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch (240 pages). 
Plus - the Book I Read with my Daughter during the Blizzard which I am not quite sure how to count.  Reading with my daughter is a normal thing - though I would love to read to her even more.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 
Number of pages I’ve read today: 244
Total number of books I’ve read: 3
Total number of pages I've read: 1367
Books today:
I finished The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch.
I picked up A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and managed 90 pages. Not sure I am going to keep going with this one right now.
The Grand Tour: or the Purloined Coronation Regalia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
- read 10 pages to get the Vegemite taste of Diana out of my head.

Thursday, January 9, 2014 
Number of pages I’ve read today: 130
Total number of books I’ve read: 3
Total number of pages I've read:1497
Books today:
Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan - 75 pages.  OMG when the heck did contemporary literature translate into boring recitations of pathetic sex life and TSTL brands of decision-making. What is this crap ?  I am actually very interested in the purported plot involving a young woman joining MI5 and becoming involved in Cold War espionage, but what do I get instead ? TMI about her sex-life and buckets of mushy self doubt.  There is just enough of an interesting story, barely, to make me want to keep reading, but good golly this is hard going.

Right so at this point I switched to a lovely non-fiction book called Jewels: A Secret History (called Buried Treasure in the UK) by Victoria Finlay - 45 pages.  Excellent book so far.

I also managed about 10 pages of The Grand Tour: or the Purloined Coronation Regalia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer on my e-reader before falling asleep.

Friday, January 10, 2014 
Number of pages I’ve read today: 198
Total number of books I’ve read: sigh, still 3
Total number of pages I've read: 1695
Books today:
I went back to The Golem and the Jinnni by Helene Wecker (102 pages) and have been enjoying it greatly.
On my e-reader I have kept going with The Grand Tour: or the Purloined Coronation Regalia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (96 pages). One of the things that I am really appreciating about the story is that you have two happily married couples who are not spending their time doubting each other or misunderstanding each other. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014 
Number of pages I’ve read today: 412
Total number of books I’ve read: 4
Total number of pages I've read: 2109
Books today: Stuck on e-reader today. No way were the kids going to let me just sit and read a book when they could be jumping on me.

I finished The Grand Tour: or the Purloined Coronation Regalia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (380 pages). It was fun!

I also read 20 pages of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and 12 pages of The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes to see if either would be a good candidate for "next book."

Sunday, January 12, 2014 (and wrap up post)
Number of pages I’ve read today: 58
Total number of books I’ve read: 4
Total number of pages I've read: 2167


Monday 1/6
Completed Book Buying Spree -- Bookish Comforts
Completed Mad Libs -- Cheap Thrills

Tuesday 1/7
Completed Reading Tactics List -- Sarah Says Read

My answer - Well, my original tactics were to spend lunch and a period of time after the kids were in bed to read I also was going to basically carry a book around with me all day so that I could catch the odd moments to read. Like last night I read while I cooked dinner rather than watching something on Netflix or listening to a radio story like Ruby the Galactic Gumshoe – which is rather harder to do so I had to plan out dinner more carefully (seasoned tilapia with parmesan mashed potatoes and green beans – all of which I could managed one handed after the veggies were all prepared). Not sure I can do that again tonight – I will have to see.
However – we got hit with a blizzard watch, travel advisory and things started closing like dominoes yesterday – so I ended up staying home waiting for the kids to get back from school and reading. I also ended up getting woken up by the howling wind and spent a couple of hours reading an ebook in the dark until I relaxed enough to sleep. Made for a weird first day. Today everyone is home – so I have no idea if I will get much reading done at all.

Completed Audiobook Cast -- Geeky Bloggers Book Blog
"Cast your Book Challenge!
If you were listening to the book being acted out over the radio waves who would you want being the voices of your favorite characters!"
This one was hard! 

The book I would cast is Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart.

Number Ten Ox (Lu-Yu): this is turning out to be really hard! The book is told from Number Ten Ox's point of view. Eek - Jerry Tondo ? (the voice of Chien-po from Mulan) or the voice of BD Wong? (Shang from Mulan) - someone halfway in between those would be good.  The only young Asian actors I know about are also pop singers and wouldn't sound right at all. Help??? 
Li Kao (Master Li): Jackie Chan
Lotus Cloud: Michelle Yeoh 
The Ancestress: Lucy Liu  (I think she would have way more fun playing this role than one of the good girls)
The August Personage of Jade: George Takei ?

Wednesday 1/8
Completed Introduce Someone to Your Favorite Genre -- Doing Dewey

One of my first genre loves was classic mysteries, for example:
Dorothy L. Sayers – her books with Peter and Harriet were the best, but to an easier entry into the Lord Peter stories is “Murder Must Advertise.” Is is not the first book (Whose Body?) which is a bit harder to get into, and it self contained so you don’t have to worry much about backstory.
Josephine Tey – “The Daughter of Time” is a the classic story restarted the whole Richard the III was innocent mania. And I have always had a soft spot for “Brat Farrar” as well.
Rex Stout’s “Fer-de-Lance” is the start of the Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin series and I liked them too.
Crocodile on the Sandbank, by Elizabeth Peters, is great fun. (It probably doesn’t count as a classic yet, but oh well).
Georgette Heyer also wrote mysteries like “The Unfinished Clue” and “Death in the Stocks”
The Complete Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle, of course. I always had more fun with the short stories than the novel. “The Red-Headed League” is a favorite.
True confession time – I had a really hard time with Agatha Christie – I like more character driven stories and her characters for the most part are paper thin. I also read a couple of her best known stories and found a couple of plot holes the size of buses – one of which made me so mad that I almost threw the book I was reading out the window.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the first Hercule Poirot, isn’t a bad place to start though (it was a free ebook too). FYI “And Then There Were None” was one of the books that made me nuts.
Ack gotta stop – need to read.

Thursday 1/9
Completed Double Date Book Challenge -- Writing My Own Fairy Tale

My answer ...
"My pairing right now would be Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote and Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Dawn of the Modern Woman by Sam Wasson. You would also have to see the movie to complete the set.  Truman Capote is an, um, interesting person and the short story he wrote captures a lifestyle and time that is very, very different from contemporary America. So much so that it is really hard to understand - so reading Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M. helps to put the story into perspective and give you a greater appreciation for both what Capote was doing (well appreciation might not be quite the right word to use when talking about Capote) and how the movie developed. So the next set would logically be to see the movie. (And then to totally break your brain you can watch the movie Murder by Death, with Truman Capote so you can see what he looks like and you hear his voice.)" 

Completed  Poem Challenge -- Pen in Her Hand
   You can find my poem at Found Poem Challenge - Bout of Books 9.0

Friday 1/10
Completed Create a Story -- Never Too Fond of Books
  You can find my story at  Bout of Books 9.0 Create a Story Challenge

Completed Book Spine Poetry -- The Book Spines
   You can find my poem at Bout of Books 9.0- Book Spine Poetry Challenge!

Saturday 1/11
Completed Book Staging -- Midnight Book Girl
   You can find my photo at Book Staging Challenge for Bout of Books

Sunday 1/12
Bookish Wedding -- Harley Bear Book Blog
     Just couldn't do this one - not interested in wedding idea at all (already happily married, thanks)

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