Read-a-thon Wrap-Up

June 29, 2008 at 9:28 am (Read-a-thon)

First off, I’d very much like to thank Dewey for hosting this. I had an absolute BLAST. I’d also like to take a minute to say thank you to everybody who stopped by and commented… those comments helped me to keep going. I’d like to reply to every one of them, but I don’t know that I’ll have the time to.  Special thanks to all the cheerleaders for being so awesome. And thank you to all of the people holding mini-challenges.

There are a couple of questions I’ve been asked a few times that I’d like to answer right here:

  • May I use your button? Yes, of course. Please do.
  • How did you stay awake for the whole time? A few things… cold showers, tasty food that had mostly been prepared ahead of time, chocolate, being somewhat used to sleep small amounts, a husband who probably would have teased me – in a lighthearted manner – about going to bed, the same husband telling me I could do it, caffeine at proper intervals, getting up right before the read-a-thon started, and just plain sheer determination.

Here are my final stats:

  • Time spent awake: 24+ hours
  • Books read: 5 finished, 1 unfinished
  • Pages read: 1468 (At one point, my reading speed really slowed… I was having major problems coherently reading. The problem was solved – I got more energy again – but I’m ticked that it cut down on my numbers like this.)
  • Time spent reading: This is a guesstimate. I’d probably say right around 18 hours, maybe as high as twenty. Most of the rest of the time was spent blogging. And that short trip outside for the mini-challenge.
  • Mini-challenges done: 9

Post-event survey:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Definitely the five o’clock our. That would have been hour 21, I suppose.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Before Green Gables, Comfort Food, Un Lun Dun, The Garden, and A Curse Dark as Gold. Some of these were read during the read-a-thon, some not. I don’t think longer books are really best for this kind of thing… you need to mix things up. Most of these have been reviewed at my blog. You can find a list here.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? I got really frustrated with the whole “Hour X” thing because sometimes, it didn’t seem my numbers added up to theirs. Maybe “Hour X, Time Y”. Also, with the mini-challenges, “this challenge will say open for x number of hours” didn’t work out great for me as sometimes it seemed they were posted in the middle of an hour and I had to try to keep track.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Mini-challenges were GREAT. I also liked seeing what challenges were still open. That was very helpful.

5. How many books did you read? 5 finished, 1 unfinished

6. What were the names of the books you read? Before Green Gables, The Sugar Queen, Skinny Bitch, Talk to the Hand, and Comfort Food. The one I didn’t finish? Gluten-Free Girl. There just wasn’t enough time.

7. Which book did you enjoy most? Before Green Gables, with Comfort Food a close second.

8. Which did you enjoy least? Skinny Bitch – I hated that book.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? n/a

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Absolutely! I’d like to be a Reader, still, but I’d love to host a mini-challenge.

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Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs

June 29, 2008 at 8:47 am (Book Reviews, Read-a-thon)

This will probably be the last book that I finish during the read-a-thon. I’ve got another one I’m working on, but won’t complete before I stumble to my bedroom for some hard-earned nap time.

I have to say that I REALLY enjoyed Comfort Food. The book is all about a TV chef named Gus (short for Augusta). Gus’s ratings are falling, so the Cooking Channel decides to boost her ratings by bringing in Carmen Vega (former Miss Spain). Gus is quite upset about having to share her show with Carmen. Carmen thinks she, also, should have her own show. The two become QUITE competitive.

Gus’s daughters become involved in the show, as does her neighbor, an ex-professional tennis star name Hannah. She also has Oliver, her new culinary producer, to deal with.

This was a good read. I’m glad I saved it until the end of the night because it really doesn’t require a lot of thought, but isn’t your typical “brainless” read.

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Illustrated Entry

June 29, 2008 at 5:36 am (Read-a-thon)

As you might have noticed, I’ve included a picture in almost all of my posts. Usually little things that were part of my read-a-thon day. So, your mini-challenge should you choose to accept it is to photograph something related to your read-a-thon experience and put it in a post w/ a caption. If you don’t have a digital camera, or it’s not working, just find something on the internet that approximates it. Or draw a cartoon in paint!

Well, I thought about this and couldn’t find anything more appropriate than this:

 natprodcaffeine_220

That just so happens to be a caffeine molecule (or, rather, a representation of one). Without the help of caffeine, I couldn’t have made it this far.

BTW, if you’re as much of a dork as I am, you can actually buy a shirt, a necklace, or a mug with this on it at Think Geek.

For somebody a bit more obsessed? You can see caffeine tattoos here, here, and here. And, of course, this is my preferred kind of caffeinated beverage (except that I prefer it out of a bottle – I can taste the can. Eww.)

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Word/sentence challenge

June 29, 2008 at 3:45 am (Read-a-thon)

Leave a comment OR blog yourself (you’re all doing both anyway, right?!)  for one or both (or neither?) of the following:

A – strangest new vocabulary word found during entire read-a-thon

B – most interesting /  annoying / favorite RUN ON sentence encountered.

My word? Asafoetida. Found in Gluten-Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern. It’s an Indian spice – a powdered gum resin. Apparently, it contains gluten or is packaged with gluten or something. I’m going to avoid it like the plague.

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Sleepy?

June 29, 2008 at 1:10 am (Read-a-thon)

SLEEPY? I laugh in the face of the SLEEPYMONSTER! … with the help of caffeine and chocolate.

People seem to be going to sleep in DROVES. Other people are drinking warm beverages which, frankly, always make me tired – that’s why I have to have soda, not coffee, early in the morning. I’m thinking of getting into iced tea, though… my work offers free tea, so I could use that.

Anyway. I’m still here. I’m still awake.

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The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

June 28, 2008 at 10:14 pm (Book Reviews, Read-a-thon)

I just finished reading The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. I really enjoyed the book – a lot more than I thought I would! Well, no – this is hard to explain – I decide I want to read a book, but then when I get it in my hands, suddenly the idea of that particular book is appalling. So, I’ve learned that I can’t trust myself with that. For the most part, I make myself read at least 10 pages before deciding that I don’t want to read the book.

One day, Josey Cirrini (who is 27 and lives at home with her mother, obeying her every whim) finds Della Lee, a woman she hardly knows, in her closet. Della Lee refuses to leave. She even sends Josey out to get her a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich from a shop where a woman named Chloe works. Chloe has books just randomly show up around her. For instance, she has recently broken up with her boyfriend (he cheated on her) and she keeps finding a book called “Finding Forgiveness” in various places – on the arm of her couch, on the counter at work.

The lives of these three women are interconnected in ways nobody can imagine. To tell any more, would spoil it. But this is definitely a good book.

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Midway report

June 28, 2008 at 9:39 pm (Read-a-thon)

I went to do this half an hour and Firefox threw a fit at me again. *glares at her husband person who suggested she update to Firefox 3.0* I got my husband to fix it – again – and I’m not adding any more add-ons until after this whole thing is over and done with.

Anyway, now that I’ve whined, here’s my midway report:

1. What are you reading right now?

Right now, I’m ALMOST done with The Sugar Queen

2. How many books have you read so far?

1… almost 2.

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

Not sure. I am debating whether to read The Host during this or not… it’s a long book. My brain might rebel sometime in the next several hours.

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?

Just letting my husband no. We have no kids. I don’t work on the weekend. Tomorrow is Gay Pride Parade and I was going to possibly go with my youngest sister, but now… I doubt it.

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

See also stupid-computer-problems. See also “recruited husband”.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

How little time I’ve actually spent reading.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Times. I’ve got to tell say that I look at the “Hour” and go “huh… that seems off to me…” and then figure I’m not paying proper attention. I’d REALLY like to see “Hour 1 (9:00 AM Pacific Time)”

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?

As a reader, I’d probably pick out books ahead of time.

9. Are you getting tired yet?

No. I am frequently awake 20 hours a day or so. I don’t expect to be tired for a few more hours.

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?

Making dinner in the crockpot was really nice. That way it was ready when I wanted it.

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Mini-challenge: Make a button

June 28, 2008 at 7:42 pm (Read-a-thon)

The mini-challenge for hour 11 is to make a button. I made two.

24hrreading1  24hrreading2

As a side note, my husband says “Oh, see… I guess I was confused about this. I thought that you, you know, READ during a read-a-thon.” Silly husband.

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Perfect timing

June 28, 2008 at 6:46 pm (Read-a-thon)

A while ago, my husband comes over to me with a cardboard box “This came in the mail today.”

I’d completely forgotten about it, but now I have more books for the pile:

  • The Host by Stephenie Meyer
  • Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs
  • The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

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Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson

June 28, 2008 at 4:12 pm (Book Reviews, Read-a-thon)

I just finished reading Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson. It’s my first completed book for the read-a-thon… it took me a bit long to read it because I kept having computer problems – so it took a lot of time to move back and forth between sites for the challenges and such. Luckily, my husband fixed them for me!

I’ve always loved Anne. Did you know… my middle name is Anne? Even now, when I tell people my middle name, I think “with an e”. One the phone, if somebody tells me that their name is Anne, I always ask “With an E?” It helps that I have red hair and am somewhat feisty like Anne (or, at least, I was as a kid).

This is the backstory to Anne. It was so nice to read what happened to Anne before she became “of Green Gables”. The story is fantastic and heartbreaking. (Yes, yes, yes…. I cried.) In some ways, I like stories where you know the end. Most people who read this book KNOW where she’s going. They even know, vaguely, how she got there. The journey along the way is what makes this book so wonderful. A perfect addition to Anne’s story.

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