Sunday, June 9, 2013

48HBC Finish Line Post!

I did it! I made it through again and I didn't falter/fall apart near the end! Nearly 35 hours (34 hours and 53 minutes due to sleeping "too much") and smashed my goal for this challenge! Finished my audio book and Twenty Boy Summer, too. Slept about 3 hours last night. Saw sunrise before going to sleep. That was weird. I was awake for 25 hours straight. I, uh, don't do that. So apparently the caffeine worked! Success! So many exclamation marks! I think I am a little loopy from lack of sleep and so much focus over the past 48 hours. So here are my stats:

9 books
2,408 pages
34 hours, 53 minutes

I spent more time reading/blogging this year than I spent doing all activities last year - 30 hours, 53 minutes. Day 1: 11h, 15m reading and 2h networking. Day 2: whatever's left. No, uh, 19h, 38m reading and 2h networking. Whoa. Granted, day 1 is out of 15 hours (pre-six hours sleep) and day 2 is out of 27 hours. I read 5 books that I'd been meaning to read for awhile - Smekday, the Ockler book, The Big Splash, and the two Roland Smith books. Then of course I read four graphic novels - one reread and three new ones. I actually still have three graphic novels leftover, another Adam Rex book, another Sarah Ockler book, another Roland Smith book, and then a couple others. I like being able to choose, but you can see that I went to authors I like and picked many of them to catch up on.

I had a great time this year. I think I really challenged myself, especially when I had to read in my room for 8 hours and couldn't go outside but still kept reading. I drank A LOT of caffeine - Mountain Dew, Pepsi, Wild Cherry Pepsi, Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi, Coke, and Diet Coke. I ate healthier this year - apples, popcorn, fruit snacks, turkey and cheese sandwiches, and a nut energy mix. I mean, there were also Milanos, Goldfish, and pizza, but I didn't eat most of the unhealthy snacks I bought - Dove chocolate bars, Swedish Fish (how did I not gobble those down at 4 in the morning?), and most of the Milanos.

Usually I can't wait til next year to improve, but for now I'm going to bask in the glory of how well I did, take it easy, and sleep. Really, I can't improve too much next year. I don't think I could do 40 or more hours because I need to sleep. Sleeeeeeeeeeep. So if I can get 36 hours next year, that sounds good enough for me.

I had a great time reading everyone else's blogs and seeing newcomers and finding new people on Twitter. I hope everyone else had just as good a time as I did. Congrats everybody!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Nearing the End

I know, I know, it's been nearly 24 hours since I last posted. But if you look at how long I usually go between posts (oh, about a year), then a day is really nothing. Also, I left to go to the library at 5 pm today, forgetting that the library closes at 5 pm on Saturdays. So, no TenNapel for this year's challenge. I might end up reading it tomorrow after the challenge anyways, though, once the library opens.

So what have I been up to?! Well, I slept, actually sticking to the 5 hour max I wanted so I didn't get too much sleep to the point of grogginess. And then I finished 4.5 more books. I haven't wanted to put the books down, so that's why I haven't been blogging. Read for 6.5 hours, took a break, did some more reading, and am coming off having read for about 4.5 hours. This year's best idea? Audio e-book on my tablet. Portable - can bring it from one room to the next or outside or in the car and can listen to it while putting a sandwich on a plate for my grandma or helping her find the bathroom. Also, glad I picked a long one. It's The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, and I'm still not done with it. Oh, it was also a lifesaver for the four hours of hockey tonight. Put hockey on mute and could just watch it and listen to the book. No, hockey is not usually four hours, but the Blackhawks went into double overtime. The narrator is phenomenal, and I feel like the characters are talking to me instead of someone reading a book to me. She really might have been a robot in her past life. If you're looking for something quirky and laugh out loud funny, I'd definitely suggest it on audio.

I read three graphic novels - Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge, Peanut by Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe, and Brain Camp by Susan Kim, Laurence Klavan, and Faith Erin Hicks. I don't think this has ever happened to me before, but I actually cried a bit during a graphic novel - Will & Whit. It was touching. It was another great book by her but without all the metaphors of the first book. I actually loved the metaphors in the first book, but she used more of plays on words in this book with her different chapter headings relating to light and dark. The main character loves creating lamps out of unusual objects, but she also greatly fears the dark, so the chapter headings brilliantly relate to that. The other thing I loved about this book was how the author uses black outlines for the pages where it's darker (for some reason - I'm not going to tell you) and regular white outlines for the pages where it's lighter.

Quickly about Brain Camp, it was interesting and fun to read a kind of creepy book, but now I know where Faith Erin Hicks (maybe) gets her idea for sudden endings to her books. It's not bad that it ends differently, but it is kind of a cliffhanger or where you would have to fill in the blanks, and it just kind of throws me for a loop.

And then Peanut was interesting, too. Much longer but with simpler panels, and the use of one color in there makes sense - showing how the main character, who is pretending to have a peanut allergy at her new school, stands out or blends in. It's not just color for color's sake. Even though the idea the main character has is outrageous, the story still seems mainly plausible.

I'll end this one here with an update and will hopefully post later. I also finished Tentacles by Roland Smith, and it was even better than Cryptid Hunters. Can't wait for #3 in October. Currently reading Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. Have been wanting to read the rest of her books, so those made my TBR pile for the challenge. I am at 29.5 hours total time (what what), 7 books finished, and somewhere over 2000 pages read when I count my two not yet finished books. Tonight I plan to go to bed when, or if, I feel like it. I can sleep tomorrow, so why not? I'm having a blast, and hope you are, too.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Nearly Bedtime

I'm planning a 1am bedtime til about 5 or 6 am because I know that's when my grandma gets the most of her sleep, too. She'll probably be up in the next half hour.

So since my last post I had my hour and a half of work (asst. coaching a coach-pitch baseball game. They only play for an hour) and finished Cryptid Hunters. Found out there is a THIRD book coming out in the fall, and I'm excited. Also a correction: the sequel is Tentacles, not Sasquatch which is just a book about cryptids that he wrote a decade earlier. Smekday is still hilarious. Apparently robots can be "boy-boy-boy" just like humans are boy or girl. The narrator on the audio book annoyed me at first, especially when I thought the main character was supposed to be a boy and not a girl, but she does a great job with voices and sounding like a robot and cat.

Anyway, I have a quote I forgot to post from Page by Paige that I really liked: "But all those wrong things also helped get me to where I am right now. [...] If I try to take out the mistakes, then this would all fall apart." It's on a page where Paige is sitting on a tower of cardboard boxes. I'd put a page number, but there aren't any in the book. I really liked this quote because of how it can relate to many people's lives and if people remembered this, maybe they wouldn't hate the past so much. As my mentor in college said, "you can't have mountains without the valleys," meaning that you can't have your good times without your bad times; otherwise everything would be a plateau.

The Roland Smith book was in the vein of his usual books - including animals that are wild and dangerous and people that fit under the same description. It has plot twists and action and adventure, and even though I don't believe in cryptids like Sasquatch and such, it was still a read I couldn't put down. The kids and adults travel from an island off the coast of Washington state to the Congo in search of the Mokele-mbembe (which is supposed to have lots of accents in it), a supposed cryptid. The kids get stranded by themselves and have to use survival skills and conquer their fears in order to survive. They do happen to have a bonobo chimpanzee, a teacup poodle, and a couple of birds with them to help out along with cool gadgets to keep in touch with the adults. I really can't say much more without giving away the twists of the story, but if you like Alex Rider books or survival, adventure, or action books, I definitely recommend this one and the other Smith books.

In terms of my status, I'm at about 12 hours and 850 pages now.

Six Hours In...

It's been a good day so far. Got to sit outside some and read, and it's gorgeous here. Completely blue sky, sun, green trees. I started with The Big Splash by Jack Ferraiolo, and it was excellent. A first novel for him, and a Kirkus star at that. As soon as I read the back cover, it reminded me of The Fourth Stall books by Chris Rylander, but from the opposite viewpoint. In The Fourth Stall books, the kid giving out answers to tests, candy, and hall passes is the good guy. In The Big Splash, that kid is the bully and the "bad guy" in a sense. He's the one to look out for. When he approaches Matt Stevens for a job, $20 is too good to pass up. But the second he finishes that job - getting a figurine back from a girl - the girl gets sent to the Outs, the outsiders, the kids that get bullied. Now Matt wants to figure out who sent the girl to the Outs, as he feels partially responsible. He has to deal with 7th grade love, friends and enemies, and try to keep his mom out of the loop. There was a great part on page 158 where Matt's mom talks about the two girls he kind of likes and how they're different and such, and that really connected with me. By the end, things end up the way they should. There's a sequel, The Quick Fix, that now I am dying to read because the first one was so suspenseful and fun to read. I can definitely see multiple ways that the sequel could go or different characters it could be about.

After that, I read my one reread book - Page by Paige. I loved that book when I read it back in 2011, and after seeing Laura Lee Gulledge finally having a new book out - Will & Whit, I wanted to go back and enjoy her first book. Granted, it was only two years difference, but it felt like much longer. I highly recommend Page by Paige as it is a gorgeous graphic novel but also has many terrific metaphors in it. It's really beyond any words I can say about it.

Then I took some time to go outside and listen to my audio book, The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, which is laugh out loud funny so far and quite bizarre, but in an Adam Rex-y kind of way. I pushed through even when I wasn't sure it was my type of book, and now I'm glad I did.

Finally, I started a Roland Smith book I hadn't read yet as I love his action/adventure stuff. It reminds me of Anthony Horowitz's books about Alex Rider. This one is called Cryptid Hunters and is about finding those different non-scientifically provable animals such as Sasquatch (which is actually the sequel to this book). I have two other Roland Smith books in my TBR pile because I like to catch up on stuff during this weekend that I've been meaning to read for awhile.

So I'll read a couple more hours and then go to work and probably stop at the library on my way home to pick up the latest Doug TenNapel book, Tommysaurus Rex, and my TenNapel every 48hbc tradition will continue. I love all his graphic novels. Saving my networking time for after work when my grandma will probably be awake and I won't be able to focus on a book too well.

Keep commenting; I love to hear your thoughts and what everyone else is doing!

3rd Time's a Charm - 48HBC Starting Post

I'm about to start the 48 hour book challenge (at 10 am CST) for the third year in a row, hosted by Ms. Yingling this year and helped out by Abby the Librarian. This year I'm planning to do what Jen suggested last year and double my hours again... wait, that's not possible. Okay, well, I'm going for as many hours as I can which is really vague. Let's say more than last year's 26. I definitely want to be in the more than 24 hours grouping.

I did what I suggested to myself last year - weaned off the caffeine since last Saturday and took my first sip of it this morning. I've got snacks, lunches made for myself and my grandma, and therein lies the problem. This year I can't let my grandma out of my sight, so I can only go outside to read if someone else is here, or I might have to get up randomly when she is complaining or gets hungry. So I've got my audiobook ready and hopefully will get some help from the parents this weekend. I definitely plan to skip some sleep each night to get some reading in. My first book will be The Big Splash by Jack Ferraiolo. I'll post a picture of my TBR pile to Twitter later. Lots of graphic novels again to break up the novel reading. By the way, I'm muellerspace on Twitter.

Good luck to everyone participating, and have a great time!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Woo, I made it through the final painful hours of the 48 hour book challenge. I think missing my boyfriend, having not seen him in 10 days and putting him off while I completed this challenge, is part of what made the last few hours crawl by. Also, I know I get to see him when I'm done with this, so I was just full of anticipation to finish one thing and go on to another. Also also, maybe I love to read but not to read this much in one weekend!

So my total is 26 hours, more than double last years total, and I am very proud. The note where I kept track of this is just a jumble of times and minutes here and minutes there. I finished 9 books, so I will donate $9 to RIF.

With all my preparation, I ended up not using my audiobook, probably because I didn't work this weekend like I had to last year. I made sure to get outside to switch up the scenery and take advantage of the warm weather and get out of my bed, which is where I read. I probably had too much food stockpiled, but it was fun buying it and of course I'll still eat it. I thought I would read fewer books than I did, so I'm glad I stopped at the graphic novel section to pick up some extras. The graphic novels are great for breaking up the novels. I read books I'd been meaning to for years and also brand new books. I made a good dent in my books checked out from the library. Next year I'm going to do mostly what I did this year, but I'm going to wean off the caffeine in the days before so that when I pile it on during the challenge it actually takes effect. When Mountain Dew doesn't have much effect, you've been drinking too much caffeine! Also, maybe I will drink coffee even as nasty as it is.

So of course you're wondering how much Mr. Sharp's school is going to get. Well, the donations haven't all been specified yet, and my math seems to have gotten screwy, but here's what I know so far.
Mr. Schu - $20.00
Sister - $8.75
Sister - $0.25/hr=$6.50
Dad - $1/hr=$26.00
Boyfriend - $0.75/hr=$19.50
That's a total of $80.75.

Uncle D - ??
Uncle T - ??
Friend - ??
These are the current unknowns.

Whatever it all comes out to, I'm going to match it, so it will be a minimum of $161.50!

What else do you want to know? What? Oh, who won a book? Well, I put all the names in a hat because I am old school like that, and the winner came out as Uncle T! I drew all the names, though, and made an order just in case someone decides to pass. If he passes, I'll let the next person know and so on until someone decides they want a free book!

So what can he/you pick from? Here are the titles I finished:
Graphic Novels
Level Up by Gene Luen Yang
Iron West by Doug Ten Napel
Silverfin: A James Bond Adventure by Charlie Higson and Kev Walker (really a Young James Bond)
City of Light, City of Dark by Avi

The Anybodies by N.E. Bode
The Nobodies by N.E. Bode
The Devil's Breath by David Gilman
Lexapros and Cons by Aaron Karo
Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

Thanks for joining me on this adventure and all the comments and encouragements! I did have a good time and know I will be back for next year. Good luck to the rest of you finishing up!

N.E. Bode Home?

It must be late into the challenge because here I am making puns or something for everyone to groan at. I did make it to 24 hours though, so I'm mightily pleased, and I still have 2.5 hours left. So why did I write anybody like N.E. Bode? Well, because that is the author of three books in a row that I read. I didn't read them in a row; they just go in a row, but I don't want to call them a trilogy.

Anyway, the first one is called The Anybodies, the second is The Nobodies, and the third which I will finish in the next 2.5 hours is called The Somebodies. Can N.E. Bode tell me where the author got the pseudonym for her author name from? Yuk yuk yuk. I'll get some sleep later, I promise. Her real name is Julianna Baggott and she has written other books under that name, like The Prince of Fenway Park which I happen to be in the middle of.

I read The Anybodies years ago; in fact, I got it from a Scholastic book order. I absolutely loved it for it's silliness, mystery, and mention of many other books. The house where the grandma lives is made out of books and she tests her boarders for book knowledge. The main character, Fern, gets tested in my favorite chapter, Part Three, Chapter 4: The Test. I reread that one all the time. The book is similar to the Dr. Cuthbert Soup books, but I'm quite partial to the bookishness in this book.

One day I found out that there were sequels to this amazing book! Sequels, plural! Now, I am the type that likes to read the books in order and reread the first one to remember everything I can. (By book five in Harry Potter I stopped doing that, but it was hard). So I didn't read the sequels for quite awhile, probably years. Then came this challenge and I decided it would be a great time to get all three books together and be able to read them.

So obviously I recommend The Anybodies. Then I readThe Nobodies, which I read in nearly one straight sitting. I didn't want to put it down. It was really good. The author likes to add this bit about her creative writing teacher being after her and that gets very old after awhile, but she seems to get it and shortens her ranting to one sentence only here and there. The magic in this book is wonderful and unexpected and not like anything you've seen before. Also, the illustrations and covers by Peter Ferguson are awesome. He's great at drawing what I am picturing without even knowing I'm picturing that!

Now I'm on The Somebodies which is good but has a weird beginning, so even though I read 100 pages of it straight, I did have to take a break from it. When I finish this post I will get back to it. Unfortunately a different person did the cover, so they don't all look like they go together, but Ferguson did still do the illustrations inside the book.

The characters have personalities, the books can be funny, you really care for the characters, and the writing in the first two made me read them straight through because they hold your attention so well. Definitely a series I would highly recommend, or even just the first one for something quirky, mysterious, and bookish.