Sunday, June 5, 2011

48HBC Finale

If this was the 24HBC I would have done quite well. Unfortunately, having work, then more work, then a broken down car in 95 degree heat 30 minutes from my parents right before the construction, then dehydration, then a party all on Saturday, a key day, really killed my time. I knew I wouldn't get to read between 8 am and probably 1 am on Saturday, so about 17 hours, but I didn't know I'd have such an eventful day to completely wear me out either. So in my 2nd 24 hours I read 54 minutes.

But in my first 24 hours I read 9 hours, and 57 minutes, and networked 1 hour and 9 minutes.

So my total time is 12 hours even I just realized. I was aiming for 12-15 hours, and this is my first year, so I'm plenty pleased.

I read 5 books - the ones I posted on and also The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner, Calamity Jack, a young adult graphic novel by Hale, and Ten by Lauren Myracle. I figure you're 10 in 5th grade, so it fits the requirements.

I already can't wait for next year and really enjoyed the networking and checking out other people's blogs and twitter accounts! Thanks to everyone for their support and commenting on my posts!

Friday, June 3, 2011

48HBC: Wednesday Wars

Update: Currently at 7 hrs, 52 min of reading/blogging time and 1 hour, 9 min of networking time, for a total of 9 hrs, 1 min as of 17 hours into my start. (I'm using a stop watch to keep track of my time so a)I don't have to remember when I started/stopped reading and b)because I'm kind of anal like that and want to be exact.) I feel quite accomplished. I'm on my 4th book right now.

My second book for today was The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt because I've been hearing so much talk about Okay for Now by Schmidt and read that one of the characters is originally in The Wednesday Wars. I really like to read previous books about people (when I know about them) before the next book.

This book made me wish I had paid more attention in high school English when teachers talked about themes and symbols and "crap" like that. Now that I'm reading more advanced books, I'd like to understand them as well. If I stop and think about what certain parts of the book mean, I can come up with a meaning, but usually when I ask someone else, they come up with what I think of as a better meaning. There may be no wrong or right (contrary to HS English teachers' beliefs) but some meanings are better than others.

The Wednesday Wars talks a lot about Shakespeare, and I'm sure that the author put in the specific parts and plays to make some type of symbolic connection. It makes the book that much more interesting. I thought this book was powerful because it talks about the Vietnam War and a relationship between authority and students, specifically one teacher - Mrs. Baker - and one student - Holling Hoodhood. She hates his guts at the beginning, as he puts it, but she does warm up to her here and there. Schmidt makes some smart moves in this book by making you think all is "swell" when the next chapter, walls (or the ceiling in this case) come tumbling down. He writes a shocker or two into the book as well.

One main theme of the book is being who you want to be, not what someone else wants you to be. Holling learns this early on through The Merchant of Venice but doesn't apply it until much later. On page 48 he says people trapped a Shakespeare character into being a certain way without allowing him to "be anything except for what he was." This plays into the story within Holling's family throughout the book.

There are many parts I found to be profound and many great Shakespearean lines in this book. I highly recommend it and look forward to Okay for Now.

48HBC Blog Post: Creature Tech

Update: So far I'm at about 5 hours of reading time, so I'm going to be blogging and networking for the next hour before work.

I read Creature Tech by Doug Ten Napel, a YA graphic novel. I read Ten Napel's Ghostopolis a week or two ago, and loved it. So when I went to get books for this weekend, I went straight to his last name and found two other books by him, including this one. I recognized Ten Napel's style right away on the cover with the straight lines of the main character, Dr. Michael Ong. This book starts in the past to give the reader an idea of where the plot comes from once we get about 30 pages into the book. We see a giant moray eel fall on a house and crush someone to death.

Then we get to the present day and meet Dr. Ong who becomes a world-class scientist and works at Creature Tech, a place where he and a couple others go through strange things in crates given to them by the government. His town isn't very happy to have this strange operation there. His main task is fighting a ghost who comes back from the dead and all the cats he turns to fight against Dr. Ong.

Although Dr. Ong may sound mature, he is actually a very young man, and there is even a bit of love in this book. Ten Napel combines the science fiction with love with humor, unbelievably. Some parts are visual jokes and some are verbal jokes. For example, at one point the ghost is putting together an aerial view of the town and breaks into an Italian song. Once he finally puts all the pieces together and you realize he is searching for the giant eel again, he says, "That's a moray!" Here it refers to the eel and to the Italian word for love, amore.

Dr. Ong is a very smart, if not sometimes careless, person, but he also comes across as normal in some ways. He has friends, he fights with his dad, he's falling in love with the girl he used to make fun of in high school. The characters in this book, including the bad guys, make this a great story, and the plot twists, foreword, humor, and excellent drawings make it even better.

I should mention something about the foreword. It's written by Terry Mattingly, the director of the Washington Journalism Center, and he gives a very interesting view on the story - he said it feels just like a storyboard for a movie. It's good to read the foreword because when you come to certain parts in the book, it makes them easier to understand.

48 Hour Book Challenge

Here we go! Starting at 7 am on Friday morning but I don't think I'm having cereal for breakfast (catch that reference?). It's time for the 48 hour book challenge. How many hours can I read in the next 48 hours? Well, with work all day Saturday, it certainly will be a challenge, so we'll see.

I'm starting with Creature Tech by Doug Ten Napel, a YA graphic novel.

Here is a link to the challenge:

Happy reading!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

48 Hour Challenge

Coming up this weekend between June 3rd and 5th I will be trying to read at least 12 hours out of 48 hours in a row for a contest.

Here is the link:

Another blogger and fellow tweeter, @motherreader, puts on this challenge yearly. I will be blogging about the books I read, which will probably mostly be YA and will include several graphic novels. Feel free to sign up yourself or just check out the many blogs of people competing and find some more great books to read!