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.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What Have I Been Doing??

Yes, I know, you are probably all wondering what I have been doing and why I have not been posting! Well, shockingly, I have been reading. I have finished 5 books since I last wrote. Yikes. I'm up to 19.5 hours, which was exciting when I beat last year's total of 12, and I have read 7 books (3 graphic novels). I still have over 12 available hours and am hoping to get in at least 5 more hours to hit 24. The caffeine has kicked in so I'm pretty confident. Also, I decided to take myself out of the $2/hr sponsoring and just match the total that I get in donations and sponsors. So we'd be up to $77x2=$154 and then there are three other people I've heard from that will donate but haven't specified an amount yet. So it's going better than I hoped instead of worse than I feared.

So what have I been reading? The two graphic novels that I haven't posted about are Iron West by Doug Ten Napel and City of Light, City of Dark by Avi and art by Brian Floca. I think I took out the Ten Napel one last year but didn't get around to it.

It's classified as a sci-fi western. The sci-fi part I'm cool with, but the western part I don't really do. So even though I love everything Ten Napel (Bad Island, Ghostopolis, Creature Tech), it got off to a slow start for me. However, once it hit Sasquatch, I was hooked. That character, or the way that the main character interacted with him, was hilarious. I like that Ten Napel's drawings have a typical him look to them -the strong jawline, the facial expressions, and the only as much detail needed and no extra. If you haven't read any of his books yet, I would start with a different one, like Ghostopolis,unless you are a Western fan, but if you are a fan, don't put this one down right away because it takes on a life of its own.

The other graphic novel was a surprise to me. I went down to the YA section of graphic novels specifically for this challenge and saw the Avi book. I was surprised and figured I would have read it already because I used to read everything Avi. (If you can't already tell, once I like an author, I read everything by that author I can get my hands on). I fell in love with Avi back in 5th grade, so it'd be surprising if I hadn't read this one.

But, I didn't know Avi had written anything classified as a graphic novel, nor did I know what that meant til a couple of years ago. Having Brian Floca illustrate it could only make it better. I think he did Moonshot, of which I have a print of a picture that I adore. It started off with more words than pictures, but I gave it a chance. Once you get past the pre stuff and get to Chapter 1, it picks up and gets interesting. Floca shines the most when he gets full page spreads and doesn't have to work around dialogue, but he definitely adds to the story. Turned out I hadn't read this one ever and it was from 1993! Also, it seems to be the first work Brian Floca did, as the biographical note says he was working on illustrations for a second book. I kind of felt like I was reading something sacred, the beginning of Floca's career taking off, literally, since airplanes are part of this story and one is on the cover.

I think it's a different Avi but still takes place in the past like many of his books, though I couldn't call it historical because it seems like he made up this long ago world in New York. I was engrossed in it, though, from beginning to end. Definitely a pageturner.

I'll write about the others I read - The Anybodies, The Nobodies, and Lexapros and Cons next time around.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Love and Leftovers Review and Thoughts

Wow, I just finished Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay. It was in verse which I used to hate and am starting to see as a viable way to write books, and this one was beautiful. It seemed true to what people feel when they like a boy and don't know if they are falling in love or not, and there were some points where I thought ah ha! That's what it means to be falling in love, but when I'd go back to look for that passage, I couldn't find it. It was like a fleeting thought, just like knowing that you're in love can be a hard thing to figure out, and the thought may be fleeting.

I did mark a few passages that I really liked and thought got to the root of looking for love and possibly finding it and how to know the difference between lust and just wanting a body or being lonely and what it's like when you have passion - "love, conversation, understanding, and the physical stuff - all stirred together" (289). I think that starts to get at it. It's more than hormones and just getting a fix; it's liking someone for their adorable ways that no one else sees and forming a deep friendship and listening to your heart, as abstract as that is.

Have I figured it out yet? Well, I'm not very good at that abstract stuff, but I think I'm on my way with this one guy and thanks to this book. This book gave me chills at the right moments and made me confused when the characters were confused and made me want to start the book over again as soon as I had finished it. I'm not as good as expressing my thoughts as Sarah Tregay, but I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about love and any teenager out there who is confused or who is in high school, because I think this book captures a typical high schooler experience very well.

I'm up to almost 3.5 hours, or $14 so far. Next up is the Anybodies, a wonderful book by Julianna Baggott or N.E. Bode, the first of three.

Level Up by Gene Luen Yang

I finished my first book! Well, it was a graphic novel, but I made it about half way through Love and Leftovers before I needed a break from that. I switched to Level Up about a boy who loves to play video games but has parents that want him to be a doctor. He goes back and forth before he chooses one of them and realizes it's himself that he should please and not his family. I'd heard a lot about it a year or two ago, and it's definitely good. The pictures are recognizable as the NES Nintendo system and other games and the cover is like a controller. I think the art and story are equally good. Now I'm going back to Love and Leftovers with Milanos cookies and still my Wild Cherry Pepsi.

Starting the 48HBC!

Here I go! I'm starting with Sarah Tregay's Love and Leftovers, a Wild Cherry Pepsi, and a turkey sandwich. As of now, I have a $20 donation and 4 sponsors besides myself for a total of $4/hr for Mr. Sharp's school library! But check out my previous post if you'd like to help out, too. The children would greatly appreciate it! Just leave a comment below or contact me by email or twitter (see below post for contacts). Thanks and good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Welcome back to Bookotomy!

I know it's been a year since I posted, as the last time I wrote was about the 48HBC and that's why I'm writing again! Let me give you an overview of the 48HBC, or 48 Hour Book Challenge. This year it is running from June 8th-10th/11th.

Within 48 hours of the weekend (you get to pick which consecutive 48 hours work best for you), you read as many hours as you can. You also get some blogging time and networking time to tell others what you are reading and see what they've read. For every five hours read, you can network (Twitter, blogs) for one hour. Last year I read the minimum for prizes, 12 hours. This year I know I have more time and I have been planning for this the whole year. (Really, I have been that excited). I know what snacks and caffeine to get, I know that an audio book is a great addition, and I even have a nook from the local library to help me out/sneak in time possibly at my brother's graduation. Now, do you have to read for 48 hours? No, definitely not. Last year I think three people did and got showered with prizes. My goal is 20 hours this year, 24 if I can.

You can learn more about the 48 Hour Book Challenge, hosted by MotherReader at her FAQs section. There is also her most recent post about it where you can see the prizes she is trying to get and asking anyone if they can donate any as well. Also, although a year out of date, here is all the information about it.

Now that you know what I'm in for this upcoming weekend, let me tell you about my "charity." I met this wonderful teacher, Colby Sharp, last year who is really into reading. He gets up on desks to tell students about reading (scroll down on his blog and look at the vodpod video on the right hand side). On his blog, he told us about the unfortunate state of his school library and it really touched me. The Mr. Schu he mentions is actually the person who first got me into graphic novels, and now I can't get enough of them. I think every student deserves the chance to read graphic novels and see the magic in them. I wanted to help.

Then, for a class I was taking, we had to do a leadership project. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to meld the project and my desire to help Mr. Sharp's school library. I went through several ideas to try to raise money for the library at Minges Brook Elementary School in Battle Creek, Michigan, but they all fell through. Well, when I get passionate about something, I get determined, too. So I decided this would be a great way to raise money.

I am asking if you can sponsor me per hour read for as little or as much as you'd like - $0.25/hr, $0.50/hr, $1/hr, $5/hr - whatever you can give. My goal is 20-24 hours. You can also give a specified amount as well. Then I will collect all the money I get and use it to buy graphic novels for Mr. Sharp's school library.

As an incentive for anyone to give, I am going to be giving away a copy of one of the books I read during the 48HBC. Right now I am planning to read Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay, The Anybodies, The Nobodies, and The Somebodies all by N.E. Bode, Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, and Level Up, a graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang. I will randomly pick one person and he/she will get to choose one of the books I read to get a copy of! (What I read may change, and the person will pick from the books I end up reading.)

I am on Twitter @muellerspace and my email address is kcmuel AT gmail DOT com. You can comment right here on an amount you would be willing to sponsor me for or contact me in either of those ways. I will then give you an address where you can send the money at the end of the challenge.

I know the students at Mr. Sharp's school, Mr. Sharp, and I will be grateful for any amount you can give, and want you to know that students will benefit from the power of reading for years to come. Thank you!