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!