Dewey 24 Hour Readathon!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

*********  UPDATED HOUR 24 ********




This is my 12th read-a-thon! I can barely believe it. The last few have been with a baby, which is sooo much harder. My husband is handling toddler duty for the first half of the day, so I'll hopefully get the most reading done then. Here's a link for more info about the Dewey Read-a-thon.

Pages Read: 964
Currently Reading
Turtles All the Way Down, Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Guide to His Tell-Tale Stories, How Did You Get This Number, The Hobbit 
Books Finished: 5 - The Man in the Picture, Bone Vol. 2 & Vol. 3, She Persisted, Rad Women Worldwide
Snacks Eaten: Orange & Cranberry Scone, PSL, peach, Chili & Salad, cheese and crackers
Mini-Challenges Completed: 9

Introduction Quiz:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Indianapolis, IN

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? 
The Man in the Picture because it looks a bit scary, prefect for October!


 
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?  Dark chocolate covered pretzels and, maybe a flat white from Starbucks.
 
 
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! 
A few weeks ago I traveled around the entire country of Iceland and saw the northern lights for the first time! It's an incredible country.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? 
Not throw up! During the April read-a-thon I had a nasty flu bug and kept puking. 

Mini Challenges: 
10 Years in 10 Books
Ten of my favorite books. One for each year the read-a-thon has been in existence. 

2007: The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin
2008: City of Thieves by David Benioff
2009: Catcing Fire by Suzanne Collins
2010: The Lotus Eaters  by Tatjana Soli
2011: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2012: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green 
2013: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
2014: Station Eleven by by Emily St. John Mandel
2015: Dead Wake by Erik Larson
2016: The Trespasser by Tana French 
2017: American Fire by Monica Hesse

Books and Beverages

Readathon Memories Challenge 

Your favorite book from each readathon you've participated in: 
April 2011: Howl's Moving Castle
October 2011: We Have Always Lived in the Castle
April 2012: The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
October 2012: AD: New Orleans After the Deluge
April 2013: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
October 2013: This is Where I Leave You
April 2014: The Witch of Blackbird Pond
April 2015: I Remember Nothing
October 2015: The Stepford Wives
April 2016: Embroideries
October 2016: We Should All Be Feminist
April 2017: Amadeus

#ReadMore Women 


Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? A book on Edgar Allan Poe's life
2. How many books have you read so far? 5
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? John Green's new one, Turtles All the Way Down
4. Have you had many interruptions? Yes. How did you deal with those? I tried to listen to audiobooks while handling things like my kiddo's bath time.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? I've gotten a lot of reading done! My daughter has done pretty well playing next to me while I read, which is awesome! 


Decades of Reading

Books and Pets

You're Wearing That?  
End of Event Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? I fell asleep on the couch around hour 17. I got a short second wind after that, but didn't last long.

2. Tell us ALLLLL the books you read! The Man in the Picture, Bone: The Great Cow Race, She Persisted, Rad Women Worldwide, and Bone: Eyes of the Storm


3. Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners? Rad Women Worldwide was a perfect one! The Bones graphic novels were great too.


4. What’s a really rad thing we could do during the next Read-a-thon that would make you smile? I'd love more involvement on the app Litsy! I'm happy to help with this if you need someone.


5. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Of course I will! Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep? I would definitely help. 



PAST READATHON POSTS:
April and October 2011  /  April and October 2012 / April and October 2013 April 2014 / April and October 2015 /April and October 2016  /  April 2017

Photos by me.

RIP Reviews

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


So far I've had a great R.I.P. Challenge year. Between the group read of Slade House and a few other mysteries that I took on vacation, I'm loving it! I even stumbled upon one that I wasn't reading for R.I.P. at all and was surprised to find a scary mystery within the novel's pages. I've officially finished the Peril the First level, but I'll keep reading anyway. More info here! #ripxii

Slade House
by David Mitchell
Loved reading this creepy book. I'd highly recommend reading The Bone Clocks first as it will give you a much better understanding of what's going on. Mitchell continues to impress me with his writing and the variety of genres he tackles. He doesn't shy away from plots that stretch your mind, but this is definitely one of his most accessible and easy-to-read books.

He manages to capture the eerie feeling of a haunted house while at the same time crafting a great story. It's part of the complex world he created in The Bone Clocks, but it also works as a stand alone story. It's broken up in chapters (The Right Sort, Shining Armor, Oink Oink, You Dark Horse You, and Astronauts). With each new chapter his main character changes, once again demonstrating his ability to right from incredibly different points of view convincingly. He's an awkward young boy, then a jaded cop, then an insecure college girl, etc.

BOTTOM LINE: I loved seeing Mitchell explore a new genre and will continue to be a fan!

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
by Matthew Sullivan
This one surprised me. I was expecting a quirky bookstore novel, but instead found a strange mystery. Lydia witnesses the suicide of a man named Joey in the bookstore where she works. She ends up going down a rabbit hole searching through the clues that he left behind. Her own troubled past begins to surface the deeper she digs. 


The book explores how a history of violence can travels down through generations. It's about the bad decisions or past traumas we try to hide to protect ourselves but really enough isolating ourselves. Lydia's life is shaped by the horrifying event that shattered her world as a child. From peaceful days spent at her friend Raj's donut shop, to living in a cabin in the woods with her father, Lydia's life has never found its balance again.

There were only a few moments in this book where the plot didn't work for me, mainly when her father was involved. Most of the time I was completely sucked in and I love the way it all came together in the end. 

BOTTOM LINE: A very satisfying read and way darker than the cover and title might suggest.   

The Lying Game 
by Ruth Ware
I really enjoy Ware's style and her books suck me in quickly. This one had a great atmosphere even if some plot points were a bit of a stretch. I wasn't a huge fan of The Woman in Cabin 10, but I loved her first book, In a Dark, Dark Wood.  That one remains my favorite of hers so far.

This one relied a little heavily on the gimmick of "the lying game" which felt like the weakest point of the plot to me. It's part boarding school friendship story and part mystery. It takes place in a secluded spot on the coast of England in a dilapidated house that's only reachable at certain times of the tides, similar to The Woman in Black (which I loved). 

Four girls, Isa, Fatima, Thea, and Kate have a shared secret from their past that has come back to haunt their lives. I really loved the character of Fatima. Even when some of the other's would grate on my nerves, I always enjoyed her. At the same time, she always seemed a little above the struggles of her friends and didn't quite fit with the group. Kate's father Ambrose was also a complex character that never felt like a cliche to me. The little town of Salten felt like a character as well. From the small houses covered in fishing nets to the nosy neighbors, it was alive in every way.
I also just left the stage of having an infant and so I love her descriptions of the the struggles and joys of new motherhood. The main character, Isa, has a six-month-old baby and the book talks about nursing, losing yourself in motherhood, the strain on a relationship, etc. It all felt so accurate and recent to me.

BOTTOM LINE: A quick read that's hard to put down. It doesn't quite measure up to her other's, but she has an undeniable talent for portraying characters and creating tense situations. 

Faceless Killers 
by Henning Mankell
This is the first book in the famous Wallander series. It's set in Sweden, which made it a perfect choice to read during a recent trip to nearby Iceland. The novel is much more about detective Wallander than the mystery itself, but a friend had warned me about that, so that helped set my expectations in the right place. He's a typical detective in so many ways, self-destructive, with a single narrow-minded focus on the case at hand. I love some of the supporting characters at his office, particularly his good friend Rydberg an older detective. 

The case in this one follows the murder of an elderly couple living in the countryside. Even though the novel is more than 25 years old, it delves into the controversy of immigration and refugees and so it felt quite timely.

BOTTOM LINE: I definitely liked this one enough to continue the series. If you read it, just be prepared for the fact that it's much more about developing Wallander's character than the mystery itself and so it's not a fast-paced thriller.

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII

Thursday, August 31, 2017


Jumping on board for this fun event. I do love reading mysteries in the fall and already had The Lying Game by Ruth Ware on my radar. Thinking about reading Lisey's Story by Stephen King as well. Also, the whole group is reading David Mitchell's Slade House together! Obviously I love reading Mitchell with a group (see the fun we've had with Cloud Atlas and Bone Clocks). I'm going to attempt the Peril the First level (see below). Happy spooky reading everyone!

Andi and Heather are hosting it here if you want more details

Peril the First:
Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (our very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be Stephen King or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shirley Jackson or Tananarive Due…or anyone in between.

Austen in August

Tuesday, August 1, 2017



I've read at least one Austen book every year since 2002. I worked my way through her six novels, then I reread them, then I read all of her juvenilia. I just love her work. I just realized that I didn't read ANY Austen last year! I'm horrified. In my defense, I did have a baby and not get a lot of sleep, so all of my reading suffered last year. 

Anyway, I'm back and obviously miss Jane. Roof Beam Reader is once again hosting the annual Austen in August reading event and I'm thrilled to have an excuse to just back into her work.  I'm planning on rereading my very first Austen, Pride & Prejudice, this month. If you want to join in the fun you can see the details here


Hogarth Shakespeare: Hag-Seed

Tuesday, July 25, 2017



Some of the most well-known authors of our generation have joined together to create the Hogarth Shakespeare series. Each author is retelling one of Shakespeare's most well-known plays. It's a brilliant idea and one that I'm loving so far. Tracy Chevalier wrote New Boy, the story of Othello set in a Washington D.C. grade school in the 1970s. Anne Tyler tackled The Taming of the Shrew in Vinegar Girl, turning the soured Kate into the daughter of a scientist looking for a green card marriage for his lab assistant. In Margaret Atwoods' Hag-Seed we meet Felix, a modern-day Prospero. He's the eccentric director of a theatre festival, but after being betrayed, he exiles himself as he plots his revenge.

With the other two books I've read in the series I couldn't help but compare them to the original the entire time I was reading them. With Hag-Seed I kept forgetting that it is a remake of The Tempest, even though they are talking about the original play through the novel. The plot and the characters are strong enough that they stand on their own. I kept getting sucked into the story, which is exactly what you want.

I love that every aspect of the retelling is not literal. Miranda is his daughter, but she passed away when she was little. He is not stranded on an island, but instead he's trapped in an isolation of his own making. He takes a job teaching Shakespeare to inmates at a local prison. I love how he has to introduce Shakespeare to them and in doing so, we as the readers are able to appreciate some of the primal aspects of the Bard's work.  We often treat Shakespeare as high-browed and far above lay people. In reality he was often crass and played to the commonest level of humor. I love that Atwood manages to embrace that while still highlighting his deeper message.


BOTTOM LINE: Loved the book and the whole premise of the series. It's such a treat to see Shakespeare's work through a new lens. Just as every director of a film or play brings their interpretation to each piece, so do these authors.  I can't wait to read the rest of them!

Vonnegut's Childhood Home and Putt Putt

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The other day I got to see Kurt Vonnegut's childhood home in Indianapolis. His parents were wealthy when he was young and the home is in a gorgeous neighborhood. The family put their handprints in cement near the backdoor and the littlest one is Kurt's!
His parents' initials are on the front door (pictured above). I'm such a sucker for seeing author's home. It's fun to get a tiny glimpse into their lives. This one just happens to be in my own hometown! 

 Last year my local art museum (the Indianapolis Museum of Art) created a mini golf course with themed holes. Each one had some significant meaning to the state of Indiana. There was a Vonnegut hole, which, of course, was my favorite!

Photos by me and a friend.

Dewey 24 Hour Readathon!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

*********  UPDATED HOUR 13 ********

I had great plans for the read-a-thon today. Snacks set out, my reading stack was chosen, then I got the plague. So I will be fighting a nasty flu and chasing after a toddler today. If I get a little reading done it will be a miracle, but I'm going to try! 

READING STATS:
Pages Read: 662 pages 
Currently Reading: A Gentleman in Moscow
Books Finished: 3 (Amadeus
, A Man Without a Country, Bone: Out from Boneville)
Breaks Taken: Lots for Sydney. I also gave myself a break after she was asleep and watched an episode of The Handmaid's Tale. 
Mini-Challenges Completed: 7 (Opening Survey, Give the Gift of Reading, Books to Empower, Picture ChallengeOne Night Reads, Mid-Event Survey, Fur, Scales, and Stuffing)

Sydney (below) is doing her best to distract me from reading.

Introduction Quiz:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Indianapolis, IN
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? 
I think I'll ignore the stack I picked and maybe do some comfort rereads instead. I'm thinking my favorite Sherlock Holmes and Kurt Vonnegut. 

 3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?  Taking sips of gatorade and hoping I don't throw up.  
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! 
I've got an 80lb dog and a 15 month old keeping me company (distracting me from reading). I also love to travel and I just booked tickets for our next international trip! 
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?
I've participated in 11 other read-a-thons, but this is the first time I've attempted one with the flu. I wouldn't recomm
end it. 

Mid-Event Survey! 
1. What are you reading right now? A Gentleman in Moscow
2. How many books have you read so far? I'm shocked, but I've finished 3! 
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I don't know how far I'll make it. 
4. Have you had many interruptions? Yes! Taking care of a toddler, having some trees delivered, generally not feeling so hot because of the flu. How did you deal with those? Just powered through and reading when I could. 
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? That I've been able to get some reading done!


PAST READATHON POSTS:
April and October 2011  /  April and October 2012 / April and October 2013 April 2014 / April and October 2015 /April and October 2016. 

Photos by me.



The Classics Club Challenge Complete!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Exactly five year years ago I decided to take part in The Classics Club. At the time it was a small group that wanted to make an effort to read more classics. That was right up my alley and so I made a list of 100 books I wanted to read over the course of the next five years.

Today is my deadline and just last week I posted my final review. It has been such fun completing this challenge. Somewhere along the way the club grew to a huge community. I became one of the co-moderators that helped manage and run the website.

I have absolutely loved seeing all the new members and new reviews that are constantly pouring in. We’ve had Classic Club spins, where a random number choses your next book for you. We’ve had meme questions that spark wonderful conversation.  All-in-all it has been a delight. I plan to continue to stay involved with the website, and obviously I’ll still be reading classics. I’m proud that I managed to complete my list by my deadline.

Any other Classics Club members out there getting close to finishing your lists?


Here's my complete list with links to all my reviews. At the bottom of the page there's also a list of classics I read and reviewed before beginning the challenge.