Bout of Books Wrap-Up

Bout of Books - Reading InterWorld

Bout of Books - Reading InterWorldI can’t remember a time I read six books in one week. I’m sure it has happened, when I was a kid and had no significant responsibilities other than homework, practicing the piano, and cleaning my room. (Though that last one was pretty serious: My mom always checked under my bed and inside my closets.)

But finishing six books isn’t why I chalk up this Bout of Books as a rousing success. I don’t want to measure success by number of books read. I happened to pick up short books this time around. I also happened to be on vacation. Both plumped up my numbers.

What feels great about this Bout of Books is I enjoyed participating in the challenges, and I read from my existing library, just like I want to do all year long. I read (according to Goodreads) 1,395 pages, and they were interesting, thought-provoking pages, for different reasons.

Even with the best organization in the world, I doubt I’ll be able to keep up these numbers every week of the year. But it was an awesome way to start 2017!

The final numbers:

Day 7: I started Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.

Day 6: I read InterWorld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves.

Day 5: I read The Overcoat and Other Short Stories by Nikolai Gogol.

Day 4: I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J. K. Rowling and Jim Kay.

Day 3: I read Gidget by Frederick Kohner, Kathy Kohner Zuckerman.

Day 3: I read Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell.

Days 1- 3: I read Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende.

Bout of Books - The Overcoat
Bout of Books Day 5:

Once, when I was a little girl, I wished I had a time machine so I could relive the week before Christmas over and over again. My plan was to start on December 19, go through to the 25th, then cycle back to the 19th, ad infinitum. 

That’s how I’ve been feeling about Bout of Books this week, like the little girl enchanted by fairy lights, sparkly ornaments, and brightly dressed packages holding mystery and promise. Except this week, it’s the books that are enchanting me. And they came right out of my own library.

Currently reading: The Overcoat and Other Short Stories by Nikolai Gogol (e-book)

Read: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J. K. Rowling and Jim Kay (hardcover)

       Gidget by Frederick Kohner, Kathy Kohner Zuckerman (e-book)

       Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell (paperback)

       Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende (e-book)

Today’s prompt is “If You Like This, Try This”:

Since we all love recommending books, here’s your chance to share the love.

Example: If you like paranormal romance with bloodthirsty vikings, try Shelly Laurenston’s Call of Crows series.

Make sure you use the hashtags #BoBIfYouLikeThis and #boutofbooks on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, so we can see your recs.

I’m going to tie my recommendation to my current read: If you like Haruki Murakami’s fiction – the weird dreamscapes, irrational occurrences, and surrealist imagery – you might enjoy Gogol. In addition to being kooky, his stories can be quite funny as well.

Bout of Books Day 4:

Bout of Books 18 is shaping up to be my most productive readathon yet. I’m going to chalk this up to better organization and work at keeping it up!

On Wednesday, I finished another book, Gidget, the 1957 novel that spawned a franchise of surfer-girl movies, books, and television shows. I acquired the book a while back for the Gilmore Girls reading challenge we’re doing at Books, Ink. Which means…I’m three for three reading my own books this year.


The book I started is also one of my own: the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It was a Christmas present in 2015. I’ve read Sorcerer’s and Philosopher’s Stone on paper. I’ve listened to the audiobook. But I’ve not yet read this illustrated edition. It’s about time!

Here’s my complete tally for the week so far:

Currently reading: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J. K. Rowling and Jim Kay

Read: Gidget by Frederick Kohner, Kathy Kohner Zuckerman

           Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell

           Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende

Bout of Books - Book Spine PoetryAnd now for the day four prompt:

Book Spine Poetry

A perennial favorite is back! Go hunting through your books and unleash your inner poet! Use the titles of your chosen books to create a poem. Snap a picture of your creation and share it with the hashtags #BookSpinePoetryBoB and #boutofbooks.

I’m not much of a poet, but I do love arranging my books!

Bout of Books Day 3:

I did more reading than I thought I’d manage on day two. Officially, I’m off this week, but I have prep work to do for the new semester that begins Monday. I’m also aiming to get a head start on other projects. Being meticulous about scheduling blocks of time for specific tasks is working very nicely!

Here’s how my Bout of Books Tuesday ended:

Finished: Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende

Read: Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms by Katherine Rundell

I was so surprised by my quick progress through Rundell’s book that I haven’t picked out my next read yet. I might go with nonfiction.

Here’s the fun day three challenge from Bout of Books:

Book to Movie

Have a book you think would make an excellent movie? Now’s your chance to share it! Go as big or as simple as you want. Share fanart, casting choices, or just a book or series you think would be OUTSTANDING on the big screen. Use the hashtags #BoBBookToMovie and #boutofbooks to share your picks!

I would love to see how a talented filmmaker interprets Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi for the screen. My memory of reading the book is very visual. So much so that, months after reading it, I remembered a scene thinking I’d watched it on film. The narrative’s giant leaps forward through time would also make a fascinating challenge.

Bout of Books - 2017 in a pictureBout of Books Day 2:

Bout of Books got off to a great start for me. I began the day with Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende and have about 50 pages left to read. I read when I first woke up. I read for three hours on the train (to visit and from visiting my parents). And I stayed up until the wee hours with my eyes glued to the pages of this beautiful, heartrending story.

Today’s prompt is “2017 in a picture.” This photo, taken on New Year’s Day, captures what I’m shooting for this year: being more mindful and acting with intention. I mean this for both my reading life and life in general.

Doing Read My Own Damn Books in 2016 showed me that my massive, disorganized library can be a source of paralyzing overwhelm for me. I’ve found having a visual map can help, so I’m applying that concept to planning other parts of my life as well. In the past, I’ve relied more heavily on my digital calendar. This year, that will change.

The large spiral bound book is my new planner. It’s big. It’s detailed. I love it. My Nook – my faithful companion, my personal Tardis that takes me to new worlds and is bigger on the inside – is open to my brand-new bookshelves. I created nine of them with books I want to read according to genre.

Bout of Books #shelfies
My shelfies bring me joy. Can you tell, or do I need to *spell it out* (ha, wink, nudge)?

Bout of Books Day 1:

Bout of Books 18 is officially underway! That’s what I can all exclamation-point-worthy statement! (I threw in another one, for good measure.) Predictably, I started with a novel that didn’t appear on my initial list. Oh well, that’s me for you.

Today’s prompt is to introduce ourselves in six words. Here goes:

Me? Reader, writer, thinker, coffee drinker.

My first read for this readathon and for 2017 is Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende. It has been in my Nook for…an indeterminate period of time. It’s mesmerizing writing and so tense as I wait to hear Maya’s full story to unfold.

Throughout the week, I’ll be keeping track of my reads and challenges here.

Are you participating? If so, what are you reading? What are you working on/looking forward to in 2017?

Updated: I will be Thankfully Reading this weekend

Thankfully Reading is a readathon hosted by Jenn’s Bookshelves. It's also a state of being, but I don’t usually capitalize it as such.

Thankfully Reading is a readathon hosted by Jenn’s Bookshelves beginning Friday and carrying on through the weekend. It’s also a state of being, but I don’t usually capitalize it as such.

Thankfully Reading – the readathon hosted by Jenn’s Bookshelves over the holiday weekend – wrapped up yesterday. And you know what that means: It’s stock-taking time.

Between family time and the Gilmore Girls revival, reading had some competition this weekend. I loved having the incentive to carve out pockets of time to read.

My final book tally: I finished Suddenly, Love by Aharon Appelfeld and Where I’m Reading From by Tim Parks. I also read Ill Met By Moonlight by W. Stanley Moss, Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies, and Pym by Mat Johnson.

Four out of five books were my own (yay for #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks). All but one were on my original reading list. I added Miracle on 34th Street on a whim because it’s in my library and opens on Thanksgiving. I don’t have cable, so the opening scene gave me the parade experience, ha.

Thankfully Reading is a readathon hosted by Jenn’s Bookshelves. It begins on Friday and carries on through the weekend. Thankfully reading is also a state of being, but I don’t usually capitalize it as such.

For the parameters of capital-T, capital-R variety, here is a bit more about the event courtesy of Jenn’s Bookshelves:

“There are no rules to the weekend, we’re simply hoping to devote a good amount of time to reading, and perhaps meeting some of our reading challenges and goals for the year. We thought it’d be fun if we cheered each other on a bit. […]

We’ll also be checking in on Twitter using hashtag #thankfullyreading. Join in for the weekend or for only a single day. No rules, no pressure!”

As I like to say – possibly exhaustively – every weekend I can swing it becomes a de facto readathon for me. And when I’m reading, I’m thankful for the time to do so. The distinct pleasure of group readathons is, of course, sharing the experience – hearing what books others are reading, offering inspirational messages, and my favorite: that heartening feeling of connection.

Thankfully Reading is a readathon hosted by Jenn’s Bookshelves. It’s also a state of being, but I don’t usually capitalize it as such.That’s what reading is about, isn’t it? Seeking connection with human experience and hopefully growing in compassion and empathy from connecting with that experience. Yes, I will be reading thankfully and Thankfully Reading this weekend.

As for what I will be reading, I’m currently engrossed in Suddenly, Love by Aharon Appelfeld and Where I’m Reading From by Tim Parks. After these two, the next titles on my reading list are Ill Met by Moonlight by W. Stanley Moss, The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, Saving Lucas Biggs by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague, and Pym by Mat Johnson.

Will you be readathon-ing alone or with others this weekend? What books are on your reading lists?

Dewey’s Readathon: End-of-Event Survey

My final Readathon book was Exile.

My final Readathon book was Exile.My overall assessment of Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon: It was magical. It was wonderful. I spent the entire day with a smile on my face.

The biggest surprise of this Readathon for me: I actually read the three books on my initial list. That hardly ever happens. Usually, my list is seven miles long, and I end up reading books that weren’t even on it. I also didn’t get a chance to do many of the mini-challenges or update here. My books kept me hooked! When I could pull myself away, I was more focused on engaging with the social media communities.

Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to push through the full 24 hours – I’m working today so had to be rested – I made a point of being ready to begin at the start time. This tweet captured the feeling perfectly for me:

This reader plans to have a box of Kleenex for the next Readathon because the whole beautiful day makes me weepy.

And now, on to the end-of-event survey:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

The Friday before Readathon felt like Christmas Eve. I was so excited, I had trouble falling asleep. The toughest hour for me was the first one. I was tired and wired. Once I hydrated, though, I felt better, and the rest of the day went smoothly.

  1. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

For readers who enjoy children’s/YA, Shannon Messengers Keeper of the Lost Cities is super suspenseful. They’ve kept me up reading even when I feel like my eyeballs are going to fall out. For murder mystery readers, I adore M. C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth novels. They’re short, quick reads as well, so perfect for Readathoning. Two others who have kept me glued to a book are Octavia Butler and Liane Moriarty.

  1. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?

Blasphemy! How could it possibly get better?

  1. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

The community was amazing, once again. It’s so moving to see people coming together with so much passion, enthusiasm, warmth, encouragement – ahhh, I’m having a moment. *discretely wipes eyes*

  1. How many books did you read?

I read one full book and got halfway through another. I also finished one that I’d started before Readathon.

  1. What were the names of the books you read?

The Mothers by Brit Bennett (full)

Exile by Shannon Messenger (halfway)

When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning (finished)

  1. Which book did you enjoy most?

They’re such different books. I enjoyed them in different ways.

  1. Which did you enjoy least?

See above. 🙂

  1. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

Barring anything unexpected, I will definitely participate in the next Readathon. I loved writing a warm-up post this year. Next time, I would like to do more – perhaps host a mini-challenge and/or help out in other ways.

Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon is here, and this reader plans to have a great day of reading!Dewey’s 24-Readathon is here! If this is the first you’ve heard of it, click here to learn more about it because it’s the best thing happening on the internet. 🙂

I plan to read as much as I can. I mean, obviously. As a fairly slow reader, I keep my stack modest (it’s good for managing expectations):

When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning (I have 10 pages left)

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Exile by Shannon Messenger

I also want to make time to be social (Readathoners are The Best) and update my progress right here on this page.

Hour 10 Update

I have yet to post a progress report because I’ve been so engrossed in Brit Bennett’s The Mothers! It was a great readathon pick that kept me reading feverishly. This isn’t because it was exactly plot drive. Rather, I was invested in the characters and what would happen to them.

In addition to The Mothers, I also finished the last 10 pages of When Books Went to War. That happened waaay back in hour one.

Now, it’s on to Exile by Shannon Messenger. But first, a mini-challenge!

This one is hosted by Ampersand Read. It’s a challenge after my heart: Literary World Tour. Here is the prompt:

“This challenge seems simple: if money and time were no object (you’ve won the biggest lottery jackpot ever, and your boss is totally fine with you taking all of the time off work you need), where would you go to experience your favorite book(s) or series? Fictional places count too, of course.”

The hard part, of course, is picking a place to visit. Well, not too hard because I think about this at least once a day!

If money and time were no object, I would travel to the U.K. for as long as I could secure a visa. I would need loads of time because my ideal visit would include:

  • Extended time in London for Charles Dickens and Harry Potter related walking tours and train station and museum visits
  • Gad’s Hill
  • Bath
  • Jane Austen sites
  • Bronte sites
  • Extended time in Edinburgh, to which I would travel by train from London, naturally
  • Hay-on Wye for the bookstores

Also, bookstores throughout the U.K. including Barter Books (where the Keep Calm Carry On posters were first rediscovered) and Mr. B’s Emporium

What’s your ideal literary travel destination?

Opening event

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Connecticut, USA. It’s pouring and gloomy out. Perfect reading weather!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

I can’t pick favorites. I just can’t. 🙂

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

That would be the bananas I bought yesterday. Gotta stay fueled!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

This question may be coming at the perfect time since I was working on my writing portfolio yesterday and had to come up with a pithy “about me” statement. Writing these makes me so anxious, like I’m on a deadline I’m going to miss. What I said was this: “My mission is to inspire reading for pleasure and enrichment, and I bring my passion for that to everything I write.” Or at least, I try to!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

This is only my second Readathon, so I have only slightly more of a clue, ha. I’m more organized and pro-active this time around. I got Andi‘s awesome stickers and have organized my day more than I did last time. I still won’t be able to read the full 24 hours because I have to teach tomorrow.

I will definitely be setting aside time to connect with the awesome community as well. That is what I’m most looking forward to, hands down (or up, as the case may be)!

Updated: My modest #TBYSReadathon reading list

My #TBYSReadathon reading list. It starts today, runs through Monday, and there are no rules. I like that!

Take Back Your Shelves wrapped up yesterday. So how did I do?

I had three books on my reading list. With the top one, The Nix: A novel, being 653 pages (in my library e-book edition), even finishing that one would have been a feat. At least for me, first because I’m a slow reader. Also, I had work responsibilities to attend to, holiday weekend not withstanding.

My final reading tally was 533 pages. I read two chapters of Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading. But most of my reading time was devoted to The Nix: A novel. I have about 35 pages to go, but so far, I love it so much that I expect I’ll be buying the hardcover for my “favorites” shelf.

Anyone else participate? How’d you do? Continue reading “Updated: My modest #TBYSReadathon reading list”

Bout of Books: Reading rhythm achieved

Bout of Books wrapped up yesterday. Here's my final tally of books read and reading goals (to find my reading rhythm and get lost in a book) achieved.

Bout of Books wrapped up yesterday. Here's my final tally of books read and reading goals (to find my reading rhythm and get lost in a book) achieved. I never know how to start these things. Do I just jump in? Do I give you a little background? Am I over-complicating things? (I do have a tendency to do that sometimes).

Well anyway. The Bout of Books readathon wrapped up yesterday. So how did I do?

Bout of Books

My goal was to get back into a reading rhythm. Meaning: I wanted to be able to get lost in a book without having half or one-quarter or two-thirds of my brain thinking about other things. Meaning: I didn’t keep track of how many pages or hours I read, just the books I read. Here’s the final list with a little asterisk next to books that fulfill #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks. Continue reading “Bout of Books: Reading rhythm achieved”

Bout of Books: Book in a Song Challenge & Update

For today's Bout of Books Challenge, a song I associate with a book and my reading update.

Today’s Bout of Books Challenge is hosted by Janey Canuck. As you may have divined from the title of this post, the challenge is to write about a song you connect with a book.

That’s an easy one for me. One of my favorite books inspired one of my favorite songs: Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita inspired The Rolling Stones’ Sympathy with the Devil. Interestingly, I loved them both separately before discovering that they’re connected. Though if you think about the subject matter, it makes perfect sense. 

And now for my Bout of Books update:

I’m not a fast reader. So I didn’t set a goal of finishing 57 books or whatever. Even five would be a stretch for me in a single week, barring my being trapped alone on a deserted island with nothing to do but read every moment of daylight. (Not that I would object to that.) My goal was more modest: to get back into a reading rhythm. Continue reading “Bout of Books: Book in a Song Challenge & Update”

15 (more) short books for #TBYSReadathon

For other readers who enjoy short books, whatever the reason(s), a (second) list of 15 excellent short books good for reading straight through.

For other readers who enjoy short books, whatever the reason(s), a (second) list of 15 excellent short books good for reading straight through.I love reading excellent short books. I love reading big books too. But when it comes to Readathons, excellent short books take the win. As a slow reader, I can read them straight through and still read them well. Plus, I love that feeling of reading a whole book in a single day. Putting it down and getting off the sofa feels like getting off a long plane journey. I’m blinking and disoriented, and the world looks different, new.

#TBYSReadathon - short books
My #TBYSReadathon pile

This weekend (May 28 – 30) I’m participating in the Take Back Your Shelves Readathon, hosted by Jenna from JMill Wanders. It’s a reader’s choice affair, so I’m taking the opportunity to finish May’s “Smash Your Stack” challenge strong. At the head of my list this weekend is a fun short book, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (the second in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series). I began it last night and am keeping my options open for what I’ll read next. My one caveat is that it’ll be a book I already own (because #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks).

#TBYSReadathon - short booksFor other readers who enjoy short books, whatever the reason(s), here is a (second) list of 15 short books I’ve enjoyed or am looking forward to reading (maybe even this weekend!). Continue reading “15 (more) short books for #TBYSReadathon”

15 short books for National Readathon Day

For readers planning to participate in National Readathon Day, here's a starter list of excellent reads suitable for reading in a single day.

For readers planning to participate in National Readathon Day, here's a starter list of excellent reads suitable for reading in a single day. Saturday, May 21 is the second annual National Readathon Day, a nation-wide marathon reading session to promote and raise funds for literacy initiatives. You can click here find out more about it and how to participate.

In the meantime, for readers planning to participate, I thought I’d start a list of excellent reads suitable for reading in a single day. I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments as well! Continue reading “15 short books for National Readathon Day”