Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dewey's Read-a-thon: Summary

Well, the read-a-thon is done and I managed to finish A Thread of Sky, 10 minutes after the official end time. I will eventually post a review on my LibraryThing account. My total reading time was 9.5 hours. As a summary of the event, I'll post my answers for the End of Event meme:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
    11pm to midnight, right before I decided to go to bed.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
    There are a lot of great young-adult books out there. I had no trouble getting through Half Life, the first book I finished for the read-a-thon.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
    A separate page listing all the mini-challenges announced up to the current time, with start and end times, would be helpful.
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
    The event was very well organized, and I appreciated the comments from the Cheerleaders. I'm glad that a good portion of the prizes were reserved for the cheerleading squad.
  5. How many books did you read?
    Two, and about one-third of another.
  6. What were the names of the books you read?
    Half Life
    by Hiromi Goto
    A Thread of Sky
    by Deanna Fei
    Clouds of Witness
    by Dorothy Sayers (still in progress)
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?
    I thought Half Life was exceptionally good, but I also enjoyed A Thread of Sky.
  8. Which did you enjoy least?
    I like Dorothy Sayers, and I'm sure I'll enjoy the rest of Clouds of Witness, but the witty upper-class banter tends to be less appealing in the late hours of a read-a-thon.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
    I wasn't a Cheerleader, but I really appreciated having them visit my blog.
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
    I definitely want to participate in the Read-a-thon again, and I'll be sure to sign up for at least an hour of cheerleading next time. One thing I regret is not taking enough time to visit other reader's blogs. I still plan to do this in the next few days, to see what others had read and hopefully get some good book recommendations.
That's it for now. Many thanks to the organizers and cheerleaders of this terrific event!

Dewey's Read-a-thon: Update #4

Got up at 7am and I've been reading since. Getting a good stretch of sleep was a great idea, though I am truly impressed by the read-a-thon participants who were reading through the night. The event is officially over, but as I moved my own start time to 9am EDT yesterday, I still have an hour to go. I've got about 75 pages left in Thread of Sky.

Location: Montreal
Hours into challenge: 23
Hours read: 8.5
Pages read: 570
Books finished: 1
Books in progress: 2

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dewey's Read-a-thon: Update #3

I only managed 3 hours of reading since the last update. Apart from reading, I spent a couple of hours at the hospital with Mom (who is doing better today), and after visiting hours were over, had some time with Dad and my cousins. I did manage to read a bit at the hospital, while Mom was resting or someone else was visiting with her. Indeed, there was some fuss made over my Sony e-Reader in the waiting room, as a group of friendly strangers started crowding around me, eager to check out this gadget. Using a combination of English, French and hand gestures, I managed to describe the main features of the device. Now, I'm back at my parents' home and trying to catch up with the reading, but I don't think I'll be able to stay awake much longer.

Current progress:
Location: Montreal
Hours into challenge: 15
Hours read: 7.5
Pages read: 510
Books finished: 1
Books in progress: 2

Still working on Thread of Sky. Am about two-thirds of the way through and enjoying it more and more as I continue. At the hospital, I had only my e-Reader with me and started Dorothy Sayer's Clouds of Witness.

Dewey's Read-a-thon: Update #2

The Dewey's Read-a-thon Cheerleaders are great! The next time I do this Read-a-thon, I will definitely sign up to do some cheerleading myself. I wish I could visit more of the other readers' blogs right now, but the battery is dying on my laptop, the Internet service is unreliable and, with the swaying of the train, it's really hard to type. So I will make a quick progress report and save the book reviews and blog visiting for later.

Current progress:
Location: on VIA train 6006, heading into Montreal
Hours into challenge: 7.5
Hours read: 4.5
Pages read: 375
Books finished: 1.5

I am halfway through Deanna Fei's Thread of Sky. The story is about 6 American-Chinese women from 3 generations of the same family who embark on a tour of China to reconnect and discover their roots. The first third of the book was focused on developing the characters and revealing their backgrounds. Now, I'm reading about the journey itself and it is eerily familiar, reminding me of our own family's big trip to China in 2006. That was my parents' first trip back since they arrived in Montreal in the 1960's, and there were 20 of us, from immediate and extended family, from three generations. The characters' travel itinerary is almost the same as ours too. Coincidence?

Dewey's Read-a-thon: Update #1

First of all, thanks to those who have left comments of encouragement as well as good wishes for my Mom! Your kind words are appreciated.

Here is the current progress report:
Location: on VIA train 6006, heading east, just past Oshawa.
Hours into challenge: 3.5
Hours read: 2 and a bit
Pages read: 225
Books finished: 1

Following advice found on the read-a-thon site, I decided to start with an easy read, so I could start the day with a feeling of accomplishment. I chose Hiromi Goto's Half World, containing wonderful illustrations by Jillian Tamaki. This young-adult novel is one of the Ontario Library Association's White Pine Award nominees for 2010. This was a terrific read, set in a crazy, scary fantasy world not unlike one of Neil Gaiman's.

What's next? First, catch up with news on the Dewey's Read-a-thon blog, eat one of the yummy Rise 'n Shine bagels Todd and I picked up on the way to the train station, have a short nap, and then on to the next book.

Dewey's Read-a-thon: unexpected changes

I had big plans to spend most of the day curled up on the couch next to a pile of books, taking the occasional break for exercise (i.e. walking around the neighbourhood listening to an audiobook on my iPod). Well, things have changed. Yesterday, my Mom, who has been ill for some time, was readmitted to hospital. I don't want to go into the medical details here (though friends and family members are welcome to e-mail me for updates). Suffice it to say that she is very weak now but we are optimistic that an upcoming surgery will restore her health.

The consequence of this news is that I decided last night to leave for Montreal this morning to spend some time with her and my Dad and hopefully to speak to her doctors in person. My initial thought was to withdraw from the read-a-thon, but then it occurred to me that I'll be spending many hours (at least 7 if I take the train, and ironically, almost as many if I fly) reading anyhow. Internet access may be spotty, so I won't be able to update the blog often, but rest assure I will be reading.

I'll be bringing along A Thread of Sky by Deanna Fei, Oonagh by Mary Tilberg and maybe Half World by Hiromi Goto if I have room in my bag. I'll also have my handy e-Reader with me. For your entertainment, here is a rant. I'd just started Margaret Atwood's Year of the Flood, but the enormous tome is just too big to stuff in my backpack. I would dearly love to have this on my e-Reader but I balk at spending $19 for the e-book after I'd already spent $25 for the hardcover. Many publishers are talking about bundling print and electronic versions of books. I wish they'd stop talking about it and get on with doing it! I considered buying other Atwood books, but Kobo has only two others, one of which I've already read. The Sony e-book store has more Atwood selections, but they are only available to US customers. Margaret Atwood is possibly Canada's most well-known author ever, and you can't get her e-books in Canada?? Ridiculous!

Off to pack now and do the last-minute chores before heading out. Given the circumstances, I will probably set my official start time to 9am EDT instead of 8am.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-Thon

I had so much fun with the 48-Hour Reading Challenge last year that I am seriously considering participating in Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-Thon. It starts on Saturday, April 10 at 8am EDT and goes for, as the name suggests, a full 24 hours. I'm a realist, so I'll aim for 8 hours, and any more will be a bonus.

Usually, Saturdays are packed with activity for us. However, Todd has graciously offered to take care of cooking, chores and children on Saturday. Seeing that he has been away most of the week on business, I can accept this offer guilt-free.

So what to read? Based on the Web site's recommendations, as well as past experience, it seems best to avoid anything long or heavy. Maybe this is a good time to go through some of the mysteries (P.D. James, Agatha Christie, Eric Wright, M. C. Beaton, Dorothy Sayers) I've collected on my e-Reader.

Anyone want to join me? If you're in the area, stop by for a cup of tea or glass of wine, but bring a book with you!