Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Falling for shelf-reading.

I think I am finally getting recovered from the reading challenge this past weekend. That said, I did nearly fall asleep on my couch after work today. But maybe it was because there wasn't enough sweating going on in the book I was reading. (I was attempting to finish Falling for Romeo by Jennifer Laurens-it was the book my friend and I were using to read out-loud to each other during the time in the challenge when we were cooking dinner, the main male character likes to sweat, a lot).

I am currently working on one of my all-time favorite projects at the library. No, it is not prep work for computer classes (those I am very much not looking forward to). It's shelf-reading! Or, "refreshing the collection" as I like to call it. Do you know what it is one of my favorite and my bests? Not only do I get snatches of "me time" away from the desk, I also get to find rather interesting things our patrons have left behind in books. Okay, not everything is wonderful and fun (dirty tissues much?), but then you can also find some splendidly amusing notes, bookmarks, and drawings. I actually have a collection of them growing and I'm quite tempted to scan some of them to show you just how fabulous some of them are. Except then the patrons might start to think their privacy has been violated.

The most exciting thing I found today? A 2010 parking pass for Navy football games. One of these days I just know I am going to find a $100 bill instead of a growth of mold. I will, if I look in enough books! Of course, I'm also still waiting for a ginger-haired boy to come sweep me off my feet. Ever the optimist, here.

Oh, sure, shelf-reading also funnels my OCD-ness into respectable channels. The downside is how grumpy I get when a patron instantly starts to rearrange a shelf just after I had straightened it. It is a constant, and losing, battle this keeping the library clean.

One of these days I'll finish another book. And actually write a review on it. ;)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Done! ::confetti::

Hurrah! The 6th annual 48 hour reading challenge is over for the year (for me).

I totally slowed down at the end as far as quantity of books. In those 3 o'clock morning hours after going nearly 48 hours with no sleep, you start to re-read sentences, paragraphs, and just when you get to the end of the page, you miss the last sentence so you have to go reread the entire page. Or at least that is what it somehow felt to me.

The only two that I am going to count for this post (I have a few others that I started, but did not complete) are:

Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George

Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George

(I will be editing in thoughts a little later, right now I'm blank, like a white canvas.)

Time spent reading: 46 hrs, 50 minutes
Blogging: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Total time: 48 hours
Books read: 14
Pages read: 3774
Donations: $46.25 (14 books & 17 comments)

Happy reading for all those still working away on the challenge. I'm looking forward to catching up on everyone's blogs after a nap, or church, whichever I decide to do in the near future (and no, they are not the same).

That's my fort!

Just a little Liberty Smith theatre joke (yes, you can really tell how punchy I am getting here).

See that ladder? That's my fort. That is where I would be hiding for the next eight or so hours if I had something like that in my apartment. But, you won't find me howling at midnight the name "Martha Washington". Nope. Just, "when will it be 8:05?!"

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Despair poisoned by hope.

It sounds like there is a storm a'brewing. That and there must have been an accident or some such thing because the sirens keep going off. Hopefully nothing too serious. All this excitement I could have missed had I chosen to not stay up! Eight hours left. Eight hours left. Am I going to make it? I certainly hope so!

Three more books for you (yes, this year is all about "3's").

Black Watch by Gregory Burke

This year's play selection! Set partially in Scotland and partially in Iraq, the play deals with the last Black Watch regiment before they were disbanded. The author me with some of the soldiers once they were home and after conducting interviews, this was the result. The show recently toured in the US (and I had to hunt down the new version with its new cover of the play for a while, and I'm happy I waited because it does include photos from the touring production-and Kenzie is so adorable). I was fortunate enough to have seen this play (in addition to The Great Game performed at Shakespeare Theatre in DC this past year. The unfortunate aspect of reading this play is there is a lot that you miss visually, especially the choreography. Take "Blueys", for example. Them telling you about the soldiers' reading their letters from home and then signing out the contents of the letter is nowhere near as moving by just reading it. Nor can you get the action of the 10 second fights or the beauty of some of the music (hey, what can I say, I like bagpipe music). Word of caution, there is a lot of swearing.

My Double Life by Janette Rallison

I got this nagging feeling about halfway through reading this that I had already read this novel. Or maybe it was just one very much like? Alexie is a dead ringer for rock star Kari Kingsley. When Kingsley agent offers Lexi a chance to be Kari's double, she jumps at the chance upon learning that she and Kari are half-sisters. Is there a chance she can finally meet her dad? Not to mention what other hot young celebrities might be heading Lexi's way. But can she balance her personal life with Kari's public life without things exploding? Dun, dun, dun.

Pulling Princes by Tyne O'Connell

First in a series. Calypso Kelly is an American in a posh British private school for girls. She doesn't have it all, but this year, with a little help from her mom's PA Jay (who's gay), she decides to get it all. That is, she is going to "pull" boys which will optimistically jettison her into popularity. Of course, she ends up getting more than she bargains for when Prince Freddie, heir to the throne, takes an interest in her after a fencing match. Who doesn't love boarding school stories?

Blogging time: 14 minutes

Time spent reading: 39 hrs, 4 minutes
Blogging: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Books read: 12
Pages read: 3264
Donations: $39.75 (12 books & 15 comments)

Where is my focus?

It is a major cause for celebration when I finish a book these past few hours. I've now been reading for 30 hours and 40 minutes. The veins are making their ritual appearance. Joy, joy. It's always disconcerting when you look down and see more than you want to see of your insides coming to the forefront.

What I've been reading since the wee hours of the morning...

Sugar and Spice by Kate Messner

This was actually an ARC that I acquired back at ALA last year. When I saw "skater goes to Lake Placid", I knew I had to read it. But it wasn't until I got home that I realized that the author, Kate Messner, actually lived down the street from me back when I lived in upstate NY. It was quite fun reading a book set in one's home locale. So many names and places were of a familiar nature to me. And there was the main character, Claire, playing the game "Who's that guy" with her brothers. I found it hilarious that the man the author described as being a "tall, skinny man with blond hair and glasses... and smiling like crazy" was determined to be an "alien from another galaxy posing as a geeky TV weatherman". Because, really, that is totally (in my opinion) describing the authors husband who is the weatherman for the local tv channel. So, a quite fun read, though I did figure out who the evil vixen skater was a bit earlier than Claire.

Cat's Cradle by Julia Golding

Julia Golding needs to keep pumping out her Cat Drury books every year so I will have a new one to read for the challenge. In this 6th book of the series (to go this high up, you have to order them from the UK because on the first few are currently published in the US), Cat has just returned home from her misadventures in Barbados with Billy Shepherd (whom as soon as we meet him, we have to say goodbye to him ::sniffsniff::) and is soon thrust into her latest venture which is posing as a mill worker in Scotland in order to find, perhaps, some members of her family. Many new characters were added, some nicer than others, though there were a few returning characters (mainly Syd and Frank). I'm not sure if it was the Scottish setting complete with Scottish terms, but this really reminded me so much of some of Sally Watson books. So, despite the lack of Billy Shepherd, I'm still a fan of book #6!

Kat, Incorrgible by Stephanie Burgis

What a fun novel. In a way it reminded me of Sorcery and Cecilia. Not in the format, but the whole set in early 19th century mixed with magic type way. Hah, yes, I think I've run out of things to say right now, but it was quite enjoyable and I am looking forward to reading the next adventure of our Kat (hah, two "Kat" "Cat" books in a row). Hopefully next time, there will be more teamwork with her sisters. I'm still wondering if there is any MP (Magic Potential) in Kat's eldest sister Elissa.

There, give me another 17 minutes for blogging.

Time spent reading: 30 hrs, 40 minutes
Blogging: 56 minutes
Books read: 9
Pages read: 2703
Donations: $30.00 (9 books & 12 comments)

I wish I wasn't so stubborn.

I am thinking that next year, I shall participate in the 48 hour sleep challenge. Or the 48 second reading challenge. Especially difficult is knowing that friends of yours have gone off to the beach this weekend. It is making me feel insanely jealous. But, then I look at the "pile" of books I have read, and I feel like I have accomplished at least a little something.

It is 3:15 a.m. here. What am I still doing up? And what does this mean for my reading totals? 19 hours and 10 minutes. No, I blogged for 20 minutes of that time. So my total reading time has been 18 hours and 50 minutes. Not too shabby, I guess.

What have I read?

Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn.

Fourth in the Lady Julia Grey mystery series. I have a bad tendency to mix the first book in this series in my head with the first book of Tasha Alexander's series. So, I really don't remember how the series started other than by the death of Lady Julia's husband by murder which lead to investigations helmed by Nicholas Brisbane (now her husband). This one is set in India (maybe). It is a mystery. I am tired. What more do you want me to write. Are you even reading this?

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

I read the first book in this series (The Ghost and the Goth) and really enjoyed it. The sequel did not fail to delight me, though I have to wonder where the author is going to go from this ending. Like all good sequels (Yes, I'm looking at you, Demonglass), the author introduces a super secret organization that may or may not be on the side of right. Our hero must choose his partner in his battle. Does he stick with the dead or the living? And, really, who is "living" by the end?

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton

Full disclosure, I first learned of this book thanks to being Facebook "friends" with the author's brother (he is an actor and I enjoyed him in Les Miserables on Broadway). Therefore, I had to read her book. It was a very fun book. Our ten-year-old heroine, Persimmony Smudge, in the process of breaking her family's "Giving Pot", losing her hat, and running away from a fearsome poisoned-tongued jumping tortoise, learns of a devious plot hatched by the underground-dwelling Leafeaters. Which can only lead to the discovery of... a giant? Quite entertaining!

And, I am now reading a book by an author from my hometown. I recognize things. How frightening (in a good way, of course)!

Oh, and there's another 19 minutes blogging.

Ye olde tally:

Time spent reading: 18 hrs, 50 minutes
Blogging: 39 minutes
Books read: 6
Pages read: 1729
Donations: $20.25 (6 books & 9 comments)

Friday, June 3, 2011

And then I found out the truth... finally.

Hi, there! I've been reading now for, um, let's see... I started at 8:05 and now it is 3:24. That means I been at it for 7 hours and 19 minutes. And have only read three books. That seems a bit lax. Hmm. Especially when I see how much else there is to be read!

What have I read?

Linnet by Sally Watson

I actually picked one of her older books this year to read (not one of her newly published ones). To be honest, I like her old ones from the 60s better than the ones she is turning out these days. Not that I'm not grateful for additional Sally Watson books. Especially when they deal with additional stories from people you met in her earlier books. And, I actually hadn't read this one yet (very bad on my part, but she is kind of a hard, and sometimes expensive, author to find these days). Linnet is, as far as I can tell, more of a stand-alone novel than some of her others. But, perhaps it is just that I can't place her family in the context of her other stories. But, it also takes place during Queen Elizabeth I's time and the majority of the others I have read were all after that time. Still, the character Linnet does bear a shocking resemblance to many of Watson's other heroines as far as being quite modern and outspoken with her beliefs, though Linnet is also far too trustworthy. It is that aspect that gets Linnet into trouble in the first place. She has run away from home and meets a seemingly respectable gentleman on her travels to London. He takes her under his wing and instead of taking her to her relatives in London, actually deposits her into his "school" where he trains young orphaned children to be pickpockets, beggars, and cutpurses. It is quite entertaining as she matches wits with him (and of course succeeds in the end) and grows to love the other children whom she first would not deign to sit next to due to their grubbiness. Quite and enjoyable read!

My other two reads were Jennifer Sturman's And Then Everything Unraveled and And Then I Found Out the Truth. Full disclosure, I had read the first book when it had first come out a couple of years ago. It ends on a cliffhanger and I was like "I want to know what happens next like right now!" But by the time the sequel had finally been published, it had somehow slipped my mind. And actually the plot and characters had also dissipated in my memory, so I thought it best to revisit the first to fully comprehend the second. I was not disappointed in either. In And Then Everything Unraveled, we meet Cordelia (Delia to her friends), who has just learned that her mother's ship had disappeared after sending a SOS signal. T.K. (her mother) was visiting Antarctica with an environmental group. Everyone convinced that her mother is dead, Delia is sent to live in NY with her aunt Charity (Charley), though her other aunt, Patience, has control of her financial situation. Delia has never met either aunt. But is T.K. actually dead? Delia suspects not and is prompted into additional explorations of this after she receives a mysterious cell phone call of static. Her new friend traces it to Patagonia, very "near" where her mother's ship was last spotted. With the help of her friend, a possible boy interest, a psychic, and a pony-filled tie-wearing private investigator, Delia intends to find out the truth. And she does. But not fully until the second book. But, don't worry, I won't spoil you for it.

Really, how can you not want to read this author's books when the first book is dedicated to Michelle Jaffe. (I personally love her Bad Kitty novels and am eagerly waiting book number three, whenever that is coming out.)

Now, back to reading. But before that, a tally.

Time spent reading: 7 hrs, 19 minutes
Blogging: 20 minutes
Books read: 3
Pages read: 730
Donations: $10.25 (3 books & 5 comments)

Getting started

You know, I was just about ready to throw the towel in. The New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys concert is coming on in about an hour and how could I want to miss that?! Well, I'm working beyond that addiction and am turning off the television, brushing my teeth, and grabbing a good book (hopefully it will turn into more than just one).

Starting with Linnet by Sally Watson. Because I traditionally start with a Sally Watson book. And I am nothing if not traditional.

Good luck everyone and happy reading!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The great charity reveal.

I'm going to spare you the picture of how many books I have stacked up and ready to go for the challenge. No, really, I am. If I only read 16 books last year, I'm not sure why I'm being so downright optimistic about this year. Still, one can always strive to reach the "impossible dream" (and by that, I mean to actually have read all of the books I have in my house).

When it comes down to, it would be too embarrassing to admit how much I plan and look forward to this weekend. Something you might realize if you saw all of my books.

Okay, this is not my pile of books. Just a picture of our book drop after being closed a couple of days for the blizzards last year. Whew! What a lot of check ins!

And, my charity has been chosen! I looked around (okay, flying into a panic today because I hadn't figured out who to donate to though I did have some thoughts running around in my mind, trust me) and I decided to stay local. This year, I am going to support QACCA Our Haven Shelter, which is my county's homeless shelter. I think that this will be a nice balance with my co-worker Erin who is also doing the challenge (she also makes delicious cookies, believe me). Her chosen charity, Animal Resource Foundation (ARF) is an animal rescue organization. Aren't we both upstanding citizens of our county?

So, for every book I read, I will donate $3. For every comment I receive during the reading challenge, I will donate $.25. Run with that!

Now off to clean my bathroom. I managed to burn out my vacuum cleaner tonight attempting to clean the carpet in my bedroom. It is of some difficult type of carpeting that refuses to be cleaned. Excessive vacuuming is obviously not what it needs (which is why I then go around picking up lint bits by hand). Except now I'll have to do the entire apartment that way until I can get a replacement. Oh dear!