Category Archives: books

#Read-a-thon 2:30am-4:30am

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I made it through much more of NW then I thought it would.  The narrative structure is interesting and non traditional.  i fell asleep four hour short of my dead line.  i still got a lot done! now back to my  normal life.

Read-a-thon 1pm -2:30am

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wow, I know what a huge chunk of time!  I stuck to my plan of switching up my reading, going back and forth between my audiobook and  the manuscript for the afternoon. While running errands and walking around downtown Culver City my ears were filled with Holiday in Death. The three hours I spent in Starbucks I finished reading the manuscript.  I still have a few hours of listening to do before I finish Holiday in Death. Still, one book down! Around hour 12 I took a nap, woke up at hour 14 and started reading NW by Zadie Smith. I’m 3/4ths of the way through but I need a break from it.  The book itself is my own break from my dedication to thrillers, mysteries, and suspense. It’s well written, the stories are loosely connected, I just needed a break from the inner workings of fictional human beings so I read step one from Path to Recovery. There are questions at the chapter, but  since I’m focusing on reading I’m going to go back to reading and put off doing any work until tomorrow.  I feel like I should either go back to NW or I should finish listening to Holiday in Death. If I went back to the audiobook I could also do the dishes.  No one wants that. It’s 2:30 for goodness sake.

Read-a-thon 8am-1pm

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Lunch and a read-a-thon

I swear, I need every weekend to be a read-a-thon.  I’ve gotten so much done  this morning with an audiobook in my ear.  I spent two hours last night reading Takes One to Know One, a friend’s manuscript.  Woke up, plugged in my ipod and took in J.D. Robb’s “Holiday in Death.” I took 45 minutes to read Chapter 12 and 13, wishing I hadn’t. What a way to ruin perfectly good reading by adding homework. I stuck to my plan of listening to the audiobook to and from my volunteering, but taking the audiobook to the gym has been replaced with eating pizza and listening the audiobook.  I could do this everyday.

Readathon 2013

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Books and manuscript ready for Readation 2013

I haven’ t blogged in almost a year!  Goodness. How time and life have just kept going by.  I remembered last year’s Readathon and well, that got this thing up and running!  This isn’t just something one jumps into.  It requires preparation and gathering materials so that I can really dedicated 24 hours to reading and still go on with the rest of my life.  Here’s my plan:

  • 7 am wake up get ready (breakfast, hygiene, pushups, etc)
  • 8am OFFICIAL START TIME on west coast. READ!!
  • 10:40 Head to Volunteering (I’ve got an audiobook for the car ride to and from and will have to make up the hour I spend volunteering and not reading)
  • 12:30 Head to Gym- (because movement cannot just stop) – Where I will finish my audiobook.
  • 1:30 on READ! READ! EAT! READ! NAP? READ!

I’ve even picked out where I will read to keep things interesting:  poolside, at Starbucks, on the couch, on the bed, on the couch again, maybe even back to Starbucks.  Read-a-thon weekend also marks the first weekend of PlayStation 3 for the husband, so you know, I’ll have plenty of undisturbed time to read.

Here’s my book list:

  • Human Physiology Chapters 13 and 24 (to keep things interesting and productive)
  • NW by Zadie Smith
  • Paths to Recovery
  • Art of Character by David Corbett
  • Takes One to know one by Amanda Ronan (*MS)
  • Holiday in Death by JD Robb *audiobook
  • Redbreast by Jo Hensbo
  • Fairy Tales  from the Brother’s Grim by Philip Pulman (to keep things interesting and to switch things up)
  • Lady X’s Cowboy by Zoe Archer

Some of these I won’t be reading straight through, but they will get read and that’s what’s important.

Food:

  • Nut
  • Yogurt
  • Hansen’s Ginger Ale
  • Goat cheese pizza
  • fruit!
  • oatmeal
  • Chicken Taco stew

To finish preparing tonight I need to read for an hour to compensate for the hour I’ll lose tomorrow. I also need to log into twitter, charge the ipod and the kindle, save the Dewey Readathon page as a favorite and turn off the captcha for this blog so that folks can comment!

Read-a-thon: Breaking Beautiful

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book cover "breaking beautiful" by jennifer shaw wolf

 

I know that the 24 hour read a thon is over but I ended up having an impromptu one this weekend anyways!  I started reading Breaking Beautiful on Friday and just finished it now at 9:15pm on sunday.  I was first heard of this book on The Contemps website and my major attraction was based solely on it not being based in a post apocolyptic setting.  Seriously, come on, how many more of these do we need?  Okay, maybe a ton, but I don’t need to read any more.

I am so impressed by this debut novel.  Jennifer Shaw Wolf is one hell of a writer.  Her language isn’t over simplified or poetic- it just is.  Set in a small town in Washington State,  the main character, Allie, is the lone survivor in a car accident that killed her abusive boyfriend Trip.  She’s lost her memories of the night and no one in the small town will let her forget who she was or who she is. This is especially an issue when her best friend takes care of her  and fills the isolated spots in her life.

What Wolf does best in this piece is plot.  I found it to be seriously tight and completely captivating.  She also does a great job of capturing the simple voice of a teenager.  I’m not saying that teenagers are simple people, I’m saying she does away with the dramatics and the over emoting that could turn complex emotions into cliches.  I totally aspire to have this type of ability someday.  Told in first person present tense   Allie’s emotions are raw and real, not cloying or hackneyed, as she takes us through dealing with her boyfriend’s death, her secrets, and dealing with the town and their need to know what happened the night he died.

I couldn’t put the book down.  I look forward to her future work!

#24 hour read-a-thon: Books 3 and 4

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me, reading

OMG it’s so hard to stay focused!  I am really enjoying both Weird Sisters and From Cape Town with Love.  Blair Underwood writes one hell of a steamy mystery.  its the third (I think) in a series of Tennyson Hardwick novels.  Tennyson is a private detective that is the main character and boy is he spicy.  There is a steaming hot sex scene before we even get to the inciting incident.  He also makes a tremendous error that will have you saying, “oh, no he didn’t!” and telling your friends about it.  It’s that unbelievable.  I had this horrible feeling that I’d spoiled the ending for myself.  I’d dropped the book, picked it up and accidentally read something towards the end that seemed to spoil the main mystery in the story.  however, as I read more tonight I realized that if I spoiled one mystery it doesn’t matter because there are at least three mysteries woven into the plot.  Wow.

The Weird Sisters is great.  The narrator is not one but all three sisters.  It almost reads as if an omniscient fourth sister is telling the story in third person.  Get this: there is no fourth sister.  The personal pronoun most often used is “our” when referring to things the sisters owned together (their parents, their home etc) and there is never an “I” used except in dialog.  Sometimes, I hear three voices in my head in unison as I read.  The  physical characteristic of each characters isn’t greatly described (beyond their long brown hair and their clothing style) which I like.  It makes me feel like I could be any of the sisters or any of them could be my sister.  I’ll be honest though, I read the character of Rose as Kate Winslet and Bean as Rachel Weisz and Cordelia as Anne Hathaway.  Those are just the face I immediately saw as soon as the narrator began to tell each story. And that was long before the description of the long brown hair. It’s beautifully written and engaging, which is a good sign because I’m only about sixty pages in so you know the rest of the book will be fabulous.  I’m excited to see where it goes.

Having abandoned the dishes and my husband  I leave you now to head back to the books.

Book 2: Disaster Preparedness

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My stack of books for the read athon

That’s my stack for the Read-A-Thon.  I love the fact that I finally have an excuse to read all the hard copy books on my book shelf. I usually read a lot on my kindle so it feels good to be showing these books some love.

I just finished Heather Havrilesky’s Disaster Preparedness.  While it was well written, it was a tough book to finish in one (broken into many starts and stops) sittings.  I think that’s my own fault.  Next October, or even in this next hour, I’m breaking up my reading to keep me focused.  I met Heather at a Writing Pad retreat, and let me tell you, she is as much of a hoot in person as she is in writing.  By “hoot” I mean hilarious observer of life who tells it like it is even if that means swearing.  LOVE HER.

I enjoyed Heather’s musings on her life and the themes in all of our lives that truly require some disaster preparedness: parents getting divorced, first love, surviving middle school, our relationship (or lack thereof)with God, our relationship with our brothers and sisters, our parents, their relationships, parent’s death etc.  Don’t get me wrong, this did not read like a “how to guide to life” like my list of themes might suggest.  Those are just the themes of the chapters.  The narrative has a definite non linear quality to it though it feels like it starts when she’s younger and by the end more stories of her adult hood are included.

Heather does a great job of weaving together her experiences of the same theme and showing how she had grown because of that these experiences.  The narrator not only changes by the end of the book (which is the standard structure for memoir and most narratives) but also develops and changes with each chapter. This also makes sense because as an essayist, each chapter reads like a short delightful essay. It was fun and a funny read.  There were definitely moments that made me laugh out loud.

Book 3 and 3 are The Weird Sisters  by Eleanor Brown and From Capetown with Love by the actor Blaire Underwood. These two books couldn’t be more different. Don’t let Blair Underwood discourage you.  His book is cowritten by two other writers who are awesome, Tananvarie Due and Steven Barnes.  Apparently their past collaborations have been award winning.  I won a copy of the Weird Sisters in a random drawing from The Debutante Ball.  I love winning things. I’m going to be breaking up my reading to keep me going! I’m diving in. Happy reading.

Image credit:  me