Monday, October 18, 2010

End of Read-A-Thon Update: Better Late than Never

I haven’t blogged since the Read-A-Thon and with good reason.  The Read-A-Thon is the most blogging I’ve ever done in one day!  I need time to recover.  

The day after the Read-A-Thon feels sort of like a book/blogging hangover (for me anyways).  I just need some time.  Perhaps when I am a more seasoned veteran to blogging, 24 hours of reading/blogging won’t have such a profound effect on my brain.
I am in awe of  the many book bloggers who jump right back in to their TBR pile the morning after the Read-A-Thon.  You are truly amazing.

Although the Read-A-Thon is long over, I never filled out my End of Event questionnaire, so here it is:

End of Event Meme
1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
Hour 22, when I couldn’t keep my eyes open if you paid me.  I lasted longer than last year by an hour and a half, going to bed just 1-½ hours before the end of the Read-A-Thon.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
In general, shorter reads to give a sense of accomplishment
Specifically:  anything by Shel Silverstein, J.K. Rowling and from what I hear, (I need to get on the bandwagon and read the Hunger Games series) Suzanne Collins.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
I just wish I could do all the mini challenges, but it’s impossible if I want to keep reading.  I only struggled with a couple challenges because I was not technologically savvy, (ex. the Wordle).  I had no idea how to get a screen shot of it on my blog, so I had to spend a bit of extra time figuring that out.  Maybe some instructions for us newbies?  I will get the hang of blogging.  Hopefully, by the time the next read-a-thon rolls around, I will be an old pro.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
Everyone participating takes time to visit other blogs as much as possible.  It’s amazing given all the blogs involved.  I wish I could visit every single, solitary blog participating during the actual even but it just can’t happen if I want to get any reading done.  The thought alone of everyone reading together (all over the world) is a really cool thing.  And I always have the list of blogs to browse after the read-a-thon, and I’m thankful for that.
5. How many books did you read?
Two (2).  I always have such high expectations for myself.  But then, all my picks were rather long.  Next time I am going to include a few shorter reads.
6. What were the names of the books you read?
Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells
7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Alice I Have Been
8. Which did you enjoy least?
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder; only because I liked Alice I Have Been a smidge more, and this was the only other book I read.
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
Love the rhyming cheers.  No advice; the more the merrier.  It really helps.
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I will definitely participate again.  I will be a reader next time as well.  I have too much fun not to.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Read-A-Thon Update: Onward Through Hour 21

I'm still awake!  Barely, but still awake!

I was reading on the couch a bit ago and woke up disoriented with my book open draped on my stomach.  I had fallen asleep!  I looked at the clock.  Only 20 minutes had gone by and I had officially taken a catnap!  I picked up my book and read some more.

So that is exactly how I'm making it through the read-a-thon in these final hours: catnaps.  I've had 2 already and amazingly have woken up within a half hour each time.  The second time I was face down, on a big pillow in my living room floor, a book open in front of me.  I don't know why I woke up and didn't sleep through the rest of the night, as tired as I am, but it is only proof that my mind wills to finish this thing!!

It's now 2:20 A.M. PT and I am really hearing my bed calling my name.  I am SO close to finishing The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder which I have been reading for most of this day.  (*Ever get nearer to the end of a book and scream inside, Let's finish this thing already!!  I have.)

Total Pages Read so far:  460
Mini Challenges entered: 7
Challenges won: none

I feel like I could be doing sooooo much better than I am.  Although I did take a nice break for dinner and some time to watch a most important hockey game, I feel that I should have long ago finished the one book I've been reading all day and moved on to something else.  I feel that I should've read more pages so far.  Hmmmm...something to think about as 3:00 A.M (the 22nd hour) approaches.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Read-A-Thon Mini Challenge: Wordle

Wordle Mini Challenge Hosted by 
Thank you for the fun challenge and nice break from reading!

Because my blog is rather new, I decided to do a wordle based on the whole blog to see what it boils down to.  Here is what it came up with:  
I love how reading is one of the largest in the bunch!

Read-A-Thon Mini Challenge: Title Word Scramble

Mini Challenge : Title Word Scramble
Hosted by Sheery at Sheery's Place (thank you for hosting this fun challenge!)

My unscrambled titles follow.  I went a step further and bolded the books I have read in this list:

  1. Firefly Lane
  2. East of Eden
  3. Water for Elephants
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird
  5. The Great Gatsby
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  7. The Art of Racing in the Rain
  8. The Time Traveler's Wife
  9. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  11. A Wrinkle in Time
  12. The Polar Express
  13. Love Walked In
  14. Where the Wild Things Are
  15. The Shining
  16. Goodnight Moon
  17. Interview With a Vampire
  18. The Secret Life of Bees
  19. The Search
  20. The Help

Read-A-Thon Update: Halfway!

Halfway done?!  Where has the time gone!

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells.  I am loving it as I knew I would.
2. How many books have you read so far?  I have dipped into three different books, only finishing one - Alice I Have Been.  I'm almost halfway through the one I'm reading now.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
I am most looking forward to finishing The Crowning Glory and starting back into The Canterbury Tales.
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? not particularly!  My girls join in when they feel like reading and are generally keeping themselves busy.  They even baked a batch of brownies!  My husband is down with a hurt back so it would've been a mellow day anyways.  
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?  Only interruptions so far have been from my kids but I welcome them!  
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?  How extremely FAST the time goes by!  And how hard it is to do mini challenges when you are trying to read.  I want to do them all, but just can't.
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? no suggestions.  I think it's great the way it is!
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?  As a reader, I might throw some shorter reads in there amongst the longer ones so it feels like I accomplished more!  
9. Are you getting tired yet?  yes I am...but not horribly.  This is the time of day when I usually brew up a pot of coffee anyways, as 3:00-4:00 PM is my sleepy time for some reason.  So I'm used to feeling sleepy around this time...and a pot of coffee is not far away!   
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?  Cheerleaders, you have no idea how your cheers help us readers!  Really.  Love coming to my blog to find you cheering me helps.  It really does.  Readers, something that is helping me is checking in every hour to see where I'm at.  I don't post every hour, but I check follow up comments, etc. and look at a few other blogs for a break.  It really breaks up the monotony  and keeps me connected to other participants.

Read-A-Thon Update: Onward Through Hour 11

I can't believe the Read-A-Thon is nearing it's halfway point.

I really wish I was keeping track of exactly how much time of spent reading, because I know it hasn't been 11 hours!  I've had many breaks!

So far:

  • only 134 pages read...still reading The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder ~ and what a read!  I've cried...a lot!  It's made me really think of my relationship with my girls!  
  • I've attempted no more mini challenges.  I want to, I just don't feel I have the time if I want to get any reading done.  Although, 134 pgs doesn't seem like a lot!  
  • I've been noshing and probably not all too healthily: cookies, brownies, sugary cereals.  I did have a turkey and ham sandwich though. 
  • And as promised here is my granddaughter joining in for the Read-A Thon:

See how intently she reads?!

Here she is, totally immersed!  :D
A reader after my own heart.

Read-A-Thon Update: Onward Through Hour 7

It's now 11:00 and I'm entering into Hour 7.

My girls have both joined me in the Read-a-Thon, but right now are now playing a board game to take a break.  I am delighted they chose to play a board game versus turn on the TV or a video game.  
  • Randi is reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini, and has now decided she would like a baby dragon.
  • Sydney is reading Rotten School:The Big Blueberry Barf-Off by R.L. Stine.  I have a feeling this book may be a little easy for her reading level, but at least she's reading!
  • Jennifer has informed me that my 4-month old granddaughter Leighton has also joined me the Read-A-Thon.  She sent me a picture to my phone, and once I figure out how to get it on here I will post!  Too cute, my little reader!  
My updates:

I finished Alice I Have Been.  I really enjoyed this book and will have to write a review on it later.  It brought me to tears and further ignited my obsessive interest in all things Charles L. Dodgson (aka. Lewis Carroll).  What an interesting, interesting man.   And this book wasn't even focused oh him, but he fills in the cracks and whispers to be figured out.  

Currently Reading:
The Canterbury Tales as retold by Peter Ackroyd, and
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder, interchangeably.
Most likely I will probably grab other books to read in their midsts as well!

So far: 
135 pages read cumulatively.  I haven't been keeping track of time...all I know is, I would be reading a lot more if I wasn't stopping to do mini challenges and blog.  But it's so fun to do so! 

I've participated in 4 mini challenges and really wish I had time to do every single one.  So far, my favorite challenge was the Six Word Celebration, hosted by Estella at Estella's Revenge.  If I had more time I know I could come up with something better, but here are my 6 words to celebrate the read-a-thon:

~ Turn pages toward better understanding.  Read! ~

Back to reading!

ReadAThon Hour 2 Mini Challenge

Mini Challenge hosted by Elizabeth over at Miss Wisabus

TOP 3 Children's Stories

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak ~ I love it so much I can't see the movie, as I am afraid it will ruin the original.

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech ~ I read this in college and LOVED it.  I wonder how I would've reacted differently if I would've read it as as a child.  I just related to the story on so many different levels and it brought tears, which is always an indication to me of a good book!

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien ~ I don't remember what I loved most about this story because I read it as a child.  I definitely need to revisit it as an adult!  I just know it has stuck with me all these years and I always have the urge to pick it up and read it again.

ReadAThon Hour 1

Woke up a little late.  It's 5:48 right now and I haven't yet started reading.  Brewed up some coffee, going to answer the Hour 1 questions here, and then I will get reading.

Challenge 1: Hour 1 Questions

Where are you reading from today?  home sweet home, and probably mostly on my couch, on my bed and at my desk.

3 facts about me …
I'm a stay-at-home mom
I am a young grandma
I love to read, write, play guitar and listen to music

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? 
Six, one of which I have already read three-quarters of the way through

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?  
not to stress how much/or how little I am reading!  I want to enjoy the day. I would like to get through at least 3 of my books though.

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?
I am by no means a veteran as this is only my 2nd read-a-thon.  The only suggestion I have is to keep track of your reading somehow.  It can be so much easier if you have some sort of  a spreadsheet or template to use.  I picked one up at Fyrefly's Book Blog.  Should make things a whole lot easier!

On to reading!  Good luck to everyone participating.

Friday, October 08, 2010

24 Hour Read-A-Thon

Getting ready for my second read-a-thon, and I have my stack of library books ready to read.  It's after 10:00 and if I really want to do this right, I must get up early so I can be ready to read by 5 A.M.  I need to get to bed soon!  

I am really excited to get started, especially since I know more of what to expect this time around.  I will probably blog every 3-6 hours instead of trying to blog every hour.  I will do mini challenges but I won't try to do every one.  It takes up too much reading time. 

I am already three-quarters of the way through Alice I Have Been, so I will most likely work on finishing up that book first in the morning with my cup of coffee.  

I'm off to sleep for an early wake up!
Happy Reading!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Writing Goal #1: POEM Slide

Here's my writing for the day! 

Back to my hometown
to the park where
I used to play ~

I remember
a particular slide:
silver steps,
a chute of blue rollers,
my size dwarfed
in comparison.

as I revisit
this old friend,
nostalgia lurks
in my chest
as I search for
the neanderthal
reminder of my youth.

First and second glances,
third and fourth
uncover a small slide
I don't remember.
My childhood,
rotted in time
along with this slide.
I used to climb
to the top
and scream with glee
as the rollers carried me,
long haired
and tender
down that slide,
with only a single care
for that moment.

my cares laid bare
to find the slide's location
like a cobweb
in freshly painted room,
and I ached
when I found it was
not the same
as I left it
so many years ago.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Trip to Library and Writing Goal #1: POEM Haiku for Leighton

Took a trip to the library yesterday, and as usual, left with a hefty stack of books.  Not sure how long it will take me to read these bad boys, as I'm not putting a time limit on myself, but I will have plenty to read for the upcoming Oct. 9th Read-A-Thon  (More on this in another post.  And I hope some of you will join me!) 

The list:
Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer retold by Peter Ackroyd
Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
All In One Place by Carolyne Aarsen
Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

I read the Canterbury Tales in college but found them extremely difficult to get through without the helpful translation of my professor.  I loved the stories though, (and wrote one myself as an assignment - I'll have to post that to share soon) so here's a retelling that I can read and hopefully enjoy in modern day English!  I can't wait to revisit the tales of the The Knight, The Wife of Bath, The Cook, The Friar, etc.  They were actually hilarious tales that were "a mirror for medieval society."

Also in college literature classes I became fascinated with Charles Dodgson, better known to most as Lewis Carroll, the infamous author of Alice in Wonderland.  So when I heard about Alice I Have Been, a historical fiction novel based on the original Alice who inspired Mr. Dodgson to spin his legendary tale, I knew I had to get my hands on it fast!

The Immortal Fire is the third book in a series that I started reading when my daughter brought home the first book, The Shadow Thieves.  She never got around to reading it so I, being the book raptor that I am, snatched it up and read it in a couple days.  What fun it turned out to be!  I love children's novels that spark the imagination and tell a story with such rich description and believable characters.  So I read The Siren Song next and the mythological fun pulled me towards the 3rd installment in the series.  Can't wait to get back into the adventures of cousins Zee and Charlotte!  

Rebecca Wells had me with The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.  So much so, that I read both follow-ups: Ya Yas in Bloom and Little Altars Everywhere pronto upon completion.  My love for all three of these fantastic novels makes reading The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder a no-brainer, regardless of an entirely new set of characters.  Rebecca Wells paints worlds where you want to be, and I can't wait to enter another of her worlds again soon!

All in One Place and Dismantled are both random picks.  I like to surprise myself by pulling something off the shelf I've never heard of before.  Let's hope they deliver! 
So because of my lack of blog posts, I'm really behind.  Behind on book reviews, (keeping up to date on Goodreads), reading challenges, goal updates, etc.  So for the next few days and weeks I am going to work my tush off trying to get caught up.  I have a lot of reviews to write and I finished so many of these books months ago!  I hope I can remember enough to write worthwhile reviews!  I will do my best, and that is all I can promise.

On to my writing of the day!  It's a short one, but written with love for my granddaughter, Leighton, who visited me this weekend.  I wrote it as we went on an afternoon walk.

Haiku for Leighton
Leighton loves her walks
The shady trees smile and wave
Cheers!  Leighton is here!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Writing Goal #1: POEM Never and Always

I have never made a specific writing goal before, and producing a piece of writing everyday is hard work!  I think it's so worth it though! 

Good or bad, here's my piece for today:

Never and Always

You always
say I can't!
You never
let me do
what I want!
You always
tell me no!
You never
seem to understand!
You always
embarrass me
in front of 
my friends!
You never 
believe I am
where I say I'll be!

I know.  
I never, 
and I always.
I never 
want you hurt or lost;
I always 
want you safe.
I never 
want misunderstandings
about the amount
of love
my heart
holds for you.
I always 
need to know 
where you are
when you're not home.
I never 
want you to forget
how precious
you are to me.
I always 
cherish you 
in my heart
and I will still 
when you are old.

But you never!
And you always!

Yes, I never.
And yes, I always.

I will never 
leave your side
as long as you shall live,
and I will always 
see to it that you
are truthful, honest, kind.
I never 
want you sad, mistaken, doubtful.
I always 
want you to do your best.
I never 
want you giving up
on life's
oh so many tests.
I always 
hope it is my arms
that comfort you
when you need.
I never 
want you to feel
you cannot come to me.
I always 
want what's best for you
and sometimes
I may seem mean,
but I never 
want to see you cry
if poor decisions 
you have made.
I always 
want you to know
you never
have to worry
for I will always,
yes, I will always
be your protector, mother, friend.

© Patricia Beline Barton
October 2, 2010

Friday, October 01, 2010

I want to apologize for my absence.
I apologize!

I am not going to list my excuses for why I haven't blogged since April, because that's all they would be...excuses. There are many reasons for neglecting my blog, but they are boring and I don't want to bore anyone.  I will say, I've neglected something that has been calling whispering my name everyday to get back to.  I have a lot of catching up to do and I intend to get started.

For starters, goals.

Writing goal #1: To produce something every day, good or bad.

Here's today's:
On a Night Train

On a night train
making my way to a house
I never knew existed,
I struggle to find a seat.
Left standing,
the ride is bumpy,

At my destination
I realize my purse is gone.
I meander back
to where the train and I parted
but like my purse,
the train has disappeared.

I walk up narrow streets
passing cars,
and creeks.
I follow curves of freeway,
beat up signs,
directional arrows,
all taking me where I don't want to go.
Foreign streets with dotted residence
hold no purse of mine.

Out of breath,

A million birds chirping
in the chilled air
seem to know more than I do.
They laugh at my misfortune.

I sit sprawled along a curb
sure that I will
wake up at any moment.

For only in dreams
can one lose a purse
on a night train,
making one's way
to a house
they never knew existed.

©Patricia Beline Barton
October 1, 2010