October 2014 #readathon updates

I’ll be posting all of my updates here. Scroll down for most recent updates!

Opening Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Ventura, California — about 60 miles north of Los Angeles

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? A Million Miles in A Thousand Years  by Donald Miller

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Right now? The blue cheese popcorn I bought! Gourmet popcorn — yum yum!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I’m Krista! This is my third readathon. I’m co-hosting/moderating the GoodReads page. I love the color yellow!

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? MUCH better food choices. I made myself so sick last year! This year I’ve got a lot of junky food but also a lot of healthier options!

Update #1 (11 am, six hours read): Currently reading: Adulting: How to Become A Grown-Up in 468 Easy(isn) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

Books finished: The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) by Ellen Raskin

Pages read: 264

Running total of pages read: 264

Amount of time spent reading: 3.27 hours (196 minutes)

Running total of time spent reading: 3.27 hours (196 minutes)

Other updates: I hosted/moderated over at GoodReads for the first six hours (seriously can’t believe it’s already been six hours!) so that kept me pretty busy and distracted. But it’s ok! I have six hours for reading and reading and reading now so hopefully I can power through my second book. I’ll update again at the end of hour 12!

Snacks: Lots of different things!

Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now? Just starting A Million Miles in A Thousand Years by Donald Miller
2. How many books have you read so far? I’ve read and finished two, about to start my third.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Getting some more reading time in! I feel like I’ve been really distracted and unfocused so I’m looking forward to everyone going to bed so I can focus from 10 pm – 5 am!
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? LOTS! Every hour! My sister has been with me and so I’ve only been reading about 30 minutes every hour, sometimes less. But I’ve still read a lot and I wouldn’t trade time with her for anything. And it’s awesome because she also read one of the books I read right after I finished it this morning! She’s such a cool kid!

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? How different it is than it was in April! (And how much better I feel for not having all the sugary junk!)

Update #2 (5 pm, 12 hours read):

Currently reading: A Million Miles in A Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Books finished: The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) by Ellen Raskin, Adulting: How to Become A Grown-Up in 468 Easy(isn) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

Pages read: 156

Running total of pages read: 420

Amount of time spent reading: 2.53 hours (152 minutes)

Running total of time spent reading: 5.8 hours (348 minutes)

Other updates: My second six hours were busy! Thought that I’d get more reading in because I wasn’t hosting over at GoodReads but we left to celebrate my dad’s lunch and my mom ended up shopping for a little bit. Looking forward to bedtime for everyone later tonight!

Snacks: Went out to lunch at a buffet so haven’t been snacking much.

Update #3 (11 pm, eighteen hours read):

Currently reading: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Books finished: The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) by Ellen Raskin, Adulting: How to Become A Grown-Up in 468 Easy(isn) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown, A Million Miles in A Thousand Years by Donald Miller

Pages read: 297

Running total of pages read: 717

Amount of time spent reading: 3.4 hours (204 minutes)

Running total of time spent reading: 9.2 hours (552 minutes)

Other updates: Did my second set of six hours on the GoodReads site. Right as I took that over, Charisse (who I was babysitting tonight) got sickish so I was dealing with a sick kiddo. All is well, and I actually got some really good reading in, thanks to the last three hours!

Snacks: ALL THE JUNK! Gummy bears, Oreos (which I only ate four of), and blue cheese popcorn. Now my belly is rumbling so I think I’ll eat some pepper and carrots in a couple of hours! Less than six to go!

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It’s #readathon time!

Ok, so I think you guys have officially realized I’m a weirdo and I love doing these internet readathons. So far I’ve participated twice in the Dewey’s #readathon and twice in #boutofbooks. Both have been most excellent so much more fun than I can possibly explain. There’s something about knowing that during a set time, you are reading with other like-minded readers, and you’re coming together to cheer each other on and support one another, that is so cool to me. I’m reading with other people a) that I’ll most likely never meet in real life; b) who are from all kinds of backgrounds that are way different than mine and might not be my friends because our lives don’t overlap; and c) who think books are awesome enough to spend a full 24 hours or 7 straight days read.

Color me dorky, but I love it.

This coming Saturday, October 18, I will be participating in my third Dewey’s #readathon! I cannot wait. Just a head’s up that I’ll be using this blog and not my book review blog as my home base. Honestly, I don’t post tons of reviews over there, so I will most likely have a single post the day of the readathon that I update throughout the day.

It’s going to be be such good fun! There’s still five+ days left before the fun begins and I feel like I have a LOT to do. You’d think that a 24 hour readathon would have minimal prep but it really has a lot more go into it than you expect. Here’s a glimpse of what I need to get done!

  • Kate from Kate’s Book Nook and I are running the readathon’s GoodReads page and it’s more work than you’d expect! We have been creating posts for posting before, during, and after the readathon. Now that it’s getting closer, we have a few more things to post and follow up on, and then we’re splitting the duties the day of in six-hour blocks. (I’m hours 1-6 and 13-16!) It’s fun but we have to think out of the box a little bit.
  • Shopping for food! This hasn’t happened yet (I’ll probably shop on Friday so I can get fresh stuff to get me through the day!)
  • Finalizing my books and then a list of backup books (can’t try to read a book that isn’t engaging, at least not for this event!)
readathon books

My current choices (didn’t realize they were all orange/red!): The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel), The Sociopath Next Door, Adulting, A Million Miles in A Thousand Years, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and If I Stay.

  • Making arrangements for things that go on that day. It’s my dad’s birthday (but he’s working) and I want to make sure I can meet up with him at some point to buy him coffee and wish him a happy birthday. And who knows what else might happen? I’m trying to plan ahead for anything that might come up.
  • I’m in the middle of two books right now (It’s Not Summer Without You and A Prayer for Owen Meany). I’ve got to finish them before Saturday morning at 5 am!
  • Clear my Friday schedule so I can get to bed early. In April I was too excited to sleep and that bit me in the butt because the readathon starts at 5 am California time. Sleeping for four and a half hours and then staying up for 24 hours is not a good combination!

It’s not too late to sign up! Check out Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon to sign up!

5 book-related things people ask me all the time

There has been a lot of heavy stuff in the news the last few weeks and I’ve wanted to write about things going on, but every time I attempt to put word to “paper” (aka blog), my heart and motivation just aren’t in it. I’ve said what I’ve said on Facebook and honestly, that seems like enough.

I’m participating in something fun called #BoutofBooks and I typically don’t post book-related things here but I thought I would share a little bit about my reading habits because I get so many questions/comments about how much I read. So here you go: the top five questions/comments people make and ask and my responses to them.

1. How do you know how many books you read each year?
Because I keep track! I started keeping track of how many books I read each year when I was in college, in 2007. Mostly I did it because I was curious to see how much I did read. I was always telling people “Oh, I read a lot,” and no one ever disagreed, but I wanted to see an actual number to know. During that year, I tentatively challenged myself to read 50 books. (I didn’t make the goal in 2007, but I still felt accomplished: I read 44 books that year while taking a full course load in college and working a LOT of hours!) From there on out I began to challenge myself to read 50 books a year. I kept (and still keep) track in several places. I use GoodReads to keep track of what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading, and what I want to read. GoodReads also lets you review and give your books a star rating. I don’t always like how basic their rating system is, but it works. I also write the books I’ve read in my pen-and-paper planner. I can always reference it when I’m out and about. And last but not least, I have a spreadsheet that dates back all the way to that first book in 2007 when I began tracking. It’s got four workbooks within it: one that lists the books in the order I’ve read them, another that lists the books by title, another that lists the books by author, and a fourth that shows in columns how many pages each book is, my total page count for the year, the average number of pages per book, and a total of how many pages and the average page number since I began keeping track in 2007.

2. What’s the most books you’ve ever read?
In 2012 I read 80 books. Eighty! That is totally insane to me.

3. What are time tips you have to read more? How do you manage to read so much?
I’m a very busy person, but reading is really important to me. I’ve known how to read for as long as I can remember, and it’s such a vital part to my life that I cannot imagine going without it. That said, although I read a lot, I am not a super fast reader. I’m probably average — faster than some, slower than others. My biggest tip is that I just read a lot. I try to read for a little bit at lunch each day. I read almost every night before I go to bed. I would, under normal circumstances, rather read than watch tv. I usually have a book on my  nook on on the kindle app on my phone that gives me the freedom to read for five or ten minutes at a time when I’m waiting in line at the post office or the grocery store. My number one tip? I simply make reading a priority in my life. It’s important to me, so I set aside time to do what I love so much.

4. What’s your favorite book?
This is such a hard question! It’s like choosing a favorite child. I have so many different books that are my favorite for lots of different reasons. So here are a few that in my top picks: The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Maus 1 & 2 by Art Spiegelman. Lucky by Alice Sebold. Bossypants by Tina Fey.  by Jen Hatmaker. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. Mary and Me by John Grogan. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I’ve read these books at such varied times in my life; how can I ever pick just one?

5. Can you recommend a book for me?
In some ways this is a question that is so much harder to answer than what my favorite book is!  My taste of books is pretty wide, so when someone asks for a recommendation, I don’t know where to begin unless we have really similar tastes. If you ask, I’ll probably tell you what I’ve enjoyed recently, but if you try something and don’t like it, don’t hold it against me!

2013 Christmas Card

I always feel a little bit like a goofball sending out a Christmas card as a single woman. I mean. I don’t have a husband with interesting stuff going on in his life. I don’t have kids. I don’t even have dogs of my own to take pictures of. So this is my Christmas card to you and a recap of 2013 (because I’m failing at my goal of blogging once a week throughout the rest of the year!).

MerryChristmasCard

2 Things About This Card:

1. I feel like it’s kind of blurry but I tried so hard to make it not. Oh well.
2. It’s incredibly difficult to put yourself, alone, on a card without feeling kind of like an idiot. Oh well. Laughing at myself.

Book updates (important things first!)

Ok, first of all, I have given myself some high expectations for this year, having read 80 books last year. But it’s been a ridiculously busy year and as of today, I’ve only read 34  (with maybe two more about to be finished). I’ve read a pretty decent amount of meh books, but here are my top three:

bookcollageGone Girl | Someday, Someday, Maybe | …And Ladies of the Club

Gone Girl was so crazy and mind-trippy and AWESOME. I also like Flynn’s book Sharp Objects; however, I avoided Dark Places because of some issues that weirded me out and I later found out it has elements of Satanic worship in it. Someday, Someday, Maybe is the debut novel of Lauren Graham (yes… my beloved Lorelai Gilmore) and I loved it so much. I can’t wait for her second book! I would recommend …And Ladies of the Club to anyone who enjoyed Gone with the Wind.

My sissy girl

I feel lucky enough to get to be an ongoing part of this wonderful little girl’s life. She is so funny and makes me laugh incessantly. The joy she brings to my life is unending. She finished third grade and started fourth this year. She excels in pretty much everything she does (two awards this year for writing/language arts!) and is doing so well at swimming. I love watching the person she is becoming – she unfolds a little more each day and she’s amazing. She is a compassionate little person who loves animals. Her tender heart moves me. There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe how I feel about her!

Work

I was blessed to receive a fantastic job in May at the church I attend. I had been working for a tax firm with a friend and knew my job was going to come to an end the day after my 30th birthday. I tried, in a sudden moment of panic, to take things into my control but God had other plans for me. I’ve been here almost eight months and I can’t believe how fulfilled I am at the end of every day. There are moments where I think, “Yeah, I got this. I’m a pro at this job!” and I get all caught up in my own strength and pride and God humbles me massively. He is so good and has been so good to me this year!

Dogs

Well, I couldn’t let this card go without mentioning my furry loves! In January, my family adopted a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy who was 12 weeks. She is currently just over a year – she is our wonderfully crazy Penny dog (known by a zillion nicknames, including Pennifer, Penny pup, Penny pooch, Pen-pen, and ding dong). Sadly, not long after we welcomed her into our family, the painful, heart-breaking decision was made to put Baytor down. She had a degenerative nerve disease that caused the quality of her life to drop rapidly, and she was suffering and in pain. It would have been selfish for us to hold onto her simply because we weren’t ready to let go. She will never leave our hearts – our So Big made a lasting impact on all four of us. I am so thankful for the opportunity to spend thirty minutes the night before lying with her on her bed, petting her and telling her how much she meant to me. I cried and I snuggled her for that last time. It was so special. She was put down on February 22 – and little did we know, on February 21, a tiny little rottie who would come into our lives was being born. That dog came to us six weeks later and she is now our 10-month rottie named Pepper. At first she reminded me so much of Baytor, and that was both comforting and sad. But now that’s she’s nearly full-grown, she is different different different! She is a fully, happy pup and I love that she rounds out the trio. Chole is still here. She still has no front teeth and thinks she’s the queen dog. She loves to snuggle (currently she is right against me as I type!). I love this wonky, wacky, weird pack of dogs.

doggie Collage

3 amigos (Penny, Baytor, Chloe) | Penny | Chloe | Pepper

That’s all she wrote! 2013 was a good, good year. I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings me way!

show us your life: winter reading

I almost never feel like I can participate in Kelly’s Show Us Your Life series simply because I am in a different stage of life than most of her readers (ie I don’t have kids). That’s not a big deal, but when I saw today’s post, I absolutely had to join in. It’s all about what books we are reading during this winter season.

Me. Books. This post.

Duh.

It’s hard for me to narrow down exactly what books I’ll be reading, because it’s very fluid for me, but here’s what I would like to read between now and the start of the new year:

mansfieldparkMansfield Park by Jane Austen (currently reading). A couple of years ago I went on a Jane Austen kick and read Emma, Persuasion, and Northanger Abbey in a few months. I enjoyed all three of those. I don’t know why I’m struggling with Mansfield Park – I enjoy the writing and the plot. Austen isn’t hard to read, but it does take a lot of focus because it’s writing that isn’t employed anymore so my brain has to be totally engaged in the reading process. It’s interesting to note that the social dynamics haven’t really changed that much since Austen’s time, which is why I think I find her works so enjoyable – I see these characters living lives around me every day. Part of me wants to scratch it and start it over at the beginning of the year. We’ll see. But I will probably give it one more go after doing some reading of summaries to remind me of what I have already read.

andladiesoftheclub… And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmeyer (currently reading). This book is also taking me forever to read, but to my credit it’s 1,100+ pages long. I’m glad I finally took it off my bookshelf (it’s been there for quite some time!). I’ve been reading it for a while and I’m enjoy the historical elements woven into the novel. In some ways, it reminds me of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, in that it is not a plot-driven novel; rather, it’s a character-driven one. This is hard to do when you have a large cast of characters, but I feel like I’m reading about real people and I’m invested in their lives, which makes me want to keep going even when I am very tired.

lovedoesLove Does by Bob Goff. I know a few people who have read this and loved it, so I’m excited to pick it and and read about genuinely loving other people simply because they are people and we all deserve love. I think this is a perfect read for seasons of thankfulness and of celebrating the birth of Christ. It’s one of those books I kept seeing at Barnes and Noble, reading the summary, and thinking, “I really should get this book.” It took seeing a friend post a picture on Instagram saying he read it and was buying copies for everyone on his core church plant team to buy myself a copy! I know it will be a meaningful read, once I wrap up the previous three books on my list.

millionmilesthousandyearsA Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. I was not a fan of another one of Miller’s books, Blue Like Jazz, but I know several people whom I respect very much who have read this book, or some of Miller’s other books (including Jazz) and enjoyed them. I love that this book is about telling the stories of our lives – that is what I am all about as I blog. Every person we meet has a story to tell and so often we don’t know how to share those stories. I am all about figuring how I can best tell the story that God is writing for me in order to influence people for the Kingdom of God! I also want to know how I can encourage others to tell their own stories. We need to have the community of knowing what is happening in each other’s lives – knowing we aren’t alone is so important. So this will be an enjoyable, insightful read for me, I hope!

unsaidUnsaid by Neil Abramson. Ok, if you know me you know that I love dogs and I love books and I really love books about dogs. I saw this at Target and was intigued by its plot. The protagonist is vet who dies and finds herself in a sort of purgatory with the animals she had to make the decision to euthanize – and she is stuck wondering if she did the right thing for each of them. It might be much for me emotionally, because it’s been less than a year since we said had to make the most painful decision goodbye to Baytor, and there are parts of the plot I disagree with on a theological level – like the whole idea of any kind of purgatory – but I am willing to suspend my disbelief for a fiction novel. I will bring the tissues with me!

What are you reading? What do you hope to read before 2014 begins? I would love to hear, and you can always hop over to Kelly’s blog to find out what others are reading!

Good reads indeed

It has been too, too long since I’ve shared what I’m reading. In this case, too, too long translates to three months… Yikes! I definitely hit a reading slump at the beginning of the year. And then I was working at a tax office with a crazy schedule that didn’t really allow me time to read much during the day but I’m back. Here’s what I’ve finished since my last post on books way back in January!

forgotten garden kate mortonThe Forgotten Garden was my second Kate Morton book and while I enjoyed it, I think I might have enjoyed The House at Riverton more, simply because the plot to this one seemed more wide-open. That said, I really did like this book a lot. It’s a historical mystery: a small girl is sent on a ship headed to Australia in the early 1910s. She has no traveling companions and when she arrives at the dock, the dockmaster and his wife take her in as her own. When she turns 21, her parents tell “Nell” the truth and it upsets everything in her world. She attempts to find out who she is, but before she can, life intervenes and she ends up caring for her young granddaughter. It’s this granddaughter, Cassandra, who picks up the mystery to discover Nell’s secret life. I definitely wanted to keep reading this book — I hand to know what happened! I love books that are just too hard to put down and this was one of them. I can’t wait to read the other two Morton books I’ve got sitting on my bookshelf!

hobbitA few months ago, when the first movie in this trilogy came out, I went with friends to see it simply because I didn’t want to be left out of a group outing. If I had known that the movie was a) a trilogy and b) three hours long, I probably would not have gone. I mean, my attention span is not much longer than a paragraph! When I saw this skinny book on my parents’ bookshelf a few weeks later, I was so mad. How in the world would this be nine hours’ worth of movie? So I read it simply to justify my silly rage… And dang it! Because I surprisingly loved it and can’t wait to sit through six more hours of movie. This is Tolkien’s tale of what happens before the Lord of the Rings trilogy. In The Hobbit, we meet Bilbo Baggins and travel with him and some dwarves as they journey to take back a mountain castle kingdom from a dragon, and in the process we meet Golum and see the ring for the first time. After reading it, I definitely understand how this had to be turned into a movie trilogy — there is so much action and adventure packed in these pages that it would be a travesty not to expand on Tolkein’s writing! (And yes, now I want to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy!)

sparklygreenI do not know how I found The Big Mama, aka Melanie Shankle. But I do know that adding her to my Google Reader has made my life a lot funnier than I ever expected because every.single.day she posts, I laugh. So when I heard she was writing a book about parenting, I was really excited. Not because I’m a parent but because I think Melanie is just so real and fun that you don’t have to be a parent to relate to her. This book proves that to be true. She is tender and real and hilarious the entire time as she shares stories about meeting Perry, her husband, and their daily life with their only daughter, Caroline. (Maybe I like it because Caroline reminds me so much of a Texas version of my Charissie girl!) This was a quick read and I could see it being totally perfect for a mom’s book club.

 

faultinourstarsI have never read any John Green before. Please don’t sue me. But this book has gotten such amazing praise from pretty much every single review site and newspaper and magazine so when I had a coupon code for a new book site (bookworm.com), I grabbed it along with a new other books. It’s the story of a teenagers Hazel and Gus, both cancer patients to varying degrees. They’re sick but they want to live these normal, ridiculous teenage lives — knowing that they fully cannot ever be “normal.” To be honest, I liked this book but scratched my head when it came to the outpouring of praise. I’ve read much, much stronger young adult fiction and while I thought this was good, I’m not sure that it deserves all of the awesomeness that’s been heaped upon it. I will tell you that I cried. I knew what was coming — after all, it’s a book about kids with cancer; what do you think happens?! — and I did appreciate the way the characters seemed real to me. One thing to nit-pick: why do YA authors think that it’s necessary to have teenagers in LUV to have sex? That was the biggest WHYYYY in this book for me. It would be been a great story without any sex.

storytellerI am a big Jodi Picoult fan but honestly her last few books have fallen short for me because the plots just seem too formulaic and contrived. I think her writing is strong but the plots… oh the plots. Anyhow, I got The Storyteller as an Easter gift and I flew through it. I mean, stayed up all night even though I knew I’d regret it at work. Sage works as a baker and her world is rocked when she befriends an old German man named Josef. He tells Sage he has a story to tell her and that he needs her to take his life. Josef is a former SS guard and Sage’s grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. Sage must balance hearing and seeing her grandmother, finding out her story. I seriously thought this book was PHENOMENAL. I stayed up reading it and in the very middle of it, I had tears running down my face. And the ending… maybe I should have seen it coming, but I did not. I would HIGHLY recommend this one!

All right. I have read more but I think that’s enough for today! Don’t want to overwhelm anyone with too many books in once place. Happy reading! What’s in your library right now that you’re working your way through?

What’s in the library

This has been a very, very slow week for book reading for me. I usually finish at least one book a week and since I posted what I was reading last week, I have not finished any books or started any new ones. So this will be a short post — but as usual, I still look forward to your recommendations because a girl can never read too much or have too many books on her to-be-read list!

forgotten garden kate mortonIn my “What’s in the library?” post, I mentioned that I had just finished The House at Riverton, my first Kate Morton book. I’ve been promised by many people, both virtual and in real life, that this book is by far her best. I guess I’m glad I read less than the best first then! Honestly, it’s been a long and crazy week so I haven’t gotten very far in reading this. I’m less than 100 pages in. Not that it’s a bad book, but I just haven’t had time. (Let’s be honest, I have been far too busy watching Gilmore Girls and Parenthood to read!)

From what I have gathered so far, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is a historical mystery of a young girl sent to the US on a boat many, many years ago. Her story unfolds after her death at the inquiry of her granddaughter. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten but I’m enjoying it so far… if only I could enjoy watching tv less this week!

What are you reading? Share with me in the comments, and don’t forget to share any other recommendations you have for me as well!