Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring Readathon Wrap Up--Finally

Yes, I'm FINALLY posting my wrap up for the readathon.  Between work that I could be doing around the clock right now, holding a practice test on Saturday, and then trying to stay awake to read, this was probably my least "reading" productive readathon in a very long time.  Having said that, I was still happy to get to participate for just a bit.  Besides that, I got involved doing a bit of cheering this year, which was fun!

Let's talk stats real quick, so you see what I mean by a not-so-hot readathon, this go around!

End of Event Meme:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?  All afternoon & evening after I jumped back in to the readathon.  When you don't get a enough sleep from the week before, pulling through the day was tough!  I kept falling asleep and ended up taking several naps.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?  Some years I say read graphic novels or short reads, but I'm starting to think that you just have to read what you love most.  That's it.  In the end, it's not about finishing things quickly, unless that's what you want to do.  Otherwise, find what you love most!  I like to rotate books, which means my #'s are low, but I rotate until I find something I enjoy.  A good Laura Florand, Lauren Willig, or Harriet Evans novel will always keep me flipping pages.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  Nope.  The readathon is awesome!
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?  I love how cooperative it always is, so that we feel supported and part of a group.  That really is the best part of it all.
  5. How many books did you read?  0 =  Although I did rotate through about four different books and am close to finishing a couple. 
  6. What were the names of the books you read?  I spent some time reading the following:  I Was Here by Gayle Forman, Not Without You by Harriet Evans, Bella Fortuna by Rosanna Chiofalo, The Chocolate Temptation by Laura Florand, and My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?  Because I'm nearing the end, My True Love Gave to Me.  I've really loved reading those short stories, and it's been fun getting into each individual story to see where it take you.
  8. Which did you enjoy least?  None of them.  Life's too short!
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?  No.  They were awesome, and I enjoyed helping out with that as well!
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  I'll always participate, even if it's just for an hour!  I would always love to come back around to hosting a challenge or something, but October might find me just participating, since school will be gnarly this fall!
Well, there's my verbose discussion of my somewhat jumbled readathon this year.  While I didn't get as much reading done as I would have liked, it sure did jump start a bit more reading on my part.  Here's hoping I've turned over a new leaf!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Readathon Starting Point--Kind Of

This morning I'm proctoring our last full-length practice AP Literature test at the high school, so I had to get up and get here for that.  While I should be doing a number of other things first, such as grading this massive stack of quizzes, essays, and annotated bibliographies looming beside me, I thought I'd hurry and check in!  As per my usual style, I thought I'd juggle things a bit and try to rotate my work a little so that I can still participate to refuel my batteries.  I'll be a much more efficient teacher--overall--if I can at least do a little "readathoning" today.

Since the school has blocked the "24 Hour Readathon" site (strangely), I looked it up on my smartphone and will just keep it moving so that I can get back to grading, which will then lead to READING.

I'll say that I really wish I would have known Dewey.  I think I came into the blogging scene right after she passed away, but know that her enthusiasm for the book community was what pulled me in back then.  It is THAT community that from time to time I still yearn for and sometimes think I'll come back to.  Obviously, I haven't given up my book blog and do think I'll bring it back at some point, but just haven't had the energy or time to do so.  For now, it's my readathon central, and that's okay.  I can say thank you to Dewey for the legacy of readers and camaraderie she left us with.  For that, I feel like I knew her, for sure.

As for getting started, here we go:

1)  What fine part of the world are you reading from today? 
Well, obviously I'm at a high school in Utah--administering an AP practice test.  :)  By noon, I'll be back to SLC doing some reading, both of the bookish kind, as well as the AP essay sort.
2)  Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I actually just picked up Gayle Forman's newest, I Was Here from the library, and I'm really looking forward to mixing it in!  I'm a big rotater with all things in my life, including books, so I know I won't just read it straight through.  I am, however, eager to start it and see how this new book goes.
3)  Which snack are you most looking forward to?
I haven't picked anything up yet!  :(  We're going to stop on our way home, and I'm going to pick up some chips and guacamole, some roasted cashews, and some dark chocolate.  I think that will tide me over, right?
4)  Tell us a little something about yourself!
As you can tell, I'm a high school English teacher, with a bit of a crazy grading and work schedule at times.  I really love my students though, which makes all of the essays and grading worth it!  I grew up in Idaho, out in the boonies, but ended up going to school in Kansas to get my MA in English.  I guess you could say, my entire life has been about books in some way, as that's what I flourished around as a little kid, and that's what I studied as a young adult, and now that's what I teach for my career. 

As for beyond work, I live a pretty quiet, but full life.  This summer I'll be heading to Italy and France on a much-planned for trip.  We've been saving and planning for this trip for over 10 years, in anticipation of my mother's retirement and my best friend getting out of med school as an anesthesiologist.  It's going to be epic!  I can't wait.  :)  And yes, I have a pile of books and e-books that I've been rifling through, deciding what I'll take on the trip.
5)  If you participated in the last readathon, what's one thing you'll do different today?  
I actually don't think I'll do anything different.  I've learned to just go with the flow and do my best.  I know that I can't participate "perfectly," so why stress?  I'll proctor this test, and then head home to do a little grading and read a bit, back and forth.  It's just nice to have a community of readers and friends to join up with for this!  So many of you I don't talk to as often, so I just enjoy meeting back up with through this forum!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

End of Readathon Wrap Up

This year I crashed around 4 am, which was pretty good for me.  I still got up at a normal time though, so I'm not sure how happy I'm going to be about this whole thing today.  We'll see!  I did feel, however, that I got back into my reading mojo.  That was SO worth it!  I've been so out of the loop and down and out in my reading, that this was an excellent way to get back to it.   Let's see where I go from here...

End of Event Meme:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?  First, at 9pm, which is a normal bedtime for me.  Once I got past that, 4 am--when I noted that I kept blanking out on what I was reading and realized that I kept falling asleep in the middle of my reading.  I would literally have to shake myself back awake and re-read what I had just read.  That got a bit too annoying and I finally just tossed in the towel!
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?  I've thought about this from year to year and can now say that you should pick whatever you feel you can finish.  There really is something to be said for feeling like you can finish something (at least it is for me).  I left a couple of books for the readathon that I was within 100-150 pages of finishing.  That helped me feel a bit more successful and left the high point of the novel for the readathon.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  Nope.  I really appreciate all the hard work that goes into it.  I always feel guilty for not taking more of a role in helping out in some way!
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?  I really liked the Goodreads page.  That was a nice addition this year.  :)
  5. How many books did you read?  4, although I only read one from cover to cover.  The rest were books that I finished up from various stages in reading them. 
  6. What were the names of the books you read? 
    Love Life by Rob Lowe, Always Emily by Michaela MacColl, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Saenz, and I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 by Lauren Tarshis.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?  Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was really amazing.  I knew it was an award winner and so I had high expectations for it, but I was really surprised by the story's direction and the sensitive way it handled the main character's personal growth.
  8. Which did you enjoy least?  None of them.  I passed up a book if it didn't interest me.  The readathon is too short to stick with something for too long!  :)
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?  N/A
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  Very likely!  I really enjoy and appreciate the focused time the readathon gives me.  It's a great time to get back into the reading groove.  In the future, I need to get more involved and try out some mini-challenges maybe or even host.

Readathon: Hour 19 Update

This just might be my last update for the night, as I know myself too well!  I took about a five hour break to finish laundry, make my bed, go get dinner, and do a bunch of grading.  Once I felt I had done my duty, I picked up something really short that was one the children's Beehive Award nomination list, I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 by Lauren Tarshis.  I've been trying to make my way through some of the children's and YA nominees this year, so it was a nice little walk back into the readathon.  Talk about a gripping little tale.  I really hope grade school children and middle schoolers are getting the chance to read this one and others in the series.

To be honest, I hit my "fatigue" point about 9pm, which is when I generally get ready for bed during the week.  I had some caffeine and a huge glass of water, so I'm feeling pretty back to my normal speed.  We'll see how long that lasts.  I doubt I'll be finishing anymore books, but I'd like to make a good dent in a couple more before I call it a wrap for the night.

Here's where things are at for the moment:

Hours Read:  
 Once again, this is tough.  I haven't really kept track very well.  My guess is that I'm somewhere around 8?  It's still not very good though.  I've had a lot of little interruptions all day.

Books Read:
4--Love Life by Rob Lowe, Always Emily by Michaela MacColl, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Saenz, and I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 by Lauren Tarshis.

Essays Graded:
5--Which isn't so hot.  I would have liked to have done more than that, but I'll take what I can get.  :(

Drinks & Snacks:  Surprisingly, no more snacks, just Wendys for dinner (bad, but so good) and then water, water, water all evening.  I'm honestly going to float away at some point, right?

Number of Readathons I've Participated In:  Just for record keeping sake, I went back to see how many of these I've participated in.  This will make my 10th readathon.  I started participating back in April of 2009, which is amazing and awesome to me.  There were two that I couldn't join in on over the years, but otherwise, I've always been here. 

Well, enough nostalgia.  I don't want my sleepiness to catch up to me.  I have a little energy left and would like to keep it as long as possible.  For now, it will be book rotating time.  Best wishes to everyone who might still be hanging in there!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Readathon: Hour 11 & Mid-Event Survey

What an awesome day so far!  This has been my most productive readathon, no question.  Sometimes I feel like being a social butterfly and zooming around the net to see how everyone is doing, but this time I really wanted to just escape everything and just read!  It's been a bad 6 months for reading, so this has been a great time to dive back in--and boy have I.

Here's what I've been up to!

Books Read:  3--Granted, I was 1/2 way through all of them before the readathon began, so it would be more like 1 1/2.  Still, I'm saying 3.  :)
Pages Read:  390
Hours Read:  This is always hard to calculate, but I've been reading pretty steady today.  I've taken a few breaks here or there to do laundry, get a drink, go outside to read, etc.  I'd say at least 4?  Not great, but still good for the various interruptions, right?
Challenges or Cheering:  Zip.  I know!  It's really bad this time, but I HAD to get myself out of this reading slump.  :(  I keep saying I'll host another challenge down the road.  Maybe I'll join something later tonight???  I did go stop in on some blogs to say hi and see how they were doing, so that might count?!?
Drinks:  1 Diet Pepsi, 1 16 oz lemonade, and 1 huge glass of water.
Snacks:  Well, since I've skipped eating normal meals today, in place of reading (yes, I should go eat something), 1/2 of that bag of Doterra chips & 1/2 an apple.

UPDATE:  I should have realized the Mid-Point Survey was going up right around when I posted this.  I just came back in and attached it below.

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?  I'm going to grade some essays and then I'll dive into a few chapters of Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison until I rotate on to something else.
2. How many books have you read so far?  3
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?  I'm still waiting to get back to Landline by Rainbow Rowell.
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?  Well, just household interruptions and the pressure to get my grading finished.  That will always be there, so I've been going back and forth between the two.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?  How much better I do if I stay away from the internet.  Sometimes I really like to feel connected to everyone, so I stay online a lot more, but I feel bad about how little reading time I get in.  This time, I swore to myself that I would spend as much time as possible reading.  I really needed it, so it has been great.

All right.  I think I'm off to go scrounge for some food, get my bed remade after cleaning my sheets, and grading some papers before I can sit back down and read in earnest.  I'll be back a bit later though!  Good luck to everyone!

Readathon: Opening Post & Hour 6

I've been up for a bit, but as I promised myself, I would spend some time reading as soon as I got up.  This has been such a bad year for reading and such, that I didn't want to give myself ANY excuses to wander off from the reading--so that's what I did.   I also set myself up for success and left two books that I was nearly finished with, so that I could get up and dive back into them.  It's psychologically satisfying to start the day off with a book already finished off, even if it's not a "start to finish" read.  :)

Anyway, here is my opening meme AND my report for hour 6 all wrapped into one!  I don't think I'll be back again until later this evening, unless I go a bit stir crazy (although I have a "book walk" planned in to take care of that), so here we go...

Opening Meme:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?  Salt Lake City
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?  Landline by Rainbow Rowell
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?  My Doterra chips.  :)  They are these awesome mixed variety of potato chips that include different sweet potatoes as well.  Yum!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!  I turned 40, 10 days ago today, and it was kind of awesome!  (What's with all the 40 angst? It's really pretty cool.)
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?  I started with a couple of books that I was within 100 pages of finishing.  That way, as soon as I woke up, I grabbed one of them and just finished it as I was waking up.  It started my readathon off with a successful book finish!

Here's what I've finished so far:

I really thought that the last 75 pages of this book was a great choice for me to start my day off today.  I've read his previous autobiography, which was interesting and filled with insider information about Hollywood.  More important, I appreciate the details he includes about what he has learned about living his life and maintaining strong ties to his family and friends.  Those stories were interesting to hear and touching.

Well, there's my update and starting point!  I hope to be back in the next 5-6 hours.  Good luck to everyone and happy reading!

Friday, October 17, 2014

I'm Back!

Yes, I'm back.  Another readathon pulled me from the dark abyss of my own absence.  It's not that I haven't been reading, but I will admit to a bit of a reading slump and to needing a major time out from everything.  Regardless of the major silence going on here, I have read a few great things and have still been excited about this upcoming readathon!  I was especially excited to see that it fell over Fall Break this year, which meant I could actually push things aside and join in (once I knew I was going to be in town). 

Anyway, enough of the boring talk.  Yes, I'll be joining in the readathon again and will be posting.  I can't wait!  I'm a major book rotater though, so I don't anticipate finishing many books.  That's kind of okay by me.  I might be squirreling myself away this time and not jumping online very often.  In the past, that has taken my attention away from my reading, so I might stay away for large chunks of time.  We'll see though, who knows.  I miss people and I might get really overcome with a need for conversation and jump on!

Here are the books I have on rotation, with a few more on my iPad that I'll be "e-reading" along the way as well.  I'll also be breaking in to grade an essay every couple of hours or so (since that is just the norm around here).

Okay.  I have about six more essays to grade before I can head to bed, so I need to get to it.  I look forward to getting to my reading in the morning, so I'll see everyone bright and early!