July Readathons

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My pile potential reads for the weekend.

I had so much fun with the Summer Sci Fi Read-a-Thon, I decided to jump in and do two more at the same time.  I started a new job recently, which meant I needed to do a lot of reading specific to the new job.  Also, my husband is out of town long-term for work, so I’m taking care of my two young kiddos on my own.  As a result, my own reading for fun came to a screeching halt.  I decided the readathons were a good way to get back on track.  Here are the two events in which I participated this past week:

I enjoyed participating with the Seasons of Reading community earlier this summer, and I wanted to do another event with them.  The 24 in 48 event is run by Liberty Hardy of BookRiot, another online community I love.  So I decided to give that one a try as well.  Luckily, they overlapped!  I was all caught up with the work in my new job, so I decided to have some fun reading and playing with the kids all weekend.  I knew I would not be able to hit the 24 hour target this time around, and that was fine with me.  I just wanted the chance to relax and read.  It was a good weekend.

Here is a rundown of the books I read.

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The Fireman by Joe Hill

I admit I was a little leary of this author.  Some of Hill’s previous titles, NOS4A2 and Horns, really didn’t interest me.  I’m also probably one of the few people in the world who is not a huge fan of his father’s books (though I do respect King’s ability to write).  However, I kept hearing good reviews of this book and I rather liked the premise.  I’m a sucker for good post-apocalyptic and pandemic stories, and this one sounded like it had something different to offer.  I am really glad I picked up this book.  I had about half of it read prior to the readathons.  The Fireman is a creative and thoughtful story.  I enjoyed Hill’s takes on pandemic, sociology, religion, power, and relationships.  The geek culture references sprinkled throughout the book were like fireflies on a dark night (he had me at “Allons-y!“).  This ended up being one of my favorite books so far this year.  I now plan to read more by Joe Hill.

 

 

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A variant cover for the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl

 

 

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, vol. 1 by Ryan North (writer) & Erica Henderson (artist)

I kept hearing about this series, so I decided to give it a shot.  I love the concept of this comic.  Having a superhero who manages to “defeat” villains through unconventional means is rather refreshing.  While enjoyable, the storytelling style and the art aren’t quite my jam.  However, I do think I will recommend this one to others who I’m sure will love it.  I can see the appeal of this character and her stories.  I also read this book as part of the Panels Read Harder 2015 Challenge.  I enjoyed the 2016 Challenge so much I decided to go back in time and do 2015.  Challenge Category: Features a Creative Team Representing More Than One Gender.

 

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I steward a Little Free Library and this book was requested by one of my patrons.  It’s still in hardcover, so I’ve been keeping an eye out for it in case it came up at a cheap price.  I recently decided to try out the famed Book of the Month Club (BOTM), and they had this title for sale for a pretty reasonable price.  I snagged as an extra with my other title for this month (in case your curious, my primary selection was Sleeping Giants).  This turned out to be a great choice for a readathon book.  It is short, but impactful.  Dr. Kalanithi’s book is a rather touching and thoughtful read.  If you decide to pick this one up, it might be a good idea to have a box of tissues nearby.

 

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I’ll work on taking better pictures of glossy paper.

The Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar

It is fun to watch a cat ask sometimes irreverent, but thoughtful questions about religion.  This is a quirky, insightful, and enjoyable read.  It is also a kind of useful pairing with When Breath Becomes Air.  Oddly, they both address some of the same questions about life.  I also used this book as part of the Panels Read Harder Challenge 2015.  Category: Originally Published in Europe.  This is also a book in translation.

 
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The Fever of 1721 by Stephan Cross

I started this audio book in June, and finished it over the weekend.  It was an easy way to participate in the readathons and still get things done around the house.  This is a fascinating book about a pivotal smallpox epidemic in pre-Revolutionary Boston. It delves into this multi-faceted history, explaining the impact of this even on the development of immunizations, the freedom of the press and the 1st amendment, the lead up to the American Revolution, and more. The history seems very relevant to current events. I was happy to learn more about Cotton Mather, Benjamin Franklin, and the significant contributions of James Franklin.

The audio narrator, Bob Sour, lends an authoritative voice to the story that kept my interest. The only drawback I had in listening to this book was that I tried to spread it out. In doing so, I found myself losing track of the various players and events of the story. I suggest a more compact listen to more easily keep track of the various threads. I’ll be recommending this book to others and I look forward to reading more from Stephen Coss. Note: I received a free copy of this book from the LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program in exchange for an honest review.

 

Totals for the Seasons of Reading High Summer Read-a-Thon & the 24 in 48 Readathon:

  • Books Finished: 5
  • Comics/Graphic Novels: 2
  • Pages Read: 794
  • Audio Books Finished: 1
  • Audio Hours: 5:36:36
  • Total Hours Read: 16:27:18 
  • POC Authors: 20%

litsy-logo-356I want to say a quick word about the app, Litsy.  There were a large number of Litsy participants in the 24 in 48 Readathon.  Litsy itself was an active participant with giveaways, contests, etc. and it was a lot of fun.  This is a great app for people who love to read.  I really enjoy interacting with the community there and I encourage others to give this app a shot.

 

 

 

 

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Reading in 2015

 

Book cloud

My Year in Books

I realize I read many more books this year than in years past.  I think this was due to consciously rearranging my time to allow for more reading, reading more comic books and YA lit (I joined a YA book club), and due to the Little Free Library (LFL) I started this past spring.  Stewarding the LFL prompted me to read a lot of books before I put them out on the shelves.  It also was a great way to share books from my own shelves that I knew I wouldn’t read again, but I also knew other people would enjoy.  Why let books just collect dust when someone else can read and love them too?  (Don’t worry. I have some books that will never leave my house.)

In the past year I read more comic books, went back to reading more Science Fiction (my favorite genre), rediscovered audio books, and I tried to read a lot of things that were on my list for a long time but I never actually picked up.  Out of the 89 books I read, 17 were comic books (mostly trade compilations), 23 YA lit titles, 8 were audio books, and 5 were eBooks.

Goodreads List

Goodreads has a cool feature this year that shows all the books you read in a fun visual format.  Feel free to check out the books I read in 2015.

The Read Harder Challenge

I am looking for ways to diversify my reading.  This summer, I stumbled upon Book Riot.  It was kind of like falling down a rabbit hole.  Book Riot is a whole community of book lovers, with blogs, podcasts, and more.  This is where I found the Read Harder Challenge.  Book Riot is big into helping people get out of their comfort zones and read more diversely.  This challenge was designed to help readers do exactly that.  The categories I found most intriguing included a book originally published in another language, the authors over 65 and under 25 categories, a book published by an indie press, and a book award winner.  In the past, I read a lot of books in translation in college (especially from Africa), and I read more from Asia when I taught Asian history.  This category reminded me how great these books can be, and I plan to read more.  When I started looking into indie press titles, I learned a lot more about that part of the publishing industry.  I also discovered a self-published book I really liked (I’ve been leery of self-pub books after some bad reads).  The award category had me looking through lots of different titles, and my TBR pile (to be read) became significantly larger.  I am glad they included a category on comics and graphic novels.  I think these books should get more attention.

If you’re curious which books I read for this challenge, you can check out my challenge list out on Goodreads or LibraryThing.

Around the World 2015

Since I’m looking to read more diversely and start to read more books in translation, I found the Around the World book challenge an interesting visual representation of what I’m reading.  Through mapping my books, I realized that I read a lot of books set in New York (about 12%, with mentions of NY in even more books).  I didn’t read anything set in South America.  I will see what I can do to broaden my reading more in 2016.  Here is my map:

Online Book Services

I discovered and used some online services and apps this year that enhanced my reading life.

First, I played around with a few subscription reading services.  I loved Oyster, and I am really bummed it is shutting down.  The variety of Scribd, with audio books, comics, and now sheet music, is fantastic.  I’m also currently tinkering with Audible.  Between Audible and Scribd, I have access to a plethora of audio books that actually means I now look forward to doing the dishes and folding laundry!

Did you know there are sites online where you can trade your books out?  I decided to explore this a bit.  I signed up for both PaperBack Swap and Bookmooch.  They both run a bit differently from one another.  I’m not sure these sites really save you a lot of money compared to the cheap used books available online (unless you end up getting some nice hardcovers), but they do add a bit of serendipity to what you end up reading next.  I started using them in November, so I’m still deciding if they are worth it for me.  So far, I’ve sent out 13 books and received 8 books.  If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll tell you more about my experiences.

This year I started getting books from Goodreads First Reads program and LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program.  I got 5 free books in exchange for my honest review of each title (one of these books is in my top 10 list for 2015).  It seems to be easier to get these free books from LibraryThing as opposed to Goodreads.  This may be because less people use LibraryThing, so there is less competition for the books.  I’ve gotten 4 titles from LibraryThing (including 1 eBook) and 1 title from Goodreads.  There are other sites like NetGalley where you can sign up to get ARCs (Advanced Readers Copy, or copies of books given away before their publication date in exchange for reviews).  However, I’m not using that site just yet.  For now, I am sticking to options that provide physical copies of books I can put into the Little Free Library when I’ve finished reading them.

If you are looking to connect with other people who love reading, there are communities of book lovers, as well as Little Free Library stewards and patrons on Instagram.  It’s been enlightening to follow what people are doing with books and LFLs on social media.  You can also find sizable reading communities on Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter.

My Favorite 2015 Reads

Here is a list of the books I enjoyed the most or learned the most from this past year (in no particular order).  A note to those working with students: I think the Alexander Kwame’s The Crossover will be fairly popular.  I can’t wait for it to come out in paperback so I can start handing it out.

Which books did you enjoy the most in 2015?  What did you notice about your own reading?  Do you have any reading challenges you want to try out for 2016 or enjoyed in the past?  What have you learned about the book world or your own reading habits you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear from you.

Welcome

Creative Commons photo by James Marvin Phelps from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Munising, MI

Welcome to my blog.  The name My Resa is an English/Swedish combination in which resa means “journey.”  This is basically a way to share experiences with my far-flung family and friends and a sounding board for some of my crazy thoughts.  Please feel free to comment (think of it like Facebook).  To do so, just click on the speech bubble found at the bottom of the post you would like to comment on.

Note on Blogs: For those of you who are unfamiliar with blogs, the most recent post shows up first (with the exception of this one, because I “stickied” it).  So if you read it top to bottom, you’ll be going “backwards” in time.  If you want to read the posts in order, scroll to the bottom of this page, click over to the last page, scroll to the bottom, and read the posts in reverse.  (Yes, I know how weird that sounds.)  If you’d like to get email notification when I update the blog, just click on the email subscription link on the right side of the page.  Let me know if you have any questions about blogs.

Google Maps

Email update, June 21, 2009:

As I get ready to leave for China, I made a Google map of the places I will be visiting on my trip.  While the map includes a majority of the things I’ll be doing, I was unable to locate some of the places using Google.  Some are also approximate, especially in the rural areas where Google doesn’t have a lot of information in their system.  I tried to include a short description on each and some have links to more information.  If you find anything interesting that I don’t have listed, please let me know.  I’m working on packing today.  Thanks!

You can see the map at http://bit.ly/PzICP