Here's another great contest going on at HarperCollins. I'd be much more excited if it was young adult books or children's books. But free books are free books. So I thought I'd mention it.
Yet another giveaway going on--this time for a gift card!
Part I: Choose Your Life Books
What are the books that, in some aspect, define you? Think about who you are in terms of spirituality, love, economics, values, worldview--the list could go on and on. These might be nonfiction, self-help, fiction, picture books, children's books, etc. Give us your life in books. To see my example, click here. After you've picked your life books, write a post and leave the link on Mr. Linky. Be sure to copy and paste the button above on your blog somewhere!
Part II: Discover Something New
Check out the blogs of other participants and find at least two titles to add to your TBR list. Let us know what books you are adding by linking a second time to Mr. Linky with (Something New) by your name.
Part III: Read the Books
When you've read the new books, write a review and leave a link to your post in the comments here.
1. Which hour was most daunting for you? The wee morning hours (2-3) are always going to be the most daunting for me because as soon as I finish the current book, the book of the moment, choosing the next book, getting started, getting hooked requires a bit too much energy.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Frozen Fire was great, is great, I should say. The Stephenie Meyer books would probably work great. And Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Adoration of Jenna Fox would be a great choice too.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? I think things went relatively mostly smoothly. :) I don't know if the mini-challenges ever got ironed out or not. There were one or maybe two missing there for a while. But those weren't biggies for me.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I think things worked well. I think Darcie did a great time with the cheerleaders. And I think Renay did really really well in organizing those two feeds and creating that one page that listed all the participants. Those were *super* helpful.
5. How many books did you read? 7 books; 1, 926 pages
6. What were the names of the books you read? Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler, The Trials of Kate Hope by Wick Downing, The Sherlock Files by Tracy Barrett, In the Company of Whispers by Sallie Lowenstein, Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee, Coraline the Graphic Novel by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell, Skin Deep by E.M. Crane.
7. Which book did you enjoy most? Artichoke's Heart by Suzanne Supplee
8. Which did you enjoy least? I liked them all. I did. Sherlock Files was probably the least sophisticated of the bunch so I'll go with that.
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I didn't cheer.
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Yes. Definitely a reader. I might one day consider being a cheerleader. But I like the reading too much to really want to give that up or try to balance it.
Winner of the Hull Book Award, 2007
Winner of the Highland Book Award, 2007
Winner of the Redbridge Book Award, 2007
Winner of the Stockport Schools Book Award 2007
Winner of the South Lanarkshire Book Award 2008
|I ’M nobody! Who are you?|
|Are you nobody, too?|
|Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell!|
|They ’d banish us, you know.|
|How dreary to be somebody!||5|
|How public, like a frog|
|To tell your name the livelong day|
|To an admiring bog!|
|HOPE is the thing with feathers|
|That perches in the soul,|
|And sings the tune without the words,|
|And never stops at all,|
|And sweetest in the gale is heard;||5|
|And sore must be the storm|
|That could abash the little bird|
|That kept so many warm.|
|I’ve heard it in the chillest land,|
|And on the strangest sea;||10|
|Yet, never, in extremity,|
|It asked a crumb of me.|
1. What are you reading right now? Frozen Fire. I can't remember the author off hand. But I posted a list earlier today that should have it in case anyone is dying of curiosity.
2. How many books have you read so far? 4 so far.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I can't think that far ahead. I'm always in-the-moment with my books.
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? Not really. I didn't go to a wedding shower. But I didn't see that as a problem. I'm not really the shower-type. I *really* dislike shower games. Cringe.
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Some. But mainly people gave up after I didn't respond. ;)
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? How relaxed it seems to be this time round.
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Not really. It seems good to me :)
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? Nothing.
9. Are you getting tired yet? I took about an hour nap. The power kept flickering, all the lights going dim. I'm just glad I'd had my computer off. So the nap helped rejuvenate me a bit. And by the time I woke up, things were good again.
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? I can't think of anything.
"Get to class, Miss Goode!" I heard Mr. Lawrence shout from behind me. "Climbing a few stairs won't kill you!" Two thoughts pulsed through my head simultaneously. 1) What would become of all the fat girls in the world if people just treated them nicely? 2) The only people who call me Rosie instead of Rosemary are the ones who loved me. Kyle had just called me Rosie. (80)http://www.suzannesupplee.com/my_books/mybooks.html
Coraline is an interesting but odd book. The main character, Coraline--never call her Caroline unless you want to get on her bad side--is a young girl who loves adventure. She loves to explore. She loves to hunt out adventure. One day she gets a little more than she bargained for. When Coraline unlocked the ‘fourteenth’ door in her house, she opens up a magical but dangerous world. This other world has her other mother and other father. This seems like fun for a few hours. But soon Coraline is weirded out by the whole otherness of the experience and wants to go home. The problem? The other mother is pure evil and is not going to let her go easily. Sure Coraline makes her get away easily the first time. But that’s only because this other mother knows she’ll be back. When Coraline returns to the real world, she finds her parents are missing. Vanished. But Coraline has a feeling--a bad feeling--that it is all her fault. Could her other mother have kidnapped her parents in order to force her to return? Can she find a way to save her parents--and other lost souls--without losing her own? One exciting, slightly creepy, adventure has begun!As much as I enjoyed the novel, I loved the graphic novel that much more. It made the spooky parts that much spookier. It just translated really really really well into the graphic novel format. The color artwork by P. Craig Russell is great.
Today I have a review of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod over at my Young Readers site. The book is newly illustrated by Giselle Potter, but the text is the classic poem by Eugene W. Field. Reading this book led me to search out another Field favorite from childhood.
THE SUGAR-PLUM TREE
by: Eugene Field (1850-1895)
What, in your opinion, is the definition of a “reader.” A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what it is? … Or, more specific? Like the specific person who’s reading something you wrote?A reader is someone who loves to read. It's not someone who merely can read. It's not someone who reads on occasion. A reader is someone who loves to read, who needs to read. Someone who makes reading a priority in their lives. It's not just being literate. The mere ability to read. Reading is a way of life for a reader.
Start in the sky. Look down at the valley. Green, plush, peaceful landscape. Drop down a little, towards the town, then skim over it, past the low beige buildings of the university, the clean white spires of the Congregational churches, the flat green welcome mat of the town common, out towards the edge of town, towards Valley Regional High School, a rambling, one-story brick building surrounded by soccer fields, field hockey fields, football fields, parking lots. Hover above Valley Regional High. Watch the crowd of kids as it streams into the school like water sucked down a storm drain. And listen: Even from high up you can hear the hum of a school on the first day back in September.Meghan Ball, one of our two narrators, is obese. "Meghan Ball is at once the most visible and invisible person in school. In the obvious way, she is unbearably visible. She takes up the most space of any person in the entire school--in the entire town, in fact. She is impossible to overlook in class pictures or on the risers during chorus concerts--they always make her stand in the back row, where her round head hovers above a space big enough to accommodate three normal-sized kids. She has a back as wide as a basketball backboard, perfect for spitting on and pelting things at. In this way, Meghan is a walking bull's-eye target. But then, just when she feels like she can't get any bigger, when she's feeling brontosaurically huge and exposed, someone will walk right past her--right past her--saying something totally private they would never want anyone else to hear, just as if Meghan wasn't there at all--like right now, right this very second, watch." (3)
Now drop, plummet straight down like a stone, through the pebbly roof and the air-conditioning ducts and the bundles of wiring and the soft acoustic tiles, until you burst into the teeming front hall of the school. Float up by the ceiling where you can take it all in, the blended smoothie of backpacks and T-shirts and freckled shoulders and tank tops, ponytails and crew cuts and hoop earrings and knotted leather necklaces. Wince at the noise, the crashing surf of screeching, laughing, yelling.
Now pivot, face the light blue cinderblock wall next to the main doors of the school. Someone is standing there, pressed into the auditorium door alcove, someone so huge and still she might be mistaken for a piece of architecture if it weren't for the sky blue windbreaker that marks her as human, the backpack sitting limply on the floor by her feet. Look at her. Nobody else is, but you look at her. Look at Meghan Ball. (1-2)
"It's amazing what people will say right in front of you when you're obese, like you're deaf or something, like you're retarded. Or like you don't even speak the language, like you're a tourist lost in the land of the thin." (5)But for me, the narrative was too detached. The third person present tense which surprisingly blended seamlessly with passages written directly to address the reader (that would be second person plural???) just didn't work well for me all the time. I became impatient. I became annoyed. While I wanted to love this book--really wanted to love it--I found myself increasingly annoyed by a few things. Nothing major. But the fact that "the fat girl" was always "the fat girl" and sometimes the "friendless fat girl" or the "lonely fat girl" but hardly ever just Meghan was something that really really really really annoyed me. Fat wasn't only a label, it was the defining characteristic for Meghan. And that just doesn't sit well with me. I felt that a bit more fleshing out for all the characters was in order. I felt Aimee Zorn got the better treatment, better back story, more heart and soul. At the end of the book, I felt I still didn't know Meghan. She was still just the fat girl. She may be the fat girl who now has a friend. But still. I didn't feel that way with Aimee. I felt she was more developed as a character. This was her story. Fat girl was just there along to help skinny girl win the day.
"The fat girl who loses her only friend sees, all at once, how everything works. She sees that all promises are fictions, all friendships are games with winners and losers. The fat girl left alone in the world sees that every human being has a value assigned to them that they are helpless to change no matter what they do, and she sees that people trade each other like baseball cards: three cheap friends for two valuable friends, a whole group of worthless friends for one popular friend. It's like dying and coming back to life, being a fat girl who loses her only friend; it gives you an insight into the people around you that the average person couldn't bear to have.
But if it doesn't break her, this insight makes the friendless fat girl strong. The fat girl left alone in the world becomes the ultimate outsider, and outsiders always know the insiders' secrets, because insiders don't care what's happening on the outside--they never check to see what the outsiders know. They usually don't even know who the outsiders are. The person on the bottom sees what's happening on top, the person at the back sees what's happening in front, the person on the outside sees what's happening at the center, and the fat girl who loses her only friend is under, behind, and outside all at once; if she cares to look, she can see everything in every direction. God must be a friendless fat girl, because only friendless fat girls are as omniscient as God." (144)
dates: May - November 15, 2008
books required: 2
July Book Blowout
Host: Blue Archipelago Dates: July 1, 2008 - July 31, 2008 books required: participant decides
dates: July 1, 2008 - December 31, 2008
books required: 6
A Well Rounded Challenge
host: Jan (own blog)
dates: July 1, 2008 - December 31, 2008
books required: 6
Raved About Reads
Host: MizB (but has its own blog)
dates: June 30, 2008 - June 30, 2010 (changed to perpetual challenge)
books required: 3