Friday, October 17, 2014

Dewey's Readathon: Fall 2014

Tomorrow morning, I will be kicking off Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, and it could not have come at a better time.  Life has been so crazy since I started my new job, and my reading has taken a big hit.  This weekend, I really do not have a lot scheduled and I am looking forward to spending a good chunk of my Saturday reading and relaxing.

I have compiled a good pile of books to get me through the day.  I will likely not be able to finish all of them, but I am hoping to at least get to a good chunk of them.

I am already about halfway through The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, so that is the one that I will be starting with.  From there, I may read a short story or two from Joe Hill's book, and then dive into one of the others.  If I'm really needing some quick reads, I may dive into that huge stack of Christopher Pike books that are the extras in the back.  Also, I can't forget my current audio read!  I will be working on Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld when I need a break from the written words.

I will be posting updates via Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr throughout the readathon, so catch me there.  I will post my wrap-up results in my usual weekly wrap-up on Monday.

Will you be joining in the readathon?  What books would we find on your stack?  (Please feel free to share links.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: What The Hay?!?

Welcome to Wordless Wednes-HAY!


Win-hay the Pooh

My Own Little Flur-hay



For more information on What The Hay or also known as the Montana Bale Trail, check out their official website.

For more Wordless Wednesday selections, click here.

Which one of these pieces is your favorite?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Maunder: My Plate is Full

How can it already be Monday again?!?

Seriously, it seems just a couple of days ago that I was writing last week's Monday Maunder, sharing the latest readathon results and wrapping up the month of September.  Now, we are quickly approaching the middle of October and I am back at the beginning of the week to start the whole routine over again.  Life has just gotten so crazy and it is taking me a bit longer than expected to adjust back to working full-time.

My day is full of appointments, meetings, paperwork, and an exploding email inbox.

I leave work to chauffeur my kids to their activities, which I really actually enjoy watching them participate in.

I finally get home to eat, clean up a bit, and sit down to relax; finally getting the time to read or write.

As I think about it, I think that my plate is full.  My work is the meat of the day.  Time spent with my kids (even if a lot of it is in the car) is the grains . . . and one of my favorite parts.  My time to read and write and relax is the fruits and vegetables.  And, I clearly have been neglecting one of the most important food groups to balance out my diet.  I need more of those fruits and veggies!

Thank heavens I have a few things coming up that will help fill that deficiency!

The first is Dewey's Readathon this Saturday!  I have already warned my family that I expect to sit home and read all day (with the exception of my son's football game, of course).  And, that is what I plan to do!  I will share the details of what I plan to read later this week, once I see where I am at with my reading in the next few days.

The second is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  I had planned to participate in this last year, but failed miserably.  This year, I am giving it another go and hope to have a better plan than I ever have before.  I have been trying to build writing into my work day, which results in me spending my lunch hour hidden in a corner at work with my pen and paper.

When I think about how full my plate is, it makes me feel better to think about all the good that is coming.  It feels good to know that I can still fit in the things that I love and that fill me up . . . even if I am missing things along the way.  The house isn't clean every single day.  The laundry piles up.  I may postpone deadlines for things that are not really priorities.

Life has had to be altered over the last month, but I finally feel like I am figuring it out.  I am exhausted by the end of the day, but sleeping better.  I am reading less, but am still reading almost every single day.  My plate is full, but I still get a little dessert every now and then, indulging in the sweets of life.  I can live with that!

(It has been a hard month as I transition into this new routine.  This is me trying to be positive, and I actually feel like it might be working!  On that note, it's time to publish and go read in bed!)

What fun things do you have coming up that are filling the voids in your life?!?  Will you be joining in the readathon or NaNoWriMo with me?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Maunder: Readathon Results & September in Review

Hello Monday!

I was hoping to get this posted earlier, but this weekend was chaotic.  I even had to bring work home with me over the weekend, so I didn't get a lot of time for anything else.  Enough complaining though.  Let's get to the good stuff . . . my #FrightFall Readathon results and my monthly wrap-up!


The results of my #FrightFall Readathon was . . . well, frightful!  I was only able to read one book and start another.  Thankfully, I can tell that the second book is going to be so much better than the first!  Here's a quick wrap-up of the final stats:

Pages Read:  164 pages
Books Read:  1
Books Finished:  Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

And, for those interested, the second book that I started was The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.  I was also able to get at least a couple of hours of listening in on my audiobook, Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld.


Now, let's take a look at the whole month of September.  There is honestly not a lot to report.  With the start of my new job, the kids going back to school, and then the kids kicking off all their activities, I found myself not reading as much as I typically do or as much as I would like.  I think that combined with reading the same book almost the entire month (one that was not that intriguing to me, but yet I still found myself trudging through) left the month a bit on the thin side in the reading department.  Let's hope that October proves to be a more successful month in the books!  In the meantime, here's the usual monthly highlights from September . . .

The TOP POST for the month, in both hits and comments, was #30Authors Featuring Eleanor Brown.  No surprise there!  And, I can't wait to get my hands on her personal recommendation.

The TOP PIC for September was my intended reads for the month.  Sadly, I have only finished two of these books as of today.  However, I will be continuing with this stack this month until it is complete!

And, for my list of BOOKS READ . . . well, it was not actually a list, but a single book:  Ghosting by Edith Pattou.

September was not my best month of 2014.  Thank goodness that my previous months were better and I am still currently 11 books ahead of schedule for my goal of 75 for the year!

Did you participate in the FrightFall Readathon?  If so, how did you do?  How was your month of September?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fairy Tale Friday: Faithful John

Welcome to October's Fairy Tale Friday!

I was originally going to go with a scarier tale in honor of the month of creepy.  But, then I decided to go with my current selection instead because it really does have elements of disturbing in it, some more so than your usual horror novel!

Faithful John is another short story by The Brothers Grimm.  It is also known as Trusty John or John the True, and as the name suggests, features a loyal servant at the forefront of the story.  This loyal servant makes a promise to the king to protect and serve his only son.  However, after the king's death, he goes against his one promise and allows the boy to enter the one room that his father requested that he not see.  That one mistaken step leads the two on quite an adventure.  They create golden statues to woo a woman's heart.  They kidnap this said woman, but she agrees to marry her captor.  The two marry thanks to Faithful John stepping in to save both their lives.  And in the end, the young King sacrifices his own children to bring the loyal servant back to life.  Thankfully, once the servant's life was saved, he was able to bring back the children.

Where do I even start with this tale?!?  This so-called loyal servant completely disobeyed the King's last wish.  He continued to support the pursuit of this beautiful princess, even so far as to cover up the essential kidnapping of her.  After hearing the voices of ravens and their prophecies, he takes action to supposedly save the lives of both the new king and his bride, including sucking the bride's blood from her breast.  Then, once he is no longer in the picture, he requires the king to sacrifice his own children by beheading them with his own hand to provide him with yet another breath of life.  The one redeeming factor is that Faithful John restores the children's lives so that they all can live happily ever after.

Does anyone else see any abnormalities with this story?  Do you feel any dissonance and elements of disturbance like I do?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Capital Ceiling

Welcome to Wordless Wednesday!

Looking up at the ceiling of the Montana Capital.

What is your Wordless Wednesday theme today?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday Maunder: #FrightFall Readathon Kick-Off!

Good Monday Morning!

It's readathon time again!!  And, I can't ask for better timing.  My poor reading has been so minimal these days that I am desperately in the need for a reading kick.  Michelle's FrightFall Readathon has come at the perfect time for me.

The FrightFall Readathon hosted by Michelle of Seasons of Reading and The True Book Addict (and more!) is a week-long event, starting today and running until 11:59 pm CST on Sunday.  Though the main point is to relax and have fun, this readathon does come with one requirement . . . to read at least one scary book.  I can definitely manage that!

Here is my quick list of goals for the week . . .
  1. Finish the book, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I have been reading this one far too long and it is time for it to end.  I have been so tempted to just not finish it, but I am still find myself plugging along.
  2. Continue working on my current audiobook, Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld.
  3. Read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.
  4. Pick up another book or two from my planned September reads or RIP IX Challenge.  I do have plenty to choose from and I'm going to go with what suits my mood at the time.  Though Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand may win out since I need to finish it for an upcoming book club challenge.  Another option is Dark Places by Gillian Flynn because this one was just chosen for another upcoming book club.  Oh, and I may have just picked up Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan this weekend and I may not be able to resist that one much longer!  Like I said, I have plenty of books to choose from!

I will be posting updates via Instagram and Twitter throughout the week, and my final wrap-up with details will appear right here next week in Monday Maunder.  You can follow along with all the participants of the event via #FrightFall.

Wish me luck and happy, frightful reading!!

Will you be joining in the FrightFall Readathon this week?  What scary books are you reading these days?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Banned Books in Big Sky Country

Today is the beginning of the end for Banned Books Weeks 2014.  Earlier this week, I was able to attend a little presentation regarding the banned and challenged books in my home state of Montana (aka Big Sky Country).  I am now sharing a handful of these interesting facts with all of you!  But, before I get started, let's first take a look at a quick little video courtesy of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) . . .

Wasn't that a fun video?!?

For those that are unaware, the banning of books in the United States in general is very rare.  Challenging books, on the other hand, are not.  Here are a few facts behind the challenges of Montana . . . 

The MOST challenged BOOK is Fool's Crow by James Welch.  However, Sherman Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is quickly moving closer to the top of the list.

The MOST challenged AUTHOR is Judy Blume.

PARENTS make up the majority of the population that bring forth the challenges against books.  And, most of the challenges occur in SCHOOL libraries and/or curriculum.

The most frequent complaint that leads to challenges is SEX.  However, other topics that tend to be raised are violence, evolution, and even the disbelief in the Holocaust.

Though challenges do tend to come from the more CONSERVATIVE population, complaints are not completely one-sided; any and all perspectives are represented in challenges.

The FIRST documented challenge occurred in 1902 and involved the controversial book, The Story of Mary Maclane by Mary MacLane herself.

In 1996, The Giver by Lois Lowry was challenged in one community, resulting in a decision to LIMIT the book to certain age groups.

In 2002, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou was challenged.  The resulting decision was to keep the book a part of the curriculum, but also to offer an ALTERNATE option to students.

Though most of the books challenged remain, there have been two items that have been completely REMOVED from some school curriculums or libraries:  Fool's Crow by James Welch and Rolling Stone magazine.

I leave you with a fabulous video from author Dav Pilkey, the author behind Captain Underpants, one of the most challenged books in the country.  It is a great message that I agree with 100%!

Are you aware of the ban and challenge facts in your own state?  What books do you hear being challenged the most in your own area?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Literary Link Love: September 2014

With the start of my new job and an increase in my kids' activities, I have not had a lot of time to share great links from around the web these days.  However, I am still here today to share the few good links that did make it on the list.  Enjoy!

This first link is one that I need to reconsider these days to remind myself how to fit in more reading again.  If you are in the same boat, check out 7 Habits of Highly Effective Readers.

If book titles were being honest, this is what you might find.  Do you agree with these new, honest titles?  What other ones can you think of (preferably without spoilers)?

If you have a few minutes, this is a fun video.  It shows a bookcase creating itself!

I adored viewing this infographic on libraries, especially when books were compared to burgers!

And saving the best for last, I CANNOT WAIT for this movie!!

That's it for the short list this month!

What link was your favorite?  And, what did I miss out on?  Because I know I missed out on a lot these last few weeks!