Sunday, June 10, 2012

48-Hour Book Challenge: One Book Many Brisbanes 6

Title: One Book Many Brisbanes 6 by Various Authors
Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time Reading: 7 hours 10 minutes
Total Books: 1.5
TIME TOTAL (Including Blogging/Networking Allowance): About 8 hours. SIGH.
Total to Donate to RIF: $10.00 (I'm rounding up.)

Notes: As I mentioned in the previous post, One Book Many Brisbanes is the 6th volume in a series of anthologies of short stories related to Brisbane, Australia, and the product of a short story competition put on by Brisbane City Council and Queensland Writers Centre. My half-sister in Australia sent me this one, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her hometown through the medium of fiction. You get a very different sense of a place when you read stories set there, stories in many voices, as opposed to a travelogue or memoir or Lonely Planet guide.

What really impressed me about this collection was its variety, and the fact that it was overall pretty solid for me in terms of quality and enjoyment; I find a lot of anthologies to be hit-or-miss, but there were few misses for me in this one. From post-WWI struggles to coping with modern-day floodwaters, from rural to city life, from aging actors to young punk rockers to Japanese exchange students, from plot-driven stories to character studies, this book reflects the diversity of life in a city that has grown and changed and yet retains a certain character, a certain flavor. And now that I've experienced it through fiction, I can't wait to actually see it in person. (We hope to visit within the next few years, if we can afford it.)

SO. To recap my 48-Hour Reading Challenge. I foresaw 2 days where I thought I could squeeze in at least 12 hours of reading. I was wrong. Emergencies materialized, my husband and cats somehow became more distracting than ever before, I was tired and cranky. Though I could wish for a better outcome in terms of actually sitting around and reading and putting in the hours, I am happy to have at least attempted to participate this year, and I've loved the support and encouragement of my co-participants and having the excuse to go look at a lot of blogs I haven't visited in a while.

And that's that.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

48-Hour Book Challenge: A Quick Update

Let me admit this now:  I'm pretty sure I'm going to fail miserably at my attempt to reach 12 hours of reading time. This has been quite a weekend for random emergencies and rearrangements of my time. It seems like my life has been like this for the past year and a half, approximately. Unless I physically leave the region, it's not actually possible for me to take a lot of time out for myself. And no! Amazingly, I have no kids! If I did, I'd probably be lying under the coffee table groaning miserably like Tina in Bob's Burgers.

Anyway, I thought I'd still post an update on my reading today. As of now, I've managed 1 hour and 40 minutes reading One Book Many Brisbanes 6, a collection of short stories related to Brisbane, Australia. I can't find an online picture of the cover for you, as it seems to be a limited-edition publication by the Brisbane City Council and the link to the official page for the series seems to be broken.

My older half-sister, who lives in Brisbane, sent me this book for Christmas, and I've been meaning to read it but it was languishing in my TBR pile. So far I'm enjoying the variety of stories, including a few with young/YA characters and even one about zombies. There's only been one so far (I'm about half done) that I'd characterize as being too "regional fiction" for my taste, perhaps a bit too nostalgic and quiet. I liked that speculative fiction is represented, not just with the zombie story but even a dystopian piece. And I do enjoy literary short stories, albeit not all the time.

My running total is now 5 hours and 40 minutes. I'm hoping to fit in at least another hour before going to sleep tonight and, if I don't sleep in, another hour in the morning. My 48-hour period ends at about 10:10 a.m.

Friday, June 08, 2012

48 Hour Book Challenge: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Title: Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours
Total Books: 0.5

Notes: Here's my first official check-in for the 48-Hour Book Challenge. I finished reading Insurgent, although it only really counts as half a book for the purposes of the final count--I started it a couple of days ago, which was not great timing on my part, because then I really couldn't put it down for a few days to read other things. No! Of course not. No reading interruptus in this instance.

From that, you can probably guess that Insurgent was as un-put-down-able as the first book in the trilogy, Divergent. Although the main character, Beatrice/Tris, is not necessarily the most sympathetic or "nice" character, the action and suspense in these books is nonstop, and if you like dystopian thrillers like Hunger Games you'll probably enjoy this one. The minor issues I had with characterization pale in the face of the plot action--and it's definitely a plot-driven book. At the same time, though, it's thought-provoking in terms of its premise. In this book and the first one, I constantly found myself thinking about which faction I'd choose, if I lived in this society, and I couldn't stop questioning the entire time about what was real and what wasn't, about what lay outside the fences of their rigid world.

Presumably in Book 3 we'll find out...

48 Hour Book Challenge, Or How I Rekindled My Romance With This Blog

Hey, have you heard? I'm doing MotherReader's 48 Hour Book Challenge this year. It involves a LOT of reading and a lot of blogging, too, so I thought it would be just the thing to get myself going again with this blog, since I've been sadly neglecting it. I'll be reading mainly adult books during the 48-hour period, so this is really a better place to write about them anyway, rather than the YA blog.

In addition, this year, participants are being encouraged to sponsor ourselves for every hour read and donate the total amount (the hourly rate being up to us) to Reading Is Fundamental and their wonderful Book People Unite initiative. I will be donating $1 for every hour that I successfully read during the 48-hour period from Friday to Sunday...starting more or less NOW.


My goal is to actually make the 12-hour minimum to be competitive. I know a lot will come up during the 48 hours--it always does. So I think that's a realistic goal.


I'm starting off by finishing a book I started a couple of days ago (I know, lame, but I MUST FINISH IT). I plan to count that in my total time but NOT in my total books read except maybe as 50% of a book, since I'm about half done. Sorry, but it will drive me crazy if I put it aside. You'll find out more when I blog about it.


Right--off to leave my link at the official starting line.