48 Hour Book Challenge, Start!

It’s time for MotherReader’s 48 Hour Book Challenge!

I’ll be starting at 8:15 pm local time tonight and continuing until 8:15 pm local time Sunday.  I will be taking breaks for eating, sleeping, and perhaps a bit of socializing, but I brought no grading home (yes, there’s still a little to do) and have no intention of spending any portion of the weekend cleaning.

Stay tuned for my book reviews.  I’m going to experiment with writing reviews short enough to tweet, but I will probably post longer ones here, as well.

First up: Death’s Daughter by Amber Benson.

See you on the other side!

A Shakespearean Summer

Author Lisa Mantchev is sponsoring a Shakespeare challenge, which is Liv of Liv’s Book Reviews is hosting. Read three Shakespeare plays between June 1st and August 31st, post about them in your blog, and you’ll be entered to win a few prizes.

One of them is the book Eyes Like Stars, the first in Lisa’s The Théâtre Illuminata trilogy. Here’s a description:

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the characters of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book–an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family–and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

I cannot tell you how much this sounds like the perfect book to me, the book that will top the list of "Books I Wish I’d Written."

So, join me in the challenge, won’t you?
[via Becky’s Book Reviews]

Celebrate the Author Challenge

Over at Becky’s Book Reviews, Becky is hosting the Celebrate the Author Challenge.   The basic idea is that each month of 2008, you read a book by an author born in that month.  Go to the post I linked earlier for more details.

Here’s my tentative author list:
January – Lloyd Alexander (hopefully ALL of the Vesper Holly series)
February – Meg Cabot
March – Libba Bray
April – Micol Ostow
May – Scott Westerfeld
June – Annette Curtis Klause
July – Christopher Golden (born the day after me but a few years earlier)
August – Piers Anthony
September – Melissa de la Cruz
October – Gabrielle Zevin
November – Holly Black
December – Stephanie Meyer

Pirate Reading Challenge

Oh my goodness, it’s 1:30 pm.  When did this happen?

Yes, folks, Summer Vacation has begun.  (This is why we suffer the difficulties of working in education.  Granted, it’s an unpaid vacation, but it is a large block of time in which to pursue other interests.  Litblogging, for example.)

I’d like to remind you of my Pirate Reading Challenge.

The original post is here, and the post where I introduce myself as Captain Anne Scarlett is here.

The rules are simple:
1. The challenge begins June 12, 2007 and lasts until September 19, 2007. There be significance to these dates: durin’ the week o’ June 10 in 1718 Blackbeard ran aground his ship Queen Anne’s Revenge.  September 19 be International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

2. The goal be to read books about pirates. Set your own goal for how many pirate books you’d like to read. (I recommend 3 as a minimum; I meself will probably try for 14 or so.)

3. The books can be any level, fiction or nonfiction. The only requirement be that they be about pirates.

4. As you finish the books, review them.

5. Your final summary should be posted in Pirate Speak (thar’s an English to Pirate translator here) on September 19, and include links to your reviews o’ pirate books.

6. Sign your name to the ship’s articles in the comments to the original post.

I haven’t started reading my pirate books yet.  I’m currently working on the first of my books to review for The Edge of the Forest; I have some training for work Friday.  I will probably finish my current audiobook (Celia Rees’s Pirates!) on the drive to the training, and then hit the library on the way home to pick up Treasure Island.  After that, my next pirate selections will probably be Capt. Hook and Pirate Island, because I own both of them.  Then, I’ll probably start in on Bloody Jack, as it’s been recommended to me multiple times.  

My goal is 14 Pirate Books.  What about yours?

Arrrrr!

Welcome, me hearties!  I be Captain Anne Scarlett, also known as Mermaid Jane, and this be my ship, Melusine.  I’d like ya to be joinin’ me in the Pirate Reading Challenge.  Here be the rules:

1. The challenge begins June 12, 2007 and lasts until September 19, 2007. There be significance to these dates: durin’ the week o’ June 10 in 1718 Blackbeard ran aground his ship Queen Anne’s Revenge.  September 19 be International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

2. The goal be to read books about pirates. Set your own goal for how many pirate books you’d like to read. (I recommend 3 as a minimum; I meself will probably try for 14 or so.)

3. The books can be any level, fiction or nonfiction. The only requirement be that they be about pirates.

4. As you finish the books, review them.

5. Your final summary should be posted in Pirate Speak (thar’s an English to Pirate translator here) on September 19, and include links to your reviews o’ pirate books.

6. Sign your name to the ship’s articles in the comments to the original post.

Hoist the colours!

THE BASIC RULES:
1. The challenge begins June 12, 2007 and lasts until September 19, 2007. There be significance to these dates: durin’ the week o’ June 10 in 1718 Blackbeard ran aground his ship Queen Anne’s Revenge.  September 19 be International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

2. The goal be to read books about pirates. Set your own goal for how many pirate books you’d like to read. (I recommend 3 as a minimum; I meself will probably try for 14 or so.)

3. The books can be any level, fiction or nonfiction. The only requirement be that they be about pirates.

4. As you finish the books, review them.

5. Your final summary should be posted in Pirate Speak (thar’s an English to Pirate translator here) on September 19, and include links to your reviews o’ pirate books.

6. Sign your name to the ship’s articles in the comments to this post.

MORE ADVANCED OPTIONS:

1. Give yourself a pirate name. If you can’t come up with your own, here’s a link to some name generators.

2. Name your pirate ship.

3. Hoist your colours! Create your own pirate flag.

4. Go around tellin’ people you’re a “Bookaneer.” (Many thanks to Pirates & Privateers for this word.)

5. Write all your reviews in Pirate Speak.

RESOURCES:
International Talk Like a Pirate Day
The Bookaneer
Pirate Flags
Pirate Books

48 Hour Book Challenge Summary

9:30 AM Friday to 9:30 AM Sunday

Books Read: 4
Pages Read: 1243
Time Spent Reading/Reviewing: 18 hrs

Dancing on the Edge, Han Nolan
244 Pages
3.25 Hrs

Jack Sparrow: The Coming Storm, Rob Kidd
144 Pages
1.25 Hrs

Wildwood Dancing, Juliet Marillier
407 Pages
6.5 Hrs

The Various, Steve Augarde
448 Pages
7 Hrs

***

Lessons learned: 
1. I have a short attention span.  I took a lot of breaks.
2. As much as I love to read, sleep takes precedence over reading.  I was super-sleepy, and spent almost as much time sleeping as I spent reading.
3. I’m not quite sure how the 14ish hrs I didn’t spend reading OR sleeping was spent.

***

I’m content with my showing.  Sure, it’s only 4 books, but two of them were rather long.  And the most important thing is, I finished all my library books, so I can take them back now and get NEW library books (though not too many more as I owe Kelly lots of reviews for Edge of the Forest).

I do believe this is supposed to be my last post today; so I’ll just say stay tuned.  Tomorrow I will be bringing you the Pirate Reading Challenge.

48 Hr Book Challenge #4: The Various, Steve Augarde

When Midge’s mother goes on a tour with the London Philharmonic, she sends Midge to Mill Farm to stay with her Uncle Brian.  There, Midge finds an injured flying horse named Pegs.  As she helps Pegs, she is drawn into a world of small and magical people called “The Various.”  The Various live in the woods near her Uncle’s farm, and their livelihood is threatened both by the barrenness of the land and the possibility of the forest’s destruction.

To say much more about the plot of The Various would be, I think, to give away too much.  This is a fun book, aimed at middle grade students and those a little younger (grades 5 – 7 according to School Library Journal and ages 9 – 12 according to Amazon).  It holds up well for anyone who likes fairy stories, though, I think.  It was interesting to read this right after Wildwood Dancing, as it handles a similar topic (the entry of a young girl into the world of fairies) but gives it a very different treatment (more modern, mostly).  

I enjoyed The Various and would recommend it to anyone fond of fantasy, especially the child-enters-secret-world genre.  (If that wasn’t officially a genre before, I’ve just declared it one now.)  I could see giving this to a child who was in fifth grade, giving the same child Wildwood Dancing when she was in seventh or eight grade, and then handing her Tithe once she got to high school.

(Stats Below Are For the Whole Challenge, Not Just This Book)
Books Read: 4
Pages Read: 1243
Time Spent Reading/Reviewing: 18 hrs

****

This will probably be my last book of the challenge, as I don’t think I can finish another book of the appropriate level/length in the next slightly-less-than-an-hour.

48 Hr Book Challenge #3: Wildwood Dancing, Juliet Marillier

Wildwood Dancing is a fairytale lover’s dream: familiar tales, retold and mixed with folklore, creating a new and entrancing story.  In this combination of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Frog Prince, and various eastern European folktales, 15 year old Jenica finds herself trying to manage her father’s estate as he goes to the shore to recover from grave illness.  Her cousin Cezar quickly appoints himself master of the estate, and sets about restricting the activities of Jena and her four sisters, as well as seeking his revenge on the folk of the wildwood, whom he blames for his brother’s death ten years ago.

The use of familiar stories in Wildwood Dancing is refreshing: Marillier takes care to make the stories recognizable but not predictable.  At several points I thought I saw where the story was going and every time I was a little right and a little wrong.  This is how a book should be: we get the thrill of having figured it out, without the boredom that comes with a more predictable story.  Wildwood Dancing is not only strong in its use of traditional tales, but also in its creation of characters.  The five sisters of Piscul Dracului are five different girls, each with her own whole personality.  At the same time, while Jena is “the sensible one” and Tati is “the pretty one” and Paula is “the smart one,” these girls are not pigeonholed by these roles.

Wildwood Dancing reminded me of Holly Black’s Tithe, which is odd because the moods of the two books have nothing in common.  I think it was just the notion of teenaged girls interacting with faeries that made the connection in my mind.  Still, there is a spiritual connection between them, somehow, and I feel that fans of one would certainly enjoy the other.

(Stats Below Are For the Whole Challenge, Not Just This Book)
Books Read: 3
Pages Read: 795
Time Spent Reading/Reviewing: 11 hrs

48 Hr Book Challenge #2: Jack Sparrow – The Coming Storm, Rob Kidd

I found myself stuck at Barnes and Noble tonight while waiting to meet my family for dinner, so I sat down and read for a spell.  While The Coming Storm doesn’t meet MotherReader’s 200 page guideline, Amazon says it’s for ages 9 – 12, which is close enough to the 5th grade range that I’m going to go on and count it.

The Coming Storm is a quick read, and fun.  As a self-appointed Captain Jack Sparrow expert and enthusiast, I’m rather picky about folks getting him right.  Rob Kidd does an admirable job here, capturing Captain Jack’s voice and mannerisms so well that I actually pictured a 21 Jump Street-era Johnny Depp acting them out.  The book is very clearly part of a series, and while it could stand alone, there’s no reason you’d want it to.  It has its own arc and ties in with a larger storyline as well.  The book “sets up” familiar characters from the movies, including both Tia Dalma and Davy Jones.  Jack’s desire early on seems to be to rid the world of pirates, or so he tells his crew, and I’m interested to see if the other books explain his apparent distaste for his future profession.

(Stats Below Are For the Whole Challenge, Not Just This Book)
Books Read: 2
Pages Read: 388
Time Spent Reading/Reviewing: 4.5 hrs