I have successfully stayed up until 7am. Holy cow. I think I might have drifted off there in the last ten minutes, but here I am! :)

I am going to go take a long nap now.

Hour 24 Survey!

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
Right around the 2 am mark was difficult, then I caught a "second wind" of sorts.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
The Lady Whistledown books. Short story collections, easy reads, and I find them amusing.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
I will have to think on this one.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The Cheerleaders ROCKED. Also, I loved the YouTube videos in the last 6 hours. I used them to dance several times.

5. How many books did you read?
Two full books from start to finish, wrapped up two books I was in the middle of, started one and put it down, and am now trying to focus on one last short story.

6. What were the names of the books you read?
Indiscreet, Beasts of New York, Evernight, The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

8. Which did you enjoy least?
Good Omens, which is not on that list because I switched it out. It might not have been suited for the read-a-thon. I am hoping to come back to the book later.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
I wasn't a cheerleader, but I can take this moment to thank all the awesome Cheerleaders who rah-rah'd and sis-boom-bah'd for me! I said it a lot during the read-a-thon, but I'll say it again. You guys and gals are awesome.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I would definitely want to be a reader again some time when my TBR pile is huge like it is now. I think if I'm in a show, I will volunteer for the Cheerleader position though. :)

6:00 am - HOUR 24!! (18 hours reading!)

Oh my gosh, you guys! I can't believe I managed to stay up this late. Only an hour to go until the end of the read-a-thon! I am feeling pretty good, actually. Claudia Gray's Evernight really helped me get through the last few hours. It's a real page-turner! I'd love to write a review about it, but I'm not sure it would be coherent. Maybe I'll find time to write a review tomorrow.

I have no idea what I'm going to read next! There's the sample chapter for Stargazer in the back of Evernight that I haven't read yet, and then I have a couple of short stories I can start. If I'm going to survive this next hour I need something that will grab me right away!

I need to hydrate some more and then jump back in! Thanks, cheerleaders, for keeping me going and offering your sage advice! :)

4:00 am - Hour 22 (16 hours reading)

Evernight by Claudia Gray is the next book on my list! I'm about halfway through it right now, and I'm finding it really fascinating. I was a little shaken up in the last chapter - some things weren't quite believable. I did manage to get through the first half in one sitting - woo!

I'm trying to keep it going for another 2 and a half hours, but my couch is incredibly comfy..

It might be time for emergency caffeine reserves.

2:00 am - Hour 20 (14 hours reading)

Finished Indiscreet! Yay!

Indiscreet is about a "fallen" woman who has escaped the sneers of the British aristocracy in Turkey with her scholarly uncle who has raised her. Edward Foye is a "beast" of a man who is convinced that, since his last fiancée left him, no woman could possibly love such a man.

While the first couple chapters had me confused, I really got into Indiscreet. There was something there, and several beautiful moments that kept me moving forward, and then from a certain point (don't want to spoil anything!) I found myself not noticing that two hours had passed.

I really love Jewel's writing. She has a unique voice, class and style. But I felt that often, especially in the first couple of chapters, there was just too much introspection. I love some introspection, but eventually they started thinking the same things they'd thought before, only phrased differently. Once things started moving forward, though, it improved.

I enjoyed the subtle growth of their love - it was like they were normal people who just gradually fall in love with each other. And Sabine says several times later in the novel that she hadn't really loved him then because she didn't really know him. That and the astute observations Sabine makes about gender during their adventure together (trying very hard not to spoil anything!!) made me love her brain. I do wish she hadn't caved in to Foye so easily.

Plus, she never used his given name. I am a sucker for the "use my given name" moment, corny though it may be.

Foye himself reminded me very much of my own boy, which can be really depressing when he's so far away. One way he didn't, though, was his insistence that he was ugly - and I'm not sure he ever gets over that.

Overall, a fantastic read, and smart, and PS, the sex is pretty freaking amazing. :)


1:00 am - Hour 19 (13 hours reading)

I have spent more than half of a day reading. Holy cow. I definitely won't even hit 20 hours of reading time, but I am excited to have arrived at the half-day point at least. Does that mean I did a half-marathon? ;)

Indiscreet is keeping me turning pages. My friends who came over were delightfully amused by my reactions. I am nearly done, and by the next update will probably be finished and moving on to the next in the stack.. I don't yet know what that will be. We will see how I feel.

Cheerleaders, your clever cheers amuse me greatly.

Also, I need to eat some more cookies.

11:00 pm - Hour 17 (11 hours reading - wow!)

It honestly does not feel like I've been reading for 11 hours.

What has happened in the last couple of hours? Indiscreet is getting really really good. I also had some friends pop over to give me real-life cheerleading. They brought books too. Hopefully they will help me eat these cookies so I don't end up eating them all in the next 7 and a half hours!

Once more unto the breach, dear friends!

9:00 PM - Hour 15 (9 hours reading)

I almost went for two hours straight with Indiscreet! Wow! My verdict so far is that there are some things that don't flow quite as easily as some of Carolyn's other work, but there are moments between Sabine and Edward that are beautiful and memorable. Obviously it kept me going, because I didn't put it down for nearly two hours. :)

It's getting colder in my living room, and I really don't want to turn on the heat, so I'm instead going to start the Hot Chocolate portion of the night! I am actually really excited to have another 9 hours of reading ahead of me. This is a quiet time of night. Just me, the ticking of the clock, and books. *le sigh*

8:00 pm - Hour 14 (8 hours reading time)

I finished The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown. Honestly, it was the last short story I hadn't finished. I don't know if it was like the last chocolate in the box - you're saving it for a special occasion - or not, but I'm glad I finally read Julia's story, "36 Valentines". It was very sweet and exactly what I needed to get back into reading-land after dinner.

And with that attitude, I think I'm ready to jump into Indiscreet! I have been waiting for just the right moment for this book. It's one of my most anticipated books of the year (next to Desire a Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt and Meredith's Durans two releases from this year, Bound by Your Touch and Written on Your Skin). I'm pretty excited.

7:00 PM - Hour 13 (7 Hours reading)

My reading time was interrupted by a visit from an alternative energy salesperson. On a Saturday night? Really?

Anyway, I took the dinner break opportunity to switch away from Good Omens and read the last short story from The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown - Julia Quinn's contribution to the collection! I am nearly done, but my roommate decided he was done reading and is watching tv/playing video games so I have relocated to my bedroom to enjoy the quiet while I read. When he goes to bed I can take back the couch. Buahahaha!

Here's the mid-event survey from the wonderful organizers at Dewey's 24-hour Read-a-Thon!


1. What are you reading right now?
The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown

2. How many books have you read so far?
The only finish I have is Beasts of New York - I usually get much more read when I have spontaneous read-a-thons on weekends.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Indiscreet by Carolyn Jewel! I'm saving it for a little while.

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
All I've had to do is turn down invitations to things that other people think are more exciting. They don't know what they're missing!

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
I've had plenty of interruptions and distractions, so I ended up just locking myself in my room to read.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
How little reading I'm getting done! Maybe it was the distractions/preparations for guests (only one ever actually appeared), but I haven't really read that much.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
It pretty much rocks my world. :)

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
Make sure I have a quiet space to myself - I would probably not bother inviting people over seeing as there wasn't much interest in my theatre variation. This would free up my day significantly.

9. Are you getting tired yet?
I got a late start, admittedly, so I'm not really tired yet.

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 think next year I will choose more short story collections. I like being able to switch without having to leave off in the middle of a story. There is also more of a sense of accomplishment.


As I've said on Twitter, the cheerleaders are just doing great! It keeps me updating! :)

See you at the end of Julia's story!

5:00 pm - Hour 11 (5.5 hours reading time)

Hokay, so. Tea and biscuits have been consumed. Things have actually started to happen in Good Omens. We have one guest who is working his way through The Life and Death of King John by Shakespeare and we're about to have another pot of tea. For those curious, we are drinking Peet's Earl Grey with Bergamot. It is tasty.

This hour's Mini-Challenge is from Joy Story.

I was extremely lucky as a child to have a family passionate about literature. They were also passionate about theatre, but it started (as most things in theatre do) with the text. I learned how to read using street signs as my mother drove, and by the age of 3 I was reading with her. Some of my strongest memories are she and I reading the Oz books by L. Frank Baum. We would read them together, often switching chapters so we both had an opportunity to read. She continued that tradition with my brothers and sister. Even today, she and I share book recommendations, and on our cross-country trip, I read several chapters from a Nora Roberts book to her when it was her turn to drive.

Reading has been so important in my life, and I can't imagine not growing up with a book in my hand. The sad truth is that not every child has the opportunity to explore the world of books. Organizations like Reading is Fundamental help to connect children and their families not only to the world of literature, but to the community around them. They don't just give access to books for children, but let them keep books so that they can experience the joy of owning the key to a world beyond their own.

To my mother, I say: Thank you.

Thank you for always having the time to read to me, despite being in school and raising two children.

Thank you for encouraging me to explore books beyond my reading level.

Thank you for carting me to the library, and covering for me when I lost my library card so I could still check out books.

Thank you for continuing to share your love of literature with me so that I am reminded that there is a world beyond my "adult responsibilities".

I love you.

4:00 PM - Hour 10 (Reading time: 4.5 hours)

I have just read through 40+ pages of exposition in Good Omens and, as funny as some bits are, my eyes are starting to droop. I will give it another couple chapters and if it doesn't grab me, I am switching to a romance!

People may be coming over shortly. I have a pile of tea cookies (picture to be posted later) and am eager for a pot of tea!

Happy 10th hour everyone!

3pm - Hour 9 (Reading time: 3.5 hours)

Happy 9th hour! I hope everyone is having a great time so far!

These last several hours were mostly preparation for me - guests will be arriving the next hour or so. I am baking some very easy (yet delicious) tea cookies and have started Good Omens. I'm laughing hysterically already at the Dramatis Personae.

Thanks to all the cheerleaders! It's really inspiring coming to blog and seeing all your comments!

Noon - Hour 6 (Hour 3 reading)

I just finished Beasts of New York! It was epic.

Beasts of New York is about a squirrel named Patch who, out of desperation and need, adventures beyond his home in Central Kingdom to try and save it. While it seems that fate is conspiring against him, taking him further from his home than any squirrel has traveled, his journey is a necessary step to saving all of Central Kingdom from the evil trying to consume it.

What did I love about this book? Well, first of all, Patch is an amazingly brave squirrel. No one can read this book and not admire his determination. He has a way of making friends wherever he goes, not by being overtly friendly, but by being him. Would we could all so easily say, "I don't care what the other squirrels think."

This book reads like a fantasy novel, even though it is set in New York City. The horrors that Patch encounters at times seemed so unreal to me, despite knowing where they were. Seeing them from another pair of eyes gave some things a new air of terror and others one of wonder.

This is not a light novel. It is very dark, and at times absolutely horrifying, but I connected so much to Patch as a hero that, in the end, I was left with tears of relief and happiness in my eyes.


I may be taking a break to clean myself up, get some food, and get my apartment in order for the tea-time play readings. Looking forward to diving into another book shortly!

ETA: For those interested, Beasts of New York is available for free at Beastsofnewyork.com or on Feedbooks. It will be released in print in 2010 thanks to the amazing response Evans received on Feedbooks!

11:00am - Hour 5 (hour 2 reading)

I got started late on the Read-a-Thon because my body demanded a full night's sleep. *tsk* Silly body. Needing rest.

I started at 10am Central US with Beasts of New York by Jon Evans. One of the things I love about the Kindle is that it will tell me percentage-wise how far I am through the book. I started around 30% this morning and am now at 65%. Honestly, this has become one of my favorite books! The animal kingdom that Evans pulls us into is amazingly realistic. I will never look at a squirrel the same way again! If you haven't been to his website to grab the book, you should do so.

I'm not sure if I'm going to read any of the other Feedbooks books I downloaded for today, what with the reading this afternoon and all, but if I do, I will be sure to post them here!

Despite starting late, I thought I'd post the first meme from the day. Since it's kind of a "getting to know you" thing. ;)

Where are you reading from today?
My apartment! I have a comfy loveseat that I've been using this morning, and may bring in some pillows to sprawl on the floor later.

3 facts about me
(these will be kind of random)
1. I love Mexican food - REAL Mexican food.
2. I will probably read less today than I have on non-read-a-thon days, which makes me giggle when I think about it.
3. I am more excited that I've given my friends an opportunity to read more than they would have by inviting them to join me than I am about the reading I will do myself.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
I am not anticipating going through more than 2 or 3 books today. At the top of my list I have Beasts of New York, after which I will probably read Indiscreet by Carolyn Jewel, then Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. If I still have time after that, I will most likely move on to either some Oz books, or dig into my HUGE TBR Romance pile!

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
My goal is to have fun. :)

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?
This is my first time! Yay!!

See you in an hour!


Dewey's 24 hour Read-a-Thon begins tomorrow at 7am my time! First, I want to thank everyone who passed on recommendations. Not all of them made it to my short list, but they are on my future to-read list. I'm pretty excited, but bummed that this week was so busy that I won't be able to read for the entire day. Too much to do! But to make up for it, I've put a little twist on my Read-a-Thon!

I've asked my theatre friends to come for tea with a script that they've always wanted to read out loud. It might be awkward with only one copy, but we'll see. I've also asked people to bring books too if they want to sit down and just read stuff next to me. I have no idea what will happen! This will be a fun experiment and my fail miserably, but that's okay. :)

The plan so far is to wake up at 7am, make some morning tea, check out the blogs so far, and get to reading Beasts of New York by Jon Evans. It's the free eBook that got a bit of buzz last week when it was announced that it would be going into print production for 2010! Go Jon! It will very likely be the first review I post.

Also on my "for sure" list is Indiscreet by Carolyn Jewel. I love Carolyn's work, especially her regency romances, so I am looking forward to this one. My mother recommended it, and usually when my mother recommends something I like it (but not always).

For the play reading, I am very very tempted by some Christopher Durang I have laying around. I also have some David Ives I haven't touched in a while. But I have no Rich Orloff, who would be a fabulous addition - I have a fondness for 10-minute comedies, obviously.

Hopefully much of this will get blogged. I am putting aside as much as I can for Sunday, even if it means going to bed before the 7am mark. I will be cheering as much as possible as well, and so should you! Check out the list of blogs on the website and pay everyone a cheery visit!

24 Hour Read-a-thon

After discussing with some of my friends, I have decided to join Dewey's 24-hour Read-a-Thon! Because I am a nerd and also because I have an interesting idea I am excited to use for it. This idea being the sharing of books and thoughts on books. I have spoken to some of my friends offline and they are going to JOIN ME in my quest! None of them will be participating for the full 24 hours, but it will be like I am on my own personal quest and they are coming to lend their support for a while. :) It will also force me to take a break to make tea and such, and I am hoping that some interesting tales will develop as well. There is, of course, the expected outcome that we will all come away with a longer book list, and that we may get more talking done than reading. But my favorite part of literature is the sharing of thoughts and ideas.

Now I get to make a list of which books I want to read for the Read-a-Thon. Suggestions are welcome! As I compile it, I will post it here. :)

Handwarmer season!

For the sake of keeping track of everything in one place, I am adding my knitting/crochet rambles here.. because I don't really need two blogs, do I?

Here in the Midwest USA it is getting colder, which means hats and scarves are a MUST, but also, my favorite thing in the world to make - HANDWARMERS!

I thought I'd get started with something a little different. I've never cabled before, and I really want to tackle it. I have some stash yarn that I can't really figure anything out for, and some of it is wool - nice and warm and toasty! I also have two skeins of Caron Simply Soft laying around that I have been using for stitch practice and could be easily used to practice something like handwarmers. So here I am, in October, knitting up a storm in my oh-so-luxurious free time.

I am starting with Persephone Fingerless Mitts by Smariek Knits. Unfortunately, I have no fingering weight yarn in my stash, but I have used my Simply Soft on size 3 DPNs before with relative success. I had to adapt the pattern due to the different gauge, and it turned out pretty okay! I'm not going to say it's spectacular, but the point is to keep my hands warm and practice cabling. So I'd say it was a success. ;)

You can see there are a couple of mistakes - the adapted pattern in the cable didn't quite work early on, and there is a stitch I picked up backwards so I have a random purl in this column of knit stitches, but overall I really like the look. I finished the left one last night and will post a new picture when both are completed.

I'm hoping to make a hat this weekend too - my hat is lovely but not quite as warm as I'd like it to be. I have a pattern from TepperWear that is easy and fast that I will be using.

Freezing rain is supposed to come in a few weeks. I need to knit faster!

On Graduate school and literature

Several major things have happened to change my life in the last few months. First, I started my MFA Acting program. Good-bye free time! I am reading many plays and related texts for classes, which is a good thing, but I am still adjusting to my new schedule.

Second, I got a Kindle from my boy for my birthday this year! This has changed my life in several significant ways, not the least of which is spending much of my time on Feedbooks downloading all the classic literature I haven't read yet or haven't read in years. I can also carry my Shakespeare with me without lugging around a Complete Works.. oOOooooo..

These changes relate directly to my reading life, obviously. The books I am reading are not books I would have chosen to read on my days off, but it has opened me up to some new literature (mostly non-fiction) that I otherwise would not have explored. Good thing. I am reading less romance, sadly, not only because I just can't afford to buy new books and have been too lazy to go to the library and get a library card to check them out but also because I am reading so much other stuff that there just isn't enough time in the day!

I am considering joining Dewey's Read-a-Thon to help remind me to update here with all the delicious things I'm reading. Much of it is life-changing and awesome.