Wrap Up: A Readathon Interrupted

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Hello, everyone! I did the Readathon yesterday with mixed results. Since I had to interrupt my reading for family obligations, I started 2 hours earlier and today I’m going to keep on reading. This is more of an update than a ending.

 

  • Which hour was most daunting for you? Not applicable.
  • Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? A list? Not really, but I would say read short fiction and graphic novels if you want to feel like you’ve accomplished something.
  • What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I LOVED the Readalong of The Yellow Wallpaper.
  • Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? I only stumbled upon the Readalong chat on Twitter because I happened to be on there at the time. I know it was the first Readalong, so I hope there will be more advanced notification of the discussion next time.
  • How many books did you read? Nil. I read a short story, The Yellow Wallpaper and half of The Royal We.

 

the royal we stats

 

  • Which book did you enjoy most? I loved rereading The Yellow Wallpaper.
  • Which did you enjoy least? Not applicable.
  • How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Very Likely! And probably as a reader.

In other news, I won a door prize during hour 20! Woot!

Some Readathon Thoughts:

I’ve been participating in the 24 Hour Readathon since its inception many years ago when there were around 50 participants.  This time there was around 1800. That’s a huge increase! I can’t imagine trying to organize that many people for an online event. It is crazy. I appreciate the organizers so much.

However, much of the intimacy of a smaller group has disappeared. It can feel pretty lonely just updating a blog post. I think this is mostly because of the numbers now. There are cheerleaders, but I heard that they had about 100 blogs to cheer for over the 24 hours. I’ve done cheerleading for other events; it can be overwhelming. I definitely do not get the comments that I used to back in the beginning. I totally understand that, myself. I couldn’t even begin to start commenting on all the other blogs.

This is why I think Twitter (and to some degree Instagram) is the way to do the Readathon. The interaction is instantaneous and by just following the hashtag (#readalong) participants can connect with each other much easier and get timely updates. For all my complaining about Twitter, it is the most useful for events like this. It’s the place to go when you need some encouragement. Everyone needs encouragement sometime during 24 hours of reading! 

I wonder what your experiences interacting with other participants was like this time. Did you use Twitter? Tumblr? Instagram? Or just old fashioned blogging? What are your thoughts?

I hope to see you all on October 17th for the next Readathon! Cheers!

Mini-Challenges Post: Readathon Style!



This is my entry for A Literary Odyssey's Readathon Mini-Challenge.

So, for this challenge, you need to create a post highlighting your favorite "Classic Words of Wisdom" and then explain their meaning to you.

Even though I think D.H. Lawrence had Issues, I do like this quote. Since this quote comes from Lady Chatterley's Lover, I'm going to assume it's rationalizing infidelity. I don't like it for that reason, I like it on its own. As I get older, I believe in the sentiment. You have to live your life, your way, not do things because you think others will approve. In other words, YOLO!



Early Bird Gets the Readathon: Update Hour Six



Good Morning! Time for a Readathon. I'm trying to get the jump on the Readathon by starting early. I won't be able to do the whole 24 hours. Ugh, obligations. I don't want to miss out altogether though, so I'm doing what I can.


1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? As always, my couch here in Nova Scotia, Canada. What I wouldn't give to be blogging from the Caribbean right now. 

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? The Royal We! It looks like a lot of fun. 

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I was looking forward to Lemon Squares, but I had a kitchen disaster worthy of a Gordon Ramsay show. I dumped most of the uncooked lemon filling into my hot oven. I still baked them but they weren't as lemony as they should be. I also spent last night cleaning my oven. Anyway, here's the recipe if you'd like to try it. 

4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I always struggle with this question... How about I talk about my latest TV obsession: Orphan Black. I love this show. I even compared the show to book blogging. Maybe during the Readathon you should take a little break and watch the latest episode. :) 

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? Maybe not drink alcohol during hour 13. It makes me sleeeeeepy!

I'll be updated this post throughout the day. Happy Readathoning!

*Readathon button by Bart's Books.

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I started the day with The Royal We but I'm switching to The Yellow Wallpaper for the Readathon Readalong. I love this story. I'm trying to look at it from a different angle than the first time I read it.




As for foods, I ate a bagel, and those infamous lemon squares. Happy Reading!

Getting ready: Readathon list, april 2015

It’s getting harder to take photos of my Readathon pile when most of my books are on my tablet now.

I forgot that I have an event on April 25, so my Readathon won’t be 24 hours. I plan on getting up early to read before the Readathon starts to get a jump on it. I might be able to make up some time there.

The books I have in my potential reading pile are :

  • Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
  • Glacial Period by Nicolas De Crecy
  • How to Be Danish by Patrick Kingsley
  • The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
  • A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev
  • The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
  • Ring by Koji Suzuki
  • Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Munro

I will have my snacks lined up tomorrow too. I hope you have yours! Will you be at the Readathon?

Something Different: Birchbox Subscription Review

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I subscribed to Birchbox with my own $$$. I just want to discuss my experience so far. If you are curious, read along.*

Birchbox box

Everybody is getting into mail subscriptions. There is a subscription service for everything now. I remember when it was just magazines. I loved getting magazines in the mail. I got over that a few years ago- more ads than articles. The internet fills my magazine related needs these days, but I still like getting stuff in the mail.

I started hearing about Birchbox a few years ago when it was US only. I was curious about it even then. I’m a lady who likes putting chemicals on her face. Getting five tiny concoctions in the mail every month is in my wheelhouse. With a bit more disposable cash in my pocket lately, I decided to give the Canadian version a try. It costs $14.95 (including shipping) a month and according to the website I can cancel whenever I wish.

First, I created an account and filled out a questionnaire. I was asked questions about my complexion, my hair, and my age. Then what concerns I had regarding my beauty routine: got acne? Want to slow the cruel hands of Time? Etc. I then had to decide what beauty “style” I consider myself to have: adventurous, trendy, classic, or low maintenance. I chose classic, seemed pretty safe. There is no opt out for certain products, but I could specify what most interests me (makeup, hair care). I would have liked to opt out of fragrances, since I usually toss those samples when I get them, but I could at least choose to get fewer a year.

Finally, I was good to go! I just had to wait for my box to arrive- during the erratic mail delivery season of a Canadian winter. But arrive they did. Let’s take a peek!

February

February’s theme was Friendship. Okay, sure. Whatever. The box design was super cute.

birchbox

Loved:
  • derma e Anti-Wrinkle Scrub. My favorite sample! This sample went really far and I use it once a day. It’s made a real difference in my complexion. I will be buying this.
  • Cynthia Rowley Lip Stain. The colour is a bit dark but I love this stain.
Okay:
  • Harvey Prince Hello Shampoo and Conditioner. Acceptable. Smells nice.
  • The Balm Cindy-Lou Manizer. I have no idea what to do with luminizer. I just rub it on my face and hope I look ok. I gave this away.

March

March’s theme was Creativity. Mmm hmm. The box was plain on the outside but chevron on the inside.

Birchbox2

Loved:
  • Beauty Blender (and cleanser). Sephora sells these for $$$. This was fun to get. The only thing is the pink dye comes out when I wash it.
  •  Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentre. Everyone is crazy about French Pharmacy stuff and I can see why. This cream did not make me break out. I will use it again in my fight against Time.
Okay:
  • ModelCo Lipstick. A good sized sample. Liked the feel of this, but the Peony colour was too bright. Maybe if I had a darker skin tone or was 20 years younger.
Dislike:
  • Harvey Prince Imperial Gardenia. Perfume. Flowery perfume.
  • Number 4 Hydrating Shampoo. Not hydrating for me. Also, real expensive.

April

April’s theme was Spring! What a pretty, springish box!

birchbox3

Liked:
  • Benefit’s Roller Lash. I love Benefit’s They're Real mascara. This is nice too.
  • Not Soap, Radio Body Wash. Bathing with Sharks is what it says on the bottle. Weird, but smells great.
Okay:
  • Mèreadesso Moisturizer. Smells earthy. Didn’t make me break out.
  • Whish Shave Cream. Doesn’t go very far. Smells interesting.
  • Jelly Pong Pong Highlighter. Again I don’t understand this stuff. Am I supposed to look sweaty?

All in all, I’m having fun with Birchbox. I’m finding new products I might buy. It’s low commitment. I’m not stuck with a lot of something after spending lots of bucks to try it. If I review a sample, I get points I can use towards my future purchases. I do like reviewing stuff!

If you’d like to sign up, you can use this Invite from me (I’ll receive points). I hope you enjoyed this little diversion!

Station Eleven- Get Your Flu Shots!

Station Eleven

 

My decision to listen to the audio version of Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel was based on the fact I needed a book to get me through the work day. Not an inspiring start, but I am glad availability was a determining factor in choosing this most excellent book.

There is quite a lot of time shifting in this novel. In the first chapter, Arthur Leander dies of a heart attack while performing King Lear in a Toronto theatre. For most of the people in that theatre, in Toronto, in the world, it’s their last moments on Earth. The Georgia Flu will take 99% of the planet’s human population. Twenty years later, one of the actors in the theatre, an eight year old girl at the time, is still on the “stage” as a member of the Traveling Symphony. Kirsten Raymonde is part of the troupe of actors and musicians who travel the sparsely populated towns of North American entertaining the survivors of the flu’s brutal aftermath. As a group, their numbers help protect them from vandals, but even that can’t save them from a dangerous man known as “the Prophet.”

The night of the play, the people in the theatre, and loved ones of Arthur Leander become a touchstone for the readers. This seemingly inconsequential event in the grand scheme of things is constantly returned to during the novel. We’re taken back to Arthur’s early days, his love affairs and friendships. Some of these people will change the course of events for the survivors of the flu. Without even knowing it, they are connected.

There isn’t a lot more I can tell you about the plot that would make any sense, you just have to go with it. The style might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It isn’t really about the flu or the end of the world, but about human connections. We rely so much on technology to tell us what is happening in the world, with our friends and families. The survivors lament how they took for granted the ability to pick up a phone and talk to loved ones, how easy it was to get to anywhere in the world to see them. What happens when that all disappears? How will we know what happened to people?

I enjoyed the meandering style of Station Eleven, the shell-shocked survivors, and their connection to the fictional sci-fi graphic novel Station Eleven. There were so many small things I liked that added up to so much. Station Eleven reminded me of Margaret Atwood’s speculative fiction, and the literary devices that she uses. The Canadian setting helps too!

I also appreciated that it wasn’t too gloomy. Yes, terrible things happen throughout the novel, but there is hope for humanity by the story’s end. Just like the motto of the Traveling Symphony: “Because survival is insufficient.” Humans aren’t done yet!

About the Audio: Kirsten Potter narrates Station Eleven. She’s an award winning audiobook narrator and does an excellent job here. I can’t complain about her pronunciation. I really wonder if I would have enjoyed the book as much as I did if I had read it instead. 

audiobook review

Media Madness Monday: A New Season For Orphans

media madness monday 1

Hurray! Orphan Black Season 3 began April 18. I’m sure there will be shenanigans this season but the first episode was a slow start. Here are some highlights:

  • We began with Helena’s dream. It looked like Alison’s suburban neighbourhood threw up in Helena’s fantasy backyard. In reality, Helena is trapped in a box.

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  • The captured Castor clone likes to exercise naked. As you do.
  • Mrs S was beat up by a different Castor clone. Oh no, he didn’t! He’ll find himself forked to a table later in the season for sure.
  • Rachel had a pencil surgically removed from her eyeball. It was nasty.
  • Delphine has straight hair now and is meeeeean. I guess straight hair does that, just look at Rachel.
  • Helena had a conversation with an imaginary talking scorpion.
  • Alison is in a feud with a real estate lady. I guess she’s going to have a tragic accident soon. This plotline seems kinda pointless.
  • Donnie is unemployed. Poor Donnie.
  • No Handsome Paul. No Cal with the dreamy hair. Boo.
  • Ferdinand the Cleaner is one creepy dude. He and Rachel used to get freaky. This does not surprise me.

This first episode wasn’t great, but not terrible either. More of Felix would be nice. Who has Helena trapped in a box? Where are the runaway Proletheans? What is Dyad up to? Why are the Castor clones murdering their Leda counterparts?

I guess we’ll have to keep watching to find out.