Friday, August 7, 2020

Reverse Dewey Readathon August 2020

It's time for another Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon! August is the much chiller Reverse Readathon, where we just kick back, read, and ignore all responsibilities. It's the relaxed stepchild of the Dewey 24 Hour Readathon, which is held twice a year and we go all out. This time is to  humor people on my side of the planet so it starts at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. It is much easier for me to be up then that at 5:00 AM.
Since I'm old I probably won't go for the whole 24 hours. I just want to get some big books finished. My son is tapped to cook, I have snacks, so let's start READING!


There's a BINGO card I'll be checking and I'll tweet out books as I finish them. And I'll update here during the day, since that way I can check my progress next year. Ready?

START:
8/7: Friday!

17:00:

I throw together this blog post. Also I spread out all my books on the floor, blindfold my son (hard, he's six foot) and spin him around until he picks out my first book. It's BINGO time, people!

Opening Survey!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Renton, near Seattle, Washington, USA
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Catfishing in Catnip
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Fresh cherries!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I like reading. And I should have slept more last night. I'm 52.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I want to finish some things! I've done several of these.

18:00:

I get to host a Goodreads Question! I'm Hour 2 and Hour 7.

23:00

 Tooth and ClawA Long Time Until NowBlack Leopard, Red WolfCatfishing on CatNet (CatNet #1)Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

So far I've read from: 
  • Tooth and Claw (Jo Walton)
  • A Long Time Until Now, Michael Z. Williamson
  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James
  • Catfishing on Catnet_, Naomi Kritzer
  • Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer (audio)
I've eaten dinner and cherries. 

2:00 AM Saturday

Catfishing on CatNet (CatNet #1)Black Leopard, Red WolfA Long Time Until NowBraiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of PlantsA Stone Sat Still

  • Catfishing on Catnet_, Naomi Kritzer
  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James
  • A Long Time Until Now, Michael Z. Williamson
  • Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer (audio)
  • A Stone Sat Still, Brendan Wenzel (picture book)
I had a lot of fun with Catfishing, but I'm supposed to finish Black Leopard by 5:00 PM today. It's not looking good. I read the picture book so I'd manage to finish something!

12:00

Black Leopard, Red WolfAmelia Rules! Volume 3: Superheroes (Amelia Rules! #3)Heavy: An American MemoirBraiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James
  • Amelia Rules: Superheroes, Jimmy Gownley
  • Heavy, Kiese Laymon
  • Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer (audio)
I switched to the graphic novel while folding laundry. And I fell asleep a bit after 3:00 and woke up just after 9 AM, so I went back to work on Black Leopard Red Wolf when I remembered that I also have to read Heavy and I have a chance at finishing that one.

17:00

Catfishing on CatNet (CatNet #1)Black Leopard, Red WolfHeavy: An American Memoir

  • Catfishing on Catnet_, Naomi Kritzer
  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James
  • Heavy, Kiese Laymon Finished!

Monday, August 3, 2020

My First WorldCon, From My Own House

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Well, I'm back from New Zealand! This was the week of the big speculative fiction convention, WorldCon, which moves around every year and was hosted in Wellington this time. I have a dear friend who lives there so I made that my excuse to finally try it out, and my nerdiest son agreed to come along.

But, of course, just as I was belatedly going to buy my plane tickets and book some rooms in Wellington and then in other places (because we were going to spend three weeks there and see some of the country), mean old COVID showed up. New Zealand is fine and even having parties and going to movies and laughing at people in masks, but only because they won't let the rest of us in to sneeze all over them. But the SF community in Wellington performed an amazing feat and managed to move the convention online. They had chat rooms (text, audio, and video), panel discussions, group events, online parties, a virtual art gallery and display hall, and who knows what else. I certainly didn't get to it all, but then it was my first time at a WorldCon. 

I committed pretty hard to my fake vacation -- I changed the clocks at my house and tried to eat and sleep Wellington time, which is five hours behind and one day ahead of PST. So I had lunch with my family while they had dinner, and tried to sleep in as much as possible because 10:00 their morning was 5:00 AM for me. And I kept pestering my New Zealand friend on Facebook Messenger because hey, I was in the area. I got lots of good book recommendations and had many interesting conversations and learned some new things and new ways of looking at the world, and now I want to go to more of these. Although it still would be nice to go back to Wellington. 

I slacked off a bit on running, what with all the travel, but am now only one 30 minute run short of graduating from my Couch Potato to 5K running plan. My favorite run was one I did with my son (my personal trainer, as I refer to him) at 12:30 AM after the convention stuff ended for the day. No traffic, cool weather, and it was my fastest pace ever! (I mean, RunKeeper doesn't think it was my fastest pace, but that's because of that one time I forgot to officially end my run and drove off from the trail.) 

Dinners were Mexican Lasagna and Pasta Primavera, with delicious salads on the side. Which reminds me that the kitchen still needs to be cleaned from the pasta dish, as I was attending the Awards Ceremony at the time and grabbed the food and dashed back to the office. The staff at this hotel are a bit slack and seem to expect the guests to do a lot of the chores. No tips from me!

My currently reading has stayed at 20, including the three I'm just pretending to read. I didn't have time to do much reading (as opposed to listening and talking about books) but I managed not to start many things and finished the books the library wanted back.

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called "It's Monday! What Are You Reading" so I'll sign up there. Ditto for the children's lit version at either Teach Mentor Texts or Unleashing Readers. My Cybils poetry book keeps me eligible as a kidlit reader this week. 

Started

Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter, #1)Redemption (Amos Decker, #5)Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor


Angel's Blood, Nalini Singh. For my Cloudy book club.

Redemption, David Baldacci. Library book I've hoarded through the pandemic. Also my Goodreads team pick this week. 

Me and White Supremacy, Layla Saad. I joined another reading club!


Completed

Angels' Blood (Guild Hunter, #1)Redemption (Amos Decker, #5)Fences (The Century Cycle #6)

Angel's Blood, Nalini Singh. For my Cloudy book club. The world building is these is so delightful that my usual aversion to being constantly told that it's feminine to enjoy domination is overlooked. Powerful winged beings have carved the world up between them; they transform people to vampires as a perk, and random humans are born with super senses who hunt down any vampires who leave their posts (all vampires have to fulfill a 100 year indentured servitude). But otherwise, nothing has changed in the world. It's vague as to when the angels showed up, or if they were around all along and no one noticed, or what. 

Redemption, David Baldacci. Amos Decker can't forget anything. Also he solves crime. The crime part slides along while I enjoy Decker's struggles with life; he's still traumatized by the memories of his family's murder. I mean, obviously, but for him these memories remain violently fresh. But he's also working hard at being a better person; his friendship with Alex has helped him learn to let other people in and also to actively reach out to them. 

Fences, August Wilson. I could tell this would be a gripping play, but it was hard for me to picture it. So I tended to just get impatient with Troy. I want to watch a performance which will bring the male characters to life. My play-to-reality strength is fairly poor.


Bookmarks Moved (Or Languished) In:

Tender MorselsUncompromising Honor (Honor Harrington, #14)Tooth and Claw
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of PlantsParable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
The Warden  (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1)Black Leopard, Red WolfOrdinary Hazards

Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan. 8/10 discs. I went nowhere. In fact, I traded cars with my niece for most of the week and forgot to take out the CD.

Uncompromising Honor, David Weber. Baen Free Radio Hour's serial. I did talk about the Honor books with several groups of people at the con!

Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton. No time

Braiding Sweetgrass (audio)Robin Wall Kimmerer. The library called it home! But I have it back now.

Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler. Reread. No time.

Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling. I'm listening to celebrities read this to me. Finished Stephen Fry's description of Hagrid's appearance.

The Warden, Anthony Trollope. For my Tuesday Minecraft club. Didn't finish, but I skipped the meeting. I didn't really have a Tuesday, and on Monday I set my clocks to NZ time and it became Wednesday.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James. Sword and Laser pick. I'm starting to get traction. Which is good, because I have to read about 400 pages by Saturday.

Ordinary Hazards, Nikki Grimes. Cybils finalist.  I'm glad I'm reading this is bursts, because it lets me appreciate the language of the poems. And also handle the heartbreak. 


Picture Books / Short Stories:
 
Αλφαβητάρι με γλωσσοδέτες

Αλφαβητάρι με γλωσσοδέτες, Eugene Trivizas. Nope. I barely kept alive in my Duolingo!

Palate Cleansers

These books I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

The Educated Child: A Parents Guide from Preschool Through Eighth GradeGive All to Love (Sanguinet Saga, #11)Wool (Wool, #1)
The Wind Gourd of La'amaomao: The Hawaiian Story of Pāka'a and Kũapāka'a: Personal Attendants of Keawenuia'umi, Ruling Chief of Hawaii and Descendants of La'amaomaoSorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1)Reading and Learning to Read


The Educated Child, William Bennett. 

Give All to Love, Patricia Veryan. 

Wool, Hugh Howey. 

The Wind Gourd of La'amaomao, Moses Nakuima. 

Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho. 

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. 

Reading Challenges
  1. Cybils 2017. None.
  2. Cybils 2018. None.
  3. Cybils 2019. Started Ordinary Hazards, the last poetry pick.
  4. Reading My Library. The librarians are considering my request. My actual library is opening this week for pick-up, so I think my chances are good. I'll ask in person next week.
  5. Ten to Try. At 9/10. Haven't read it yet, but I've got #10 on my tablet.
  6. Where Am I Reading: 23/51 states. Redemption was in Ohio. 19 Countries. 
  7. Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge. 22/24. Fences was a play! Two left: 13 (food book about a new to me cuisine),  and 24 (Indigenous author). If I count the romance back at the beginning of the year (he was a food truck owner) I'm almost done!


Monday, July 27, 2020

Apparently Exercise Can Make You Sore

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
The big news of the week is that I'm getting some library books! Pick-up is now a thing, not at my home library but at my main back-up library. So I put a zillion books on hold and raced over to pick up the first one (Ordinary Harads) . Even better, I asked them about helping with my Library Quest. I've been reading a book off each shelf of the library, so I wondered if a librarian could amble over to the next shelf and grab something for me and put it on my hold shelf. They were cautiously optimistic; probably not for a few weeks as right now they are scrambling to become remote action libraries, but definitely before the building would open to the public. KCLS is awesome.

I turned in my ballot for the Hugo Awards, and am gearing up to attend WorldCon in New Zealand (CoNZealand). Of course, New Zealand is barred from outsiders and I'm following stay-at-home advice, but the convention has gone virtual so that shouldn't slow me down. On Monday night I plan to set all the clocks in my house to New Zealand time and leap into Wednesday, bypassing Tuesday all together. Of course, I'll have to come back to Washington for incidentals like the farmer's market and such, but the commute will be much better from Virtual New Zealand than from the real one. The views won't be as nice, though.

I had my book club with my mom friends for Stamped. I had foolishly started out doing chapter summaries, and then stubbornness kept me doing it all the way through. So the audio went very slowly, and I was listening on Spotify so I couldn't crank up the speed. I managed to finish 20 minutes before go-time (it was remote, but it would have been even without Covid, since we are scattered all over the US and beyond). 

I have successfully finished week 8 of the Couch-5K plan. Which I thought was 8 weeks but turns out is 9. So now I have one more week. I've noticed that my knee is sore after running so I'm spreading out the runs to be 2.5 days apart instead of two days, and that seems to give me aged and appalled legs time to recover. This is a HUGE deal for me -- never in my life have I been able to fun for even 20 minutes straight, and now I've gone 28. And am planning on going 30. I'm incredibly slow, so I still haven't gone 5K, but that now seems like a realistic goal. After next week I will switch my training program from the NHS podcast (I like the British voice telling me I'm doing great) to Zombies Run. 

A sad side effect of all this exercise is that I'm sore! Sleeping is hard because when I roll over I wake myself up. The only day I managed to sleep deeply was the day I was supposed to meet up with a friend for a socially-distant park walk -- that day I slept like a log until an hour after the meeting time. Oops. And then, to mock myself, I woke up the next day at 6:30 AM and couldn't get back to sleep. So I went for my last Week 8 run. 

Dinners were Thai Shrimp and then Lentil Stew, for which I contributed homemade bread. And I just made a blueberry banana bread from fresh blueberries that I shall bring over to my sister's for dinner tonight. (It turned out very nice.)

My currently reading has calmed down to 20, including the three I'm just pretending to read. 

The Book Date does a weekly roundup of what people are reading, want to read, or have read each week called "It's Monday! What Are You Reading" so I'll sign up there. Ditto for the children's lit version at either Teach Mentor Texts or Unleashing Readers. My new books are 3/5 kidlit this week.
Started

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer TeamOperaticCleaning the Gold (Jack Reacher, #23.6; Will Trent, #8.5)
Ordinary HazardsFences (The Century Cycle #6)

All Thirteen, Christina Soontornvat. ARC from Candlepress. Also fits my Goodreads team challenge.

Operatic, Kyo Maclear. Cybils graphic book finalist.

Cleaning the Gold, Karin Slaughter & Lee Child. Two action adventure series characters meet. I know Jack Reacher but the other guy was new to me.

Ordinary Hazards, Nikki Grimes. Cybils finalist. 

Fences, August Wilson. For the 21 Day Anti-Racist challenge. I think I'm on day 27.


Completed

MiddlegameStamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in AmericaA Face Like Glass
OperaticAll Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer TeamCleaning the Gold (Jack Reacher, #23.6; Will Trent, #8.5)

Middlegame, Seanan McGuire. Novel finalist for 2020 Hugos. Looking back, I'm very impressed by the structure, which was complex but also integral to advancing the plot and the themes. The title will resonate most with chess players, and I'm only a retired chess spectator, so I felt it fairly dimly. The best parts are the relationship between Roger and Dodge in all the time lines, and the echo of that in Erin, and then the imagery of alchemy and the dreams of alchemists.

Stamped From the Beginning, Ibram X Kendi. (Audio) Whew -- I finished 20 minutes before the club meeting. I can quibble about the structure, which I thought was strained, and some of the organization, which sometimes made it hard to follow on audio, but overall I felt it was really informative, comprehensive, and comprehensible. Some stuff echoed what I already knew, but there was a lot of new information that I had forgotten, never been taught, or never learned. Most interestingly, there was a lot of context that I knew pieces of but that Kendi showed in a new and very persuasive light. I think this is a worthy prize-winner and now I want to go read the YA version.

A Face Like Glass, Frances Hardinge. Cybils 2017 MG book. Hardinge is always amazing, and her command of character is brilliant. This book felt almost overstuffed -- a distinctive character who is going through a lot of changes, a fascinating setting stuffed with interesting ideas and technologies and ideas, and several mysteries nestled inside and alongside each other. But kids aren't as lazy as me and don't quibble about having too much fun. I like how the characters inspire each other to do great things.

Operatic, Kyo Maclear. Cybils 2019 YA graphic book finalist. This was quietly insightful; it follows a junior year of a girl with a great music class and teacher. The different shades of panels clearly showed flashbacks and themes, and I like how the girl was Asian and had queer friends, which affected her story but the story wasn't about these "issues". It felt like a powerful short story.

All Thirteen, Christina Soontornvat. ARC from Candlepress. I found this interesting and suspenseful. Soontornvat takes time to set things up, so as the chapters follow the soccer team from their decision to enter the cave all the way to the aftermath of the rescue she includes boxes that detail concepts needed along the way, from Thai customs to cave geology to drug interactions. The pictures were good and the diagrams clear. I also liked the personal touch in the back material as she explains her interest started when she was in Thailand visiting relatives when the story broke, and how she used her family as translators and for insights into Thai society. Speaking of back matter, the sources are well documented and the index and bibliography stood up to all my questions.

Cleaning the Gold, Karin Slaughter & Lee Child. I'm a Jack Reacher fan. It was fun to watch him amaze the other guy with his muscles. And his brain. Reacher is apparently much more of a superhero; Slaughter's guy is a mere mortal. They cleaned the gold and then uncovered a new mystery, just in case the authors want to get back together. 


Bookmarks Moved (Or Languished) In:

Tender MorselsUncompromising Honor (Honor Harrington, #14)Tooth and ClawBraiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants
Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)The Warden  (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1)Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan. 8/10 discs. An expert is on the scene.

Uncompromising Honor, David Weber. Baen Free Radio Hour's serial, part 19-20. OK, I can listen to podcasts again. There is a battle. 

Tooth and Claw, Jo Walton. Enjoying reading this alongside The Warden. 

Braiding Sweetgrass (audio)Robin Wall Kimmerer. Still find it life-affirming.

Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler. Reread. Yikes. I like how the first-person text is trying to be calm but you can see the emotion leaking through. 

Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling. I'm listening to celebrities read this to me. Stephen Fry is up, but I have almost no time to listen.

The Warden, Anthony Trollope. For my Tuesday Minecraft club. Supposed to finish this by Tuesday. Hmm...

Black Leopard, Red Wolf, Marlon James. Sword and Laser pick. This has a very strong flavor; I'm not sure I'm going to like it.


Picture Books / Short Stories:
 
Αλφαβητάρι με γλωσσοδέτες

Αλφαβητάρι με γλωσσοδέτες, Eugene Trivizas. Only did one letter.

Palate Cleansers

These books I'm barely reading; I use them as palate cleansers between books I'm actually reading.

The Educated Child: A Parents Guide from Preschool Through Eighth GradeGive All to Love (Sanguinet Saga, #11)Wool (Wool, #1)The Wind Gourd of La'amaomao: The Hawaiian Story of Pāka'a and Kũapāka'a: Personal Attendants of Keawenuia'umi, Ruling Chief of Hawaii and Descendants of La'amaomaoSorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer Royal, #1)Reading and Learning to Read


The Educated Child, William Bennett. Math is hard guys. Also, Bennett seems to think that multiplying large numbers involves algebra. Have I been doing it wrong?

Give All to Love, Patricia Veryan. Bad guys think more than the good guys. 

Wool, Hugh Howey. 

The Wind Gourd of La'amaomao, Moses Nakuima. 

Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho. 

Reading and Learning to Read, Jo Anne Vaca. More ways to ready students to read nonfiction.

Reading Challenges
  1. Cybils 2017. Finished A Face Like Glass.
  2. Cybils 2018. None.
  3. Cybils 2019. Read Operatic. Have holds traveling to my library.
  4. Reading My Library. The librarians are considering my request. 
  5. Ten to Try. At 9/10. Haven't read it yet, but I've got #10 on my tablet.
  6. Where Am I Reading: 22/51 states. Gold was in Kentucky. 19 Countries. Added Thailand.
  7. Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge. 21/24. Three left:  6 (play by PoC or queer author), 13 (food book about a new to me cuisine),  and 24 (Indigenous author). (Had to read several literary magazines to vote in the Hugos Awards.) I'm currently reading the play and listening to something by an Indigenous author. And I'm reconsidering counting a romance as a food book.