Sunday, June 7, 2009

Finished the 48 Hour Challenge!

I just finished up MotherReader's 48 Hour Reading Challenge, and boy are my eyes tired.  My final stats:  

8:30 Friday night -- 8:30 Sunday night
Blog: 1 hr 30 minutes
Read Blogs & Comment (only a few comments, I'm shy): 1 hr 22 minutes
Read: 22 hrs 30 minutes

Total: 25 hours and 22 minutes.


I read 9 books and finished four that I've had bookmarks in for a while. I'll star the ones that were
only partially read.  I didn't track page counts at all.

* Stewards of the Flame, by Sylvia Engdahl, 2007. Medicine has taken body-worship to such extremes that it is illegal to die -- people are kept in stasis when their bodies fail. Psi-learning hero types rebel against this system with the help of Jesse, a space captain imprisoned on the planet because he may someday get ill. But there is too much talking for too little action; I remember Engdahl's earlier YA books as having a better balance.

* Firebirds Soaring, ed. Sharyn November. The 3rd collection of YA short SF short stories, with many names I cross the street to read (Jo Walton, Ellen Klages, Nancy Farmer, Sherwood Smith, louise Marley, etc.) I was impressed by Walton's fairy tale (Three Twilight Tales) and Nancy Farmer's "A Ticket to Ride." And the last story, "Something Worth Doing" by Elizabeth Wein was a good solid ending to a rich work. But I did at some point start wondering where the boys were -- they seemed rare on the ground, and easily outshadowed by the girls. But the girls mostly rock.

The Wedding Journey, Carla Kelly, 2002. Someone recommended this author but I can't remember where. It's a Signet Regency, so we know going in that the couple will end up Happily Ever After, but the journey is a pleasant one. Well, not for them, as they are trying to get across war-torn Spain ahead of Napolean armies, but we see them both learn about and from each other. The supporting characters are unlikely but amusing, and the sex is muted. B 

* Tithe: a Modern Faerie Tale, Holly Black, 2002. I've been stuck midway through this book for months now, and the challenge got me to pick it up and finish it. The depiction of faerie is brutal enough that I was afraid of what would happen, and some bad stuff did happen but the book is worth it. I'm not sure I buy the romance, but I liked the friendships. I'll probably try another Black book. B

Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon, Nancy Atherton, 2009. Latest installment in this tea cozy series, about a nice lady with a nice husband and nice kids who all live in a nice village. The nice lady talks to a nice dead Aunt Dimity. It's a good vacation from the real world; Atherton usually manages to make even the villains of the slight mystery sorta nice too. (Not always, there is always the occasional psychopath, but usually.) B

Impossible, Nancy Werlin. 2008. I think of Nancy Werlin as a science fiction writer, but here her characters have to struggle with a fantasy curse, yet still deal with the real world. So Lucy has the worries of a teen-age pregnancy while still coming to terms with the terrible curse that seems to be on her family. A.

Mystery of the Sassafras Chair, by Alexander Key. 1967. Timor tries to prove his friend is innocent of a robbery, but the friend can only communicate through the magical sassafras chair since he died running from the police. Timor's uncle disapproves of these magical going-ons and the real robbers disapprove of his investigation. B

Daughter of Fortune, Carla Kelly. 1985. A gripping story set in New Mexico in 1680 during an Indian uprising that threw the Spanish back. The main characters were terribly young (15-20) but never thought of themselves as children. Lots of atrocities, though; this is not a book for the squeamish. A-

* Red Sails to Capri, Ann Weil. 1952. This Newbery Honor book tells a slow story of life on Capri, concentrating mainly on the characters and having little plot. As an adult I think it rather condescending, both to the Italians and the kids reading it, but as a kid I bet I would have enjoyed it. C

Sword, Da Chen. 2008. The daughter of a murdered sword master tries to avenge him by killing the emperor, but fails and decides to have babies instead. I was confused by the switches between kung fu magic and adolescent storming, and I think it assumes a knowledge of a lot of tropes I can't supply. So I missed this one but I suspect that other people might get a lot more from it. C

The Kayla Chronicles, Sherri WInston. 2007. Kayla's overbearing friend talks her into trying out for the school drill team, yet refuses to be happy for her when she makes it. B

Wicked Gentlemen, Ginn Hale. 2007. Wow, very different from what I expected, but interesting. Vampires are real but oppressed, and the Inquisition is a police force willing to use them as convenient frames for inconvenient crimes. At yet it is a romance, because true love does triumph. B

Fever 1793, Laurie Halse Anderson. 2000. Luckily I walked into this expecting everyone to die, so it was not nearly as depressing as it could have been. It felt grounded in it's time, and I appreciated the strict mom who gets lost fairly quickly so the protagonist can grow. B

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