Monday, June 30, 2014

Reading In the Summertime

I'm clinging to my blog by this weekly update, although at least I'm thinking a little about what I would say if I did write about my reading. Maybe in a few weeks I'll actually type them down.

It was a lazy week; I let the boys sleep in and loll about to decompress from the school year. They even declined a trip to the local amusement park, preferring to avoid the AM hours. In July we have our trips and vacations planned, so we'll be more active.

I did enjoy going through the first season of Buffy with my new teenager. I highly recommend that as a coming-of-age show for parents and teens, since it takes aim at the stresses of adolescence and makes them cheesy and literal. Yes, that friend you met on the internet is a demon. Yes, boys have an evil beast within. Yes, you are doomed to die. Yes, the things you do mean life or death to the universe.

What have I read this week? I shall tell bookjourney's crew about it, and, since so much of my reading is kidlit, also link to Teach Mentor Texts:
  • The Human Division, John Scalzi. I like the way his books sound light and fluffy, all snark and dialogue, and then suddenly there's a paragraph that lets you know that things are real all the way down.
  • Crow, Barbara Wright. It's very depressing to read historical fiction when you know things are going to end badly but the characters are all hopeful.
  • Perdition (The Dred Chronicles), Ann Aguirre. I noticed the writing was a bit careless, but I still liked the situations and characters.
  • The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction, Justine Larbalestier. Sometimes it's nice to read English PhD papers, with all their fancy words and stuff. I also got some recommendations out of this one.
Also some picture books which I put on my Reading My Library Quest page.

What am I currently reading?
  • My Real Children, Jo Walton. I expect to love this.
  • The Martian, Andy Weir. NOOK Sword & Laser's pick last month.
  • The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison. I snuck this onto my phone. It is delicious.
  • Cathedral of the Wild, Boyd Varty. A memoir of growing up in Africa.
  • Tinker, Wen Spencer. I'm rereading to see how it works with Wood Sprites.
  • The Golden Leopard, Lynn Kerstan. Library books keep pushing this NOOK book out of the way.
  • Inkheart, Cornelia Funke. Recommended by Talbot Hill Elementary book club.
  • The Son of Neptune, Rick Riordan. Following up on this series.
  • Cathedral of the Wild, Boyd Varty. Present from LibraryThing EarlyReaders.
Reading intermittently, and deliberately slowly. These never change much:
  • Out to Canaan, Jan Karon. Some reunions, which probably mean more to people who read the earlier books.
  • A General Theory of Love, Thomas Lewis. The importance of childhood learning in intimacy.
  • The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens. Quite dull.
  • How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy, Orson Scott Card. How to live the life of a real writer.
What's up next? Mostly NOOK reads, plus my travel books for visiting Texas with.

2014 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils: 48/77. Have a pile of the next category but haven't stared anything yet.
  2. Where Am I Reading? 29/51. Added North Carolina. If I don't finish something on Monday (and I haven't started anything relevant) I'll be officially behind schedule on Tuesday. Guess it's time to start seeking out books.
  3. Alphabetically Inclined: 17/26. No change. Luck is not favoring me. Am reading an "M" book, which will help.
  4. What's In a Name?: 6/7. Division is a school subject!
  5. Book Bingo: Finished a square!  Seven boxes into the next one.
  6. Gentle Spectrum Challenge: 8/10, 9/10. Need a cheesy title -- I can't believe it's taking so long!
  7. Small Fry Safari: 7/8. No change. Still need something precious.
  8. PoC Speculative Fiction 6/5: No change.
  9. Best of the Best 2012: 52/25.  Ready to start Ready Player One.
  10. Reading My Library: Working hard on it. Well, except that the library just closed for a year, so not so much when the current pile is done.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Giant Catch-Up Post

2aMy last status report was over a month ago, and since then I've traveled to see my grandmother a final time, traveled again for her funeral, thrown another foam sword party, had our Shakespeare Reading Book Club meeting (postponed twice -- see above travel), allowed my now 13 year old niece the privilege of the passenger side front seat, had our year-end party for my elementary book club (We Have Cookies) at which I received about 25 book recommendations that I'm expected to read over the summer break, and WON A PRIZE in MotherReader's 48 Hour Reading Challenge. And then summer vacation started.

So it's been a time of ups and downs. Sometimes I read feverishly, sometimes I read glacially, and sometimes I just played on my computer while my books sulked to the side. But summer is coming in, and I hope to make some progress on my to-read book shelves, especially the kidlit books. So far I'm managing to read a book a day this summer, but posting is still a problem.

What have I read since May 5th? I shall tell bookjourney's crew about it, and, since so much of my reading is kidlit, also link to Teach Mentor Texts:
  • A Home in the Sky (Twicetold Tales), Olivia Snowe. A Reading My Library pick -- I'm finishing up the Children's Library shelves before the big library renovation.
  • The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater. The Great Gatsby crossed with The Secret Country. I got bogged down in the rich-are-different parts though.
  • The Rithmatist, Brandon Sanderson. Very fun Cybils finalist.
  • The Wise Fool, Shahrukh Husain. Another Reading My Library pick. P liked the fables.
  • True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Kathi Appelt. Quirky Cybils pick. A bit too quirky for me.
  • Mistress of the Art of Death, Ariana Franklin. Alt pick for Vaginal Fantasy. Good mystery and setting.
(The above I read this week, and now we dive into the archives:)
  • Lockwood & Co The Screaming Staircase, Jonathan Stroud. Another Cybils finalist, so popular we picked it for our June family book club.
  • Mrs Pollifax and the Golden Triangle, Dorothy Gilman. Nothing deep, but a fun visit to Thailand.
  • The World Outside, Eva Wiseman.  LibraryThing EarlyReader gift. Interesting story of a Hasidic girl deciding where to spend her future.
  • Standards-Based Report Cards, Thomas R. Guskey. Finally finished the text for my committee work. They canceled the last meeting to work on training teachers into our recommendations.
  • Wood Sprites, Wen Spencer. I bought the ARC from Baen because I'm a huge fan of this writer. Worth it.
  • Phantom Eyes, Scott Tracey. 48 Hour book challenge book. 
  • The Heart of a Woman, Maya Angelou. 48 Hour book challenge book. 
  • Skin Tight, Ava Gray. 48 Hour book challenge book. 
  • The Boy Who Dared, Susan Campbell Bartoletti. 48 Hour book challenge book. 
  • Heart of Steel, Meljean Brook. 48 Hour book challenge book. 
  • Archangel's Legion, Nalini Singh. 48 Hour book challenge book. 
  • The Summer of May, Cecilia Galante. 48 Hour book challenge book. 
  • Demon Eyes, Scott Tracey. 48 Hour book challenge book. 
  • The Lost Hero, Rick Riordan. Sword and Laser Kids pick. Good enough that I'm reading the next one.
  • Jinx's Magic, Sage Blackwood. The Cybils finalist was so good I read the sequel. And now I want the last one.
  • Thankless in Death, J.D. Robb. Standard Eve & Roarke fare, but a bit on the icky side.
  • Skin Game, Ava Gray. Fun SF paranormal romance.
  • Radio Fifth Grade, Gordon Korman. One of my very slow books -- fun and spunky tale of kid shenanigans while dodging homework and running a school radio show.
  • The Candy Shop War, Brandon Mull. Adventure story recommended by my elementary book club, also approved by my high schooler.
  • Child of a Hidden Sea, A.M. Dellamonica. Fun ARC I read through netgallery and recommend to all.
  • Mrs. Pollifax and the Hong Kong Buddha, Dorothy Gilman. A glance at the darker aspects of Mrs. Pollifax's holiday.
  • Rose and the Lost Princess, Holly Webb. Another sequel to a Cybils book -- that's always a good sign.
  • Early Sunday Morning: Pearl Harbor Diary of Amber Billows, Barry Denenberg. Book club recommendation that also gave me my Hawaii book for this year.
  • Michael Hague's Read-to-Me Book of Fairy Tales, Michael Hague. Reading My Library book that was beautiful and evocative.
  • Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus, R.L. LaFevers. As a parent, I think the main character is neglected. As a child reader, I'd think her independent.
  • What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms and Blessings, Joyce Sidman. A Cybils poetry book that didn't quite mesh with me.
  • The Dollhouse Murders, Betty Ren Wright. A book club recommendation that really brought back the books of my youth, with all the adults not interested in understanding the kids' motivations but very concerned with their proper behavior.
What am I currently reading?
  • Tinker, Wen Spencer. I'm rereading to see how it works with Wood Sprites.
  • The Golden Leopard, Lynn Kerstan. Library books keep pushing this NOOK book out of the way.
  • Crow, Barbara White. My current NOOK book, about a boy in turn of the century North Carolina.
  • Perdition, Ann Aguirre. Again, library books are muscling forward, but I am enjoying this.
  • Inkheart, Cornelia Funke. Recommended by Talbot Hill Elementary book club.
  • The Human Division, John Scalzi. My emergency read for the plane.
  • The Son of Neptune, Rick Riordan. Following up on this series.
  • Cathedral of the Wild, Boyd Varty. Present from LibraryThing EarlyReaders.
Reading intermittently, and deliberately slowly. These never change much:
  • Out to Canaan, Jan Karon. I read a section at a time, and this book has sections about half a page long.
  • A General Theory of Love, Thomas Lewis. 
  • The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens. 
  • How To Write Science Fiction & Fantasy, Orson Scott Card. How to live the life of a real writer.
What's up next? Stuff from my Goodreads TBR list, I hope.

2014 Challenge Progress:
  1. Cybils: 48/77. Finished poetry and Middle Grade Spec Fic. Ordered up Middle Grade Fiction and YA graphic novels.
  2. Where Am I Reading? 28/51. Added Louisiana. Currently reading a North Carolina book.
  3. Alphabetically Inclined: 17/26. Nine more.
  4. What's In a Name?: 5/7. Still need weather and school subject.
  5. Book Bingo: Finished a square! Two boxes into the next one.
  6. Gentle Spectrum Challenge: 8/10, 9/10. Need a cheesy title -- I can't believe it's taking so long!
  7. Small Fry Safari: 7/8. No change. Still need something precious.
  8. PoC Speculative Fiction 6/5: I'm working on Sorcerer!
  9. Best of the Best 2012: 52/25.  Hmm. I need to get some more of these books.
  10. Reading My Library: Working on it.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Sailer's Life For Me

I've had a netgallery account for ages, but I've never caught up with all the books already on my NOOK so I've rarely used it to get more. But as part of my attempt to start thinking about my reading more, I asked for A.M. Dellamonica's Child of a Hidden Sea, and lucked into a copy.

It's a fun portal world -- girl goes to another world and discovers things. At times it doesn't seem to take itself too seriously, because our viewpoint character knows that this is not her world and it doesn't seem as real too her -- it's a place to explore and wonder at, but especially after she finds she can get back, it's a display, not a reality. Cute ship captains, magic possibilities, hot aristocrats from another island -- it's like a vacation.

But as she returns and becomes more involved with the lives of the people, some of them her relatives, suddenly she and the reader realize that these are events are real, that these people matter, and that the danger may be more than they can overcome. It deepens the story and leaves the reader feeling that an whole meal, not a like popcorn snack, has been read. It didn't hurt that the main character is a strong woman, not perfect but a real protagonist, and her protective feeling towards her brother proves intense enough to help her rise into a real hero. I just found out that there's a sequel planned, and I'm also interested in seeing what Dellamonica's previous books were like.

Heavy Bag of Tiny Books

Image of Renton
My beautiful library is getting renovated, which means that I'll have to change the library picture for this post. On June 22nd it will close and not reopen until the distant future.

This confuses my Library Quest a bit -- I'm slowly going through and reading a book from each shelf. So I'm zooming through to finish the children's room so that hopefully I can than renew my journey in the new upgraded library, which I assume will have a children's room as well, and I'll just ignore that and go on to the rest of the library.

Also, since my elementary school book club meets on Monday, and I challenge them to suggest books for me to read, I have a pile of books matching their suggestions. The sensible thing to do would have been to get these last week, while I was doing the Reading Challenge, but I fear I lean more towards the sensibility rather than the sense side in my reading habits.

First, I got Archangel's Storm by Nalini Singh because I managed to skip this one in the series and that bugged me.
Archangel's Storm
Then I picked up my Book Club Recommendations:
Love, StargirlBlack ButlerLeven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo
Love, Stargirl  Jerry Spinelli. I remember liking Stargirl but I'm fairly sure I never read the sequel.
Black Butler, Yana Toboso
The Gateway (Leven Thumps 1), Obert Skye
The School for Good and Evil
Gregor the Overlander, Suzanne Collins
The School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani

Reading My Library Selections, Mostly Made by my Impatient Alexander:
Measuring TemperaturePterosaur TroubleOver and Under the SnowButterfly
E536.50287 Measuring Temperature, Darice Bailer
E567.918 Pterosaur Trouble, Daniel Loxton
E591.43  Over and Under the Snow, Kate Messner
E595.789 Grow With Me: Butterfly, Kate Riggs
QueenieI Think I Am Going to SneezeGerman Shepherd
E599.67 Queenie: One Elephant's Story, Corinne Fenton
E628.9297 I Think I Am Going to Sneeze: A First Look at Allergies, Pat Thomas
E625.1 Trains, Amy Shields
E636.7376 German Shepherd, Jinny Johnson
Look at That BuildingCheer SkillsIce Skating
E690 Look at that Building: A First Book of Structure, Scot Ritchie
E791.64 Cheer Skills, Jen Jones
E796.91 Ice Skating, Bob Temple
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little StarGrand CanyonAll-star!
E821.7 Twinkle, Twinkle, Litte Star, Jerry Pinkney
E979.132 Big Outdoors: Grand Canyon, Valerie Boddn
EB All Star! Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card, Jane Yolen

This means I now have 67 things out on my library cards, including ebooks. Oops. I'm not even going to look on the ebook side But I should power through these picture books quickly, and then get back to the library next week to check out a dozen or so Early Readers, and then declare victory before they shut the library down. 
I'll go share my Library Loot at the event co-hosted by Claire from the Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief where all the library addicts compare their treasures.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Finish Line!

Ding Ding Ding! My 48 Hours are over! I spent 32 of them reading.

I read 8 books, and snatches of a few others, since I walked into the challenge with ten or so active bookmarks.  I finished:
  1. Demon Eyes, by Scott Tracey (gay protagonist)
  2. The Summer of May, by Cecelia Galante (cover shows girl of color)
  3. Archangel's Legion, Nalini Singh
  4. Phantom Eyes, by Scott Tracey (gay protagonist)
  5. Heart of Steel, by Meljean Brook (Asian protagonist)
  6. The Boy Who Dared, Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Mormon German anti-Nazi protestor)
  7. Skin Tight, Ava Gray (Iranian-American protagonist)
  8. The Heart of a Woman, Maya Angelou (African-American memoir)
I haven't reviewed the last one yet, and I need to run out to start all my neglected weekend chores, but I'm happy with my count. I read 6 hours on Friday, 16 1/2 hours on Saturday, and 9 1/2 hours on Sunday for a total of 32 hours, exceeding my private goal of 24. Most of the missing 16 hours were spent sleeping. Which honestly, was probably necessary.

Science Fiction Romance

Skin Tight - Released 06.10Even evil scientists cannot stop the path of true love! Or even of wild sex, for that matter. Ava Gray, aka Ann Aguirre, writes science fiction books with strong women and powerful men that don't fear them. Ever since Vaginal Fantasies introduced me to Aguirre, I've been picking up her books, from the space opera style Grimspace to the YA post-apocalyptic Horde (approved by my high schooler) and now into her much racier paranormal type romances written as Ava Gray.

Skin Tight is the 2nd book, following the best friend from the previous book and the complicated villain who intrigued her before that whole kidnapping/hostage thing soured their budding friendship. Now they meet up again and manage to have hot sex while diving deeper into the science that started the whole series. Gray does a good job navigating a relationship that started so poorly, and gives Mia reasons to stick with Søren despite his many many flaws. Not great literature, but good for what it tries to be. I'm moving onto the the next book soon.

Biggest complaints? Having a guy lead with funny letters in his name. As I read it I knew I'd have to waste precious minutes figuring out how to blog it. Also, I have no idea who that guy is on the cover, or why he seems to have lost his shirt.

Grim History

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti is a recent addition to one of my childhood's favorite genres -- WWII history. This is a fiction account of the true story of a German teenager put to death for listening to foreign radio broadcasts and writing leaflets about what he heard. It starts with his life in prison waiting for execution and tells the story of his life in short flashbacks.

I was actually hoping for more about a childhood in the Hitler Youth as I've read other books about German executions. Helmuth's religion was a bit of a novelty -- I haven't read many books about German Mormons. His friendships through the church and his struggle between conflicting religious commandments gave him depth -- his Church both demanded he respect the truth and that he obey the law. It was a very deep view, however, as the book is aimed at young readers. Bartoletti has actually written a book about the Hitler Youth, which I may have remembered and messed up my expectations. I'll leave it out for the seventh grader.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Pirates and Zombies! Also Nanotech and War Machines

heart of steel
Felicia Day's Vaginal Fantasy book club introduced me to Meljean Brook's Iron Seas series, which is a fun steam punk romance with really cool stuff and interesting characters. The women are capable, competent, and ambitious (see how I broke free from alliteration?) and the men are interesting and not usually annoying. That seems like faint praise to anyone who hasn't read a lot of romances, but it's really not.

Heart of Steel spends most of its time on the cool ships and zombie-fighting techniques, with excusions into nifty snatches of backstory for the adventurer hero and the pirate heroine, and gives just enough romance (and sex) to hold its head up in its marketing category. It was a fun read.

Yasmeen, the main character, is Asian, and the cast is very multicultural, so I think it qualifies as a Diverse Book for the Challenge.

Boy Saves Town

Phantom Eyes by Scott Tracey completes the trilogy about Braden, the magical boy who comes home to Belle Dam to reconcile a century-long feud, rid the town of demons, repulse the evil witch who started it all, and oh yes, get the cute boy. As my ninth grader assured me, it's more fun than the middle book because Braden stops being so silly and starts throwing his weight around.

I don't really recommend it to adults, because a lot of the writing tics bothered me; a bit too much show rather than tell, especially when the tell and the show are accidentally off. Or the use of poorly chosen speech words -- ' "Yes" he quipped' is not an example of funny repartee. Also, Braden is very much an emotional seventeen year old, and spending an entire trilogy in his first person is exhausting for me, while my fifteen year old just accepts it as natural. But, despite my incredibly slow pace of reading this afternoon, it was a fast and fun read, and I especially liked the side characters of Drew and Jade. And it was cute to read about a shy gay boy throwing tantrums about his boyfriend trying to rescue him all the time (I'm not a princess!) or about their first dance and Braden's dreams of a romantic first date, which they'll try to have a few chapters after the end of the book since none of their previous encounters (even the Winter Dance!) seem to count.

Seriously, it's good to see a book where the character is gay but that's not a problem at all. It's acknowledged, but his friends and family have no issues about it, and it's not part of the plot at all. It's just there because that's how things are in this world.

Fun In the Sky

archangel's consortNalini Singh's Archangel's Legion  is the latest in her fun series about Archangels ruling the world, in particular Manhatten, and the sassy lady who marries one of the top ones. Singh is more famous for her Psy books, but for some reason I can't get into those. I do enjoy the Angel books, however.

Some of the angel book follow the paranormal romance pattern of romance, with the developing relationship of two new characters being the mainstay of the plot. My favorite ones however continue the political adventures of Elena and her boss-man beau, even though they are already married and devoted to each other. Instead the books focus on the power politics among the supernatural creatures, with this one finishing in a battle to the death of the world between our heroes and some really bad guys. Meanwhile Elena also figures out her marriage, her relationships with her still-human friends, and her connections to her half-sisters and estranged father. Lots of action, some sex, and an author who respects her characters but doesn't take herself too seriously.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Grab My Hanky

My elementary bookclub recommended The Summer of May by Cecelia Galante to me last month, but the cover showed a dark-skinned girl looking at the sky, so I saved it for my 48 Hour Book Challenge, as the theme this year is Diverse books. It turns out that this was a case of reverse white-washing -- the main character is described as freckled with green eyes, and her grandmother comes from Ireland. Oops.

It hit me right in the sweet spot -- May is a girl who channels her grief into huge anger-management problems, and manages to mess up her life quite thoroughly while driving away all her friends, family, and acquantences. There is a happy ending, but she dives pretty deep on her way there.

YA All the Way

Demon Eyes by Scott Tracey is the second book in the Witch Eyes series. Its main character Braden is about as YA as you can get -- he's very defensive towards any authority figure, all mushy about his crush, and incredibly self-centered even when he means to be a good friend.

Of course, he also has super-magic eyeballs that could kill him at any time, as we learn in a rather hilarious opening scene that has Braden throwing a huge temper tantrum at the doctor who shows up at his house. Braden refuses to see any more counselors, is sure that his "father" only cares that he is broken, and is offended that more doctors are being brought in to talk about his feelings. At this point the poor man reveals that he's an opthamologist. So he has to wear sunglasses all the time, even when doing magic.

My high school son described this book as "a good story, although Braden spends most of his time being stupid." I have to agree, although probably most seventeen years olds are in the same boat, what with school bullies, uncertain boyfriends, and of course, the evil magicians dueling each other through the town who happen to be your father and your boyfriend's mother. I like the magic system and the friendships, and it's a bit relaxing to have a protagonist who is clearly not the sharpest tool in the shed. I'll have fun reading the last book, probably tomorrow, and X assures me that Braden gets smarter in that one.

(Fits under Diversity because Braden is gay)

48 Hour Book Challenge!

I started blogging with The 48 Hour Book Challenge of many years past, not that they would be proud of my very lackadaisical schedule and attention span. But I hope this year's event invigorates me once more to start sharing my many insights and feelings with the interwebz. Also, maybe I'll win something -- it's happened before!

Hosted once more by the estimable Mother Reader, the Ninth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge started this morning. I'm jumping in now, at 5:30 on Friday night, so I can make it back to Family Dinner on Sunday evening.

I'll probably keep updating this post with book starts and finishes or switches all through the weekend.

First Book: 5:30 PM Friday:  Demon Eyes, Scott Tracey (gay protagonist)
2nd Book: 9:00 PM Friday: The Summer of May, Cecelia Galante (cover shows girl of color, although she's Irish-American in text)
(short break: Perdition, Ann Aguirre)
3rd Book: 11:00 PM Archangel's Legion, Nalini Singh (5 hours) (PoC author)

I've started taking 15 minute breaks and reading a book from my currently-reading bag while doing the online stuff, since my laptop is so slow I have a lot of down time. I figure I get 10 minutes tops of social time that way.

(Sleep, Midnight - 6:00 AM Saturday) (6 hours)
(short breaks: Mrs Pollifax and the Golden Triangle, Dorothy Gilman, The Human Division, John Scalzi, The World Outside, Eva Wiseman, The Dream Thieves, Maggie Stiefvater, Inkheart, Cornelia Funke)

4th Book: 1:45 PM Saturday (12 hours): Phantom Eyes, Scott Tracey (gay protagonist)

(short breaks: The Golden Leopard, Lynn Kerstan, Developing Standards Based Report Cards, Guskey & Bailey, The Dream Thieves)

Oh, and I took a picture of my to-read pile, although since I have other books scattered all over the house I may not limit myself to these.

5th Book: 7:30 PM Saturday (18 hours): Heart of Steel, Meljean Brook (protagonist of color) (starting at page 112)

(short breaks: Human Division, Mrs. Pollifax and the Golden Triangle)

6th Book: 11:00 Saturday (21 hours): The Boy Who Dared, Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Mormon in Germany WWII)

(Sleep -- Midnight -- 8:00   22:30 hours)

7th Book:  8:30 AM Sunday (23 hours) Skin Tight, Ava Grey (Iranian protagonist)

Short breaks (The World Outside)

8th Book: 12:30 Sunday (27 hours)The Heart of a Woman, Maya Angelou (African American)
-- I have officially hit my goal of 24 hours of reading!

End Times: 5:00 PM Sunday: 31:30 hours: With only 30 minutes left I will fritter away my reading time among the short break books in my currently reading bag.  32 hours isn't my best time, but I'm OK with it.