Long Weekend Award Reading Challenge – Finish Line

I did it! This weekend, I successfully finished reading the last 9 books I needed to read for the 2024 Mathical Awards!

As I explained in the Starting Post, this was different from my previous 48-Hour Book Challenges, as I was taking 3 days and I needed to finish specific books. And I did it! Not as much time to spare as I’d hoped, but I did get to take a walk in the snow today, so I’m not complaining!

Here are my stats:

9 books finished, with 7 of those complete books.
1563 pages read.
9 short reviews written for the Mathical committee and 4 reviews written for Sonderbooks (to appear after we announce our winners).
18 hours, 5 minutes reading — so 3 hours less than I estimated, but I made up for that with
4 hours, 40 minutes reviewing and blogging, for a grand total of

22 hours, 45 minutes spent this weekend on Mathical books.

And now I am DONE with award reading until September when, if all goes well, I’ll start reading for the Cybils Awards again. (Though we will be discussing the Mathical books next week.) This is after a year on the Morris committee, so I’m ready to read some adult books. (Though I have an Advance Reader Copy of the new Kimberly Brubaker Bradley book that is definitely going to be next.)

Unfortunately, my house is such a mess right now, having neglected it for reading, that I don’t even quite know where to start. I’ll probably start with putting away the last of my Christmas stuff, but also clear my table so I can do a jigsaw puzzle again. (I can’t do a jigsaw puzzle when in the middle of award committee reading, because I can’t resist a puzzle and spend lots of time on it when I should be reading and stay up way too late, too.) But it’s all good, and not only did I have fun reading some excellent books this weekend, I have a big sense of accomplishment. My 2024 reading year is off to a great start.


Long Weekend Award Reading Challenge

It’s Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday Weekend, and it’s time for a Long Weekend Award Reading Challenge!

Here’s the thing: I was on the Morris Award selection committee last year, but I didn’t take myself off the Mathical Book Prize selection committee. We finished our Morris reading in December, and it went to my head a little. I got out a jigsaw puzzle and read a Christmas novel, among other things. I had plenty of time!

Well, this year I think we’ve got a few more of the longer children’s books to consider, but whatever the reason, I should have worked on this sooner. Our short reviews of the eligible books are due this coming Monday, and I have 9 more books to finish.

Now, two of the books (one fiction and one nonfiction) are almost done. All of them are pretty short. Especially compared to the young adult books I was reading for the Morris.

During my Newbery reading, I learned that I can read a children’s novel at the rate of approximately 100 pages per hour. During my Morris reading, I learned that for young adult novels, it’s more like 60 pages per hour. Using those figures, I estimate that it will take me 21 hours to finish the 9 books. And I’ve got 3 days, so it just means 7 hours per day.

Besides, this kind of marathon reading is exactly what I do when I tackle a 48-Hour Book Challenge!

Last July, I got 18 hours of reading done in 48 hours. So surely I can do 21 hours in 72.

The difference, though, is that I usually add to my time by listening to audiobooks while I prepare food or do other necessary tasks. But I don’t have any of these mathical books on audio. So that’s going to make it trickier. I also am hoping I can still go for walks on Saturday and Monday, go to church on Sunday, and do things like laundry and other weekend chores – but again, won’t be able to count listening while I do them. I also want to have my daily devotional time, which I count as reading for the 48-Hour Book Challenge, but can’t for this. I will only count reading for the Mathical Book Prize, plus writing short reviews.

I had planned to get started tonight — but it’s already past midnight, and I need to go to bed! And that happened because I did my usual chore of paying bills on Friday night and cooked dinner and then thought I could just post a review before I started the reading, and one thing led to another and now it’s late.

So this is my challenge. Can I read for approximately 21 hours on this long weekend and finish reading 9 children’s and young adult books and write short reviews? I’m going to try!

Happy Reading!

48-Hour Book Challenge – July 2023 – Finish Line Post

Ah, it always happens when I wind up a 48-Hour Book Challenge. As usual, I learn that 48 hours isn’t all that long.

And because I didn’t set my alarm, I slept late, and in the afternoon, doing lots of reading makes me sleepy, so I took naps, too. But any time is better than no time, right? And I definitely got more reading done than on an ordinary weekend.

Here are my stats:

Total time spent on the 48-Hour Book Challenge from 8:30 pm Thursday to 8:30 pm Saturday: 24 hours, 40 minutes.

First, the non-reading:
Emailing (I decided to allow that, for reasons): 1 hour, 50 minutes
Spreadsheets and housekeeping: 1 hour
Blogging: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Reviewing: 25 minutes
Posting: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Total non-reading time: 6 hours, 15 minutes

Reading time:
Reading Morris-eligible books: 8 hours, 20 minutes
Reading other books: 5 hours, 5 minutes
Listening to a Morris-eligible book: 5 hours
Total Reading time: 18 hours, 25 minutes.

Okay, that’s a good amount of time….

Total pages read was 1255 (not counting the audiobook).
Total words written (blogs and reviews, but not emails) was 1257.

Books finished: 6
Reviews written: 2
Complete books read: 4
Partial books read: 10
(Explanation: I tend to read nonfiction a chapter at a time. I also have a half-dozen books I read in daily for my devotional time.)

Unfortunately, of the 4 books I finished today, I haven’t written any reviews yet, so that still needs to happen.

All in all, it was a lovely use of my time, but makes me want to spend more time at it!

And the good part is that since I started keeping track of time I’m spending on Morris reading, my total for the week is twice as big as any other week. So that makes it time well-spent.

Until next time….

48-Hour Book Challenge July 2023 – Starting Line

I’m doing it! I took tomorrow off work, and I’m starting a 48-Hour Book Challenge.

These challenges were started many years ago by Pam Coughlan, then blogging as Mother Reader. (And I’m happy to say that although Pam is no longer blogging, she’s finished her Master’s in Library Science and is doing an awesome job working in libraries, still bringing great books to kids.)

Pam was way more organized than me about it. She organized it as a group effort. She got people to donate prizes. She added a little competition. The question to answer: In one 48-Hour period, how much time can you spend reading or blogging?

I am not very motivated about organizing large groups of people. But I really enjoyed the 48-Hour Book Challenges I participated in. They allow me to completely silence that voice inside me telling me I need to be productive and shouldn’t be reading.

Well, now I’m on the Morris Award committee – trying to help choose the best debut young adult book of the year. And it’s much much less that’s eligible than reading for the Newbery — but there’s still more reading than I could possibly do in a year, and I still need to read as much as I possibly can — and I feel like I’m getting behind.

At the same time, I recently made a list of tasks of things I want to polish up on my website. But who has time?

Another contribution is that recently I saw a weekend retreat I was very tempted to attend, but decided I shouldn’t spend that much money until I’ve finished paying for my last vacation. But the idea of taking a long weekend got into my head.

So — I asked for a Friday off, and I’m going to do a 48-Hour Book Challenge.

I make up my own rules. I’m not going to go crazy and set an alarm and cut into my sleep or anything. I plan to go for a walk both mornings and take showers. But I do think I’ll listen to an audiobook while preparing food and doing laundry.

But I’m going to spend as much time as I can with three things:
Writing Reviews
Working on my Website

And “Working on my website” counts posting reviews and blog posts (like this), but also any of the tasks I listed recently to make the website look better or work better.

So! I started tonight (Thursday) at 8:30 pm. I will continue until Saturday at 8:30 pm and see how many hours I can put in, and if I can get any more Morris-eligible books read.

With these starting line posts, I do like to post this theme song for my declared Reading Time:

And hey, I know I didn’t post this with any notice – but if anyone wants to join me, post in the comments!

Finish Line – 24-Hour Book Blitz, February 2023

24 hours isn’t enough time!

But my final stats are:
9 hours, 10 minutes reading,
3 hours, 15 minutes listening,
1 hour, 25 minutes online with related stuff.
Total: 13 hours, 50 minutes. And I spent more than half the 24 hours actually on books.

I finished 3 books, and read or listened to parts of 16 books. This isn’t as bad as it sounds. I read a page or two of several books as part of my daily quiet time. I read a total of 810 pages.

Like I said, it’s not enough time. I’m in the middle of Sidney Taylor Award Winner and Printz Honor Book, When the Angels Left the Old Country, and it’s amazing! But that means I didn’t get going on Morris Award eligible books. However, I greatly narrowed down the list of award winners I’m going to try to read before I do a program a week from today. I hope to at least start a Morris book this week. And after that — No more excuses! If I don’t read two Morris eligible books in a given week, I’ll finish up on Sunday instead of going to my usual gaming group. That’s the plan, we’ll see if it works!

And meanwhile, how much fun was it to spend a day reading?

24-Hour Book Blitz – February 2023 – Starting Line

It’s time for a 24-Hour Book Blitz!

And yes, I’m using the 48-Hour Book Challenge logo that my friend Pam, who once posted at Mother Reader, created. This is a half-time challenge for President’s Day.

Here’s the thing: I’m on the Morris Committee this year!

The Morris Award is for the best young adult debut book of the year. The eligibility is well-defined — a book for teens published between November 1st and October 31st, and it must be the creator or creators’ first published book.

The number of books eligible is much, much smaller than the number of books that were eligible for the Newbery when I was on it in 2019. But the thing is — it’s still more books than one person can read. But since the task is finite, we’re going to try to have at least two people from the committee read every eligible book. And everybody read the books that are nominated by at least two people.

I already have a list of 95 eligible books, and this is just the beginning of the year.

And — because I was on the Cybils and Mathical committees at the end of last year — so far I have only read 3 books eligible for the Morris! So I am starting out way behind.

To make matters worse, except in a good way, I’m doing a program for other youth services staff in my library system on February 27 about this year’s award winners — and I very much want to read more of the winners before the program.

So during my Book Blitz, the first thing I’m going to do is try to narrow down the books I’m going to read for the Award Winners Program, and try to get started on Morris books.

The committee has agreed that we expect everyone to read two eligible books per week. And I have promised myself that I won’t go to my gaming group on Sundays unless I’ve read two Morris books that week. I’m hoping it will be a well-deserved reward!

But now, I’m starting my Book Blitz. The rules are: I’m going for time spent. For the next 24 hours (starting at 10 pm Sunday night), I’m going to record how much time I spend reading books, listening to books, blogging about books, or posting reviews.

I’m not planning to set my alarm – so staying up late may be counter-productive. But it’s time to get busy, and let’s see how I do. Time to read!

48-Hour Book Challenge Finish Line

Well, I finished this month’s 48-Hour Book Challenge.

First off, I’m disappointed because my total time is 10 minutes less than last Spring, and I thought that was low. I should somehow avoid those naps! But this time I did less audiobook listening and more reading, so I got more pages read. This time I spent much more time on housekeeping details, but it’s all good.

Here are my totals:

Reading time: 13 hours, 15 minutes
I read 906 pages in that time. Only one was a complete book, but I finished four books, and hope to finish one more book for the Cybils before I go to sleep tonight. Counting the four books I finished, I read from sixteen different books. (This isn’t unusual. I like to read nonfiction a little bit at a time.)

Listening time: 4 hours, 5 minutes
That’s not enough to finish the audiobook I’m working on, but I’m 49% through it.

Reviewing time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
I wrote reviews of three of the books I finished.

Blogging time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
This is the start and end posts, plus two Sonderblessings posts.

Posting two reviews: 1 hour, 30 minutes.
I write the posts on this blog, then set them up for the main website, with links to reviews before and after.

Housekeeping details: 3 hours
This includes setting up the spreadsheet and details like that. The reason it’s so very long this time was first that it turned out the book I started Thursday night was in the wrong category. So I sent emails to the Cybils category chair of Young Adult Fiction and got that straightened out — it’s not Speculative Fiction at all. (My category.) Then last night, I got the list of finalist books for the Mathical Book Prize, and I went through my library catalog with every title to figure out how many I need to order and how many I can read from library books.

You’d think by now I’d know that I’ll never get as much done in 48 hours as I think I can! I suspect what spoiled me is in other years I’ve worked on children’s books, and I can read them in about half the time of a young adult book. I was looking back in my records, and only once did I ever get more than 30 hours in, but usually I do more like 27 hours. Maybe I’m getting old!

But it’s all good, and it’s definitely fun to try! And I read some good books this weekend!

Autumn 48-Hour Book Challenge Starting Line!

It dawned on me Tuesday, when I had Election Day off, that this coming weekend would be a perfect time to do a 48-Hour Book Challenge — because I’ve also got Veteran’s Day off Friday, giving me a long weekend. So tonight I paid my bills and went through mail and ordered a couple of things I wanted. And now my weekend should be clear for a Book Challenge!

I did my first 48-Hour Book Challenge years ago, the inspiration of Pam Coughlan, who then blogged as Mother Reader and later became my co-worker. The idea is to see how much time you can spend reading and blogging during a fixed space of 48 hours. Wow! It looks like it was 2009 the first time.

The reason this works is it makes reading a priority! You trick yourself into doing what you want to do and need to do because it’s what you’re supposed to do for these next 48 hours.

But since it’s not a group thing this time and I’m setting it up myself, this time I’m going to make it a reading and writing challenge. So I can spend time working on my book as well as blogging. (I have a book written about Psalms and I’ve almost finished the Book Proposal.) Besides that, I might even count email time this time — I’m way behind on emailing my friends these days. The catch, of course, is that means I won’t get as many books read.

And the reason I’m reading? I’m judging the first round of the Cybils in the category of Young Adult Speculative Fiction. We need to come up with seven finalists by Christmas, out of eighty books nominated, so that’s a lot of reading. (I won’t read all eighty, but I’d like to read, say, forty. We do want two of the seven judges to read every book.)

I’m off to a late start. I thought I’d start tonight because that way I’d have some of Saturday night left to do other things — but not so much. Anyway, I’ll see what I can do tonight before I fall asleep, and then it will be a reading day tomorrow! It’s supposed to rain and storm, so I won’t be tempted to break to take a walk. (I *am* going to be tempted to post pictures I’ve taken this month, which I’m also way behind about. But if I do, I will listen to audiobooks as I do it.)

The goal this time? Simply do better than last time, when my total time was 24 hours, 45 minutes, but my time reading was only 8 hours 10 minutes, with time listening 11 hours, 15 minutes. I finished 4 books, but only 2 of them were complete books. And I wrote 2,492 words.

Okay, I started at 11:10 pm (blogging counts). Ready, set, READ!

And I can’t resist: Here’s the youtube Theme Song for my 48-Hour Book Challenge that always makes me laugh:

48-Hour Book Challenge Finish Line

My 48-Hour Book Challenge is done, and my showing wasn’t as good as other times — too much sleeping and exceptions. And the 3000-piece puzzle on my table pulled me into more listening time than reading time, which isn’t nearly as efficient.

However — I did have a lovely time this weekend doing lots of reading! I really like the two audiobooks I’ve listened to this weekend — A Comb of Wishes (finished and reviewed) and These Wicked Walls (still a couple hours to go), so even if it wasn’t as efficient as reading, I enjoyed my time.

I did review all four books I finished (only four!), but haven’t gotten all the reviews posted yet. I did write two other reviews and have four more reviews I want to write, which I may do tonight. When it came to the end and I saw I hadn’t gotten much reading done, I wanted to do more of that.

Here are my stats for the last 48 hours:

8 hours, 10 minutes Reading
11 hours, 15 minutes Listening (I told you that puzzle snagged me.)
2 hours, 15 minutes writing reviews
50 minutes other blogging
2 hours, 15 minutes posting reviews (mostly while listening to audiobooks, not counted in above)

It all adds up to 24 hours, 45 minutes spent on books in the last 48 hours.

I finished 4 books, 2 of them from start to finish, but read parts of 13 books. I have several books I like to read a chapter per day, and worked on those. I read 719 pages in that time, which doesn’t count the audiobooks. I wrote 5 book reviews, including 3 of the books I finished. (I intentionally didn’t review one of the books. I enjoyed it, but would have pointed out too many flaws in a review — I think it’s better to just be quiet about it.) I wrote 2,492 words, posted 2 reviews on my website and 1 on the blog only. I posted 2 blog posts about ALA Annual Conference that were already written.

And there are much worse ways to spend a weekend! At this point, I may not be able to go to sleep without finishing up Within These Wicked Walls. And the puzzle is still calling!

48-Hour Book Challenge! 2022 Edition – Starting Line

Many years ago, my friend Pam, who blogged as Mother Reader started a tradition of a 48-Hour Book Challenge.

Since then, Pam moved on to other things (including working with me at the library!), but I have periodically brought back the idea and carried out my own personal 48-Hour Book Challenge.

Last week, Ms. Yingling of msyinglingreads.blogspot.com hosted a 48-Hour Middle Grade Marathon — and I fully intended to do it when I heard about it a couple weeks before — and then totally forgot until I saw people posting about it Saturday night.

But this weekend, I don’t have my regular gaming group meeting on Sunday, and Saturday is completely clear, and I have piles and piles of new books I want to read from ALA Annual Conference, plus 11 books I want to read for the mid-year voting for Capitol Choices (a DC area group of librarians that chooses 100 best kid’s books of the year) — and that’s only counting the ones I already have checked out.

So — I am going to do a 48-Hour Book Challenge! And I started at 8:05 pm tonight!

Here’s how it works: It’s measured by time. You take a 48-Hour period of time — In my case, it will be 8:05 pm Friday to 8:05 pm Sunday — and you see how much of that time you can spend reading.

Okay, it began with bloggers, and I am also going to count blogging. The thing that was holding me back: I currently have 199 book reviews sitting as drafts waiting to be posted. If I read more, I’ll get more behind.

So — I am going to count blogging time, too, including writing this post. And in fact, after every book I read, if I’m going to review it, I’m going to review it immediately, and post that review. (The first book I’m going to finish is a YA book I’ve already decided I won’t review because although I’m enjoying it, I have too many negative comments.)

But I would also like to make headway on my blog. So with every book I finish, I also plan to post an old review only on the blog, post a non-book-review post like these ones about ALA Annual Conference, and post another book review on Sonderbooks.com.

This year, I now listen to eaudiobooks, so I can do chores like cooking, dishes, laundry and such while listening to books and count that time. I’m afraid I also have a 3000-piece puzzle up on my table, and there will be some time given to that this weekend, while listening. But my queue of audiobooks I want to listen to is piling up, too, so that will be fine.

Of course, I won’t get nearly as many books read as when I don’t have these side goals, but I’m happy about my plan.

Why do a 48-Hour Book Challenge? Well, the lovely part is that it tricks my brain into making reading my priority for 48 hours. I have to get my reading done!

I won’t lose sleep for it, and won’t set my alarm or skip my walk, and I will go to church Sunday — but otherwise my plan is to really put in some good reading time this weekend. And yay! See how I’ve tricked myself into making fun a priority?

Anyone is welcome to join me, though I’m posting this so late I doubt I’ll get any takers. But if you do decide to join me, just post in the comments when you’re starting. You could always do a 24-hour Book Challenge, right? And I’m thinking writers could do it, too — count time working on your book!

The key is it’s what you want it to be. You might think I don’t need to do it since I live alone, but it gives me permission to have a luxurious reading weekend. If you do live with someone, you can also use this to give yourself permission to do the same.

So, off I go to finish a book! (I only have about 50 pages left.) And to embark on 48 hours of happy reading and blogging.

And please forgive me, but I always watch this video and laugh and laugh when I start a 48-Hour Book Challenge:

There’s no one here to interrupt me, but I’m also not going to interrupt myself!

Happy Reading!