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!

48-Hour Book Challenge Finish Line

In the last 48 Hours, between 7 pm Monday and 7 pm Wednesday, I spent 27 hours and 15 minutes reading, reviewing, posting reviews, and blogging.

I was hoping for 30 hours — but today I lost a little bit of urgency when I realized that my week off will continue and there’s nothing to prevent me spending the time the same way! So I took a little longer on my walk by my lake, taking pictures of irises.

Today I focused more on dipping into various nonfiction books I’d started than reading whole novels. In fact, I’m a little stunned that I only finished ONE book from start to finish — Emily’s Quest, by L. M. Montgomery. But I did finish four other books that I’d already started and wrote reviews of them. I also got more than halfway through a children’s novel that I started today.

But most of the time was reading a chapter or two from nonfiction books. Besides the five books I finished, I read parts of eighteen other books. So yeah, maybe I’m overdoing the reading a little bit of books each day thing (and no wonder it takes me a long time to make much headway), but they were all books I really enjoyed reading, and that was in keeping with my theme of taking a personal spiritual retreat this week.

My stats for the 48 hours:
13 hours, 30 minutes were spent reading
2 hours, 50 minutes were spent listening to audiobooks
2 hours, 30 minutes were spent writing four reviews
4 hours, 25 minutes were spent posting five reviews (so I’m not further behind!)
1 hour, 55 minutes were spent with other blogging (starting line & midpoint posts & Sonderquotes)
2 hours, and 5 minutes were spent keeping track in spreadsheets (Oh dear, that seems excessive.)

In those 13 and a half hours, I got 954 pages read.
In the 4 hours, 25 minutes I spent reviewing and blogging, I wrote 2,921 words.

And the important thing? I had a lovely time doing it. And — I think I set some nice habits for the rest of my week off. Having this going on helped me spend a little less time on Twitter in the morning. And it reminded me that I *like* reading and reviewing and blogging.

All in all, it was again a lovely way to refresh my reading batteries.

48-Hour Book Challenge: Midpoint Check-in

It’s past 7:00 on Tuesday night, so I have come halfway through my 48-Hour Book Challenge, and I’m fighting off the realization I always get during these events that I can’t actually get infinitely many books read in an infinite amount of time.

But the report so far is that I’ve finished reading (or listening to) four books, all of which I’d already started: one children’s novel, one audiobook, and two nonfiction books which I’d been reading a little bit at a time.

This has seemed like a good day for dipping into a large number of books, though it’s a little less satisfying to report. But in the last 24 hours, I have ended up spending 15 hours reading, blogging, reviewing, and posting reviews. (That’s good. I like to try to hit 30 hours in my 48-Hour Book Challenges. It all depends on how long I sleep.)

And this time, I’m trying to focus less on getting a large amount read and more on getting what I finish reviewed. But also to enjoy the process. Because what could be better than a day spent reading?

48-Hour Book Challenge Starting Line

Huzzah! It’s time for my 48-Hour Book Challenge!

The goal: To take a period of 48 Hours and spend as much time as possible Reading and Reviewing. My participation in these started years ago because of Mother Reader, and it’s her logo I’m using. I’m much less organized and don’t have prizes and haven’t gotten hundreds of other bloggers to sign up — but I’m doing it!

I just looked back at my own blog posts in the 48-Hour Book Challenge category, and the first year I did one was 2009. Wow!

This year, I’m planning to spend a bigger proportion of time writing reviews and posting reviews than I usually do, because I currently have 113 reviews waiting to be posted, and if I read and review more books, I’ll just get farther behind.

Also, because I’m starting a Personal Spiritual Retreat at the same time, I’m hoping to read more nonfiction than I usually do. It’s not quite as fun as binge-reading fiction, but I’d like to do some thinking and reflection during this time, too.

Oh, and it’s always fun to include a video of my personal 48-Hour Book Challenge Theme Song!

Seriously, what I love about the 48-Hour Book Challenge is that it makes reading something that I’m not going to interrupt for other activities. (I’ll use audiobooks to get me through the awkward necessity of doing things like preparing food.) It flips a switch in my brain and tells me that I *should* be reading, rather than making “too much reading” be something I feel guilty about.

Anyway, my start time tonight was 7 pm. So for the next 48 hours, until Wednesday night at 7 pm — don’t interrupt me, I will be reading!

Invitation to a 48-Hour Book Challenge

I’m not sure how long ago it was, but some number of years ago, my friend Pam Coughlan, who recently became my co-worker, would run a 48-Hour Book Challenge from her blog, motherreader.com.

Pam did a fantastic job with the 48-Hour Book Challenge. She had a start line and finish line. She had prizes. She had a place for you to post. The logo for the challenge I put on this post is totally hers.

Well, she stopped blogging, but for the years that she sponsored the 48-Hour Book Challenge, I liked it so much that I kept doing my own personal ones.

And — I’m taking this next week off. But because of Covid-19, I cancelled my reservation in southern Virginia and my plans to hike to waterfalls. So I will be home — and I’ve decided to use Monday and Tuesday for this year’s 48-Hour Book Challenge.

I have already dropped the ball on inviting other people to join me. Who’s going to clear 48 hours so quickly? But in case you like the idea and want to try it in the next week or so — tell me about it in the comments and if you have a blog, put a link.

Here are the rules: For 48 straight hours, you spend as much time as you can reading and blogging. That’s it. But you keep track of your stats and post your results.

I have to admit, it’s more fun when I spend more of the time reading and less time blogging. But I am already way, way behind on getting reviews posted, so I am going to try to write a review of every book I finish reading and also to post multiple reviews — I don’t want to get further behind.

Oh, and it’s allowed to tide yourself over times when it’s hard to read by listening to audiobooks. I have one loaded to Libby on my phone that I need to listen to. That’s probably what I’ll do while fixing lunch and dinner.

So it will be fun if someone can join me. But whether or not — I hereby declare that I can’t do extra activities on Monday and Tuesday. I need to read!

48-Hour Book Challenge: Independence Weekend Finish Line

There! I’ve just spent the last 48 hours trying to focus on reading, writing and reviewing, in a 48-hour Book Challenge.

I did not get as much done as I would have liked to. That never happens. But I did have a completely lovely time. And I did get more accomplished than I would have if I had just treated it as an ordinary two days off.

For time, I managed to spend 27 hours and 15 minutes reading, writing, and reviewing.

That was broken down this way:
12 hours, 55 minutes reading
5 hours, 35 minutes writing reviews
4 hours, 35 minutes blogging about ALA Annual conference
2 hours, 15 minutes posting reviews
1 hour, 30 minutes emailing (I decided to count that as writing to keep from feeling isolated.)
And 25 minutes housekeeping (making my spreadsheet) and organizing book piles.

Here’s what I accomplished:
I completely read four books, finished two more that I’d already begun, and read parts of five other books, for a total of 1,313 pages read.

I wrote reviews of eleven books, completely catching up on reviews I wanted to write. (This was a goal that I did accomplish. I didn’t want to get further behind on writing reviews.)

I posted only two reviews and two Sonderquotes posts. (Had hoped to do more.)

I posted two blog posts about the Challenge itself (counting this one) and two blog posts about ALA Annual Conference. (Had hoped to at least finish ALA Annual Conference.)

All that adds up to 8,311 words written.

But best of all, I had a whole lot of fun. And I convinced myself that as I begin a new phase of life — post-Newbery and attending a new church — I do want to put a focus on reading, writing and reviewing.

And that is where my joy lies.

Now I’ve got two days left of my 4-day weekend to try to do my normal weekend things — which hopefully include a little reading, writing, and reviewing!

Independence Day 48-Hour Book Challenge

It’s time for a 48-Hour Book Challenge, Independence Day Edition!

But Sondy, you may ask, why are you doing a book challenge when you’re no longer on the Newbery committee and no longer need to spend every spare minute reading books?

Well, when I was talking with friends at ALA Annual Conference about my Newbery experience, I realized that what I miss most is being able to make reading my top priority. I miss having an excuse to set aside everything else and read.

I’m also frustrated because when I don’t make reading a priority — books just aren’t getting read as quickly! There were so many books I wanted to get to after the Newbery was done — and they’re languishing, still unread. (Also, books for adults are just so darn long!)

And then I thought, well, why don’t I make reading a priority, anyway?

Another thing that happened during ALA Annual Conference was that I received the Allie Beth Martin Award from the Public Library Association for “extraordinary range and depth of knowledge about books and distinguished ability to share that knowledge.” That was nice validation for my website, Sonderbooks.com, full of book reviews, which I’ve been writing since 2001. During my last month reading for the Newbery, I actually posted one review almost every day — because I wanted to catch up on posting all my pre-2018 reviews. But since then? So few have gotten posted.

Now something got set aside during the Newbery, and it’s that I’ve always wanted to be a published writer. But of course I wasn’t going to try while I was on the Newbery committee because of conflict of interest. Now it’s time to embrace writing again. Beginning with my blog and writing up my time at ALA Annual Conference. But I have two other blog series going that I want to continue and that have been languishing — A Universalist Looks at the New Testament, about Christian Universalism, and Transcending: They’ll Know Us By Our Love, about the Bible and transgender people. I’d love for either one or both of these series to eventually become a book, but for now I have a lot more to write on the blog.

So there you have it, in my post-Newbery life, I want a fresh focus on Reading, Writing, and Reviewing.

I am therefore adjusting the rules of the 48-Hour Book Challenge. Instead of just counting reading time, I will also count time writing and reviewing. In fact, my plan is to alternate an hour of each one. The challenge comes in to see how much of the next 48 hours I can fill with Reading, Writing, and Reviewing. I’ll also keep track of pages read, books completed, words written, and reviews posted.

Oh, the other factor is I’m almost disappointed I don’t ever go to the Capitol Fourth on the National Mall, because my boycotting it today loses any meaning. But I am boycotting it today. Being given Friday off as well as Independence Day makes this the perfect time to set aside 48 hours for a Book Blitz!

I began at 11:15 on July 4th. I will finish at 11:15 am on Saturday. Here goes!

Newbery Notes – 24-Hour Book Blitz Finish Line

I finished my 24-Hour Book Blitz! And yes, some of that reading was done out on my balcony, even though it was a hot day for it.

My time stats are that I did manage to use more than half the time for book-related activities, a total of 13 hours and 50 minutes.

I spent 8 hours, 50 minutes reading,
1 hour, 15 minutes blogging (counting my Starting Line post and posting Sonderquotes last night),
2 hours, 15 minutes writing reviews,
and 1 hour, 30 minutes “housekeeping” — entering data into spreadsheets. This last included recording all the books I received from publishers in the last week — my grand total of books received is now 438 books.

As for what I got done, I finished reading 10 books and read 2 partial books. Most of the books I read were quite short, but the total was 1,305 pages read. (And remember that all pages are not created equal.)

I wrote 3,256 words.

I discovered that some books were missing from my spreadsheet when I wrote the Starting Line post, and my Picture Book worksheet wasn’t totaling all the pages. But these new totals should be correct for all the Newbery-eligible reading I’ve done so far:

196 Middle Grade Books (20 of those not finished) — 42,008 pages
53 Young Adult Books (7 not finished) — 14,924 pages
400 Picture Books (400 even!) — 14,935 pages.

Grand total: 622 finished books, and 71,867 pages.

It’s always fun to spend a day reading, though I didn’t really hit on treasures this time. I read a lot of short books, thinking I’d have time to write reviews — but didn’t get many reviews written. I now have a stack of 9 books to review (up from the 5 or 6 I started with), which I hope I can get to tonight before I do more reading.

Still, it feels good to mostly use my time off well — and I love that reading is using my time well! How lucky am I?

My next Book Blitz I hope will be Columbus Day, and the weekend after, I’m taking a 4-day weekend away for a reading retreat. Meanwhile, happy reading!

Newbery Notes – September 24-Hour Book Blitz

I’m beginning a 24-Hour Book Blitz. My first reading marathon since May.

At the time, I hoped to do a 24-Hour Book Blitz every month, and a 48-Hour Book Challenge every quarter. Well, summer got away from me. Last week, I got my first reading day off since the summer began (too busy with Summer Reading Program!) — and I only got in 4 hours of reading. Yikes!

But Labor Day was coming up! So I spent Saturday cleaning my house — to get rid of distractions. And tonight at 6:50 pm, I began a 24-Hour Book Blitz. The idea is to focus on nothing in that time except reading — and writing reviews.

Okay, but I also have about 30 books received from publishers that I need to enter in my spreadsheet. Before I began reading, I had a stack of 5 books to review — and in those two hours, I was reading short books and need to write more reviews. I didn’t do my daily posting of a review and Sonderquotes yet today, so I’m going to allow that — so we’ll see.

But it’s all good. I will certainly get more reading done than on a normal day off. And, believe me, I need to write those reviews as soon as possible after I finish a book. With all the reading I’m doing, I am *definitely* forgetting what individual books are about.

I had other things to think about in the summer, and now things will begin heating up. The schedule is that the committee is still suggesting books to each other on the 15 of every month. We all read all of those books. So far, 90 books have been suggested. I’ve read all but 3 of those.

But in October, the nominations start! Each committee member nominates 3 books in October, 2 books in November, and 2 in December.

There’s a strategy to nominations. Those are the only books we will consider for the award (except possibly books published in December that someone suggests at the last minute). My plan is pretty simple: I’ll nominate my top three books in October. But in November and December, I will probably not necessarily nominate my next favorites. I will probably choose books that have not already been nominated, to get them on the table. But we’ll see. It’s possible I will read a nominated book for the first time and decide that’s the one I want to win, and want to put my name behind it, too.

At this point, I think I know what my top three (for October) will be. But it’s an interesting place now. Imagine this: You read a book that you wholeheartedly love. Now you have to ask yourself: Why do I love it? Do I love it because it’s a distinguished book? Or just because I have a special connection to it? Or maybe because it’s my favorite genre?

Mind you, if I do have a special connection to it — for example, suppose it’s set in the neighborhood where I grew up (and no eligible book fits that, by the way — but there are other connections) — well, maybe that means I’m better equipped to notice how well the author portrayed that. Or am I just biased?

Again, if it’s a book in my favorite genre, just exactly the sort of story I like best — does that mean I’m better equipped to tell if this particular example is distinguished, or am I just biased?

On top of that, I need to not only determine whether a book is distinguished, but also be prepared to convince 14 other people that it is distinguished. What pages, what chapters, what plot points can I point to in order to show this book is distinguished?

The good part of that is that I’m going to be rereading my favorites many times. The down side of that is that I’m going to be rereading the nominees that are not my favorites many times, too. Though I may notice new riches.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that certain ideas seem to come in waves. I won’t give any examples, because I don’t want people to know what I’m talking about — except that sometimes it’s simply odd when two books have a similar detail. But there are several that have a very similar scenario as the basic idea. I’m afraid that the second or third time I read about a set-up — even if it’s done more skillfully than the previous books — some of the impact is lost. This is a downside of reading every new children’s book you can get your hands on!

However, that’s part of the good part of working with a committee. The process of choosing a Newbery winner — with 15 people you have to convince — actually works well. The cream rises to the top. Already there have been wonderful suggestions. And somebody’s going to notice if the third instance of one particular scenario is the most distinguished one.

I also want to talk about my book reviews. When the Newbery reading year started, I was way, way behind on posting reviews I’d written. Now, I’m not allowed to say one word online about any eligible book. So I was afraid I’d have to give up my website for a year.

But — it turns out that I was so very far behind in posting reviews, pretty much ever since I was on the 2016 Cybils panel for YA Speculative Fiction — that I still have 100 reviews yet to post. I am trying to post an old review every day — and I very much hope I will catch up before the Newbery is announced.

Now, I’m also writing reviews of Newbery-eligible books as I read them — the only way I can possibly remember what I’ve read. I will post my favorites after we make the announcement. After that, I’ll probably keep the reviews in reserve in case I ever don’t have a review ready to go and I want to post. We’ll see.

Anyway, I’ve been rambling on long enough. Let me give my stats before my 24-Hour Book Blitz. Then we’ll see how much they change by tomorrow night. Here are the Newbery-eligible books I’ve read (beginning last October or so):

Middle-Grade Books (Newbery winners usually come from this category, but they don’t have to. Books for ages 0 to 14 are eligible): I’ve read 190 books, 18 of which I did not finish, for a total of 41,230 pages.
Young Adult Books: 49 books, 7 not finished, for a total of 14,165 pages.
Picture Books: 396 books, for a total of 13,607 pages.

The grand total is 610 books finished, at 69,002 pages!

I’ll let you know the new totals after my 24-Hour Book Blitz!