2015 National Book Festival


Today I went to the National Book Festival in Washington, DC!

I took the Metro in and didn’t even really step outside, now that the Festival happens at the Convention Center instead of the National Mall. The positive side of that is that it was not muddy and rainy and it wasn’t drippingly hot. The negative side of that was that it was uncomfortably, horribly crowded, and didn’t have the same ambiance as the National Mall does.

I arrived a bit later than planned, and the session I had hoped to attend was already full. So I went early to another very interesting session: Rachel Swaby speaking about her book, Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science — And the World.


This may have been my favorite session of the day, in fact. Rachel Swaby was enthusiastic and full of fascinating anecdotes about the amazing women she researched.

She started by saying that when she told people she was writing a book about women in science, everyone mentioned Marie Curie. There are so many other fascinating and brilliant women who have done amazing things in science, and we don’t know about them! What difference would it make to our daughters to know about them?

A Danish woman seismologist discovered the metal inner core of the earth.
Sofi Kovalevsky had to be creative not only in her work, but to get to study at all. I liked the story about how her father ran out of wallpaper for her nursery, so he used lectures on differential and integral calculus, which his little daughter was fascinated by.
Another woman made a lab in her bedroom and did research on fertilized chicken eggs.
The women made their own spaces when they hit roadblocks.

Alice Hamilton was a journalist as well as a pathologist. She was a professor at Harvard before women were admitted as medical students — but she wasn’t allowed to participate in commencement.

The common thread among these scientists was grit, creativity, restlessness, ability to look at something with new eyes, seeing truths that were overlooked.

There was NO lack of possible subjects. But why don’t we know more about the achievements of women in science?


After Rachel Swaby’s wonderful talk, I went to the Fiction room and heard Ron Charles interview Marilynne Robinson.


She talked about many interesting things. One that wasn’t a surprise is that she enjoys language and playing with language, which was how she started writing her first book.

When asked if she’s surprised such a quiet, theologically-infused novel has found such a large audience, she gave a good rule: There’s a tendency to talk down to your readers. Assume your readers are smarter than you are.

It’s interesting that it’s hard to find ministers in literature who are positive characters. Yet, as she pointed out, Americans in real life are deeply attached to our ministers. Churches throughout America are sustained because people love them. We tend to ridicule what we value, which makes us inarticulate about them.

We tend to think people who seem to be good are hypocrites. Why do we put a little thorn in there?

If we’re going to be realists, we should talk about reality — which does include prayer and actual admiration for people who teach us to live well.

After Marilynne’s talk, I went downstairs to the food court — and the Mathical Station. There I got a chance to talk with the author David Lubar, whose book, Numbed!, I read while waiting for the Metro today.

I also got a chance to leave my name with someone from the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute to tell them that I am tremendously interested in being on the selection committee for the next round of Mathical Awards.

I mean, how many children’s librarians are there who also have a Master’s in Mathematics? I also have experience on Cybils Award panels, have attended the William Morris Invitational Seminar on Book Evaluation, am a member of Capitol Choices, and have my own website of book reviews. And I’m a Math Nut. No one was more excited to hear about this award than me. I want to be part of it!

So we’ll see if this bears any fruit….

Next I went to hear Casey Schwartz talk about her book, In the Mind Fields: Exploring the New Science of Neuropsychoanalysis.


This sounds very interesting. It’s about combining the traditional field of Psychoanalysis with the current field of Neuroscience. She spent a lot of time with a pioneer in the field, who has shown that brain damaged patients who can no longer experience REM sleep still experience dreams. They’ve also found that emotional centers in the brain light up during dreams. Both fields are made richer by coming together.

Now I had gone to that session partly to get a jump on the following session scheduled in that room. I learned from my previous experience at the National Book Festival that it is most enjoyable for me to deal with the crowds by choosing a tent, getting a seat, and staying there for many speakers.

But alas! In the Convention Center they don’t let you do that. They cleared the room and let the people waiting outside into the room. By the time I got out of the room, I was too far back in the line and did not get to enter the room at all. So that was a disappointment.


Instead, I caught the end of a session on Melting Pot America, led by Tom Gjelten, who wrote A Nation of Nations: A Great American Immigration Story, Erika Lee, who wrote The Making of Asian America: A History, and Ray Suarez, who wrote, Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy that Shaped a Nation.

They had many interesting things to say. One was that we forget that it’s always been hard to come to America. We forget that our own ancestors didn’t learn English instantly. We love our family histories — and our sepia-toned stories aren’t necessarily true.

They also said that though it’s always hard for the first generation, you do see dramatic changes in the second generation. There is an integrative power to American society.

For the final session (for me) of the day (Crowds were wearing me out.), I finally made it into the Children’s Pavilion to hear Gennifer Choldenko talk about her new book, Chasing Secrets.

She gave an extremely interesting talk about what San Francisco was like in 1900 and their ideas about disease. There was an outbreak of plague, but it was hushed up and denied by people in power.

She got kids involved by talking about what we would do if everyone started coming down with a mythical disease. The audience named it the Pink Paintbrush disease. You can see these kids had fun posing as doctors peddling vaccines.


She had lab coats for them to wear.


Actually, I was reminded why I usually hang out in the Children’s Pavilion — a little more playful and less serious!


However, that was enough for me. The Children’s, Teen, and Picture Book Rooms were too small and seemed to be always full. As many kids were at the festival, this seemed short-sighted. Sure enough, they kicked me out of the room after Gennifer’s talk, and the line was too long for me to get into the next one. I decided it was time to call it a day. But it was a good day!

48-Hour Book Challenge Starting Line 2015

48hbcWoo-hoo! The 48-Hour Book Challenge is here again!

The basic idea: Choose a 48-hour period of the weekend, and see how many hours of that time you can spend reading, reviewing, and bookish connecting.

I don’t know why on earth I didn’t participate last year, but I found my records from participation 2009 through 2013:

2009: 23 hours, 30 minutes; 5 books finished; 1120 pages; 5 books reviewed
2010: 26 hours, 40 minutes; 3 books finished; 995 pages; 4 books reviewed
2011: 30 hours, 30 minutes; 3 books finished; 1606 pages; 4 books reviewed
2012: 27 hours, 30 minutes; 3 books finished; 758 pages; 3 books reviewed; 5778 words written
2013: 20 hours; 3 books finished; 518 pages; 2 books reviewed; 3472 words written; 4 reviews posted

This weekend, alas, I have to work on Saturday. However, today is beautifully clear. (I don’t feel as guilty about cancelling with my Friday night gaming group as I used to feel cancelling my Friday night Home Fellowship group. I used to work around it.) So my goal will be 24 hours — of course if I have extra energy and find it possible to do without sleep (probably not possible; probably not a good idea), it would be fun to try to set a new record and go for 31 hours.

If the totals seem small, I should add that I always read many parts of books. I always have a few dozen nonfiction books going at once! This morning in my first hour of reading, I had an extended devotional time, reading parts of five different books, with a page count of 54 pages. (Page count tends to be lower when reading in pieces.)

I also get less read if I use the time writing reviews and posting reviews, which is why I started keeping track of words written and reviews posted as well. Today I have some reviews written and waiting to be posted, so I may break up my reading by posting them.

The totals are much, much less, of course, than I’d like them to be. Oh the ambitious stacks of books I’ve set aside in the past! But regardless of the totals, it’s so much fun putting everything else aside and taking time to READ!

And I always like to post my theme song for the challenge!

And, oh yes, I officially began at 7:45 am on Friday morning. I will finish at 7:45 am on Sunday morning. How many books will I be able to read and review in that time? How many hours will I spend? Stay tuned….

Crazy 8s Math Club and Living Venn Diagrams

This week I brought my camera to Crazy 8s Math Club! We were learning about Sets and Venn Diagrams – and look at those faces!

Crazy 8s is a Math Club sponsored by BedtimeMath.org. They provide the ideas and materials, and the library provides the place.

Here is a set of kids with brown eyes. We had a Flat Visitor from California who also had brown eyes!


When we started the 3-set Venn diagram, I thought they could start with cars and trucks. They caught on quickly!


And finally, a living Venn diagram. The kids figured out where they belonged depending on whether they had brown eyes or not, whether they could curl their tongue or not, and whether they fold their hands with their left or right thumb on top. I’m happy to say that the kids who didn’t fit in any of those sets were excited to be “in the universe.”


And afterward — some silliness with the glowsticks (which they got to take home).




More proof that Math is Fun — and kids know it!

Super Pi Day at City of Fairfax Regional Library

Today was Super Pi Day! 3.14.15, celebrated especially between 9:26:53 am and 9:26:53 pm.
(My son says it should be called Slightly-More-Accurate-Approximation-of-Pi Day, but I’m going with Super Pi Day.)


I got my geek on, with my Floating Point Pi Earrings from ThinkGeek, my Pi t-shirt from the Mathematikum in Giessen, Germany, Apple Pi socks, and of course my Prime Factorization Cardigan. I also brought in a Chocolate Angel Pi Pie.

My favorite comment was when I was explaining all this to one of the Library Friends. She said, “It’s good to see someone who loves what they do.” My translation: “You really are a Math Geek.” Yes, I am. Yes, I am.

Since a Children’s Used Book Sale was going on all day, we couldn’t use the meeting room, and decided to run an all-day Pi Day Scavenger Hunt.

Scavenger Sign

Participants only needed to answer 8 of the 10 questions, and we hoped they’d be pulled into the library to answer them. They were to write the answer on the pie piece, and get a prize when all the pieces were filled in. These were the questions:

1. For any circle, pi equals the circumference of the circle divided by what?
2. Albert Einstein was born on March 14th. What famous equation did he write?
3. Some people think we should celebrate Super Pi Day next year. Why is that?
4. What library number would you look under for books about pi?
5. What library number would you look under for books about pie?
6. List another irrational number.
7. What U.S. city has the zip code 31415?
8. Find a book in the library with “circle” in the title. List the title.
9. What letter comes after pi in the Greek alphabet?
10. Someone in the library is wearing a prime factorization sweater. What is her name? (Hint: You can google it.)

The prize was a wristband from thepidayofourlives.homestead.com celebrating Pi Day, along with some circular candies.

We ordered 57 wristbands. A hat came along with it, and none of my coworkers wanted to wear it, so I added it to my Pi gear:


Response was wonderful! By the end of the day, we’d given out 56 wristbands! I loved watching the kids working to figure out the answers. And I’ve never gotten the chance to talk to so many people about my prime factorization sweater all on the same day!

I admit this family, with Super Pi, Pi a la mode, and a Pi-rate, were my favorites:


But overall, it was simply a huge success!

I was going to fill in the answers, but instead, why don’t you add them in the comments if you know the answers? 🙂

Happy Happy Slightly-Better-Approximation-of-Pi Day!

Catching up and ALA 2013

There! with my post last weekend about Caddy’s World, I finally finished posting reviews of books I read in 2012!

Here’s what happened. First, let me say that when I started writing Sonderbooks in 2001, I worked part-time. I reviewed everything I read. Sometime a year or two ago, when I was behind on writing reviews, I started writing the reviews on my blog as drafts, to post later. Posting later takes some time. Even though I use the blog for content, I like posting the reviews back on my main site, Sonderbooks.com, because it’s a much more browsable site of all my reviews, organized by category, and with links to reviews by the same author and books in the same category. Setting up those links takes some time, but so far I haven’t been willing to give that up, because I like the way the site is a resource for all my reviews.

But now that I have the blog as well, I write the reviews as drafts first, and insert the text into html code and add links when I actually post them.

And I’m a little behind.

Here’s how it stands now, for example. I currently have three books sitting in a pile to write reviews for. (This is good, and greatly reduced from a month ago.) But I currently have 52 reviews written as drafts on my blog. I need to catch up! As noted, I just finished posting the last review from 2012, so I am a good six months behind.

I try to alternate between the oldest reviews I have waiting to be posted and one of the newest, especially books just published that I’m especially excited about, though some slip through. I also try not to post books from the same category twice in a row. That’s actually part of what took me so long with the 2012 books — at the end of the year, I was a Cybils judge, so I mostly read children’s fiction at that time, and alternated posting them with other books. (That’s also why I haven’t yet posted reviews of books I loved, Doll Bones, by Holly Black, and P.S. Be Eleven, by Rita Williams-Garcia, and Wednesdays in the Tower, by Jessica Day George. Soon. Very soon.)

Anyway, I’m trying to post two reviews per day until I catch up — but it’s not always happening. I did mention that I work full-time now? I also force myself not to review every book I read. I also recently moved, and still don’t have my boxes unpacked, and still haven’t sent out address change cards.

And I’m going to ALA in Chicago day after tomorrow!

I will probably bring my laptop to ALA but leave it in the hotel room. It’s maybe time I should get an ipad with a keyboard, but I’ve been resisting. I’m going to some sort of event every night I’ll be gone, so I have my doubts that I’ll get in much computer time at all.

But, doggone it, this is my own website, right? There are no deadlines. I am never late! And the books are still good reading, even if they have been published for a year or more. (Which is precisely why I like Sonderbooks to be browsable.)

But that’s what’s going on with me this week. And now that I’ve used a good chunk of time writing this post, let’s see if I can get a review or two posted as well.

I hope I’ll see some friends in Chicago! When I first planned to go, I was hoping I’d be getting ready to serve on next year’s Newbery committee, but I didn’t quite get elected. However, ALA Annual Conference is always a great time for being around my kind of people — book people, and learning a lot, and meeting authors, and celebrating books, and getting excited about upcoming titles. Oh, and having a lovely little block of time to read on the plane!

Official 48-Hour Book Challenge 2013 Edition

It’s time! Time for the official 48-Hour Book Challenge of 2013!

Last week, I did a practice run. Although I got 20 hours in, I didn’t get nearly as much blogging accomplished as I hoped. For that matter, I never get as much done as I hope. A weekend is simply not that long! However, it’s fun to do what I can!

Tomorrow I have to work, but I do plan to read during my lunch break and listen to an audiobook in the car. And then when I get home, I’m going to immerse myself in reading. I started at 7:00 pm on Friday, so that means after 7:00 pm on Sunday, I can get to my mundane details like grocery shopping and ironing.

Now, I’m hoping to do some good blogging, as well. I currently have a stack of 10 books (one of which I just finished after starting the Challenge) to write reviews for. Now, I also have 48 reviews written but not posted. So I very much want to get several of those posted. And I’m currently especially obsessed with posting the reviews I wrote in 2012. There are 8 of those left. So if the books seem older, that is why! I still have some reviews to post that I wrote when I was on the Cybils panel judging middle grade science fiction and fantasy.

They did ask to post a picture of the books I plan to read. Now, I know full well I won’t make much headway on this stack, especially if I do much blogging. But here is my stack:

On top is Heart’s Blood, by Juliet Marillier, which I’m about half done with.

Does anyone remember my Reading Plan? I’m still following that, sort of — just inserting lots and lots of interruptions. But Heart’s Blood was the “older library book” in the plan.

Next up is rereading a book. I was having trouble deciding what to reread when an Amazon package came today! Hooray! Perfect timing! One of the books in the package was Wednesdays in the Tower, by Jessica Day George. So that means the perfect book to reread is Tuesdays at the Castle. And that takes care of the next book in order, a book I own.

After those three, the rest of the books are books that Capitol Choices is considering, which I would very much like to have read before our meeting next Friday. We’ll see how I do.

Now, if this were all I’m reading, that would be one thing. But I have a system of piles of Nonfiction, which I read a chapter at a time. It is currently completely out of control:

But I just finished a Nonfiction book I’d been working on for months, Surviving Survival, by Laurence Gonzales. So I do, eventually, finish them.

I also intend to spend a little of the time unpacking boxes of books. I know that’s not in the official rules, so I will keep track of exactly how much time I spend (not more than one box per hour, and they only take about five minutes each). I think my recent move makes it a special case. I will only do boxes of books this weekend. These shelves in my bedroom are almost the only ones left to fill:

But that’s enough pictures of clutter and chaos! The fun one to post is the one of where I will spend significant time reading, at least during daylight hours.

There you have it! Happy Reading!

Book and Blogging Blitz Results

This past weekend, I held a personal Book and Blogging Blitz, as warm-up for next week’s 48-Hour Book Challenge.

One thing I’m learning from these weekend blitzes is how much shorter a weekend is than I think it is. No, I didn’t get caught up on posting reviews. I didn’t make a dent on my stack of picture books to review. I did, however, make a little progress. And I did have fun.

One thing that ate some time was totally worth it. I posted the first time for a long time on Sonderjourneys, after I caught the local egret on camera.

Altogether, I spent 20 hours on books and blogging. That was made up of 5 hours and 50 minutes blogging, 8 hours reading, 2 hours 30 minutes listening to an audiobook, 10 minutes networking, 1 hour and 5 minutes unpacking book boxes, and 2 hours 25 minutes posting reviews.

I read a total of 518 pages, finishing 3 books. I posted 4 reviews, wrote 2 new reviews, and posted 3 other posts, including Sonderjourneys and Sonderling Sunday. I also unpacked 7 boxes of books.

So, no, it didn’t nearly finish the task I’d set myself. But again, I made progress, and I had fun.

Going forward, I’m going to keep trying to post at least one review most days, and eventually I’ll get caught up. I’m planning to be choosier about which books I review, and use Goodreads for the ones I’m a little bit less excited about. But it’s hard to set a book aside!

I do plan to dive into the 48-Hour Book Challenge next weekend. Yes, I’m working on Saturday and have church on Sunday, but I may be able to move some chores outside the 48-hour window and give some time to books. It’s worth a try!

Anyway, I feel like I’m back in the saddle again. By adding some unpacking into my process, I learned that unpacking one box of books only takes about 5 minutes, so I can add that easily into my daily routine. And I don’t have to stop blogging while I’m unpacking. It will be done some day!

Read on!

Book and Blogging Blitz Begins!

So, when I was doing my Unpack-a-thons, it was partly to get unpacking out of the way before the annual 48-Hour Book Challenge. It’s always at the beginning of June, so I was hoping it would hit this weekend. When I learned it’s going to hit next weekend, when I am scheduled to work both Friday and Saturday, I decided I will have to celebrate this weekend on my own.

I got to thinking: I still want to participate in the official event. So why don’t I use this weekend as a sort of warm-up? But I will use my own rules instead of the official rules.

For starters, I will count time reading picture books. I have a big stack of picture books I’ve been meaning to review for quite some time now. I will tackle that stack.

I also think I’ll make a concession to the unpacking that still needs to be done by unpacking one box of books per hour.

And I will try not to stress out if my totals are not so impressive as in previous years. As I write this, I have a mild vestibular migraine, and if that gets worse, I will take naps as necessary, without guilt. I will not set an alarm in the morning, and if I sleep late, that’s all good. I recently started a walking program, and I will go out walking both days this weekend. I will do the grocery shopping, and I really should go driving with my son, who needs several more hours practice before he can get his license. (I am probably looking for excuses not to do that.) I will do my weekly ironing — but I will probably listen to an audiobook while doing it, instead of the usual movie. Hmm. I can listen to an audiobook while cooking dinner, too. (Though maybe I can talk my son into cooking.) I have a new audiobook checked out, all ready to listen. (The Plantagenets, by Dan Jones, based on Liz Burns’ recommendation.)

Now, with the 48-Hour Book Challenge, it’s a lot more fun if you spend most of the time actually reading. That’s what makes it an indulgence. But the thing I really want to get around to doing is posting reviews. I have reviews still waiting to be posted that I wrote in 2012! And I have that aforementioned stack of picture books. And another of children’s nonfiction. So I’m thinking I’ll focus on writing reviews this weekend, and then for the Actual 48-Hour Book Challenge, with what time I have, I can indulge myself and simply read.

All that said, here’s my plan for Sondy’s Book and Blogging Blitz:

1) Each hour, I will begin by posting a review. (Or, in this case, a post about progress.)

2) Each hour, I will then unpack a box of books. (Yes, despite two Unpack-a-thons, I can safely say I have more than 20 boxes of books left to unpack. If I finish, great!)

3) Then I will spend the rest of the time writing reviews, with this rotation:
— Novels (I only have 2 to review)
— Picture Books
— Children’s Nonfiction
— Short Fiction (graphic novels, short chapter books)
— Adult Nonfiction
I’m thinking I’ll spend the rest of an hour on an item in the rotation, alternating back to the top of the list. (I really want to get that stack of picture books done.) Like this: Novels (which I’ll finish up the first time), picture books, children’s NF, picture books, short fiction, picture books…. Once I finish all the picture books, I’ll cycle back to children’s nonfiction. And so on.

4) Bedtime or naptime reading will be exceptions to the above. I’ll just read a novel until I fall asleep. Other exceptions will be my quiet time in the morning (nonfiction reading) and the aforementioned listening to an audiobook while cooking or ironing.

5) After I’ve gone through all the categories above, like in the 48-Hour Book Challenge, I’ll spend the remainder of an hour visiting other blogs. In that hour, instead of posting a review, I’ll write an update post and a post for one of my series.

And at the end I will post all my stats.

Now, I admit, it’s much more fun to do this along with others. So this will be my warm-up, to build enthusiasm for participating next week, even though I have to work.

I’ve also been hesitant to post more than one or two reviews in a day, since they get buried in a blog. But I’m just going to go for it! I want to get caught up! Of course, what takes me so long to post reviews is that I also post them on my main site, which takes some html fiddling. But at least there, I can highlight ALL of the weekend’s reviews, and the ones at the start of the weekend won’t just get lost on the second page of the blog.

So, enough rattling on! This constitutes a blog post, so now I’m going to unpack a box! Let the Blitz begin!

Unpack-a-thon #2 Results

On Memorial Day weekend, I held another personal Unpack-a-thon. And though there’s still a long way to go, I think I got things to where I’m happy with unpacking a few boxes each night, and no longer feel that desperate need to clear more floor space so I can think.

Best of all, I completely finished the job of unpacking kitchen things. That was difficult — so much involved figuring out where doodads I’d put in drawers should now be stowed, with less drawers and less cupboards. But the job is done! Mind you, I then moved boxes of pictures into the kitchen alcove where they will be out of the way while I unpack everything else. But everything that belongs in the kitchen is now put away! Woo-hoo!

Here are the stats: Total time spent was 19 hours. A wicked migraine I woke up with on Sunday was what kept this number down — requiring a long nap Sunday afternoon. But I was happy with how much I was able to do anyway, and the headache did let up, and unpacking was a great distraction.

Total boxes unpacked: 34
Total bags, baskets, or suitcases unpacked: 9

The boxes are broken down into 19 boxes of books unpacked and 15 other boxes. The book boxes are much easier, and that’s what I’ve started focusing on now that I’m doing a little bit each night — progress is faster and more obvious. Those are what I took pictures of after the Unpack-a-thon was done.

In the living room, I unpacked 10 book boxes, 3 other boxes, and 6 bags or baskets.

In the office, I finished filling the bookcase of picture books and collections (Harry Potter, The Black Stallion, and Oz) This involved 6 book boxes and 2 other boxes.

In the bedroom, I unpacked 3 suitcases. This was difficult, since I had gotten rid of an old falling-apart sweater chest and had to figure out where to put things and what I could get rid of. I also did unpack 3 book boxes and one other box. And I put shelves in one bookcase.

Now, the 19 hours was not spent only on unpacking, I’m afraid. I ended up spending 4 hours the whole weekend cleaning. Since I hadn’t given the house a good cleaning since I moved in, this was overdue. And I spent 2 hours on Monday building a bookcase! Here it is:

I credit my son with the lovely excuse to buy a bookcase. He noticed that my two-shelf bookcase would fit at the foot of his bed and should be able to hold the books he’d brought back from college. I was annoyed at first, since I’d worked hard to fit all my books on shelves — until I realized I could fit a 3-shelf bookcase where I’d put the 2-shelfer. 🙂 Call him an Enabler.

So I still haven’t finished the job, but I’ve had enough of focusing on it for awhile. I’m trying to decide if I will just take it easy next weekend, or if I can find the time to treat myself to a Blog-a-thon and try to catch up on my blog posts.

Meanwhile, today at the library, I booktalked our Summer Reading Program in one of the local schools with my co-worker. It was my first booktalks in four years, and I’d completely forgotten how much fun it is to see all those kids’ faces and get to tell them about great books!

And when I got home, after resting an hour or so, I was treated to the sight of my son enjoying the balcony:

This made me smile as much as being out there myself! Truly, life is good!

Unpack-a-thon #2

Last weekend, I held my first Unpack-a-thon moving into my new home. My results were good, but there’s still a long way to go.

So, for Memorial Day Weekend, I’m going to do Unpack-a-thon #2. And maybe make this place look more like a home and less like a warehouse.

Mind you, I would much rather do a Read-a-thon or a Blog-a-thon. But if I get a lot done on the Unpack-a-thon, that can be my reward.

The Unpack-a-thon starts tomorrow, Friday, since that’s my day off this weekend. My optimistic plan (It’s okay if I don’t reach it.) is this:

Friday: 8 hours
Saturday (after work): 2 hours
Sunday: 3 hours
Monday (Memorial Day): 7 hours

I managed 9 hours total last week, so it would be great if I could hit 20 this week, with the extra day in there.

Last time, I ended up rotating between rooms, always starting with the kitchen. You know what the hard part is? It’s finding a place for things. I have less storage in my new home than I did before, so the hard part is figuring out where I can fit things or if I can do without things.

So, this time, each hour I’ll start again with a box in the kitchen. Then I’ll rotate to other rooms, but in each other room, I’ll empty one book box and one other box. The book boxes are much much easier — because I made sure all my books fit on bookcases before I moved, and all the boxes are labeled with which bookcase they came from. A lot of these boxes sitting around are book boxes, so I want to let myself tackle the easy ones this time.

Another thing: After 4 hours unpacking, I’m allowed to spend the next half-hour cleaning, and count it as part of the unpack-a-thon. I have so many boxes in the way, I haven’t done much cleaning since I moved in — and it’s getting where it needs to happen! So if I hit 20 hours of unpacking, that would end up including 2 hours of cleaning, which should get things in much better shape.

I don’t have as many other things calling me away this weekend (at least not yet), so maybe I’ll hit the 20 hour goal. If I do, I may treat myself to one of the cool board games we unpacked with my son Tim, who’s home from college.

And if I get enough done, the following weekend, I was going to have my own personal 48-Hour Book Challenge.

However, I discovered today that this year it’s going to be hosted by Ms Yingling, and it’s actually scheduled for the following weekend — a weekend when I’m working both Friday and Saturday. So, I think the only solution is to do a Book Challenge both weekends, don’t you? I’ll do one on the weekend of June 7th following their rules, and I’ll do one the weekend of the 30th making up my own. For example, I’m going to allow myself to count time reading picture books, because I’ve got a big pile of picture books I want to review but never quite get around to. I also want to spend lots of time posting reviews I’d written earlier. So maybe my personal Book Challenge weekend would be a good weekend to do those things. I will be working out a plan this week….

Anyway, meanwhile, let the Unpack-a-thon begin!