Posts Tagged ‘48HBC’

#48HBC: Time’s Up!

48hbc_newI didn’t read that much this weekend, but I do feel very accomplished all the same. I’m one book closer in my Newbery Challenge towards reaching Caddie Woodlawn, I can drive my childhood librarian–who recommended Obsidian Mirror–crazy with time travel talk, and I’m midway through my first adult Neil Gaiman book (Anansi Boys) and reading up on how sugar affects our brain and hormone secretions in insidious ways.

So…..drumroll…..the final report:

Books read: Obsidian Mirror + Invincible Louisa + Anansi Boys + Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease

Hours reading: 4 hours + 2 hours + 1 hour + 1.5 hours = 8.5 hours

Pages read: 378 pages + 197 pages + 83 pages + 39 pages = 697 pages

And now, a BIG thanks to Ms. Yingling for organizing this fun event and for stopping by to check out our TBR piles. I didn’t keep track how much time I spent writing up reviews and following the #48HBC Twitter feed (maybe 1.5 hours?), but to all the #48HBC participants, I had a great time chatting with you and, at times, envying your TBR pile. Keep in touch!

And now, back to the Tonys….

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Started: 8:30pm Friday

Ended: 8:30pm Sunday

6.25 hours reading

1.25 hours blogging/commenting etc.

1 finished book (Hattie Big Sky)

3 partly read books (Bilbo le Hobbit, Toms River, Applewhites at Wit’s End)

Total number of pages: 542 (includes 21 pages in French, which slowed my pace to a sluglike crawl)

Though I didn’t get to read as much as last year, this year’s #48HBC was just as fun. In fact, I’m going to keep reading so I can finish Applewhites tonight…thank you to Ms. Yingling for hosting the challenge, and  I hope to do this again next year.

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invincible_louisaI chose this book for the 48HBC as part of my ongoing Newbery Challenge (I did this last year as well, but with Smoky the Cowhorse.) Invincible Louisa, by Cornelia Meigs, won the 1934 Newbery Medal. I was pleasantly surprised to find this biography an enjoyable read, and I’m sure fans of Little Women will get even more out of this book.

While Invincible Louisa is filed under biography and author Meigs did mention her source names and titles, unlike the non-fiction of today, Meigs does not include a bibliography or cite her quotes. Please take these fun Louisa facts with a grain of salt.

  • even though Louisa May Alcott is associated with the towns of Concord and Harvard, she was actually born in Germantown, Pennsylvania.
  • Louisa’s father, Bronson Alcott, was an eccentric and principled man who believed in a model of simple living akin to the Shakers’, but without the separation of men and women, so the Alcotts never had much money and moved around a LOT
  • young Louisa listed “love of cats” as her worst sin
  • as a teenager, Louisa had a huge crush on family friend Ralph Waldo Emerson, and would leave little poems, wrapped around rocks, on his doorstep
  • Louisa was a nurse in DC during the Civil War. She wrote about the patients she met, and unlike other war writers, she did not romanticize any of it
  • as a nurse, Louisa caught typhoid fever and when she was ill, she had to cut off her floor length hair–her only vanity
  • Mr. Niles, of Roberts Brothers publishing house, first gave Louisa the idea to write about girls. She replied that she could only write about boys.
  • while most characters in Little Women are based on Louisa’s family and friends, Jo’s love interest, Mr. Bhaer, is based on……nobody.
  • when Mr. Niles read Louisa’s manuscript, he wasn’t sold on Little Women, so he gave it to his neice for her opinion. The rest is history.

And my biggest takeaway: it’s still uncanny just how much Little Women is basically just Louisa’s entire life.

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bilbo le hobbitI’m 4.5 hours in and just read a good chunk of The Hobbit in French. As requested by Sondy, here are some interesting phrases:

necromancer = Nécromancien (it looks a lot more threatening in French)

Thorin, Balin, Dwalin all get accents, becoming Thorïn, Balïn, Dwalïn

“burrahobbit”–Bilbo’s mishmash of burglar and hobbit when he’s caught by the trolls–becomes “un camb…un hobbit” or cambunhobbit (un cambrioleur = a burglar)

The inebriated Rivendell song: in English, one of the lines is “O! Tril-lil-lil-lolly.” In French, they’ve given up on the dashes and connected everything, so it’s “Ah! trillillilolly.” Looks rather cramped.

The goblins’ song is much more satisfying:

Clap! Snap! the black crack!
Grip, grab! Pinch, nab!
And down down to Goblin-town
You go, my lad! …


Crac ! clac ! La crevasse noire !
Tiens, serre ! Pince, chope !
Et tout en bas, tout en bas, à Gobelinville
Tu vas, mon gars ! …

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#48HBC: Obsidian Mirror

obmirFinished the first book in my TBR pile for the 48HBC, Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher. It was recommended to me by the children’s library at my local library, who absolutely loved it. Below are stats and tweets:

total read time: 4 hours (I had to go back and re-read certain sections)

length of book: 378 pages

  • Jack Wilde, you are NOT Inigo Montoya. Now stop stabbing other kids with your fencing blade. #OBSIDIANMIRROR #48HBC
  • OBSIDIAN BLADE* chap 2 introduces mystery girl running thru 13 pages of woods like a high school horror flick. Need more info to care #48HBC
  • OBSIDIAN MIRROR pg.171: calling it right now. Piers the manservant is a pixie-chef! #48HBC
  • OBSIDIAN MIRROR pg. 273: I was right! His biscuits are magic! #48HBC
  • OBSIDIAN MIRROR: I might have read too quickly, but I don’t buy this Replicant time travel business. Go back, go back, go back! #48HBC
  • OBSIDIAN MIRROR: Still not sold about the time travel, the coin business is action flick silly, did NOT expect the reveal at the end #48HBC


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207798I’m 3.5 hours in and just finished Hattie Big Sky–it’s even better than I remember. This is the copy Kirby Larson signed for me at KidLitCon in 2011, so it’s extra special.

The first time I read it several years ago, it was for the story. This time I paid more attention to the details, and have concluded I wouldn’t last a day in Hattie’s shoes. The fence building, the cold, the mad horses/wolves, the cold, and did I mention the cold? I like snow, but not blizzards that force you to cling onto a rope line to walk from the house to the barn (it’s very Laura Ingalls Wilder and The Long Winter).

Anyway, I’ve just reserved the sequel from the library. (Hattie becomes a journalist! This is excellent).

And now it’s time for bed. Tomorrow I need to get started on the French Hobbit. I don’t expect to finish that anytime soon, and Toms River is also quite long, so Hattie is probably the only book I’ll finish this weekend. But judging from twitter, I seem to be enjoying my books more than Jen…

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48HBC TBR pile

48HBC TBR pile

Looking forward to experiencing my second 48HBC. Behold my reading list:

Start time: 9:00 pm.

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It’s back! Another weekend of reading as much as possible, though I don’t have as much time as last year. I’ll aim for 6 hours and see what happens (last time I managed 9.5 if you count the blogging/tweeting etc).

My book pile is also less exciting because I’m overdue for a trip to the library. Still:

Tom’s River by Dan Fagin (adult, nonfiction, about something depressing. But it reads like a thriller and Fagin does that amazing thing where he makes the writing look easy.)

Bilbo le Hobbit by J.R. R. Tolkien (The Hobbit, translated into French by Francis Ledoux. Must keep up my French skills.)

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson (a re-read, to get ready for checking out the sequel. Can’t wait!)

Start time: 8:30pm today, Friday.

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48HBC: reflections

Started: 10:30 pm Friday (running late already, haha)

Ended: 10:30 pm Sunday

Read: 1.75 books (Smoky the Cowhorse and Marcelo in the Real World)

Total hours logged: 8 hours of reading, 1.5 hours of blogging

Alas, I wasn’t able to reach my desired goal of reading 12+ hours in 48 hours. And I actually finished Marcelo (because it was that good) after my 10:30 pm deadline, which explains where the remaining 0.25 went. Nevertheless, I had a great time being deliberate about my reading list, and still having a normal and packed weekend. Although the challenge is over, I fully intend to keep working on the books that remain, albeit at a slower reading speed than that of this weekend’s and a faster reading speed than my monthly average. And I am definitely looking forward to next year’s 48HBC.

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So glad I sat down and read this one. Didn’t even notice the time passing…Actually, I finished the last page after my 48 hours ran out, but this book was meant to be savored. All the same, I won’t (can’t) count the overtime.

There’s a lot of good things to say about Marcelo in the Real World, by Francisco X. Stork. For starters, Marcelo has gotten a lot of praise for its depiction of someone with a condition similar to but not quite like Asperger’s. He’s quirky in that he hears internal music, studies religious texts religiously, has difficulty recognizing sarcasm, and refers to himself in the third person, but he’s also a lot more than the sum of his quirks.

When we first meet Marcelo, he has his heart set on helping to train the Haflinger ponies used for therapy at his special private school over the summer. However, his father, a hotshot lawyer, bargains with him to work in the mail room of his high-powered law firm instead so he  can learn the rules of the “real world” in exchange for the chance to choose where he will attend his senior year of high school, Paterson or public school.

But Marcelo’s story is more than a worst-summer-job-ever kind of tale, even though he does have to put up with office workers who see him as a circus freak, especially the Holmes, a nasty, entitled father-son duo who want to take advantage of Marcelo’s innocence. When Marcelo stumbles across a legal document that introduces a dilemma of ethics and family loyalties, it becomes a coming of age journey of self-awareness. Marcelo learns to see the whites, blacks, and grays of his passions, flaws, and motivations, both his and that of those around him. More importantly, he is able to consider their costs and still stand by his personal convictions. It’s a remarkable feat for someone his age and absolutely empowering to read, especially as I’m a good deal older than Marcelo is and still working on how to live out my life.

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