April 27, 2014

TSS | Readathon Wrap Up and End of Event Meme

Good morning! It is the day after Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon and I am tired! Readathon is such a fun event. I get so excited before and have so much fun during Readathon that I often feel a bit lost the day after. So I'm easing myself off the Readathon high by writing my wrap up post.

Posts and Videos

I started out by recording a video and writing a post showing my reading options:
Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon (video)
Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon: April 26, 2014 (blog post)
Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon Wrap Up (video)

Then I posted twice during the event:
Readathon: Let's Get Started!
Readathon: Midway!

Burning Up Twitter

I spent a lot of time on Twitter using the #readathon and #teamrogue hashtags. I hear that #readathon trended and am not surprised since we were burning it up!

You can find me on Twitter as @TerriTalksBooks if you want to chat.

#TEAMROGUE rah. rah. *\o/*

The #teamrogue hashtag refers to the unofficial rogue cheerleading team that got started by joking about it on Twitter the night before Readathon. Andi from Estella's Revenge (and one of the people that make this event happen) referred to Team Rogue as "cheerleaders without borders." We were the bunch that didn't sign up to cheer ... but did so anyway. In true rogue fashion, we were not organized and visited people at random. We did have a little structure by trying to visit and cheer for those readers who signed up after the cut-off date. There were a lot of you! (You rogue readers know who you are.) We were so rogue I'm not sure who all was cheering as part of #teamrogue. Here are those I know about:

Memory Scarlett @xicanti
Becca Lostinbooks @imlostinbooks
Megan S @toadacious1
Literary Feline @LiteraryFeline
Kristen M @WeBeReading
Jillian @ramblings2010
Melissa @thefirmangroup

If you were cheering as part of #teamrogue and I didn't mention you, please let me know and I'll add you to this list!

Yeah, that's me going rogue.

End of Event Meme

Which hour was most daunting for you?
Hour 21. I did just GREAT until then. Probably running on caffeine and adrenaline. Then I pretty much passed out with a book on my face.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Really, you should pick whatever interests you and meets your reading goals. I did find that having shorter books, short stories, essays and graphic novels to read was helpful. I also had a fair selection to choose from and would not have hesitated to go pull from my fearsome TBR (to be read) pile if I suddenly found myself uninterested in my arranged reading stack.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

What do you think worked really well in this year's Read-a-thon?
The cheer teams seemed highly organized (except for #teamrogue of course) and did a fantastic job visiting readers on their chosen social media site. I also noted that international readers were able to receive prizes this time and I think that inclusiveness is awesome!

How many books did you read?
Two (2).

Which book did you enjoy most?
Since I only read two, it doesn't really apply. I finished both Show Your Work by Austin Kleon and Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion.

Which book did you enjoy least?
See previous answer.

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year's Cheerleaders?
No. I'm a rogue. *smile*

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I will definitely participate again! I might even sign up as a cheerleader. You know, like, officially.

Thank You!

  • To all readers for participating in one big READ for 24 hours.
  • To my fellow #TEAMROGUE members (whoever you are).
  • To all the other cheerleaders and hosts of various events and on various social media sites.
  • To anyone who worked hard that I don't know about. You are appreciated!
  • Most especially to super organizers Andi and Heather! I stand in awe of your love and dedication to this event. 

The Sunday Salon.com

The Sunday Salon is a weekly virtual get together where readers share thoughts about their reading. We write about books and reading on our own blogs and then visit and chat with other saloners through the comments feature.

April 26, 2014

Readathon: Midway!

Hour 12

Wow! Has it been 12 hours already? Guess I'll post a little recap.

My husband made me a delightful breakfast that has pretty much carried me through most of the day. Anything with eggs in it will do that for me. Some mid-afternoon beer and dark chocolate wasn't the best lunch, but hey, it's Readathon right?

I've read Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. This is more or less a companion book to Steal Like an Artist. I loved them both, but I think that Show Your Work has provided me with more to think about and will be most useful to me in several areas of my life including my professional life. The two books are primarily about the creative process and sharing that process. And lest you think you aren't creative, think again! We are all creative in some way.

Mid-Event Survey
1. What are you reading right now?
I'm currently reading Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion

2. How many books have you read so far?
Um, one. I've spent a lot of time chatting online and doing some rogue cheerleading.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Fables by Bill Willingham!

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
That I'm not tired!

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Not really. I love some of the changes from previous readathons (which I thought went quite well) and I think those have mostly come out of the growth of the event and building on previous experiences. For instance, the cheerleading seems nicely organized and I think that having prizes available for international readers is awesome!

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
Not be quite so rogue! I think I need a little more structure in order to actually get reading done.

9. Are you getting tired yet?
Not yet! *crosses fingers*

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
Reading shorter books, essays/short stories, and graphic novels has helped me deal with my "bouncing off the walls" lack of focus. I'm not always this way, but I know from past experience that I get overly excited and chatty during this event and that affects my ability to read longer pieces. This way I also get a sense of accomplishment since I finish something!

Readathon: Kick Off Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I'm reading in Southern California. It rained last night, but looks like the sun is starting to peek out. Hope to read outside for a bit today!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
All of them! For different reasons. I'm looking forward to reading Show Your Work by Austin Kleon this morning. It's a short book and I should finish it in about an hour. I read his companion book, Steal Like an Artist, a few weeks ago and loved it. If you enjoy reading about the creative process and sharing the creative process, you might like these books.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
A Kashi Chocolate Almond & Sea Salt granola bar!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I'm an eclectic reader and will read pretty much anything as long as it interests me. My current reading obsession is books about art, creativity and the artistic process - both fiction and non-fiction. I've been surprised at how many fiction books use that as a focus. I expected to see tons of non-fiction on the topic, but the fiction titles surprised me.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
Read more! I hope! I spent too much time online last time and didn't read enough. I will also go out for a run as a refresher at some point.

Happy reading Readers!

Readathon: Let's Get Started!

Good morning readers! It is 5am here on the U.S. West Coast and I'm here with my coffee ...

... to start READING!!! I've got some reading options that I think will keep me quite busy and satisfied.

Or if you prefer videos http://youtu.be/6vhpDs5KlX8:

I will be taking a break to watch one my current favorite TV shows, Orphan Black. I might take a nap. I'll probably go out for a run. You might even get a visit from me as part of #TeamRogue. You never know, since we're rogues.

Yeah, that would be me horsing around as a rogue cheerleader. Rah.

See you on the blog later! In the meantime, you can find me as
@TerriTalksBooks on Twitter.

April 24, 2014

Video | Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon Book Stack

My reading selections for the Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon this Saturday, April 26th!

Read about the Readathon at http://24hourreadathon.com 

You may need to click through to my blog to view the video if you are reading this in your reader.


April 22, 2014

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: April 26, 2014


The Read-a-Thon is almost here! I absolutely LOVE this event that happens twice a year, once in April and once in October. If you don't know what Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon is, then get thee to the official website and find out about it! This is the original online read-a-thon started by Dewey in 2007 (read about the history) that has turned into an international event. This is such a fun event that stands as a tribute to a woman who loved this community and really helped to build it into what it is today.

Part of the read-a-thon fun is picking out the stack of books to choose from as you read your way through 24 hours (or however long you can last!). Here is my stack for this Saturday:

Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
A very short book about creative process and sharing. It is a combination of words and drawings that I can probably read in about an hour.

The London Scene by Virginia Woolf
Six essays on London life. Kind of a walking tour with Virginia. See comment about essays in the next entry.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
Essays by one of my favorite non-fiction writers. Essays are nice since you can pick and choose shorter works out of the whole. Same thing goes with short story collections.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
A YA (young adult) novel that has been on my TBR (to be read) since it came out (what is wrong with me!). I thought read-a-thon might be a good time to pick it up. YA books are generally fast and easy reads. This can be important when you start getting tired or just need to get "sucked in" to a story.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
I've already started reading this fairly long novel but will probably still be reading it by Saturday. Maybe I'll even finish this one. It is a lovely story so far.

Fables (several volumes) by Bill Willingham
Graphic novels are awesome for read-a-thon. Again, they are especially good if you are getting tired or just need to mix it up a little.

I'm not a high volume reader so I will not be reading and/or finishing ALL of these books, but I like to have options.

The other fun part of read-a-thon is picking out SNACKS!!! I have no idea what will be in my snack cupboard yet, but will photographically share some of my food choices on Saturday.

See you Saturday!

April 21, 2014

Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge

Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge is a novelization of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912. The novel was originally published and won the Whitbread Prize in 1996.  Europa Editions reissued it in 2012 on the 100th anniversary of the tragedy.

Bainbridge tells the story of the tragic voyage of the Titanic through the eyes of Morgan, a young man who was the nephew of industrialist J.P. Morgan. Morgan boards the ship as one of the self-centered idle rich. Though he mixes with these shallow "bright young things," Morgan seems to have a conscience and is the focus of a modest coming of age story line.

The book is primarily character driven, but I had a hard time caring about any of the characters. Even Morgan seemed hard to cozy up to and I found him to be the most sympathetic character out of the bunch. Every Man for Himself is a shallow look at the shallow lives of very wealthy first-class passengers on a ship we already know will sink. Steerage class passengers hardly note a mention as though not worth the paper and ink. This baffled me until I wondered if Bainbridge was employing subtle irony. I'm still not sure if the author was using a clever device to make a point or not. Those who are more familiar with her writing might be able to enlighten me.

Very little happens until the ship hits an iceberg and begins to sink. The drama and horror, the terrible loss of life that was the sinking of the Titanic is wrapped up in the last 35 pages of a 201 page book. This hurried ending does impart a frantic and chaotic note that was surely a part of those last hours, but there is no character redemption or reflective commentary involved. The shallow characters never cease to be shallow and continue to idle away their last hours in various self-indulgent states. The reader is never focused on any one scene for too long during these last pages, as though confused by the chaos and noise. Perhaps this too was intended by the author to make a point, but it fell flat for me. I honestly didn't care if any of the characters survived or not and that seems important to me in a character driven story.

I really had high expectations for this book. These were mostly based on various comments about the author's skill as a writer that I came across in reviews and other write ups prior to reading the novel. Again, the book is not bad, but it failed to make much of an impact.

April 19, 2014

TSS | A Tribute to the Online Book Community

If you're like me, it's hard to juggle the many commitments and interests of life. There is so much I need and want to do! The last few years it has been challenging for me to remain engaged with the book community through my blog and my YouTube (BookTube) channel. The point of social media is, well, to be social and disappearing for long periods of time isn't very social.

The lovely thing about the online book community is that this group of people have long memories and are very forgiving of the transitions in the lives of other members. Even with my spotty participation, there is always a core of book bloggers and vloggers that welcome me back with open arms.

Thank you so much to those that have continued to hang around and leave me comment love (you know who you are!) and to those who silently continue to visit. I really do love this group. It is a fantastic place to learn new things and share our thoughts with each other. Know that you are appreciated, *smile*.

The Sunday Salon.com

The Sunday Salon is a weekly virtual get together where readers share thoughts about their reading. We write about books and reading on our own blogs and then visit and chat with other saloners through the comments feature.

Video | Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut

Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut was a nice play on the tale of Bluebeard and a commentary on art and art movements. I really enjoyed this book. The book is a satire on art movements, but Vonnegut's barbed wit was moderated and he even brought a bit of sweetness to the story.

(You may need to click through to view the video if you are using a reader.)

April 18, 2014

Video | #FridayReads April 18, 2014

What I'm reading this weekend:

Every Man For Himself by Beryl Bainbridge
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion
Poems by Tennyson (for National Poetry Month)

(If you are reading this in a reader, you may need to link through to the video.)


April 16, 2014

Video | Thoughts on Feminism and Dorothy Sayers

I have decided to try and resurrect my YouTube channel and so have created a video version of my written review of  the Dorothy Sayers essay, "Are Women Human?" It is mostly a rather rambling repeat, but hey, some of you seem to like watching these things!

You can find me on YouTube as MsTerriB http://www.youtube.com/user/msterrib

(If you are reading this in a reader, you may need to click through to my blog in order to view the video.)

April 3, 2014

Are Women Human? by Dorothy Sayers

I've long admired Dorothy Sayers' writing and knew right away that I would be reading one of her essays for The Classics Club event Feminist Literature in March. I'm going to be up front and honest with you: I don't define myself as a feminist. I don't define myself as a feminist mostly because I don't find the label particularly helpful nor clearly defined. I also tend to get tetchy if someone asks me for a woman's point of view about something. More often than not, the term "feminism" is polarizing when it doesn't need to be and I find that there are as many points of view as there are women. Ask me about my point of view on a particular topic and I will tell you my point of view on that topic. Sometimes my point of view will be recognizable as feminist, but other times it will not. I don't fit easily nor completely into most categories and I'm guessing most people do not.

Now that I've sent you all running for the hills, let me tell you a little bit about Dorothy Sayers and her essay, "Are Women Human?" Dorothy Sayers was one of the first women to graduate from Oxford University. She did not devote her time to talking or writing about feminism, but instead lived her life doing the work for which she was suited whether or not society understood her choices as feminine.

"Are Women Human?" is an address given to a Women's Society in 1938 and is one of the few times that Sayers wrote on the nature and function of women. In this essay, she puts forth her position on women with honesty and wit. Just look at the essay title and you'll get a taste of that sharp edged humor. As far as Sayers is concerned, "male" and "female" are adjectives qualifying the noun "human being," and as Mary McDermott Shideler says in her introduction, "the substantive governs the modifier." We are human beings first and foremost. This is not to make light of the difficulties experienced by women. Sayers was, after all, one of the first women to graduate from Oxford University. I would imagine that she faced many challenges as a woman in that environment, yet she felt that she was suited to the type of work in that environment and lived it out in spite of the difficulties. I can just about hear her say that life is full of difficulties.

What Sayers most wanted was to be reckoned as an individual person and not always as a member of a class. "A certain amount of classification is, of course, necessary for practical purposes… [but] [w]hat is unreasonable and irritating is to assume that all one's tastes and preferences have to be conditioned by the class to which one belongs. That has been the very common error into which men have frequently fallen about women -- and it is the error into which feminist women are, perhaps, a little inclined to fall about themselves."

I believe that Sayers' position fits into the spirit of feminism. She clearly believed in a woman's right to participate fully in the world however that woman is so suited. She did not align herself with a feminist movement since, I believe, she found that too confining. Instead, she lived feminism.