Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon 2014 – Reeder’s Progress Report

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*Hourly Report Below*

Twice a year, the book community comes together to participate in the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. In the past, there’s always been something going on and I’m not able to actually sit down and spend the whole day reading, but that’s not the case today. I had put the readathon in my calendar awhile back and made sure not to make any plans on this date so I could finally tear through that large reading pile I’ve accumulated in the last couple of months.

As a self proclaimed type A personality, I shockingly have not planned which books I want to read first. I’m still working at reading the Giller Shortlist, the three books I have left to read are:

That being said, I might just stick to my pile of “I’ve been dying to read these books” that includes:

If there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that I do not have a problem finding books to read in 24 hours. So I’ve got the coffee brewing, I am a little late to start, but in my defence, I had a really rough night of sleeping. I’ve also got some yummy goodies lined up, so now it’s just time to get reading. My hope is to update this post… hourly (maybe?) with my progress. I will be starting two hours behind, starting at hour 3 (10amET). Stay tuned and be sure to wish me luck!

Hour 1 – N/A

Hour 2 – N/A

Hour 3 – I spent hour three sipping on two cups of coffee, putting in a load of laundry and starting an advanced reading copy of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. In a conference meeting earlier this summer, our kids and teen sales rep sold me on this YA novel by comparing it to The Fault in the Stars meets Eleanor and Park. She also shared with us that this book (without evening being published yet) is being made into a film starring Elle Fanning. I’ve read 80 pages so far and I’m hooked. There’s nothing better than indulging with some gourmet peanut butter (thanks Monkey Butter) and a good and gripping read. Okay… I’m off to keep reading!

Hour 4 – “I reach one hand throughout the opening and pick up another brook and then another. What if life could be this way? Only the happy parts, none of the terrible, not even the mildly unpleasant. What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good?” ~ Jennifer Niven, All the Bright Places.

Hour 5 – Ate lunch and continued reading.

Hour 6 - Spent finishing this book that will be the “IT” book come January 2015. Also I’m pretty proud of myself for having read 378 pages in three hours…

IMG_7442When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
 
This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

Hour 7 - I brought my book and laptop to my nearest Starbucks for a change of scenery. Sadly, spending 20+ minutes trying to get connected to the internet wasn’t my idea of fun, so I scrapped that idea and have been spending the rest of the hour reading. My new read is Rachel Joyce’s much anticipated new novel, The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy. I’m about sixty pages in and it’s every bit as good as everyone said it would be…IMG_7444.JPG

Hour 8 – I am well into The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy and I’m in love. It’s so lovely and heartwarming, which is perfect for a cold fall afternoon. I think I’ll be taking a break in a bit because I’m a bit exhausted.

UPDATE…. 2 Days Later

So I fell off the reading wagon halfway past hour 8 and I think I know why. Of course, the point of a readathon is to have fun and just read, which of course what I was trying to do. But I think because I tried to update my post on our hourly basis, by the time I’d updated my reading process on my blog, it would be quarter past the hour. This made me feel like I was always short for time and took away a bit of the fun of reading. I kept trying to “catch up” and sometimes I wound up getting distracted by social media or just the internet in general. I think I lost the main point of what I was trying to do, which was to just spend 24 hours reading. I’m still not disappointed with how I did though, I managed to read All the Bright Things, which I’ve been meaning to read and I also got a got through The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy (finishing it up Sunday afternoon). So to the future me…  the next time you sign up to do a 24 hour readathon, spend less time typing and more time reading!

[Book Review] How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

How to Build a GirlThe key to being a teenager is knowing how to “fake it ’til you make it” and if you’re Johanna Morrigan, “faking it” means taking on a new persona that goes by the name of Dolly Wilde. Dolly’s a bit different than Johanna, she’s a drinker, a top hat wearing Lady Sex Adventurer. Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s niece who was a lesbian, drinking, heroin addict, Johanna’s determined that if she becomes “goth”, she’ll be able to help her family out of a jam she ended up putting them in and this makes perfect sense since How to Build a Girl is set in the 90’s. Johanna’s family is quite large and her Father’s pipe dream of making it in the “music biz” doesn’t appear to be panning out anytime soon. By accidentally letting it slip that their family collects disability, Johanna lives in constant fear that she’s ruined her family’s steady income. In preparation of the big fallout, she determines that her writing will help that “save them” after winning a contest in their town.

With the prize money as her indication that she might actually be good at this writing thing, she decides to become employed. As a teenager, I got the typical teenager job… fast food, telemarketing, etc… but Johanna’s got something else in mind. She decides that she’s going to focus and channel Dolly and study music at her local library. She considers herself the only one in her home with a real job and is determined to learn everything there is to know about music history that have helped to shape 90’s bands and music. Diligently spending hours at the library (sometimes with her twin siblings at her side) and patiently waiting to sign out music with her library card, she becomes better and better at understanding music and the ways in which she should write about music. It’s that determination that lands her a job at D&ME magazine and allows her to get front stage (and backstage) passes to any show she’s interested in reviewing.

With gumption and a little narcissism, Johanna/Dolly is the perfect combination of confidence and insecurity. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a character like this sixteen year old girl. Things were challenging for her and her earliest writing for the magazine got misconstrued with being a IMG_7023bit fan-girly, so she amps it up and spends much of her energy “telling the truth” i.e. being “Dolly”. With constant begging from her Father to include his music in the magazine and her Mother’s instance about saving money, she finds herself pushing boundaries and making decisions that she wants to make, regardless of what others have to say. Sometimes she’s very aware that it might not be the best decision, but she’s all about going against the grain and sometimes that means making decisions that scare you. I only wish that at sixteen, I had half as much charisma as she has in this book! You’ll want to be friends with her and you’ll want to be her, which is the best kind of character in my opinion.

Caitlin Moran is a face I’d see constantly popping up at bookstores and on Twitter, but it wasn’t until my friend Anne insisted we head to Indigo to go get one of her “free hugs”. I stood in line with my one job… taking a nice picture of Caitlin and Anne. I honestly had no intention of buying a book. That was until I started chatting with those around me in line. They insisted that my world would expand by reading any of Caitlin’s books. They promised she’d be witty, hilarious and rambunctious and I’m officially happy to report that they weren’t lying. There was no exaggerations and no bullshitting. Caitlin Moran can write and she knows how to make a goth, sex obsessed sixteen year old come to life in a way that can only be explained by reading this book.  Highly, highly recommended.

If you’ve read this one, leave a comment below sharing your reaction to the book. And if you haven’t read it yet… what are you waiting for? Take my word on it, you don’t want to miss out on this glorious read. 

6 Days of Giller Prize Shortlist Reading

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Today the Giller Prize Shortlist was announced and since I was sick, I lay in bed hitting refresh and watched as the book community was waiting with baited breath for the CanLit announcement. When the list was finally announced, it was exciting to see that for the first time in a really long time, the list is split 50/50 between two major publishers, Random House of Canada and HarperCollins Canada. The books nominated were:

  • Frances Itani, Tell (HarperCollins Canada)

The lack of small publishers was a bit surprising, but since the longlist was announced, we’ve come to expect some curveballs thrown our way this year. It was previously announced that founder Jack Rabinovitch, had increased the prize to $150,000, the winner will receive $100,000 and the runners up will receive $10,000. It was also exciting to see a sixth book added to the shortlist this morning. We’re all so use to only seeing five titles on the list each year, so it was wonderful to see an additional candidate in the running.

This year, like every year, I’m taking on the challenge of reading all six books. But unlike other years, this year I’m actually going to follow through and read and report my thoughts on all six books. What better way to make a commitment than to put it in writing, right? So, I’m declaring October 26 – October 31st, Reeder’s 6 Days of Giller Prize Shortlist Reading. Be sure to tune in to read a review of each book and hear what I think of each book on the shortlist this year. Here are books I’ll be chatting about on each date.

Please Note: You are more than welcome to join along by posting your thoughts and reactions on the corresponding dates too if you’re interested in reading with me!

October 26 October 27 October 28 October 29 October 30 October 31

 

The Scotiabank Giller Prize Winner will be announced on CBC Television on Monday, Nov. 10 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) with host Jian Ghomeshi of CBC Radio’s Q.

5 Apps that Every Book Lover Should Have on Their Phone

iphone_2011806cLike any other warm blooded individual, I’m addicted to my phone. Sadly, I’ve  become accustomed to reaching for it practically every 30 minutes it seems. Statistically, this need and want to be on our phones 24/7 is not uncommon, so I feel okay about providing you more ways in which you can use your phone, but I promise that my hope is to enhance your reading habits/experience. We word nerds are always on the hunt to find new and fun ways to spend time reading, so why not use our phones in that process? Some reading apps are obvious… Goodreads, Kobo, iBooks, but I want to dig a little deeper and provide you with a list of some conventional and unconventional apps you should have on your phone if you’re addicted to books.

1. OverDrive App

I’m going to be real honest with you and tell you that I use to be really unsure of how to borrow eBooks from the library. It seemed like a really intimidating experience. Then someone in my life sat me down and explained that if I just got overdrive, all that anxiety would disappear. And it did.

All that’s required for OverDrive is a library card and some empty storage on your phone. From the comfort of your home, you can borrow or reserve eBooks and audiobooks quickly and efficiently. Books can be searched by genre, author or title and there’s also a great function that allows you to search for ‘available now’ titles that are just sitting there waiting for you to download them.

The best part is that after you download the file (ePub or audio file), it will be on your phone (in this app) for 2 weeks, allowing you to read or listen to it at your earliest convenience and then it returns it to the queue when those two weeks are up. For me, this has been a lifesaver for long commutes and for my morning walks. If you don’t already have it, you need to get it ASAP.

2. Podcast App

podcastHere’s another thing that use to be really overwhelming to me… podcasts. I remember hearing that a lot of people were listening to them via their iTunes account, but when I went to do it, I didn’t know how to sync it with my old iPod and it just seemed really confusing. When I got my iPhone a few years back, I made a goal to really get the hang of podcasts. Luckily for me, there was a simple and easy way to do it.

From the app store, download the purple podcast app, hit search to browse the “store” where you’ll pay nothing and search the term books. You’ll get plenty of suggestions, such as NYT Book Review, NPR: Books, Books on the Nightstand and one of my favourites, BookRiot. Once you subscribe to these podcasts, they’ll download their recent episodes and live in this app until you remove the download.

If you’re someone who loves reading, you’re going to get a number of book suggestions by tuning into these podcasts (which are all usually updated weekly). I often get some of my best book recommendations by opening this app.

3. Songza App

I feel that by now, most of you know what Songza is, but just in case you don’t… Songza is a free music streaming and recommendation service that suggest playlists for you based on the time and date of when you open the app. I’ll create a scenario for you…

It’s Sunday afternoon. Your laundry is done. Your kids are down for a nap and it’s just you and your phone. Open Songza and it’ll break it down for you in real simple terms; are you…

  • Driving
  • Reading
  • Relaxing at Home

You decide that it’s reading time… you tap that option and get more options:icon320x320

  • Jazz
  • Solo Piano
  • Nature Sounds

You click Solo Piano and then have three varied music playlists that have been curated for you.

  • Mello Solo Piano
  • Classic Piano Jazz
  • Strictly Piano

Voila, you’ve now got a specific playlist that can create some really great background music for you as you dip into that new Ian McEwan or Ann-Marie MacDonald. This app has become my go-to app for when I’m reading and want some background music. Highly, highly recommended.

4. Dictionary App

I often stumble across a word in my reading that I’ve never seen before, so having the dictionary app makes it quick and easy to find a words definition. I wish that I wise enough to recognize all words, but that just isn’t the case and having this app has really helped to enhance my reading.

Not to mention, the app in itself is really great. Each day you get a different word and it’s definition. Today’s word is,

Hypogeum – noun; an underground burial chamber

Now I don’t know when I’ll be having my next conversation about burial chambers, but when I do, I’m definitely going to weave the word hypogeum into my lingo. This app also has some great word and literary posts embedded into the app. Some of today’s options are, “8 Words That Are Older Than You Think, 13 Essential Literary Terms & Word Fact: I Couldn’t Care Less vs. I Could Care Less”

If you’re a word nerd like me, this is a GREAT app to have on your phone!

5. WattPad App

icon220x220To quote my good friends at Wikipedia,

Wattpad is a writing community in which users are able to post articles, stories, fan fiction, and poems about anything either online or through the Wattpad app.

Not only do I think it’s a great tool for readers and aspiring writers, but I think it’s really cool that it’s headquarters is located in Toronto. Broken down into ‘Discover’ categories, you can select reads for writers in the featured stories section, the stories you might enjoy section and my favourite, the lunch break reads section. Of course, you can also sort through genre specific categories as well.

Whatever your pleasure, there’s a little something for everyone on this app.

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And there you have it friends, 5 apps you should have on your phone if you love books. Of course, you should get all the original gangsta’s like, Kobo, Goodreads, Audible, but try some of these really great ones too! I’m sure there are many, many more apps that will help to enhance your reading experience, so if you know of an app(s) that I (or all of us reading this post) should download to our phones immediately, please leave a comment below and share, because sharing is caring.

~Happy Reading… on your iPhone or Android.

 

[Video] Document Your Life – September 2014

September 2014

Can you believe it’s October? I feel like I blinked and September was over! September’s are always a busy month for anyone that works in publishing. It’s when the books that will be prominently featured around the holidays are released and it’s also a time when many authors come to town to release said books. This past month I met many great authors and had the luxury of spending time in their home, dining with them and chatting about our favourite books to paddle boarding. I tried my best to capture it all on film, as well as a look at some of the great books I read this month. Not to mention my trip to the CN Tower, an Ed Sheeran concert with my cousins and a quick (ninja like) video of Lena Dunham attending JFL42. Needless to say, it was busy 30 days, but oh so much fun!

Have a look at the month of September below and let me know if the comments what you read in the month of September and what books you can’t to read this fall!

 

*The concept of the Document Your Life videos was created by Lauren Hannah. Her story, videos and a description of the project can be found here.

** The song in this video is Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson http://www.ingridmichaelson.com