Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Brain on Books XI

click the pic to join in
I am reading for The Office of Letters and Lights the folks who bring us NaNoWriMo today as I love what they are doing for literacy with their Young Writer's Programs and because I'm about to participate in NaNo for the tenth time and would like to give something back if only kudos and link love.  I'm putting this plug at the top in hopes some who stop by will check out their site and see all the great things they do to foster love of reading and writing and story in kids. If you happen to be doing NaNo this year you can find me there as joywrite

This post will be organized like a blog inside a blog with recent updates stacked atop previous ones. I may be posting some updates on Twitter @Joystory and the Joystory fb fanpage. But this is where I do anything more than a line or two.  Including mini-challenges unless required to have a separate post..   

I am hosting a mini-challenge this afternoon for hours 11-13 with a prize of one of my crocheted bookmarks.

Be sure to scroll to bottom of this post for advice on how to ward off those scary nap attacks. You won't be sorry.

5am - I couldn't do this at 5am so it is actually Sunday evening as I wrap this up.  I just couldn't leave it hanging.

End of Event Meme:

Which hour was most daunting for you?

I had a slump in hours 15-16 and thought that would be the worst but the last two hours turned out worse because it went beyond a slump, a bit of drowsiness into screensickness which is my name for what happens when reading a computer screen starts feeling like motion sickness.  I had to quit looking at the screen even not scrolling did not help.  All of my fall back plans for when things got tough involved the computer--ebooks and cheerleading and mini-challenges.  Even audio books are on the computer but once I start one I don't have to look at the screen again so that is how I spent the last 90 minutes: listening to A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.  I am probably going to have to start it over tho as I can not remember more than a few things and they are not that coherent.  I remember the open scenes are set in a library and talke about ancient books.  That's about it.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

The Land of Decoration by Grace MaCleen
Bel Canto by Ann Pattchet

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?

I liked the Twitter and fb involvement.

How many books did you read?
I did not read a single complete book.  I read in four I'd begun before and listened to 90 minutes of an audio book. Two of the books were short story collections and I read 4 compete stories between them.

What were the names of the books you read?
Hellfire & Damnation by Connie Corcoran Wilson
A History of the Present Illness by Lousie Aronson 
Joshua Henkin's The World Without You
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Which book did you enjoy most?
Joshua Henkin's The World Without You

Which did you enjoy least?
A Discovery of Witches.   But not the books fault.  I was simply feeling too those final hours

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
Not sure this is advice.  I waited until after midnight or the last five hours to start my promised 2 hour commitment thinking that's when it would be the most appreciated.  But I visited over thirty blogs without finding a single one still in the game.  This might have contributed to the screensickness I developed around the end of that  endeavor   So possibly this is advice: unfocus your eyes while scrolling.  Only try to read when the text lines are standing still. There is still going to be some pixel flicker even then but that is less bothersome than trying to read as the lines are scrolling up the screen.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

Very.  This was my 11th afterall.  Same as this time.  Reader, Cheerleader and Mini-Challenge Host

3:30am -- I guess I waited too long to do my two hours of cheering as I visited over 30 blogs since 1 and found only one that hadn't either signed off an hour or more before or never signed on in the first place.  My eyes are really insisting they've had enough of the netbook screen and my stomach is joining in the chorus.  I've heard other's complain of motion sickness from too much screen reading but it seldom happens to me.

I can't manage the tree books either since I don't have any large print right now.  I was counting on the ebooks and their enlarable font to see me through these last hours.  I guess that leaves audio.

I think I'll go listen to A Discovery of Witches.  That was the audio book that caused all the trouble with my netbook this morning when it played in the background for half an hour or more gumming up the RAM.  I caught a few phrases before I shut it off and they have sort of haunted me all day.

I may not be back for my usual 5am sign off even if I stay awake for unless an hour or so of abstinence of viewing words moving on this screen cures this urge to hurl I'm going to be less than eager to return for more of it.

12am -- I made it over the slump without succumbing to the Sand Man.  I Read two more short stories in Hellfire & Damnation.  Let me just say, reading surrealistic horror stories at a time when your brain is half in la-la land makes it hard to tell whether you are asleep or awake.

I followed up those two stories with two from an ARC I'm reading from Net Galley, a book not coming out until after the first of the year.  A History of the Present Illness by Lousie Aronson is just the opposite of surrealistic, taking the tone of an dispassionate observer but the result is make our own reality take on the surrealistic overtones of a horror story.  I'm still not clear whether these stories are true, fictionalized true stories or complete fiction.  They would be equally at home in a Reader's Digest as true accounts or in a New Yorker magazine as fiction.

Arononson is a doctor practicing in the San Francisco CA area where these stories are set so it must be that either way they are based on her personal experience and observations. The stories relate in gritty detail the impact illness has upon the ill, their doctors, and loved ones.  Whether factual or fiction these stories are an indictment of the system of medical care in America today, of the moral decay at its core that makes an oxymoron out of the word 'care'.

I need to get something to eat and then I think I will spend the next couple of hours cheering and maybe participate in a mini-challenge which I have not done since the intro meme.  Or maybe I'll alternate between those two for te duration.  Don't know.  Will play it by eye as my eyes are not too happy with me right now.

4.5 hours to go. I think I'm going to make it.

8pm -- I got to read from 2:30 until the entries to my mini-challenge started coming in about twenty after 3 and from that moment until I had the winner's names mailed to the Dewey administrator's at 7 I was following links, reading posts, commenting and then compiling the list, randomizing it and composing the email.  By the time I'd finished that it was full dark outside and my fingers were rebelling with chill.  Ed helped me move my porch camp back in the house.

Then the minute I started feeling warm I also started feeling sleepy.  Not surprising since I hit my 24 hour awake mark at 6pm and I always tend to have a dip in my energy and alertness between 5 and 9.  The up side is that I usually catch a second wind to carry me into the wee hours around 10pm.

I was just pacing the house and jogging in place and pumping my arms.  Got a bit of a boost from that.  And I've just taken my B vitamins and Focus Factor so here's hoping...  Some green tea might be the next thing.

My eyes are rebelling with the tree books so I'm going to return to the Herllfire & Damnation ebook ARC I mentioned this morning and try to read another short story.  They are anything but soporific these horror stories so with the font large enough it might work.  If not I'll try audio along with crochet.

1pm --  Nothing is ever how you anticipated it, imagined it, pictured it.  The last several hours has been a netbook nightmare.  I thought I'd be back here by 9:30 tops even if I had to do a complete restart.  After closing the browser it was obvious it would need to be the restart as the lag continued and even at times got worse.  Especially when closing the applications--they would go into the 'not responding' limbo and hang.  I opened task manager and discovered my CPU was at 100% but I could not identify why.  Especially after closing the browser and two of the greediest RAM hogs.

So one by one I closed the aps and each time the CPU dropped 20 to 50% but just for a few seconds and then it would shoot back up to 100%.

Part of the explanation revealed itself when I bumped the headphone plug and briefly heard a voice!  I wasn't wearing the headphones so I hadn't realized that when I'd set up an audio book playlist in iTunes earlier I'd inadvertently started it and it had been playing for over half an hour.  Sigh.

Thought that would fix it and it did help but it wasn't the whole story.  Turned out both Windows and iTunes were downloading updates!!!!!!

Then the Windows update came back with an error saying 7 updates were successful but 14 were not and the error code with link led to the explanation that the updater had been unable to access the internet.

But before it would try again on those 14 it insisted on a restart to finish installing the first 7.  I got back to the desktop that time at 11am.  I probably could have let the other 14 wait until tomorrow and now I wish I had but because installing updates almost always requires restarting I didn't want another restart hanging over me so I went ahead.  And it turned out to be one of those downloads that take over half an hour and then the install also takes over half an hour before the restart and over twenty minutes during the restart.

Meanwhile I could not access my ebooks or audio books so I was left with the tree books and my 2.50X magnification reading glasses.  The book I picked up was an ARC I'd already done the review for last July but had not quite finished and then gotten sidetracked with later reviews, blog tours and read-a-longs.  And crochet.

I found Joshua Henkin's The World Without You yesterday while gathering my ARCs for the read-a-thon and noticing the bookmark I thot first Oh, there's that bookmark!  then a beat later Oh, I forgot to finish that!

No wonder I've continued to be plagued with images and snippets of scenes from this story!  My brain had not gotten closure.  It is no reflection on Henkin's storytelling that I didn't finish. Zero. It was my own scattered brain, office and 2do lists.  Maybe in part it was the fact it is a tree book that requires those reading glasses over my prescription glasses that makes me keep a finger on the bridge to keep them from sliding off my face.

I highly recommend this novel.  It is a gem.  It turned out to be the blessing inside the frustration of the last few hours.

While the netbook was busy with the updates I moved out onto the porch where I'll stay until it gets too cold.  Hopefully that will be after my mini-challenge closes at 6 but I'm not counting on it.  It is now after 2 so I've got just under an hour before I'll be chasing down the mini-challenge entries.  I think I'll pick up The World Without You again.

Speaking of things not going as planned.  Ed just returned from going after the take-and-bake pizza with the news the shop had closed!!  Now he's going after deli sandwiches instead.  So disappointed!  Those pizzas were works of art.  The guy running that was a chef!  I hope he didn't just loose his dream!

8am -- Had to pause reading to finish prepping my Mini-challenge post and now I am going to have to do a restart of the browser or even the netbook as moving between tabs and windows is taking eons.  Should have got both of these tasks done before 5am!!

7am -- Read short story, Cold Corpse Carnival from Hellffire & Damnation.  Brrr.  Need to go outside to warm up.

6am -- First up this ARC, Hellfire & Damnation by Connie Corcoran Wilson.  A collection of short stories organized around Dante's levels of hell in Inferno.

I will be participating in the blog tour next week and will be posting a review followed by an author interview combined with a giveaway.

I started this weeks ago when I first got it but other things crowded it out and now it has  become the thing to crowd out all else.

5:33am -- Intro Questionnaire:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Phoenix OR USA
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
The take and bake pizza my husband is going after this afternoon.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I only mention this occasionally but I am legally blind due to RP aka Tunnel Vision which has taken my peripheral vision and more than 50% of my central vision.  I can no longer read regular print books without magnification and 100 watt light so I've been gravitating to large print books, ebooks and audio books in the last couple of years.
My passion second only to all forms of story is fiber arts and currently that means crochet.
I will be participating in my 10th NaNoWriMo next month.
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?
As you can see by the post title this is my 11th and I always say this afterwards: next time get up and move around more.  Change of scene and increased circulation is more stimulating than caffeine. No kidding.  I almost never follow thru or at least not enough.  Sigh.

5am -- Making coffee.  brb.

Fighting pose

4 tell me a story:

S. 10/13/2012 6:09 AM  

Best wishes to you on readathon day! Woot woot! Go Team Smarties!!

Buried In Print 10/13/2012 10:15 AM  

Love the attention you've paid to snacks: great idea. (It's so important to help you keep those pages turning!)

Read faster!
Read harder!
If you tire,
Raid the larder!

(Team Smarties)

S. 10/13/2012 10:54 AM  

How awesome you are hosting a mini-challenge -- I definitely want to do that in the future. Go Team Smarties! “So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall.” (Roald Dahl)

Vasilly 10/13/2012 4:08 PM  

Computers are definitely annoying! I had a similar problem this morning. The only good thing is that I've been on the computer less than I would have been!

The pizza shop in your area sounds like a dream! Maybe they're temporarily closed.

I hope your computer finishes updating soon. Happy reading.

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