Salem's Lot Readalong Wrap-up

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Oh what fun it is to read Stephen King books with other people. This month Trish, Care, and I co-hosted a readalong of Salem's Lot. We had so much fun! Sometimes I forget what an addictive writer King is. I had to put the book down for about a week at one point because I couldn't stop reading and was getting too far ahead. 

Those of you who sent me your address received a set of vampire teeth earlier this month. I loved seeing everyone's photos with them! Before I get to my thoughts on the book, here's just a few of our scary poses. 



Salem’s Lot
By Stephen King

★★★★☆

A small town, a creepy old house, mysterious deaths, this one hit all the right notes. The vampires felt very old school to me. There were definitely no sparkles. 

One thing I really loved about the book is that it struck me as pretty realistic. I felt like this is probably how things would go down if it really happened in a small town. People would be unlikely to believe the truth even if they saw it with their own eyes. They would also have almost no idea how to handle it. Some might know the general superstitions, but would feel silly waving a crucifix around.

Like all of King’s novels, it’s the characters that suck you in. He gives you just enough time to get attached to a few of them before the bodies start to drop. The plot was scary and suspenseful, but it wasn't gory. There were very few parts with where death was described in any detail at all and I really appreciated that. My level for gore is very low, but it was just scary enough to be perfect.

BOTTOM LINE: Definitely makes the list top ten of King books for me. The Stand, The Green Mile, On Writing, and Different Seasons are a few I liked more, but I really liked this one. It was just the right amount of scary for me.
 

WRAP-UP POSTS:
Kay's Reading Life 
The Friday Friends 
Word Hits 
Care's Online Book Club 
 
(Leave a link in the comments to your post and I'll add you in!)

Photos by participants 

Wordless Wednesday: West Virginia

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

West Virginia Statehouse
Wordless Wednesday 
Photo by my.

The Nursery: October Pin it and Do it

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The nursery is just about done! We are already in the third trimester and my work is incredibly busy right now, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner, and the baby will be here before we know it. So I think having most of the nursery done is a good thing. I love how it turned out and every little detail was so much fun to work on.
Our little girl's name is going to be Sydney Diann (my Mom's passed away and her name was Diann). We went to Sydney, Australia last year and in addition to loving the name itself, it's such a wonderful reminder of our trip together and our love of travel. There's a few other Sydney items around the room, including a photo I took of the Sydney Opera House (top right in the above photo). The name on the wall is a decal I ordered from Etsy (link on my Pinterest board here).
I love the glider, a gift from my Dad and stepmom, and can't wait to read to our little girl while sitting there. Above it you can see a print that says "She Believed She Could, So She Did" that my sister got for me. She also got the cute hanging poms. The other print is an Etsy print of the Sydney skyline.
One friend got us the world's largest teddy bear. I'm still not sure where he's going to end up! One of the other prints on the far left is the famous stacked LOVE image. The original sculpture is located at my favorite museum in Indianapolis. I found an Etsy shop that let me pick custom colors (navy and coral) for the print. The other print says, "You are my bucket list."
There's a little bookshelf filled with kids books. This has always been in this room, because whenever my nieces and nephews come over they make a beeline for it, which is wonderful! About half the books are ones I saved from my own childhood. Others are gifts, hand-me-downs, and a few I've collected over the years. The highest shelf has a few longer books (like the Chronicles of Narnia, Peter Pan, Stuart Little, etc.) that we'll save for when she's older. 

I have another friend who hand-sewed the most incredible pouf for our girl to sit on while she's reading. You can see a closeup of the detail above and the whole pouf in the top photo. It has the complete train system map of Sydney on the top and the city's ferry system map on the bottom. It's such a thoughtful gift. I can't imagine being able to sew something like that, but I just love it and it will mean so much to our little Sydney as she gets older.
I turned an old beat up nightstand and bookcase into sweet additions to the nursery with a coat of coral paint. Luckily, I had a friend who helped, because I'm a horrible painter. They turned out great! Not pictured is a print on the other wall with one of my favorite Shakespeare quotes, "Though she be but little, she is fierce." That wall also hold the closet. The Huz is planning on adding some shelves to it, but we haven't tackled that project yet.
These are a couple of before photos of the room. It was our guest room and had a big queen-sized bed and huge wall of frames in it. We changed the color of the walls from bright turquoise to light gray. 

We have had so many wonderful friends already give us hand-me-downs. So the dresser already has some newborn and 0-3 months clothes, blankets, swaddlers, and burp cloths in the drawers. 
I participated in Trish's Pin It and Do It for the nursery. I painted bookshelves and picked out color palettes using things I found on Pinterest. Here's a link to my nursery board on Pinterest where I got ideas for just about everything I did from the rug to the curtains!

Photos by me.

Wordless Wednesday: Bucket Fountain

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bucket Fountain in Wellington, New Zealand
Wordless Wednesday 
Photo by me.

Dewey 24 Hour Readathon!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

*********  UPDATED HOUR 24 ********
Pages Read: 932 pages
Currently Reading: Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

Books Finished: 5, William Shakespeare's Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher, Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin, Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright, and Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan 
Breaks Taken:To cheer on other blogs, took a couple naps.
Snacks Eaten:Dark chocolate gran marnier pecans my sister brought back from Georgia, chips and guac, chili
Mini-Challenges Completed: 16
Blogs Visited and Commented On: 46
 
You can also find me here on Instagram, Twitter, and LibraryThing

Closing Survey: 
1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Hour 15, I fell asleep at 9 pm and didn't wake up for 4 hours. Whoops.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Thimble Summer and The Stepford Wives, both were perfect readathon books.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? You all rock it, just keep on keeping on!
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?  The mini-challenges seemed to go really smoothly this year.
5. How many books did you read?  I managed to finished 5!
6. What were the names of the books you read?
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, William Shakespeare's Phantom of Menace by Ian Doescher, The Stepford Wives by Ira Levi, Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright, Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman, and Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
7. Which book did you enjoy most? The Stepford Wives, perfect length and level of suspense for the readathon.
8. Which did you enjoy least? Ghost World, it was a little "teen angsty"  for the readathon.
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?  I use the provided spreadsheet to mark who I've visited, but I also keep my own list so I make sure to visit everyone on the list.
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? I participate every time if I can. That will be the first time I'll be reading with a tiny baby, so we'll see how that goes. 
 

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? Thimble Summer
2. How many books have you read so far?
Three finished, in the middle of two
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? We Were Liars
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? A few, my pup has been needy this readathon and I fell asleep and took a nap.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? I haven't touched even half of my snacks! 


Introduction Quiz:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Indianapolis, IN
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Some dark chocolate covered pretzel slims, yum!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I'm pregnant with my first kiddo and in my third trimester, so that means my first readathon with no caffeine. We'll see how that goes.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?
This is my 9th readathon and I think I'm going to embrace the nap this time.
 

Tomorrow is the Dewey Readathon! This will be my 9th time participating in the event. Every April and October, if other obligations don’t get in the way, I spend one whole day reading. It’s always so much fun and I get a ton of reading done. There’s a great sense of community, mini-challenges each hour, cheerleaders and prizes.  Heather and Andi are the incredible ladies who help organize the whole thing and you can get more details at the official site
 

Tomorrow I will be reading from 8 am until whenever I fall asleep. I have my stack of books ready to go (see my pile above) and I will be cheering for at least 4 hours. I am also hosting a mini-challenge this year, so make sure you stop by! 

A FEW NOTES: 
- I will be updating this post throughout the day so I don’t bomb people with half a dozen new posts.
- Please turn off your comment word verification for the day! It’s such a pain for cheerleaders.
- Tweet about your day with the hashtag #Readathon or by tagging @readathon 
- If you need any ideas for great readathon books, all my previous readathon posts are below.

PAST READATHON POSTS:
April and October 2011  /  April and October 2012 / April and October 2013 / April 2014 / April 2015 

Classics and Comics: Hour 10 Mini-Challenge

*******CHALLENGE CLOSED ***********
 Kristen (@glitterfem) is our winner!!!

I hope all of the readathon is going well for all of you! 

Classics and graphic novels are two of my favorite genres, but they're rarely paired together. Recently tons of classics have been turned into graphic novels, (like Jane Eyre seen above), and it's such a fun way to see a beloved story in a new format. 

For this challenge pick a classic novel and pair it with a companion graphic novel that is similar or shares themes in some way. For example, To Kill a Mockingbird would pair well with Persepolis because they are both books about a young girl coming-of-age in the midst of society filled with prejudices. 

Post your pairings in the comments or on Instagram with the hashtag #classicsandcomics and I'll pick a winner at random at the beginning of Hour 13. 

Please leave your email address in the comments!

PRIZE: $15 book of your choice from Amazon or Book Depository

Wordless Wednesday: Hopperstad Stave Church

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Hopperstad Stave Church in Minnesota
Wordless Wednesday 
Photo by me.

Rebecca

Monday, October 12, 2015

Rebecca 
by Daphne du Maurier 
★★★★★

I love this book. This was a reread for me and I have to say, I enjoyed it even more the second time around. The author has an incredible gift for description and from that infamous opening line you are completely sucked into the world of Manderley and the de Winters. 

Manderley is the beautiful home of widower Maxim de Winter. The entire story is told from the point-of-view of his new young wife. It's eerie and wonderfully scary, but not in an obvious way. The young woman is completely intimidated by the memory of her predecessor, Rebecca de Winter. The former lady of the house died, but her tastes and influence is etched on every inch of Manderley. 

I can’t overstate the importance of tone in this novel. There’s a growing sense of claustrophobia and fear as the new Mrs. De Winter slowly peels back the layers of Manderly’s secrets. The young bride completely out of her element at the huge country manor. Mrs. Danvers is the servant who runs the house but she remains loyal to the deceased Rebecca. Our narrator can’t help but compare all of her actions and decisions to the idealistic Rebecca, shrouded in perfection now that she’s died. 

One of the most notable details of this novels is that the whole thing is told from one woman’s point-of-view, but throughout the whole novel we never learn her name. She's occasionally referred to as the new Mrs. de Winter, but we never learn her first name. The focus is always on her relationship with Maxim,

Rebecca’s memory, Mrs. Danvers, etc, we know very little of her as a person. It’s a fascinating lens through which to see the story unfold. 

BOTTOM LINE: Read it! It's considered a gothic mystery and if that's something you enjoy at all, then this one should be right up your alley.
 

Side note: My favorite Hitchcock movie is based on this novel and stars Laurence Olivier as Maxim. It's so good!


A Monstrous Regiment of Women

Friday, October 9, 2015



A Monstrous Regiment of Women
by Laurie R. King
★★★

This is the second in a series (the first is The Beekeeper’s Apprentice) and while I loved the first one, this didn't quite measure up for me. Mary Russell has followed in Sherlock Holmes' footsteps and has become a private detective. I really like her character and it was fun to see her develop. She came into her inheritance in this book, which dramatically changes her circumstances.

The plot focuses on an often over-looked piece of history. The young women who were left behind when WWI began had to build new lives for themselves and many joined the war effort or workforce. So many of their fianc├ęs, sweethearts, brothers, etc. were sent off to war and many of them never returned. Those that did were often broken and so altered by PTSD as to be unrecognizable. When the war ended those same women were expected to step back into their “places”. The case in this book deals with that group of women, many of whom have joined a cult-like religion. The plot feels very secondary to Russell’s development as a character.

I've got to say, the Russell/Holmes romantic relationship just doesn’t click for me. I see them as a great meeting of the minds. They challenge each other and make a great mentor/mentee, but they met when she was a kid and he was an old man. It just creeps me out and that whole element just through me for a loop.

BOTTOM LINE: I love the writing and the characters, but the romance didn't sit right for me.


“‘What is it you want of me, Russell? I agree this is all very interesting, from the point of view of the human mind, but why bring it to me?’

‘I don’t know. I suppose I thought that telling you might help me clarify it in my own mind.’”

Also, this is my 12th and final book for the TBRChallenge!  

Wordless Wednesday: Veterans Memorial

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Veterans Memorial in Columbus, Ind.  
Wordless Wednesday
Photo by me.

Book Club

Monday, October 5, 2015

I love my book club. For years I tried to find a good one, but every time I joined a new one I would once again be disappointed. Each time I quickly discovered that “book club” was mom code for “get out of the house and hang out with people.” Which is great except, I didn’t know those people well enough to want to talk about their kids for 30 minutes, I wanted to talk about the book! We rarely even got around it, which is just not cool.

So time and time again, I realized that every book club made up of 20 and 30-somethings was not for me. Believe me, I have nothing against sitting around and drinking wine or coffee and chatting. It’s just I’d just rather do that with my friends than with a group of people I don’t know well.

In 2009 a woman I'd met in the United We Read program I used to participate in invited me to her book club. I've been a member ever since. During my first meeting they showed me a list of books they’d read and rated over the past decade and the vast majority were ones that I either loved or had on my TBR list.

I’m the youngest member in the group by about 30 years and it’s perfect. It’s a small group, but one that’s very committed to reading the book and showing up for the meetings. If someone can't make it we normally move the meeting around. They are almost all retired and have wonderful stories about places they've traveled to and things they've experienced. Our difference in age and personalities allows for a diverse reaction to books and great discussions. Each year we try to read at least one mystery, nonfiction and classic in addition to various fiction.

Tell me about your book clubs? What do you love about them or what would you change?

Salem's Lot Readalong

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Who is ready to be scared silly? I don't remember who exactly started the Stephen King readalongs (Trish? Jill?), but the first big King novel I ever read was The Stand and I wouldn't have done it without a group. 

This month Trish, Care, and I are co-hosting a readalong of Salem's Lot. I might be crazy to do this while pregnant (I already scare easily), but Trish is pregnant too, so if she can do it then so can I! 

This will be a laid back readalong. I will definitely do a wrap up post at the end of October, but I think we will mainly be sharing thoughts on twitter with the hashtag #SalemAlong as we go. Thanks to Trish for the awesome button that she made! Feel free to use it on your blogs, twitter, or instagram.

If you'd like to join in the fun, which you definitely should, just add a link to your blog in the comments. Also, send your address to my email (avidreader25 [at] gmail.com) and I'll send you something silly for participating. Jill started that trend with sunglasses for The Shining and clown noses for It

So here's go nothing. You can always put it in the freezer if you get too scared.