Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now?
I just finished Andre the Giant: Life and Legend, which was a graphic biography. It was really lovely. So glad I randomly discovered it at the library.

2. How many books have you read so far?
Six! Loading the middle of my readathon with some graphic novels and little Penguin classics helps me feel accomplished. It’s long been a big part of my readathon strategy.

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
I’m thinking it’s time to dive into the science fiction section of my TBR stack. I’m so intrigued by the description of Electric Forest by Tanith Lee. I think that’s where I will go next.

4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Not too many. My youngest child has been predictably squirrelly, but he’s also gotten a lot more reading done himself than in readathons past. My husband took him to the Y for a nice long break in the afternoon to get some energy out, which definitely helped!

5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
I’m surprised by how much I miss doing it as a fundraiser. I thought it would be such a relief to stop doing the every two-hour fundraiser update posts, which took quite a bit of time. But I miss it! It’s one of the primary ways my friends and family cheered us on. This will help me be less annoyed about doing them next time. 🙂

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Dewey’s Readathon, 10th anniversary!

Apparently, I only use this blog to track readathons. I guess I’m okay with that.

Opening meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I am here in Lansing, Michigan, where we are having the most beautiful sunrise right now.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I am very excited about the new volume of Sex Criminals, which I barely managed to save for the readathon.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Mango gummi bears. Always.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I am reading with my two kids this morning. Jefferson, my twelve-year-old, is a multi-year veteran of the readathon. Solomon, my seven-year-old, likes the idea of participating in the readathon with us, and in the past has mostly come in to hang out and “read” long enough to eat the special readathon snacks, but loses interest quickly. I’m interested to see if he has a longer attention span for it this year. As for me, I am a science geek, a beader, and am actually in the process of starting my own micro publishing company to publish speculative fiction novellas!

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?
In the past I’ve always used the readathon as a fundraiser for a reading, book, or literacy related charity. But since I’m actually getting the chance to participate in both of Dewey’s readathons this year, I decided that was a lot of asking for money, so this time we’re just doing it for fun. I love doing this to raise money for a good cause, but it also causes a lot of pressure to do regular updates and keep asking for money. I can’t wait to see how this changes our readathon experience.

Find other people participating in the readathon here!

end of readathon

Well, I didn’t get as much reading or as much posting done as I meant to do on the second day. For mixed reasons. On the happy side, a bunch of friends were in from out of town, and I got to go spend some time with them! On the less happy side, every time I turned on my computer I was immediately drowning in news of racist bullshit going down in Virginia, which both made it harder to take participating in a readathon seriously but also provided some pretty serious motivation for disappearing into a book.

Anyway, at the end of the readathon I’d spent a mere 10 hours reading (I was hoping for at least 15) and finished four books. I’ve already donated my $10 to the library and sent the confirmation in. My four books are depicted above, which looks extra impressive if you forget that I was nearly done with Drawing with Needles when I started.

This readathon was a good idea, though. I hope it becomes a regular thing.

Two books in

I have just finished Dept. of Speculation and OH GOD, THE FEELINGS. I would like to go smash the husband’s face in. I would like to go smash in Rabih’s face, from The Course of Love, of whom I was previously much more understanding, but now, of course, I know that he is awful, just awful. I would like very much for my husband to come home right now and give me a hug.

I need to pick a very different sort of book for my next book.

I’m eyeing the graphic novel I’ve had checked out of the library for months. Or maybe one of the “classic” middle grade novels that people keep exclaiming about when they found out I haven’t read it, really, I haven’t read it.

I took a picture to post with this update, but instead of uploading this newest picture first, Dropbox has decided to finish uploading the massive backlog of vacation pictures that I haven’t gotten around to uploading yet instead. The little red bubble at the bottom of the screen is telling me there are 92 pictures left to upload. I think this post will just be picture-less.

Hello, Readathon!

So, I had all the intentions of putting together a TBR pile and doing a little “night before the readathon” post, but then yesterday my whole life gotten eaten up by an impromptu art project, which meant both that I didn’t think about making a TBR pile and that the precious little flat space I have in my living room right now is currently taken up by art supplies that I have not put away. see them around the edges of the pictures above. So, I’ll have to just rummage through my massive TBR shelves and piles all over the house instead. I can live with that.

I’m just now settling in to get started on the readathon with my Scottish Breakfast tea (lately every time I make tea in the morning I think about what the different is between Scottish, Irish, and English Breakfast tea) and my sole vacation purchase, Drawing with Great Needles, which I am about 3/4 of the way through and intend to finish as my first readathon book. I bought this book at Cahokia, the largest pre-Columbian city north of Mexico, where I visited this vacation and became very curious about the facial tattoos depicted on almost all of the representatives of what a Cahokian resident would have looked like. Cahokia was a pre-historic city with no mummified remains, so how could they know what tattoos they might have had? This book is about exactly that, and it’s been fascinating (if sometimes academically dry) so far. It is making me want to read a lot more about the history of tattooing.
Okay, as long as I am posting a picture of what I am reading, I might as well participate in the first readathon challenge:

Take a picture of what you are reading this readathon and answer the following questions:
1) Favorite book ever?
2) Where are you reading from?
3) What library will benefit from your readathon participation?
4) How many hours are you trying to read during the readathon?

1) I still think it’s evil to ask a reader to choose their one favorite book, but the answer I usually give when forced to do so is Dune.

2) I am reading from Lansing, Michigan.

3) I will be donating to my local library: The Capital Area District Libraries.

4) I don’t have a set goal. I do have some other obligations over today and tomorrow, so I am just going to cram as much reading in around them as I can.

Libraries Matter Readathon

So, the kids are both away at Camp Grandma for two weeks, and what better way to celebrate having a whole lot of me-time than participating in a readathon? The Libraries Matter Readathon is a brand new event, but the basic gist is, spend some time reading between August 11th and the 12th, and donate to your favorite library according to how much time you read. All the details are here, if you would like to participate. 

I will probably not post quite as heavily as I do during the Dewey Readathon, but expect to see a few posts from me here and there.

The New York Public Library #RainbowReading Book List for Kids

So the New York Public Library put together this great list of 30 of their favorite LGBTQ+ books for kids, one for each day of June. They also have 30 picks for adults and 30 picks for teens, too. But as excited as I was to see the lists, and as much as I love many of the books on each of them, I was deeply disappointed in the format. Really, NYPL? You put the time in to create three great lists like this and left them in this terrible format? I find it especially tragic for the kids list, because the parents and kids looking for picture books are not the same parents and kids looking for chapter books (most of the time), and how many will take the time to click-through on all thirty books just to find the two or three they might be interested in?

Well, if it makes you mad, do something about it, right? So, two hours later…

The NYPL #Reading Rainbow Book List for Kids
(now with pictures and descriptions!)

  1. The Boy and the Bindi by Vivek Shraya
    The Boy & the Bindi Children’s Picture Book, PK-3rd grade

    The Boy and the Bindi is a playful picture book about a young boy’s fascination with the dot on his mother’s forehead. With his mom’s help, the boy discovers that wearing a bindi allows him to joyfully explore and express his difference—and that even a little “spot” can be meaningful and magical.

  2. A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara (also available in Spanish)
    A is for ActivistChildren’s Board Book, PK-2nd grade

    The alliteration, rhyming, and vibrant illustrations make the book exciting for children, while the issues it brings up resonate with their parents’ values of community, equality, and justice. This engaging little book carries huge messages as it inspires hope for the future, and calls children to action while teaching them a love for books.

  3. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
    Daddy's RoommateChildren’s Picture Book, age 4 and up

    “Mommy says Frank and Daddy are gay”–this new concept is explained to the child as “just one more kind of love.” Willhoite’s cartoony pictures work well here; the colorful characters with their contemporary wardrobes and familiar surroundings lend the tale a stabilizing air of warmth and familiarity.

  4. Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman
    Heather Has Two MommiesChildren’s Picture Book, PK-2nd grade

    Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, and two pets. And she also has two mommies.

  5. Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino
    Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine DressChildren’s Picture Book, PK-2nd grade

    Morris is a little boy who loves using his imagination. He dreams about having space adventures, paints beautiful pictures and sings the loudest during circle time. But most of all, Morris loves his classroom’s dress-up center — he loves wearing the tangerine dress.

  6. Stella Brings the Family by Miriam Baker Schiffer
    Stella Brings the FamilyChildren’s Picture Book, K-3rd grade

    Stella’s class is having a Mother’s Day celebration, but what’s a girl with two daddies to do? It’s not that she doesn’t have someone who helps her with her homework, or tucks her in at night. Stella has her Papa and Daddy who take care of her, and a whole gaggle of other loved ones who make her feel special and supported every day. She just doesn’t have a mom to invite to the party.

  7. King and King by Linda de Haan & Stern Nijland
    King and KingChildren’s Picture Book, K-3rd grade

    After many hours of nagging, the crown prince, who “never cared much for princesses,” finally caves in and agrees to wed in order to ascend the throne. Their search for a suitable bride extends far and wide, but none of the eligible princesses strikes the Prince’s fancy, until Princess Madeleine shows up. The Prince is immediately smitten- with her brother, Prince Lee.

  8. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    I Am JazzChildren’s Picture Book, PK-3rd grade

    From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl’s brain in a boy’s body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn’t feel like herself in boy’s clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who diagnosed Jazz as transgender and explained that she was born this way.

  9. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman
    This Day in JuneChildren’s Picture Book, K-3rd grade

    In a wildly whimsical, validating, and exuberant reflection of the LGBT community, This Day In June welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united.

  10. Worm Loves Worm by J. J. Austrian
    Worm Loves WormChildren’s Picture Book, PK-3rd grade

    When a worm meets a special worm and they fall in love, you know what happens next: They get married! But their friends want to know—who will wear the dress? And who will wear the tux?
    The answer is: It doesn’t matter. Because Worm loves worm.

  11. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    And Tango Makes ThreeChildren’s Picture Book, PK-3rd grade

    At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.

  12. George by Alex Gino
    GeorgeMiddle Grade, 3rd-7th grade

    When people look at George, they see a boy. But George knows she’s a girl.
    George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part … because she’s a boy.
    With the help of her best friend Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

  13. Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
    Better Nate Than Ever (Better Nate Than Ever #1)Middle Grade, 5th-8th grade

    Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he’d settle for seeing a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There’s an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom.

  14. The Boy in the Dress by  David Walliams
    The Boy in the DressMiddle Grade, 6th-8th grade

    Dennis was different.
    Why was he different, you ask?
    Well, a small clue might be in the title of this book…

  15. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
    DramaGraphic Novel, 6th-9th grade

    Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she’s a terrible singer. Instead she’s the set designer for the stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen, and when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

  16. Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart
    Lily and DunkinMiddle Grade, 5th-8th grade

    For readers who enjoyed Wonder and Counting by 7’s, award-winning author Donna Gephart crafts a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. Their powerful story will shred your heart, then stitch it back together with kindness, humor, bravery, and love.

  17. Princeless by Jeremy Whitley
    Princeless, Vol. 1: Save YourselfGraphic Novel, 4th-7th grade

    Adrienne Ashe never wanted to be a princess. She hates fancy dinners, is uncomfortable in lavish dresses, and has never wanted to wait on someone else to save her. However, on the night of her 16th-birthday, her parents, the King and Queen, locked her away in a tower guarded by a dragon to await the rescue of some handsome prince. Now Adrienne has decided to take matters into her own hands!

  18. Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee
    Star-CrossedMiddle Grade, 4th-8th grade

    Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing–and, if all that wasn’t enough: British.

  19. Totally Joe by James Howe
    Totally Joe (The Misfits, #2)Middle Grade, 6th-8th grade

    “Everybody says you and Colin were kissing.”

    “What? That’s ridiculous!”

    “For heaven’s sake, Joe, if you and Colin want to kiss, you have every right to.”

    “We did not kiss,” I told her.

    Addie shrugged. “Whatever.”…

  20. Gertrude Is Gertrude Is Gertrude by Jonah Winter
    Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is GertrudeChildren’s Picture Book, PK-3rd grade

    In a story inspired by the oh-so-modern groundbreaking writing of Gertrude herself, not a lot makes sense. Even so, the oh-so-popular author Jonah Winter, and the ever-so-popular illustrator Calef Brown, and the most popular poodle of all time, Basket, invite you to enter the whimsical world of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.

  21. Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
    Everywhere BabiesChildren’s Picture Book, PK

    Every day, everywhere, babies are born. They’re kissed and dressed and rocked and fed—and completely adored by the families who love them. An exuberant celebration of babies as they do all the wonderful things babies do best.

  22. 10,000 Dresses by Marcus Ewert
    10,000 DressesChildren’s Picture Book, K-4th grade

    Every night, Bailey dreams about magical dresses: dresses made of crystals and rainbows, dresses made of flowers, dresses made of windows. . . . Unfortunately, when Bailey’s awake, no one wants to hear about these beautiful dreams. Quite the contrary. “You’re a BOY!” Mother and Father tell Bailey. “You shouldn’t be thinking about dresses at all.” Then Bailey meets Laurel, an older girl who is touched and inspired by Bailey’s imagination and courage. In friendship, the two of them begin making dresses together. And Bailey’s dreams come true!

  23. Flying Lessons and Other Stories, ed. by Ellen Oh
    Flying Lessons and Other StoriesMiddle Grade Anthology, 4th-6th grade

    In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers. From these distinguished authors come ten distinct and vibrant stories.

  24. The Best Man by Richard Peck
    The Best ManMiddle Grade, 4th-6th grade

    Newbery Medalist Richard Peck tells a story of small-town life, gay marriage, and everyday heroes in this novel for fans of Gary Schmidt and Jack Gantos.

  25. Antonio’s Card by Rigoberto González
    Antonio's Card/La tarjeta de AntonioChildren’s Picture Book, 1st-3rd grade

    Antonio loves words, because words have the power to express feelings like love, pride, or hurt. Mother’s Day is coming soon, and Antonio searches for the words to express his love for his mother and her partner, Leslie. But he’s not sure what to do when his classmates make fun of Leslie, an artist, who towers over everyone and wears paint-splattered overalls. As Mother’s Day approaches, Antonio must choose whether — or how — to express his connection to both of the special women in his life.

  26. Hit the Road, Manny by Christian Burch
    Hit The Road, Manny (The Manny Files #2)Middle Grade, 3rd-7th grade

    Okay, so this is not exactly the birthday present Keats had in mind (no iPod?!), but when Dad parks a rented RV in the Dalinger’s driveway, Keats piles in with the rest of his family — and the manny, of course — bound for the open road. From the big skies of farm country to the bright lights of Las Vegas, this, in typical manny fabulousness, is an all-American adventure filled with more Glamour-dos than Glamour-don’ts. But a stopover at the manny’s childhood home is making the manny feel not so fabulous. Why can’t his parents ever accept him for who he is? And Keats, at first, sees their point. Why does the manny always have to be so interesting

  27. My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer by Jennifer Gennari
    My Mixed-Up Berry Blue SummerMiddle Grade, 5th-7th grade

    Twelve-year-old June is sure of only one thing—she’s great at making pies and she plans to prove it by winning a blue ribbon in the Champlain Valley Fair pie competition. But one summer in Vermont June needs not only the best wild blueberries but also a whole lot of courage.

  28. The Family Book by Todd Parr
    The Family BookChildren’s Picture Book, PK-1st grade

    The Family Book celebrates the love we feel for our families and all the different varieties they come in. Whether you have two moms or two dads, a big family or a small family, a clean family or a messy one, Todd Parr assures readers that no matter what kind of family you have, every family is special in its own unique way.

  29. The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister by Charlotte Agell
    The Accidental Adventures of India McAllisterMiddle Grade, 3rd-5th grade

    Growing up in small-town Maine, fourth grader India McAllister plans to have real adventures someday, but, for the present, daily life provides some accidental ones. India and her best friend, Colby, navigate the treacherous waters of a fourth-grade friendship between a boy and a girl. When Colby succumbs to the attentions of classmate Amanda the Rodent, India runs away to a bit of real adventure, getting lost in the woods. Family issues include India’s occasional longing to know more about her birth mother, back in China, and the way she misses her father. Now she can only spend weekends with her father and his new partner, Richard, a man she’s finding it difficult to know.

  30. Families, Families, Families! by Suzanne Lang & Max Lang
    Families, Families, Families!Children’s Picture Book, PK-2nd grade

    Moms, dads, sisters, brothers — and even Great Aunt Sue — appear in dozens of combinations, demonstrating all kinds of nontraditional families! Silly animals are cleverly depicted in framed portraits, and offer a warm celebration of family love.

Folks, I worked on this thing approximately forever, and I don’t have any affiliates so I’m not getting any kickbacks from this post. So if you enjoyed the list in this format, please leave a comment and say hi!

(The list, again, was created by the wonderful folk at New York Public Library. Any mistakes in this post are undoubtably my own.)