Monday, January 13, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0: Status Updates

I'm going to use a single post to document my activity in Bout of Books 9.0. I'll update it regularly and at the end, I'll have recorded my reading activities for all seven days of the read-a-thon.


Monday, 6 January: Trying to get an early start to the read-a-thon, I took my Kindle to bed with me shortly after midnight. I was continuing to read The Star Beast, a juvenile SF novel by Robert Heinlein. This was a re-read since I had read it several times as a teen and a young adult. It was fun to experience it all over again and I was really glad that I had picked up an electronic copy from Baen Ebooks.

First thing Monday morning, I had an appointment for a teeth cleaning and hubby offered to be my chauffeur, letting me read to and from the dentist's office. I took along Steward of Song by Adam Stemple since I was only 90 pages from the end of the book. After the dentist visit, I resumed reading The Star Beast, finishing it shortly before lunch. I then returned to Steward of Song and concentrated on reading it during the various breaks in the day. I finished it late in the afternoon. At supper time, I opened Whisper to the Blood by Dana Stabenow. As I noted in my goals post, this is a library book which is due back on 16 January. Due to other things going on, I only read a couple of pages.

Tuesday, 7 January: Unlike Monday, I didn't manage to squeeze in much time for reading. The only book I read was Whisper to the Blood and I only managed to read 77 pages by the end of the day.

Wednesday, 8 January: I read almost twice as many pages on Wednesday as Tuesday, though less than half as much as Monday. (Do you see an enthusiastic start and a more limited follow-thru?) Again, I only read in the one book, Whisper to the Blood, reading during breaks and supper time. I attempted to read in bed, but when the book fell out of my hands the second time, I put it aside and turned out the lights.

Thursday, 9 January: Ah! Some progress. I completed reading Whisper to the Blood shortly before supper. This allowed me to start reading the next book in the series, A Night Too Dark, which I had put on reserve at the library and had just become available on Thursday. Earlier in the afternoon, I drove to the beautician, listening to Sunshine on Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith. It can take me as long as three months to complete an audio book since I only listen when I'm alone in the car—which isn't that often.

Friday, 10 January: I started reading at 2am when I headed to bed with A Night Too Dark. Read for a short while until I fell asleep—then resumed reading when I woke up early in the morning. It was a work day, so I didn't resume reading until lunchtime. I managed to read a little bit in the early evening and then took the book to bed with me at 10:30 and read until midnight. In total, I read 263 pages, getting pretty close to the end.

Saturday 11 January: I love a lazy weekend day! When I woke up, I quickly addressed myself to A Night Too Dark and read the last 49 pages to finish the book. I started in on Ghost Gone Wild on the way to lunch. I didn't get as much reading done during lunch as I would have liked since it's difficult to eat with chopsticks and manage page turns. I also decided to download a book to my iPhone, so I read about 40 pages of The Impossible Cube in various breaks during the day.

Sunday, 12 January: The final day of Bout of Books 9.0. We had scheduled some activities with the family, so I only managed to read 55 pages in Ghost Gone Wild during my lunch break.


So, I don't know how to classify this particular Bout of Books. I read from 7 different books, finishing 4 of them, and I did read over 1000 pages (1179 to be precise). The most important part of the Read-a-Thon is to have fun, and that I did. I'm looking forward to Bout of Books 10.0!!

The Books


Monday, 6 January

Number of books I've read today: 3
Number of pages I've read today: 362
Number of books completed today: 2

Tuesday, 7 January

Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 77
Number of books completed today: 0

Wednesday, 8 January

Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 141
Number of books completed today: 0

Thursday, 9 January

Number of books I've read today: 3
Number of pages I've read today: 144
Number of books completed today: 1

Friday, 10 January

Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 263
Number of books completed today: 0

Saturday, 11 January

Number of books I've read today: 3
Number of pages I've read today: 137
Number of books completed today: 1

Sunday, 12 January

Number of books I've read today: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 55
Number of books completed today: 0

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0: My Goals

Bout of Books 9.0 starts in just a few hours. There are now 535 people signed up for the week-long event. As stated on the Bout of Books web site, the read-a-thon “is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.” I particularly like the low-pressure part.

This time, Bout of Books begins just as I return to work after a two week holiday break. I'm spoiled by having had plenty of time to read whenever I wanted, and now a major portion of my days will be filled with work and I'll have to squeeze reading in with all the other personal activities like watching TV (lots of series start back up after the holiday hiatus), scrapbooking, playing solitaire, and making digital art. I'll just have to make the best of it.

My Bout of Books Goals

My Targets

My only real goal is to spend as much time reading as I can and to have fun!

Time Devoted to Reading

Given my work schedule, I'll be limited to reading during meal times and the evenings before I go to sleep. I'm counting on using the weekend to make a big push at the end of the read-a-thon.

Books to Read

I'll be concentrating on completing a couple of books which I have already started reading and on books checked out of the library. Next week I'll begin travel for work and I won't take library books with me. That means I'll have a lot of pressure to complete the books which are checked out to avoid having to renew them or pay late fees. First up is one book that I've already started reading and should finish on Monday:

Steward of Song by Adam Stemple is a contemporary fantasy, sequel to Singer of Souls. I'm about ⅔ of the way through the book and if I don't run into too many distractions tonight and tomorrow, I should surely finish it. I will be sending this book to GateGypsy, a fellow BookCrosser who selected this book from the Science Fiction and Fantasy virtual book box at BookObsessed.

And next up is a library book:

I requested Whisper to the Blood by Dana Stabenow from my local library. They had to get it from another library in the local consortium. It arrived on Thursday and I picked it up that day—due back on the 16th. Set in Alaska, this is the 16th book in Stabenow's mystery series starring investigator Kate Shugak. Reviews say that this is the best book in the series so far. I'm planning on completing the series (or at least ‘so far’) this year, so I'm hoping to get the next in the series from the library within a week or two.

I reserve the right to change my mind at any time, but after those two books, I will try to finish a couple of books that I started a while ago:

The Impossible Cube is a delightful steampunk novel—second in a series which the author, Steven Harper, calls The Clockwork Empire. Set in Victorian England, The Clockwork Empire tells of a horrible infection called the clockwork plague. Most of the victims die. Some turn into zombies before wasting away. And a very small number become geniuses—referred to as “clockworkers”—hence the name of the disease. Clockworkers are able to conceive and construct scientific wonders, unfortunately, they inevitably descend into madness, often with devastating results.

Months ago, I started reading Second Shift, the 7th part of the Wool saga. Technically, it's a novella and has been published in an omnibus of all three Shift novellas. The Wool saga describes a post-apocalyptic future where the remaining civilization lives in underground silos. The Shift series is a prequel to the original Wool stories and describes the initial move into the silos and the events which led to the entire population forgetting about a time before the silos.

I have requested several more books from the library and if they become available, I will make them the highest priority on my reading list. I expect to receive in the next couple of weeks:

  • A Night Too Dark by Dana Stabenow. 17th book in the Kate Shugak mystery series.
  • The End of the Road by Sue Henry. 4th and final (so far) book in the Maxie and Stretch mystery series.
  • First Lord's Fury by Jim Butcher. Last in the Codex Alera series.
  • Ghost Gone Wild by Carolyn Hart. Fourth and most recent novel in the charming Bailey Ruth mystery series.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Summing up 2013


Wow! 2013 is over. I've already finished one book in 2014 and started my documentation for another year of reading. Some people use a speadsheet, but I simply keep a text file with information (more properly “data”) on what I've read. From this data, I can produce statistics. The easy stats are that I read 149 books and 50,226 pages in 2013. When I set an overall reading goal each year, it includes both number of books to read and number of pages. I consider myself to have met my goal if either one of these is reached. So for 2013, I reached my goal on pages, but not on number of books. (Well...Goodreads called it 150 books since there were 2 novellas which were listed as separate books in its database, but I considered them a single “book”. That's how I managed to meet my 2013 Goodreads Challenge and still document only 149 books in 2013. It's slippery, but I'll take it.)

More detailed stats: The most books I read in any one month was 19 in October, and the fewest was in November with only 8. Those two months also take the prizes for highest and lowest number of pages with 6038 and 2827 respectively. The average number of books per month was 12, and I read exactly that many in January and September. The average number of pages per month was 4185.

I keep information on format (paper, electronic, audio) as well as genre, and here's how 2013 came out in those categories:

  • Paper: 89
  • Electronic: 49
  • Audio: 11

  • Mystery: 71
  • Paranormal & Urban Ficton: 29
  • Science Fiction: 23
  • Fantasy: 13
  • Mainstream: 12

I also document the source of the books that I read. This year, for the first time, I've made a concerted effort to obtain books from the library. I borrowed 41 books from the library. That's almost ½ of the paper books which I read in 2013. Of the electronic books, twelve of them were free, sixteen were gifts, five were borrowed from the Kindle Lending Library, and four of them cost only $0.99.

I didn't blog much in 2013. I used as an excuse that the server hosting my reading blog was offline. But even after deciding to post some reading information on my LiveJournal blog, I didn't keep it up. (I've been a bad, bad blogger.)

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0

Bout of Books I can hardly believe it, but the 9th Bout of Books read-a-thon starts on Monday. This is the sixth time that I've participated in Bout of Books—the last one was Bout of Books 8.0 in August of 2013.

As usual, in addition to reading and documenting what I'm reading, I'm going to enjoy visiting a number of blogs to see what other people are reading. One distinction of Bout of Books is the heavy use of Twitter to build the community. If you're interested in following tweets, search for or track hashtag #boutofbooks.

What remains is to sign up on the Bout of Books web site and then set some goals for the week-long event.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.  - From the Bout of Books team