Category Archives: 50/50

Mid-year-ish Reading Recap

I meant to write this one up at the end of June or beginning of July, but it has been a whirlwind of activity around here: horse camp, the Betsy-Tacy convention. I’m almost never this much of a social butterfly. July has been one hot, busy month, but totally worth it. In fact, I almost don’t know what to do with myself this weekend.

On to the reading (and watching) challenges!

Fifty/Fifty Me challenge

The challenge here is to read fifty books and watch fifty movies during 2012. Where I’m at:

  • Books: 52
  • Movies: 12

Yes, try not to laugh at that. All I can say is if I’m awake enough in the evenings to enjoy entertainment of some sort, I’m almost always going to reach for a book rather than fire up a movie. That’s just how I roll.

If you want to see what I’ve been reading, check out my Pinterest board. It has a list (minus the seven I read for the Rita contest and can’t disclose) of what I’ve read so far this year.

If you want to see the (limited) number of movies I’ve watched, look here.

War Through the Generations WWI reading challenge

I’ve made my goal! And by mid-year! However, I do hope to read a few more WWI books (at the very least).

To End All Wars by Adam Hochschild (review here)

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Fantastic middle grade novel that should appeal to adults as well. One of my favorite constructs–the story within a story. This one is on audio as well and would make a good summer road trip book.

The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West

I discovered this one thanks to a Facebook post. Yes! Facebook! Good for something.

A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd

WWI mystery. If you like the Maisie Dobbs series, this is a good choice for historical/WWI mysteries.

That’s it! I hope everyone else is keeping on track with their reading/watching challenges so far this year. Hey, there’s still plenty of time to make your goals.

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Reading recap for March: Fifty/Fifty update

I have been reading, but haven’t been updating or writing reviews recently. Uh. Clearly. Here’s what I have for March in the Fifty/Fifty challenge:

Books

  1. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley (William C. Morris Debut Award and the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature)
  2. Sapphique (Incarceron) by Catherine Fisher (The sequel to Incarceron–read that first)
  3. The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West (WWI Challenge book)
  4. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (a middle grade novel in verse–wonderful)
  5. Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King (Love A.S. King)
  6. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins (Cute!)
  7. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan by Rick Riordan (About time I read this)

Movies

None. Surprise! But now that I’ve caught up on Downton Abbey, I plan on watching some. Honest.

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Fifty/Fifty check in: week 8 and 9

I didn’t bother with last week’s Fifty/Fifty check in, since all I finished was Rita book #6. So again, I’m giving you a two for one.

Not movies, again–sadly. However, I really want to see The Artist and Kyra want to see The Secret World of Arrietty. The trick is making that happen. In the meantime, I’ve still manage to read and watch a few things.

Books

How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play by Barbara Baig

I “bought” a copy of this for my Kindle during a promotion last year. I say “bought” because I think it was actually free at the time or 99 cents. Either way, an excellent deal. Have you always wanted to write but don’t know where to start–as in, literally, no idea. This is the perfect book.

I really like the emphasis on deliberate practice and using writing to learn how to write. This isn’t a book where you learn point of view or fantasy world-building, but it will get you writing. Even though I’ve been writing for a while, I never refuse helpful hints and techniques. I really love the idea of the zero draft (will be using that a lot more as I go forward) along with some excellent tips for doing “required writing” (again, spot on).

In fact, even if you’re not a writer, but need to do some “required” type writing for work or school, I really recommend those chapters.

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson

A very interesting and detailed look at Germany between the wars, in particular 1933 – 1934, although the author takes us through 1938 and a bit beyond. I always enjoy this in-depth, personal view of historical events. I spent a lot of time in the car (this was one of my audio-reads) marveling at the things I didn’t know about this time period. Well worth the listen!

Rita Book #6

Rita Book #7

And there was much rejoicing! I finished this one on Friday evening and put the final score in on Saturday morning. Done and ahead of the deadline.

Bonus

Not a movie, but I start in on the second season for Downton Abbey. I bought the DVD, not only so I could watch whenever I wanted to but for all the extras as well. This is my reward for making it through all the Rita reading.

That being said, during January and February this year I somehow managed to read 20 books! I think that should earn me a break for a few movies to round out my challenge.

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Fifty/Fifty check in: week 6 and 7

I missed week six’s Fifty/Fifty check in, so here’s two for one, both week six and week seven recap.

Still no movies. And now that we’ve added selling Girl Scout cookies to the schedule, I’m not sure when I actually will watch another movie. However, I’m not giving up on that part of the challenge. It’s just … delayed.

Books

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

This book has been described as a female version of Heart of Darkness–and I can see that. I don’t think I liked this one as much as I liked Bel Canto. However, I do love Ann Patchett’s writing, so this was well worth my while.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Unlike many readers, I already knew a great deal about the deportations and the forced labor camps of the Stalin years. (One of the side effects of majoring in Russian.) That didn’t make it any less powerful. I would highly recommend this one to young adult readers, especially those interested in this part of history.

The prose is spare by lyrical and the story and the history is presented in a way that’s very accessible. Last year, Andrew tackled One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and while he found it very interesting, there were events I had to explain to him. I don’t think younger readers will have that problem with this book.

Rita Book #4

Rita Book #5

And that’s it. Once I’m through with the Rita books, I’ll be able to talk about everything I’m reading.

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Fifty/Fifty check in: week 5

Week 5 Fifty/Fifty check in! Welcome to February!

I’m still experiencing the books vs. movies conundrum. I don’t think this is going to change until I finish the Rita reading. Then maybe I’ll double up on movies in March and April to catch up.

So all I have this week is books. No surprise there. I always have books.

Books

250 Things You Should Know About Writing by Chuck Wendig

This is not writing advice for the faint of heart. Trust me on this. When something is described as:

… a booze-soaked, profanity-brined, Zen-lacquered look at the craft and art of writing, one list of “25 Things” at a time.

One should not complain when it actually is (looking at you, one-star reviews). I read this book a bit at a time over the past two weeks or so, every morning, while I drank my Gatorade after exercising. Some people read devotionals in the morning. I chose this. Not sure what that says about me. Probably nothing flattering.

Rita Book #3

Finished this one yesterday afternoon while Kyra played with all the cleaning supplies (the mop got married to the broom–I think). Started Book #4 last night.

Bonus

Wait! I do have something else this week, although it’s not a book or a movie. My mom and I went to see Ragtime at the Park Square Theatre today! It was incredible. The Park Square has really been on fire this season.

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Fifty/Fifty check in: week 4

Week 4 Fifty/Fifty check in! Can you believe that January is almost over?

This week, I’m again experiencing the books vs. movies conundrum. I read three books. I watched … zero movies. I’d planned to watch a movie last night, had it all picked out and everything. But then I weighed my options and realized the wiser decision was to finish Rita book #2.

And it was the wiser decision; it really was. If I keep pace at one book a week, then I’ll finish up before the deadline with a few days to spare. After I’m done, I’ll have to have a movie madness month to catch up on the challenge. Or maybe I could get the flu and watch an endless stream of them (she says optimistically).

So, here’s my check in for the week:

To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild (War Through the Generations challenge book)

First book for the WWI War Through the Generations challenge and it was a good one. I won’t say much about it here, because I’ll be writing a longer review for the challenge, but I really enjoyed this.

iDrakula by Bekka Black

I picked this up at the library on a whim and read it while I was sitting poolside at Kyra’s swim lessons. It was cute, quick, and fun–a modern retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula with text messages, emails, web pages, and so on. It was the perfect thing to read in between Rita book #2 and Rita book #3.

Rita Book #2

Finished this one last night. Onward with book #3.

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YALSA 2012 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: Get Your Geek On!

So excited to announce that The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading is a YALSA 2012 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults pick in the Get Your Geek On category!

In fact, I’m so excited, I keep checking the list–and then zooming past our listing. Then I’m all:

Oh, no! I just announced this to the world and look, we’re not there!

Then I check again. Yes, yes. We’re (still) there.

In the words of Darcy: I ❤ librarians.

We do. It’s true. Also true? There’s some good reading in those lists. Just from 2012, you can choose from:

  • Adventure Seekers
  • Forbidden Romance
  • Get Your Geek On
  • Sticks and Stones

But take a look at all the lists compiled through the years. If you’re doing the Fifty/Fifty challenge, you could build a major or a minor based on those categories.

So, what are you waiting for? Get reading!

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