Saturday, June 4, 2011

48 Hour Book Challenge - Update #1 (Karen)

Well, I started the 48 Hour Book Challenge over 24 hours ago, and though some other things have interfered (all good), it's been fun to devote my time to reading when not otherwise socially engaged.

On Friday, before evening company came, I was able to read two excellent books. The first was Junonia by Kevin Henkes. I'm embarrassed to say that I actually got this as an ARC all the way back in November at NCTE, but never got around to reading it. What better opportunity than the #48HBC to rectify that! I love that the setting of the book was a beach in Florida and that the main character, a ten year old girl, is so knowledgeable about shells. I have to admit I didn't even know what a Junonia was until I read this; now I want to get a shell book and start classifying some of the shells I've collected over the years. The other thing I loved about this book was that the main character, Alice, had rituals established for her vacation - people, places, and events on which she relied to happen the same way each year. The backdrop of this book is how Alice reacts when her expectations are not met on this vacation. Really loved this book!

My second read was Grounded by Kate Klise. This is another book that has been on my bookshelf for multiple months and I just kept passing over it. Again, I am so glad that changed this weekend. I love the symbolism of the front cover, where a large tree is shown, and we can also see underground where a strong root system keeps this tree "grounded." The main character, Daralynn, loses her brother, sister, and father in a plane crash. This is a story of a small town, and the ways that people who live in a town like that keep one another grounded, even when on the surface they might not even seem to like one another. I love that Daralynn becomes a hero in this story, and I both loved and hated how much I cried toward the end of this book. Very emotional in a good way.

After some family social time last night, I was up bright and early for our annual Central Ohio's 48 Hour Book Challenge breakfast and bookfest. Today, there were 12 of us who gathered at the ever popular Northstar Cafe. If you read Bill's earlier post, he had his favorite, granola, and I had my favorite, fresh squeezed orange juice with a Cloud 9 pancake (an amazingly fluffy pancake made with ricotta cheese and topped with banana slices). Yum! Conversations abounded around our huge booth. After breakfast, we headed down the street to Cover to Cover, an independent children's bookstore. There, we tempted one another with titles, found some fun ARCS that Sally the owner so kindly shared, talked some more, and eventually left the store with our arms full of books (see picture of my loot). This was my first outing since my surgery for total knee replacement two and a half weeks ago, and I enjoyed every minute!!

After a much-needed nap following my first outing, I got up and immediately started my 3rd book, The Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer Holm. Such a great story, and I love May Amelia, but I found myself so absolutely angry with her father toward the end, I could actually feel my jaw clenching. Believe it or not, I never read the first book, Our Only May Amelia, but I don't feel like that took away from my understanding of the characters or my enjoyment of such a tough little girl. The fact that it is a historical novel is just icing on the cake!

My fourth book was another Jennifer Holm book, this time paired with her brother, Matthew - Squish. What a great new series, and as my friend Mary Lee pointed out, I now know more information about amoebas reading a graphic novel than I probably retained through any science classes I have ever taken. Squish is so fun, and sure to be a kid pleaser! I'm doubly happy that the 2nd book in the series will be coming out in September - perfect timing for the start of school!!

My fifth book was Liar, Liar by Gary Paulsen. I follow a lot of people on twitter that have read this recently and had only positive things to say about it. While I really enjoyed it, I always read books with my own 5th grade class in mind, and I have to say that I think Liar, Liar is really better targeted to a middle school, or early high school audience. The message about lying is an important one, and even if things get tied up a little too neatly, such an important message for kids to hear. However, some of the other situations are a little more "grown up".

I have now moved on to my 6th book, an ARC I picked up today - Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. I feel so fortunate to have found this today (okay, truth in advertising - I feel so fortunate that Bill found it but let me have it first - THANK YOU!). I am currently on page 68 and am enthralled by the dynamics of both the main characters and the secondary characters already.

So, as I look back over the last 30 hours, I am so happy I was able to focus on reading some really good books. I look forward to the next 18 (or more) hours!!


  1. wow-you go girl! I am impressed and copying many new titles down in my reader's notebook.

  2. Hi Karen,
    I missed you all on Saturday! I am looking forward to this summer and catching up on some much needed reading! Thanks for the titles and I'm glad to see you are doing well after surgery. I hope to see you this summer. Julie