Thursday, June 27, 2013

Headed to #ALA2013

I'm headed to the ALA Annual Conference this weekend to learn from tons of awesome librarians and get a sneak peak at some of this fall and winter's upcoming books. You can follow along at the ALSC Blog where a team of fifteen bloggers will be micro-blogging throughout the conference. Also, don't forget to follow the Twitter hashtag #ala2013!

I'm particularly excited to attend the Best Books for Young Adults (BBYA) Teen Input Session, get my unprogramming on, talk about "new adult" fiction, and attend the Odyssey Award and the Printz Award ceremonies. 

And, of course, I'm thrilled to reconnect with my dear librarian friends from all over the county - and make many more! If you see me at the Conference, please say hi! I'd love to meet you if I haven't already. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Reading Wildly: Bestsellers

It's summer! Summer Reading is going on... and Reading Wildly is also going on! It's been awhile since our last meeting because it's just hard to squeeze everything in over the summer. We have programs almost every day (many days multiple programs), etc. etc. But my staff and I have still been reading!!

You'll have to excuse me, for it is summer and all the books are checked out and I did not even think about getting a photo together of our books. The photo, instead, is our group staff reading log that we put up for Summer Reading Club. We've done cuter individual reading logs in the past, but this is what we could muster this summer. ;)

This month, our topic was Bestsellers. Any book on a bestseller list over the weeks we were reading counted. I chose bestsellers because these are books that are popular now and it's important to pick up books the kids really like, even if they're not necessarily an adult's cup of tea. Why?

For one, reading currently popular books helps librarians with readers' advisory questions. When all your copies of Diary of a Wimpy Kid or The Hunger Games are checked out, what do you suggest to kids? It's easier to find readalikes if you've read the book (and much easier if you've read it and discussed it with your colleagues!). Also, it gives us some "street cred". Kids are often so impressed when we can tell them we've read the books they love. It shows that we care about what we're doing and we care about what the kids are interested in.

So, go ahead and pick up that Fancy Nancy chapter book. It's not that long, anyway. ;)

Since we were each working off many of the same bestseller lists, there were several titles that had been read by more than one staff member. It actually gave us a nice balance between talking about many titles and getting to talk more in-depth about a few of them.

One issue that I didn't think about before assigning "Bestsellers" as a theme was that many of the books were checked out throughout the summer. This is where it was nice that we had some extra time for reading this month, since staff members could place holds and wait for books to come in. It was a fun topic, but next time maybe we won't do that one in the middle of the Summer Reading Club.....

Here are the books that my staff and I shared during our Reading Wildly meeting:

Next month is readers' choice since I knew we'd be busy with Summer Reading Club (next year maybe June and July will be readers' choice...). I've told my staff that if they have any trouble deciding what to read, they should use their colleagues as resources and practice their readers' advisory interviews. I'm excited to see what everyone will read for next month (and I'm also excited to read whatever I want for next month, especially with ALA coming right up!). 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pi in the Sky

Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass. Grades 4-7. Little, Brown, June 2013. 244 pages. Reviewed from ARC provided by publisher.

Joss may be the seventh son of the Supreme Overlord of the Universe, but he'll be the first one to tell you that doesn't mean anything. Out of the seven siblings, Joss is the sixth smartest, and while his brothers have important jobs creating planets and species and designing sunrises, Joss's job? Is delivering pies. Yup, pies.

But when circumstances lead to the removal of Earth, everyone's favorite planet, from the time stream, Joss is charged with recreating the Earth. Recreating it exactly the way it was originally formed so that humans evolve in the exact same way.

This may be a heavy duty for a kid who got a C in his Planet Building class, but everyone's counting on Joss!

This book is middle-grade gold. Middle-grade science fiction stories that aren't dystopian are few and far between at the moment and this novel hits all the right notes. It's funny with Joss's self-deprecating voice and confusion between life in the Realms and life on Earth. And I love how Wendy Mass includes lots of factual information about the makeup of the universe without bogging down the story. That's something I loved about her contemporary novel Every Soul a Star, too.

The plot meandered a little for me in the beginning, but it really comes together about a third of the way through when Joss and his compatriots start earnestly trying to figure out what Earth is made of. Carl Sagan makes a guest appearance (and not just in the quotes from scientists which start each chapter).

This is a great choice for kids who like funny stories with heart and/or science fiction with a lighter tone.


The light-hearted and humorous tone of the book combined with interplanetary issues brought to mind Larklight by Philip Reeve. The historical sci-fi setting of Larklight differentiates it somewhat, but I think the overall tone and voice of the books are similar. If kids are looking for another light-hearted interplanetary romp, Larklight is the way to go.

Readers may be familiar with Wendy Mass's other works, but if they haven't read Every Soul a Star, they should do so immediately. Mass employs the same skill at interweaving scientific facts in a solid friendship story as she does with Pi in the Sky.

And if readers are maybe a little bit curious about what dark matter (where the Realms are located), I'd direct them to The Mysterious Universe: Supernovae, Dark Energy, and Black Holes by Ellen Jackson. This book blew my mind a little with the concept that we don't know what 96% of the universe is made of. O_o

Pi in the Sky is on shelves now!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Summer So Far

CC: Moyan Brenn
After this week, we'll be halfway through the Summer Reading Club, and I have definitely started a document with notes for next year. Although it may be all you can do to stay afloat during these summer months, this is a great time to be thinking about what's working and what's not. My staff and I will be having a debriefing meeting in August to talk about what we want to keep/change for next year, but I want to make sure I have a place to jot down my thoughts before that meeting.

Some items on my list:

  • We're thinking about what prizes and coupons we'd like to give out next year. We've generally taken whatever donations we could get, but I think it's time to be a little more intentional and maybe edge away from giving away so much fast food. 
  • I'm thinking about how our requirements are working and whether we might like to change that next year. We had a lot of changes this year (moving from counting books/pages to counting minutes/books and also having the program online for the first time). Part of me hates to change things up again next year, but we'll see what staff want to do. I'm really intrigued by the notion of counting every day that you read something, with the intention of creating a reading habit, rather than adding up the number of minutes or books read. This is something we'll have to evaluate at the end of the summer to see how many people have followed up and completed the SRC. 
  • I'm also intrigued by the idea of adding some kind of physical activity goal to our program. Somehow? 
In general, things have been going very well... We don't have as many signed up for the Daycare Summer Reading Club as I thought we might, but we'll push it harder next year after we've had feedback from this year's groups. The main thing is that it's WAY easier for my staff to deal with groups that want to sign up large numbers of kids, which is exactly what we were going for.

And our families love doing it online. It's easier for them, easier for us, and we've had no major issues.

Program attendance has been down a bit, especially last week. Typically we see an attendance decrease in July as families take vacations, but I'm wondering if our public schools' earlier start date is causing folks to leave town earlier this summer. Our schools are moving to a balanced schedule (meaning more time off during the year and shorter summer breaks), so they'll be going back to school August 1 this year.

How's your summer going?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Doll Bones

Doll Bones by Holly Black. Grades 4-7. Margaret K. McElderry Books, May 2013. 244 pages. Review copy provided by my local library.

Zach, Poppy, and Alice are best friends, getting together to weave awesome adventure stories starring their action figures, a pastime that none of their fellow middle-schoolers would probably understand. But things are starting to change between them, and when Zach's dad throws his "dolls" away, Zach can't bring himself to admit that the game is done for him forever. So he lies. And the lie unwittingly sends the three friends on a quest to bury a haunted china doll... or risk being cursed forever.

Creepy and atmospheric, this story has just the right amount of horror mixed in with a good deal of adventure and friendship. Here's what I loved about it:

1. The atmosphere. OKAY THIS DOLL IS REALLY CREEPY. And the early-fall setting, the mysterious places the doll ends up, her creepy black eyes and porcelain (maybe-made-out-of-murdered-human-bones) skin... It all sets the right tone - enough to give me shivers, but not enough to give me nightmares. This will definitely satisfy kids looking for a scary story, but the level of horror is definitely middle-grade-appropriate. This takes a delicate hand and Holly Black has nailed it.

2. The friendship between the kids. This aspect of the book reminded me of all my favorite stories from when I was a kid. I just loved all three of these kids. They're plucky and courageous and fiercely protective of each other (even if Zach lies and Poppy breaks a promise). I feel like I could read about a million of their adventures and not get tired.

3. Adventures in a library! And a pink-haired librarian!!! With fancy shoes!!!!!

4. A boy who's "playing with dolls" and friends with girls and that's completely okay. I mean, Zach's dad has to kind of come around to it, obviously, but this is what makes Zach happy. And it's great for kids to see that. Also, I don't necessarily know about boys but I can tell you that I still played dolls with certain friends when I was in middle school. We loved to make up stories about them. So I feel like this aspect is very realistic, too, even if no one is talking about it. ;)

Basically, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I'm really going to enjoy booktalking it and pressing it into the hands of every kid who asks me where the scary stories are.


The atmospheric creepiness reminds me of Neil Gaiman, so for kids looking for another scary story, I'd hand them Coraline (the button eyes! Ahhhhh!) or The Graveyard Book.

I loved the storytelling friendship between the kids, so if the characters are what's appealing, I might try The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. This is another book about kids making up stories together and there's also a bit of a creepy atmosphere and a slight mystery.

Doll Bones is on shelves now!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley. Grades 7 and up. Macmillan Children's, April 2013. 192 pages. Review copy provided by my local library.

Lucy Knisley grew up in the kitchen. Raised by foodie parents, Lucy helped her dad make the salad dressing for dinner every night and picked berries in the country with her mom (and also rebelled a little bit by loving junk food). Her strongest memories are tied to tastes and that's what this book is: a collection of tastes from Lucy's childhood, teen years, and young adulthood. It's a perfect dish to serve to anyone who likes graphic memoirs!

Warning: reading this book will make you hungry!

I am a big fan of graphic nonfiction and memoirs. And hey, I like to eat food! This book definitely hit the spot. Knisley approaches her memoir with a lot of humor and tells interesting stories about her food adventures all over the world. From huevos rancheros in Mexico to pocky and saki in Japan to eating McDonald's in Italy and the quest for the perfect croissants in Chicago, Knisley brings tastes and smells to life for the reader.

Each chapter ends with an illustrated recipe, including helpful kitchen information (like adding a little lemon juice to pesto will help keep it green longer).

As I was reading the book, I kept reading little bits aloud to my boyfriend, who amiable chuckled along with me. When we did the 48 Hour Book Challenge, I slipped this book into his book stack... and as he was reading, he kept reading funny bits aloud to me, too! So this might be a book with something for everyone, but I'd particularly recommend it to teens and adults who like graphic memoirs and/or love cooking (and eating!).

Relish is on shelves now!

And hey, it's Nonfiction Monday! Head on over to Shelf-employed for this week's roundup!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

STEM Program: Investigating Caves

Last week, I had my first school-age program of the summer: a Mad Science program about caves. I won't lie; I was pretty nervous going into this program. It was held the first week of our summer programs, so attendance was pretty big. And as I was planning for the program, several of the activities I thought I would do did not turn out so well on my trial run. I was worried I didn't have enough planned to fill the time.

Well, I shouldn't have worried (I always worry) because everything went very well and kids and librarian all had a great time! Here's what we did:


Books used:

Media used: 

Bill Nye the Science Guy: Caves (video clips about stalactites/stalagmites and about types of cave organisms)


I started off by asking the kids who had been to a cave before and what they had noticed about the cave. They told me it was dark, cool, wet... some caves were large, some were narrow, some had stalactites or stalagmites. This was a great chance for me to plug our Summer Reading Club because one of our prizes for finishers is a pass to one of our local caves!

I had put together a short Prezi with a few items that I wanted to talk to the kids about. First we talked about different kinds of caves - sea caves, lava caves, ice caves, and (the ones we have around here) limestone caves. I used the Prezi to show photos and we talked about how each type of cave was formed. I used the book Caves and Caverns by Gail Gibbons for concise explanations about how each type of cave is formed.

Talking about how limestone caves form lead into the subject of stalactites and stalagmites. I was planning on showing the kids a model of stalactites and stalagmites that they could do at home. This was one of the activities suggested in the CSLP "Dig Into Reading" manual. Well, it must take a long time for it to work or perhaps I didn't use the right kind of string because I couldn't get stalactites or stalagmites to grow for the life of me! SO instead, I showed a clip from Bill Nye the Science Guy's caves episodes.

Hold on, I have to stop a minute here and talk about how awesome Bill Nye's DVDs are. If you're planning science programs, you need to stock up. Bill Nye presents concepts in funny, accessible ways, and the DVDs of each episode include clips designed for classroom use. Including a few clips in your program can be a great way to quickly explain science concepts (in a really engaging way!).

Okay, so we watched a clip about how stalactites and stalagmites form and talked about how you can remember which is which. Bill Nye says that "Stalactites hold tight to the ceiling and stalagmites might reach the roof!" Another way to remember is that stalactite has a "c" for ceiling and stalagmite has a "g" for ground. After the program a grandmother told me the way she was taught to remember: mites crawl up your leg (so stalagmites come up from the ground) and your tights fall down!

Next, we talked a little bit about how people haved use caves: for shelter, to hold school, or for ceremonies.I shared with them about a cave school in China, which I read about in the book  Off to Class: Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World by Susan Hughes. That lead into talking about the Lascaux Cave in France, where those famous ancient cave paintings are. We talked about how the cave was discovered by teenagers in the '40s and examined the cave paintings by taking a virtual tour on the Lascaux Cave website (this is a really cool website and a bunch of them were excited to continue exploring the website on their own at home!). I used the book The Secret Cave: Discovering Lascaux by Emily Arnold McCully for information on the discovery of Lascaux.

After we had explored Lascaux, I transitioned into talking about what kinds of animals live in caves. Again, I went to Bill Nye for a clip about the types of animals that live in caves (trogloxenes, troglophiles, and troglobites). I did a lot of internet research and made some animal cards for different types of cave organisms. I would have liked to let each child choose a card, but I had too many show up and I didn't have enough time, so I let a few kids choose cards and we decided as a group which type the animals were.

After we had classified a few animals together, I explained our craft: 3-D cave pictures (also found in the CSLP manual) and let them go to it! The kids got really creative with their caves, adding in some of the animals we had talked about or creating underwater caves.

The entire program took about 50 minutes and I had 26 children participate. We had advertised it for grades 3-5, but I had a couple of younger siblings and that was fine.

Of course, I had books about caves and earth science on display and I had a handout for them with some additional resources (including the URL for the Lascaux Cave website so they could revisit it at home). Everyone (including the librarian!) had a great time and it was a really nice group. Summer science programs? Bring 'em on!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Soldier's Secret

A Soldier's Secret: The Incredible True Story of Sarah Edmonds, a Civil War Hero by Marissa Moss. Grades 5 and up. Amulet Books, 2012. 387 pages. Review copy provided by publisher for Young Hoosier Book Award consideration. This review reflects only my own opinion, not necessarily the opinion of the committee!

Plot summary from book jacket:

Frank Thompson isn't your ordinary Union Army soldier. He's also a nurse, tending to wounded soldiers on the battlefield... a spy, crossing Rebel lines and risking his life to find out what the enemy has planned... a mail carrier, delivering letters, foodstuffs, and news from home to his fellow soldiers. But Frank has a secret that could cost him his place in his beloved army. And maybe even his life. 

Frank Thompson is actually Sarah Emma Edmonds.

So, are you a reader who likes a historical novel that you can really sink your teeth into? Or maybe you're a reader who loves action-packed battle scenes that keep you on the edge of your seat? If you're either or both, you should definitely pick up this book.

Based on the life of Sarah Emma Edmonds, A Soldier's Secret is a great blend of historical detail and war action wrapped up in a character that you'll be rooting for throughout. The pacing varies to great effect as the reader is given meaty bits rich with historical detail interspersed with faster-paced war action.

This is a great choice for Women's History Month or for tweens who are looking for books with a kick-butt heroine!


For a nonfiction take on the same subject matter, hand 'em I'll Pass for Your Comrade: Women Soldiers in the Civil War by Anita Silvey. This book features the true stories of many women who disguised themselves as men to fight in the Civil War.

If readers like the action and kick-butt heroine in a historical setting, try Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer or Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

If it's the rich Civil War setting that they like, I'd try The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick or Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis.

A Soldier's Secret is on shelves now!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

#48hbc : Finish Line

Well, it's close to the finish line and dinner's here, so I'm calling it!

Final challenge update:

Total time blogging/reading/social networking: 26 hours
Total pages read: 2005
Books finished: 7 + 65% of Rose Under Fire

The books I finished this weekend were:

I also listened to some of The Case of the Left Handed Lady (Enola Holmes #2) by Nancy Springer while exercising (and not while cleaning or doing laundry since I haven't done any of those things yet!!). 

This was a really fun weekend for me because I loved every book that I read this weekend. I guess my favorite out of all of them was Doll Bones, but really they were all excellent. It's especially exciting because when I started thinking about crafting my TBR pile (over a month ago), I didn't think there was anything I was particularly excited to read! Some time spent perusing Netgalley and Edelweiss proved me wrong, and I'm really glad. 

Boyfriend had a nice time this weekend, too! He finished the following books: 

I want to give a shout out to Ms. Yingling of Ms. Yingling Reads for being our fabulous challenge organizer this year! It's really a fun weekend and I'm glad we could make it happen. Thanks, also, to everyone who participated. (And thank you so much to my obliging Boyfriend who will take a whole weekend to sit inside and read quietly beside me. :)

Don't forget to head over to the Finish Line to share your finish line post and enter your stats in the form for prize drawings!!

#48hbc : Doll Bones

Book finished: Doll Bones by Holly Black

An excellent, creepy, atmospheric middle-grade novel, Doll Bones is a book I'm going to thoroughly enjoy pressing into the hands of kids over and over again. There's a seriously creepy doll that might be haunted and three best friends who go on a quest to put her bones to rest. It's just the right level of scary and I honestly didn't want the story to end. Seriously, one of my favorites of the year. 

Challenge update:

Time spend reading/blogging: 21.5 hours
Pages read: 1731
Books finished: 7

Boyfriend finished Cooked and found it interesting, but overwritten. He said he could have edited it down to about 100 pages. He also finished A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (one I snuck onto his pile), which he liked. 

A little over 4 hours until I cross the finish line - can I finish one more book? Maaaaaybe...

#48hbc : Rapture Practice

Book finished: Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler

More YA memoirs, please! Aaron Hartzler's true story about growing up in a very religious household and questioning his faith is one that will hit the right notes with many teens. I really enjoyed reading Aaron's humorous and frank memoir and I hope he'll continue writing because I want to find out what happens to him next...!

Challenge update:

Time spent reading/blogging: 19 hours
Pages read: 1487
Books finished: 6

Still going strong (my book-choosing mojo is with me this year; everything I've read has been awesome!) and going to read as much as I can until my time ends at 7pm.

How's everyone doing?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

#48hbc : True Blue Scouts & halfway point!

I've reached the halfway point in my 48 hours and I'm still going strong! I think I've crafted my TBR pile well this year and I've enjoyed every book that I've picked up. My biggest problem has been deciding what to read next when I finish one because I want to read ALL THE BOOKS AT ONCE. (Which is impossible. For me, anyway.)

I'm at about 14 hours of challenge time, so it should be no problem to get another 10 hours in before the deadline and meet my goal of 24 hours. Boyfriend has not been as into the challenge this year (maybe last year he was just trying to woo me?), but he's read several books and will probably read more tonight and tomorrow.

Anyway, onto my latest finished book!

Book finished: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt

Kathi Appelt is a master storyteller and this is one of my favorite books of the year. Reading this book, I honestly felt like I was sitting in front of a storyteller hearing the story unfold. It has the same excellent writing and strong sense of place that The Underneath had, but the story's lighter and more humorous, giving it a wider audience. Don't miss it! 

Challenge update:

Time spend reading/blogging: 14 hours
Pages read: 1056
Books finished: 5

Boyfriend is working on Cooked and took a break to BAKE BANANA BREAD. I am the luckiest librarian. :D

#48hbc : Eruption!

Book finished:  Eruption!: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives by Elizabeth Rusch

I love the Scientists in the Field series and this is a nice entry, exploring volcanologists and the work they do to predict when volcanoes will erupt and try to keep people safe. It's not so easy to order an evacuation - it can be risky and expensive, and if nothing happens people are unlikely to evacuate twice. I'm doing a program on volcanoes later in the summer, so I wanted to read this in preparation!

Challenge update:

Time spent reading/blogging: 12.5 hours
Pages read: 720 (plus about half of my next book, which I'll add in the next update!)
Books finished: 4

Boyfriend started Cloud Atlas, but I think it wasn't his thing (he says "It feels like I'm reading a book that's in another language... and I'm on drugs."). So now he's picked up Cooked by Michael Pollan (which he is enjoying more).

#48hbc : This Song Will Save Your Life

Book finished: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

I have LOVED Leila Sales's past two novels and I love this one, too. It's a really solid contemporary story about the power of finding yourself through music and about accepting that it's okay to be who you are. These are concepts that have been done before, but the realistic protagonist makes this book stand out. Full review to come closer to pub date (September!). 

Challenge update:

Time spend reading/blogging: 9.25 hours
Pages read: 644 (plus about an hour of an audiobook)
Books finished: 2.5ish

Boyfriend finished Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley last night and is currently napping, so... 

Friday, June 7, 2013

#48hbc : Pi in the Sky

Book finished: Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass

I love me some Wendy Mass and this book is absolutely no exception. It's hilarious and I love how Wendy Mass weaves in science facts that keep the story forward rather than bogging it down. This is a much-needed addition to the middle-grade science fiction shelves!! (Full review to come - check back!)

Challenge update:

Time spent reading/blogging: About 4.5 hours
Pages read: 368
Books finished: 1.25

And Boyfriend finished Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed by Carl Zimmer. 

#48hbc: The 5th Wave

Book finished: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

I had started this one last weekend, so I actually just finished it up today, reading the last 124 pages. Also, THIS BOOK IS AWESOME. It's a long one, but very fast-paced with a very twisty-turny plot and short little chapters that really kept me turning the pages. I'll be posting longer reviews over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned.

Challenge update:

Time spent reading/blogging: About 1.5 hours
Pages read:  124

And Boyfriend's finished How to Grow Up and Rule the World by Vordak the Incomprehensible.

#48hbc Starting Line!

Yay! It's time to begin the 48 Hour Book Challenge! My time will officially run from 7:15pm Friday until 715pm Sunday.

My goal is to read for at least 24 hours this year and here are some of the books on my TBR pile:

Boyfriend will be reading alongside me (participating unofficially - he's not a blogger and won't be tracking his time) and here are some of the books on his TBR pile: 

There's no way that either of us will read all the books on our piles, but I love to have a variety so I can pick up follow my mood when deciding what to read next. Last year I finished 5 books, so I'm hoping I can do at least that much this year. 

I'll be posting snippets about each book I finish and composing full reviews to post in the upcoming weeks.

I'm really excited to dig into these books and hoping to get fired up about blogging this weekend, too. I look forward to reconnecting with the book blogging community and I'll be checking in with other participants and tweeting throughout. Make sure that you're following hashtag #48hbc to stay in touch! 

Let the reading begin!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

48HBC Tip: What Do You Want to Get Out of It?

As you know, this year's 48 Hour Book Challenge takes place this weekend (June 7-9) and I'm so excited about it that I decided to share a couple of 48HBC tips this week.

You've probably already been thinking about what you want to read this weekend, but it's also worth it to think about what you want to get out of the challenge. 

Do you have particular books you want to get read? (Get your reading piles in order!)

Are you really excited to win one of the prizes? (Track your time and pages carefully!)

Is it the community aspect that thrills you? (Make sure you're commenting on other participants' blogs and tweeting with the hashtag #48hbc!)

For me, it's the community aspect that I love. I could certainly devote a weekend to reading now and then (and I have!), but it's so much more fun when there's a community of book-lovers reading along with me. 

I'm also hoping to get a blogging re-charge this weekend. I'm not blogging as much as I used to and, while part of me is definitely okay with slowing down a bit, part of me really misses regularly writing about the books I'm reading. I'm hoping that this challenge will help inspire me to write reviews more often. And I'll definitely come out of this weekend with a stack of reviews to post over the upcoming weeks. 

What are you hoping to get out of the 48-Hour Book Challenge this year? 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Summer Displays at the @alscblog

Friends, today I'm over at the ALSC Blog showing off our easy summer book displays. Click on through and check it out!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

48HBC Tip: Start Thinking About Your Books

As you know, this year's 48 Hour Book Challenge takes place this weekend (June 7-9) and I'm so excited about it that I decided to share a couple of 48HBC tips this week.

So, one awesome thing about the 48 Hour Book Challenge is that it's a great opportunity to whittle down your TBR (To Be Read) pile. But if you, like me, have a hundred or so books on said pile, it's worth thinking about which of those books you might want to tackle this weekend. 

Everyone's different! Maybe you want to immerse yourself in a series this weekend or maybe you prefer a little more variety. Maybe you want to tackle the thousand-page novel you've been meaning to read or maybe you like to stack up a bunch of short books so you can tick a bunch of titles off your list. Maybe you have committee reading or school reading you have to do and you don't get a lot of choice. 

Now's the time to think about it and get your reading pile(s) all situated. When in doubt, err on the side of variety! 

I started thinking about my TBR pile about a month ago (NERD ALERT. I know.). My problem (at that time) was that I wasn't really aware of what new awesome books were out or upcoming. I had been immersed in Young Hoosier Book Award reading and wasn't really sure what else should be on my radar.*

So, I took to NetGalley, I sought out The Stars So Far, I perused publisher catalogs on Edelweiss, I started checking out our New Book shelf at the library and snagging books by favorite authors.

What works for me is to read books that I'm really looking forward to, short or long, new or older. What also works for me is to have a variety and be able to switch it out throughout the weekend. I'll have a mix of middle grade and YA novels, adult books, nonfiction, and an audiobook. And I have way more books available than I'm actually planning on reading.

What titles are on YOUR TBR pile this year? 

* Sidenote: my favorite thing to do, since I've been on the YHBA Committee the past couple of summers, is to make a committee reading goal to hit before the 48HBC. That way, I can feel guilt-free about taking the whole weekend to read whatever I want! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

48 HBC Tip: Take Advantage of Audiobooks

As you know, this year's 48 Hour Book Challenge takes place this weekend (June 7-9) and I'm so excited about it that I decided to share a couple of 48HBC tips this week.

Today's tip: Take advantage of audiobooks!!!!

The challenge guidelines allow participants to count one audiobook in the time/books logged for the challenge. Listening to an audiobook is a GREAT way to break up your reading and give your eyes a rest!

You can also use an audiobook while you're:

  • Cleaning, gardening, doing laundry, cooking dinner, or doing any other chores that normally keep you from reading! 
  • Exercising or taking a walk outside to get some fresh air!
  • Driving - either on a road trip or while you're doing errands around town!
Even if you don't finish an entire audiobook over the weekend, you can still count your time listening in your reading hours and you can count the "pages" read with a little simple math. Here's how to convert your listening time into pages: 

1. Keep track of your listening time. Say you listened to The Lions of Little Rock for 2.5 hours. That's 150 minutes. 
2. Figure out how many minutes the whole audiobook is. TLOLR is 8 hours and 22 minutes long, or 502 minutes long (8 hours = 480 minutes + 22 minutes = 502 minutes). 
3. Divide the time you spent listening by the total time to figure out what percentage of the audiobook you completed. 150/502 = about 30%
4. Find out how many pages the physical book is. You can use GoodReads or Amazon or your local library's catalog for this. According to GoodReads, TLOLR is 298 pages long. 
5. Multiply the number of pages by the percentage of the audiobook that you listened to. For TLOLR, we'll multiply 298 x .30 = 89 pages. 

Okay, that's enough math. :)

Where can you find an audiobook to listen to?
  • Check your local library for audiobooks on CD or downloadable audiobooks. 
  • Download FREE teen audiobooks every week all summer at SYNC
  • Check out Audible for a huge selection of audiobooks to purchase. If you're new to Audible, you can download an audiobook free to try it out.
So, what are some awesome audiobooks? 

This is going to be a matter of personal preference, but you can check out Audiobook Jukebox for TONS of audiobook reviews from around the blogsophere, visit my favorite audiobook blog Reading with my Ears, sample the AudioSynced archives, or pick up one of the Odyssey Award winners or honorees. 

And you can check out some of the audiobooks I've listened to on my GoodReads audio shelf

So, who else is excited for the 48 Hour Book Challenge? And are you picking up an audiobook to listen to this weekend? (I am, but I'm not sure which one yet...!)

Hey, I'm an Audible affiliate and if you purchase audiobooks or subscriptions after clicking on the links here, I'll get a commission. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

48-Hour Book Challenge!!!


Yes, that's right, it's that time again! Next weekend, June 7-9, will be the Eighth Annual 48-Hour Book Challenge, hosted this year at Ms. Yingling Reads. It's pretty simple:

  • Choose any 48-hour time period between 7am (EDT) Friday and 7am (EDT) Monday. 
  • Sign in with Ms. Yingling with a starting line post. 
  • Read and blog, read and blog, read and blog...
  • Report in at the end of your 48-hours with a finish-line post (and filling out the handy dandy reporting form).
  • You might win awesome prizes!
  • You will DEFINITELY have fun being part of a community of people reading and writing and cheering each other on!!!
Ms. Yingling will have more info, including the challenge guidelines up on her site this week, so be sure and follow her  blog for the most up-to-date information. 

This weekend is a weekend that I look forward to all weekend long. Last year, Boyfriend read all weekend with me (he knows the way to win a librarian's heart!) and he'll be (unofficially) participating again this year for most of the weekend. I've been working on my TBR pile for a couple of weeks now, and I've got some on my pile that I am really looking forward to! All I need to do is go stock up on "reading fuel" (it's a great excuse for buying snacks!) sometime this week...

Please join us next weekend if you're able and please help spread the word!