Monday, June 11, 2007

48 Hour Book Challenge

Starting a book challenge while packing to leave Washington DC, checking carry-on bags for fluids and gels (forgot to notice the sunscreen) and death marching to the National Gallery while threading our way through 200,000 Girls Scouts enroute to a sing along - "Still Singing after all these Years!" - on the National Mall is dicey at best.

Fun to know Mother Reader herself was somewhere in the vicinity. I wonder if I was packed in next to her in the Smithsonian Metro station? We emerged from our train along with thousands and thousands of Girl Scouts in bright t-shirts. Shouts of "Buddy up, girls!" swelled from the throats of dozens and dozens of leaders and grown-ups trying to count heads and turn their troops in the right direction.

If I was a claustrophobic person, I would have seriously freaked out at the humanity-per-square-inch in that confined space. My main worry was being inadvertently pushed off the edge but we shuffled away from the drop and toward the escalators and slowly ascended towards the surface.

Total number of books read for the challenge: TWO
Total number of pages read for the challenge: 664 pages
Total altitude while reading: 36,000 feet
Number of sore limbs from 6 days of extensive sight-seeing while reading: 4
Number of heavy eyelids from 6 days of extensive sight-seeing while reading: 2
Amount of fun had from 6 days of extensive sight seeing and joy of reading two perfectly wonderful books: Too much to count!


My reading time did not commence until we arrived at Reagan Airport for the flight home.
My first book was the outstanding Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy, 392 pages. I had not finished when the plane landed 2 hours and 40 minutes later but maybe I was the only participant reading at 36,000 feet??

Since it was so late when we got home, I did not finish until the next day. My reaction to this book is to exhort you to run, skip, hop, hasten, or zoom to your nearest book provider and grab it.

Skulduggery Pleasant is part Dashiell Hammett with a stir of Raymond Chandler and shaken well with magic and fantasy. Storyteller Landy has laced the mix with humor and action. This is one of my favorite books this year!

I can hardly wait to read more. I hope Derek Landy is writing away. I love Irish storytellers.


Book 2 on my reading list was Robin Brande's Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature, 272 pages.

In this family we know we have a great book in hand when one of us stops reading and says to everyone present, "Listen to this!" I did that so many times last night, I might as well have read the whole book aloud.

Mena's first day of high school is turning out to be a nightmare. She is shunned by all her former "friends" for something we do not find out about until later in the story. She is enduing verbal and physical assaults and thinks she has lost her parents' love. The chance pairing (or did God have a hand in it?) with her science lab partner, Casey Conner, science genius, is about to change her life though.

Casey is funny and smart and determined to help Mena succeed. I loved his character whole heartedly from the moment he realizes Mena has never read Lord of the Rings.
"So you've read it?"

"Um, no."

"But you have seen the movies."

I sort of winced and shook my head. I need to learn to lie.

Casey closed his eyes and pinched his fingers against them like he had a terrible migraine. "Okay, you realize I'm going to have to do an intervention."

I love this guy.

The background of the story involves the teaching of evolution and the efforts of a fundamentalist church to inject creationism into the classroom. The reader is routing for Mena all the way as she attempts to understand her faith and resolve her relationships with her parents and her community.

The ongoing allusions to Lord of the Rings also delighted this reader.

3 comments:

Bill: Cinéaste said...

As the competition statistics-gatherer, I am singularly impressed by your enthusiasm. Any idea about how long you were able to spend reading?

Bill (MR's husband/editor)

Camille said...

Ah, yes.

Well, let's see...including writing time probably 11 hours.

MotherReader said...

I don't know how I missed commenting here for this post. Yeah to Girl Scouts Sing Along - which we'll remember as fun, someday. Yeah to Robin Brande's book which we'll refer to again and again.