Friday, May 20, 2011

Preparing for the 48-Hour Book Challenge

So, as you may have divined from my title, I'm preparing for MotherReader's famous 48-Hour Book Challenge, this year taking place from June 3 - 5. One of the Kidlitosphere's most believed bits of masochism, this is MR's sixth foray into randomly declaring one weekend for everyone to read until their eyeballs fall out. And we totally do it, y'all. Last year, even the adult book bloggers got into it. Why? Because it's a great community-builder, because it's a a great way to kickstart or re-energize your blogging, because many people pledge money to charity, because you discover and connect with so many neat people and most of all, it's fun. I swear.

I've fiddled with my work schedule, picked the charity to whom I will donate (local literacy organization Make Way for Books, in case you're interested), chosen my pizza toppings, written the first draft of my grocery list (how many flavors of Mountain Dew are there, anyway?). Now comes the most important . . . deciding what to read.

I am aware that there are people who just sort of dive in and grab books from their shelf and away they go. I contemplate this for myself and my brain breaks a little bit. I have to pace myself. I have to balance funny books with serious, long with short, realistic with books that require Golden-Gate-Bridge levels of suspension of disbelief. Y'all, I hafta select just the right audiobook, cuz I only get one, and what if it's the wrong one?!?

It's this whole thing, I tell you.

Last year I read books that I'd promised to read, and it wasn't entirely successful. There were some books I looooved and some I . . . didn't. So I've decided that this year I will only read books that make me jump up and down with excitement. This will ensure that when I'm starting my fourth book at 11 pm, I can still go, "Well, hey, I wanna read this, and not, y'know, sleep or anything."

So I'm trawling through my ~800-item LibraryThing wishlist, pulling out the books that make me go, "Oooooo!" and ordering them from the library. Bonus: several of them are in ebook form, so I can download to my Nook (favorite toy! Lub my Nook!).

Are you in? Have you done this before? What do you plan to read? Most importantly, do you have any suggestions that will make me go, "Hot damn!"?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Sexism in Children's Books?

I feel the need to weigh in on this, or at least to fling it out there. So apparently there's a new study out that says children's books are inherently sexist because of the disparity between female and male heroes. It was conducted at Florida State University and reported in the Daily Mail. Clippage? Don't mind if I do.
Overall, 31 per cent of the best-sellers featured a female lead character, compared to 57 per cent featuring a male. The remainder gave equal weight to a male and female protagonist, or had a gender-neutral character.
Hmm. Damning numbers, those. And yet, we've been bewailing the dearth of "boy books" for awhile now.

What to think? I think it's too late at night to be reasonably coherent about this, especially on the same day as a major program (head-to-toe pinata paste here, people. Hot tip: pack extra clothes).

Those of you in the trenches with me (hi!), be my brain. What do you think? Is sexism alive and well in the children's section? And here's more: do you think there are differences between different age levels? Are picture books more or less sexist than chapter books? Are different genres more or less sexist?

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Reading Roundup: April 2011

By the Numbers
Teen: 19
Tween: 6
Children: 12

Review Copies: 8
Swapped: 4
Purchased: 3
Library: 20

Teen: Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine
Reeling from the sudden death of her older brother and the subsequent implosion of her family, Rowan is just drifting along. Then Bee and Harper come separately into her life, and force Rowan to confront the pain and the joy of life again.
Tween: Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt
In this indirect sequel to The Wednesday Wars, Schmidt tells the story of another young man learning new ways to see the world as it changes around him. Review soon, if I can form coherent thoughts about this book.
Children: The Exiles by Hilary McKay
Before she did the Casson series, McKay wrote this blisteringly funny tale of four sisters shipped off to their unsympathetic grandmother's house. Everything's a battle of wills and nobody comes out the victor, except maybe the reader, and even they're exhausted from laughing.

Because I Want To Awards
So Much Better Than I Expected: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Surprisingly Good Fit: Troy High by Shana Norris
How Did I Miss This All These Years?: Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery
Gutsy Topic: Muhammad by Demi
Just a Hoot: Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires