I'll probably update this post every two or three completed titles.
12 hour update.
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar - Completed in one sitting 9:00am - 1:05pm
I realized as I completed The Cardturner that this is the third Sachar book that I completed in a single go. I vividly remember being sick one day in 2nd or 3rd grade and taking Sideway Stories from Wayside School with me to my mom's work. I sat there and read it in one shot. Of course I loved it as much as every other 8 year old on the planet does. (I read it aloud to my class this spring and had so much fun watching them react to the jokes.) A few years ago I read Holes for the first time and I had to go straight through because it was simply too damn perfect to put down.
Anyway, The Cardturner. I really liked it. Mind you its no Holes. But it's really not trying to be so that's okay. Going in I was curious to see not only how Sachar worked all the bridge talk I'd heard about into the book, but also hoped I could learn a little something about bridge myself. Never having played the game I always wonder how one deciphers the bridge diagrams tat often show up next to the crossword puzzle in the newspaper. After reading The Cardturner I'm pretty sure I have enough understanding of the game to figure out those diagrams but I certainly I'm not ready to actually play the game.
The Cardturner is full to the brim with amazing characters. The supporting players like Leslie and Gloria don't get a lot of pages but are clearly drawn and incredibly likable. I also love the vibe you get from Alton's mother. From the very beginning I was hoping she wouldn't get squat in the will. Alton's parents are really the exact opposites of Stanley Yelnats' parents.
Sachar writes older teens just as well as he writes kids (no real surprise there) and I am always a fan of a first person narrator. One thing that kept sneaking into the front of my mind as I read the book however was the sneaky suspicion that Konigsburg could have done the story even better. I'm not sure what she would have done differently but I really wish I could read it. The story contains many themes or situations often seen in Konigsburg's stories, non-condescending adult/child conversations and interactions, self reliant kids, etc. Not to slight Sachar at all, I think he's one of the very best, but as I read I kept wanting The Cardturner to be somehow better. It had so much potential and achieves so much, yet I thought I could have been even better, even though I have no idea how so.
Keeper by Kathi Appelt 1:20pm - 830pm with 2+ hours of naps and breaks.
I was a huge huge huge fan of The Underneath read it twice then read it to my 3rd grades last year before Newbery announcements. I was therefore a little apprehensive about Keeper. Would it hold up to the sublime excellence of The Underneath?
A few short chapters in and I realized I had nothing to worry about. Appelt is a master storyteller and I was excited to see where the journey would take me.
I really liked Keeper but missed some of the lyricism in verse that made The Underneath so memorable. Keeper is certainly going to appeal to a certain kind of reader. The best way I can describe it is warm. A much more gentle book than the often frightening and meandering narrative of The Underneath. I really enjoyed the tiny world Appelt created here and again was struck by how much she made me care about pets and animals (which in the real world I usually detest). Appelt is able to build quite a lot of tension with her multiple perspective, tiny chapters and intermittently placed back story. This slow reveal style gives the narrative a slight mystery feel which I found quite compelling even if the "mysteries" were readily apparent.
Next up is As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth by Lynne Rae Perkins. I read and loved Criss Cross but haven't read anything else she's done so I'm excited.
Still looking for that top book of 2010 maybe this will be the one!
Below is a detailed log from my notebook.
9:00 am - 1:05 Reading 4h5m
1:05 - 1:20 break
120 - 150 read 30m
150 - 210 nap
210-250 read 40m
305-4:10 read 1h5m
420-4:30 read 10m
5:40 - 5:50 read 10m
6:10- 830 read 2h20m
8:30 - 9:20 Blogging
As you can see unexpected naps have been my enemy.
Total time spent reading: 9 hours
Total time spent blogging: 50 minutes
Time for a bar break after which I will either pass out or read a book. The night could go either way.