Friday, April 30, 2010

23 Things Kansas - Fail

For those of you who were following my "amazing" progress in the 23 Things Kansas program - I flunked.  It worked well for the first few weeks when the topics were things like blogging and twitter that I already knew about.  I was able to complete the lessons in under an hour and go along my merry way.  Then we got into some topics with which I was not so familiar...not so merry.  While I don't deny that the topics of these lessons were useful and the lessons were well presented, due to my complete unfamiliarity with the subject matter, many of them were going to require several hours to research and complete. I realize this was the point - to spend some time learning new skills - but the time just wasn't there.

Many of the topics, while interesting, do not pertain directly to my job duties.  Therefore, I felt guilty using too many office hours on the lessons and kept pushing them to the bottom of my "to do" list in favor of the actual work I get paid to do.  Also, the reward for completing the project - other than the knowledge gained and the satisfaction of a job well done - is 30 hours of continuing education credit. My library discontinued raises based on CE credits shortly after I started working here (I suspect for just this reason - too much work time spent earning CE credits that don't pertain), so there is no longer a financial incentive.  Maybe if there was chocolate involved?

At this point, the twenty-three weeks are nearly up and I am so far behind that finishing is not feasable.  My apologies to the organizers of this fantastic program.  They put in a lot of hours to provide a great learning opportunity. 

The website - - is still available so I (and you) can still complete any lessons we wish.  Be sure and check it out.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

That Was Then, This Is Now

Our baby will be graduating from high school in seventeen days.  We dug through boxes and albums to collect pictures from infancy through her senior year for use in the video that will be shown during the graduation ceremony.  Brought back lots of memories and laughs - and ok, maybe Mom had a few tears.  How did my little blond cheerleader turn into this brunette beauty?  (Well ok, although her hair has darkened considerably on it's own, some of that brunette comes from a bottle.)  It is amazing how fast time passes!  At the time of the first picture, I would scoff at people who said that.  I thought the only time that passed quickly was nap time but, sadly, they were correct. In keeping with the great words of wisdom given to me by my sister, whose nest emptied out about six years ago: "She's not leaving the day after graduation" so we're looking forward to a fun gathering of family and friends to celebrate Dear Daughter's accomplishments - not to mention the end of school lunches, late night washings of sports uniforms, forgotten homework, and teen girl drama.  Congratulations, Sweet Baby!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

In Cold Blood and Other True Crime Questions

Our daughter was asked to write a literary review of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote as part of her college-level composition class.  Over the years, I have tried to read along with whatever the kids were assigned at school, but this one caused some hesitation.  I have never been a true-crime fan or even an advocate of violent detail in fiction, so I was unsure that I wanted these pictures in my head.  I was also unsure about a 17-year-old having these images, but she sees much worse during the average Saturday night trip to the cinema and she didn't seem concerned.  This brought up a slew of questions so, since she had the assignment, I decided to join in and look at some of the issues.  I will admit that I'm finding the story fascinating in ways, but disturbing in so many others.

We live about forty-five miles from Holcomb, where these events occurred, and Dave lived in Holcomb as a child (moving there nine years after the murders).  This connection gives the story another layer of interest - Dave remembers some of the people and places involved - but it also adds an incredible feeling of disrespect.  Turning a tragedy into entertainment feels like voyeurism of the worst kind to me.

My next issue is with this book - or any true-crime book - as an assignment for teens, and especially for teens in this area who's parents and grandparents may have painful memories of that time (the Clutter family was killed in 1959, so there are still many residents here who were friends and acquaintances of those involved).  I have met some adults who have declined to read the book or see the movie and are reluctant to even discuss the crimes. Should their grandchildren be forced to as a school assignment?  Does the passage of time make a difference? 

What do you think of true-crime books in general?  The Columbine killings are a good example.  There are several books out covering those events and delving into the lives of both the victims and the killers.  Is it disrespectful to the victims and their families?  Are they appropriate for high school/college reading assignments?  Does it encourage future perpetraters who envision themselves as the villians of a bestseller or even a movie?

And finally, the movie.  Our daughter was planning to watch the black and white, Robert Blake version, but I am encouraging her not to because I know that the violence is naturally more graphic than the book.  This is a girl who loves horror films, so I'm not afraid of her having nightmares, but a group of girls viewing this film in the same context as Texas Chainsaw Massacre strikes me as dancing on someone's grave.  I just don't think they are able to recognize the film as depicting actual events, and to them 50 years ago may as well have been 500.  What's the difference between watching this and watching Braveheart?

Let me hear from you, please.  Am I being too touchy or is the world being cold-hearted?  Does tabloid journalism anesthetize us to the tragedies around us or does knowing the details help protect us?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Walks the Fire by Stephanie Grace Whitson

A while back I wrote a post about re-reading favorite books from years past - in particular the Prairie Winds Series by Stephanie Grace Whitson.  I remembered this three-book series as being un-put-down-able and that we passed them around my circle of friends as fast as we could read.  However, I questioned my memory - I am just a few days past 40, you know - and hesitated to part with the money to re-purchase the lost copies in case they weren't as amazing as I remembered.  So, I tracked down the first book, Walks the Fire, through paperback swap and by page thirty I had ordered new copies of the next two for myself and all three for the library.  It was every bit as wonderful as I remembered - and I'm so proud of myself for hanging on to a thought for fifteen years!

Walks the Fire is the story of Jesse King, young wife and mother, who sets out across the Nebraska prairie, bound for Oregon.  She meets tragedy, friends, death, love, fear... I don't want to spoil the story, but I don't think it's giving away too much (seeing as it's the title of the book) to tell you that Jesse is taken in by the Lakota people and becomes Walks the Fire.  Her strength in the face of challenges beyond my imagination, and her unwavering faith in spite of them all, are inspiring.  If she can face loss, derision, and learning an entire new culture and language, surely I can cope with car repairs and the Audrey II-type ivy that refuses to loosen it's grip on my house.

Having lived for twelve years on the same Nebraska plains and even longer on the Kansas prairie, I have a special love for pioneer stories and especially for ones that include Native American lore.  The second book of the series, Soaring Eagle, picks up the story with Jesse's son.  I am eagerly awaitng the UPS man each day so I can dive into the next part of this wonderful journey.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Read, Remember, Recommend: A Reading Journal for Book Lovers

The ultimate organizing resource for book-lovers.

This is a fun resource for list-oriented types and the memory challenged.  Six sections - brightly color coded - help you keep track of what you have read, what you thought of it, and what you want to read.

Section I - Awards and Notable Lists:  I think every fiction list ever compiled is included in this section - from the famous Pulitzer Prize to the lesser known Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Fiction by an American Woman to lists from the American Library Association and even Target. Plus some blank forms for making your own prize-worthy lists.  Each page includes space for you to mark if the item is owned, recommended, TBR, or to purchase. 

Section II - To Read:  Pretty self-explanatory - a place to list title and author, record any notes, and mark if book is owned, to be purchased, etc.

Section III - Journal Pages:  Pages for title listings of books read and date completed, plus pages for more in-depth notes such as "reason for reading", "comments and thoughts"  and notation for book, e-book or audio.

Section IV - Recommendations:  Use this list to record books you'd like to recommend to others.  In the middle of reading a book, ever think "Mom would love this.  Gotta rememeber to tell her about it."  But then when she asks you what good things you've been reading, you go completely blank?  Now you have a place to jot it down so you won't forget.

Section V - References and Resources:  Info concerning online book sites, blogs, bookstores, publications, social networking sites, etc.

I am usually the total opposite of organized and I'm not sure how dedicated I'll be to keeping up with this journal - but I love the concept and I'm determined to give it a try.  It could be an incredibly useful tool for blogging if I can get my books in a row, so to speak, and use it.

Jesus Christ Superstar

Last Tuesday we traveled to Hays, Kansas, where our son goes to college, to see Jesus Christ Superstar on stage.  This was the national touring company starring Ted Neeley, who starred in the 1973 film version for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.  We had heard the music before, and Dave saw the movie in high school, but this was a first for the stage production.  It was phenomenal!

The show depicts the final seven days of Jesus' life - performed entirely in 60's-70's-style rock music.  Without spoken words there were parts that were difficult to follow unless you were familiar with the scripture on which it's based - we had to give some additional explanations to the kids during intermission, but we were pleased with how closely it followed the scriptural story.

The talent of the performers - singers and orchestra - was amazing.  John Twiford, who played Judas, has a gorgeous voice.  Among his credits he lists a "run" on American Idol in season 8, where he made it to the top 52.  We were shocked, especially after hearing some of those who have made the top ten on that same show, that he didn't make it further.  He has an incredible talent.

Even though it was produced in a small theater, the dramatic lighting and sound made for an enthralling experience.   The tour heads west from here, through Colorado and Wyoming then into Canada.  If you get the change to see it, it's well worth the cost and travel.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Survival of Rural America: Small Victories and Bitter Harvests by Richard E. Wood

Small farming communities are the heart and soul of America, but it's no secret that they're under siege.  Schools close, jobs vanish, and local stores can't survive.  Richard Wood knows that rural communities need more than jobs or money to survive: they need to become valued again as desirable places to live. He takes a closer look at what has happened in several Kansas farming towns and shows that there is much more depth and diversity to rural life than meets the eye.

Kansas farming towns are our heritage and our livlihood.  One of my (Tami's) grandpas was a farmer - working small rental farms during the depression - and my dad still farms in north-central Kansas.  The other grandpa was the manager of the local grain elevator.  Dave comes from hardscrabble farmers in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandle.  Since we married nearly 28 years ago, he has worked in the grain elevator business in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska.  We are no strangers to agriculture, rural lifestyles or the hardships that small towns are facing.

The small town where we both attended high school, and where my family still lives, closed it's school this past year due to declining numbers.  Already the difference is apparent in the town.  As all parent's know, the family's social life and recreation center around school activities and friends.  Parent's who's children must now commute to school in neighboring towns will naturally commute there for social functions and business.  The feelings of pride and community that are the heartbeat of a rural town are fading.

In this book, Mr. Wood examines several Kansas towns that have faced these same challenges and found a way to survive.  It's a tribute to the ingenuity and perseverance of towns that refuse to give in to changing times.  You don't have to be from Kansas to enjoy this book - it could just as easily be set in Oklahoma, South Dakota or any other mid-west state.  Even if you're a life-long urban dweller, this book is fascinating insight into the people who forged a life on the prairie and who continue the fight to keep it.

March Madness ReCap

The NCAA basketball tournament was more fun than usual at our house this year.  Kansas State made it to the Elite 8 for the first time in I-can't-remember-how-many years.  Back in the day when we were in school there, KSU was known as a basketball school.  They still played in Ahearn Fieldhouse and tickets were hard to come by.  Because I worked as a clerk in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work (try saying that every time you answer the phone!), we were able to get faculty/staff tickets during Dave's senior year and it was a highlight of our social life.  The four games KSU played in the tournament this year were exciting times at our house. (At least the first three were - the fourth one, not so much.) 

The employees at Dave's office always have a contest to pick the winning teams.  To any legal types that might be reading - just a friendly wager between co-workers - no illegal gambling going on here.  I usually enter twice - my "reality" bracket and my "fantasy" bracket. Naturally, the fantasy bracket always has K-State taking the championship and KU losing in the first round. :)  I don't know which one did it for me, but one of my brackets took first place - $130!!  That's almost as much fun as my fantasy football team (The Pink) soundly tromping all the guys in the league.  Anyone care to put some money on the World Series?

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Spellmans Strike Again by Lisa Lutz

When our children were early-elementary age, we loved to read Barbara Park's Junie B. Jones series aloud. Dave and I actually argued over who's turn it was to read to the kids. Junie's voices, antics and attitude just begged to be acted out. Lisa Lutz's Spellman series is Junie B. grown up - or at least grown older.

The Spellman family runs a private investigation agency which spills over into their personal relationships. They have an interrogation room in the basement, a penchant for blackmail, and a growing list of quirky family rules. 

The Spellmans Strike Again is the fourth and, supposedly, final installment in the series.  Izzy is digging up dirt on her top competitor, while also trying to solve a missing persons case; her mom is using the true story of Prom 1984 to blackmail her into dating lawyers; little sister Rae is campaigning to "Free Schmidt", a wrongly-convicted felon; doorknobs and light fixtures are mysteriously disappearing from the house; and brother David has something to hide.  The supporting cast - Boyfriend #12, octogenarian pal Bernie, Detective Henry Stone and others - add to the craziness.  The only thing lacking was best-friend and co-conspirator, Petra, from the previous novels.  I want to be adopted into this family.
Being the final chapter, Ms. Lutz naturally injected some signs of maturity and normalcy into the Spellman clan, and dealt with some more real-world topics such as illness and economic downturn.  Consequently, this volume wasn't as hysterically funny as the first three (yet still funnier than the average bear), and it did bring the story to a satisfying stopping point with enough loose threads to give hope that Izzy will never completely mature. 
These books are the ideal "read together" books.  What can be better than sharing a book and some belly-laughs with someone you love?   Grab your Honey, your BFF, your amateur thespian neighbor, your dog....and READ TOGETHER!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Read 'Em Before We Weed 'Em

Ocassionally, weeding is one of my duties at the library, and it's a tough one for me.  I find it hard to select which books to get rid of, but at the moment our shelves are overflowing and new books keep arriving, so it's a necessary evil.  I am interested in hearing from other librarians, or those of you with large home libraries, about how you make these difficult cuts.  Below is an article I wrote for the local newspaper, asking for input from our patrons and now I'm asking for your recommendations as well.  What criteria do you use or would you like your library to use for doling out that precious shelf space?

Naturally, we here at the library love books….mysteries, westerns, romances, science fiction (ok, maybe not so much on the science fiction, but we’re trying), self-help, how-to, biographies, poetry , suspense... we love them all. We get excited about new releases from bestselling authors. We can’t wait to get the books you request. We inspect the bestseller lists in search of hot trends and interesting new authors. We wander the aisles of Barnes and Noble to make sure we haven’t missed anything, and we read as fast as we can so we can give you informed recommendations.

Unfortunately, though our love of books is limitless, our space is not. So on occasion it becomes necessary to part with some of our old friends to make a place for the new. Seems simple, right? Just pull off the books that are outdated, worn, stained, ripped or just plain bad – and at times it IS that simple. A book on computer programming from 1987 is an obvious candidate for weeding, but most choices are much more complicated.

Is that book worn and stained because it has been read frequently? Is it part of a series? Do we need all the early works of an author – before they became popular? Is the novel that hasn’t been checked out since 1974 trash or a hidden treasure? What about the classics? Does anyone read them anymore? Am I weeding this novel just because it’s not my personal cup of tea? (If so, the Science Fiction section truly is in danger of extinction.) How about non-fiction works which voice an opinion contrary to my personal beliefs? There are lots of tough calls in the weeding business.

Over the next few months, we will be weeding various sections of the library and we need your help. As they say on ESPN, “YOU make the call.” A cart of books destined for the book sale or the budget shop will be displayed near the front desk. We want you to look them over and tell us if you agree with our selections or if we’re overlooking a gem. These items were all purchased with your tax dollars, so your ideas matter. The books displayed will change approximately every other week, so keep watching to make sure we’re not weeding your favorites. This is your chance to “ read ‘em before we weed ‘em.”*

* - Not my original line, so feel free to use it in your own library if you choose.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Sixteen women, widowed by the Civil War, set out from St. Louis for the wide-open space of the Nebraska prairie, with the promise of a homestead.  They arrive to discover that they have been duped and have been promised as brides.  Five determined women choose to stay and make their own future.

Having lived on the prairie in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado my entire life, I am partial to stories in this setting and no one writes them better than Stephanie Grace Whitson.  Her writing is, at times, poetic and she has a knack for phrasing that is beautiful.  One of my favorite lines is from one of the "brides" who has escaped an abusive background and is looking for a fresh start:  "I can't."  Ella plopped down on the bed. How could she make Mama understand?  It had taken so very much effort to grasp a new dream and new hope and to climb back into the light.  But that light did not include womanly things like new bonnets and waltzes.  Ella's new light shone on dreams of well-fed livestock and mountains of newly mown hay."  Having had times in my own life that I felt I was "climbing back into the light", that paragraph really touched me.

Another passage that reached into my heart was towards the end of the book (don't panic - no spoilers here) when Jed, a great fan of reading, offers wisdom to Matthew, who is grieving the death of his wife: 

"All the hours I'd spent reading philosophy and theology and every other 'ology' known to man, and when this happened [referring to the loss of his arm in the war] I didn't have one single answer to the questions that mattered."

"But this" - Matthew tapped on the Bible - "answered them all." He didn't try to remove the sracasm from his tone.

"Did I say I had all the answers?" Jeb shook his head. "No. If you think I said I have all the answers, you misunderstood. I don't. I do, however, believe, from the soles of my worn-out boots to the top of my gigantic frame, that the only answers that matter are right here." He laid his massive hand on the open book.

This is a heart-warming story with a great message.  I recommend this one - and all of Mrs. Whitson's books - to all who like Christian fiction, romances, or just a plain-old good story.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Read-a-Thon: The Sequel

My second go at Dewey's Read-a-Thon is underway - and off to a leisurely start.  My plan was to begin at 7:00 a.m., but I slept till 8:30.  Good thing the last teenager is about to head off to college, because I'm getting too old to wait up for them at night.  I began my reading day with coffee and Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson.  I have nearly finished it, but then I wasn't too far from done an hour ago when I got up.  The story is great and everyone's just about to live happily ever after - I hope - so back to the book.  

Good luck and happy reading to all the Read-a-Thon participants.

UPDATE: As you may have guessed, my Read-a-thon did not go as planned.  I had great plans, but the rest of my life didn't get the memo.  I have managed to finish Sixteen Brides and started Mary Higgins Clark's newest, The Shadow of Your Smile.  Not sure what the evening/night hours will bring but books, like the best of friends, will always be there when I come back.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Just Call Me Captain Klutz

Tuesday evening I decided to take a walk on the wild side - literally.  In my attempt to maneuver the distance across my bedroom, I managed to get tangled in my own feet and take a not-so-graceful swan dive into the bedside table.  Always knew I should have been a ballerina!  Rather than adoring fans casting roses at my feet, I have a knot on my forehead, Steri-Strips holding my eyelid together and a gorgous purple shiner (Go Cats!) to show for my performance.  There was a moment when i thought the ER staff was going to break into applause, but it turned out to be hysterical laughter instead.

I thought that perhaps my reading material should be in keeping with my poise and agility but, alas, I wasn't able to find a copy of Walking for Dummies.  I did find the Klutz set of children's books/kits - Klutz Chinese Jump Rope, Klutz Book of Knots, Klutz Super Scissors Kit - but they would probably just cause further injury.  Also ran across a science book for kids called Boom! Splat! Kablooey! that seemed appropriate, but my personal favorite is Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club : True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life.  I'll check that one out just as soon as I can get my eye open.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Movie Review: Alice In Wonderland

We went to the Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland Sunday evening and I've been struggling ever since for words to describe it.  The costumes and scenery are amazing; the special effects are stunning; I was even impressed with the makeup in this movie and I think that's a first.  The story holds true to the original much more than I expected, with the expected Burton twists and quirks.  Mia Wasikowska makes the transition from pale, wimpy, scared Alice to bold, confident Champion Alice remarkably.  Johnny Depp is slightly frightning yet touching as the Mad Hatter.  Anne Hathaway as the White Queen is comical. And the Red Queen - played by Helena Bonham Carter - and her minions are both grotesque and absurd.  But none of those words quite sum it up.  So I guess I'll have to go with the opinion I expressed to Dave as we were leaving the theater:  That was BIZARRE!

Golf in the Year 2000 by J. McCullough

We wrote a post last week about our favorite time travel books and movies.  While perusing some on-line lists to help jog our memory, we came across an intriguing book:  Golf in the Year 2000, written in 1892 by J. McCullough and originially published in London.  Advertised as "The amazing 1892 book that predicted television, digital watches, bullet trains, and more", we became curiouser and curiouser, so we set out in pursuit of a copy.  Turns out it was reprinted in the U.S by Rutledge Hill Press in 1998.  Through the magic of the interlibrary loan system, we were able to borrow the one and only copy owned by a Kansas library (at least the only copy listed for loan).  Thanks to Edna Buschow Memorial Library in Valley Center, Kansas for owning and loaning this treasure.

The story begins in 1892 with Alexander Gibson and his golfing opponent reviewing that day's match over whiskey and a pipe.  Mr. Gibson retires for the evening and awakes in the year 2000 to a world where women handle all the business and men's only responsibility is to play golf.  He and Mr. Adams (the current "caretaker" charged with watching over Gibson's body while he slept for 108 years) explore the advances in the world and, more importantly, in the game of golf.

From there the story itself is rather pedestrian - two guys play several rounds of golf - but the accuracy of the technology predicted over one hundred years ago makes this novella fascinating.  McCullough does, indeed, describe digital watches, bullet trains, and the concept of televised golf with amazing accuracy.  He even foresaw automated caddies, which became reality in the 1980's.  Most amazing is McCullough's vision of metal "woods".  Steel shafts were experimental at the time the book was written (not really catching on until the 1930's) but "woods" made totally from metal were revolutionary when TaylorMade introduced them in the early 80's.

This was a quick, entertaining time travel story, especially interesting if you are a golf enthusiast. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!"  Luke 24:1-6

Friday, April 2, 2010

Old Favorites

I discovered the books of Stephanie Grace Whitson in the mid-90's.  Stephanie lives in Nebraska (and so did we at that time) and many of her stories take place on the wide-open Nebraska prairie in the late 1800's.  Her first triology - the Prairie Winds Series (shown above) - was phenomenal.  I devoured them as fast as I could and passed them on to my friends who, in turn, gobbled them up and passed them on, and naturally they never returned. (It's possible that I never owned all three to start with - maybe one of the other gals purchased one for all of us to share?  My memory isn't what it used to be.)  The point being - I have never re-read them.

I have since read other books by Mrs. Whitson, and they have been enjoyable stories, but in my mind they never measured up to that first series.  I am currently reading her newest, Sixteen Brides, which is shaping up to be a good read, but it got me to thinking about the Prarie Winds series again.  Were they really that good or was it just the time in my life?  Am I remembering the stories correctly? So, I'm on a quest.

They are no longer in print, but I did find used copies on for $1.99 each - plus $11 shipping.  Yes, I realize the total is still less than an average hardback, but somehow the shipping fee irks me, so before I do that I thought I would put the word out to the blogger universe.  Does anyone out there have this set that they would like to swap?  I have other Whitson titles and other Christian authors I'm willing to part with in exchange. 

There are some books that can't be read enough times.  I have a well-worn copy of "...And Ladies of the Club" by Helen Hooven Santmeyer; Dickins' A Christmas Carol comes down from the shelf each Christmas; and I've been through the "Cat Who..." series by Lilian Jackson Braun countless times (especially the early ones).  I also have the Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean Auel that I was in love with at one point that I have high hopes of re-reading someday.  What books from your past would you love to re-read if you could track them down? What titles do you keep on your shelf to come back to again and again?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon

It's time for another Read-A-Thon.  On Saturday, April 10th, join readers around the world in a 24-hour bookfest.  Reading starts at 1:00 p.m. (GMT) which translates to 6:00 a.m. Mountain Time - figure your own zone from there.  There will be challenges, cheerleaders and prizes.

This will be our second read-a-thon - our first being in October of 2009.  If you were reading our blog back then, you may remember that we learned a few lessons - the first, and most important, of which was:

We are too old to pull all-nighters! Our plan for next time is to pick a 12-18 hour span and allow ourselves a full night's sleep.

So, my (Tami's) plan this time is to read from 7:00 a.m. (I'm not a morning person*) to 10:00 p.m. - and possibly after that if circumstances allow.  Dave has a trap shooting meet that day, so he'll join in whenever possible.

I also learned an important lesson about advance preparation:  I noticed lots of participants making advance food plans in the days leading up to the read-a-thon, but didn't really pay attention. Now I understand the advance prep. Cooking and/or prowling the pantry looking for munchies consumes a lot of time.  I will have snacks on hand and lunch pre-prepared.

If you've never tried the read-a-thon, it's tons of fun, join in if you can - even if it's only for a few hours. The site to sign up is here.  We made some really great blogging friends the last time around and hope to make more this time.  Start stacking up the books and we'll see you on the 10th.

*Tami's morning theory:  There are plenty of usable hours in the day after 9:00 a.m. so there's no point to using the ones before that.  Only books and the promise of coffee could get me to rise early!