MotherReader’s Fourth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge!

Are you ready?  Do you have your TBR pile set to the side so that you can dive in for 48 hours between June 5th and June 7th?

What’s that?  You have no idea what I am talking about?  Why, it’s only one of my favorite holidays of the year- MotherReader’s Fourth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge!  

Here are the basic guidelines: 

  1. The weekend is June 5–7, 2009. Read and blog for any 48-hour period within the Friday-to-Monday-morning window. Start no sooner than 7:00 a.m. on Friday the fifth and end no later than 7:00 a.m. Monday. So, go from 7:00 p.m. Friday to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday… or maybe 7:00 a.m. Saturday to 7:00 a.m. Monday works better for you. But the 48 hours do need to be in a row.Edited to add: But during that 48-hour period you may still have gaps of time in which you can’t read, and that’s fine. In the middle of the three different challenge weekends I’ve had to go to work, attend a ballet recital, and drive for a Girl Scout event. You can certainly work around the other events in your weekend.
  2. The books should be about fifth-grade level and up. Adult books are fine, especially if any adult book bloggers want to play. If you are generally a picture book blogger, consider this a good time to get caught up on all those wonderful books you’ve been hearing about. Two graphic novels can be included in the reading. I’m not trying to discriminate, I’m just trying to make sure that the number of books and page counts mean the same thing to everyone.
  3. It’s your call as to how much you want to put into it. If you want to skip sleep and showers to do this, go for it. If you want to be a bit more laid back, fine. But you have to put something into it or it’s not a challenge.
  4. The length of the reviews are not an issue. You can write a sentence, paragraph, or a full-length review. The time spend reviewing counts in your total time.
  5. On your blog, state when you are starting the challenge with a specific entry on that day. This makes it easier to track the participants. Write your final summary on Monday, and for one day, we’ll all be on the same page, so to speak.
  6. Your final summary needs to clearly include the number of books read, the approximate hours you spent reading/reviewing, and any other comments you want to make on the experience. It needs to be posted no later than noon on Monday, June 8th.
  7. Sign up in today’s comments. You’re more than welcome to post the challenge on your site. Point them to today’s post to sign up. On Friday, June 5, I’ll have a starting-line post where you can sign in to say you’re officially starting the challenge.

Last year was my first foray into the reading challenge and it was awesome!  It felt so good to just set aside an entire weekend to do nothing but read and review.  My stats from last year:
Total pages read- 3498

Total hours- 19.50

Total books read- 17

So join us this year!  Head on over to MotherReader’s blog and sign up.  It’s a ton of fun!

Last year’s books


Winnie’s War by Jenny Moss

 Winnie lives with her family–mother, father, grandmother, and her younger sisters–in a small-town in Texas, near Galveston.  Her father is in charge of the local graveyard/burials.  Clara, her grandmother, handles the girls because their mother is withdrawn and emotionally scarred- never the same after the 1900 hurricane.  And Clara and Winnie butt heads like nobody’s business!

Winnie’s War takes place during the Spanish Influenza epidemic of 1918. Winnie loves living in Coward Creek, and the war overseas barely enters her life.  But when the residents of the town begin falling ill, Winnie starts to panic.  Her young sister has breathing problems and Winnie knows she can’t afford to get sick.  Everyone is suddenly a potential carrier, someone to be avoided.  And when her father continues burying the victims, Winnie is torn between what she knows is right and what she knows she should do.  And as fair warning, I cried at the end!

This is a fantastic historical novel and perfect to read right now, with the H1N1 pandemic.  Jenny Moss does a great job of weaving the historical aspects of the flu epidemic into the story of Winnie.  The historical fiction aspect doesn’t take over the whole book, which sometimes turns off middle grade readers.  I would love to pair this with Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever 1793 and Jim Murphy’s An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793 (Newbery Honor Book) for a neat set of “epidemic/pandemic” book clubs next year. As I realized during the H1N1 pandemic, most of my students have no background knowledge of past epidemics!  In fact, the only reason some of my girls knew about the Spanish influenze epidemic is because Edward’s parents (in TWILIGHT) died of the flu!  

I also think that my realistic fiction fans who enjoy “middle school” stories and coming-of-age tales will enjoy Winnie’s War.  Winnie is a typical middle schooler, despite the difference in eras.  She has a sweetheart, Nolan, whom she thinks she likes as more than a friend.  She struggles with mean girls at school.  And she has issues with her best friend.  Because Jenny Moss doesn’t beat you over the head with historical aspects of the book the story flows neatly and can almost seem to take place now.  I know how difficult that must be, but I think it paid off well!