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Finishing the 48 Hour Book Challenge

June 5, 2011

Today’s reading consisted of Wildwood and 66 pages of Strings Attached.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy, illustrated by Carson Ellis (Middle Grade Fantasy)

  • I don’t read much middle grade, but I received the ARC last week Wednesday (from HarperCollins) and was so excited!
  • So often, I’ll start a middle grade novel, even those that are well-reviewed, and end up not finishing the book. Between this being MG fiction and the talking animals (not my favorite thing in fantasy), I could have easily lost interest along the way. But I was hooked from the beginning.
  • Whenever I read new Artemis Fowl books, there are times when I totally “hear” Nathaniel Parker, who narrates the audiobooks, reading the story in my head. Especially when it comes to Mulch’s dialogue. (This happens to other people, too, right? Right?) So I was a bit worried that when I read Wildwood, it would be with Colin Meloy “singing” the prose in my head. Which did not happen. There were some phrases that seemed very Decemberists-ish (Decemberists-y?), but as an author, Meloy has his own voice (← maybe not the best word to use here; perhaps style or cadence is better?) and it’s not identical to his songwriting. To me, anyway. I mean, I like The Decemberists, but wouldn’t call myself a hardcore fan.
  • That said, if I had to pick a Decemberists album to fit the mood of Wildwood, it would be Castaways and Cutouts.
  • A lengthy book, and not a fast read. It’s obvious that care has been taken with the language.
  • Probably not a surprise, based on Meloy’s songwriting.
  • And I think Wildwood would be a great audiobook. There are even a couple of songs!
  • I also liked how he doesn’t write down to his audience. There are a lot of big words (in chapter one alone: amoeba, enumerated, stratum, aeries, concentric, and more; standard disclaimer about how this is an ARC and there may be changes in the final published copy…), and he shows respect for kids in some of the emotional decisions Prue and Curtis are forced to make.
  • I do think it is overlong, though. LOTS of descriptions that add to the sense of place, but I’m not sure are absolutely essential to the story.
  • I wonder about the history of Wildwood, the place.
  • About why the coyotes have Russian or Eastern European names, and the bandits are Celtic. Are there no Native Americans?
  • Though maybe we’ll find out more in future books?
  • The ARC does not include all of Ellis’s illustrations, some of which can be seen in Jules’s recent interview with Ellis.
  • Also, based on the marketing info on the ARC, HarperCollins is going all out with this one.
  • Which makes sense.
  • I want one of those limited edition broadsides!
  • But the grade range listed… 3rd grade seems a little young considering the length and the battles. 4th grade, I’d be more comfortable with.
  • And, spoiler! [highlight to read] This is another fantasy that contains some mother/parenting aspects that made me pause, with the Dowager Governess going crazy after her son died and Prue’s parents’ 1) desperate desire for a child and 2) willingness to give up on Mac so easily.

Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

  • As I said above, I was only able to read to p. 66. Then my 48 hours were up.
  • Fast-paced. It actually reads more quickly than Wildwood.
  • Like the voice and atmosphere so far, but wondering when things are going to start happening.
  • Borrowed from the public library.

Today’s reading time: 4 hours and 39 minutes

Today’s blogging time: 42 minutes

As usual, I had an excellent time participating in the 48 Hour Book Challenge. Like other readers, I ended up picking a great set of books (okay, even though I didn’t like Abandon) that made it easy to want to continue reading. The only reason I didn’t finish every book I started is that I ran out of time while reading Strings Attached, and it is so rare for me to pick up and *complete* seven books in a row these days that this made the 48 HBC even better.

I’m a bit tempted to keep doing these bulleted thoughts about the books, because it made it so much easier for me to keep blogging. I sometimes feel like I overthink when I’m writing reviews, so this format made it easier for me to keep up the momentum of reading and not-really-reviewing going through the 48 hour time frame. I won’t, outside of future readathons, but yeah, it’s tempting.

Thanks once again to Mother Reader for hosting the challenge.

Total time spent on the 48 Hour Book Challenge: 21 hours and 3 minutes.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 6, 2011 6:41 am

    They were pushing Wildwood bigtime at BEA and I am really sad I missed out. But from what they said, it’s going to be well worth buying the finished copy so I don’t feel too sad about that. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on all its loveliness come fall.

    • June 18, 2011 3:25 pm

      I bet the finished book will be gorgeous. Even as an ARC, in black and white without all the illustrations (the book will have six full-color illustrations), the book was lovely. And putting my book design geek hat on, I generally don’t care for deckle edges in children’s and YA books, but I think HC should definitely go this route.

  2. June 6, 2011 4:05 pm

    I almost read Wildwood this weekend, but decided to save it for when I could savor it. They were pushing it big time, and I always wonder how much these titles can stand up to the hype.

    Thanks for playing!

    • June 18, 2011 3:18 pm

      Thank YOU!

      And I think saving Wildwood for when you have time to savor it is an excellent idea. It’s that kind of book.


  1. Wildwood by Colin Meloy Illustrated by Carson Ellis Book Review

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