Thursday, July 28, 2011

High Summer Read-a-Thon Update and Mini-Challenge


I wonder what it is about a read-a-thon that always makes my personal life go into interference mode?  On Monday, I spent most of the day taking care of read-a-thon business; organizing the mini-challenge/giveaway post, visiting blogs to welcome, inform, and encourage, and making sure that everyone was signed-in properly (I also read a bit of The Widow of the South).  All this is to be expected when hosting a read-a-thon and I don't mind it a bit because I love interacting with people.  So, Monday was a success in a different way. =O)  On Tuesday, I read Part III of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson for TuesBookTalk, but it still was a sad accomplishment.  Constant distractions from my sons are ever present! Wednesday was the day that the personal stuff really came into play.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned it yet, but I'm going on vacation next week.  We--my mom, myself, and my sons--are headed up to Michigan to visit my sister for a week and a half and I will also be attending my 25 YEAR class reunion.  My husband isn't going because of work so we are taking Mom's car...we thought! The air was not working in her car and she had the free-on recharged in it.  A week later, it was out again.  She called me yesterday to tell me that her mechanic told her the compressor was gone and it was going to take $800 to fix it.  Long story short, Mom has put a lot of money into that car and she is finished doing it.  So, guess what I was doing yesterday instead of reading?  Yes, that's right...researching rental car rates and specials at local auto dealerships.  It took me half the day! Mom has pretty much decided to buy a new car so that's what we will be doing on Saturday (part of the day).  Yes, quite a read-a-thon sob story, I know.  Anyway, here are my plans for the rest of today/tomorrow.

--Finish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
--Finish The Widow of the South
--Catch up on To the Lighthouse (for read-a-long)
--Start Vlad: The Last Confession tomorrow


Laura at Book Snob is hosting this fun mini-challenge.  The task is to find pictures of actual places/locations in your book or find images that relate to the time period or theme you are reading about and put in your blog post.   Then describe the significance of the images you are using so we can understand it and include a picture of your book cover, in case we might want to read it later.

I have been alternating between The Widow of the South and Dragon Tattoo, but I decided to go with Widow for this challenge because it's historical, my favorite genre, and it has significance to where I've lived for the past 20 years.  It has been interesting reading this book and imagining actual places I've visited and driven near in a town just a few miles from where I live in Nashville.

The Battle of Franklin (Tennessee) was fought on November 30, 1864.  Historians have called the battle "the bloodiest five hours of the American Civil War."  2000 men were confirmed killed in the battle, with about 1750 of the dead being Confederate soldiers.  Many more soldiers were wounded or lost/missing.  All told, close to 9,000 casualties of war.

Painting: The Battle of Franklin
Carnton Plantation, owned by John and Carrie McGavock, quickly became a field hospital for the wounded.  Carrie McGavock herself helped nurse the wounded men, even using strips of her own dresses for bandages.

Carnton Plantation
A couple of years after the battle, the graves and markers of the dead soldiers became deteriorated and relocation was discussed.  John and Carrie McGavock generously donated 2 acres of Carnton land and it became the McGavock Confederate Cemetery.  A record of the dead was compiled and Carrie kept track of that record for over 40 years.  She is said to have corresponded with many of the families of the dead soldiers.  1500 confederate soldiers are buried there.
Carrie McGavock
McGavock Cemetery
I was born and raised a Yankee girl, but living in the South for 20 years has made me more sympathetic to the Confederate army.  Not sympathetic to their motivation for fighting the war, which I detest, but sympathetic to the  sad state of the soldiers who fought in the war.  In war, it's true that one side usually wins, but everyone loses in the long run.  The soldiers on both sides lose their lives and the families they left behind lose fathers, brothers, and sons.  It really is a sad thing to think about no matter what side you're on.

Book description from Goodreads:
The title character of this haunting historical novel is Carrie McGavock, whose farmhouse was commandeered as a Confederate field hospital before the tragic battle at Franklin, Tennessee, in November 1864. That day, 9,000 soldiers perished. This tragic event turned McGavock into "the widow of the South." She spent the rest of her life mourning those lost, eventually reburying nearly 1,500 of them on her property. Robert Hicks's first historical novel captures the life-altering force that war exerts even on noncombatants.


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  1. Your week sounds as hectic as mine has been! It seems like you've managed to get a fair bit of reading in though!
    Wow, 25 year reunion! Won't that be interesting? And there was me sobbing to my best friend last night that we were already 7 years out of high school!
    I hope you manage to squeeze in some more reading time.

  2. Thanks, Ash! I'm trying to get the reading in. I'm still optimistic!

    I know...I'm SO old. ;O)

  3. LOL! My week hasn't been going all that great reading wise either but I keep on trying. I will finish at least one book which I'm going to count as success :) And The Widow of the South sounds really interesting!

  4. I've been busy for most of the week too - so my reading progress hasn't been great either. But I am almost through A Clash of Kings by George R.R Martin.

    I hope you have a great vacation. And enjoy your class reunion too!

    Happy Reading!

  5. Sam--yes, definitely! One book finished IS a success. That's usually about what I do in every read-a-thon. =O)

    Misha--Thanks! I'll try not to focus too much on how old I am. ;O) I'm jealous of A Clash of that the new one? It will be awhile before I get to that one. I bet it's awesome! My new favorite series.

  6. I think I need to read this book. The Civil war is one of my favorite time periods to read about. This must be non-fiction. Putting it on my TBR pile for sure.

  7. It's annoying when things don't go the way you hope. I am sorry hope you have good time when the reunion comes around. :-)

  8. When you have a family, it's difficult to find dedicated reading time unless you plan ahead for ONE day, because planning for a whole week is pretty much impossible! I think you're doing great! I have no life right now, really, so I've been able to get a LOT of reading in (if only I could write reviews as quickly as I read the books! But I've found that if I post a review a day, I don't get as much exposure for them, so I try to limit it to at most four a week now.) You're pretty smart to think ahead and realize that a long drive in the summer with children and no air conditioning is NOT a good thing! Enjoy the rest of your reading week, and I hope you're able to get a bit further in the Larsson book (I have the next book slated in my readathon, but I think I may not be able to get to it, and because it's so long, even if I'm able to crack it open during the readathon, I likely won't be able to finish it during!)

  9. Laura--It is a good book and it's an historical novel. I recommend you check it out!

    Shannon--Thanks Shannon! I'm still hoping to get some reading in this weekend.

    Julie--Thank you, Julie. I always have to remind myself that life doesn't follow any rules. LOL I'm almost finished with Dragon Tattoo. It's SO good! Hoping Sunday will be a good long reading day for me. =O)

  10. Hi Michelle,
    This sounds like my kind of book. It's going on my TBR list. Have a great day!

    Just Books

  11. Sounds like a hectic week. I read The widow of the South a while ago and loved it.

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