A day of nothing but reading. What could be better? How about reading with blogging friends around the world and for a cause? This Saturday, more than 300 book bloggers and others around the globe will be devoting the day to reading as part of Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon. I participated last October (but missed the April event because I was on my annual English holiday). The event is great fun, and if you haven’t signed up, there’s still time. Even if you can’t commit to the whole 24 hours, read when you can—or sign up to cheer on other readers.
The Cause: One of the things I find particularly cool about the read-a-thon is that people read for a cause, usually one related to literacy. Last year, I raised almost $50 for a classroom library through Donors Choose. I worked very briefly as a high school English teacher, and I now work for an education association, so this was right up my alley and I wanted to continue the tradition. The project that caught my eye today was this teacher’s effort to get a classroom set of Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose by Constance Hale for her 12th grade AP English students in a high-poverty school. As an editor, I have to get behind an effort to help students with grammar and syntax. I’ll be donating 10 cents for every page I read to this project.
Just in case their project gets funded between now and this weekend–or I read over 2,000 pages (not likely)–I’ve added a few more projects involving high school students in high-poverty schools and reading to my giving page. If you’re looking for a read-a-thon cause or just want to give, check those out.
The Time: I know already that I won’t be able to commit to the full 24 hours because I’m ushering a play on Saturday night, and sleep is pretty much mandatory for me, although I’m going to stay up as late as I can. However, I’m going to make up for the time missed by also doing some reading on Friday and perhaps Sunday. Starting on Friday, any pages I read that aren’t for school will count toward the Donors Choose project.
The wrinkle in my grand plan is that I have a Reformation Theology take-home midterm. I originally planned to take the test on Friday and then reward myself with the Read-a-Thon, but I just learned that our professor won’t be e-mailing the test to us until Sunday. This means I will have to be sure I get enough rest and study time so that I can take the test Sunday evening because my schedule is packed all next week. I am, however, hoping that my classmates and I can convince our professor to give us the test after class this Thursday, so we’ll see. I was hoping to not have the test hanging over me on Read-a-Thon day, but it seems it was not meant to be. (I’m tempted to insert a predestination joke, but we haven’t covered Calvinism in my class yet.)
The Books: Lots of folks are gathering big piles of books and posting photos online, and these posts have been great fun to look at, but I am, alas, too lazy to dig out my camera, so I’m just offering a list of possibilities:
- Armadale by Wilkie Collins. Jenny and I are reading this for the Classics Circuit. Collins is just the kind of writer I could easily spend all day with, so I’m glad to have a whole day just for Collins. It’s a chunkster, so there’s a chance that’s all I’ll be reading.
- Fables: The Dark Ages by Bill Willingham. I learned last year that graphic novels can be great for tired eyes. I’ve loved this series so far, and I’ve been holding back on reading this volume because I knew I might want it for read-a-thon day.
- The Imposter’s Daughter by Laurie Sendall. A graphic memoir.
- How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson. Looks like a nice, light read, and it’s near the top of my TBR pile.
- Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner. Chick lit seems like it would be just right when I’m tired and my brain is full, and Weiner is a reliable chick lit author.
- Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton. More chick lit. Lots of people whose taste I trust like Thornton’s books, so I’m eager to give this a try.
- Winter’s End by Jean-Claude Mourlevat. YA seems like another good option for a tired mind. I got this one a couple of months ago from Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program.
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Children’s fiction seems right, too, and this has been on my shelf for ages. I missed out on it entirely as a child.
- The Last Single Woman in America by Cindy Guidry. A collection of essays that I bought on impulse when my sister told me she was getting married. The title fit my sentiments at the time, but then I never read it. But short essays might be just the thing this weekend.
Other possibilities include rereads of some old favorites: The Phantom Tollbooth, Coraline, a Lemony Snicket book or two, maybe some short stories by Flannery O’Connor or Dorothy Sayers or something from one of my many anthologies.
The Updates: Last year, I wrote reviews and updates and posted them throughout the day, but this year, I’m going to do one big running post, logging my progress every few hours, starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday. So those of you who aren’t participating—or aren’t interested—won’t be seeing tons of posts. Those of you who are interested can just visit the one post. I’ll also tweet updates throughout the day.
So that’s the plan! I’m hoping for a great day.