Today, book bloggers and other readers are devoting an entire 24 hours to read as much as they can as part of Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon. I’ve participated in this event several times over the years, and it’s always good fun.
I have just about all day and all night free for reading, but as usual I’m taking a casual approach and not attempting to stay up or read beyond the point that it’s fun. I do have a large stack of book choices at the ready and hope to get through a couple of them. Many of these are review copies I picked up at BEA, and I’d really like to winnow down that pile. I’m not convinced that all of those will be good fits for me, but I’d like to give each of them a good and proper audition at least by the end of November. Tomorrow will be a good time to make a start on that. Before that, however, I’ll be finishing Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton, which Jenny and I plan to review together very soon.
As usual, I’ll be donating 10 cents for every pages read to a charity, and this year’s choice is the Haiti Micah Project, an organization that works to help impoverished children in Haiti. A group from my church recently visited Haiti with the Haiti Micah Project, and their stories made me want to help out in some small way.
I’ll be adding updates to this post as the day goes on, probably every three or four hours or so. I’ll share more frequent updates on Twitter and possibly on Tumblr. I doubt I’ll do much blog reading during the day, and I only expect I’ll do mini-challenges if appealing and easy ones are going when I’m taking a break.
So that’s the plan. Happy reading, fellow ‘thoners!
- Where are you reading from today? Alexandria, Virginia, just across the river from Washington DC
- Three random facts about me…
- I’m left-handed.
- I saw Patrick Stewart being interviewed at a Classics in Conversation event at a local theatre last week. I’ve had a crush on him since high school, so that was quite a thrill.
- I bought a new laptop last week because my old one died. Why can’t electronics last forever?
- How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? I have about 20 books (see photo above) in my “to read soon” stack, so I’ll mostly be pulling books from there. If none of them suit me, I have about 150 more in the house, plus the 200 or so on my e-reader.
- Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? Nope. Just to enjoy myself. Goals might make me read past the point of enjoyment, and I do not want to do that.
- If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time? Do not get yourself caught up in the comparison game. Don’t worry about how much others have read, commented, whatever. Seriously. It takes all the fun out of it.
Time of Update: 10:11 a.m.
Pages Read: 147 in Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton
Time Spent Reading: 1 hour, 46 minutes
Money Raised for Haiti Micah Project: $14.70
Favorite Quote: If a woman wanted to know what her husband was up to, she had every right to go through his pockets.
Observations: Finished one book, which is great—and it was a good one too. I’m going to take a short break to take a bunch of stuff to an electronics recycling event at a local church. (The number of broken devices I’ve been storing under my bed is alarming. It will be great to get them out of the house and safely recycled!
Time of Update: 2:15 p.m.
Now Reading: The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
Total Pages Read Today: 333 pages total
Total Time Spent Reading: 4 hours, 38 minutes
Money Raised for Haiti Micah Project: $30.30
Favorite Quote: [In reference to a fully stocked supermarket] The sheer variety of products was overwhelming, somehow ridiculous and impressive at the same time: four shelves devoted to barbecue sauce alone, as if each brand possessed its own unique and powerful properties.
Observations: I have a weirdly sentimental feeling about Tom Perrotta because his last book, The Abstinence Teacher was the first book I reviewed here at Shelf Love. The premise of the The Leftovers, like that of The Abstinence Teacher, could go wrong in so many ways, but I’m impressed at how Perrotta doesn’t just resort to stereotyping and nastiness toward his characters. They’re all a little ridiculous, but he seems to want to understand what makes them tick, which I think puts Perrotta a step above a lot of writers who made suburban angst their fictional playground.
As for the readathon experience, I’ve been focused on the reading most of the day and have been mostly ignoring Twitter, other blogs, and whatnot. If I so much as open my feed reader, I will never stop blog hopping, so I’m doing most of my interacting on Twitter. I did pop over to the Readathon blog and saw that I won the random reader drawing in Hour 4. I’m mostly avoiding giveaways these days, but it’s still nice to get a prize. I chose the Harper Perennial surprise galley and am crossing my fingers for Practical Jean, although I’ve enjoyed all the Harper Perennial books I’ve read.
Time of Update: 5:20 p.m.
Now Reading: Just finished The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. Will probably read Irma Voth by Miriam Toews next
Total Pages Read Today: 502 pages total
Total Time Spent Reading: 6 hours, 53 minutes
Money Raised for Haiti Micah Project: $50.20
Favorite Quote: Back then, when everybody though the world would last forever, nobody had time for anything.
Observations: I’ve been down on suburban angst fiction for a while, especially if it features religion in any way because caricature is all too common. Perrotta is better than that all the way around.
Reading is still going well. I’ve taken a couple of short breaks during the day and am only now feeling like I might want a slightly longer break. I’ve found in the past that I have to be careful with breaks during readathon because they can easily turn into doing something else altogether for hours. But I might be up for delving into my Google Reader a bit and leaving a comment or two for fellow ‘thoners.
1. What are you reading right now? Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
2. How many books have you read so far? One and two halfs (i.e., the second half of Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton, all of The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta, and the first half of Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? It’ll be getting close to bedtime when I finish Irma Voth, but if I still feel like reading, I’m planning to start My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier, and I’m very excited about reading that.
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? Nope, not this time.
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? I had to run a quick errand this morning, but that’s it.
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? I’m surprised at how quickly the day has gone by.
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? I’ll make my perennial suggestion that the possibility of reading for charity be mentioned more in the run-up to the event. I always get commenters who seem to see it as a new idea, and there are a handful of folks who do it every year.
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? This is the second time I’ve read from a stack of several shortish books, instead of reading one massive chunkster. This way has been great, but I might go back to a chunkster next time.
9. Are you getting tired yet? A little sleepy. It’s about two hours till my usual bedtime, so this is my usual winding-down time.
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? Lots of water, good music, good lighting all help me stay alert.
Time of Update: 11: 00 p.m.
Now Reading: Just finished Irma Voth by Miriam Toews
Total Pages Read Today: 757 pages total
Total Time Spent Reading: 10 hours, 39 minutes
Money Raised for Haiti Micah Project: $75.70
Favorite Quote: [In reference to a cranky infant] Ximena had fallen asleep all wrapped up in the towel, soaked in sweat and with a sweet expression on her face that underneath it seemed to say fuck you all, I possess vital intangibles and when I learn to talk the world will know its shame. She was growing on me.
Observations: What an uneven read this was! The first half is a mess: choppy writing, too many characters, too much going on. I nearly gave up at the halfway mark, but Ashley told me on Twitter that the last half made the book for her, and it’s a short enough book that I figured I might as well press on. The last half is marvelous, wickedly funny (see the quote above) and moving as well. The first half could be sliced down to a chapter or two of background, and the result would have been a terrific little novella.
As for the reading, it’s about bedtime for me, and while I’m not especially sleepy, I’ve learned not to push myself to exhaustion. After posting this update, I’m going to shut things down and head to bed with a copy of My Cousin Rachel to read until I feel sleep calling me.
I only got 20 pages read in My Cousin Rachel, and I’m not going to attempt to squeeze in any more reading this morning. So that means I’ve read a total of 777 pages and raised $77.70. Plus, I had a good time.