The Readathon Post

Today is Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, a twice-yearly celebration of reading in which people around the world take a day to read as much as they can and share updates on their reading (and attendant snacking).  I’ll leave a few updates on this post during the day, but most of my updates will probably be on Twitter.

I plan to read as much of 11/22/63 as I can–it’s just the kind of absorbing book I love to immerse myself in for the Readathon. If I happen to finish it, I have a large stack of library books at the ready, as well as a bookcase and e-reader filled with options. Or I could make it a Stephen King day and go right for the copy of The Wind Through the Keyhole, the new Dark Tower novel. It’s officially releasing on Tuesday, but I got on the hold list for it at the library ages ago and was pleasantly surprised that they had it ready for me to check out a few days early.

I’ve set aside the whole day and have a supply of pumpkin muffins, a big container of grapes, frozen pizza, popcorn, dried mango, and assorted other snacks to keep me going.  I’m making no effort to read for 24 hours, but I’ll read as much as I can and perhaps stay up a little past bedtime, if I’m feeling like it. For every page I read, I’ll be donating 10 cents to the the Guys Lit Wire project to help add to the library at Ballou High School in Washington DC. (And if you want to do some book shopping for a good cause, check out their wish list.)

Opening Q&A

  1. What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Alexandria, Virginia. Just across the river from Washington DC.
  2. Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? I only have one book in my stack: 11/22/63 by Stephen King. So, um, that.
  3. Which snack are you most looking forward to? I’ve already started in on the pumpkin muffins, a readathon ritual I always look forward to.
  4. Tell us a little something about yourself! I’m a magazine editor, been blogging for four years. My other great love besides books is theatre, and I’m lucky to live in a great theatre town. I volunteer as an usher at some local theatres, so I get to see lots of good stuff free.
  5. If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? Last year was a great success for me. The only change I’m making is that I’m reading one long book, instead of several mid-length ones.

Update 1

Time of Update: 10: 23 a.m.

Now Reading: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Total Pages Read Today: 99 pages total

Total Time Spent Reading: 1 hour, 53 minutes

Money Raised for Ballou Sr High School: $9.90

Favorite Quote: I felt a little like a man reading a very good book. A Thomas Hardy novel, say. You know how it’s going to end, but instead of spoiling things, that somehow increases your fascination. It’s like watching a kid run his electric train faster and faster and waiting for it to derail on one of the curves.

Observations: I suspected King would be perfect for a readathon, and it’s true. The pages and the time just fly by. This is very good King, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen.

Mini-challenge: Reading in Translation. I’ve been reading a lot more books in translation than I used to, and Carina is asking for this challenge what work we’d like to read in the original language. That’s a hard choice because I’d really love to be skilled enough in any language to be able to read in it. I am, alas, one of those Americans who never bothered to learn another language, and the only ones I studied for any length of time are ancient ones. Because I’m alarmed at how quickly I’ve lost my facility at Koine Greek, I’m going to say that I’d like to be able to read the Bible in Koine, because I was just starting to get good at it when I stopped, and now I’ve lost all my vocabulary and have to struggle to recall some of the letters. If I got my Koine skills back, perhaps I’d branch out to Attic Greek and read some of the classics or look into modern Greek literature.

Update 2

Time of Update: 1: 14 p.m.

Now Reading: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Total Pages Read Today: 225 pages total

Total Time Spent Reading: 4 hours, 3 minutes

Money Raised for Ballou Sr High School: $22.50

Favorite Quote: This time it was a dirty but still bright orange. (This particular quote only makes sense in context, but it creates a vivid sense of unease that persists through most of this section.)

Observations: Still enjoying myself whole-heartedly. I just did the thing where I make lunch (a salad) while reading because it’s too good. Jenny will be happy to hear that I’m now convinced I need to read It. Also, note to Jenny: THE TURTLE?!?!?! And are you thinking walk-ins? Is this time travel, or walking through a silent thinny? Are the reboots really reboots? I don’t even want to take breaks, I’m so involved. This is a perfect readathon choice. Who needs a big pile of options when you have this?

Update 3

Time of Update: 4: 08 p.m.

Now Reading: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Total Pages Read Today: 353 pages total

Total Time Spent Reading: 6 hours, 14 minutes

Money Raised for Ballou Sr High School: $35.30

Favorite Quote: Coincidences happen, but I’ve come to believe they are actually quite rare. Something is at work, okay? Somewhere in the universe (or behind it), a great machine is ticking and turning its fabulous wheels.

Observations: I am having to make myself stop and take breaks, just so my brain doesn’t get utterly fried. This book is King at his top form, and I’m savoring every moment. The section I’ve been reading has a lot less excitement than the earlier parts, but it’s still good—it’s all about reestablishing the stakes for the main character, getting readers invested in him as a person, rather than in the situation. But there’s plenty to feel uneasy about.

Update 4

Time of Update: 7: 13 p.m.

Now Reading: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Total Pages Read Today: 491 pages total

Total Time Spent Reading: 8 hours, 23 minutes

Money Raised for Ballou Sr High School: $49.10

Favorite Quote:There’s nothing so fascinating as a family argument, I think Leo Tolstoy said that. Or maybe it was Jonathan Franzen.

Observations: After a section that was mostly about raising the stakes by making Jake good and happy, the JFK-related plot resumes. Stephen King is known for terror and unease, but he writes happiness well too, which makes the almost inevitable disaster all the more devastating. I’m getting a little dozy, so this break may be a bit longer than previous ones, so I’ll be more fully alert when I get back to reading. I’ve got pizza in the oven, and I’ve gotten up to do some stretching. (I do that every hour or so anyway.)

Update 5

Time of Update: 11: 08 p.m.

Now Reading: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Total Pages Read Today: 671 pages total

Total Time Spent Reading: 11 hours, 13 minutes

Money Raised for Ballou Sr High School: $67.10

Favorite Quote:For a moment everything was clear, and when that happens you see that the world is barely there at all. Don’t we all secretly know this> It’s a perfectly balanced mechanism of shouts and echoes pretending to be wheels and cogs, a dreamclock chiming beneath a mystery-glass we call life. Behind it? Below it and around it? Chaos, storms. Men with hammers, men with knives, men with guns. Women who twist what they cannot dominate and belittle what they cannot understand. A universe of horror and loss surrounding a single lighted stage where mortals dance in defiance of the dark.

Observations: The book continues to be excellent. King is not always reliable with his endings, but I’m not seeing signs of this falling apart yet. I have under 200 pages left, so there’s still room for it go wrong. But if it doesn’t, this book will rank among my favorite King novels. A great book to spend the day with. It’s getting to be close to my usual bedtime, and I’m making no special efforts to stay up late for the readathon. I’m not feeling very sleepy yet, but I don’t think I have a lot of time left. I’ll probably spend a little time online and then head to bed with my book to read until I’m ready to sleep. It’s been a great day! And to Jenny: Chimes! That has to be deliberate.

Update 6

Time of Update: 8: 00 a.m.

Now Reading: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Total Pages Read : 771 pages total

Total Time Spent Reading: Just over 13 hours

Money Raised for Ballou Sr High School: $77.10

Favorite Quote: In my humble opinion, things do happen for a reason, but do we like the reason? Rarely.

Observations: I didn’t quite finish, but I know I’ll finish later today. The book is great, and with fewer than 100 pages left, I don’t think there’s much of a chance that it’ll go too far downhill to keep it from ending up among my top five King novels.

End of Event Meme

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? None, really. I’ve figured out how to make the readathon work for me, and I don’t push myself. I was getting a little sleepy at about hour 11, but I just took a longer break.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? 11/22/63 by Stephen King was perfect. It kept me absorbed the whole day.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? It didn’t seem like there was as much publicity this year in the run-up to the event, so maybe start earlier with that. And be sure to mention the possibility of reading for charity ahead of time. Veterans know some people do this, but newbies probably don’t.
  4.  What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I loved that so many of the mini-challenges only required comments on the blog of the person doing the challenge. It made me much more willing to do them because they made a nice quick break that didn’t eat up into my reading time too much.
  5.  How many books did you read? Just one, and I didn’t quite finish.
  6.  What were the names of the books you read?  11/22/63 by Stephen King
  7.  Which book did you enjoy most? Hmm… a tough choice, but I’ll say 11/22/63 :).
  8.  Which did you enjoy least? Can’t bring myself to say 11/22/63 so none.
  9.   If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? N/A
  10.   How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? If I’m free that weekend, I’ll probably participate again as a reader. If help is needed getting the word out ahead of time, I might be able to pitch in with that as well.

Charity Update: I was able to get six books from the Ballou wishlist all of them books I’ve read and enjoyed: Little Big by John Crowley, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne-Jones, Elizabeth and Hazel by David Margolick, Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy, Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon, and The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.


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26 Responses to The Readathon Post

  1. Iris says:

    Have a great day, Teresa! (I am jealous of your snacks, they sound super yummy).

  2. Aneeqah says:

    Your snacks sounds DELICIOUS, especially those pumpkin muffins!! My mouth is starting to water just thinking about muffins. ;) I hope you enjoy your book today! Don’t be afraid to take a few breaks, because it’ll help you keep refreshed, which will help you to keep reading. =) Good luck, and have fun today!

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life [Team Puck!]

  3. Vasilly says:

    Your pumpkin muffins sounds so yummy. Happy reading!

  4. Teresa says:

    The pumpkin muffins are great, and very easy. Just a can of pumpkin, a box of cake mix (spice or carrot), and water until the consistency is right. Then bake!

  5. Lisa says:

    I’m cheering the read-a-thon from the sidelines again this year. I’m not sure I could read for such a sustained period – even with breaks and delicious muffins!

    • Teresa says:

      I tend to prefer reading in large chunks when I can. I need time to get into whatever I’m reading, but this is a lot in one day even for me!

  6. Dee says:

    Well done! you have the neatest updates I’ve seen so far – I should go back to the good ol’ status updates for Readathon too :)
    Dee, cheering from e-Volving Books[Team Puck]

  7. Lexi says:

    You are making great progress! Keep up the good work!

  8. bookgazing says:

    I’m so excited that you’re reading for Ballou. You’ll be able to get them some great books wit your total so far.

    • Teresa says:

      I’m excited to shop from their wishlist tomorrow. There are a few books I love on there, so it’ll be wonderful to add those to their library.

  9. novareylin says:


    This sounds great! I wanted to pick it up but with your updates this is going on my MUST READ list!

    Sounds like you’re doing great! Enjoy the book and keep up the good work!

    NovaReylin @ [Cheer Team: Puck]

    • Teresa says:

      It’s an amazing book. Unless it falls apart in the last 100 pages or so (which happens with King sometimes), it could make it into my top 5 King novels. And I think it’s one people who aren’t King fans would enjoy.

  10. Wish I had a day to devote to reading; it just never works out. Enjoy Teresa

  11. Megan says:

    I need to read 11/22/63. I love Stephen King at the top of his game. Hope your longer break and some pizza have rejuvenated you for some more reading! =D

  12. Jenny says:

    After my long, long, bookless day, I am just catching up with your updates. I KNEW you would love this one. Isn’t it great??? Just absolutely top-flight King, and that is so, so satisfying. I have a couple of tiny nitpicks, but mostly I have questions: would that work? Is that a cop-out? Is that what I think it is? How does that relate? I am almost done with the book and will probably finish it tonight, so we can discuss to our hearts’ content!

    • Teresa says:

      It’s definitely among King’s best. There’s one aspect of the premise that I’m uncertain about, but that’s more of a question than a “no way.” I have lots of questions, and lots of theories tickling around in the back of my mind. Naturally, I have Roland and Co. on the brain with the new book coming out, so that’s affecting my reading. I’ll probably finish tomorrow, and I am soooo excited to talk about it.

  13. Scribacchina says:

    So you did what works best for me: one good chunkster for the whole read-a-thon. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  14. neabarabea says:

    So so glad you had a great time!! :) :)

    See you in October ;)

  15. Pingback: Another Read-a-thon – Once Upon a Read-a-Thon | alchemyofscrawl

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