Read-a-thon Reflections

by admin on April 10, 2011

4+ hours after the finish line: Now that I’ve slept a few hours, and feel I may be able to compose a coherent sentence, I’ll dare to write a round-up.

What is Dewey’s 24-hour Read-a-thon? A most enjoyable, exhausting and invigorating event! Hundreds of readers around the world do exactly the same thing: read, blog about reading, participate in mini-challenges during breaks, and encourage each other to make it to the finish line. Reading is normally a solitary activity; how fun to share it with so many like-minded others!

Stuff I learned

  1. I don’t read as fast as I thought! Four books (one which is more of a short story) in 22-hours of reading doesn’t really sound like much to me.
  2. I shall choose my books with greater care, next time. I started with a relatively “dense” book, figuring I’d have the energy at the beginning to handle it. Next time, I’ll choose less heavy (emotionally draining) tomes.
  3. James Clavell is brilliant. I’d forgotten. I haven’t read anything of his in ages. This read-a-thon has rewoken an old interest.
  4. I’ve got great friends! Well, I knew that already, so this was just a re-confirmation. Thanks to very generous and supportive friends, I reached, and slightly surpassed, my target for my chosen charity, First Book. (donations are still welcome).
  5. My DH is a great manager and leader, but he’s also great in a support role! Thank you DH for your great cooking, coffee providing, periodic cries of “Are you still awake?!”, and patience.
  6. These mini-challenges, which befuddled me before, are a lot of fun!

Other random facts, thoughts, and discoveries

  • Mugs of coffee: 4
  • Mugs of tea: unknown. Lost count after a dozen.
  • # of times going to the loo:  Also lost count.
  • There are a lot of very talented book bloggers out there!
  • There are a surprising number of bookish sorts just like me!
  • I’m not so good at pulling all-nighters any more :-( . Damn!
  • Note to self: do NOT forget the chocolate next time.
  • I won one of the challenges! I submitted my favorite book trailer (Oops, I guess my brain is not so in order) I submitted my favorite book-related video to the Bookish Humour mini-challenge and won “Contested Will,” by James Shapiro.
  • A “sister” writer and blogger termed the Read-a-thon “the biggest, goofiest, literary slumber party.” That characterizes it well!

Finally, thank you to all the Dewey 24-hour Read-a-thon volunteers who make this event possible. It takes an enormous amount of organization, coordination, enthusiasm, and loss of sleep! Thank you to the organizers, mini-challenge coordinators, cheerleaders, and, of course, all the readers! See you all again in October!

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Hour 24!!!

by admin on April 10, 2011

2:00 p.m.-ish Read-a-thon: I am going to go eat lunch with my DH who has been extremely supportive in this endeavor, followed by taking a nap, eventually followed by doing a round-up. But priority is …. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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Hour 24 mini-challenge

by admin on April 10, 2011

1:54 pm Read-a-thon: And here are my responses to the last of the challenges.

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Clearly hour 15 was the toughest. That was when I fell asleep. But, it really had more to do with the hour of the day than the hour of the read-a-thon. Four in the morning is not my rallying time :-)
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I’d recommend (highly) “The Children’s Story”, but James Clavell. I’d forgotten what an great writer he is. And, bonus, this is really a “short story” in book form. Also, I’d recommend pulling out some old favorite children’s and YA books. I’ll definitely add more of those to my reading list next year.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Not at the moment. This was a fabulous experience! I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone — you do NOT have to do all 24-hours, you do what you CAN do.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? There’s lots of interaction! I loved that some of the cheerleaders came and visited me, checked in, and cheered me on! The Facebook page is something I’d love to see other readers use to all our advantage. It’s a great place to check in, and get added motivation and inspiration.
5. How many books did you read? Four. I had higher hopes, but this meets my expectations. I’ll choose a little bit more carefully next time.
6. What were the names of the books you read? “The Wasp Factory”, by Iain Banks; “The Murders of Richard III”, by Elizabeth Peters; “The Children’s Story”, by James Clavell; and “Ghosts of Fear Street”, by R.L. Stine.
7. Which book did you enjoy most? “The Children’s Story.” This has given me much food for thought, both in its message and in the author’s writing style. An inspiration in all senses.
8. Which did you enjoy least? “The Wasp Factory.” My expectations were too high.
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? The cheerleaders who came to visit me were great! Many thanks to them!
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I’ll be with you in October and perhaps I’ll give a cheerleading or mini-challenge giver a try.

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Book Trailer mini-challenge

by admin on April 10, 2011

1:37 p.m.  Read-a-thon: This last of the mini-challenges was easy peasy for me. I always have one particular book trailer embedded in my mind’s eye. I love the trailer, but more importantly, I love the book!

“The Stumpwork Rose”, by author Prue Batten.

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Bookish Humour

by admin on April 10, 2011

9:34 a.m. Read-a-thon

Hour 19 Mini-Challenge

I couldn’t not participate in Hour 19’s mini-challenge to “Share something funny … It can be funny haha or funny sarcastic. You can spell it humour or humor. It can be a cartoon, a snarky review, a greeting card, anything so long as it amused you and you think it might amuse others. Everyone needs some light relief during the 24 hours.”

The youtube vid below is the funniest bookish humor piece I know of. Enjoy.

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Grmblz @ Hour 19

by admin on April 10, 2011

8:28 a.m. Read-a-thon: This being my first read-a-thon, I didn’t know what would be truly important to have at my side — aside from books, of course.

I now know.

The bare necessities to a good 24-hour Read-a-thon

Any questions?

How I’m doing

Alas, I confess, I fell asleep from approximately 4:00 a.m. – 6:00 a.m. my time (hours 14 through 16). :-( So, for me, I guess this is now a 22-hour marathon (?).

But, I’m feeling fresh as … well …  as fresh as last month’s milk, to be honest, but I’m back to reading.

Just as I suspected, Elizabeth Peters was a good companion during some of the tougher hours. I’ve finished “The Murders of Richard III” and am moving onward to “The Children’s Story”, by James Clavell. It’s been on my TBR list for some time. I’m looking forward to attacking it over morning coffee.

Oh, last, but not least, a DH is a handy thing to have around. Nils brought me coffee this morning in this mug.

Mug says "Hang in There"

p.s. – I’m now at 88% of my goal for First Book thanks to a late night donation that helped keep me motivated. By the way, I’m allowed to exceed my goal :-) .

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Uh oh @ Hour 13

by admin on April 10, 2011

2:34 pm Read-a-thon: I feel kind of like this.

This, however, does NOT reflect the quality of the book I’m reading. “The Murders of Richard III” is as good as I had hoped. Elizabeth Peters writes with her usual wit; her protagonist, Jacqueline Kirby is yet another of her delightfully flawed amateur sleuths. I was a bit worried as I am, at best, ignorant in English history and literature, and (dare I admit it?) not a devotee of Shakespeare. None are required. Ms. Peters makes it all fun and accessible to the greatest of neophytes. Plus, I find I’m learning a lot!

However, I’d best take a couple of laps ’round the apartment, and see if I can get some blood flowing back to my brain.

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Goin’ Lighter into Hour 10

by admin on April 9, 2011

Meh!

11:00 p.m. Read-a-thon:  Despite a first impression of a twisted, disagreeable, yet well-written novel, “The Wasp Factory”, by Iain Banks, while indeed twisted and disagreeable, has left me “meh.” It is very much à la Bret Easton Ellis’ “American Psycho” in all its ugliness and chilling violence, and the author does a (if the word can be used) “beautiful” job of drawing the reader into the mind of a young psychopath. But by the end, I felt manipulated and just plain tired. Not on my recommend list, except perhaps for the study of some very good writing – only for the strong-stomached!

Something completely different

"The Murders of Richard III"

Feelin’ a bit tired and abused here, so I’m changing gears and genre. I’m shifting over to a old stand-by favorite author, Elizabeth Peters. Last summer a friend handed over several of her books that I have not yet read. This is my first chance to get to them. At this late hour in the evening (though still “early” in this read-a-thon), I turn to “The Murders of Richard III.” While “murder” may have you thinking I’m turning to yet another heavy, macabre work, Elizabeth Peters is nothing if not entertaining. Her Amelia Peabody series is my favorite, her Vicky Bliss rates up there too when I don’t want anything too heavy. “Richard III” features a new character I have not yet delighted in.

I trust if Elizabeth Peters cannot keep me going through the wee hours, no one can.

Will check in when I need my next break.

p.s. – I’m now at 77% of my goal in toward supporting underprivileged children so they can have their First Book.  Thanks very much to those who have helped me get this far! For those who haven’t yet checked out my donation page, I invite you to do so HERE.

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Dried Out Moving into Hour 6

by admin on April 9, 2011

7:54 p.m. Read-a-thon: Thankfully, Nils has allergies and picked up eye drops this morning at the pharmacy. Geesh, I thought I got dry eye spending too many hours at the computer! After +five hours reading nearly non-stop, I could peel my eyeballs out of their sockets. Ow.

Update on my reading

I continue on reading “The Wasp Factory”, by Iain Banks, a grisly, dark novel that leaves me vaguely uncomfortable. But it’s brilliantly written. Most definitely Not for the squeamish, but a great study in writing.

Pages read:  I’m now on page 137.

What’s helping to keep me going

I’ve been munching on macadamia nuts and dried mango slices (Yum), and drinking a ginger, lemongrass, peppermint, lemon peel, black pepper tea (I know that might sound revolting to some) that I find delicious with just the right amount of bite to keep me alert.

And my DH and “Man Behind the Reader”, Nils, just came in with homemade pizza (with gluten-free crust so I can eat it) and salad. I’m taking a reading break!

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Introduction Meme @ Hour 1

by admin on April 9, 2011

2:47 p.m. Read-a-thon:  Part of this 24-hour Read-a-thon includes what are called “mini-challenges.” In fact, they are less “challenges” than they are relievers. They’re periodic events that bloggers host so that we readers can take a break.

The first of the mini-Challenges is an …

Introduction Meme:

1) Where are you reading from today? I’m reading in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria. It’s a perfect spring day out today and in between reading, I’m enjoying looking out my window overlooking the roofs of the city.

2) Three random facts about me … I love my husband and my iPhone (is that one or two facts?), my favorite junk food is Fritos and bean dip, this is my first read-a-thon.

3) How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? Fourteen (14) books, but I don’t expect to get through them all — especially if I keep taking these min-challenge breaks.

4) 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)? First, and foremost, is to have FUN! Second, is to raise at least my target in donations to First Book <= that’s the link to my donation page! :-)

5) If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time? I can’t give any advice yet, but I did see a really great idea: one reader gets a pedicure while she reads! I wish I had thought of that!

First Hour Check-in:

Reading: “The Wasp Factor”, by Iain Banks, said to be “A Gothic horror story of quite exceptional quality … quite impossible to put down”. I figured “horror” = I should read it during the day; “quite impossible to put down” = a great choice for a read-a-thon. So far, an interesting read.

Pages Read: 24 (I think this was a slow start)

Of Note: The sun shining through the window, is it a good thing or a not so good thing? The warmth is already lulling me to sleep. 23 hours to go. Uh oh.

I’ll check in next in a couple of hours.

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