So ends another edition of Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon. I’m definitely in zombie mode today, but I think it was worth it! Here’s my brief wrap-up and answers to the end-of-event meme:
I finished three books:
The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen
The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks
Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta
I also read a few chapters in The Woman in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe and a few more chapters in Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore.
End of Event Meme:
- Which hour was most daunting for you? – Actually, the first hours were the worst this time. Getting a really late start sapped my motivation a bit, and multiple family distractions and detours got me even more off-track.
- Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? – Last time, I included short stories. I was very silly not to do so this time. I highly recommend them for RaTs, as well as graphic novels.
- Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? – Nothing comes to mind, honestly. As for suggestions for myself, not for the team: Try audiobooks.
- What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? – The cheerleaders were great! Even though they were short-handed, they were enthusiastic and on-the-ball.
- How many books did you read? – I finished 3 and read parts of 2 others.
- What were the names of the books you read? – see above
- Which book did you enjoy most? – Memory of Water
- Which did you enjoy least? – The Great God Pan
- If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? – n/a
- How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? – I will almost certainly participate again, as a reader. I don’t have the moxie to be a cheerleader right now!
Next read-a-thon on the docket: Bout of Books 12, January 5-11, 2015! I imagine the next edition of Dewey’s 24-Hour RaT will be around April.
This is a sticky post for my periodic read-a-thon updates.
The event started at 5am my time, but I had Things to attend to this morning, so I’ll be starting reading at 11am PST, which is officially Hour 7 of the read-a-thon.
I think I’ll start with Woman in the Dunes first, while my brain is fresh, leaving the YA and graphic novel choices for later when I need a boost in the afternoon. And of course, Machen’s old-school Gothic horror must be read at night.
11:00 am PST: Start reading. Ha! Forget that. My mother called long-distance, and I had unexpected company. It’s now 12:45 pm, and I’m just reading my first page.
- 1:30 pm PST: I got in about 40 pages between 12:45 and 1:30pm, spread across all the books in my stack. (I was trying to decide which one was going to hook me first.) Now it’s time to eat some lunch, stretch a bit, check in with the community and chop some things and toss them into the slow cooker for a late meal when the fella gets home around 10pm. After lunch and etc., I’m going to continue on with Memory of Water, as it is both swift-moving and peppered with such pretty, descriptive language.
- 3:30 pm PST – Lunch is eaten, things are chopped and slow-cooking and household puttering is accomplished. Back to the books! I want to try to read straight until 5:30 or so. Then I’ll break for stretching, snacking and community stalking.
- 5:30 pm PST: Snack and stretch break! I’m having some popcorn and am about to take a look-see at the current minigames. I read right around 100 pages in Memory of Water. I’m not sure if I want to finish it up when I return to my reading spot or if I want to skip over into another book for a bit. Hmm… I’ll decide in a bit, but right now my most urgent task is too put the kettle on. I am in dire need of some strong black tea!
- 7:00 pm PST: Tea seems to have had the reverse of its intended effect. I took a bit of a cat nap – with the cat! – and now I’m going to try for an hour-long reading sprint.
- 8:15 pm PST: I finished The Harlem Hellfighers – 257 pages.
- 2:00 am PST (hour 22): Since my last update, I read and finished Machen’s The Great God Pan, a couple of chapters in The Woman in the Dunes and another 50 pages in Memory of Water, played in a couple of minigames, visited some blogs and had dinner/family time with the fella. I’m going to brew some more tea and try to keep going.
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? – I’m in the Puget Sound region of Washington State, United States. (outside Seattle)
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? – Woman in the Dunes
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? – I’m not looking forward to any snack in particular. I don’t gather snacks especially for the event; I just eat the snacks I normally might – black tea, plain seltzer, hummus with veggies, maybe some popcorn or nuts or dark chocolate or a granola bar.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! – I’m perhaps a bit too pleased at the moment that we’ve launched into the stereotypical gray-and-rainy season here in the Pacific NW. The chill and the sound of rain has set up a perfect reading feel for me – cozy and cocoony.
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? – This is my second read-a-thon. This time I will not push myself to stay awake all the time but will nap and will acknowledge my body’s signs that it’s time to stop and go to bed later. I have a chronic autoimmune syndrome, yet I am stubborn and want to push like I used to when I was younger. This time, I will remember that I’m not 20 and in full health and will take a saner approach so that I don’t pay for it tomorrow and all next week.
My “now I can get back to reading and hopefully posting” time is finally here! And what better way to kick my tail back into gear than with the latest iteration of the wonderful Dewey’s 24-hour Read-a-Thon coming up on Saturday, October 18? Each time we do this, I am amazed by both how much more reading I get in than on a usual day and by the awesome and supportive Dewey’s community. (And by how utterly loopy and zombie-like I am by the end of the event…but like a happy zombie…shambling through the stacks, groaning a demand for “booo~ooo~ooks”…)
The official site has posted a lot of helpful advice and tips about how to succeed, how to stay awake, remembering to keep oneself fed and hydrated, book ideas, etc. Their Warm Up: Advice for Newbies has a tidbit especially important for me, as it is something I often forget: “Don’t measure your readathon success by how others participate.” I have a big problem remembering this – not just at read-a-thon time, but regarding everything book-and-blog-related. I am always feeling guilty that I don’t read more and review more/post more on this blog, and when read-a-thons roll around, that feeling extends to guilting out over not finishing enough books, not participating in enough minigames, not chatting enough, and not reviewing enough afterward. I have to get my head out of this mindset. I didn’t start this blog with the intention of being a heavy reviewer or a pro blogger. I started it for fun, for me, and as a place from which to participate in challenges and reading events. I’m not in competition with other readers, bloggers or event participants, and that includes read-a-thons. Thanks, Dewey’s crew, for posting much-needed reminders of such basic and important things. I really appreciate the readerly wisdom and support!
I think I have my read-a-thon book stack finalized. Here’s what I have on deck:
- A season-appropriate classic Gothic novella: The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen
- A compact Japanese classic: The Woman in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe
- A page-turning recent young adult: Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta
- A graphic novel on a very serious theme: The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks
- I am currently in the middle of Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, so I have that to dip into, as well.
- All these books except the Machen are in physical form, but I have a ton of short stories and novellas and public domain classics on my Kindle if I need a change or find none of my plans suit my mood enough to keep me awake and reading. Prime candidates include Margaret Oliphant’s 1896 chiller The Library Window, The Machine Stops (a very ahead-of-its-time and prescient 1909 science fiction piece by E. M. Forster!) and the recent Unlocked by John Scalzi, a prequel to his Locked In, which I recently read and loved.
- If my eyes give out and I simply can’t focus on the page any longer, I may grab an audio book via my library’s download service. I don’t generally enjoy audio books, but I have had good luck with funny books, especially memoirs read by the author himself or herself.
I’ve been working on my reading list for the next few months, and I think I’m finally happy with my selection of titles. I know I want to read something for Spanish Lit Month in July, hosted by Winstonsdad and Caravana de recuerdos – specifically something for the sub-theme of Marquez week in week 4. I also want to include several books for the Japanese Literature Challenge 8 (June ’14- January ’15) hosted again by Dolce Bellezza. I should also get in at least one more book toward my list for Roof Beam Reader‘s year-long TBR Pile Challenge. I also have my Classics Club Spin book to finish and a few pre-selected titles for book groups. So I needed to keep all those goals in mind when choosing my summer reads.
I normally average 4-5 books read per month – more if I end up with several shorties in a month or get sucked into a graphic novel. So I expected to eat through perhaps 12-15 books during June, July and August. So when I read about 746 Books’ 20 Books of Summer Challenge, I figured 20 would be an unrealistic goal for me. But then I remembered that the next round of Bout of Books runs August 18-24! During the week of the read-a-thon, it is likely that I’ll burn through 5-10 short books, (I’ve learned that the sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing short works and story collections really motivates me to keep reading during marathon events.) which makes a 20-book list a much more attainable goal for the summer.
So… here is my intended summer reading list. I’m keeping with 746 Books’ plan of ending my challenge on September 6. (For anyone interested who may find 20 books daunting, there is also a 10-book version with graphic posted down the page here.)
Note: If for some reason I don’t end up getting a copy of the new Haruki Murakami when the US version comes out in August, I’ll have to sub in another book and read the H.M. later.
- A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes
- An Imaginary Life by David Malouf
- As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams: Recollections of a Woman in Eleventh-Century Japan by “Lady Sarashina”
- Beasts by Joyce Carol Oates
- Budapest by Chico Buarque
- Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
- From the Land of the Moon by Milena Agus
- Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
- Memento Mori by Muriel Spark
- Pastoralia by George Saunders
- Popular Hits of the Showa Era by Ryū Murakami
- The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
- The Lover by Marguerite Duras
- The Martian by Andy Weir
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
- The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
- The Third Man by Graham Greene
- Weight by Jeanette Winterson
- Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong
*yawn* Good morning, readers. Another Dewey’s 24-hour Read-a-thon has come and gone. I passed out somewhere around hour 21, then woke up and managed to get a little more reading done in Banana Yoshimoto’s collection, Lizard, before falling back asleep for good about an hour later. I slept from around 3am to 9am, until the sun’s angle through my window made it impossible for me to ignore it any longer.
Here’s my final Read-a-thon tally, followed by my answers to the traditional closing meme:
- Total minutes spent actively reading during Read-a-thon: 491 minutes (8 hours 11 minutes)
- Total pages read during Read-a-thon: 776 pages
- Total books finished during Read-a-thon: 4
- Embers by Sándor Márai – Hungarian classic
- A Country Year by Sue Hubbell – nonfiction/nature memoir
- Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos – contemporary literary/humor/Spanish language translation
- The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg – graphic novel based on folklore and myth
- plus a story and a half from Lizard by Banana Yoshimoto – Japanese collection
Ah, I wish the internet (and thus online read-a-thons) was (were) ubiquitous when I was young enough to maybe get 20+ hours of reading in in a 24-hour period. I just can’t read for stretches longer than 60-90 minutes at a time now (on a good day) without falling asleep or my eyes rebelling. But again, as I usually average about 50 pages per day and one or maybe two (at most) books finished per week, I am thrilled over how much extra reading this event has helped me enjoy for the month!
How did you fare, fellow read-a-thoners? I will try to get to the blogs of participants I follow, plus a few others at least, later today to see your wrap-ups and closing memes. Speaking of which:
End of Event Meme:
- Which hour was most daunting for you? – I don’t know that any one hour was worse than others, but he middle of the event was difficult for me in general.
- Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? – If you like satirical humor mixed with coming-of-age, you would probably really enjoy Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos. It’s short, reads briskly and has beautiful language and some really memorable scenes and characters.
- Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? – Honestly, I don’t. I think the event organizers did a great job.
- What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? – On my end, shorter books from varying genres, frequent breaks and keeping music on worked well. I don’t know exactly what was different this time on the administrative end of the event (if anything,) but things ran smoothly and were kept fun, so it seems most everything must have worked well in that respect.
- How many books did you read? – 4 and a quarter of a 5th
- What were the names of the books you read? – see above (I’m too lazy this morning to re-type them!)
- Which book did you enjoy most? – Quesadillas or A Country Year, which was a reread and one of my favorites
- Which did you enjoy least? – probably my reread of Embers, as it was too languid and thoughtful for a read-a-thon environment (I probably shouldn’t have included any classics that weren’t humorous or especially zippy, but I wanted to get this finished.)
- If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? – n/a
- How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? – I am very likely to participate again.