It’s time for one of my favorite bookish events, Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon! As the name implies, it’s a worldwide event where participants stay up and read for 24 hours! Of course, not everyone can spend the whole day reading; there’s sleep to be had and life to be lived. Still, it’s nice to take a little break from our hectic schedules and get lost in a few good books!
This time around, I’m planning to devote as much time to reading as possible. I originally thought I’d be able to stay up all 24 hours (and then sleep late on Sunday), but now I actually have to Do Things this weekend. That’s unfortunate, but I’ll make the best of it! Today I went grocery shopping for some delicious snacks, including carrots & hummus, white cheddar popcorn, and caffeinated soda. I’ve also created a pretty awesome stack of potential reads, so I’m feeling super excited for tomorrow! 🙂
Logistically, this post will be my home base for major updates and challenge entries, but I’ll also be updating via Twitter @YouBookMe. Stop by and say hi! And if you’re also participating in the readathon, best of luck to you, and HAVE FUN!
- What fine part of the world are you reading from today? — Washington, DC.
- Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? — All of them! But I’m probably MOST eager to read Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey.
- Which snack are you most looking forward to? — Smartfood white cheddar popcorn, always.
- Tell us a little something about yourself! — I’ve read my favorite book, Pride and Prejudice, at least 20 times!
- 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 will be my first time implementing a social media “schedule.” I plan to stop reading and check the blogs/Twitter roughly once every two hours. That way I can enjoy the social aspects of the readathon (and participate in the challenges), but I’ll still have plenty of time to read!
I’ve already completed my first book of the readathon, Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell! (Granted, it’s only 62 pages long, but it still gives me a sense of accomplishment. :)) It was adorable, although I was slightly disappointed in the lack of kissing! Now I’m on to Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey, a historical romance/spy adventure that’s a lot of fun so far!
Mini-Challenge: Our Bookish Childhoods
I’m trying to think of my top five childhood memories that involve books and reading, but it’s proving harder than I thought! So I’ll do the best I can, but some of these “memories” might just be books I loved as a kid!
- When I was two years old, I had a “My First Bible,” and my favorite story was about how Pharaoh’s daughter found baby Moses in a basket in the river. (Why was this my favorite? No clue!) My mom was pregnant with my brother at the time, and I would point to her stomach and say, “Baby Moses!” Fortunately, my parents decided to go another direction with the name. 🙂
- I don’t actually remember this, but according to family lore, I used to be obsessed with The Cat in the Hat, to the point where I had memorized it long before I actually knew how to read. I once fooled some of my distant relatives into thinking I was a child prodigy, because I could recite the entire book and even knew when to turn the pages!
- For some reason, I got really into the Hardy Boys as a kid, but not Nancy Drew! I remember checking out a few Hardy Boys books from the school library, and one of my classmates was like, “Aren’t those for boys?” NOPE!
- Another school library story: at my elementary school, we had a general section full of children’s books, and then there was a smaller “young adult” section that only the 6th graders could use. I had read Anne of Green Gables, which was in the general section, but then Anne of Avonlea was in young adult! I wasn’t in 6th grade yet, but I pleaded with the librarian to let me check it out anyway. Bless her, she let me. 🙂 And the Anne books have always held a special place in my heart!
- I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time at age 13, and it’s only because my mother made me! Up until then, my reading life had mostly been Sweet Valley Twins (and Hardy Boys, as previously mentioned), and my mom insisted that it was time for me to branch out. She selected P&P for me at the library, and I remember running into my 7th-grade social studies teacher, who commented that she was a “way big Austen fan.” I think that chance remark is what convinced me to give Austen a chance…and of course, after that, there was no turning back!
I haven’t gotten a ton of reading done since my last update, because it took me a long time to catch up with my Twitter feed (I’m so excited for all the #readathon love! Go #TeamPenguin!) and because I finally decided to, you know, take a shower and put on real clothes. I’m about halfway through Love, Lies and Spies now, and while it’s not destined to become one of my favorite books, it’s a very enjoyable, lighthearted bit of Regency fluff.
Mini-Challenge: Road Trip
This one’s a bit tricky for me, since heroine Juliana Telford is (1) British and (2) from the early 19th century. But Juliana is a plucky girl who approaches every new experience as an adventure, so road-tripping with her would probably be fun! Here’s what I’d write on a postcard to Juliana’s best friend Carrie, if Juliana and I were driving across the U.S. together:
My dear Carrie, our journey by horseless carriage is finally properly under way. The city of Washington was a bit stuffy and crowded for Juliana’s taste, but she seemed quite impressed with the Appalachian mountains! She has also become enamored with a peculiarity of American cuisine known as “French” fries, but fears she may be seen as unpatriotic as a result. We shall keep you informed of our progress, and I know Juliana will send you word of any interesting flora and fauna! Kind regards, Christina
And I’m pretty sure the stereo would be blaring “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift! First of all, T. Swift is a necessary component of any long road trip. Secondly, Juliana is an unusual Regency lady, being more interested in the scientific study of ladybugs than in finding a suitable man to marry. As a result, she is constantly getting into embarrassing situations, and some people in society look down on her. But she’s resilient enough to “shake off” the haters!
Just finished Love, Lies and Spies, and I still have the same opinion: not a new favorite, but a fun read for Regency lovers nonetheless! Now I’m listening to “Wake Up” by the Arcade Fire with David Bowie (because the readathon moderators posted it on Twitter) and contemplating my next read.
Mini-Challenge: Operation Quotation!
This challenge is simple: find a quote on any topic and post it, along with the book’s title and author. Since April is National Poetry Month, I’m going with a quote by my favorite poet, W.H. Auden, from the poem “In Memory of W.B. Yeats”:
Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;
In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.
I’m almost halfway into the very entertaining As If! The Oral History of Clueless As Told by Amy Heckerling, the Cast, and the Crew by Jen Chaney. I actually wasn’t super enthusiastic about picking up this one — I LOVE the movie, but the book just wasn’t speaking to me today — but now that I’ve started it, I’m hooked! I would definitely recommend this to lovers of “Clueless” and to the kinds of people (like me) who like to listen to DVD commentaries.
Mini-Challenge: Share a Quote
This one’s from the beginning of As If! The Oral History of Clueless, and it legitimately cracked me up!
In mid-July of 1995 — when American culture was fixated on such matters as O. J. Simpson’s ill-fitting glove [and] TLC’s insistence on not chasing waterfalls […] let’s just say [the success of “Clueless”] was something most people couldn’t predict at the time. (You can’t blame them, really. They were very busy focusing on the rivers and the lakes they were used to.)
It’s not often you find a truly A+”Waterfalls” reference these days.
Mini-Challenge: Character Road Trip
For some reason I am feeling very unimaginative right now, so I’d love to accompany Amy and Roger, from Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson, on their road trip across the country! But they missed a few places that I’d love to see, so here’s where I’d have asked them to stop:
- Nashville, TN — I’ve never been there, but I’m dying to experience its well-known music scene for myself! I think Roger, he of the epic playlists, would appreciate it as well. 🙂
- Niagara Falls — Another place I’ve never been and am dying to see!
- New York City — Okay, I HAVE been there a few times, but there’s still so much more to experience! I especially need to get myself to all the fabulous bookstores (Strand, I’m looking at you!). And Amy would be in theater-geek heaven!
All these places start with N, which was totally not planned!
You guys, I can’t believe we’re halfway there (livin’ on a prayer)! I’m still enjoying myself hugely, although feeling a bit guilty because I haven’t touched my healthy carrots-and-hummus snack, while my white cheddar popcorn got devoured hours ago!
Mini-Challenge: Alphabet Soup
These words are all from my current read, Jen Chaney’s As If! The Oral History of Clueless. Page numbers are in parentheses.
X…There are officially no words in this book that start with X!
Z…Zahn (as in Steve) (48)
- What are you reading right now? — Almost done with As If! The Oral History of Clueless by Jen Chaney.
- How many books have you read so far? — Two, soon to be three!
- What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? — Probably Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk, which looks like a very cute chick lit read.
- Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? — Honestly, I’ve had very few interruptions, and it’s been fantastic! The biggest struggle has been staying away from social media for long enough to read!
- What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? — I think it’s the fact that, despite assuming I’d need to take some breaks to go outside, walk around, etc., I really haven’t wanted to! I’ve been quite content to just sit on my couch and read for hours at a time. It’s been really nice! 🙂
Just finished As If! and really enjoyed it! As I mentioned above, I’d definitely recommend it to fans of “Clueless.” Jen Chaney obviously loves the movie and manages to incorporate a number of quotes into her narrative. And the bulk of the book comprises statements from a ton of people involved with the movie, including Amy Heckerling, Alicia Silverstone, Paul Rudd, and even the front man for the Mighty Mighty Bosstones (the band that plays at the college party)! There are also some interesting statements from pop culture critics and writers who talk about the movie’s enduring legacy, including — astonishingly — Ta-Nehisi Coates on its treatment of race.
Now I’m about to start my next book, The Hermit of Eyton Forest by Ellis Peters. It’s part of my beloved Brother Cadfael series, which is about a 12th-century Benedictine monk who solves mysteries. So, you know, what’s not to love? 🙂
Mini-Challenge: Mad Tea Party
If fictional characters gather for tea
In the manner of Alice, who shall they be?
To choose from one book is the easiest thing,
So all of my guests are from Lord of the Rings.
Like the March Hare, Gandalf gathers a party
Of characcters whose thirst for adventure is hearty.
The Hatter is Aragorn (a name hard to rhyme),
For to aid Middle-Earth, he must race against time.
The Dormouse, though sleepy, has stories to tell,
Just like Bilbo, now dreaming in fair Rivendell.
My Alice is Pippin, who served Denethor
Even without knowing what was in store.
While some of these match-ups have proved quite a strain,
I hope the results will at least entertain!
A Study in the Scarlet Pimpernel — A clever detective masks his intelligence beneath a veneer of shallow dandyism. While being pursued by French secret agents during the Reign of Terror, he must unmask a murderer who turns out to be a cab driver with a thirst for revenge. Despite some problematic portrayals of Mormons and Jews, this novel is a thrilling adventure suitable for all ages!
(Mashup: A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy.)
Just a quick update this time! I’m now about 1/4 of the way through Ellis Peters’ The Hermit of Eyton Forest, and it’s exactly what I expect and enjoy in a Cadfael mystery. Also, I greatly amused myself by participating in the They Said What? mini-challenge. My official entry is on Twitter, but I couldn’t resist sharing my dialogue mashup: “I do not like green eggs and ham! I do not like people who’ve been kidnapped by bloody numpties!” Obviously, this is a mashup of Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I had to get those numpties into the challenge somehow! 🙂
Honestly, I’m a bit surprised that I’m still awake and still reading! I can’t sleep all day tomorrow, so I really should get to bed soon…but also, I’m having way too much fun (and am weirdly not that tired yet)! So I’ll keep going for now. I’ve finished The Hermit of Eyton Forest and am moving on to Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk, which looks pretty good, if Chapter 1 is anything to go by!
Mini-Challenge: Literary Wanderlust
The Hermit of Eyton Forest is set in Shrewsbury, England, and the funny thing is that I’ve actually been there before! I was only 13 at the time, and I don’t remember doing much sightseeing (I was visiting a friend whose family had recently moved there). My impression was that it was quite a small town, albeit surrounded by beautiful countryside. But if I were in England for 36 hours, I’d definitely want to hang out in London and visit all the literary and historical sites! I’d probably make a detour to Bath to visit the Jane Austen Centre as well. 🙂
Mini-Challenge: Kickass Characters
The character that immediately springs to my mind is Aerin from Robin McKinley’s The Hero and the Crown. She literally slays dragons but is completely matter-of-fact about it. A lot of times, I find strong characters to be really annoying, like they’re trying to prove something to the world by yelling about how strong they are. But Aerin is very undemonstrative; she just sees that the dragons are a problem and does her best to protect her people.
Mini-Challenge: Pump Up the Jam
I had a lot of fun creating this playlist that will hopefully keep you awake and maybe even get you moving! 🙂 As you can tell, I’m in a very ’80s mood at the moment!
- The Presidents of the United States of America, “Video Killed the Radio Star” (listen)
- The Kinks, “You Really Got Me” (listen)
- Blondie, “One Way or Another” (listen)
- The Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” (listen)
- David Bowie, “Suffragette City” (listen)
- A-ha, “Take On Me” (listen)
- Dead or Alive, “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” (listen)
- Queen, “Don’t Stop Me Now” (listen)
- Billy Idol, “Dancing with Myself” (listen)
- The Darkness, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” (listen)
Mini-Challenge: Scary Good
I’ve loved Agatha Christie ever since I devoured the vast majority of her books as a teen…but I must admit that her novel And Then There Were None kind of freaks me out! The premise is that 10 people are summoned by a mysterious stranger to a remote location, where they are murdered one by one with no possibility of escape. I have legitimately had NIGHTMARES about a similar situation happening to me!
Hour 24: The End
You guys, I did it! I actually stayed up and read for the entire 24 hours! Okay, I wasn’t JUST reading; I also showered and procured food (but nothing that required cooking!) and stuff like that. And of course, I spent a fair chunk of time on social media. But I didn’t think I’d be able to last all 24 hours, and I’m pleased to have proved myself wrong! 🙂
- Which hour was most daunting for you? — I think it was probably somewhere around Hour 18 or 19, where I’d already stayed up past my bedtime but still thought I could get some decent sleep if I went to bed RIGHT NOW.
- Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? — I was utterly charmed by Lindsey Kelk’s Always the Bridesmaid, which I would definitely recommend to chick lit fans!
- Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season? — Not really; it all seemed to go very smoothly from my perspective!
- What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? — Personally, I think I found a really good balance between the blog/Twitter-updating aspect and the reading aspect. Taking a reading break every 2-3 hours seems like a good move for me.
- How many books did you read? — 5.5! Minus one if you don’t count the very short Kindred Spirits!
- What were the names of the books you read? — (1) Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell, (2) Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey, (3) As If! The Oral History of Clueless by Jen Chaney, (4) The Hermit of Eyton Forest by Ellis Peters, (5) Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk, (6) the first half of Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling.
- Which book did you enjoy most? — Always the Bridesmaid was an unexpected pleasure!
- Which did you enjoy least? — I really liked all my reads this time around!
- How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? — Oh, I’ll definitely be back. 🙂 I think I might want to be a cheerleader as well as a reader…I’m not so good at visiting other people’s readathon posts or Twitter feeds, and I’d like to interact a bit more next time.