Friday, April 20, 2012

24-Hour Read-A-Thon


So, I signed up for a 24 Hour Read-a-thon for tomorrow, Saturday, April 21st. It starts at 8:00 a.m. and goes ... well, you can probably guess how long it goes for.

There's no pressure and it's supposed to be fun: participants try to read for 24 hours and post regular blog updates about their progress.

When we're not reading, we're reading: we check other participants' blogs, see how they're doing (whether they've killed anyone, collapsed in despair, gone blind, etc.).

With any luck, we catch them right before they do anything foolish.

You can take breaks, of course, to eat, get some air, recharge: whatever you need to do. And if you can't make the full 24 hours, that's okay too.

I'm quite the reader, but 24 hours is a long stretch. I think the longest I've ever read for is about 6-8 hours: I was stuck in an airport, waiting for a flight. I read about 2/3rds of Ann Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho that time.

I'm also not sure I can stay up all night. I generally need my (essentially futile) beauty sleep. I don't do well if I haven't slept. Calling me "cranky" doesn't begin to cover it.

But, that said, I have been known to burn the midnight oil over a book: after my dad died, one of my therapies was to find a book I wanted to read and then sit up from 9:00 p.m. until whenever, reading it.

There's something very soothing about being alone in the world late at night, reading. Those of you who know what I'm talking about know what I'm talking about.

Do I have a strategy? Yes and no. Do I have books ready? OH, yes. That's never a problem. I always have a bookcase or two lined with books I've bought over the past several years that I have been meaning to get to. I also have a Kindle, with a few downloaded items that I've also been meaning to get to.

And as always, I have reading to do for my classes next week, so this will be a way to get the homework done.

I think that, if I'm going to go the distance, I need to mix it up and not necessarily focus on finishing things. So I'm going to dive into poetry and essays and letters and biography, as well as straightforward novels. I'm thinking some short stories might also be a good idea.

Off the cuff, here's what I'm thinking. Famous books I've never read (or don't remember reading, if I have). Like Steinbeck's East of Eden. Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Similarly, short stories by good short-story writers: Poe, Flannery O'Connor, Dorothy Parker.

I read Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall years ago, and remember it as being a pretty decent summer-read (for a literary geek, that is), so I have it on my Kindle.

I have a bunch of non-fiction on the Kindle, so I can check into that. I have a volume of Jane Austen's letters, and the correspondence of Abigail and John Adams. I have a biography of Abigail Adams and a biography of Leonardo da Vinci.

They read a lot, so I have a feeling finding out about them will make me feel like a slacker.

I have a book about the African-American migration to the North after the Civil War. I know it sounds dull, but I started it a while back and it focuses on the stories of several real-life individuals, and it's beautifully written. So I'll check it out again.

I have John Muir's nature writing, and the poetry of John Berryman and Robert Lowell.

I have a bunch of contemporary novels.

So what do you think, dear readers? Any suggestions of ways to occupy my time?

I promise if I read what someone suggests and I don't like it, I won't post a midnight rant about wasting my time reading a total piece of crap. I'll just quietly put it aside and take up something else...

1 comment:

  1. Good Morning!!! I hope that you have a great day with the read-a-thon!

    Lisa
    My Starting Line

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