Saturday, April 21, 2012

Read-A-Thon Starting Line (And Then Some)

Well, I overslept a bit, so I'm off to a slow start, but I'm determined to stay the course and have fun. And read, read, read. What a beautiful way to spend the day. I'll put updates on this post as I go, so scroll down to see how I'm doing.

Here's hoping I remain coherent for at least 12 of the 24 hours.

For my fellow-readers checking my blog, here are a few things about me.

I'm reading away in New Jersey today.

The book in my stack that I'm most looking forward to... hmmm... it's like asking me to pick which one of my friends' children I like best, but I'll say Steinbeck's East of Eden. I saw the film version (the one with James Dean, of course) when I was in college and geek that I am, all I could think was, "I really want to read the book!"

The snack I'm most looking forward to: I celebrate all snacks. In all forms. Fruit, candy, cheese, whatever. And I drink tea more or less constantly, when I read.

I'm a literature professor, so reading is what I get paid to do. But I finagled a way to get paid to do it, because I love it so much. There's never been a time when I'm not reading.

It's my first Read-A-Thon, so I think what I'm most looking forward to is hearing from other people and seeing what I can accomplish.

Gotta go read...

It's 11:45 a.m. now and I'm chugging along on Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar.

I decided to start with Plath, although it's certainly not the cheeriest thing I could be reading right out of the starting gates, because I've heard it talked about over the years and I've always been slightly embarrassed about the fact that I've never actually read it.

I'm enjoying it quite a bit. Plath is ironic and dark, obviously, but witty. She has just finished describing how everyone has been barfing their brains out because they all contracted ptomaine poisoning from the crabmeat-stuffed avocados at the Ladies Day luncheon.

My favorite line is the advice from her mother to "learn shorthand after college" so she'd "have a practical skill as well as a college degree."

"Even the apostles were tentmakers," she'd say. "They had to live, just the way we do."

It's about 6:15 p.m. now and I've finished The Bell Jar. I thought it was quite good, and I may blog about it again sometime soon. I actually preferred it to Styron's Darkness Visible, although it seems to me that Styron's work often gets more respect and attention. It shouldn't. Plath's work is better.

So now I have to figure out what to read next. I have Nicholson Baker's novel The Anthologist that a friend gave me a couple of years ago, so I think I'm going to give that a try.

I've read about 300 pages at this point, while taking breaks to eat and do the laundry and tell my kitty cat how wonderful he is. The weather has cooperated nicely today: it was warm and sunny all day, so Gide and I could sit on the patio together.

It's supposed to be rainy with maybe a thunderstorm tonight--again, good reading weather. Can I finish another novel by midnight? Save East of Eden for the overnight?

I've had a cup of coffee, and only time will tell...

11:00 p.m. and I'm halfway through The Anthologist, which is also very good and very funny. It's a novel about poetry and about rhyme, and the narrator is quite funny. So I'm definitely going to finish it tonight, and then see what I'm up for.

I doubt I'll make it much past 2:00 a.m.--that's usually the end of the line for me, but we'll see. I'll write one final update tomorrow morning, since I know I'm not going to want to log on and blog on again tonight.

As predicted, I fell asleep right in the middle of The Anthologist. But that's okay, because I'll finish it today, and then start on Steinbeck--because that's just how I roll.

The Read-A-Thon was a lot of fun. Clearly, I'll have to build up my stamina. After 10-12 hours of reading, my brain just gets mushy. I read a lot, but not in straight sittings like that.

And I confess, I began to get worried, because I know I'll have two stacks of papers coming in this week, so I didn't want to make myself so tired that I had trouble keeping up with work this week--it's the end of the semester, and next week is exam week.

So how much did I read? About 450 pages in 10 hours. I'll need to participate in a couple more Read-A-Thon's if I'm ever going to double that (and add four more hours). But I enjoyed reading other people's blogs and checking in on their progress, so I'll definitely look for the next Read-A-Thon in October!

Thank you to everyone who cheered me on! It was fun!


  1. I hope you have a blast during your first read-a-thon. Do take time to do a couple of mini-challenges, they are so much fun and provide a nice break.

  2. Welcome to your first readathon! I very much agree re: your position on snacks. It's only 7am and I'm already tempted to delve into my snack supply.

    Hope you have a fun day!

  3. Here to cheer! Hope you're having a terrific day -- East of Eden should be a great pick for Read-a-Thon!

  4. Congrats on your first read-a-thon! You've got a great selection of books to choose from, and I think having short stories/letters to read in the wee small hours is a great plan. I usually save Graphic Novels and children's lit for then, less taxing on the brain. Keep on reading, and enjoy the afternoon!

  5. That's a fantastic quote! Glad you're joining us for your first read-a-thon, that's a special one, and hopefully you'll be an addict after it, like the rest of us! ;)

    I don't think I've actually read any Plath yet, I thought maybe I'd read the Bell Jar, but when I read the blurb it didn't sound familiar. Or maybe I'm just losing my memory, which would make every book new again, how cool is that? ;)

    Enjoy your day, and remember, if you're having fun, you're doing it right! :D

    -- Shaunie (TeamMercutio)

  6. You have made great progress. Half way! Keep on reading.

  7. You have got the most interesting book stack I've seen in this Readathon! East of Eden is wonderful, as is The Bell Jar.


Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."