Monday, April 20, 2009

The Read-A-Thon

I had not heard of a Read-A-Thon until Debi's post about one coming up this last Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. EST, to 8:00 a.m. the next day. Since I had only Friday to plan for it, I admit I was not fully prepared for 24 hours of pure reading, but I tried my best. Friday evening, I did as much housework as I could, and then got a good night's sleep. My plan of action was to read all mysteries and/or thrillers. Unfortunately, my library branch did not have a copy of The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, which is usually on "scariest books I've ever read" lists. I thought it would be just the ticket to keep me up during the wee hours - the "witching hours." Anyway, I had a good stack to work on. Because I get up early anyway, I admit I cheated. I started earlier than I was supposed to - at around 6:00 a.m. beginning with Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. I hadn't read anything by Winspear, and enjoyed the book enormously. However, I 'm not sure I would categorize it as a mystery. I found that I could take the dog out and continue to read at the same time; but, I could not take him for a walk for fear we'd both wander into the path of a moving vehicle. We got our exercise by circumnavigating the house endlessly. Except for one close call with a large oak tree, we safely ended our "journey 'round the sun" after 20 minutes. If my neighbors thought my behavior odd, they did not comment. They stopped waving - I couldn't wave back. At around 11:00 a.m., I ran the vacuum - still reading. I discovered that I could load laundry into the wash, and then into the dryer, while having my nose stuck in a book as long as I didn't try to do anything fancy, like sort colors or use bleach. I'd finished Maisie Dobbs by dinner - which consisted of a piece of Cheddar, a glass of Cabernet, and some chicken tarragon salad left over from the night before - all one-handed pursuits. I probably shouldn't have had the wine, however, because one glass always leads to the next. I started A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie, and at 8:00 p.m. I took a break to watch my favorite Brit Coms on TV. As it turned out, our local PBS station was having a fund raising event and was only showing Keeping Up Appearances and the reunion segment of As Time Goes By. Usually, tinkering with my Saturday Brit Coms drives me crazy. On this occasion, I was actually grateful that I could get back to the Read-A-Thon. I resumed reading at about 11:00 p.m. Somewhere around 4:00 a.m. I woke up on the sofa, with a big wine headache; the marks of the book cover pressed into my face. I have no idea when I fell asleep. I figured it would be best if I just went to bed, and extend my read-a-thon hours over Sunday. Up again at 6:00 a.m., I blazed my way through Christie, and began Heat of the Moon by Sandra Parschall at roughly noon. Even though the read-a-thon had officially ended, I felt I had to make up for the time I spent sleeping, and read until 4:00 p.m., when it was time to get on with the rest of my life.

I gather the Read-A-Thon idea was the brain child of a blogger named Dewey who is sadly no longer with us. I did not know her; from what I have read I would have been richer for the experience. To the organizers of this event: What a fitting way to keep her memory!

After Read-A-Thon survey:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Obviously the ones that found me passed out on the couch.

2.Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Something really scary for the wee hours - to stave off sleep.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Only on a personal time I'll have Internet service. On every other level, this was wonderfully organized.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I know what does not work, too much red wine!

5. How many books did you read? 2 and approximately one-third of another.

6. What were the names of the books you read? Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear, A Murder is Announced by Agatha Christie, and started The Heat of the Moon by Sandra Parshall.

7. Which book did you enjoy most? A Murder Is Announced. Can't go wrong with Agatha Christie.

8. Which did you enjoy least? The last one, The Heat of the Moon, has not grabbed me, although it won The Agatha. Will probably get better.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? Not applicable.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I will definitely participate if I can. Next time, I'm going to try to stay up and read for 24 hours.


  1. Oh, yay for someone else reading Jacqueline Winspear. I always say I don't like mystery novels, but I do like that series!

  2. You did magnificently well, Grad! I've never done the read-a-thon, as I know I couldn't manage to read for so many hours straight (and I NEED sleep), but I love to hear of other people's experiences. Walking the dog around the house was hilarious! I did know Dewey and loved her, and I think she would be so happy to know that events like the read-a-thon still continue in her name.

  3. Kailana, I also had Pardonable Lies in the stack and I'm anxious to get at it. Can't wait.

    Litlove, thank you. I found that not being able to communicate with other participants made it a little lonely, though. I was, however, very happy to have a perfect excuse to sit around and read. I wish I had known Dewey.

  4. Hey, Grad. It's your bro. Very well done, kiddo. You make me proud. Might I suggest gin, next time, though. The juniper berries not only contain vitamin C (It's a berry. It has to have vitamin C), but as it is a clear liquid, there are no impuritites that get lodged in between your brain cells. While I have been headache free for over twenty years, it is a theory that I feel compelled to prove on a regular basis.