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Read-A-Thon!

Read-A-Thon!

Updated throughout the day!

Update: The Next Day

Wrap up/Final Thoughts: I mostly had a really great time yesterday, bolstered by early excitement for the celebration of reading and enjoying the community aspect of the day. The parts that were less fun had little to do with the event itself and more to do with it being my first time participating and feeling a little underprepared. 

The next time I participate I will choose more short reads. The novel I read was light and of average novel length, but it still felt mountainous when I wanted to be growing a list of finished works. Next time I will stick with a few graphic novels like I did this round, and I will add more novellas and short stories. Something that feels more like snacking throughout the day, or sampling from a buffet, and less like sitting down to one never ending single course meal. 

I would also use the audiobook option earlier in the day, and then throughout the day. While I listening to an audiobook I could still be up and moving around, getting little things done here and there while also stretching my legs. 

If you have any tips or ideas you think I should know for next time, I'd love to hear them. Otherwise, I'll see you at the next read-a-thon!

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Update 10:15 PM

I may be someone best suited to a 12 hour reading challenge. Or I may be someone who simply shuts down after battling with a printer. 
This would be the brand new printer I ordered in order to replace the one that inexplicably stopped printing. Now the new printer that sits right next to my desktop computer is in some kind of secret limbo that keeps my computer from ever finding the printer. I spent 45 minutes reading suggestions, troubleshooting, downloading things, deleting things, doing a good-printer-mojo-dance and nothing. 

When I started setting up the printer I was still listening to my audiobook, the one that I started listening to on my wonderful walk to the library to return some books. I couldn't keep listening to it and yell at the computer gods. 

Once I deemed the printer the winner and I walked away defeated all I wanted to do was grab a drink and turn off my (angry) brain. Will I take the challenge back up once I'm less steamed? I think I'll at least make a point of reading "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs" before bed, but beyond that I'm not sure.

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Update 7:00 PM

I'm answering the questions from the Mid-Event Survey in a round about way.

So far I've finished Volume 1 and 2 of "The Wicked and The Divine" and can't wait to get my hands on Volume 3. Each took about 45 minutes to read, creating nice breaks. I also finished "Dreamology" and found it to be light and fluffy, and full of incredibly imaginative dream scenarios. It definitely rated a little more juvenile than the YA I prefer to read. 

Then I took a break for a little bit, attended to some of the boring household stuff that crops up. It felt good to take a break. My eyes and brain didn't mind a little of the mundane.

And then I decided to give one of my ebooks a try. I subscribe to the Book Riot Deal of the Day emails and purchased "The Walls Around Us" a month or two ago for $1.99.
I made it through about 33 pages before I realized that I didn't care. I just did not care about what the potential mystery is at the heart of the story. So now I'm a little stumped as to what to pick up next. My TBR pile is actually an entire small bookshelf so I definitely have a lot to choose from. 

What has surprised me about the read-a-thon so far is how easily people seem to be able to update on social media and read five books! That is some skill.

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Update 12:30 PM

It feels like I've been too caught up in the excitement of the challenges and the idea of the read-a-thon to actually do much reading. But how could I resist the Hour 5 challenge of building a pillow fort?! I have all the items to make it great in under 15 minutes, including cats. 

Maybe once some of the excitements comes back down to a simmer instead of a roiling boil I'll get past page 111 of "Dreamology"

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Update 10:00AM

I only read 18 pages during Hour 2 for very important doughnut related reasons.
In order to enjoy springy, amazing gluten free doughnuts I have to put in a special order at my local cafe, with Carole the magic baker. I order a half dozen and she sells the other half in the cafe. Going to pick them up also meant changing out of my pajamas and looking like a presentable human being. Difficult to do when you're hopped up on a read-a-thon!

Don't they look amazing? I didn't even know that raspberry powdered sugar was a thing. 

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Update 7:35AM

It's almost kick-off time! Before we start, here's a little share courtesy of the Opening Meme

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
The Empire State
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Surprisingly, "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs", it's one of the few childhood books that has stayed on my shelves but I don't remember the last time I read it. 
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Gluten-free doughnuts from Cafe at 407, I specially ordered them for today!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I will have two reading partners today, Sam and Mia, my cat-loaves. I believe in magic and in having adventures. 
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 first read-a-thon and I'm looking forward to seeing how a whole new (to me) reading community celebrates today!

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Why a read-a-thon?

When it comes to things that end in "athon" you know that there's generally an aspect of stamina involved, or at least some kind of prolonged event or celebration. When I heard about the Dewey's 24 Hour Read-A-Thon, just days before the event kicked off, I was immediately interested, partly because every reader worth their salt would be intrigued by the very idea, but also because it offers an opportunity to do the very thing many of us feel guilty about doing: reading for gloriously long periods of time.

I already make a lot of time in my life for reading. Being a freelancer makes finding the time easier of course, but I also do it because I believe it's a part of my job. I am forever bolstered and haunted in equal measure by Stephen King's quote, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time, or the tools, to write."

I'm aware that much of what I've read lately is hardly padding my toolbox with interesting new voices and vocabularies. Sometimes you have to just read for fun, for escapism. But when I do find a book that has a solid and unique voice, that tells a story in a way that lights up everything in my brain, I can see how it makes me a better writer. Many famous writers are the first to admit that the authors they spent the most time reading influenced their voice when it came to writing their own works. I think of this as subconscious "stealing like an artist" (thank you Austin Kleon for coining this important phrase).

A beautiful turn of phrase, a flawed and well-developed character, or a question that is posed within a story or novel has the power to inspire my own new ideas, to ignite the existence of a character, or even in rare instances, solve a plot issue or fill a character gap. 

But still, I feel the occasional guilt. 

I feel the guilt of two hours spent on the couch on a Monday afternoon, under a fluffy blanket, working my way through a novel when my husband (who also works from home) comes downstairs to throw some food in the microwave and dash back to his office before his next meeting. 

I feel guilty when I put something off or decline something because I have fifty pages left in a novel that I just can't put down.

During a read-a-thon, there's nothing to feel guilty about, it's your readerly duty to read as much as possible. Sink down into those words, saturate yourself with stories. 

I also love the ways that the reading community comes together to celebrate books. As soon as I learned about Dewey and the people who took over in her stead, I was interested in the support and combined excitement that has gained momentum every year, and I was interested in joining a new bookish community. 

As I update throughout the day I hope you feel inspired to either participate in your own read-a-thon, or to simply take some extra reading time for yourself. At the very least maybe you'll discover some interesting new titles to add to your TBR pile. 

 

Flash Fiction: What I Would Tell You

Flash Fiction: What I Would Tell You