Read-a-Thon Updates (October 2014)

Welcome to my read-a-thon update post! I shared my bookstack and read-a-thon plans this past Wednesday. Today, I’ll be using this post as my main site to update cheerleaders and readers on my progress, but I will also be doing quick updates on twitter. Scroll down for updates!


Hour 1 (8:00 am EST): In my excitement over the read-a-thon, I started reading Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason on Wednesday. I thought I’d get ahead start on the novel and make it easy to jump right in this morning. Alas, the crime thriller sucked me and I ended up finishing Indriðason’s novel that night. Whoops! I do have two more novels by Indriðason on my shelf — Hypothermia and Strange Shores — so I might add one those to my stack. For now, though, I’m headed out the door to get myself moving this morning. If I lay down, I’m afraid I might fall back asleep. Since I finished Drood by Dan Simmons yesterday, I will be listening to Matilda by Roald Dahl on audio during my walk and plan to pick up Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan when I return. Happy reading to all!

Hour 4 (11:35 am EST): I’m back from my walk — ten miles, including the quick trip to the grocery store on the way back — and I’ve finished the first seventeen tracks (out of twenty-one) of Matilda. I’ll finish the audiobook as I unpack my groceries and prepare lunch. Afterwards, I’ll be picking up Homeless Bird.

Hour 8 (3:00 pm EST): I’ve finished two books since my last update — Matilda by Roald Dahl and Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan! Highly recommend both of them. I started reading The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane but started to nod off so I grabbed a cappuccino at Starbucks to get my energy levels back up and am now on page 60 of What Would Mr. Darcy Do? by Abigail Reynolds. During Hours 5 and 8, I participated in the #shelfie and 140 Character Cheering mini-challenges (see my answers below).

Hour 11 (6:25 pm EST): I finished another book! I also decided to pick up Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll on audio so I could get some cooking, cleaning, and cheering done, and I am now utterly convinced audiobooks are the way to go when it comes to the read-a-thon, especially for cheering. I’ve been able to leave comments on participants’ blogs and randomly tweet people encouragement while continuing to “read”. Two birds, one stone.

Hour 15 (10:00 pm EST): Fourth book is finished! I’m listening to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as I write this update — about twenty minutes or so left. I also started In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pinott, a murder-mystery that should keep me awake until I turn the last page, which I’ll dive back into just as soon as I finish this update and folding my laundry. Three hours late, but I finally answered the Mid-Event Survey below. I also participated in Dose of Darcy on the main read-a-thon page.

Hour 16 (11:45 pm EST): Big yawns here. I am a little over 100 pages away from finishing In the Shadow of Gotham, but the desire for sleep is getting stronger than the desire to find out whodunit. So I’m tucking myself into bed and maybe, just maybe I’ll wake up in time to join back in for the last hour or so. Happy reading to those who are continuing on!

Hour 22 (6:15 am EST): I’m awake! Albeit, a little bleary eyed. I’m going to try to finish In the Shadow of Gotham in the last hour and 45 minutes of the read-a-thon.

Hour 24 (8:00 am EST): I squeaked by the hair on my chiny-chin-chin and finished In the Shadow of Gotham. That means I finished six books — a very, very successful read-a-thon! (Not being in university certainly helped.) I’ve answered the End of Event Survey below. Thank you to all the organizers, hosts, and cheerleaders for making this a great event!

Where I stand overall:

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Caroll) – Finished!
  • Anne Frank and Me (Cherie Bennett and Jeff Gottesfeld) — Finished!
  • Homeless Bird (Gloria Whelan) — Finished!
  • In the Shadow of Gotham (Stefanie Pinott) — Finished!
  • Matilda (Roald Dahl) — Finished!
  • The Night Quest (Fiona McFarlane) — 5/241 pages
  • What Would Mr. Darcy Do? (Abigail Reynolds) — Finished!


Continue reading

Read-a-Thon Reads


October is one of my favorite months in the year — the changing leaves, the crisp and cool weather. Perfect atmosphere for curling up with a good book, especially during Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon on Saturday. (Of course, I say this as the temperature climbs into the high 70s and the humidity is “ponytail weather”, according to the local weatherman.)

This is my fifth read-a-thon, but I haven’t been able to participate for the last two years due to university. (The read-a-thon is always scheduled during midterms in October and the big push towards finals in April.) I am very excited to no longer have that obstacle in my way and to be able to participate this time around. So excited, in fact, that I rejoined twitter in order to make cheering people on easier. Feel free to follow me there, if you are so inclined.

I selected seven titles — a mix of library books and from my personal collection — for the read-a-thon. Looking over my posts from the last four go-arounds, shorter books motivate me more than longer novels so I focused on those books as well as ones with a suspenseful element.

  • Anne Frank and Me (Cherie Bennett and Jeff Gottesfeld)
  • Homeless Bird (Gloria Whelan)
  • In the Shadow of Gotham (Stefanie Pinott)
  • Jar City (Arnaldur Indriðason)
  • News from Heaven (Jennifer Haigh)
  • The Night Quest (Fiona McFarlane)
  • What Would Mr. Darcy Do? (Abigail Reynolds)

Not photographed is my current audiobook, Drood by Dan Simmons. I’m listening to this one for Trish’s #droodalong and have about 30 percent of the novel left. I’ll be listening to this during breaks to rest my eyes and move around.

Eight books may seem like a lot, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself to finish a certain number or read for a certain number of hours. I’m just excited to be participating once more. Happy reading to all!

Recent Acquisitions


I spent a recent rainy Saturday morning perusing shelves, boxes, and bins at the public library’s used book sale and, in my opinion, walked away with several under-priced gems to read on the next rainy Saturday. I managed to snag all of the books photographed above save one for under ten dollars thanks to coupon I found hidden amongst adds for dry cleaners and discount oil changes.

Long time readers of this blog will recognize that I have previously read and reviewed three of the titles photographed — A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, and Mr. Darcy’s Obsession by Abigail Reynolds. I am guilty of wanting personal copies of books I have greatly enjoyed and thus is the case with the novels by Martin and Larsson. Reynolds’ books have been retitled as they have been republished and, in this case, I was not careful to double check before requesting the book off PaperBackSwap.

The other titles are ones I know I have not read, and I’ve listed them out below in alphabetical order. I was particularly excited to find two books by Alison Weir — her biographies are the gold standard, in my humble opinion — and I look forward to seeing how she handles historical fiction.

  • 22 Britannia Road (Amanda Hodgkinson)
  • A House for Mr. Biswas (V.S. Naipaul)
  • Innocent Traitor (Alison Weir)
  • The Kitchen God’s Wife (Amy Tan)
  • The Lady in the Tower (Alison Weir)
  • Necessary Errors (Caleb Crain)
  • A Poisoned Season (Tasha Alexander)
  • The Sandcastle Girls (Chris Bohjalian)
  • A Secret Kept (Tatiana de Rosnay)

Not photographed are the two books I ordered from Persephone Books last week. I could not avoid the advertised discount on a newly released Persephone Classic, The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, and added a memoir about apartheid South Africa entitled The World that was Ours by Hilda Bernstein to my order since it is not available at my local library. I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of my first order from Persephone; they should arrive in the post any day now.

The Classics Club

After years of resistance and thinking I can motivate myself, I finally took the plunge and join The Classics Club. The last time I read a piece of classic literature, excluding my reread of the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, was in March 2013, and even that was a reread of a short novel I first read in high school. Obviously, motivating myself is not going well.

Club participants are supposed to pull together a list of fifty or more books considered to be classics and both read and discuss every single title on their personal blog within a five year period. I plan to read seventy-five books in three years ending on August 15, 2017 simply because I rather like the idea of reading twenty-five classics each year.

Neither the club nor I have a definition of what is a classic so in addition to those titles that immediately came to mind — those big, scary titles I’ve been avoiding for years — I pulled titles from two other lists I had hoped to read more titles from by now — 101 Great Books for College-Bound Readers and AP Literature. I would also like to finish reading the complete works of Jane Austen, and reread one novel I do not think I was ready to read when I original did. (I’m looking at you, Wuthering Heights.)

I’ve structured my list below the jump in alphabetical order by title, but I have also created a spreadsheet where you can organize my list by author, order in which I added it to my list, and year originally published. Continue reading

Library Loot: July 30 to August 5


Has it really been over two years since I posted my loot from the library. Eek! I can assure you that I haven’t been neglecting the library in that time. In fact, I picked up my public library card the day after I moved to my new city, and I have been liberally using it ever since. I forgot to photograph all the cookbooks I’ve checked out from the library, but I do have a mixture of fiction and nonfiction titles to share with you.

The Silver Star (Jeannette Walls): This is my book club’s selection for August’s meeting. I’ve heard several people call Walls’ memoir, The Glass Castle, a classic so I’m excited to read her first novel.

The Leftovers (Tom Perrotta): I read Perrotta’s The Abstinence Teacher back in 2009 and, unfortunately, didn’t love it. However, this book has been receiving a lot of attention as of late and I’m intrigued by the premise. I originally picked it up because a book club I wanted to join was reading it for August, but my membership was never confirmed on Meetup so I don’t think I’ll have the opportunity to discuss it anywhere but here should I decide to read it.

The Amish (Donald B. Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt): Long time readers of this book blog know I can’t resist any book about the Amish be it fiction or non-fiction. The later is my preference, though, and I was thrilled to spy it on the new nonfiction shelf during one of my lunch break strolls through the library.

Love Anthony (Lisa Genova): Yet another book club selection. This is actually the September selection for the book club reading Walls’ novel in August but when I looked up the book in the library catalog, there was about fifteen or so people already on the wait list. I added myself thinking I’d end up having to source the book somewhere else so imagine my surprise when it showed up on the hold shelf for me. I read Genova’s Left Neglected back in 2011 and thought it was okay so hopefully this book will be a more enjoyable read.

Bunker Hill (Nathaniel Philbrick): I believe my dad and I heard about this book during our recent visit to the Bunker Hill monument and museum. Or, maybe it was referenced in another nonfiction book he has read about the American Revolution? Either way, I was very pleased to find this available at the public library. I’m hoping he can get a copy so we can discuss together.

The Crooked Mirror (Louise Steinman): This nonfiction book looks at the complex history of the Polish-Jewish relationship and the question of victim and persecutor under the guise of the author addressing her own feelings towards the Poles knowing the treatment of her mother and extended family during the Holocaust whilst attending a conference on bearing witness to the Holocaust in Poland.

Library Loot:

A weekly event, Library Loot encourages bloggers to share the books that followed them home from their local library in the past week. If you’d like to participate, write up your post — feel free to steal the button — and any time during the week and post the link on the blog of the host for that week. The event is hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Linda from Silly Little Mischief.