Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

Winter Wishes Read-a-Thon 2014

The Summer Lovin’ Read-a-Thon was a tonne of fun. Really: a week of reading. How could that not be fun?

But add in lots of enthusiasm, eager participants, and a good plan (they are one organized group!) and an event like this is even more fun.

Winter Wishes RATWhen I was thinking of the reading possibilities for Winter Wishes, some themes came to mind and particular books in the new arrivals stack beckoned.

But, ultimately, I am making one practical choice. And setting a small stack of alternatives alongside.

The Luminaries has been in my “soon” stack (you have “soon”, “sooner” and “soonest” stacks, too, right?) for months.

Then, last weekend, I started to read: finally. But I knew, even as I was turning the pages, that I wasn’t paying close enough attention.

There are enough characters to justify a cast list, the first chapter is more than 300 pages long, and the author apparently still has nightmares about having left a plot thread unsewn, months after the book was published and after it has won the Booker Prize.

So. I know this is not a book that I can wander though.

I’m going to need to get serious, re-read the 100 pages I read (or, at least, turned) last weekend, and make notes.

But I’ve tried the whole one-big-book approach to read-a-thons before, and it wasn’t successful.

So I have a small stack of respite stacked alongside: two children’s books (Baum’s The Wizard of Oz and George’s There’s an Owl in My Shower), two poetry books (Mockler’s Onion Man and Bloom’s Cloudy with a Fire in the Basement) and two graphic works (Gladstone’s The Influencing Machine and Knisley’s Relish).

My goal is to finish The Luminaries, at the bottom of the stack below, or read the rest of the stack instead.

Or, failing both, to fall somewhere between but have 1,000 pages to show for it. I’ll update this page twice a day during the event.

Winter Wishes RAT StackFirst Day, in Numbers:
Pages Read, TODAY: 0
(Including Fresh reads 0; Books already begun 67; Kidlit/YA 0; Re-reads 0; Graphic novels 0.)
Pages Read, TOTAL: 67
(Including Fresh reads 0; Books already begun 67; Kidlit/YA 0; Re-reads 0; Graphic novels 0.)
Books Read, TODAY: 0
(Fresh reads 0; Books already begun 0; Kidlit/YA 0; Re-reads 0; Graphic novels 0.)
Books Read, TOTAL: 0
(Fresh reads 0; Books already begun 0; Kidlit/YA 0; Re-reads 0; Graphic novels 0.)
Participation Activities, TOTAL: 1 Challenges, TOTAL: 0

First Day, in Notes: 
What worked? Having the date marked in my calendar well in advance; I almost forgot!
What didn’t? I read two short stories in two anthologies that I had previously started, and managed to avoid not only The Luminaries, but my entire stack, then hardly read a thing.
What was tasty? Snack plate, perfect for munching from while reading, thanks to Mr. BIP, but unfortunately I watched the first episode of “True Detective” instead.
Hopefully I am more focussed tomorrow!

Second Day
There’s an activity and a give-away here to celebrate the read-a-thon. Here’s my attempt below, but I’m not an experienced bookspine poet.

Book Spine Poetry

Second Day, in Numbers:
Pages Read, TODAY: 212
(Including Fresh reads 0; Books already begun 0; Kidlit/YA 0; Re-reads 0; Graphic novels 0.)
Pages Read, TOTAL: 289
(Including Fresh reads 212; Books already begun 67; Kidlit/YA 0; Re-reads 0; Graphic novels 0.)
Books Read, TODAY: 0
(Fresh reads 0; Books already begun 0; Kidlit/YA 0; Re-reads 0; Graphic novels 0.)
Books Read, TOTAL: 0
(Fresh reads 0; Books already begun 0; Kidlit/YA 0; Re-reads 0; Graphic novels 0.)
Participation Activities, TOTAL: 2

Luminaries CattonSecond Day, in Notes: 
What worked? Re-reading the first chunk of The Luminaries was definitely a good idea (I’d missed a lot of details).
What didn’t? Maybe I took too many notes because it felt like it took forever to read a single page, or maybe simply sticking with a single book is too tiring (see absence of snacks below).
What was tasty?Thai dumplings for breakfast were tasty, but I neglected to read-a-thon shop, so snacks were sparse overall.
Now that I’m really into The Luminaries, I think Sunday will contain more pages; this is a puzzle-book, and I do enjoy a good puzzle.

Last Day, in Numbers: 
Pages Read, TODAY: 233
(Including Fresh reads 233; Books already begun 0; Kidlit/YA 0; Re-reads 0; Graphic novels 0.)
Pages Read, TOTAL: 522
(Including Fresh reads ; Books already begun 67; Kidlit/YA 0; Re-reads 0; Graphic novels 0.)
Books Read, TODAY: 0
(Fresh reads 0; Books already begun 0; Kidlit/YA 0; Re-reads 0; Graphic novels 0.)
Books Read, TOTAL: 0
(Fresh reads 0; Books already begun 0; Kidlit/YA 0; Re-reads 0; Graphic novels 0.)
Participation Activities, TOTAL: 2

Last Day, in Notes: 
What worked? Sticking with this single book, I’m now completely invested in the characters and story: if I hadn’t stayed with it so long, I might have left it un-finished where I’d stalled before re-reading.
What didn’t? This is one big book, and I felt like it was physically attached to me by the end of the weekend; for a week-long read-a-thon choice, this would have been a good one, as I could have indulged in some shorter reads alongside.
What was tasty? Mini pizzas, some mushroom and some cherry tomato: yum.

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19 comments to Winter Wishes Read-a-Thon 2014

  • Great goals! I love your practical approach to this weekend read-a-thon. Summer Lovin’ was great fun and we had a blast putting it together. Tamara and I wanted to have a little something this winter, hence Winter Wishes. While it is not as long, or as intense, hopefully you find yourself enjoying the experience!

    Happy Reading. :)

  • The first chapter of The Luminaries is more than 300 pages long?! That’s crazy!! The Influencing Machine and Relish are awesome!! Happy reading. I hope you’re able to reach your goal.

    • There is a structural puzzle to the book, so that each sequential chapter is half the length of the previous one; the final chapter is barely two pages I think. You are the reason I’m reading Relish! I think it was Kim who originally suggested the Gladstone one, but I think you mentioned it after that as well. They are both very tempting RIGHT THIS MINTUE, but I’ll read them anyway, even if not this weekend.

  • I know I’m going to have to read Luminaries at some point since its on my list of Booker winners but I’m not exactly relishing the prospect. Most of my reading is just before lights out so I’m not at my most alert – trying to keep track of a big cast and complex plots wouldn’t be easy.

    • I’m not sure if it continues, but it seems that she introduces each character and spends a good bit of time with them before moving on; I wasn’t having trouble with them in the way that I thought I would. They were distinct and made me curious. And that’s something. But there is an event which occurs in the first character’s experience which dribbles from perspective to perspective and I feel like I missed something important on that score. I know what you mean about looming presences on reading lists though: unavoidable for completists, I guess. *winks*

  • Thanks for participating! I really like how you’re tracking your read-a-thon progress in this post. It’s a good format. I hope you reach your goals and have fun while doing it.

  • Great job on making progress. :) I live and die by my calendar–both my online one and my good old fashion physical one that I write my to do list and plan in. Be sure to drop by Love. Life. Read to check out my interview with Leila Howland as another activity for Winter Wishes that has a giveaway with it too. :)

    Happy Reading!
    Stephanie

  • I hope day two was more productive. I see you have The Golden Day!!! :-)

  • I liked your book spine poetry, short but brings out some nice imagery. :)

    I also like the cover for The Luminaries! Even if I haven’t heard of it. :O

    Hope you’re having fun in the read-a-thon! :D

  • What a great stack of books! I hope you are having a great readathon!

  • Darn, I missed the read-a-thon! Sounds like you had a good stack of books to choose from. Looking forward to your review of The Luminaries. I’m starting to see that book pop up everywhere.

    • I’ve been catching up on the NYT Book Review podcasts and I’m in October 2013 now (I tend to binge on these things), so it’s interesting to hear them discuss The Luminaries as it emerges, landing on bestseller lists after its Booker win; I feel so up-to-date, reading it while they’re discussing it all fresh and stuff (there are advantages to falling “behind”, I think). I think you’d really enjoy the story.

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