This is the first year that the entire Buried In Print family is read-a-thon-ing.

This takes a lot more coordination and planning than simply ensuring that everybody else is busy elsewhere so that I can spend a day reading.

But, in the end, I think it’s going to be a lot more fun with all of us turning pages in concert.

My main stack of possible reads

My main stack of possibles

We are all reading AND cheerleading, actually, on Saturday.

But right now, it’s all about anticipating and gathering the stacks.

Two initial trips to the library have already been made, holds are still trickling in, and a final trip will be made on Friday afternoon.

(If you’re interested in the photographs of the mid-planning stacks, you can click on them to enlarge the images.)

[List of my possible reads:
Ellen Hopkins’ Tricks
Evan Munday’s Quarter-Life Crisis
Erin Hunter’s Into the Wild
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops
Tamara Levine’s Treasure Island!!!
Carla Gunn’s Amphibian
Kevin Chong’s Beauty Without Pity
Amanda Leduc’s The Miracles of Ordinary Men
Corinna Chong’s Belinda’s Rings]

Start time in Toronto is 8am, so we will be setting the alarm for 7 on Saturday morning. (Precious reading time can’t be wasted, y’know.)

Some of us will prepare a small breakfast of fruit and nuts while the rest will rearrange parts of the house that might normally be used for other purposes but for read-a-thon day will be all-about-books.

A change of scene can make the difference between an hour spent staring into space and an hour spent sunk into a good story, as the day wends on.

MR Bip RAT Stack Oct2013

Mister BIP’s stack of possibles

[Mr. BIP’s possibles:
Amanda Lang’s The Power of Why
Ashley Marie Witter’s take on Anne Rice’s
Interview with the Vampire: Claudia’s Story
Glen Duncan’s I, Lucifer
Whedon, Matthews and Conrad Serenity I
Kagan McLeod’s Infinite Kung Fu
Kirshner, MacKinnon, Shoebridge and Simons I Live Here
Miriam Sorrell’s Mouthwatering Vegan]

We’ve planned a menu and will be shopping, cooking and baking on Friday so that there is little time taken out of Saturday to prepare meals.

(Sometimes going out for something to eat can make a nice break, but in my experience it leads to longer-than-anticipated breaks, so we’re aiming for more planned breaks and fewer sprawling disruptions.)

So the food will be sustenance and not a distraction, although with some pre-planning we are quite excited about some of the treats to be had as well.

(Yes, there will be as many photos of treats and snacks as there are of books, once the day is under way.)

The laundry table has been commandeered for Stack Storage. (We’ll be wearing our PJs most of the day, I expect: no need to fold.)

Each resident’s stack nestled in (ever-growing), a stack of magazines for variety, and a stack of family reads that each of us might pull from as desired.

(One must anticipate some moody-reading. The book that seems the perfect-read-a-thon-choice one day might become the dreaded-read-a-thon choice just a few hours later.)

Ella's stack of possibles

Ella’s stack of possibles

[Ella’s stack of possibles for her first read-a-thon in 13 years:
Wilson Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit
Ellen Hopkins’ Crank #1
Ellen Hopkins’  Fallout #3
Ellen Hopkins’ Glass #2
Jack London’s The Call of the Wild
Jean Craighead George’s Julie of the Wolves
Judith Kerr’s When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire
Michel Rabagliati’s Paul Has a Summer Job #2]

There is some overlap between the piles, too. Some dibs have been placed on particular titles, but once enjoyed by their chooser, those books will join the shared read pile on the laundry table.

(The Warriors manga books are overly popular just now, and I’m going to indulge in the Chi comics, because I have a soft spot for cat stories.)

Soon to join the stack of family reads? The Scaredy Squirrel series, which all members of the family – regardless of age – find very entertaining. We don’t own them all, but we should: they’re terrific!

Mister BIP expects his stack to be raided because most of his possibles are graphic novels, largely because he is a Cheerleading Captain (hidden talents!) but also because he is the resident chef.

And we all love graphic novels, even if our stacks aren’t stuffed with them. (There is a certain point at which read-a-thon-ing requires books with illustrations, for a change of reading pace; I enjoy graphic novels anyhow, but have found they are an essential ingredient for read-a-thon-ing.)

So although the stacks are neat and tidy and segregated now, in anticipation, the books will be scrambling and shifting on the day-of, slipping from one set of reader’s hands to another.

Em's stack of possibles

Em’s stack of possibles

Emilie’s stack of possibles for her first read-a-thon in 10 years:
Konami Kanata’s Chi’s Sweet Home 3, 5, 7 and 8
Erin Hunter’s Ravenpaw’s Path: Shattered Peace
Erin Hunter’s Ravenpaw’s Path: A Clan in Need
Erin Hunter’s Ravenpaw’s Path: Heart of a Warrior
Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osbourne:
Mummies in the Morning #3
Pirates Past Noon #4
Night of the Ninjas #5
Afternoon on the Amazon #6
Ghost Town at Sundown #10
Zebra / Moose / Living Wild: Giraffes
Peter Pan (Abridged) 
Hansel and Gretel

And, then, because I can’t simply have a single, reasonably-sized stack, I’ve added another stack of RIPVIII reading.

October is one of our family’s favourite times of year; we all enjoy a good mystery and that shifts into a love of all-things-horror as the years pass.

Some of these will be shared reads, too, but the longer novels are temptations for me alone:
Craig Davidson’s Sarah Court
Jennifer Quist’s Love Letters of the Anges of Death
Ted Naifeh’s Courtney Crumrin’s graphic novel series
Evan Munday’s The Dead Kid Detective Agency
Lene Kaaberbøll and Agnette Friis’ The Boy in the Suitcase
Claire Mulligan’s The Dark
Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites

My sneaky extra stack of RIPs

My sneaky extra stack of RIPs

For my first read-a-thon, I read mostly classics. (Maybe you know the feeling: October rolls around and you have a long list of books you meant to read in January, and a day spent reading seems like a terrific opportunity to catch up.)

I still vividly recall spending the afternoon with Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days (and feeling like it took eighty days to read that story).

Then, the wee hours of that morning were filled with William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies and, well, even though that might be the most appropriate time of day to read that story, it was a doubly gruelling experience when under-rested and over-caffeinated.

This year, I am choosing books as my possibles that I really, really want to read.

And just to be sure that there isn’t even the tiniest bit of “should-ness” attached, I pulled several books that I do want to read out of the stack because they are, simultaneously, part of various reading projects.

(The Giller Prize longlist reading, the Writer’s Trust shortlist reading, the Storytellers’ Book Club, the IFOA 2013: all great reading, but not part of my read-a-thon-ing.)

I’m not sure there’s anything bookish that I love more than a reading project, but a read-a-thon is a reading project all on its own. I’m not sure the complication of combining two reading projects works when a ‘thon is involved.

That’s something I”ll be thinking about as I read through this weekend. But the other members of the Buried In Print family will be preoccupied with other matters.

We will keep the update posts to a minimum once the event gets under way, so that nobody’s feed reader groans from the weight of our (er, my) unreasonably-large stacks of books, but of course there will be bookchat and snackchat.

What about you? Will you be read-a-thon-ing that weekend too? Or, do you have an inordinate amount of books stacked around the house for another reason these days?
(PS It’s not too late to sign-up!)