Today I’m reading all day, inspired by Amanda’s Read-a-Thon. It’s perfect timing for me. And you can see my stack of books below, but more about that in a minute.

First, I’m thrilled to announce that Jennifer D. has snagged the new copy of the paperback edition of The Heroine’s Bookshelf by Erin Blakemore. Check your email, Jennifer, and get ready to read! Thanks to Harper Perennial and to Erin for all-things-heroine-y. The Heroine’s Bookshelf is guaranteed to add to any reader’s TBR list.

Which is what I’m doing now…working through today’s TBR list.

My Read-a-Thon Goal?
To read 1,000 pages. Some of those in finishing books I’ve been lingering over. Some in books that I read in small bits. (I always have several books on the go: that’s normal, right?) And, I hope, a couple of complete start-to-finish books (plus some short ones, chosen for those parts of siege-reading where the type starts to blur and your reader’s brain is sloggy).

Click image to enlarge, unless you like squinting

Books to finish:
*Adam Gopnik’s Winter (I have just the final lecture/essay to read, on Remembering Winter); I’ll have a final post on it next Thursday (last Thursday’s is here).
*Jane Ziegelman’s 97 Orchard (I have the final family to read about); I’ll be posting about it with two other foodie reads tomorrow.
*Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (this re-read has stretched through almost a month, and I’m past halfway).

Note: I’m committed, so scold me if these are still in the stack, untouched, at end-of-day.

Books to read part of:
*Alice Munro’s Who Do You Think You Are? (The current book in my Must-Read-Everything-Alice-Munro project, the fourth collection this year, beginning with her famous “Royal Beatings”.)
*Alexandra Harris’ Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination (on my 2011 Must-Reads list, thanks to Nathalie).
*Canadian Poetry anthology (I’ve been carrying this in my bookbag for months and will read the selections of Duncan Campbell Scott today).

(Surely I’m not the only person who still reads like a student at times, chapter-by-chapter, just cuz.)

Note: These I’m stuck on too, and they’ll be nice breaks from longer works.

Fresh Reads for the Read-a-Thon:
*Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty
*Oran B. Hesterman’s Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All
*Philippa Gregory’s The Lady of the Rivers
Re-read for the Read-a-Thon:
* Joan Bodger’s How the Heather Looks: A Joyous Journey to the British Sources of Children’s Books 
Two short reads for the Read-a-Thon:
Lee Smith’s The Christmas Letters AND J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Father Christmas Letters
(both inspired by my Friday Fugue for all-things-epistolary)

And a last minute addition, just in Friday night’s mail pick-up:
Brick88, the Winter 2012 Issue. (Woot!)

Question: But I’m not stuck on any particular ones of these…so where do you think I should concentrate my reading efforts with these to choose from?

I’ll be updating this single post as the day goes on. I’m setting my alarm for 7AM and I’ll check in around 10AM.

 11AM Update
The Handmaid’s Tale
– Read 147 pages and finished the novel (Soooo good!)
97 Orchard – Read 44 pages and finished the work (Quite enjoyable)
New addition – Henning Mankell’s Faceless Killers – Read 10 pages (Hadn’t included this because I thought I’d finish it last night, but I’m nearing the end and must find out what happens)
= 201 pages, total so far

Non-Read-a-Thon activities: There weren’t supposed to be any of these, but I’ve done some dishes and two loads of laundry and am heading out on an errand now, which I will take the sting out of by collecting baked goods en route.

Yummies: Coffee alone, Coffee with Sandwich Cream Cookies

Next-up: Finish the Mankell mystery, eat baked goods, and see how the other participants are faring!

1PM Update / Hour Seven? (I fail at Read-a-Thon Time-Telling)*
Faceless Killers – Read 24 pages (included in next segment’s total)

So what was I doing? Sigh. 30 minutes out-of-the-house for errands, whereupon I realized that getting dressed was a mistake, because I suddenly had all these non-read-a-thon-ing thoughts. And I went out because I did that laundry and had used the last of the detergent, and came home and did two more loads: see how the whole getting dressed thing was the problem? Pyjamas. Pyjamas. Pyjamas.

But then I settled down at the computer and checked out everybody else’s read-a-thon posts, so I’m back on board now.

And, hey, my Reader has tonnes of new subscriptions: where have you all been? I hardly know any of you and you’re all reading such awesome stuff!

Yummies: This really cool cinnamon thing that the local bakery calls a danish — seemingly cuz it’s all rolled up cool and stuff — but it actually looks like a croissant. I realized, as I was licking my fingers that I should have taken a picture, but it was too late!

I’ll take a new picture next time, hopefully with more than two books missing from the stack.

6PM Update / Hour Twelve? (see above disclosure*)

Henning Mankell’s Faceless Killers – Read 78 pages and finished (Good stuff)
Canadian Poetry
– Read 24 pages of Duncan Campbell Scott (Bit painful: lots of “noble savage” poetry – very much of his time, but hard to read now)
Winter – Read 39 pages and finished (Very good)
Romantic Moderns – Read 43 pages, which is two chapters and a little more than I was planning (But it’s so lovely, though the kind of book that takes time)
= 375 pages, total so far

Thoughts: At this point, I’m thinking that 1,000 pages was beyond ambitious. But I have tidied up the stack by finishing those last bits of four books.

And it’s also true that I’ve chosen the harder reads for the earlier part of my day (with the exception of Mankell’s mystery, which is just plain fun).

Oh, okay, so Fair Food will require some thinking. And Brick is designed for the awakened reader.

But my last Munro story? That’s pure pleasure.

And two skinny books that have something to do with Christmas? That’s easy, right?

And a re-read, which is always cozy? And that Philippa Gregory novel, which I’m still doing a f-i-n-e job of ignoring, that might not be so bad after all. (Or, I could keep ignoring it.)

Halfway Read-a-Thon Photo Click to enlarge

And I’ve been looking forward to that Libba Bray novel for ages. How many people have told me that I have to read that?!

I think I’ve done with my serious reading for the day, really, and am looking forward to just-plain-fun reading now.

Non-Read-a-Thon activites: Just note-taking, which isn’t technically read-a-thon-ing, I know, but it’s still decidedly bookish, and a huge part of my reading style.

Yummies: Monstrous plate of Chickpeas and Noodles in a Kinda Spicy Pesto sauce, which is a late-lunch designed to carry me through to a very light, late dinner; Last coffee of the day with sweets to dip into it (which normally I don’t do because it totally grosses out Mr. B.I.P., and I get that)

Next-up: It’s completely dark outside, which gets kicks my hibernation inclination into gear, so I am going to start into one of my “fun reads” and find a new place to sit to make sure I stay awake.

Therefore, it cannot possibly be as cozy as that which my co-read-a-thon-er is snugged into up above: isn’t she sweet?

8PM Update / Hour Fourteen

Lee Smith’s Christmas Letters – Read 126 pages and finished (Sweetly seasonal, perfect for my December Fridays, which are all about books of letters)
= 501 pages, total so far

Non-Read-a-Thon activities: Rediscovered the kitchen counter, littered with quick food and snack prep detritus.

Next-up: I’m going to take a final tour of other readers’ sites to see how everyone else is doing, and then I’m settling into Libba Bray’s novel, which I just peeked into and think will delightfully sweep me away for the next chunk of the evening.

No snacks: Boo Hiss.

9PM Update / Hour Fifteen

I read the first two chapters of A Great and Terrible Beauty and it’s going to be perfect (but I’ll include the count in the next update). Mostly I was taking my final tour for the night to see how you’re all doing. What a wide variety of books we’re reading altogether!

Next-up: Bray and a change of scene to another room…maybe a bath, with book, of course.

10PM Update / Hour Sixteen 

Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty – Read 100 pages (so light and fun: maybe I should have started here, with Gemma’s adventures, because I can’t believe how quickly the pages turn)
= 601 pages, total so far

Next-up: More of the same + snack + some stretches to see if I can tease out more reading time

11:30 PM Update / Hour Seventeen-and-a-half

Libba Bray’s A Great and Terrible Beauty – Read another 100 pages
Philippa Gregory’s The Lady of the Rivers – Read 14 pages, just enough to crack the whole “avoidance” thing, just enough to realize I’ve been a fool to be avoiding it
=715 pages, total so far

Snack: Spinach boureka with a generous helping of Salted Kettle Chips (so not Victorian, but…)

Next-up: I’m planning to read another 100 pages of the Bray novel (which is like candy, without the sugar issues for late-night binges), and I might dabble in something else, but I might just turn out the light then too.My stack is much smaller than it was this morning, and I’m a happy reader, so this will be my last update until later tomorrow morning.

Thanks to all those who stopped by to offer thoughts and encouragement throughout the day and the evening: it was much-appreciated and that’s what makes events like this so much fun!  Happy reading to all!