Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Summary

I almost fell asleep during hour 23, but I made it! I spent about 17 of the last 24 hours reading. In that time I finished seven books:

  1. The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
  2. The Yellow Arrow by Victor Pelevin
  3. Swerve by Stephen Greenblat
  4. Snakes and Earrings by Hitomi Kanehara
  5. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
  6. Doubt by John Patrick Shanley
  7. Lucifer at the Starlite by Kim Addonizio

In addition, I also read but did not finish Witches Incorporated by K. E. Mills.

In total, I read 1,159 pages.

The Lover's Dictionary was my favorite read during the readathon, but The Leftovers and Swerve were close behind. The Yellow Arrow was the most disappointing of the books I read.

Congratulations to all the readers. Thank you to the cheerleaders and the organizers.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 24

I finished the last 11 pages of Kim Addonizio's Lucifer at the Starlite this hour before returning to K. E. Mills' Witches Incorporated to read 16 more pages.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 23

I read 49 pages of poetry from Kim Addonizio's Lucifer at the Starlite. To stay awake I read while pacing around my kitchen. I will pace again in the next, an final, hour to finish reading Lucifer at the Starline.

Shel at Hungry Readers offers us a mad lib to complete. Here is mine:

This axis is red! Joseph has never disguised so much. The genius I'm currently killing is long and dirty. When this is over, I will run for the whole summer.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 22

In hour 22 I continued to struggle to stay awake. Even though I swear I must have read more, I managed only 18 pages of Witches Incorporated this hour. I am going to switch books and read poetry from Kim Addonizio's Lucifer at the Starlite in hopes that reading poetry requires less sustained attention than reading a novel because the poems are discontinuous.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 21

I read 26 pages from K. E. Mills Witches Incorporated during this hour, the twenty-first. I am struggling to stay awake. Walking around keeps my eyes open, but it slows my reading pace. With only three hours left to go, I think I am going to make it.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 20

I read the last 33 pages of John Patrick Shanley's Doubt. It was a short play that left me, well, in doubt about what really happened.

I nodded off several times while reading Doubt. I have become very sleepy but I am willing myself to continue with only four hours to go.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 19

I finished Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers during this hour. It wasn't the poor ending that I thought was coming, but I wouldn't really call it a satisfying ending either. The ending left the plot unresolved. I would have preferred a neater ending.

I started Doubt a play by John Patrick Shanley. My total pages read for hour 19 was 66

About three quarters of the way through the hour I suddenly became sleepy. My eyes are heavy and I find myself rereading sentences because my attention has wandered. With five hours to go, I am starting to waver a bit. Hopefully my second wind will come along soon.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 18

58 more pages of The Leftovers. I should finish it in the next hour, hour 19. A very well written book, but I don't think I am going to like the ending.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 17

47 more pages from The Leftovers in this hour. I am starting to get a little tired now. I've made it much farther than I thought I would. I expected to start getting sleepy around 10:00 p.m. Only seven more hours to go!

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 16

59 more pages of The Leftovers. It is still an intriguing read, but I am starting to wonder where the author is going with the story.

Jessica at the Blue Stocking Society asks about rereading books. I don't often reread books but when I do reread books, they are the canonical classics. The Iliad, The Odyssey, the plays of Sophocles, and Shakespeare's plays, especially Much Ado About Nothing (my favorite), spring to mind.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 15

62 more pages of The Leftovers this hour. My eyes are starting to sting a little, but I'm not really sleepy yet. I hope this isn't my "second wind" because there is still a long way to go.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 14

This hour I read 65 more pages of The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. It is quite good.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 13

This hour, hour 13, I started The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta. I read the first 32 pages.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 12

I didn't do any reading this hour. Instead I had a nice dinner with my wife, son, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law. Even so, I am feeling a little tired already. I'm not quite sleepy yet, but I feel that I might become so soon. I'll try to press on though.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 11

During hour 11 I read the last 91 pages of the book Snakes and Earrings by Hitomi Kanehara. A very strange tale of a woman's relationship with two men, both killers. It was one of those books that is so disturbing that you can't be sure if you like it or not.

I will also do my first mini-challenge during this hour. fakesteph asks: who is your favorite anti-hero? This week I finished a book, The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt, that has a wonderful anti-hero: Eli Sister. A stone cold killer that happens to be a decent and likable fellow. I highly recommend giving this quirky but wonderful western a read.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 10

I finished my third book of the readathon during this tenth hour: Swerve by Stephen Greenblatt. It was pretty good, but not what I expected. I expected that it would be more about the content and philosophy in Lucretius' De Rerum Natura, but instead it was about how the book was rediscovered by the "book hunter" Poggio Bracciolini during the Renaissance.

After finishing Swerve I started Snakes and Earrings by Hitomi Kanehara, a book picked on a whim from my public library's shelves. It promises to be a strange book.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 9

Another 39 pages in Swerve. I hope to finish the book in the next hour, I only have 21 pages to go. But, my family has returned from the Scottish games, so my time spent reading may diminish.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 8

I read 39 pages from Swerve this hour. I am almost done with it, so I am going to continue reading Swerve in the next hour, hour nine. I hope to finish it sometime during hour ten.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 7

During hour seven I finished Boris Pelevin's The Yellow Arrow and continued reading Stephen Greenblat's Swerve for a total of 62 pages. In hour eight I will be reading Swerve, which has proved to be a very fine and interesting read so far.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 6

My family went out to attend the Scottish Games, so the house is quiet. I did better this hour, reading 35 pages of Swerve. I will go back to The Yellow Arrow during the next hour, hour seven. I hope to finish it during the hour.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 5

I only read three pages of Swerve this hour. My in-laws showed up so I did some socializing and ate my lunch. But, I'm ready to get back into it for hour six.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 4

I finished my first book this hour, The Lover's Dictionary. It was a very clever and interesting novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. I then started The Yellow Arrow by Victor Pelevin for a total of 111 pages this hour. This is the second book by Pelevin that I have read. It is, so far, a very strange book.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 3

Took a small break early in the hour so I only read 36 pages of Swerve this hour. In hour 4 I will be back to reading The Lover's Dictionary, which I hope to finish within that hour.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 2

During the second hour of the readathon I read 138 pages from David Levithan's The Lover's Dictionary, a surprisingly interesting novel. I intend to switch back and forth between fiction and non-fiction, so in the next hour I will be back to reading Stephen Greenblat's Swerve.

This will be my fourth readathon, my first from Charlotte, NC. My stack of books for this readathon is quite small. (There is, however, a large bookshelf full of unread books in my home office.) The books I am most interested in reading, which I have started with, are Swerve and The Lover's Dictionary. As I finish those I will move on to The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta, The Yellow Arrow by Boris Pelevin, and Doubt by John Patrick Shanley.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012 — Hour 1

Hour 1 is now "in the books." (Please forgive the bad pun.). I read 47 pages of Stephen Greenblatt's Swerve in this hour. Now to go get some breakfast.

Dewey's Readathon April 2012

I am going to do Dewey's Readathon today. I have been going back and forth over whether to participate or not. A couple of weeks ago I committed to doing it and told my wife I would. However, she invited her sister's family to visit over for the weekend to attend a Scottish Games festival in our area.

I want to do the Readathon. But, I don't want to be antisocial with my in-laws. What to do?

Now, a mere half hour before the Readathon starts, I have decided to go ahead and do it. My wife knew that I was going to read all day and night this weekend. Besides, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law already know that I'm a tad antisocial and prone to doing odd things like trying to read for 24 hours.

So, I'm off to gather my pile of books and brew some more tea in preparation for immersing myself in the written word!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

March Reading Summary

I read a whopping 12 books in March. This put me back on track to read 100+ books this year. I wanted to read more poetry, which I did, reading three books of poetry in March. I also added a new challenge: The Amazon Best Books of 2011 Challenge hosted by Cassandra.

My March favorites:

Delirium by Nancy Cohen, a timely book about the recent history of the politics of sexuality.

Incognito by David Eagleman, a book that taught me that brain science indicates that there really isn't a single me, but instead a bunch of mes that run amok. I highly recommend reading it if you have any interest in the brain or psychology.

The March disappointments:

King Henry V by Wm. Shakespeare, not my favorite play by the Bard, but then again, it is Shakespeare so, while disappointing as a whole, there are some really bright spots.

The Reactionary Mind by Corey Robin, not really a single thesis, but instead an uneven collection of essays that only partially illuminated the conservative mind.

The 12 books I read in March:

  1. Norton Critical Edition of Macbeth by Wm. Shakespeare (Shakespeare Challenge)
  2. The Brightened Mind: A Simple Guide to Buddhist Meditation by Ajahn Sumano Bhikkhu
  3. Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg
  4. Suffering Is Optional: Three Keys to Freedom and Joy by Cheri Huber
  5. Delirium: How the Sexual Counterrevolution Is Polarizing America by Nancy L. Cohen
  6. Questions About Angels by Billy Collins (Seconds Challenge)
  7. Lord of the Flies by Wm. Golding (What's In A Name Challenge, 1001 Books Challenge)
  8. The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin by Corey Robin
  9. A Week at the Airport: A Heathrow Diary by Alain de Botton (What's In A Name Challenge, Seconds Challenge)
  10. King Henry V (Arden Third Series) by Wm. Shakespeare (Shakespeare Challenge)
  11. Habibi by Craig Thompson (Seconds Challenge, Amazon Challenge)
  12. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman (Amazon Challenge)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

February Reading Summary

I finished eight books in February. One more than in January, but not enough if I want to reach my goal of 100 books read in 2012. My favorite read of February was The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. It was a mind blowing book about how incarceration due to the "War on Drugs" constitutes a modern era Jim Crow discrimination against men of color. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in justice.

Other good reads for the month were Macbeth by Shakespeare, the Arden Second Series edition, and Ragnarok by A. S. Byatt.

The eight books I read in February 2012 are:

  • The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (Seconds, 1001 Books You Must Read, and What's In A Name Challenges)
  • Joy of Living by Yongey Mingyur
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (What's In A Name Challenge)
  • Arden Second Series Edition of Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Shakespeare Challenge)
  • Ragnarok by A. S. Byatt (Seconds Challenge)
  • Poetry for Beginners by M. Chapman and K. Welton
  • Genuine Happiness by B. Alan Wallace
  • Witches and Jesuits by Gary Wills

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

January Reading Summary

I finished seven books in January. This is below my target of nine or more books a month. Reading less than nine books a month will leave me reading less than my goal of 100 books in 2012. I will have to focus on reading more next month.

Of the books I read in January, Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood was by far my favorite. It was a compelling read in which Atwood did a fantastic job of really nailing the voice of Grace Marks.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Project: The Happily Ever After by Alisa Bowman. I have been reading her blog for quite sometime, but just got around to reading her book. Bowman succeeded in taking a rather serious subject, for her personally as well as in general, and writing a book that was in turns hilarious and heartbreaking. I really enjoyed it and it made me think even more about the ways in which I can improve my own marriage.

I added a few challenges: 1001 Books Challenge, Shakespeare Challenge, and the Seconds Challenge.

The seven books I read this month were:

  • Alias Grace by M. Atwood (1001 Books Challenge) 5/5
  • White Castle by O. Pamuk (What's In A Name Challenge) 2/5
  • Midsummer Night's Dream by Wm. Shakespeare (Shakespeare Challenge) 3/5
  • Pity the Billionaire by T. Frank 2/5
  • Treasure Island by R. L. Stevenson (What's In A Name Challenge, 1001 Books Challenge) 3/5
  • Monoculture by F. S. Michaels 3/5
  • Project: The Happily Ever After by A. Bowman 4/5

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What's In A Name Challenge 5

Beth Fish is hosting one of my favorite challenges from years previous: the What's In A Name Challenge. After deciding to take up reading challenges again this year, this challenge was the first one for which I went looking.

A planned list of books to complete the challenge is not required, but here is my planned list nonetheless:

  • A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title: Treasure Island by R. L. Stevenson
  • A book with something you'd see in the sky in the title: The Moonstone by W. Collins or Yellow Arrow by B. Pelevin
  • A book with a creepy crawly in the title: Germline by T. C. McCarthy
  • A book with a type of house in the title: The White Castle by O. Pamuk
  • A book with something you'd carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title: A Guide to the Good Life by Wm. Irvine or America's Constitution: A Biorgraphy by A. R. Amar
  • A book with a something you'd find on a calendar in the title: 1000 Autumns of Jacob DeZoet by D. Mitchell

If you are interested in participating in this challenge, which runs for the entire year, head on over to the sign up page.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Return of Reading Challenges in 2012

I have been absent from this weblog for over a year now. I am returning in order to increase the number of books I read. This year I would like to read over 100 books. I would like 50 of those to be books that I own, as I have quite a TBR pile in my personal library. I am hoping that participation in reading challenges will help me reach these goals.

In 2009, I used this weblog to participate in reading challenges and read 92 books that year. In the middle 2010, I decided that reading challenges were too restrictive and gave them up to just read as my whims took me. (I also gave up blogging.) In 2010 I read 78 books, a total which dwindled again in 2011 when I read only 60 books. 60 books is the least I have read since I started recording what I read in 2006. So, I am going to do reading challenges again this year.