In the book blogging world, possibly no event is bigger than Dewey's Read-a-Thon (link to the FAQ page on the official blog). It's a twice-a-year 24-hour reading orgy, with prizes, mini-challenges, and cheerleaders (people who are assigned to visit your blog and cheer you on) and everything. I have observed the goings-on each time they hold it, but have never jumped in and participated, mainly because I find it hard to do anything for 24 hours. Plus, in the past, the date was never a convenient one for me.
This year, however? It's this Saturday, October 18, and I'm jumping in with both feet. One of the nice things about this read-a-thon is that it has no hard and fast rules about how one participates. Of course, the ultimate goal and expectation is that people will stay up for 24 hours and read as much as they can in that timeframe. But really, it's all about personal goals. So participants have carte blanche to modify the rules to suit their own ends. Some prizes are available only to people who partake of the full meal deal, of course, but there seems to be something in the read-a-thon for everyone.
So the other day, about 24 hours before signups closed, I signed up. (Anyone can participate at any time, but to be guaranteed to get on the list for being visited by cheerleaders, prizes, etc., there was a signup deadline. At last count, over 700 bloggers have signed up for the read-a-thon.) But I am approaching the read-a-thon on a personal best level, at least this time around:
- I won't be staying up the full 24 hours. I'm not sure I could have done that when I was young and foolish, so I'm pretty sure I can't do it now that I'm old and foolish. Plus, I have a church job that requires me to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed pretty early on Sunday mornings, so I need my beauty rest for that. The read-a-thon starts on Saturday at 7 AM in my time zone, so I am envisioning that I will probably read most of the day, stay up reading as late as I can on Saturday night, and then get up early Sunday morning and finish off the read-a-thon before it ends at 7 AM.
- I'm not even sure I can put my life on hold enough to do nothing but read all day and all night on Saturday, so I am going to commit to reading as much as I can, but when I need to do something else, I am going to do it. Baby steps!
- The conventional wisdom from bloggers who have done the read-a-thon for years is that the best approach is to choose short, captivating books that will keep you pressing ahead, and not heavy, boring, complex tomes that will bog you down. Accordingly, I have chosen two books that should fit the bill:
All Hallows' Eve by Vivian Vande Velde
OK, I do realize this is pretty low-hanging fruit. It's a book of YA short stories. So it shouldn't make me even break a sweat. However, it's the right time of year for this kind of reading, and I need something that will be an easy start. I should be able to finish this book no matter what else I do during the read-a-thon, and that's kind of the whole idea.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
I bought this book a few weeks ago on the strength of all the fantastic reviews it was getting, but I wasn't quite sure when I was going to read it. Plus, I have never read any Gaiman before, so I wasn't sure if I would like it or not (despite the rave reviews). BUT.... it's a small book (around 180 pages). And it's supposed to be a really, really good story. So I am adding this to the read-a-thon list also. I might actually be able to finish it as well.
And that is that. Two books. No sense in shooting myself in the foot before I begin. And if I read these two books in the space of 24 hours, that will be a first for me in my reader's life, so that will be something of an achievement all by itself. And if I do by some miracle get through these two books and have gobs of spare time left, I bet I can find another book to read in the ever-growing TBR pile.
Is anyone else joining me in the read-a-thon? If so, what are your plans and what are you reading? If not, has anyone read these two books before (especially the Gaiman), and what did you think?