Readathon - Good Night!

Well, It's that time, I think. My statistics are pretty awful compared to the rest of you extraordinarily fast readers: I finished 3 and a half books, at a grand total of only 829 pages, having read about 21 hours and 30 minutes. But, I did get to read some very lovely books, and managed not to make a terrible fool of myself, and see some wonderful people read for a very long time. And, at least a LITTLE money will go to the Romany and Haitian charities from me, if not a GREAT deal :). Good Night!

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Survey Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Well, I only read four, not being as clever as you guys. No one was really more intimidating than the others. IF I had to choose one, probably Affinity, because it had so many characters. 2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Well, I didn't read very many, but Silence was remarkably easier than I thought it would be :). 3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? The mini-challenges, there just felt like there were so many of them, that I kind of got overwhelemed and ignored most of them. But that's probably just me... and being reader of the hour was nerve wracking. But again, that's just me. 4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I thought the cheerleaders seemed to be dispatched pretty efficiently :) 5. How many books did you read? 3 and half 6. What were the names of the books you read? Orlando, Silence, The Wreath (from Kristin Lavransdatter), Affinity 7. Which book did you enjoy most? Orlando, definitely, hands down. 8. Which did you enjoy least? Eh... probably Silence. It was fun, but just couldn't stack up in meatiness to the others. But it was good too. I can't complain about any of them. 9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? Honestly, no. I still don't totally understand how cheerleading works, and kind of just put up posts and then hid away :P. 10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I will probably do it again, ig schedule permite s - it all depends on babysitting though, since I wouldn't want Amanda to miss it :).

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6:00 Update - Readathon

Very nearly there. Had some business, then the slowness fo picking a book, and I'm reading a bit slower now as well, but still awake, and perhaps that's all I can ask :). Affinity is a lovely book, so far, though I certainly won't be finishing it this evening, I'll be reading as much as I can until bedtime. One more hour, and then won't my bed feel lovely :)

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3:30 update

It's late now, and feels late. I finishe dOrlando, and finally settled on Affinity by Sarah Waters, which luckily has the same vibrant prose and engaging characters as Fingersmith, at least so far, so it's helping me along. Thinking of getting a little something to nibble on. Wondering if I'll take Amanda out to IHOP... :P

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Tarot Reading for Mr.Chris

Well, we'll see if this even works... Mr. Chris asked for a tarot reading regarding his plans about building a private psych practice. This is my first time doing a public, internet posted tarot reading, so be gentle with me... :D

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Eva's Tarot Reading

So, I had a little contest this week for readathon, giving away to any of my regular readers a late night tarot reading on a topic of their choice. Originally the winner was the inestimable Ms Debi, but, wonderful saint that she is, she abdicated her prize, and gave it to Ms Eva, sort of as a thank you for all the hard work she's been doing for the readathon (yay Ms Debi! yay Ms Eva!). So, here goes!

I was originally going to videotape this, much like I videotaped the one for Mr Chris that I will also be posting tonight. However, since Ms Eva said she had no preference, and my sonorous (ie, loud) tones were likely to prevent my beloved wife from taking a little mid-readathon nap, I'm going to go ahead and give you a written reading, instead. I've never actually done this, and to warn you, I get pretty long-winded, and I know next to nothing about my topic, because it's about romance, and Amanda was the first woman I dated, and I did a botchy job even of that. But, I'll do the best I can :).

So, let's go ahead and start, I shuffled, and Ms Eva, in your absence, I cut the deck, here is your spread:

Just a general observation, to start with, I thought it was interesting, all of your cards are upside down except two - one of those being the card signifying the past, the other being the impediment to your finding love. As a general rule, this can mean a few things: either the question does not deserve your full energies, or that your question is not quite the right question to ask, as it were. More on that on the last card.

So, let's start at the beginning and move forward. The card in the center, which signifies who you are in the situation, is the Knight of Cups, reversed. This Knights generally signify gallantry and courage, but also a quickness of action and impetuousness - they are, sort of, the card of adolescence, when you have much more energy, and still have the ability to dream larger than 'grownups', but also the raw emotion of that energy that can be problematic. I find this particularly interesting, because you drew the Cups, which being the quintesentially 'feminine' suit are connected very strongly with Love. People who are actively, desperately seeking love, for instance, will often have a very knight of cups attitude - a great depth of emotion, and a headstrong willfulness in applying that energy to whoever comes handy. You, however, have the card in reverse, which would imply one of two things: either you are supressing some natural desire for love and companionship, that may bubble up in uncomfortable and unpredictable ways, or that you simply are not interested in love, actively - the idea is nice, in a calm, dreamy sort of way, but it's just not that important to you. Either of these could be valid.

The card is particularly interesting with the next two cards: The Emperor, which is your impediment card (that which is opposing you in the question), and the King of Cups, which is your past. Cups, being again a feminine suit, are most strongly typified in the Queen of Cups - the Aphrodite card, as it were (I drew it yesterday for Chris in a very significant position). The King of Cups, rather, is the urge to put a check on these passions. Your past, your growing up, etc, have taught you how to face the ideas of love with a reasonable, even-handed psyche. This has it's advantages and disadvantages, of course, something which connects to the Emperor - the Emperor is one of only two Major ARcana (ie, really important) cards you drew in this spread, and acts as the quintessence of the rule-giver, or in classical ideas, the 'father'. In Love, the father, stereotypically, is teh jealous protector, the guardian of his daughter's honor, who works against the suitor, to make sure he does not succeed to easily, that he proves his worth, etc. In you, this card (particularly in connection with the King of Cups) has become deeply ingrained in who you are. You're too smart to just be stupid about something as important as love, and as the sanctity of the self. You are your own censor, when it comes to love - which naturally leads to the position of the Knight of Cups, we mentioned earlier. As a child, you learned to view love from a reasonable place, to guard and protect yourself, and this has put you in a place where you are not vulnerable to the 'temptations' of love.

Vulnerability, of course, is a funny thing, something which you see in the Queen of Swords. Right side up, the Queen of Swords is akin to Diana - the Huntress Virgin Goddess (also one of my very most favorite, and beautiful cards!). Reversed, however, we are presented with warnings alongside of praise: The Queen of Swords as it once independent and lonely. The Queen of Swords reversed, particularly in a love reading, is something like Diana without the love of her nymphs. She is simply alone. Wise, safe, and very alone.

Above you, you have the forces that are around you in this question, those forces being the 8 of wands, reversed. The 8 of wands right side up is the card of change, while reversed, it talks about rigidity and ossification. The situations in which you are living are slowly ossifying - this is a natural result of growing up, to some extent, of course, as we find who we are, and settle into our identities, as we mature, the world around us settles into an identity as well, and becomes what it is, to some extent. Inside of you, have the force of the Knight of Swords, reversed. The knight of swords is the force of pure chivalry, the true, classic knight, as it were. Reversed, however, you have the darker aspects of knighthood - inflexibility, rigidity, and cold reserve.

I guess that sounds bad. I don't think it's ALL bad, and I think the side cards will clarify that somewhat.

Usually, the cross itself is the direct answer to your question - it is situational. The side cards are predictive - vague, but powerful.

In the bottom, then, you see the person you are - and Strength reversed is a really interesting card here, because it implies a desire to control outcomes by force of will - to make sure that the right thing happens to you, as it were. The VII of cups, in terms of being the world around you, especially your friends and family, is probably the most interesting card in this spread to me: Right side up, the VII of cups is the traveller who has the gifts of love and beauty, but who continues to travel, and does not rest on his/her laurels. Upside down, however, it implies looking the wrong way for what is in front of your face. In terms of the question you are asking, then, the cards say, that what it is you really want is right in front of you - just not in the sense that you're looking for it. On the one hand, this could mean that you have what you need without looking for a 'significant other' - that romance is just simply not that important, and that the search for it will distract you from the beautiful love you already have in the world. On the other, it might imply that action is inaction - that searching for love drives it away, that it needs to be waited for, and found spontaneously in the midst of good, loving life.

This ties in nicely with the hopes and fears card - the Ace of Swords being the quintessence of it's suit, it calls to mind the two other swords you have, saying that, reversed, there is a part of you that worries, that you don't know how to be safe and to seek out love at the same time, and that you're afraid that prudence will turn to timidity, or that you will have to give up prudence altogether.

But, the PAge of Wands, in the position of gentle whisperer (the card that whispers in your ear the thing you coudl not ask) says that, perhaps, this isn't really the question to ask. Reading this card is always a sticky business, but if I were to hazard a guess, it would be this:

We live in a society that naturally tells us (especially women) that one of the duties of life is to seek out and find someone else, that 'significant other' that your question indicts. The implication is that we are not truly complete until we find the one that completes us. The Page of Wands typifies this, the wnaderer who goes out journeying after something, but who is seeking in the wrong place. Love is the spontaneous gift of a world that we make more beautiful by living. Living beautifully produces love in the same way that planting seeds produces crops - naturally, and humbly, perhaps mroe floridly if forced or teased, but more strongly and with a certain homely, healthy grace if left with the gentle care of a steward. OVerall, your cards seem to point to a problem in the question - either you need to stop looking for love, and wait for love to come, or you need to stop taking men up and examining them so closely - you must learn to love less reasonably, and more organically. Either way could be true. OR something else altogether. HEaven knows I'm not that talented of a card reader :).

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Orlando in pictures

I've just finished Orlando, and now must take a little break to post my tarot readings. First, though, in the Spirit of Memorys mini challenge, here's my visual representation of Ms Woolfs beautiful book

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11:00 Update - Readathon

Ms Woolf and I about two thirds of the way through our little trip, and I'm a little nervous to say so, but I'm feeling a little chummy, we'll see how it turns out. It really is a wonderful story! I'm just about to embark on the 19th century, after leaving behind Dryden, Swift and Pope and their ilk. Drank a won'ful won'ful bottle of San Pellegrino that did an admirable job of helping me NOT feel like ate a hogshead of sugar this morning (ie, it's lying pleasantly to me). I have a mild concern as I've finished all my spice drops... I should be opening them now, not finishing them! Jason, you fool!

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Tribute to an Invisible Thing

I never met Dewey - I simply don't have a long enough pedigree, I'm afraid, to have been here long enough. Amanda, I know, had read her blog a few times, but was again too late in the game to really know her that well. So, I don't really even know her second hand. I only knew her thirdhand. Sometimes 4th, or 5th, or 6th hand. Which means that you any tribute I offer is going to be kind of obtuse. Since I know and love so many people who DID know and love her, I apologize if the tribute comes off that way. In fact, I will admit that (like most of the other mini-challenges), my general timidity and laziness (and to defend myself a bit, the fact that I've been engrossed in some very delicious books) had suggested to me that perhaps I should just skip this challenge. In the grand scheme of things, I'll feel kind of blushingly silly anyway, if I win a prize for writing a tribute to someone I never had the opportunity to meet. And that last opinion does still stand - I am TOTALLY not accepting the prize if my name comes out of the hat. But. Nonetheless, despite the fact that my readership is so tiny as to make a tribute insignificant, despite the fact that the word 'tribute' makes me longwinded, thus negating the possiblity that most people will have time to read it on a day like readathon, and despite, agian, my terrible ignorance on the subject, I have this little nagging desire to write something up about Ms Dewey. I never met her. I've met a number of other, I guess, pillars and old priests and priestesses of the book blogging community, who knew her, who talk about her, who love her (present tense, yes). But I never met her. As a book blogger, even in the strangest smallest little way that I can call myself one, this has a strange feeling, it is something like growing up and suddenly getting sufficiently old to realize that your mother is dead, that you never knew her. There is a hole in your family, a hole that the ones you love feel keenly and openly and honestly. And yet... it's a whole that you don't know how to trace, a hole that you cannot even imagine the feeling of filledness about, a hole that you feel desperately as if you'd like to love, but that when you move to go and kiss the cheek there, there is no cheek, no face, no warm mother arms, just a chair, a chair that is empty, that has always been empty, that in your small, child's sense, will always be empty. There is a hollowness, and still a raw one there, a hollowness that's very inscrutability speaks to the depth of the one who filled it before it was empty, and a sense of very bashful loss to that, a loss you cannot really put into words - and that, really, you'd feel silly trying, since you know you cannot ever FEEL that loss with the reality of the ones who were there, the ones who saw the chair before it was a raw and empty wound. Perhaps... perhaps I make something more of it than it is. Chairs, like the place of mothers in families, will be filled, in some sense, I suppose. New matriarchs find their footing, families learn to walk around the craters left behind. But still, there is the feeling, the strange and glassy sort of sadness, of finding momentos of things you cannot remember, locks of hair from a head you've never seen, rings and gloves from a hand you've never held. It is not a thing to think much of for yourself, but it is the only small way, that little people, like me, can understand the little deweyness of the eyes (and ironically, I didn't originally intend that as a play on words... ) of the people that we DO know and love, the people that we DO look up to, who do come and tend us when we scratch our knees. IT is the sort of hole that becomes a poem, in one way or another, that becomes one stitch in Ms Debi's crocheted pumpkins, or one ribbon in Ms Nymeth's Bookmarks, one little word of Ms Eva's careful, crystal prose, and maybe, just a tiny bit, the tiniest echo of a far off syllable ringing even down through a little blog like this. Ms Dewey, though I never met you, I'm happy to have the privilege of missing you, even in my little way.

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7:00 update & 9:00 update

OK... that was a little nerve-wracking, but I'm not dead, that's good... lots of commenters, and I have not bitten off my fignernails, I'm ok. Phew! OK. Going on. So, now I'm in Orlando, and Virginia is being ever so kind, and I'm trying to be slow and polite so as not to remind her of my past Woolf-reading bungles, and it's going quite well, actually. I'm slow - still - so I'm not too far into it, but I already have this delicious curled up and happy feeling in the middle of the words, which is really wonderful to have. My stats so far... 513 pages, and 10hrs 55min. And.... apparently I never clicked the Publish Post button, on my 7:00. Heh. So, it's 9:00 now, and Orlando is WONDERFUL! I was tweeting about this too, but the problem in my reading Ms Woolf is that I always feel like I'm going to a reunion, and seeing this wonderfully intelligent, bright eyed aunt, who's terribly polite, but who I'm just not smart enough for her to really care a fig about. Which I don't take personally, and I've twisted and warped and mistreated Ms Woolf so much, that I'm surprised she lets me sti at her table at all. But ORlando, is a beautiful book! I'm still not smart enough, but the wonderful auntie is now quietly telling stories to some other clever auntie in the corner, and indulgently, is letting her blockheaded nephew sit close enough enough to over hear. Every once in a while she even turn and winks playfully. Which is nice. Now, I'm at... 575 pages, about, and 12 hours 55 minutes

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Book Complete!

Finished reading silence! What a strange, strange trip, that was... The entire thing is something like the scenes in movies, where everyone listens to a bawdy story in an old tavern and drinks ale, and sings 'Heigh Ho'... and what it says about the role of women in medieval society is fascinatingly complex! So, onward and upwards. I know Amanda thinks it's a bad plan, but I'm itching to read Orlando by Ms Woolf. We have a historically troubled relationship, the two of us (Me and Ms Woolf, not me and Amanda), so hopefully she'll be forgiving with me today :).

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5:00 update - Readathon

Oh dear... I'm told I'm in the reader of the hour category... Lord bless and keep this blog through trial and adversity... Last two hours have gone very well - Silence is a fun book (though as with most stuff this old, one has to be prepared to accept the sometimes rampant classism and sexism). I honstly didn't expect it to be this amusing - sometimes on purpose, sometimes not (I now know two different old french slang phrases for 'homoesexual' - you just never know when that might come in handy...). I've read through 391 pages, and have read 9hours and 15 minutes. Yay! I threw our lasagna in the oven, after dinner I'll be reading for a bit, and then prepping for Eva's big Tarot reading! Huzzah!

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My collection...

I'm actually a really poor collector, but I do have a drawer full of things my boys have mad over the years...

That last one, if you can't tell, is the pyramids by the Nile river... :)

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3:00 (almost) update.

Kristin Lavransdatter was a wonderful, beautiful, perfect book to read this morning. I just finished it a bit, and if it's not on your TBR list, you should think of putting it there. I really enjoyed it. Now onwards! I've now read for 7 hours and 10 minutes, and have read 291 pages. Next, I'm going to read Silence - it's an epic poem, so the reading might slow down, a bit, but I'm looking forward to it AND I promised it to Ms Eva when I finished it, so I need to read it. If you've never heard of it (I only came across it by accident) look up the synop on Wikipedia, it's a FASCINATING find. I hope it turns out good, now!

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TOTALLY didn't know how miserable this book was going to get. Good thing it isn't 3 am... I've now also eaten a bowl of Spaghetti-O's, half a bag of gumdrops, most of a bag of dried apricots, and a plate of Pierogies. I think it's time for Jason to not eat for a while.... So far, I've read 232 pages, and 5.5 hours...

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11 0 Clock REadathon Update

Yes, still just poking along - I'd like to say this is because my book is so terirbly hard, but that would be a lie - Ms Lavransdatter is a BEAUTIFUL book, and I'n loving it to pieces :). I'm now on page 158 (pretty paltry for 4 hours, but oh well), and have read thre hours and 35 minutes. So I imagine I won't get as far along in my pile as I would have liked, but such is life! AT this rate I'll be done with this book midafternoon... Aside from dull statistics... Woke up this morning achey in the bones, after sleeping funny all night, and Kristin is the perfect companion for being mildly uncomfortable. The world of Kristin feels like this world that is sort of obliviously malevolent, this gloss of general pleasantness and pretty things, all strummed over an underlying, barely submerged force. Not a malevolent one, it's worse than that, because it doesn't really just want to hurt people - the world is just sort of this great lumbering predator that can kill in good conscience because it has no other choice

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Readathon Update for 9 o'Clock

Ate some wheat chex, saw that Readathon is in fact trending, as per the mini challenge this hour: hurrah! We talk a lot! Yay! ;) I'm reading the first book of Kristin Lavransdatter, and am actually a little embarrased, I thoguht I read faster than this, but am enjoying the book. Ms Undset had a beautiful eye for details... So far I've read 100 minutes, and have finished 69 pages...

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Hello, Readathon!

Alright, so the epic journey begins! Reading for 24 hours. First up this morning, I will reading the first book of 'Kristin Lavransdatter'. Not sure how much else to say, excep tI'm sitll kind of jittery nervous about all teh new visitors, and don't want to take too much of your time. I haven't prepped ahead of time for posting, like my beautiful and well-prepared wife, so we'll see how this goes. Notably, if you want to see the DABDBH highlights throughout the day, they will be at her blog at zenleaf.blogspot.com. Over here, the Tarot reading giveaway, abdicated beautifully by the infinitely wonderful Debi, to the infinitely hardworking Eva, will be posted up here at about 5:00 am, to sort of perk me up late at night - I THINK I'll just put it and the tarot reading for Chris up at the same time. But, to both Eva and Chris, the readings are not terrifically short, so if you want to not listen to them tonight, I TOTALLY understand... I may not be responding to all my comments here, so please nobody be offended if I seem to ignore you! Much love and Readathon hurrahs!

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Tarot Giveaway - WINNER!

OK, the winner is.... Ms Debi! OK, Ms Debi, I think you have my email address, so if you can email the following: 1) Do you want the reading public or private? 2) Do you want it video, or text with images? 3) What is your question? For question guidelines, check the last post :). Look forward to reading your fortune! I'd say it should include a tall, dark-haired, heavily bearded gamekeeper in your future... UPDATE: I got a message from Ms Debi, the nicest lady in the whole wide world, who says that she would like to abdicate her prize to Ms Eva, since she's been working so hard on prepping REadathon for everyone else. So, Eva, that means you are now the winner! Send me your question and stuff, and we'll read you... :). And, since only three of you entered, p'haps I will find some time to read the other two of you next week or so, too :).

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Readathon - final preparation

Ready as I will ever be! Here's my final preparations

My happy seat, where I will try not to worry about meeting so many new people all at once...

...and my snacks: San Pellegrino, sweet apple chamomile herbal tea, spice drops (um... A few are missing *blush*), dried apricots, and Ginger Thai noodles...

... And my nest for curling up in while reading. Dabdbh dropped by already to set up videos for tomorrow, I made a lasagna for the fridge, and I will draw my Tarot winer in an hour or so. Here goes nothing!

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Readathon Tarot Reading Giveaway

So, round about, say, 3:00 in the morning on Readathon, I'm thinkin' I'll need a little pick-me-up. And that, my dear friends, is where you come in. I have an old hobby of Tarot card reading, not one I'm TERRIBLY talented at, but one that's fun to do anyway. So, would any of guys like to have your tarot read late, late night on Readathon day?  Here's your chance! Enter in the comments below, for your opportunity to have your fortune told by the Great Jasini! ;)

I was originaly going to put this up ON the day of Readathon, but I'm posting it today, and will close the contest about 10 pm tomorrow. The reason for this is really simple - I'm not actually psychic, not even a little bit, so if I'm going to read your cards, I have to know you, at least a little bit. I am not going to place any restrictions on the contest, because most of the people who would be entering today or tomorrow, I hope, are people I know somewhat.

So, here's the guidelines of Jason's Tarot Giveaway:
1) I'm not psychic. Please don't make like I'm psychic. :D
2) You must provide a question - this is the most important part. The question must be open-ended, and is best asking for elucidation and information, rather than predictions and hard facts - predictions and hard facts are both notoriously unreliable, and actually pretty useless. Bad Questions: Who am I going to marry? How many kids will I have? Will my business succeed? Better Questions: What can I do to improve my romantic chances? What can I focus on so I will be a good mother/father? Is this a good time for me to start a business?
3) I very seldom have clearcut answers. I'm like the elves: Do not ask an elf for advice, for they shall say neither yea or nay. ;).
4) In connection with number 1, it is very helpful if you can write up a few paragraphs telling me information about your question. Example: "My question is, what can I do to improve my romantic chances? I'm a young heterosexual female, living in a large city, but I have a tendency to be overly quiet in social situations. My last few boyfriends have been kind of domineering and selfish. I'd really like to meet someone nice, and understanding, who can accept me for who I am. I really like (insert kind of person, here), and do not like (insert kind of person here)."
5) You do not have to insert your details or questions in the comments. You can email them to me if you win.
6) Please let me know, also, if you want me to make this a public, or private reading. Either way is fine, I just don't want to pop it up on the blog if it's somethign that will embarrass you. :)

Anyway, like I said, it's just for fun, and I promise I really will do the reading in the middle of the night, which should... erm... add a special something to my lucidity... ;). To enter, just leave a comment below, and just for fun, let me know any experience you have with fortune telling (I've actually never had my tarot or fortune told by anyone besides myself, so I assure you, this isn't a contest for experience!). I'll pick the winner randomly tomorrow evening :). Chris, I'm going to do your reading today, so you can't enter!

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Nervousness about Readathon

So... here's the thing.

I'm apparently a total ignoramus, and have no idea how readathon works. I mean, sure, I'd heard about cheerleaders, and stuff, but I guess I didn't, like... take that SERIOUSLY. I mean, I figured, I'm in this tidy little out of the way corner of Bloggeria, right? So, maybe I'll get, oh, a few comments here and there from random clickers, but not very many, cheerleader would drop by two or three times, and that would be nice.

Apparently this is not how it works. Amanda tells me to expect, sometimes 20, even 30 comments on my posts on readathon day.

I hope that the very talented and very nice people who organize readathon won't take this wrong, because I really mean this in a nice way, but this SCARES THE LIVING BEJEEZUS OUT OF ME.


At least they won't have time to read through the archives. But, even so, I don't know how to write posts that everybody will read. I mean, I know, a blog is public, and it's that way by design. But realistically? There's not very many people reading this (and that is the opposite of a complaint). I have, oh, maybe 10 people I can think of that really ever read this blog, regularly. I like that. I like having a small little circle of acquaintances, it's nice. I've mentioned before, I am not as brave as people like Nymeth, who can write up some beautiful things and know that a jillion people will read it. I'm not brave like that. And the idea that 20 or 30 people who I've never met will come in and read my silly little stupidities at 3:00 in the morning is kind of mind-crippling.

I honestly don't know what to do with it, and have no idea what I'll write on Readathon day, I even had a few panicky moments where I thought about not doing readathon, but I'm committed now, and I don't want to let Amanda, or my charities down. And Amanda reassures me it is fun. An idea which I'm having lots of trouble with, but I trust her, and I'm sure I'll get comments from some of you saying the same thing, but it's still terrifying. Sigh...

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Concerning Read-a-thon


Well, I think I have my readathon pile set - not because I've improved it, too much, but mostly because I've just realized that I'm not capable of being better than I am. But, thanks to some of my dear people especially Ms Reid and my dearest wife, who've helped me at least get it to a slightly better state. At this point, here's what I've got:

Henry IV parts I and II, by William Shakespeare
I read Richard II recently and actually found it confusing, but these are the next two, and I have an audio book for them, and since I usually do the cooking, and may end up running an errand or two, I figure I'd just as well have a few audio books lined up. I have these two from Librivox right now, and will listen to them when I need to listen. If they become stunningly captivating, I'll read them in my heavy, ugly edition of Shakespeare.

Elizabeth Gaskell: a Habit of Stories, by Jenny Uglow
I have developed an affection for Ms Gaskell after reading North and South, Cranford, and Life of Charlotte Bronte. I'm reading Wives and Daughters right now, as well, and am loving it. And, I have these vague interesting tidbits about her life that make me want to read her biography. Well, this one is a doozy, at 600 some odd pages, and is supposed to be very good. I guess it's longer than I should be reading at Read-a-thon, so it might wait, but if I end up feeling too miserable after some of my other selections,a nd want to read an old friend's biography, I'll pick this one up. Besides, I'm going to read it for the Gaskell Classics Circuit.

Persepolis and Persepolis II by Marjane Satrapi
A graphic novel about a girl growing up in Iran, then France, then back again. I honestly know very little about it except that it is supposed to be very good, and that it apparently has lovely art in it. I didn't have it on my list, but I heard I should have some graphic novels on tap, and Amanda suggested this one.

Silence by Heldris of Cornwall

Silence is an epic romantic poem from the Middle Ages, discovered at the beginning of the last century by accident, literally just stuck in a box in  someone's attic (wish I had THAT kind of attic!).  The story is about a woman, named Silence, which is fascinating all in itself, who is raised as a boy because her father wants to keep their property within the family (and of course, women can't inherit property). She then undregoes arguments with the allegorical characters of 'Nature' and 'Nurture' who try to convince her, respectively, to begin living as a woman or continue to live as a man. Fasc-i-na-ting!

The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath
I've read Sylvia Plath, but only things here and there. I'd like to read the whole collected poems. Sylvia and I use to be very close, but I took advantage of her intentions for too long, and drove her off from me for a long time. I don't expect her to come back to me, despite my real and honest love for her, but I need ot offer her the chance at some point...

Finnegan's Wake and the Skeleton Key to Finnegan's Wake
Well, I'm in the middle of these, and I have to admit, there's this intensely stupid part of me that thinks it would be fun to read one of the five books in the middle of the night. It is a book written in the form of a dream after all. I know, tell me how stupid I am...

Ash by Malinda Lo
Okay, after the less than glowing review from Saint Nymeth of the Immaculately Wonderful Taste, I'm a little nervous about this one. Which is a shame, because it sounds so beautiful. This is the sort of plot I would dream on a very lovely night. If I were that clever.

The Gardens of Emily Dickinson by Judith Farr
 A nonfiction book describing all the gardens of Emily's life: her flowerbeds, her hothouse garden, the imaginary Garden of Eden in her poetry, etc. Writing that out, I'm suddenly acutely aware of what a complete loser I am for thinking this sounds wonderful. Oh well...

Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
I'm actually just going to read the first of the three novels - if I don't read it during the Readathon, I'll read it in the week after, because I'm really excited about the big readalong on this book :).

Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier
While I love Rebecca (hurrah for Amanda finally reading it!), and love Daphne herself, I have to admit, I'm not sure if I'm going to pick this one up. I'm not in the spine-tingling gothic mood lately. So, we'll see. I put it in there, on Amanda's suggestion, because it really is the sort of book that will keep you unnaturally awake, I'm sure...

How the Other HAlf Lives by Jacob Riis
One of the world's first works of photojournalism, Jacob Riis, a crime reporter, travelled around the slums and tenements of New York City to document what life was like for the poverty, in unemotional, honest prose, and heart-wrenchingly frank photographs. After some of the other muckracker books I've read this year, I'm really looking forward to this one, and again, it has lots of pictures, which I suppose may help in the wee hours. Right?

Affinity by Sarah Waters
Yay! Sarah Waters! Hurrah!

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
A seminal book exploring the mind of a real murderer as a real human being - not a mindless monster or a tragic hero, just a person, with all the ambiguities that entails. I've actually never read anything by Mr. Capote, despite finding him endearingly creepy in 'Murder by Death'.

Orlando by Virginia Woolf
Amanda told me this is a really bad idea. She's probably right. Honestly, Ms Woolf has, in everything of herse I've read, been too smart for me. I read her and feel like I should probably quietly get out of the way so my betters can do whatever it is that needs to be done. But Orlando... I don't know. I've sort of mythologized the idea of it for reasons that I don't really understand.  And there is something about sitting down with Ms Woolf late, late in the evening, when I'm tired and ready to throw myself into the book and do nothign else, that feels like maybe... I don't know. Sort of like people come together when they go through something very difficult together. I know that makes very little sense. Oh well.

Memoirs of a Beatnik by Diane di Prima
Diane di Prima wrote one of the only female perspectives on Beatnik culture, and I've NEVER READ IT. I feel great personal shame about this, and nightly flagellate myself with whips of uncooked spaghetti noodles as penance. We're running out of Spaghetti, and this just seems like such a nice 'immerse in me' novel...

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
I read this book in high school, and have not since. I'm told that means when I reread it I won't like it, because I'm older now. I've never read Franny or Raise High the Roofbeam, and I want to read them, so I want to reread this first, I guess we'll see what happens. On the bright side, I'm immature and selfish, so perhaps I HAVEN'T grown out of it yet...

Alright, that's it. I have the Complete Maus en route through the library, as well, and will add it to my list if it comes in time, on Ms Reid's suggestion.


The thing is, I don't want to feel yucky the whole time, and that's what happens if I eat sugar, and I don't want to feel like I need to drink the whole time or like my tongue has
 been doused with hydrocholoric acid, and that's what happens when I eat too much salt. Which kind of narrows my options, I suppose.

Meals should be easy. Breakfast will be normal, just a bowl of cereal or something, and then lunch will be leftovers from whatever we eat the night before (that's the normal mode at Gignac House). Dinner, I'll be making some lasagna ahead of time, and I'll just throw it in the oven to heat up. Amanda tells me that last year she didn't eat a 'meal' per se in the night time, so probably I'll just get something trashy and frozen, like kolaches, to eat in the morning before throwing ourselves into bed.

Snackwise, I have some chamomile tea up in the pantry that I'll drink, and I think I'll get some blackberries and cream, and then, while I DEFINITELY need to spread them out over the day, I'm going to get a back of spice drops, because I LUV TEH SPAICE DROPPS. Otherwise, I'd like to make something ahead of time. Maybe some chocolate pudding for my lovely wife. Or mousse, that would be fun to make too.


I had two charities that I couldn't decide between, so, since I probably can't give enough to matter anyway, I will split my giving between the two in the hopes that at least all of my extremely wealthy readers will hear abotu the charities and be interested.

My first charity is Yele Haiti is a charity helping the poor of Haiti. It was founded by Wyclef Jean (yes, the one who was in the Fujis), who is a native Haitian, and maintains a strong local presence in Haiti, so it is generally very well regarded for doing the right thing with the right intentions, and is able to react quickly when there is a need - they reacted very quickly to the hurricanes in Haiti last year, for instance. For my Haitian friends, I'll do my page count gift - for every page I read, I'll be giving them 5 cents - and just FYI, I'm TOTALLY counting any page read of poetry or Finnegan's Wake double, which I think is probably fair. Haiti is a beautiful country with a rich and tragic history. It is the second oldest republic in the Western Hemisphere, but has had a long history of corruption, isolation, and racism from the Western world, largely because of a combination of racism, religious discrimination, and it's history as a nation of former slaves. Hopefully, my little sum will do something nice for someone there...

My second charity is the European Roma Rights Centre. While European nations have laws on the books protecting minorities and fighting against discrimination, when it comes to the Rroma these rules seem to be frequently ignored, particularly in Eastern Europe, where many of the Rroma live.  Because the Rroma are crushingly poor and violently marginalized, this is a remarkably easy thing to get away with. The ERRC works to provide legal aid and resources to Rroma all across the European Union. These cases cover a broad spectrum of problems, from police brutality to immigration issues to hate speech. The Rroma, again, are a group with a rich and beautiful history and a terrible tradition of being terrifically mistreated, matched historically in Europe perhaps only by the Jews, with whom they share the sad distinction of losing a huge fraction of their population in the Holocaust. So, I'll be doing my book count gift to help the Rroma, hopefully a little bit. For each book I finish, I will give $5 to the ERRC.


While I can't do as much for Amanda as I did last year, being as I'm READING in the readathon (sorry Manda :( ). I do have a FEW rotten tricks up my sleeve. Heh, heh, heh. And, for the rest of you, I believe Death and Baby Death will be making a few appearances throughout the day, and I'm trying to organize an itty-bitty-teeny-weeny giveaway, but nothing special, and I don't want to have a million visitors, so don't spread that around too much. BTW, Ms Trish, I know Death still owes you some puppets. Death and I are both extremely lazy and forgetful (thank goodness, on his part, I suppose). We will ship it, I promise... does Trish even read this blog? Hrm...

Read More......


Readathon Advice

I'm struggling to put together a reading list that doesn't make Amanda look at me like I'm crazy. So I'm enlisting my blogging friends who know better than i do. Here is my Readathon pile...

  • The Gardens of Emily Dickinson
  • Kristin Lavransdatter
  • The Eyre Affair
  • Ash
  • Orlando
  • Memoirs of a Beatnik
  • Affinity
  • In Cold Blood
  • some Shakespeare plays
  • How the Other Half Lives
  • Catcher in the Rye
  • Silence
  • Jamaica Inn
  • Mortal Love
So, Amanda says I have too many thick books and that my books are too heavy... Here's my problem though. If I put something in the pile that I don't want to read then I won't enjoy reading it - or more precisely, I will feel yucky because I'm reading something too far from what I'm feeling. So I picked books that feel the way I feel right now. On top of that, I tried to pick books that seem like there would be a special experience in reading them in one sitting and/or late at night when I imagine I'll beore emotionally vulnerable. So I don't want something that just keeps me awake - if I'm just reading in order to not sleep then I may as well go to sleep. I want to read BECAUSE i'm awake at 4 am, not in spite of it, you know? But I also know NOTHING about Readathon. Any suggestions?

Read More......