10.19.2009

Concerning Read-a-thon

THE BOOKS


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 SNACKS


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.


THE CHARITY


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.


THE SNEAKY, SNEAKY SECRETS


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...

24 comments:

Amanda said...

I think you'll be fine with your books. If one doesn't work for you, you can always do other things.

Rotten surprises? As long as they don't involve that weird McDonalds video again, I'll be okay.

I had some ideas about D&BD but I won't mention them here and give away video spoilers...

Regarding page count - instead of counting pages double, why don't you just say 5cents for each regular page, and 10cents for each poetry or Finnegan page?

And please don't make me mousse. I really honestly don't want to eat a lot of chocolate during this readathon. I want to avoid it as much as possible.

Amanda said...

whoops! forgot to subscribe to f/u comments...

Eva said...

I agree w/ Amanda-your pile has enough variety now that you should be fine!

Orlando was my very first book by Woolf, when I was 15, and I adored it. I'm jealous of that Silence poem. :p

Debi said...

When I grow up I want to be as classy and sophisticated as you! Really I honestly, truly do.

I sort of felt proud of myself that I'd actually read two of those books on your list. But then I decided they didn't really even count. Because well, everyone has read Catcher in the Rye (and I am curious to see if you like it as much now...gotta admit my reread wasn't as satisfying as the original) and the other, In Cold Blood, being true crime (albeit well-written true crime), it just doesn't seem to have that same "sophisticated" feel. What does give me slight hope for myself is the fact that some of your others are on my wish list or TBR pile. That's something, right? (Hey, I cling to any little thing I can.) And you did just make me add something new to my wish list, too...the Riis book! What other muckraker writings have you been reading? Annie and I were recently delving into their world...and now I really want to read Tarbell's History of Standard Oil.

Yikes...I'm sorry for babbling here. Will commence shutting up.

Jason Gignac said...

Amanda - I promise, no creepy clowns with scary music... GOOD surprises! Good ones, I promise! I won't even install Dune! I don't think I know what you mean on page count prices... and I promise, no Mousse or chocolate.

Ms Eva - I hope it works better - I know it's not Ms Woolf's fault, and I really feel like I want us to get on together :D.

Ms Debi - One of the reasons I like being unpopular is because people CAN feel unrestrained leaving long, rambling comments, so please do, I love long comments! :) I've read two muckrackers this year: Sinclair's 'The Jungle', and Nellie Bly's 'Ten Days in a Madhouse'. I really want to read Ms Tarbell as well, and have Mr Sinclair's two books about coal mining ('King Coal' and 'The Coal War') on my list as well, and on a different note, I'd like to read Addams Hull House book. I'm glad someone else likes Muckrackers, I don't feel so dumb now! :)

And, I'm NOT sophisticated (and, considering her wrote Breakfast at Tiffany's, I imagine Mr. Capote WAS sophisticated!). If I was sophisticated, I wouldn't be allowed to make goofy death voices, or draw human size board games in Duct Tape, or be as monumentally stupid as I am all the time, so that's WAY too much responsibility for me :). Thanks for commenting!

Emily said...

"Yay! Sarah Waters! Hurrah!"

My thoughts exactly.

So I have a guilty confession to make...I don't really understand the appeal of the readathon. Like, at all. I feel like I'm the only book-blogger out there for whom this is true. BUT that's such a great-looking collection of books, anyway! And oh, I love Orlando so; I hope you like it too. I also still love Catcher in the Rye, which I guess makes me an anomaly. Which is cool. :-)

Jason Gignac said...

Ms Emily - Well, I'm not as talented socially as my lovely wife, so I'm not as good at the meeting real people part, but it will be fun to do with my wife, and I think that some books will be more fun to experience all in one setting, you know? But, I'm glad you like the pile :).

Debi said...

LOL...I think you are both sophisticated and fun! Or how about this--you're a lovable goofball with sophisticated reading tastes. (By the way, the term "lovable goofball" was your charming wife's...I wouldn't have just called you that on my own. But I am extremely partial to the term, as it applies so very well to Hagr...er, my own husband, too.)

BTW, you are soooo tempting me to break my buying ban...I really want to get Ten Days in a Madhouse now! Was is as good as it sounds? Annie and I just read The Jungle a couple months ago. I was so afraid she was going to hate me for assigning it, but she really loved the book.

Jason Gignac said...

Oh there's no need to pay for it! You can read the whole thing online, even with the original pictures - honestly I imagine it would be difficult to find in print. It's at http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/bly/madhouse/madhouse.html. Otherwise, you can also listen to it on Librivox, I believe, though I haven't heard the recording. The Jungle is a fascinating book! From the socialist perspective of it, I'd also like to read Maxim Gorky's Mother, and Aleksander Blok's The Twelve, and Che Guevara's Motorcycle Diaries. And Richard Wright, but that's a different sort of book I imagine... and, I'd like to read Emma Goldman's biography - if you like Muckrackers, she was a REALLY interesting turn of the century troublemaker...

Chris said...

Dude...I'm TOTALLY making chocolate pudding now for the readathon!! That's the best idea ever :D I think I'm going with that and Eva's famous readathon Chex mix as my snacks. Something sweet and something salty. And apples...I always need apples.

I love your book list! You put together one hell of a list for the readathon. I've always wanted to read Gaskell, but I've yet to read any :/ I'm scared of classics to be honest with you. I'm too dense to get the language. Except for Dickens. He's like an old friend. But I saw the BBC production of Cranford and really liked it! Persepolis is SO GOOD!! I read it last readathon and it was just perfect. Such a great GN. I think you'll really like it. And Sylvia Plath :D I used to love her as a teen and haven't read her since. I miss her poetry. I need to go back to it. Silence sounds amazing! Can't wait to hear more on that one! I hadn't heard of it!!

I love your charities too! I always give to the Young Writers Program for NaNoWriMo during the Fall and then give to a humanitarian charity in the spring. So NaNo is getting my money this time. But that Haitian charity sounds like a really great one.

You crack me up with your spice drops :p And I can't wait to see what DABD have planned for us during the readathon!

Amanda said...

Chris - if you can read Dickens, I know a lot of classics that are a helluva lot easier and less dense! I love classics, and I have yet to get through any Dickens book!

Jason Gignac said...

Mr Chris - to be frank, since Amanda isn't eating chocolate pudding, I'm going to get some tapioca and make fresh tapioca pudding. Or bread pudding. I'm not actually a chocolate kind of person, which I know is a shameful thing. Hrm... which, which, which to make...
As for classics, they're not as intimidating as your high school teacher made them out to be. After a bit of exposure to your blog, I have to ask, have you ever read and George MacDonald? I read Lilith last year, and it was a GREAT book - you can totally see why Tolkien liked him. And if you want to read poetry, go for Robert Browning. Like, did you ever have to read Porphyria's Lover? IT reminds me of the kind of books I've seen on your blog, too...

Thank you, I'm glad you like the charities. I always feel sad, because I know they both need lots of help, and I'm not the most erudite person to promote them. :) And, I'd love to claim that I found Silence through my encyclopedic knowledge of Medieval lit, but that would be a lie. There was some copies on clearance at Halfprice Books, and I picked it up on a whim, then read the description, and have been itchign to read it since... but, if you want book suggestions, honestly, ask Amanda, because people don't usualyl agree with my taste - I kind of like boring stuff, I guess...

Amanda said...

Mmm...tapioca...

Memory said...

For what it's worth, I've read THE CATCHER IN THE RYE three times - once at fifteen, once at eighteen and once at twenty-five - and I have yet to grow out of it. :) Good luck with your read-a-thon!

Jason Gignac said...

Amanda - Yay! Tapioca!

Ms Memory - It sounds like SOME people still like it, so I hope I do :). Thank you for dropping in, I don't believe I remember you commenting before :).

Debi said...

Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I actually did find it to purchase...it looks like Wildside Press just reprinted it earlier this year. But free on-line doesn't break the buying ban. :)
Oh, but on the other hand you're killing me with all these fabulous sounding suggestions! Did you enjoy The Motorcycle Diaries? I've almost picked that up before, but stopped myself. (I have really bad habit of worrying that I won't understand books, and thus avoid reading all kinds of things I'm sure I'd actually love.)

Jason Gignac said...

Ms Debi - Well, I don't know, I haven't read it yet... but my friend who is from Mexico has read it and seen the film and says both are excellent :)

Debi said...

Ahhh...this would be the reason you said "like to read" not "had read"...and thus, you get a glimpse at why I don't trust myself as a reader. ;)

Jason Gignac said...

No, no, I do that all the time! :D

Jeanne said...

Like Eva, I loved Orlando when I read it. You're making me think I should reread it. A good follow-up book (and an easy YA read) might be Cycler, by Lauren McLaughlin.

Karenlibrarian said...

Wow, tons of great books on your list! I think you're pretty brave with Joyce, though, that would probably put me to sleep. In Cold Blood is amazing, Capote is a wonderful writer. I haven't read Sarah Waters but I saw the movie adaptation of Fingersmith and I could not stop watching, it was wonderful.

Wish I could do the readathon too, but it's the kids' school carnival AND the Texas Library Association meeting that day. I think I may try to do a part-day readathon, but I know I can't stay up all night. But I'll be following your blog and cheering you on.

Amy said...

Wow those are some interesting and eclectic readathon choices!! (and heavy...you won't catch me reading many of those ;)

Rebecca Reid said...

An awesome, mind-numbing list. I just can't imagine reading in the middle of the night at all, let alone Finnegan's Wake, but Persepolis and/or Catcher will probably be better at those hours. Unless you feel like killing Holden, which may happen.

I'm glad my ideas were inspirations! Happy reading!

(Emily, I am KIND OF in your boat in not understanding the read-a-thon. I partially do: I LOVE The idea of reading all day. But No Way, Jose, would I give up all night of sleep.)

Jason Gignac said...

Ms Jeanne - I have not heard of that one - is it based on Orlando?

Ms Karen - Now I feel bad! My boys are missing the carnival for Readathon. But they get to go to Grandma's house! Quick, come assuage my guilt...

Ms Amy - (laugh) Yeah, I've gotten that a lot. I'm not cool like you guys. I have loser-ish taste ;).

Ms Reid - After finding out how many people come visit on REadathon, I'm actually kind of intimidated now... I'll post about that later. But, on the bright side, hopefully Haiti and the Rroma will get some visibility from it.