Tuesday, April 21, 2009


JaneGS has given me the One Lovely Blog Award (thank you kindly, Jane!) and posed a question down in the comments of the final readathon post. I thought I would paste her words and put my answer here.

Jane said:

I am all amazement--I love to read, but I can't imagine doing this. You clearly enjoyed the experience (i.e., you said you would do it again), but..but..are there any of the books you wished you didn't have to race through. Or maybe you didn't have a racing feeling, but just a reading for a long time feeling.

I participated in Dewey's very first readathon back in October 2007. I confessed then that I had the tendency to turn into a zombie-brain by 9 pm most nights, that I rarely read for more than two to three hours at a time, but that I still found the idea of a 24-hour reading session downright appealing.

And a 24-hour reading session that's shared with a couple hundred kindred spirits instead of embarked on all by your lonesome, that has cheerleaders for heaven's sake, and prizes and links to the other readers and mini-challenges, to spur you all on through the adventure makes it easy to shrug off the fact that your family and your friends and co-workers find the whole excessive-reading thing quite silly.

Except for one book, all the ones I read this time were short and chances are I would have read them in a single sitting no matter when I read them. The only book I had a sense of racing through was the children's book of Norse myths at the end, and all guilt there was assuaged by adding the Prose Edda to my wishlist before I'd managed to finish it.

The Kate Atkinson was longer and part of the reason I'd not read it before now--she's one of my favorite authors and I bought it last fall--is that I knew I'd want to read it straight through whenever I did read it. I started it Saturday afternoon knowing Atkinson's style and characters would hold my attention for hours on end. I'd intended to read The Behaviour of the Moths, but didn't think it fair to start a book of its length after midnight; better to read something short that I had a chance of finishing before my brain completely closed down for the night.

While I can read fast, I generally don't. I timed myself at some point in the middle of the Atkinson; I was reading at a rate of about 75 pages an hour, which is a respectable speed, I'm sure, but nothing to get excited about. (Maybe I'll get anal in a few days and figure out how many wpm that translates into.)

I think it would be interesting to use the next readathon to read a humongous book like Drood or The Story of Edgar Sawtelle; I read primarily short stories and essays in the first readathon and while I enjoyed doing so, all the stopping and starting kept the total page numbers down and I didn't feel as accomplished at the end as some of participants who'd read double or triple the amount.

Anyway, this is my meandering way of saying that while I read plenty of books throughout the year at a ruminative pace, sometimes taking a day or two off after finishing one before I start another, having a weekend once or twice a year where I don't pause for reflection between them is one lovely experience.

And did I forget to mention the fact that there are cheerleaders?


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed the read-a-thon! I too didn't read as many as I would have liked, but I was happy with what I did get done. I felt that I kind of rushed through my last book - or, rather I was too mushy-minded to give it the attention it deserved. Like you, I think the next time I'd like to tackle a longer work.

    I'm glad you liked the Atkinson book. I'm holding out for the paperback but we'll see how long that lasts. :)

  2. I think I read about half that many pages in an hour-well depending on what the story's about and how big the print is, etc. If my mind starts wandering I have to read the sentence(s) over again. Maybe old age is starting to seep in....ACK. So, I think 75 pages is pretty respectable! :)

  3. Thanks for answering my question regarding your read-a-thon experience. I'm impressed by 75 pages an hour. When I was in college, I once clocked myself at 25/hour for the typical dense Victorian novel. I think my pace is still around that for most literature. I hadn't considered that you would do short pieces, but that makes sense rather than tackling a big book.


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