Category Archives: Readathon

Readathon Closing Survey

It’s done! 😀

In the end, I managed four books (well, three and a novella) totalling 1,037 pages.


1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Hour 12 (midnight here in the UK) when I just had to get some sleep!

2. Tell us ALLLLL the books you read!

I actually managed to stick to my planned reading list this year!  Here are the books I read:

3. Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners?

All of them!  All Systems Red was a nice, short sci fi novella to finish up with, but I liked all of these books, and would recommend all of them.

4. What’s a really rad thing we could do during the next Read-a-thon that would make you smile?

Just keep doing what you do!  I love readathon and the community element, which you can be as involved in as much or as little as you want to – I think it’s great that a group of like-minded people from all over the world can get involved in the event at the same time.

5. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep?

Very likely!  I can’t do it twice a year, but I do try to do either the April or the October Readathon, depending what’s going on that weekend.  And I wouldn’t mind helping to organise and / or prep next time round 🙂

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Readathon – Hour 18

Progress:

  • Books read = 2
  • Pages read = 625

That doesn’t actually sound like great progress for 18 hours, does it?  I have to confess, I took a break last night to watch the GB Ice Hockey game against Hungary (woo hoo!) and I had to get some sleep!

So far I’ve read:


Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

into the water

In the last days before her death, Nel called her sister. Jules didn’t pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help.

Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules has been dragged back to the one place she hoped she had escaped for good, to care for the teenage girl her sister left behind.

But Jules is afraid. So afraid. Of her long-buried memories, of the old Mill House, of knowing that Nel would never have jumped.

And most of all she’s afraid of the water, and the place they call the Drowning Pool…


The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

the death house

Toby is a boy who has forgotten how to live.
Clara is a girl who was born to die.

Toby’s life was perfectly normal…

Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House. Isolated from the outside world the inhabitants of are watched for any signs of a mysterious illness…

Clara was a girl who had everything. Adored by her friends and her family, her life was destined for greatness. Now, Clara is the newest resident of the Death House and she’s determined not to allow her life to end there.

This is Toby and Clara’s story. 

Readathon – Opening Survey

It’s that time of year where I set aside real life for 24 hours and use Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon as an excuse to read all weekend!  Not that that’s how I spend most of my weekends anyway… 😛

But yes, from 1pm (UK time) on Saturday 28 April to 1pm on Sunday 29 April, I plan to do nothing but read.  I’ve never actually managed the full 24 hours before (I like sleep too much!) but I usually manage around 18 hours – we’ll see how well I get on this year!

To the opening survey:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Nottingham, UK.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

I usually try to put a theme together for Readathon – one that lets me read a variety of novels to keep it interesting.  I had a few options this year, but I’ve decided to keep it relatively simple, and read books by female authors.  My current plan – and it usually changes once Readathon gets underway – is to read the following (in no particular order):

Of these, I’m particularly looking forward to Into the Water which I’ve add for almost a year now!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Food planning for Readathon is one of the joys of the weekend, and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into some salted caramel cookies and some ice cream later on!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I’m Jo, and I’ve been blogging for almost three years now.  I’ve always been a reader, and I love dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, although I do try to read a broad range of novels.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

This is my fourth 😮 Readathon, and I think that this year I want to try to take strategic naps throughout the day, rather than sleeping for 4 to 5 hours when it gets late.  I usually get too carried away to stick to this, however, and end up crashing when it gets to midnight.

Readathon Closing Survey

It’s done! 😀

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

For me it was hour 17, which was when I got up at around 5:15 AM to get back into reading.  I just wanted more sleep!  A shower and a few strong coffees helped, though, and I got through it!

2. Tell us ALLLLL the books you read!

My reading list changed quite bit during the event, but I managed to read around 1,200 pages over the 24 hours.

3. Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners?

I definitely recommend Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, and Avril Joy’s Sometimes a River Song, which is a little harrowing, but incredibly captivating.  And I loved the gothic aspect of Bodies of Water by V. H. Leslie.

4. What’s a really rad thing we could do during the next Read-a-thon that would make you smile?

Just keep doing what you do!  I love readathon and the community element, which you can be as involved in as much or as little as you want to – I think it’s great that a group of like-minded people from all over the world can get involved in the event at the same time.

5. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep?

Very likely!  I can’t do it twice a year, but I do try to do either the April or the October readathon, depending what’s going on that weekend.  And I wouldn’t mind helping to organise and prep next time round 🙂

Readathon – Hour 1 – Opening Survey

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I’m in Nottingham, in the UK.  It’s reasonably bright (you know, for Britain) but quite blustery!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

the eleventh letter

The Eleventh Letter by Tom Tomaszewski

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

A difficult one, but I’m looking forward to getting stuck into some chocolate chip shortbread cookies later 🙂

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I’m Jo, and I’ve been blogging for a little over two years, but I’ve always been an avid reader, even as a child.  I like to read a variety of different types of novel, but I do particularly like dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

This is my third readathon, and I think I need to factor in more regular breaks and a bit of time to get up and move around during the event.  I’ve said it before, but I’m really not very good at following my own advice!

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon – Oct 2017

This weekend I’ll be taking part in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon which is an event that is held twice a year in April and October and that is open to readers worldwide (there’s still time to join up if you’re interested!)

It starts at 1pm UK time, and runs for (you guessed it) 24 hours.  Having done this event twice before (April 2015 and April 2016), I’ve not yet managed to read for the whole period, and I won’t be able to this time, either, not least because I’ve got an ice hockey match to go to on Saturday evening.  I normally aim for around 16 to 18 hours of reading time, which is feasible yet challenging.

If you are considering taking part, don’t feel like you have to read for the whole period – this is ultimately meant to be a fun event, so just do what you can.  For me, the hardest parts are the night-time hours – from hour 10 or so in the UK – and the last couple of hours, by which time I’ve usually had enough.  The best advice I can give is that it does help to plan strategic breaks, to get up and walk around regularly, and to make sure you’ve got plenty of good food and snacks available 🙂

It’s not essential, but I like to have a theme for the books I read during readathon, but it has to be a broad enough category to allow for plenty of variety, as I think that reading so much in a short period of time would get dull VERY quickly if the books were too similar.  This year I’ve chosen a theme of indie publishers, and my current plan is to read through the following titles:

I may not get through all of them, and I have several back up options available in case any of these isn’t working for me on the day, but reading these six would total ~1,200 pages.  Eeeek!  I’ll try to provide updates on my progress throughout the weekend – wish me luck!

BTB Readathon – March 2017

As part of her Beat the Backlist challenge, Novel Knight is running four readthons throughout year to help people achieve their targets, and the first of these ran from the 10th to the 12th of March.  As this happened to coincide with a lazy weekend, I decided to take some time out from the review copies and tackle some of my backlist, and I managed to read four books over the three days (yes – it was a REALLY lazy weekend!):

Nod by Adrian Barnes

nod

Dawn breaks and no one in the world has slept the night before.  Or almost no one.  A few people, perhaps one in ten thousand, can still sleep, and they’ve all shared the same mysterious dream.  A handful of silent children can still sleep as well, but what they’re dreaming remains a mystery.  Global panic ensues.

A medical fact: after six days of absolute sleep deprivation, psychosis sets in.  After four weeks, the body dies.  In the interim, a bizarre new world arises and swallows the old one whole.  A world called Nod.

Nod was originally published in 2012, and was republished in the UK by Titan Books in 2016.  It’s a wonderfully unique end of the world novel in which our end is brought about by an epidemic of chronic insomnia which affects 99.9% of the population.

As is often the case, there are those who will seek to take advantage of such a situation, and in Nod this comes about in the form of Charles, formerly of figure of contempt, but who has seized the opportunity to establish a new world order, and he fully intends to be at the helm.

I thought that the structure worked brilliantly, opening on day 18, and then reverting to day 1, as the majority of people experience their first day without having slept.  It doesn’t take long for a “them and us” attitude to become the norm, as those who can’t sleep look enviously upon those who can, eventually coming to revile those that they may have loved at some point, and the sleepers quickly learn to hide themselves away.

I did find the novel to be a little slow in places, although it’s an intriguing tale, and explores a unique apocalypse.

A Kind of Intimacy by Jenn Ashworth

a kind of intimacy

Annie is obese, lonely and hopeful.  Armed with self-help books, her cat and a collection of cow-shaped milk jugs, she moves into her new home and sets about getting to know the neighbours, especially the man next door.  She ignores her neighbour’s inconvenient girlfriend, but it’s not quite as easy for Annie to dismiss her own past.  As Annie’s murky history of violence, secrets and sexual mishaps catches up with her, she cannot see that she has done anything wrong.  She’s just doing what any good neighbour would do, after all…

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, and I thought that Annie was a fascinating character, who was at times vulnerable, yet also a little terrifying.  It’s clear from the beginning that there’s something not quite right with her tale, and whilst she evokes sympathy, I found that I was questioning her narrative, particularly as you begin to get insights from her new neighbours.  Ashworth drip feeds Annie’s back story throughout the novel, and whilst I didn’t find it particularly surprising – there are enough hints early on that I guessed some of what happened – it was still shocking.

If I guessed Annie’s backstory, I didn’t guess the outcome of the present-day narrative, in which Annie becomes increasingly obsessed with her neighbour, Will – someone she believes she has a connection with, and who, in her mind, undoubtedly feels the same way about her.  Annie’s behaviour becomes increasingly unhinged, and leads to a stunning finale.

Told with snatches of dark humour, A Kind of Intimacy is wonderful novel about obsession with an unforgettable character.

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

the long earth

1916: the Western Front.  Private Percy Blakeney wakes up.  He is lying on fresh spring grass.  He can hear birdsong, and the wind in the leaves in the trees.  Where has the mud, blood and blasted landscape of No Man’s Land gone?

2015: Madison, Wisconsin.  Cop Monica Jansson is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive (some said mad, others dangerous) scientist when she finds a curious gadget – a box containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a …potato.  It is the prototype of an invention that will change the way Mankind views his world for ever.

And that is an understatement if ever there was one…

The Long Earth is a novel that I’ve had on my TBR for quite some time.  I bought it as I’m a big fan of Terry Pratchett’s work, and whilst I haven’t read anything by Stephen Baxter, I’ve heard good things.  I have to say that I was a little disappointed by it.

The title refers to a series of parallel Earths, which seem to be the same as ours in terms of the date, time of day and geography, but have been completely untouched by humans.  When the instructions for building the gadget described above are posted online, people find that they can “step” from one Earth to the next, and can keep going, possibly forever.

It took me a while to get into this novel – I thought that the premise was interesting, but the delivery fell a little flat for me, and there’s a fair amount of exposition in the beginning, necessary, perhaps, but not particularly well done.

Given this is the first in a series, it felt like a lot of scene setting, but didn’t interest me enough to make me want to rush out and buy the sequel.

The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli

the story of my teeth

Gustavo ‘Highway’ Sanchez is a man with a mission: he is planning to replace every last one of his unsightly teeth.  He has a few skills that might help him on his way: he can imitate Janis Joplin after two rums, he can interpret Chinese fortune cookies, he can stand an egg upright on a table, and he can float on his back.  And, of course, he is the world’s best auction caller – although other people might not realise this, because he is, by nature, very discreet.

Studying auctioneering under Grandmaster Oklahoma and the famous country singer Leroy Van Dyke, Highway travels the world, amassing his collection of ‘Collectibles’ and perfecting his own specialty: the allegoric auction.  In his quest for a perfect set of pearly whites, he finds unusual ways to raise the funds, culminating in the sale of the jewels of his collection: the teeth of the ‘notorious infamous’ – Plato, Petrarch, Chesterton, Virginia Woolf et al.

Written with elegance, wit and exhilarating boldness, Valeria Luiselli takes us on an idiosyncratic and hugely enjoyable journey that offers an insightful meditation on value, worth and creation, and the points at which they overlap.

The Story of My Teeth is a novel I picked up at last year’s Hay Festival, having enjoyed hearing Luiselli discussing her novel.

I’ll be honest and say that I’ve not read anything else quite like it.  It’s humorous and borderline absurd, but extremely experimental, and it didn’t really suit my tastes, although you might enjoy it if you’re looking for something different.

I’ve since read other reviews that suggest, somewhat counterintuitively, reading the afterword first.  With hindsight, I would recommend this unconventional approach, as I think it sets the scene nicely.

Not bad, just not for me.