My own weekend readathon

In the midst of the busyness, the chaos, sometimes it is just good to step back, step down and relax, read. That is what I am planning to do most of this weekend, my own weekend readathon.

I need it as this past week has been full of medical appointments and this coming week promises more of the same, for both me and my wife. In short, we’re both OK or will be in the not too distant future, thanks to a change in diet, physical therapy, and medication, with the latter being not as much as the others. And on Thursday, we’re getting away for the day to a winery up on Seneca Lake in New York, where my wife already has said the rule of the day is no medical talk…which I’m more than fine with.

So here are the potentials:

  • The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware, which I started last night and probably will continue this afternoon. I have checked this out several times in print and on ebook, but haven’t gotten to yet. Maybe this time I will.
  • Black Diamond, the third in the Bruno, Chief of Police series, by Martin Walker: I renewed this one after not getting to it the first go-around. Now I’m going to try again.
  • How Did It Begin?: The Origins of Our Curious Customs and Superstitions by Dr. R & L. Brason: One of my coworkers lent me a copy of this, thinking I might be interested.
  • Mrs. Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words by Joesfa A. Heifetz Byrne: I mentioned this one last week and it’s more one I’ll dip into from time to time, probably like the one listed right before this.
  • Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry, edited by Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Jennifer Gillan, which I also had in another readathon list recently. It will be another that I most likely will just dip into periodically throughout the weekend.

At the end of each day, I’ll try to keep you updated here on the blog. We’ll see how that goes too.

6 p.m., Saturday night

I finished The Death of Mrs. Westaway. Here is what I wrote on Goodreads:

I kept getting this one out of the library and then not reading, mainly just because I didn’t get to it. I think I also probably blanched at the use of italicized flashbacks, but I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t reveal everything, unlike in other books I’ve read.

Of course, I forgot until I started typing in the quote block here on WordPress.com that it also would appear in italics, but it seems apropos, does it not? While on Goodreads, I looked back and noted that I read The Woman in Cabin 10 and In A Dark, Dark Wood, both in 2016, and that I also liked them. I have not read The Lying Game yet or her latest The Turn of the Key.

4 p.m., Sunday afternoon

I haven’t done as much reading as I wanted to today, but I am still doing a little. This morning and earlier this afternoon, I dipped into How Did It Begin? which I am about halfway through. I probably won’t finish it today as it is more a book to dip into than to read in one sitting or in one day. Here are my thoughts on Goodreads:

Not to be read in one sitting. As for other reviewers’ comments that the book is outdated and doesn’t cite sources, author was in his 80s when he wrote book and did research for Enclyopedia Brittanica. My main critique is with the subtitle of “curious customs” and his overuse of exclamation marks. Some customs he describes really aren’t that curious and does he really need to use that many exclamation points?!!

I now am reading Black Diamond, but only am about 50 pages in. So far, though, so good.

10:30 p.m., Sunday night

I didn’t read tonight. Instead, I watched two episodes of Midsomer Murders, but I’ve decided to continue my readathon tomorrow morning since the rest of my week is pretty full.

Reading anything good lately? How about this weekend? Have you ever read any Ruth Ware? What did you think, if you have?

Another post on a little bit of everything

Last month, someone made this declaration here on this blog:

I’m doing away with the bullet point list posts. I will focus on one topic: reading, for example, with my Sunday Salon posts, and if I do other posts on TV, movies, music, or my personal life, they will just be on that topic.

Er, yeah, me

And then I ended the month with a bullet point list post as I usually do: Pushing Forward Back July/August 2019. And now, I’m reverting again to a bullet point list post, because…well, I’ve had a long week and I’m too tired to write a single-minded post. So here goes:

What I’m reading

On Friday, a day off from work, I finished a reread of Travels with Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck that I started during Dewey’s 24 Hour Reverse Readathon last weekend. As I wrote on Goodreads after finishing the book, “On a reread, maybe close to 30 years later, I still love this book, but in the time we are in now, it is sad too. As a nation, we have, and haven’t, changed that much.” Next up, well, at least in pieces, is the book at right:

I picked it up from the donation bin for our library bookstore and sale.

Incredible as it may seem, every entry in this book, even the most ludicrous, has been accepted a s a formal or legitimate English word by at least one major dictionary. Mrs. Byrne’s Dictionary brings into view thousands of little-know curiosities that lie buried in specialized dictionaries and unabridged works too bulky for browsing. Although Mrs. Byrne’s dictionary has enough comedy in it to reward casual browsers, it is intended to serve as a supplement to a desk dictionary. A word not listed in either place is not worth having at your fingertips, unless, of course, you are an institution, a library, or a governmental body at the federal, state or municipal level.

from the introduction by Mr. Byrne

This afternoon I probably will continue with the Chief Bruno series by Martin Walker, with the third one, Black Diamond, especially since it is due back in only a couple of days.

What we’re watching

On a whim, I thought I’d try The Orville even though I’m not always a fan of Seth McFarlane’s other endeavors. However, I was so pleasantly surprised that I now have convinced my wife to watch with me. I also convinced her to watch Shazam, which she didn’t want to watch because she said she’s “done” with comic book movies. I really wanted to like the movie, but like my wife, I might be “done” with comic book movies too…yes, even Marvel (GASP!). This one, though, was DC and was horrible, at least from as far as we could get in it. It was a rollercoaster from dark to light and unlike Marvel, DC movies don’t seem to know how to balance the dark and the light. They go from one extreme to the other so awkwardly that it’s offputting, to say the least.

What I’m listening to

In that Pushing Forward Back July/August 2019 post, I mentioned that I was looking forward to the new Bon Iver album i, i, which was to be released on Aug. 30. However, it “dropped” early on Friday and it’s been on my virtual turntable almost non-stop. I love it.

On a personal note

  • I had my third gel shot for my left knee, which has a degenerative meniscus, and continued with physical therapy this past week. I think I’m improving, but some days it is hard to tell since I am in a bit of pain from the exercises. It might be just muscle pain, but I am to check back with the orthopedic physician assistant in six weeks, or a month if the knee isn’t improving significantly. I’m holding out hope.
  • As mentioned above, I had the day off Friday and in addition to finishing Travels with Charley, I also was able to pick up four pairs of shorts and three shirts for under $25 at thrift stores in a nearby town.
  • Yesterday, after work, my wife and I got together with my parents, my sister, brother-in-law, nephew and niece, for a picnic in a park before they were going to a gospel concert last night, also at a park. We didn’t go because my wife had to work last night (8 p.m. to 8 a.m. this morning), but it still was good to see family, especially with my mother just celebrating her 75th birthday last Saturday.

So how has the beginning of August been for you? Any good books, movies, TV shows, music? Share below in the comments.

My Dewey’s August 2019 24 Hour Reverse Readathon

Starting tonight at 8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 2, until tomorrow, Aug. 3 at 8 p.m., I am participating in Dewey’s 24 Hour Reverse Readathon. It’s called “reverse” because instead of starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, as Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon usually does, it’s starting on Friday at 8 p.m. to include more international participants. I participated last year, reading one short book and four graphic novels in five hours. My goal this year is going to be double that: with 10 hours because unlike last year when I started with an interruption, a classical music concert at a local festival, this year I’m not starting with any interruption. I’ll be starting fresh.

The Stack

Also unlike the last readathon in which I participated, the July 24in48 Readathon, I’m starting with a list of shorter books, although with some of the same books:

  • The Dark Vineyard, the second Bruno mystery, by Martin Walker: I read the first one during last month’s readathon. I already started this second one earlier in the week and was thinking I’d finish this before starting the readathon, and would be reading the third one for the readathon. That didn’t happen, so now I hope to finish this second one tonight.
  • Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck: This one was on the list from the readathon last month.
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius: This one also was on the list from last month’s readathon.
  • On The Come Up by Angie Thomas: I loved The Hate U Give by Thomas, so I had to get this one when I saw it at our library.
  • Binti by Nnedi Okorafor: I bought this novella at the end of June on a whim. I haven’t had good luck with science fiction in recent years, but I will keep trying.
  • Unsettling America: An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry, edited by Maria Mazziotti Gillan and Jennifer Gillan: I included poetry in July’s readathon with a collection of haiku that I finished so I thought why not include it again? This time, though, I don’t think I’ll finish the collection, but probably just will dip into it from time to time.

As with every readathon, I know I won’t finish all of them, and will consider myself lucky if I finish half of these, but hey, I’m still reading. I’ll take it.

Friday afternoon

A clarification and an explanation before I start: 1.) Travels with Charley is a reread. It is a favorite. 2.) Why is it called Reverse Readathon? “Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon normally starts at noon GMT, which is first thing in the morning for North and South Americans but an awkward time of night for readers on the other side of the international date line. The Reverse Readathon’s start time is more convenient for them.”

Friday Night

After finishing The Dark Vineyard, I distracted myself from reading for a while by visiting other participants’ posts on Instagram and on Goodreads. Then I picked up the Unsettling America collection of poetry…but then put it back down as I went on a whim, a book I snagged from the donations at our library: Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay. I’m glad I did. I’m already halfway through, but stopped because I want to finish tomorrow when I’ve had a little rest. I might read, though, a little of the poetry before I go to bed. I’ll let you know with tomorrow morning’s update.

Saturday Morning

I woke later than I wanted, but I’ve still managed to finish my second book before noon (11 a.m here as I write this) and it was an excellent one. I won’t say more about it: 1.) lest my thoughts be misconstrued, and 2.) I’m still trying to collect my thoughts about it, but know that is a “must-read,” and I’m glad I read.

Now I’m off to visit a few blogs, a few Instagram posts, the Goodreads group…but first to call my mother on her 75th birthday today…and then back to the reading…

Saturday Afternoon

Then I took a nap..and at 6:50 p.m., I called it. I didn’t finish either of the above two books, but I am halfway through my reread of Travels with Charley, and I’ll finish it tomorrow. I was going to try to push through to finish by 8 p.m., the end of the readathon, but then I decided I didn’t want to rush it. I want to savor it and so I shall.

Conclusions

  • I didn’t make my goal of reading for 10 hours. I probably read for about half of that, and even though I didn’t finish half of my potentials, I read one very good one, Hunger, not on my pile. I also started a reread of Travels with Charley and am beginning to remember why I loved it the first time (and maybe more times than that) I read it.
  • I don’t do well with humidity, which makes it hard for me to concentrate to read. Even though we have a window air conditioner for our small house, it’s still humid – even as I have the windows open after a rain. The cool air isn’t really reaching in here. Ugh.
  • I need to plan out my readathons better. This one and the July 24in48 Readathon, I just did on a whim, which in one way is okay, but in another way, it would have been nice if I had planned better.

So did you participate in this weekend’s readathon? If so, what did you read? How did it go for you? If not, what are you reading that’s good? Watching anything good? Listening to anything good? Let me know in the comments.