My July 2019 24in48 Readathon

This coming weekend, from 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (DST), Saturday, July 20, to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (DST), Sunday, July 21, I am participating in the July 24in48 Readathon, with the idea being to read 24 hours over those 48 hours. Originally, I wasn’t going to participate because I work Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. but then I thought about it and decided that it wouldn’t affect my reading the rest of the time or my normal goal of 12 hours. I’ve never made it 24 hours, but am happy just to set aside whatever time I can for reading for much of the weekend, usually anywhere from eight to 12 hours.

I think I’ll set my goal at 10 hours, right in between eight and 12, over the two days. As for what I’ll read, I have choices (as of Sunday, July 14, when I’m drafting this post, but the list might change completely by the time this is published):

  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: My wife recently read and said I needed to read it. I borrowed this one on e-book from the Free Library of Philadelphia, because I didn’t want to see how little progress I was making if I had it in the print edition (if I even make it through it, to begin with, but more likely to finish if I don’t “see” how much I still have to go).
  • Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck: Our library book club recently read Grapes of Wrath and my coworker who was running the group hated it. I told her she should try this instead, because it was shorter. I’m taking my own advice, although for the record, I loved Grapes of Wrath too.
  • The Essential Haiku: Versions of Bashō , Buson, & Issa, edited by Robert Hass: I think I have checked this out from our library before, but didn’t get to. Maybe now I’ll get to it.
  • Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog by Dave Barry: I stumbled across this while shelf-reading at the library recently. I’m not a dog person, but I like Barry.
  • The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne: I recently wrote about some of my favorite books over my last 50 years and mentioned this so I thought I’d see if I still would enjoy it.
  • The Queen Con, the second Golden Arrow, by Meghan Scott Molin: I read the first one, The Frame-Up, the first in the series after buying it on a Kindle deal. It wasn’t great, but it was good and fun enough for me to want to try the second one, so when I saw this one also was available as a deal, I scooped it up. Sometimes I like to hope that a series will get better
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius: Like the book on haikus, this is one I’ve always wanted to get to, but just haven’t. I’m now borrowing through Prime Reading. I have time to get to it, even if not this coming weekend.
  • Like Lions by Brian Panowich: I read his debut, Bull Mountain, which was published in 2015, and it was one of my favorite books from that year. I just happened to see this on the new books shelf at our library and decided to pick it up. It is the sequel to Bull Mountain.

I’ll be lucky if I get through one and a half, but hey, it’s good to have goals.

Day 1

5:35 PM

I just got home from work and the store. Today was a b**** of a day, complications with a new DVD organization system at the library (that were worked out this morning, but still frustrating and not the best way to start the day). As a result, I have adjusted my plans for the readathon, which won’t start until 7:30 p.m. for me (here in northcentral Pennsylvania):

  1. I returned The Goldfinch because I need short books for this readathon so that I can feel like I have accomplished something, by the end of tomorrow. This is basically code for I’m padding my numbers with short books. 🙂
  2. The short books from which I’ll be choosing are in print: the collection of haiku, the Dave Barry, Travels with Charley, Like Lions; and on ebook: Meditations, The Queen Con, Bruno: Chief of Police by Martin Walker, and a graphic novel, Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere by writer Mike Carey and illustrator Fabry Glenn.

Day 2

8:30 a.m.: I’m up and ready to go. So what will be my first book of the day? I’m leaning toward Bruno, Chief of Police, but I’m not sure yet. I’ll keep you posted. Off to read some Sunday Salon posts. Hey, it counts as reading, right?

10:30 a.m.

So…I did decide to go to France with Bruno, Chief of Police, but my trip has been delayed, thanks to an accidental purchase of the audio version on Audible. I didn’t even get a pop-up. It just started downloading…

…and then I went to call Audible, they needed to send me a text for two-step verification to confirm that it’s me

…and then my phone wasn’t getting the texts and I hit it too many times to try to confirm so now I have to wait 24 hours for them to try to send me a text again…

…and then I might be able to cancel the transaction, which of course takes 7 to 14 business days to refund.

Now to try to get back into a relaxing frame of mind (shhh, mind, don’t think about the air conditioner continually freezing up…at least, you have one, pal….BREATHE!!!) and read. Right? Right.

3:30 p.m.

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#24in48 update…

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7:30 p.m.

My January 2019 24in48 Readathon

Today and tomorrow, I am participating in the 24in48 Readathon (read for 24 hours over two days). I am keeping most of my updates on Instagram. However, I also will be updating here from time to time over the weekend. Above is a photo of the books I am starting with.

Saturday

Check-In No. 1

I plan to check in every four hours except when I’m sleeping tonight for a planned 8 hours. So here is my first check-in after starting at 8 a.m.

  • First Book Started: I started with All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot, which I started last year, but didn’t finish. After reading about more cows’ “lady parts” and blood than I wanted for the morning (or really any time), I decided to take a break and read the January 2019 edition of Harper’s. No less disturbing in some ways, with its political rhetoric (with which I agree), but still a reprieve from Herriot’s bloody (literally, often) musings on being a veterinarian. Out of the four hours, I read about 2.5 hours.
  • First Meal Eaten: Burger (apropos after reading about cows – and how cute they are? Hmmm) with Muenster cheese on a croissant, onion rings, with a side of Sir Kensington’s Special Sauce on the side.

Check-In No. 2

I’m about halfway through my first book and am enjoying it immensely. Unfortunately, I also have been reading from time to time the Wikipedia entries about Alf Wight, the real man behind James Herriot, and the other “real-life” inspirations for his characters (his stories were semi-autobiographical). Sadly, the inspiration for Siegfried, his mentor veterinarian, committed suicide in his 80s, because among other things, he was depressed after Wight died from prostate cancer. However, that doesn’t take away from Siegfried or from any person who committed suicide. He and they still could have inspired others. Just because they committed suicide doesn’t take away their good qualities.

I also was inspired by Wight that he didn’t start writing until the age of 50, the age I am turning this year. It reminds me of the late George Sheehan, who was a former doctor and who started running when he was 45. He then went on to write several books about running that helped inspire others, including myself, to get into running, which I did when in my 30s and 40s (yes, I no longer am a runner, but my goal is to get back to walking regularly this year). This quote from Sheehan also is the inspiration for the title of my original blog “An unfinished person…in an unfinished universe” and this blog, by extension.

‘We live in an open universe,’ said William James, ‘in which uncertainty, choice, hypothesis, novelties and possibilities are natural.’  But if the universe is unfinished, so are we. Each one of us is, in fact, an open universe. Each one of us is a microcosm of uncertainty, choice, hypothesis, novelties and possibilities. Each one of us is an unfinished person in this unfinished universe. And each one of us feels an infinite and mysterious obligation to complete ourselves and somehow contribute to the completion of the universe.” 

George Sheehan, “The Ends,” The Running Life

In the last four hours, I read about 1.5 hours, which puts me at 4 hours in 8 hours so far. I hope to make up some time reading tonight after 8 p.m. as my wife goes to work. She is a 911 dispatcher and works 8 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday and then 8 a.m. Sunday to 8 p.m. Monday every weekend, along with Fridays and Saturdays, which allows me to be able to do readathons on weekends without taking away time with her. She is off Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays each week and since I work a job with later hours most days, I get to spend time with her earlier — and later after work– on those days.

Check-In No. 3

I am continuing to read All Things Bright and Beautiful, but now am taking another break with Shale Play: Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields by poet Julia Spicher Kasdorf and photographer Steven Rubin. I picked this one up at our local library, where I work. It caught my eye because where we live in northcentral Pennsylvania has been affected, and continues to be affected, by the natural gas industry.

I read the same amount of hours, 1.5, within the last four hours. During the previous four-hour stretch from noon to 4 p.m., I ended up napping part of that time, like our cat, Seamus, pictured above. This last four-hour stretch from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., I called a friend whose birthday was today and talked with him for an hour and had dinner with my wife. We also watched a couple of episodes of a Canadian TV show Corner Gas that we have been enjoying on Amazon Prime Video.

Check-In No. 4

I am putting my last check-in for Saturday up at 11 a.m. instead of at midnight, at an interval of every four hours, because I am going to bed. I finished Shale Play, which I will talk about more tomorrow or another day, but I will say this: It was very good. I ended up reading for 1.5 hours again, finishing with reading again from the January 2019 edition of Harper’s Magazine. I will continue that tomorrow as well as All Things Bright and Beautiful, which I probably am about three-quarters of the way through. I also plan to start, if not finish, Born A Crime.

Sunday

Check-In No. 1

I got a full night’s rest and started at 8 a.m. this morning. Yesterday, I started at 8:30 a.m. and finished with 7 hours of reading. I think my record with any readathon is a maximum of 8 or 9 hours, so I should shatter that record. Of course, I now am on a CPAP and am getting good rest too so that is helping. Since I finished with 7 hours of reading yesterday, I will set my goal for 7 too today.

As planned, I have started with Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. I’m already about 75 pages into it and it’s great. I know that many have expressed that I should listen to this in audiobook, but I just don’t do audiobooks. I can read quicker than I can be read to. I have heard Noah speak before, on a comedy special so know he pronounces the Xhosa words, which adds to the experience. I just rather would read the book. I appreciate those of you who have commutes to work and enjoy listening to audiobooks. My commute is five minutes so it doesn’t work for me.

I woke up this morning to an unexpected snow. We were supposed to get an inch and we already have a couple of inches, so I had to go out and help our neighbor shovel our shared driveway. As I’m writing now, it’s still snowing, but I don’t think it’s supposed to accumulate much more today (I hope). The good thing is I’m in for the day, reading.

Check-in No. 2

Sooo…my grand plans to read today? Um, yeah, I’ve read a total of three hours in the last 8 hours, but I’m almost finished with Born A Crime and I will finish that tonight. Also at 10 hours of reading in, I already have eclipsed my reading numbers for any readathon I’ve participated in previously (to the best of my knowledge) and I still have hours to go and get my goal of 7 hours in today. If not that, I’ll be happy with 12.

The main reason for my not reading is because I distracted myself with a run to get winter boots at Goodwill and wine at the wine and spirits shoppe. I only planned to grab boots at Goodwill, but couldn’t resist looking for pants and shirts. I found one good pair of pants and two nice long-sleeved shirts. Likewise, I went for one bottle of wine, but “found” two other bottles of wine plus a discount bottle of tropical flavored vodka. No, it will not be drunk tonight (some is for The Wife) but as you can see from the photo, I did partake of at least one bottle.

Now the plan is to finish Born a Crime and I think I’ll end with finishing up things All Things Bright and Beautiful since I have been enjoying that. At the end, I’ll report in on how I finished.

Check-In No. 3

It is 8 p.m. and I am in the homestretch now. I finished Born A Crime, another excellent book, which I will talk about later, and now am working on finishing All Things Bright and Beautiful, which earlier I called erroneously (twice, no less in this post) All Creatures Bright and Beautiful. Oops. Now that is corrected, and I’m on to finish my third book for the readathon and should end with over 12 hours which was my initial goal.

Check-In No. 4

If you are participating, let me know how you are faring and what you are reading in the comments. If not, let me know how you are faring anyway and what good books you’ve been reading lately.

24in48 next weekend

Next weekend, starting at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27, I’ll be participating in the 24in48 Readathon. The goal is to read 24 hours out of the 48 hours, splitting it up however you’d like. According to the official website, that can mean: “20 hours on Saturday, four hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six four-hour sessions with four hour breaks in between. You can pause as much as you need, enjoy regularly scheduled weekend activities, nap, stop for dance breaks with your kids or pets or neighbors. Whatever works for you.” My goal usually is at least 12 hours, to be honest, and probably will be the same again this time, including naps and just general goofing off.

So what am I going to read? My goal is five books as that’s what I usually have read for most of those readathons in the past.

First up is Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson, which I started for last year’s January 24in48 Readathon and had as a goal to finish in the July 24in48 Readathon. It’s not that it was bad, but I tried it in audiobook for the July readathon and deGrasse Tyson’s sonorous voice put me to sleep to be honest, so this time I’m just going to read it on ebook as when I started it.

Next up is The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store by Cait Flanders, which my wife recommended. This year, she is a no-buy regimen for many things, including books, and I think that might be a good idea, so I want to see her, andFlanders’, rationale.

Next up is finishing another one I started last year, but didn’t finish: All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot. Last year, I bought three of Herriot’s works on ebooks about his being a veterinarian in England: All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful. I’m actually not sure where I left off, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out by next weekend.

The final two will be books that I have checked out in print form from our hometown library where I work:

  1. Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  2. The Brutal Telling, the fifth in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny.

I’ve been wanting to read Noah’s book for a while and I started the Gamache series last year. While I don’t know if I love the series, like some other book bloggers I know, I am not opposed to continuing to read it…so far.

Are you planning to participate in next weekend’s readathon? If so, what are you planning on reading? If not, what are you reading lately? Anything good? Anything bad? 😉

This weekend, we’re supposed to get anywhere from a foot to 20 inches of snow between today, Saturday, and tomorrow, Sunday, so I’m just hanging out at home all weekend. My wife is a 911 dispatcher and even though we live near where she works, she’s staying all weekend at the communications center, so I’m “bach-ing” it. Luckily, she left me a pot of chili and hopefully the power will stay on. If not, I’ll be sleeping and reading. For more on my weekend, visit my Instagram account, where I’ll be updating on Instagram Stories.