My #StayHome24in48

So I’m not going to give the background on this, because y’all know what’s what. Bottom line: I’m still in for this coming weekend’s special Social Distancing Edition of the 24in48 Readathon. The only change is that I probably will start early, today.

I’m only committing to two books:

  1. Sherlock Holmes, The Complete Novels and Short Stories, Volume 1 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  2. The Sherlock Holmes Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained by DK Publishing and Leslie L. Klinger

I’m using The Sherlock Holmes Book as a companion volume, as recommended by Emma of the blog Words and Peace. I am glad I am because even though much of the Holmes canon are short stories, I’m still finding it hard to focus and the DK book gives synopses of each story as well as “pull-outs” about each story.

For those of you who say it’s too much time to commit, remember as the hosts of that event say:

No prizes. No hourly challenges. No requirements. Just a chance to reconnect with this amazing bookish community (online! no hand sanitizer required!), read some good books, and talk about them with other readers.

As I said in my last post and will say again:

You don’t have to read 24 out of 48 hours, because let’s be honest, we’re not going to do that, if we ever did. The main thing is that we’re reading or making an attempt to read, to breathe and relax. I, for one, believe that isn’t a bad thing, especially now.

I’ll update my progress (or lack thereof) here and on Instagram. If you are participating, let me know how you are doing. If not, let me know how you are doing anyway. 🙂

6 p.m. Friday night

So didn’t start early and probably not happening. But Kim and I are going to try to participate in a Social Distancing Mini-Readathon on Instagram from 8 p.m to 9 p.m.

11 p.m.-ish Friday night

I concluded the Social Distancing Mini-Readathon by almost finishing The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, only one more short story “The Final Problem” to read.

9 a.m. Saturday morning

Noon Saturday

I finished The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes so now I can feel that I have accomplished something this week. Yay. Next up: The Return of Sherlock Holmes. I’m skipping The Hound of the Baskervilles, which is the next chronologically after The Memoirs, since I already read years ago and am working on short stories for now.

4 p.m. Saturday

In four hours, I should have read a dozen short stories, right? Nope. I’ve only read one: “The Empty House,” the first story in The Return of Sherlock Holmes, and a chapter in the aforementioned The Sherlock Holmes Book, about the short story.

I had to go out to pick up prescriptions for my wife and go to the store to get a little distilled water for our CPAP machines. I think that trip unnerved me briefly, at the number of older people that were out that probably shouldn’t be, and then looking briefly at news about our state, Pennsylvania. I purposefully have not been reading national news today so that I could focus on reading. However, I’ll admit like many who are participating in the readathon have admitted that their focus isn’t there this readathon (completely understandable), my focus isn’t there either.

My wife is awake now. She is a 911 dispatcher in our county. So I don’t know how much more I’ll read until she leaves at about 7:30 p.m. to go to work a 12-hour shift until Sunday morning. We’ll probably end up watching some more Schitt’s Creek, to be honest. I’ll leave you with a clip from the show:

9 a.m Sunday morning

I know from being on Instagram yesterday that a lot of people who normally read like gangbusters for this readathon are having a hard time focusing on a book, let alone books, plural or hours plural. The way I’ve always looked at this readathon or any readathon with a number in the title is that number is not the rule, but a goal, not the goal. Myself, I’ve always aimed for 12 hours and only reached it once in all my years of participating in these readathons. The last few years, the number of hours has decreased, but the number of people with whom I interact has increased and also what I read, when I read, is quality, not quantity.

All this said, I think a more realistic goal this time around is what was suggested by one commenter on one of the 24in48 posts: to read either 10 minutes or listen to an audiobook for 20 minutes each hour. I think this is not only doable, but also for many, maybe a good way to get a break from everything, as much as you are able. And if you’re religious, like myself, maybe a good way to read the Scripture of your faith or a devotional or something meditational.

Today, for myself, I think that is what I am going to aim to do, with the exception of when my wife is awake (asleep now because working a 12-hour shift tonight as a 911 dispatcher, not bragging post once or twice on Instagram and stay away from Instagram Stories, read Sunday Salon posts like I normally do, and read as I can while avoiding all news altogether. To that end, I’m going to be mostly on my laptop, only listening to music or playing Solitaire on my phone. THIS is not to say that this is what works for others, including yourself. You do what works for you and don’t feel guilty about it, whether you’re reading or not.

I’ll be checking in here periodically throughout the day, probably not every hour, but at least every three to four hours. See you later in the day.

11:15 a.m. Sunday morning

I’m at Washington National Cathedral. Here is a link to the livestream as it was happening. I encourage you to watch and listen only to the first 10 minutes for the view and the music. It sure settled my heart and maybe it will yours.

1 p.m. Sunday afternoon

9:30 p.m. Sunday night

So I’m ending my readathon now, with only reading two Sherlock Holmes short stories over the 48 hours. I might end with one last short story tonight, but I might not…

My Own Social Distancing Readathon

Next weekend, Saturday, March 21 and Sunday, March 22, the hosts of 24in48 Readathon are having a special Social Distancing Edition starting at 12 a.m. EST in the U.S. As they said in their post:

…as more and more countries are implementing social distancing recommendations (if not actual quarantines), we decided it was time to find comfort in books and the community that loves them.

Which brings us to the Social Distancing Readathon. Stay home. Wash your hands. Read books. March 21 & 22. 

It’s that simple. No prizes. No hourly challenges. No requirements. Just a chance to reconnect with this amazing bookish community (online! no hand sanitizer required!), read some good books, and talk about them with other readers.

If sharing your journey online, they ask you use the hashtag #StayHome24in48.

As soon as I saw their announcement two days ago on an Instagram story, I knew I was in. I wasn’t working next Saturday or Sunday so it just happened to work out that I could join. Now, though, in light of news that libraries across our state are closing for two weeks and that I work at a small town library in our state, and that I won’t be working much of that time (going to be on a rotation to check the book drop daily and a staff training day), I’m unofficially extending the readathon for myself starting today until Sunday, March 29. It won’t be 24in48. It will be more like 180in360. Ha.

I have two dozen books on the potential list. The first dozen are in print:

From top to bottom they are:

  1. The Unforeseen by Dorothy Macardle
  2. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
  3. Look to the Lady, the third Albert Campion mystery, by Margery Allingham
  4. Police at the Funeral, the fourth Albert Campion mystery, also by Allingham
  5. Slayground: A Parker Novel by Richard Stark
  6. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating: A True Story by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
  7. Three Complete Novels: Call for the Dead, A Murder of Quality, and The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carré
  8. Four Novels: The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For The Whom Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (I already read The Sun Also Rises last year and now plan to read/reread the other three).

The second dozen are on ebook:

Starting from the top left to the collection to the right are:

  1. Sherlock Holmes, The Complete Novels and Short Stories, Volume 1 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  2. The Sherlock Holmes Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained by DK Publishing and Leslie L. Klinger
  3. A Morbid Tale of Bones, the First Chronicle of Brother Cadfael, by Ellis Peters
  4. Smallbone Deceased: A London Mystery by Michael Gilbert
  5. Mud, Muck, and Dead Things: A Campbell & Carter Mystery by Ann Granger
  6. Coffin Scarcely Used: A Flaxborough Mystery, by Colin Watson
  7. Ruth Galloway Series: The First Three Novels by Ruth Galloway
  8. Inspector Morse: The First Three Novels by Colin Dexter

The first seven ebooks are on my Kindle and the last is on Google Play Books, which I can access on my phone.

I’m already in the middle of reading the Sherlock Holmes short stories and novels, using The Sherlock Holmes Book as a companion volume, as recommended by Emma of the blog Words and Peace. I’ve also read one of the four novels, but I’ve never read any of the rest. My friend John gave me the Allingham and Macardle books. Erin of the blog Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs recommended The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating; Amanda of the blog The Zen Leaf, the Ruth Galloway mysteries. I picked up the three British murder mysteries in the middle of the above photo of the ebooks as Kindle deals. As for the le Carré, I’ve always wanted to read the George Smiley series, but never have. I’m a stickler for reading a series in order (most of the time), though, so had to wait until our library got the first two in print (which we got through a donation recently) and now I’m giving it a try as I’ve already started the first novel.

Now all this said, let’s be honest, I’ll be lucky if I get to much of anything beyond the Sherlock Holmes books, which I’m already reading, Call for the Dead and maybe The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating (a nature book in honor of the first day of Spring later this week). After all, we have streaming options in Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. However, as with everything, and especially good to remember during these trying times, there is hope.

Some. Of. The. Poetry.

I began the month gung-ho for poetry, joining a poetry challenge, and then doubling down on reading All. The. Poetry. Then after deciding I had bitten off too much, I declared I would have None. Of. The. Poetry. But yesterday after reading two books of poetry, I now am thinking I’ll be okay with Some. Of. The. Poetry.

The two books of poetry were by the late Mary Oliver: Dream Work and Blue Horses. I read both yesterday on Ash Wednesday, which I took off as a vacation day. I borrowed the first from Prime Reading, the second from the Free Library of Philadelphia via the Libby app. While I liked the first one, I enjoyed the second one more for poems like the main poem:

Listen to “Franz Marc’s Blue Horses” by Mary Oliver by On Being Studios on #SoundCloud

The poem was inspired by the painting below:

Turm der blauen Pferde (The Tower of the Blue Horses) c. 1913 by Franz Marc (1880–1916).

I guess I am okay with poetry. For now. At least. Some. Of. The. Poetry.

Lenten Plans 2020

In the Episcopalian tradition, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. Because I am Episcopalian, at least in name, not in church attendance, that is how long I will be observing Lent. Here is what I plan on doing for Lent, in accordance with invitation from the Book of Common Prayer (p. 265) to observe Lent “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word”:

  • Starting Lent with a day off from work today during which my wife and I are attending an Ash Wednesday service at our church and then staying in a meditative frame of mind the rest of the day by listening to quiet music and reading.
  • Praying Daily Devotions both morning and at the close of the day, using the website of the Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church. The devotions also include links to readings from the Bible for the day, which I plan on reading too.
  • Reading Lent Is Not Rocket Science: An Exploration of God, Creation, and the Cosmos: Meditations for 40 Days of Lent by W. Nicholas Knisely, the 13th and current bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island. According to his biography on the diocesan website, Knisely was a graduate student at the University of Delaware when he decided to leave behind his studies of Physics and Astronomy and was sent to Yale/Berkeley Divinity School to study for the priesthood. He also taught Physics and Astronomy for nearly seven years at Lehigh University while he was serving in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
  • Denying myself alcohol and soda throughout Lent.
  • Ending Lent by going to church that Saturday, Holy Saturday, or Sunday, Easter, depending on my schedule.

If you are a Christian and observe Lent, what are your plans for the season? If you belong to another faith tradition, do you have practices within it to reflect on our faith daily and/or periodically? Anything you read for your particular faith? If you have no faith tradition, how do you relax/meditate/stay calm?

I used my post from last year on my Lenten Plans 2019 as a template for this post.