Going Off The Grid (A Little) For A Readathon

Starting tonight or tomorrow morning, Friday, April 17, 2020 at midnight, depending on how you look at it, I am joining Shanah of Bionic Book Worm and Justine of I Should Read That for their Off the Grid Readathon. The readathon runs through Sunday at midnight. As Shanah described it in her TBR post:

If you haven’t heard of the Off The Grid Readathon before, let me fill you in on the details. This is hosted by myself and Justine from I Should Read That and is a quarterly event. April’s edition will begin this Friday, April 17th as soon as the clock strikes midnight and will end at midnight on Sunday evening. That’s 3 whole days to read!

This is a really low key event. There are no challenges, no buddy reads, no reading sprints – just read when you can and as much as you can. The whole point of this readathon is to stop getting distracted by your phone, tv, etc. and read when you should/could be reading. If you only have 30 minutes of reading time then utilize all of  those minutes! Don’t scroll through twitter for 25 of those minutes and then realize you only have 5 minutes left lol. For more detailed information, check out the announcement post HERE.

I learned about this earlier tonight from Heather of Froodian Slip, who mentioned she was joining in so I thought why not? I think I will try to start at midnight, getting a little reading in then, with the emphasis on “little” as it will be for most of the weekend. As you may or may not remember, I have been making my way slowly through the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories. I am near the beginning of The Return of Sherlock Holmes, which is near the end in the first volume of two volumes of a collection of all the novels and short stories.

I also picked up a book of poetry from 2019, Nebraska by Kwame Dawes that I found via the Free Library of Philadelphia this past week and am about halfway through that. I’m certain that I can finish that. As for the Sherlock Holmes, we’ll see how that goes, but I’m hoping maybe, just maybe, I can finish the first volumet too.

Also no danger of scrolling through Twitter here or Facebook since I don’t have either. I’ve also taken Instagram off my phone temporarily, because…well…I just need a break. It’s not you, it’s me! I feel like saying at this point, but really it’s true. I need to take care of myself mentally and getting away from Instagram for a little while, that word “little” again, helps.

I’ll be here throughout the weekend and will post periodic updates on how my “little” reading is going.

Friday

Zero reading.

Saturday

9:30 a.m.: I finished my first book after a half hour of reading, but I already had started it, the aforementioned book of poetry. The following poem resonated with me, especially as we had about four to five inches of snow overnight here in northcentral Pennsylvania:

Fledge

On long walks across the calming whiteness
of deep winter--the arctic air has walked in
and settled over everything--I dress
in dark colors, and venture out, breathing
what feels like a cleansing but is the grim
ritual of a man, constantly on edge
as if waiting for tomorrow's ill winds
to shatter the brittle calm. But to fledge
is all I want: to take flight off this icy edge.

It also seemed to fit the moment(s) this past week as I went out for a walk under a stay-at-home order here in Pennsylvania. I just want to fledge:

Sunday

1:30 p.m.: Late this morning into this afternoon, I read two Sherlock Holmes short stories: “The Adventure of the Priory School” and “The Adventure of Black Peter.” I am about halfway through The Return of Sherlock Holmes and almost near the end of the first of two volumes of Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories.

My Lent 2020 Reviewed

In the Episcopalian tradition, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. As such, and because I am Episcopalian, today is that last day of Lent. So I thought it would be good to review my Lent.

Here is what I initially planned on doing for Lent:

  • Starting Lent with a day off from work on Ash Wednesday during which my wife Kim and I would attend an Ash Wednesday service at our church, pictured in the fea
  • Praying Daily Devotions both morning and at the close of the day.
  • 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.
  • Denying myself alcohol and soda throughout Lent.
  • Ending Lent by going to church that Saturday, Holy Saturday, or Sunday, Easter, depending on my schedule.

And here’s what I actually did:

  • Kim and I went church on Ash Wednesday. Photo above is the altar from our home church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Wellsboro.
  • I prayed Daily Devotions from The Book of Common Prayer.
  • I mostly denied myself alcohol and soda through Lent. We did “imbibe” wine for my wife’s 50th birthday, which was this past Monday.

After a few days of Lent Is Not Rocket Science, I decided that no, it really was not and instead chose a book recommended by Deb from the blog Readerbuzz: Pauses for Lent: 40 Words for 40 Days by Trevor Hudson. I also used A Mindful Year: 365 Ways To Find Connection and the Sacred in Everyday Life by Dr. Aria Campbell-Danesh and Dr. Seth J. Gillihan. I either would use one or the other, or both, depending on the day and what I felt applied.

As for the last thing “ending Lent by going to church,” I will be doing that but not physically but virtually. But to be honest, I’ve gone to church more in the last couple of weeks than I did previously.

For the last couple of weeks, and yesterday for Good Friday, I have been attending Washington National Cathedral, which has been a balm for my soul. My wife and I also “did” Stations of the Cross at our home church.

Updated Sunday morning: I went to TWO church services, one at our local church and then this one at Washington National Cathedral. Highlights are at 49:26: Sermon by The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry, presiding bishop and primate of The Episcopal Church, and then right after his sermon, at 1:06:23, with The Episcopal Church Virtual Choir and Orchestra.

Name one thing you’ve got going for you that is nice.

Still reading (ha)

So since I last left you, while as y’all know, everything has changed globally (say no more, wink wink nudge nudge, know what I mean?) BUT not much has changed here…

…on the reading front. Still reading The Return of Sherlock Holmes…very, very slowly, sometimes not at all. But that’s okay, because…

…on the homefront. Still spending time with my wife as she is off from work as a 911 dispatcher until April 9 (an earlier planned vacation) and we’re celebrating her 50th birthday, which is this Monday. Tonight we’re doing a drinkalong (watching a movie with friends online and drinking with certain rules about the movie) of A Fish Called Wanda for her birthday.

So at least we got that going for us, which is nice…

Name one thing you’ve got going for you that is nice.

To catch up with me on Instagram, you can find me here:

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Adapted my highlights to the times.

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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.