Readathon Wrap Up #readathon

Another readathon has come and gone. According to the event organizer’s 1,723 readers signed up to participate this time. The event brought together readers from all over the world through the use of social media and a shared love of reading. As I mentioned in my previous post, I wasn’t going to be able to do the full 24 hours, but I managed to read 381 pages. I was able to wake up in time for the 5 a.m. start here in California, and that’s quite an accomplishment for a night owl like me.

I started off the readathon by opening my “Blind Date with a Book” that I had picked up at The Open Book in Thousand Oaks, California. I unwrapped the book and found By the Light of My Father’s Smile by Alice Walker. I was surprised to find an Alice Walker book hiding beneath the paper. I have read a number of her books, but I was not familiar with this one. And, true to Walker’s work, the writing was beautiful. My only regret is that I sped through the book for the readathon, so there are passages I would like to go back to and savor a bit more.

After that I picked up volume 1 of the graphic novel version of The Golden Compass. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is one of my favorite series, so it was like reconnecting with old friends when I stepped back into Lyra and Pan’s world. While the graphic novel version does not have the same magic as Pullman’s novel, it was an enjoyable effort, and the format was a nice break during the readathon. I look forward to picking up volume 2 in the near future.

Following The Golden Compass, I bravely ventured into the world of Kindles and ebooks by reading Different Seasons by Stephen King. The first novella in this collection is Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. I have seen the movie version of this story a number of times, but, despite having the familiarity with the story, the written version really stands out as some of King’s best work. Unfortunately the need to sleep took over, and I did not finish this novella before the end of the readathon, but I did manage to finish it just before writing this post.

As for the Kindle experience, I sill much prefer my paper books. The one advantage to the Kindle is that it was a little easier to manage in bed than a regular book, but I missed the feel of how many pages I had read and how many were left. The little indication of percentage read at the bottom of the screen did not really replace that experience. I’ll read a book on the Kindle from time to time, but you will mostly see me with paper books–although several other readathoners did tell me to give the Kindle time to grow on me.

Once again, the online community really made this a fun experience. If you have not already, head over to your favorite social media platform, and read the #readathon posts. As I have said before, the readathon community is a supportive and kind group of people. I have never experienced any of the hateful, angry comments that seem to exist in many other corners of the internet. I could easily turn any free day into a readathon of one, but it is the online community that keeps me coming back to Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon.

The next readathon will take place on April 29, 2017, so start getting your stacks of books ready now.

Advertisements

Let’s Get Ready to Read! #readathon

books

Last spring I participated in Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon for the first time. This is an event for crazy, book-obsessed people like me to read for 24 hours, and it happens every April and October. This month’s event kicks off on Saturday, October 20 at 5 a.m. here in California (check the handy event time announcer that the readathon organizers created to find the start time in your time zone).

I did not make it a full 24 hours last time because sleep pulled me away from reading, but I had a fun time setting aside a full day to immerse myself in books. In addition to all the pages I travelled through, I also had a fun time interacting with the online readathon community. The best part of this event is that it brings together readers from all over the world who discuss what they’re reading, post pictures of beautiful stacks of books and share in the joy of getting lost in a good story. As I have said before, the online reader community is such a kind and supportive place and such a nice break from other online communities that are filled with negative comments and insults.

You can see my stack of readathon books at the top of this post. These have been culled from my to-be-read shelves. There’s no way I will be able to get through all of these books, but I like to keep a variety on hand, so I can choose my next selection as I go. I have included several collections of stories so I have the option to read some shorter pieces throughout the readathon.

img_7216In addition to my standard stack of books, I will also be braving my first book on an ereader this time. This is quite a big step for me because I have been rather vocal about my hardcore devotion to paper books. I acquired my Kindle earlier this year when a friend got a new Kindle and was looking for a home for her old one. She was hoping that I would learn to love the device, which I have christened Readbot. To give the Kindle a fair chance, I downloaded Stephen King’s Different Seasons. I wanted to make sure I started with a book that is something it’s safe to assume I will like. Stay tuned to my blog for a post-readathon wrap up and my thoughts on my first Kindle-based reading experience.

img_2394

This time around I will also have my “Blind Date with a Book” selection that I picked up at The Open Book in Thousand Oaks, California. In their store, they have a section of wrapped books that each have a label with a short description. Here’s what I have:

  • Remote Mexican Sierras
  • Woman losing, regaining herself
  • Endangered band of people

My plan is to kick off the readathon with this book. It gives this night owl an incentive to get up early enough to start reading at 5 a.m.

Finally, I know I will not be able to read for a full 24 hours this time. I will be taking a break for a few hours in the early afternoon to make some calls at a local phone bank for Hillary Clinton. I had thought about taking the weekend off from phone banking, but this election is too important. Also, I have commitments on Sunday that I do not want to be tired for, so I won’t be staying up until 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, but I do hope to put in a lot of reading hours during the readathon, and I look forward to the lively discussion online with other participants. The organizers explain that this event is really in the spirit of fun, so there are no hard and fast rules. They encourage those who cannot commit to the full 24 hours to still participate as much as they can. Really the event is about celebrating reading.

For updates on my progress, be sure to follow me on Twitter.

Happy reading!

Why I Don’t Own an eReader

I recently wrote a post called “Maintaining a Personal Touch in a Wired World” over at Blogging4Jobs. As I mentioned in that post, I like a lot of what technology has done to make our work lives more efficient, but I have worked hard to keep technology from completely taking over my work life. I still see value in face-to-face communication and handwritten notes even though I enjoy spending time on social media sites, blogging, texting and emailing. When it comes to books though, you will never see a an eReader in my hands. I prefer a good, old paper book.

I see value in a single device that can hold a whole library of books. It puts a world of writing at your fingertips and alleviates the problem of weighing down a suitcase with several books while on vacation. I have also heard people rave about how such devices can make books interactive. Books can now contain links to websites with more information, video and more.

I’m not sure that I would agree that such things make books more interactive. For me, books have always been very interactive. When I am reading a good book, I am immersed in the world created by the author. There are no links for more information or videos to guide me on my way. My imagination is interacting with the words. In a way, books are a rather simple form of technology. We can see whole stories play out in our minds. No special viewing device is needed.

All the extras an eReader can add to a book may enhance the learning experience, but it can take me out of the need to simply connect with a  good book. I spend a lot of time on my iPhone and computer throughout the day. It’s the way I get a lot of my work done, not to mention that it’s how I write fiction, get most of my news, stay in touch with friends and stay up-to-date on what my favorite authors and bookstores are up to. This is perhaps the main reason I eschew eReaders. My books are a way to unplug from all the distractions of technology and the sense of urgency in completing tasks that come via technology. In a paper book, there are no ads popping up, no links to follow and no cute animal videos.

I attended an HR technology conference last week. It was fun to learn about all the developments in this area. I was live tweeting during presentations and exchanging contact information with my iPhone out, but when it came to note taking, I had a paper notebook. When writing a story, I usually opt for my computer, but when it comes to note taking, there is something gratifying about putting pen to paper.

IMG_2058

I took Christine by Stephen King with me. I had started the book long ago and had set it aside because it hadn’t really grabbed my interest. It took a long time to get into the story. Now that I have about 150 pages left, the story has picked up, and I am looking forward to seeing how the story plays out. I took a break during the conference to enjoy a few pages, some coffee and dessert. You can probably tell from the picture that my copy of Christine is beat up a bit. It was an old copy I got for $1 at a used bookstore. I like the character and feel of an old book in my hands–something I can’t get from an eReader.

IMG_2060

I don’t judge those who love their eReaders. Such technology is just another way to get books into people’s hands–something which makes me happy. Whether it be paper or electronic, reading is reading. What’s your preferred format? Let me know in the comments.