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Mini-challenge number 1: The Classics

Written by Kirsten on April 25th, 2015

girlreadingI’ve often talked about the fact that I didn’t read many of the classics in high school like most of my contemporaries did. So the quotes that stick with me when I read them as an adult are probably different from the ones that would have impacted my younger self. That being said, this quote came to mind immediately when I read Allie’s challenge over at A Literary Odyssey. And while they may not seem like words of wisdom, per se, I think they do advise the reader/writer in classic, cutting Bradbury style.

“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.” ~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

As to what the words mean to me, they serve as a reminder that writing should explore and discover and find the delight in all aspects of the story being told, even the most mundane details that are often taken for granted or overlooked.

Now back to my modern classic, the enjoyable Marvel adaptation of Northanger Abbey!

 

Let the Readathon begin! Opening Meme:

Written by Kirsten on April 25th, 2015

girlreadingHere we go!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I’m in Portland, Maine, USA.
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
This is a tough one (always!) but probably The Ables by Jeremy Scott. My brother introduced me to CinemaSins, Jeremy’s film-related YouTube channel, several years ago, and we’re both excited for this debut novel, a superhero story with a twist.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
I’ve recently become enamored of using my waffle iron for everything, and was even talked into starting a tumblr for Things I Have Waffled. So, probably something starting with croissant dough – maybe a turkey and cheese pocket with spicy ranch dipping sauce. Mmmmm, getting hungry…
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I’m a queer femme living with my 17-year old brother, who has been in my custody since he was 13: he will probably interrupt my reading with a few hilarious videos during the course of Readathon, which I welcome. I have a wonderful Person in my life who will probably join me at some point today, and if I know her, she’ll show up with something delicious to eat (my money is on a bacon cheddar donut from The Holy Donut). Also present are my spoiled felines, Xander, a tuxedo boy, and Iliena, a silvery Russian Blue-y baby. They love Readathon because mom stays awake and home for most of a solid 24 hours.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
Only thing I’m doing differently is setting a donation amount instead of fundraising because math. I’m most looking forward to hopefully using this as a jumping off place for returning to blogging on a semi-regular basis, with a feed reader full of awesome bookish types.

Okay, time to get started on my first pick, Marvel’s Northanger Abbey, and some coffee and cantaloupe to kick off the Readathon caffeine-and-feeding frenzy. Happy reading, all!

 

Ready for Readathon!

Written by Kirsten on April 24th, 2015

dewey day and nightThe time has come once again for readers around the globe to dedicate 24 hours to whittling down their ever-growing piles of books. After the first time I participated in October of 2009, Dewey’s 24 hour readathon quickly became one of my favorite events, and unlike holidays, we get to do it TWICE a year! Pretty awesome.

The last two readathons, I have used comments and pages read and time not reading to tally up a donation to The Jimmy Fund in memory of my grandmother, an avid Red Sox fan. I’m doing two things differently this time around.

One, the amounts of the last two were so close, and the amount of time I spent encouraging engagement and tallying numbers so great, that instead of doing all of that I’m going to donate a flat amount of $125, the rounded-up total from each of the last two.

And two, this April’s donation will be given in memory of a patient from one of the practices where I have worked, who passed earlier this year. For privacy reasons I can’t disclose more than that, but the organization was one for which she volunteered for many years.

I have an overly-ambitious stack of physical books and an even more ridiculous number of ebook pages lined up for tomorrow’s festivities. Before I sleep I’ll pick out three top contenders for first read, which I like to be something I can breeze through to get that sense of accomplishment early on. Other than that, I just need to set the coffeemaker and get a few food items cut/portioned so they’re easy to grab ‘n’ go. Looking forward to connecting with the usual suspects, and meeting some new bookish friends. Happy readathon, everyone!

 

Saying Farewell.

Written by Kirsten on November 17th, 2014

How do you grieve the loss of the author who penned the book that set you on the path to self-discovery? How do you process the fact that the first person who ever said, “I see you,” through their story, has left this world? How do you come to terms with the knowledge that one of the strongest, loudest, most determined voices in advocacy for your community has been silenced?

You become that voice. You don’t allow it to be quieted. You ensure that “I see you” and “I have come for you” are words that others who are where you have been, continue to hear.

Leslie Feinberg wished to be remembered as “a revolutionary communist,” and so I ask you all to take a moment and honor that request. Remember – or learn about – this incredible individual who fought for so many, for so long. Send up a prayer or send out a positive vibe or send around a hug in your circle of friends, in remembrance of this warrior spirit who is, now and always, speaking through us.

stone_butch_blues

 

Readathon Wrap

Written by Kirsten on October 19th, 2014

Another readathon has come and gone, and I’m excited to tally up the totals. I know it’s going to be lower than April, mostly because I posted less frequently and so had fewer opportunities out there for folks to comment or respond. But, let’s see how we did:

Pages read:

The Blood of Olympus: 502

Maddy Kettle Book 1: The Adventures of the Thimblewitch: 90

Coraline: 162

The Paying Guests: 173 (partial)

Total pages: 927 x $0.05 = $46.35

Hours Listened: rounding up to 1; didn’t get to much of The Vacationers: $5.00

Hours not reading: 4 x$5 = $20

Comments received:

Twitter: 14

Facebook: 25

Instagram: 5

Blog: 2

Total comments: $46

GRAND TOTAL: $117.35

So, not too far shy of April’s total, which was about $123. Thanks to everyone who commented and cheered me on; it was a great readathon, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Off to — you guessed it — finish two of the books I didn’t complete yesterday/this morning. Thanks again, and the kids from The Jimmy Fund thank you, and my Mamau thanks you, for helping me do this.

Watching the Sox with my Mamau

Watching the Sox with my Mamau

 

Mid-readathon survey

Written by Kirsten on October 18th, 2014

dreamstime_readathong

We passed the halfway point a bit ago, and here’s the mid-readathon survey for hour 12!

1. What are you reading right now? Coraline by Neil Gaiman, and The Vacationers by Emma Straub on audio
2. How many books have you read so far? 2 – The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan, and Maddy Kettle, book 1: The Adventures of the Thimblewitch by Eric Orchard
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Either finishing The Paying Guests, or the two Gail Carriger novels
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Nope!
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? I always forget how quickly the day goes by, and then how slowly the wee hours seem to go… Trying to keep a pace and not burn out

Hope you’re all enjoying reading, cheering, or both; back to it for me :)

 

Readathon Intro Meme

Written by Kirsten on October 18th, 2014

dreamstime_readathong

Good morning! Managed the 8am wakeup; let’s see how long before I crash. Here’s the Opening Meme we’ve all come to know and love (sneakily written last night). Happy reading!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Portland, Maine
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Probably Rick Riordan’s The Blood of Olympus, because those books are just such brain candy that it’ll be both a fun read, and an easy one to chalk up as completed during the event. I’m also both longing for, and dreading, the rest of The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters. I love her prose and her plots, and coming to the end of her newest book means no more new Sarah Waters for several years. This is TRAGIC.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I wasn’t sure I was going to Readathon this time around, so I didn’t plan very well re: food. I’m excited that I prepped the coffee pot, though.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I work for LibraryThing for Libraries, so books aren’t just a hobby, they’re my life, and I could not be more thrilled about that. I live with my 16 year old brother and two (spoiled as shit) cats, all of whom are aware of their roles during readathon: supply, snuggle, and save anything non-urgent for Sunday.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I’m reading to raise funds for charity for the second time – April’s fundraising Readathon was a real success, so I’m excited to add to my net Jimmy Fund contribution. I know my Mamau would be proud, and support my choice of recipient of the donation. I don’t plan to do anything differently, though given the time, I will probably buy more sleep hours than I did last time :)

 

Readathon Reading List

Written by Kirsten on October 18th, 2014

dreamstime_readathong

It’s stupid late and I should really be asleep but instead I’m wrangling a Book Display Widget full of readathon TBRs because I CAN, DANGIT.
 


My short list includes:
THE BLOOD OF OLYMPUS, Rick Riordan
THE PAYING GUESTS, Sarah Waters (the second half of)
THE VACATIONERS, Emma Stroub (audiobook)
BAD FEMINIST, Roxane Gay
YOU, Caroline Kepnes
THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, Zora Neale Hurston (the rest of)
MISSED HER, Ivan Coyote
ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE
and
CURTSIES & CONSPIRACIES, Gail Carriger (of Parasol Protectorate fame)

I have a couple of ARCs in progress that I can’t seem to lay my hands on, not the least of which is Ian McEwan’s most recent, THE CHILDREN ACT. Meanwhile, I should go to bed. See you in a few hours…

 

Fall Readathon, 2014.

Written by Kirsten on October 17th, 2014

dreamstime_readathong

So, I’ve been wishy-washy about this readathon. I haven’t done any of the usual prep, haven’t been excited about it, but have also had a sort of determination to use it to manage my grief around the one year anniversary of my grandmother’s passing. When I first realized the date of the readathon, I thought, “This is great, what better way to spend what would otherwise be an absolute SHIT day than to have an excuse to do nothing but read?” Then someone who cares about me a lot and who means a lot to me offered to take some time that day to spend with me, maybe go to the ocean, be still with my feelings, and that sounded really good. Then I thought, I don’t know that I really want to see anyone that day, or rather, I don’t want anyone to see me, because as it is, I’m crying typing this stupid blog post. So, I haven’t ruled out taking some time to be with another human being who will let me ugly-cry on her shoulder and punch her instead of the rocks and generally take care of me during the meltdown that is almost guaranteed, but the time will be well spent, and will also contribute to this readathon’s fundraiser. I’m going to follow a similar model to the one I used in April:

$0.05 per page read: this works out to $20 for a 400 page book, but I have SEVERAL books in progress and want to build my donation even if I start a book and am not really feeling it after 20 pages.

$5.00 per hour listened: I have an audiobook in progress, and this will make it easier to continue to participate while cooking/preparing snacks, and getting to and from anywhere I may go.

$5.00 per hour missed: If I leave for a while, this will go into effect, but this covers hours slept, too. Any hour in which I do not read or listen to a book, that’s five bucks. (I may decide at 8am that oversleeping is worth the $$…) And finally…

$1.00 per comment left on my blog posts, Facebook comments, and @ tweets during the readathon. Official Readathon Cheerleaders will be assigned to stop by and root for me as a reader, but this is an easy way for family and friends to contribute to the grand total.

On Sunday, whenever I wake up from my epic post-readathon sleep, I will do a roundup and calculate the total, which will be donated to the Jimmy Fund in memory of the Reverend Lucille Richard, my favorite reader and fellow nerd.

Mamau the Nerd

Mamau the Nerd

 

Banned Books Week 2014

Written by Kirsten on September 21st, 2014

Today is the start of Banned Books Week, a celebration of those titles that have been challenged and banned from schools/libraries due to content considered “inappropriate” for any number of reasons, ranging from race relations to sexuality to magic. This year, the ALA is highlighting graphic novels, citing Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, which was recently made into a Broadway musical, and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. I started a personal Banned Books challenge in 2010, choosing books I own but had not yet read from the top 100 most-often banned classics. This year, I’m choosing banned books by female authors. First up is Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.
How many of the top 100 classics have you read? Want to join me in challenging yourself to read one or more from the classics, or any of the annual top 10 lists, this week?

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