The Sparrow Readalong

As you all know, I’ve been mulling over what to do with Reading and Ruminations for awhile now. Even though it’s not been active, I hate the idea of giving up on it, so I just bumble along, and pop in from time to time (usually around Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon). But after spending August getting back into a reading groove, I decided I want to try to dip my toes in a little more often here. I won’t be posting daily, and possibly not even weekly, but I want to make a point of talking about what I’m reading at least a couple times a month.

And then on Twitter, Trish from Love, Laughter and a Touch of Insanity mentioned that she wanted to do a low-pressure readalong of The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell in September. This is a book that has been on my radar for awhile. I’d look for it occasionally at bookstores, and was never able to find it. And then, on a trip to my favorite bookstore in the world, Green Apple Books in San Francisco, I picked up a used copy last year. And then promptly stuck it on my shelves, to be lost among the hundreds of other books waiting to be read.

I admittedly don’t know much about The Sparrow, but it seems that everyone who has ever read it has loved it. So I decided that I’d take part, and use this as my opportunity to start blogging about books again. 

My plan is to post once a week or so with updates on the book: my thoughts on it, where I’m at, that sort of thing. My expectation is that I probably won’t read much, if at all, the first week and a half of the month- I am having my gallbladder removed on September 11 and want to use the time between now and then to make sure my house is spotless and all my laundry is done. Once my surgery is complete, though, I have two weeks at home to recover, and will most likely be doing the bulk of my reading then, so expect to see more updates after that. 

Hour Eighteen: Calling it a Night

After two and a quarter books read, this is going to be the end of the Readathon for me. I had such a blast this year, and I’m so grateful to the awesome #TeamHughes cheerleaders for stopping by to visit me throughout the day. You all seriously rock, and I think next time I will be joining your ranks as a cheerleader. Thanks again to Andi and Heather and their team for making this such a great event. Over 800 readers is amazing! I made new Twitter friends this weekend, and was lucky enough to win a door prize earlier today. And while The House at Riverton is still unread (October for sure, if I don’t read it before then), I’ve made a solid dent in Admission.

(And I might also be thinking about popping in here a little more often than twice a year. I don’t know yet. We’ll see.)

Anyway, here are my final stats for this year’s readathon:

Currently reading: Admission
Books completed: Love Letters to the Dead, Parnassus on Wheels
Total pages read: 445
Total minutes read: 380 or so- I lost count
Pages per minute: 1.17

Good luck to those of you continuing on to the end of the event!


Hour Twelve: Mid-Event Survey

I just finished my second book of the readathon, Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley. It was such a charming little story, and I will definitely be tracking down more of his work in the future, including the companion book, The Haunted Bookshop.

I did some non-readathon things in the last few hours as well, so I didn’t read as much as I would have liked. However, I did finally start Admission, which I’m very excited to work on over the next few hours. I’ll be taking another break toward the end of this hour to go pick my roommate up from work, but the book will be coming with me.

1. What are you reading right now? Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
2. How many books have you read so far? Two
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Finishing Admission, maybe getting to The House at Riverton
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? Nope. That’s the beauty of being unmarried with no children
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? My interruptions have been of my own doing. At this point I just do what I have to and come back to the readathon when I can.
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Nothing much. I will be surprised later if I finish both Admission and The House at Riverton this year.
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope. Andi and Heather have got this, and they do an awesome job.
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? I don’t usually sign up to cheer, but I think I might next time.
9. Are you getting tired yet? I took a couple micro-naps earlier, and may take another this evening. Mostly I’m okay though.
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? I never have an answer for this question….

Currently reading: Admission
Books completed: Love Letters to the Dead, Parnassus on Wheels
Pages read last four hours: 142
Total pages read: 323
Minutes read last four hours: 93
Total minutes read: 253
Pages per minute: 1.27

Hour Seven: First Book Done

I just finished Love Letters to the Dead, and it was so good. Laurel’s freshman English teacher starts the year off by asking her students to write a letter to a dead person, and Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain, as a way of feeling close to her older sister, who recently died. Soon, Laurel is writing to a whole host of dead people, including John Keats, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin, using her emotional connection to their work as a way to process both the events leading to her sister’s death, and her feelings as she tries to come to terms with it (and survive her freshman year). I don’t read much YA these days, but I highly recommend this book. Loved it!

Up next, Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley. I want to be able to cross off another book relatively quickly, and this feels like a way to do that, before I tackle Admission in the early afternoon.


Currently reading: Parnassus on Wheels
Books completed: Love Letters to the Dead
Pages read last three hours: 133
Total pages read: 181
Minutes read last three hours: 100
Total minutes read: 160
Pages per minute: 1.13

Readathon: Hour Four Update

I’ve gotten off to kind of a slow start this Readathon, mostly due to my roommate’s unfortunately timed work schedule today. But I’ve had a catnap and a shower, and I’ve taken her to work, so the next eight hours or so are mine to do with as I please. I intend to spend as many of them as possible reading.

I’m a little over a third of the way through Love Letters to the Dead, which was recommended to me by my friend Mary. I’m seriously loving it so far. I suspect that I’ll fly through the rest of it now that I am more awake than I was earlier. I guess it doesn’t really matter how much you think you’re awake- if it’s 6:30 am and you’re laying in bed, chances are good you’ll get sleepy sooner rather than later.

In other news, I won a door prize during hour 3, which I am SUPER excited about. I haven’t won anything since either the Spring 2009 or Spring 2010 readathons. Can’t wait to see which of my selections shows up on my door in a few weeks.

Here are my stats for the first few hours. I expect the pace to pick up shortly.

Currently reading: Love Letters to the Dead
Books completed: None
Pages read last three hours: 64
Total pages read: 64
Minutes read last two hours: 72
Total minutes read: 72
Pages per minute: .88


Readathon: Hour Zero Intro Meme

Good morning everyone! It’s Readathon day, and I am SO excited to be hanging out with you all reading today. This is seriously my favorite bookish event all year, and the fact that we get to do it twice a year rocks.

Before I do anything else, I want to be sure to say THANK YOU to Andi and Heather (and their team) for all their hard work on this event, both today and leading up to it. Thanks you guys!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I am reading from Roseville, CA, the consumer mecca of the Sacramento Valley. Bring us all your shopping dollars.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

If I say Admission or The House at Riverton, it means I won’t read them. So I’ll say Love Letters to the Dead. It’s only the first time I’ve had it on my list.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Hmm. For the first time this year I actually got some snacks (though no real food. I might send my roommate for takeout teriyaki later). I think maybe my Red Vines?

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

Hmm. This is my 11th readathon. I missed the first two, and one a few years ago when my whirlwind weekend trip to visit a friend in Texas coincided with Readathon weekend. I’m approaching my 30th birthday later this summer, which fills me with more trepidation than I was expecting. Hm, what else? Today my reading buddies are my cat and my roommate’s cat. And I am always on the lookout for the combination of flavors that will most closely recreate the taste of Coffee Mate’s discontinued Belgian Chocolate Toffee creamer (this random fact brought to you by my current caffeine-deprived state and the smell of coffee brewing in the other room).

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?

Hmm. Maybe my update frequency. I tried to update every hour last year, which seemed a little silly. Also, my first break will be early today, during the third hour, so I can take my roommate to work (and shower). And I’m reading digitally today. That’s new, too.

April 2014 Readathon: I’m In

So apparently this blog is now just a place for me to park my posts about the twice-yearly Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon. And that’s okay. Maybe someday I will start blogging again, but for now, my lack of blogging is not the end of the world.


Tomorrow is my favorite bookish Internet event, the 24 Hour Readathon. It’s my eleventh readathon, which I’ve been told makes me a pro (I say not so much. I’m more an experienced amateur), and I think I’m more excited for this readathon than I have been for readathons in awhile. I’ve got good books lined up, an empty apartment for most of the day, and one of my oldest Internet buddies is participating for the first time (side note: you should all go say hi to my friend Mary on Twitter at @peacewillfollow and cheer her on. I know she’s been assigned to an official team of cheerleaders, but I really want her first readathon to rock).

Stacks o’ Books

For the first time ever, I am readathoning with an ereader. I finally broke down last year and bought a Nook during Barnes and Noble’s Black Friday sale, and since then most of my reading has been ebooks, as opposed to physical books. So I have two book “stack” pictures for you guys this year: a physical stack of books and a picture of my “Readathon Possibilities” shelf on my Nook.

Readathon 2014The first stack is my physical books (with my Nook on top). Those books are:

  • Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
  • Dear Life by Alice Munro
  • Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  • Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • The Secret Scriptures by Sebastian Barry
  • Dare Me by Megan Abbott
  • The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P.D. Vining
  • Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
  • Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
  • The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

(If some of those look familiar, it’s because they’ve been on my readathon stacks for a million yeaReadathon 2014 ebooksrs. Seriously).

My ebook shelf came together kind of last minute, but I’m excited about these books as well:

  • The Barbarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar
  • The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy
  • Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
  • Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
  • Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
  • The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones

I have a few goals this readathon, but the main one is this: both The House at Riverton and Admission (and Maine, too, come to that) have been on my stacks for at least two previous readathons each. It’s time to read them. So I seriously want to finish those books tomorrow. My first book will probably be either Eleanor and Park or Love Letters to the Dead, depending on which little cover I push after I do my first post. As far as updates go, I think I will try to update every two to three hours or so. They will have their own posts (I tried to do one running post once and absolutely hated it).

I will also be tweeting at @shootingstarr7 if you’d prefer to keep up with me that way.

Okay, with that accomplished, I think I am ready to call it a night and start fresh in the morning. See you all at the start.

Hour 19: This is the End for Me

Okay all. My stats from last check-in are the ones that are going to have to stand for the night. I’m still pretty wide awake, and I’m actually going to still be reading a little and doing some late-night cookie baking, but I am done readathon-ing. I spent the last hour or so watching Thursday night’s Glee, and I am emotionally spent (and more than a little headache-y from crying. I have a lot of feelings about people who die young, whether they be fictional or real, through causes of their own doing or those outside their control).

In any event, I can’t get back in that boat with Pi and Richard Parker tonight. I’ll finish the book tomorrow afternoon probably, but for tonight, I am doing some coping baking. And maybe doing some Netflixing. But I won’t be keeping track of my reading any more. Good luck to those of you continuing on.

Hour 17: This Book, You Guys

I am about halfway through Life of Pi. and still totally engrossed (though I am in the middle of a break for a late dinner). The good news is I am still pretty awake, so I should be going strong for a few more hours (also my roommate is leaving for the night, so I will be able to employ tactics to help myself stay awake, including keeping the apartment lit up like a Christmas tree and playing music until I really do need to call it a night and go to bed). I’m hoping that I am now past most of the graphic descriptions in this book, since it’s just Pi and Richard Parker on the boat.

I will also take a break for a little while to watch Thursday night’s episode of Glee. I quit Glee quite a while ago, but will be back for this one episode. Now that my roommate is leaving, I can watch it and have my big ugly cry for the night.

I’ll be back around hour 19 or 20 or so, depending on how long it takes me to be able to see (and read) again post-Glee.

Currently reading: Life of Pi
Books completed: The Passion of the Purple Plumeria
Pages read last two hours: 102
Total pages read: 592
Minutes read last two hours: 90
Total minutes read: 414
Pages per minute: 1.42

Hour 15: Post-Nap Resurgence?

As expected, I ended up sleeping for an hour or so after my last update. Life of Pi is going much more slowly than The Passion of the Purple Plumeria did, but I am loving the heck out of it all the same. It’s one of those books that I’ve had on the TBR for about a million years, and I’ve (somehow) managed to never really have it spoiled for me. However, I’ve been listening to back episodes of the Literary Disco podcast (side note: if you aren’t listening, you should be- Rider Strong is one of the hosts, and my internal teenager thinks it’s awesome to hear Shawn Hunter’s voice talking about good books), and I am to the episode where they talk about Life of Pi. Toward the end of this particular episode, they are actually discussing the end of Life of Pi, so I stopped the podcast so I wouldn’t have the end spoiled for me. I don’t know why I care; spoilers don’t usually deter me from watching or reading something I was planning to watch or read anyway. They’ve discussed other books on my TBR, and it hasn’t affected me. But for some reason, it matters with this one. So I am reading this book so I can finish the episode and go back to binge-listening.

Stats for the last three hours:

Currently reading: Life of Pi
Books completed: The Passion of the Purple Plumeria
Pages read last three hours: 40
Total pages read: 490
Minutes read last three hours: 55
Total minutes read: 324
Pages per minute: 1.51


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