Hour Sixteen: Feeling Better

There’s something to be said for tuning out the world and just reading for a little while. Also eating dinner (my slow cooker chicken and dumplings, which turned out fantastic). But I’ve done away with a good deal of the stress I was feeling during the last update. I was able to successfully give Stella her first insulin shot, so I’m pretty pleased about that.

But since I know you’re here about books, and not my cat, I’ll talk about that instead.*

I’m about one-third of the way through Bad Feminist, and it is SO GOOD. I had a feeling I’d like it, since I’ve read a few of Gay’s essays previously and liked them, and I adore her Twitter feed (seriously, if you’re on Twitter and not following her, you should be. She’s so smart. Things are a little different than normal this week because she’s been in the hospital recovering from a nasty ankle break, but she still rocks. Also, she live tweets The Barefoot Contessa, which is awesome). Anyway, there have been many places where I’ve had to grab my pen and underline points that have resonated with me.

I’m going to take a little break from Bad Feminist, though, to drop into another book- probably Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King. I want to savor Bad Feminist, and the readathon, while lovely, doesn’t really give me that opportunity.

Here are my stats for the last seven(!) hours.

Currently reading: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay; Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Books completed: The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
Pages read last seven hours: 72
Total pages read: 241
Minutes read last four hours: 78
Total minutes read: 223
Pages per minute: 1.08

*If you ARE interested in my cat, there are some pictures of her on my Twitter feed. She’s the black kitty.


Hour Thirteen: Mid-Event Survey

I’m finally home after a trip to the vet to pick up Stella, and an unexpected trip to my mom and dad’s house so they could watch her while I took her prescription to the pharmacy (and saved me from being a story on the local news for leaving my cat in a car on a sunny day). The whole day has been extremely stressful and frustrating and expensive, and now I have to start giving her insulin shots twice a day, starting with tonight.


I did almost no reading while I was gone, but now that I am home again I intend to do nothing but read for at least the next hour. In the meantime, here are my answers to the mid-event survey:

1. What are you reading right now?

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
2. How many books have you read so far?

One- The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Reading more of Bad Feminist and Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

So many interruptions. Nothing about my day has gone as planned. And so stressful, too. I think most of the interruptions have been dealt with, at least for awhile, but I am going to spend at least the next hour ignoring everything but my books.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

Cheerleading is kinda hard work. But it’s been fun. And it successfully distracted me earlier when I desperately needed to be distracted.

Hour Nine: A Nap and a Break

So, the last few hours were crazy busy, and a little stressful on a personal level. I finished The Fifth Child (very interesting and thought-provoking, but as was pointed out to me on Twitter, really not the best book to read while pregnant), and I’ve started some of the essays in Bad Feminist. Bad Feminist is being read with pen in hand, because Roxane Gay is amazing and brilliant, and as I’m reading I find myself saying “Yes! This!” I had lunch, did some cheering, and had phone calls with both the vet and my mother, for the same reason- my little seven pound ball of fluff is now a diabetic kitty. I’m leaving momentarily to go get her and get the instructions on giving her insulin twice a day. She hates shots, so this will be fun. I also managed to squeeze in a little nap. I may have a more substantial one when I get home, but maybe going outside for a little while will wake me up.

Here are my current stats:

Currently reading: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
Books completed: The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
Pages read last four hours: 73
Total pages read: 169
Minutes read last four hours: 60
Total minutes read: 134
Pages per minute: 1.26

Hour Five Update: Moving Right Along

It seems so weird to me that my first in-‘thon update is Hour Five; I’ve usually posted a few updates by now. But it was a little bit of a slow start for me, in terms of reading. But I have had a busy several hours. I have: done some reading, done some cheerleading, and have whisked my kitty, Stella, away to spend several hours with her favorite tormenters vet techs. I also burnt my bagel, to the point where it needed to be smothered with more cream cheese than is good for anyone in order to be palatable (but not so burnt it resembled charcoal; I do have some standards).

But now I am home, I am fed (with the taste of burnt bagel in my mouth), and it’s just me and Miggy for a few hours while Stella and my roommate are gone. I’m planning to finish The Fifth Child this hour, and maybe do a bit more reading, then maybe in hour six or so I will go back and do some more cheering.

My stats for now:

Currently reading: The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
Books completed: None
Pages read last four hours: 96
Total pages read: 96
Minutes read last four hours: 75
Total minutes read: 75
Pages per minute: 1.28

October 2014 Readathon: 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, a city that can’t decide whether it wants to be Beverley Hills or Stars Hollow, and tries to be both.

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

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay. I’ve had it on my shelf practically since it came out, but still haven’t read it in spite of the awesome things I’ve heard about it (and my love of Roxane Gay on Twitter).

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Not so much a snack, but I’m going to make some slow cooker chicken and dumplings for dinner and so I’m excited for dinner later tonight.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

Hmm. This is my 12th readathon! As usual, my reading buddies are my cat, Stella, and my roommate’s cat, Miggy, but it’s too early for both of them so they’re still warm in their beds (and by their beds, I mean the human’s beds, the little brats). And I never quite know what to say in these “Tell us about you!” questions. I had a job interview start out that way once and I answered with a self-deprecating remark about selling myself.

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?

For the first time ever, I am cheering! Officially and everything! So that’s new and exciting.

October 2014 Readathon

It’s my favorite time of year: the October Readathon is here! I love both readathons, but the October one holds a special place in my heart. My very first readathon was all the way back in October 2008, and though that was mostly spent reading books for my senior paper (so. much. Andrew. Carnegie!), it was still a blast. I’ve not missed an October readathon since (and I’ve only missed one readathon total in that time, in April 2012).

So it’s the night before the readathon, and in my usual tradition, I am posting my book stack tonight. Those of you who have followed me over the years will notice that my perennial “maybe” books, The House at Riverton and Admission, have both been removed from the possibility stack this time. I started Admission during the April readathon, but didn’t finish it and haven’t picked it up since. As for The House at Riverton, well, it will just have to wait, too. I think it needs a break from being the Susan Lucci of my readathon books.

So here are the possibilities for October 2014:

  • The Infinities by John Banville
  • Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji
  • Love Begins in Winter by Simon van Booy
  • Open City by Teju Cole
  • The Position by Meg Wolitzer
  • Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
  • Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  • Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
  • Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
  • The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing
  • The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla by Lauren Willig
  • Land of Love and Drowning by Typhanie Yanique

My expectation is that I will start with either Please Ignore Vera Dietz or The Fifth Child so that I can knock one out fairly quickly. And I plan to read the essays in Bad Feminist and the short stories in Love Begins in Winter throughout the day.

I’m also doing something new this readathon! I am an official cheerleader! Assigned to a team and everything. I’ll be meeting lots of new people on Twitter while I cheer for #TeamBronte. I think I’m set up to be cheered for here, but if you want to cheer for me on Twitter, too, I’m @shootingstarr7 there, and I will be tweeting updates in addition to hourly-ish updates here.

See you all in the morning!

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