sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

October 18, 2008


readathon: hour 17
posted by soe 11:43 pm

readathon logo
Yes, I’m still here.

After I wrote the last post, I had some trouble getting back into Stardust. So I picked up Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist to see if that would work. Rudi returned from the store to find me dozing over it. He suggested I take a teeny™ while he cooked chili, and I saw the wisdom of his suggestion. Half an hour later I was awake and feeling ready for some dinner and some reading.

The next hour should see me finishing N&N. I’m trying to decide if I should return to the Gaiman book or try something else. I’ve got a graphic novel, a Peter Mayle novel, and a Hamish MacBeth mystery, as well as some other things that have been lying around for a while.

I should be okay for a while in terms of sleep. Helping my friend Susan move tomorrow ought to be interesting, though….

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readathon: hour 11
posted by soe 6:28 pm

I’m back from some time out and about. I scrapped the Bethesda plan and instead just headed out into the neighborhood. I ended up at the local independent coffee shop, where I read some more of Stardust and listened to some of Little Women on CraftLit whilst I worked on my Trick or Treat Swap Sock. It got a wee bit nippy out, so Rudi and I headed home under a mackerel sky.

Soho

I arrived home to find that I was supposed to be walking this hour and taking a photo while I was out and about, so I headed back out with the camera. Here’s a bit of what I saw:


Church at Dusk

Taras Shevchenko and an Airplane

Sunset Clouds

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readathon: hour 7
posted by soe 1:49 pm

readathon logoI’ve spent the last couple hours trudging through the first two chapters of Around the World in Eighty Days. No, I’ve never read it. And, no, it isn’t so hard that it requires an hour a chapter.

But I’m reading it in French, to help me bone up on the language. The daily pieces have been accumulating from Daily Lit in my RSS reader for a couple weeks now as each day I postponed starting. It was on my list of possibilities for today, but I probably wouldn’t have pulled them out quite so soon if it hadn’t been for Sarah’s mini-challenge to take on an hour’s reading in a foreign language.

That said, after reading each of the first two chapters in French, I then read the English version. I sort of summarized in my head what I thought was going on (mostly descriptions of the two main characters and their habits) first and then went to see if I’d gotten the gist. I’m pleased to say that while some vocabulary words have me reaching for pen and paper (yes, I’m keeping a list), that I do generally grasp the material.

Lord help us if I had to grasp it being spoken, though. Really must get on that…

I also made some bread (in the breadmaker) and have some apple cider on the stove. One cannot live on words alone!

I think I’m going to read for another hour (Neil Gaiman, maybe?) and then put the iPod on and listen to a book for a while. I’d like to get up to the Bethesda Row Arts Festival, since the day looks lovely and autumnal and sticking the ear buds in seems like a nice way to be able to combine the two goals. I’m listening to Little Women via CraftLit, so I might pull that out, or maybe a fairy tale or two from the Fairy Knitting podcast…

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readathon: hour 4
posted by soe 10:57 am

readathon logoI just finished my first book of the day. Not even noon yet. I feel so productive. Plus I washed the kitchen floor before I started reading this morning, so how about them apples?

Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale

From the jacket: “Dashti, a maid, and her mistress, Lady Saren, are shut in a tower for seven years because of Saren’s refusal to marry a man she despises, and the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment. When Saren’s two suitors arrive outside the tower, the girls are confronted with both hope and great danger. With Shannon Hale’s lyrical language, this little-known classic fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm is reimagined and and reset on the central Asian steppes; it is a completely unique retelling filled with adventure and romance.”

My take: I have yet to meet a Shannon Hale book that I don’t automatically fall into. She has a terrific grasp of how to breathe life into characters — both her main characters as well as secondaries — and you always find yourself turning the pages as quickly as you possibly can in order to find out what sort of thing they’re going to do next.

Because that’s one of the great things about her protagonists. Things don’t happen to them. I mean, yes, they do. Life swirls around them and they are, inevitably, touched by it. But they see what life is handing them and proactively turn to confront it. Her characters are actors in their own lives.

For Dashti, this is especially true. We meet her as she’s being bricked into a tower with a her mistress, a girl, we come to find out, that she’s only just met. But instead of freaking out (or taking the out that she is offered at the outset), she opts to remain positive and make the best of the situation. She rejoices that there is adequate food for her to eat for seven years — three whole meals a day — and a bed of her own upon which to sleep. She knows her place and her duty to Lady Saren, but she can’t help but claim a little bit of the situation for herself.

Time and time again she places herself between Lady Saren and the wolves — both metaphoric and real. The question is, when the time comes, will she be able to save her mistress — and herself?

Considering a Hale novel or just looking for a spectacular read? Pick this one up.

Pages: 329 (The library only had the large print edition, so this may have more pages than the regular print version.)


Other pertinent Readathon info:

Number of books read since you started: 1
Running total of pages read since you started: 265
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 3.25 hours

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readathon: hour 2
posted by soe 9:06 am

readathon logoI’m about two-thirds of the way through Shannon Hale’s Book of a Thousand Days, which I started yesterday so I’d have something to look forward to this morning. (You don’t want to dither about finding the right book when you’re still half asleep…)

Luckily, the book is so good that after the electric kettle boiled, I stayed put with a Posey on my lap just reading away. Rudi came home a little while later from his bike ride and made the tea for me. Too bad he’s gone for most of the day… He’s both useful and cute.

Okay, back to my book!

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readathon: hour 1
posted by soe 7:24 am

readathon logoNo idea what I was thinking, but I’ve signed up for Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. So, if you’re bored today, check back because I’ll be updating frequently.

This morning’s first post offers insight into who I am for anyone stopping by from the outside world:

Where are you reading from today?

    I’m reading in an overcast Washington, D.C. Right now I’ll be reading at home, but the location may vary throughout the day to keep things interesting.

3 facts about me …

    1. I am not a morning person.
    2. I leave for France in eighteen days for my first trip to a wholly foreign-speaking land.
    3. I don’t like coffee.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?

    Well, I picked up seven new books at the library yesterday to provide me with a bunch of options, but my TBR pile at home is deep as well.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?

    I’m supposed to have goals? Crap! I thought getting out of bed in time to start was a pretty good one…

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?

    I am a novice professional, but have many years under my belt in the amateur category. I do, of course, welcome any and all suggestions of how to muddle through on the five hours of sleep I got after last night’s marathon French Monopoly game. If you think that game is endless in English, you haven’t seen anything until you have to pull out a dictionary to translate the Community Chest cards…

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