The one with the reading challenge.

Sometimes I think everyone is right – I must be crazy. To wit: a member of the online book community I stalk follow hosted a reading challenge this past weekend: #24in48. She hosts these challenges at least once a year, sometimes as often as quarterly, in which a participant pledges to read 24 hours during the set 48. Literally, half the designated weekend. You can link up with her personal blog, follow along on twittler, or through her tumbler. There are many ways to participate and so many cool people do. Seeing everyone’s progress, how many books – and what kinds of – books readers are going through…well, it’s all pretty cool for someone as book obsessed as me.

So I did it. Sort of. Technically, I didn’t sign up. It’s the first weekend in three weeks that I’ve had the girls for the weekend, and we had a birthday party and a day-long shopping date set up beforehand – not exactly outings I could cancel. Squeezing in 24 hours of reading was going to be tough. So I thought I’d just play along unofficially this time around to see what it was like. Also: I sort of tweaked the rules. I don’t even care that I did because you know why? IT’S FOR FUN. It’s okay to bend the rules for fun things that have, really, no consequences. So if I started on Friday night because I knew I’d be out of the running for 8 hours on Sunday? No big deal. It’s a reading challenge for fun, not life or death!

So, Friday night, I settled in with a pile of books. I finished my designated lunchtime-read, Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which I enjoyed but didn’t necessarily love. It was a lot like The Lovely Bones, except the sibling was the one who disappeared and the overall effect wasn’t quite as zomg-keep-reading as Lovely Bones.

Next, I finished off my nighttime book, the deliciously smutty and historical fiction novel, Blindspot, by Harvard professors Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore. Guess what? It’s also set in revolutionary Boston. No wonder it still rings my bells after four – yes, four! – re-reads.

I read a bit of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to the girls, then made quick work of E. Annie Proulx’s novella, Brokeback Mountain. It was a bit more…abrupt?…than the movie, but just as beautiful and moving. Of course, there isn’t much you’re going to get out of it if you’ve already seen the movie, so.

After that, I moved on to a YA selection, Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me, a book my sister left for me to read. You guys – you need to read it. Especially if you like books about doors and travellin’ and rabbit holes. It heavily references Wrinkle in Time and the possibility of time travel, but focuses mostly on the trials and tribulations of being eleven. Sticky friendships, bullying, what exactly to do with the opposite sex (especially if your friend is no longer talking to you), parents, being the least bit different, and other YA plot points. Only our protag gets mysterious notes from a maybe-stalker, maybe-guardian angel who leaves creepy, mysterious notes that…yeah, maybe just go read it before I give it all away.

When You Reach Me was split between Friday night (I stayed awake until 2 a.m.) and Saturday morning, and then I switched to Edwidge Danticat’s Krik? Krak!. I’m not one for short stories, but I could listen to Danticat talk about the phone book; she’d make it seem lyrical, fluid, and full of shiny magically realistic (but still hard to swallow) truths.

Finally, I moved on to a re-read of Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell. It’s another re-read for me, but my book club is reading it and it’s so frickin’ fabulous that I couldn’t not pick it up again. Sure I wanted to be able to rattle off quotes and discuss the little things right along with the big things I already remembered, but mostly I needed only the tiniest nudge to make me pick it up again. Go. Read it. Best book I read this weekend, even though I already had.

All of that and I still only hit 20 1/2 hours. 20 1/2 of 24. Close…but not quite goal. I think it’s the first reading goal I’ve ever set and failed to accomplish. But you know what? I’m okay with that. Really and truly, all-the-way-to-my-toes okay with it. I got a ton of reading – and six books – read over the course of a single weekend. It was fun! And I know that if I can plan around the next one a little better, I’ll hit goal. I loved reading right along with some of my favorite people; the shared experience was pretty awesome.

#24in48 – I don’t think I’ll ever be able to quit you.

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One Response to “The one with the reading challenge.”

  1. Trish Says:

    20 hours is still pretty fantastic!! I’m guessing this post means you’ve never participated in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon (http://24hourreadathon.com/). While I won’t be able to do it this spring (I haven’t been able to fully participate since I was 38 weeks pregnant with Elle), it is FABULOUS and I adore the girls who are currently running it. Definitely definitely worth checking out–it’s one of the biggest single day readathons.

    20 hours of reading…not a bad way to spend the weekend! ;)

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