Oct 2013 Read-a-Thon!

by Orual

It’s that time of year again:  in a scant 10 hours, the 2013 October Read-a-Thon, founded by Dewey, will begin. For a full 24 hours, I will read and blog, with occasional breaks for eating and caffeine consumption.

I’m a bit constrained in my book choices, due to my 2013 10 in 10 challenge, so I’m going to try to knock out most of my Pre-1000AD reads during the Read-a-Thon. Also, I’ve got three books that publishers sent me to review, and I need to read those sooner rather than later. So, here’s my TBR pile for the readathon:


Obviously I won’t get to them all — or even most of them — but hopefully I can make a dent. (This post will be updated with mini challenges/questions/etc).

Hour 8 Update: 

Getting a late start because I couldn’t sleep last night. Here are the opening questions —

1) I’m reading from Colorado, USA.
2) The books I’m most looking forward to reading are two by Julius Caesar — The Gallic Wars and The Civil Wars.
3) The snack I’m most looking forward to is whatever I can find in the fridge at any given time. I never plan snacks ahead.
4) Something about myself:  I’m currently teaching myself Italian and German.
5) I sort-of participated last year, but this year hopefully I will be more diligent (of course, I’m already late!).

Ok, time to read. I’m starting with Confucius’ Analects.

Mid-Event Survey

1) Doing ok. I’m just about to get something for dinner, so hopefully that will wake me up a bit.
2) I just finished reading The Analects by Confucius.
3) Sadly, that’s all I’ve read so far. I’m ready to read something a bit more exciting.
4) Munching on some dried coconut right now. Delicious!
5) Haven’t found any new blogs, yet. I haven’t stopped reading long enough to poke around some.

Show It Off 2.0 Mini Challenge

“Here’s your challenge: I want you to show off a book (or books) from your library that you are extremely proud of. The unique, signed or simply dear-to-your-heart editions that you’d grab if there were a fire.”

Individual books are dear to me in two different ways. I can love them as texts, as I do A Tale of Two Cities and Moby-Dick and Harry Potter.  And I can love a single book as an artifact — a certain copy that I find beautiful or valuable or which is inexorably tied to a time or event or place in my life. Those in the latter category are books as memories, and they are what I will share here (apologies for the number, but I couldn’t only choose one or two!).


The Redwall series was one of the first I ever loved (along with Animorphs), and when I was in sixth grade, my mother lugged my collection to a bookstore where Brian Jacques was appearing to get them signed for me. (She would later do the same with Oliver North’s book The Jericho Sanction.) Also, Redwall was one of the (few) things I actually had in common with my first boyfriend (still sixth grade). Later that jerk would move to Belgium and then return to visit me only to steal several of my cds, but that’s beside the point, I suppose. I still love Redwall and my mom and this book.


This non-fiction book about Russia’s last Tsar is heartbreaking, among other things, and I read most of it in hotels in Moscow and St. Petersburg. No doubt there are teardrops in its pages and on a set of sheets somewhere in Russia. And in its pages, I keep my ticket from Tsarskoe Selo, which was the royal family’s country residence and the place where they most loved to be, before the whole family was murdered by the communists in 1918. This copy kept me company in Russia and is tethered to many memories of my time there.


When I traveled to Turkey, I immediately fell in love with the country and the people, including my tour guide, Cem (pronounced sorta like “Jim”). I won’t lie:  I was totally infatuated with him, and I have more than a few pictures of ancient ruins taken from a weird angle so as to get him in frame. Naturally I often tried to drum up conversation with him, and one of those conversations led to this book recommendation:  Ataturk by Lord John Kinross. Cem said it was the single best book to read if you’re interested in modern Turkey, so once I returned home, I procured it in short order. I haven’t read it, yet; it looks like it will be a pretty major time commitment. But I love seeing it on my shelf, as it reminds me of Cem and Turkey and that trip, which was magnificent.


Around the time I started to get serious about writing fiction myself, Tim Powers came to give a lecture at my university.  After the talk, he graciously signed my copy of Last Call, upside down. And then I was surprised to be invited out to dinner with him and three other students and my writing professor. We all went to a pizza joint in Fullerton, CA and talked late into the night about books and science fiction and ghosts and Catholicism. And it was glorious. And at the end of the night, he shook my hand and said, “I trust I will be seeing you again.” He was incredibly kind and encouraging and funny, and that is why I treasure this book.


And finally, this is an 1868 edition of Dante’s La Divina Comedia, which my mother bought for me at our library’s biannual book sale. I think this may be the oldest book I own, which makes it special, and it’s also Dante, who is one of my favorite writers. Also, I volunteer at these book sales, setting up all the books beforehand, and the county brings in inmates from a local jail to help us. I always find it moving to work with them, knowing that its books bringing us together for an afternoon or two.

End of Event Survey

  1. The first few hours were actually the most daunting, as I hadn’t slept well or much at all the night before.
  2. I wouldn’t recommend my book choices this year to anyone else to read for a read-a-thon.
  3. My only suggestion for improvement would be to somehow hide all the youtube videos  behind a cut or something on the main read-a-thon page. At least for me, they make the page take a relatively long time to fully load.
  4. I think it all went well.
  5. I read two whole books from start to finish.
  6. The Analects by Confucius and The Dark Path by David Schickler
  7. I definitely enjoyed Schickler’s book more.
  8. Confucius was a disappointment. I think I’ll stick with Western philosophers.
  9. N/A
  10. Fairly likely to participate again, in the same capacity.