Saturday, October 20, 2018

The 24 Hour Readathon, Fall 2018

And so we say goodbye to another Readathon! Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make Readathon happen. I found that this year, I checked in online periodically but I didn't really feel like participating in the mini-challenges or bingo. So I did a lot of reading and it was lovely.

Closing Survey
1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Friends, I was tired this time around! I usually make it to at least hour 18 or so, which is 2 a.m. on the East Coast of the United States. This time, I was falling asleep in my book before midnight. Oh well!
2. Tell us ALLLLL the books you read! I read When Dimple Met Rishi, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, An Age of License, Every Heart a Doorway, one Flannery O'Connor story, and I listened to 13 chapters of my audiobook Cress. 3. Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners? The Ocean at the End of the Lane and Every Heart a Doorway are perfect for the fall Readathon! They are both short and creepy without being so terrifying that you have to turn every light on in your house. 4. What’s a really rad thing we could do during the next Read-a-thon that would make you happy? I don't know! I look forward to seeing what will happen in April. 
5. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep? If I'm free, I'm always here for Readathon and I would be happy to help out with whatever our intrepid leaders need! 

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? I'm reading some Flannery O'Connor short stories and trying to decide on my next book. 
2. How many books have you read so far? Four
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? I'm looking forward to dipping back into some comics when I start to get tired (Giant Days, Lucy Knisley) 
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Well, I have two kids and I had to do a few things, so I just kept going. 
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Nothing really, although the time is going by strangely; sometimes it's really fast and other times, I can't believe how much reading I've done in a little time! 

So it's time to check in again! I've read four books so far--When Dimple Met Rishi, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, An Age of License, and Every Heart a Doorway. I've also been listening to the audiobook of Cress when I had to do some other things.

              The Ocean at the End of the Lane    Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1)
The boy has been sick for the past few days, but he managed to read four books: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Geeked Out, and Game Over, Pete Watson. I also took some time this afternoon and went to the library with the little girl. Tonight at bedtime, we read Yasmin the Fashionista and Lucia the Luchadora. 

Now I'm looking forward to some ice cream and short stories. What are you reading? 

Getting to Know You Survey
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Hello from New Jersey! Today is pretty gloomy, which is fine with me. Who needs to go outside when there is reading to do? 
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? I'm pretty excited to read When Dimple Met Rishi and catch up on some Lucy Knisley comics. 3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I have to confess I didn't do a lot of snack planning this year. However, I did make a giant batch of pumpkin pancakes the other day so there will definitely be pancakes at some point. 4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I've lived in New Jersey since I was five, I married the boy I started dating in eighth grade, I have two kids, and I am really enjoying expanding my editing business now that my little one is in kindergarten. 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? I figured out that this is my 15th Readathon (!) so I'm going to relax and enjoy reading lots of fantastic books. Thanks to everyone who makes Readathon possible every year! 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Readathon Prep and Tips

Tomorrow is Readathon! In a world where temperatures drop 40 degrees in one day, it's nice to know that one thing is certain: each fall and spring, readers around the world will assemble an audacious stack of books, fill their fridges and cupboards with snacks, and settle in to read for 24 hours.

If you haven't signed up yet, there is still time! Go here to join us.

Here are the books I'm starting out with tomorrow:

Comics: Displacement, Giant Days
Fiction: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, When Dimple Met Rishi, The Keep
Short stories: The Sadness of Beautiful Things, The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor
I also have A Forever Family on my kindle and the audiobook of Cress on my phone.

I figured out that I have been a part of the Readathon since I started blogging in 2011, which means that this is my 15th Readathon. If you are a newbie, I have some tips for you!

1) Variety, variety, variety
Make your stack of books ridiculously large and as varied as possible. It's terrible to only plan a book or two and then find that you hate them and have to go find something else. Give yourself a lot of options and make sure that you have children's books, short stories, audiobooks, and comics in the mix--you never know what is going to keep you awake when you have been reading for 18 hours!

2) Take a break
Seriously. Get up. Stretch. Go for a walk. Take 10 minutes and clean up your kitchen or vacuum your living room. Sitting in one place for too long is an invitation to fall asleep.

3) Eat and drink well
Half the fun of readathon is planning and eating delicious snacks. But this is not a good time to triple your caffeine consumption or eat only Cheetos for a day. Your body needs good fuel to go with the snacks and lots of water. Keep drinking water!

4) Relax
Readathon is a fun day. It's not the day to beat yourself up because your kid had a soccer game or you only read one book when that crazy lady on twitter read 22. Read things that make you happy, check in and see what wonderful books people are talking about online, and revel in the knowledge that there are people all over the world who love books just as much as you do.

Happy Readathon, Friends!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Review: The Family Tabor

Harry Tabor is about to be honored as the Man of the Decade in Palm Springs. He will be recognized for his work in helping Jewish families escape persecution and resettle in Florida. Harry's family gathers to celebrate his accomplishments--his wife Roma, an insightful child psychologist; his daughter Pheobe who keeps talking about a boyfriend no one has met; his daughter Camille who is trying to discern where to take her anthropology work next; and his son Simon, whose new interest in his Jewish roots is causing problems with his wife. But before Harry can be honored, he vanishes into the night. Each family member has a secret, but it will be Harry's sudden memory of his actions many years ago that could unravel everything that they have worked to accomplish.

The Family Tabor is a story told in fragments: we get a bit of Harry's history and then a piece of a child's present. Cherise Wolas has written a book (and a family) that you must commit to following because it's not linear and it won't go where you expect. The present action is limited but, as each person reveals a little piece of themselves, we understand the full impact of their choices on their family. It's also an examination of how one family and its members fit within the history of a people and a religion as the Tabors decide what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century.

Wolas' writing is insightful and powerfully draws readers into the inner lives of her characters. It is clear that these people care for each other, even if they can't always be honest with each other. This story requires some suspension of belief with its conceit that Harry forgot something important for so long and Wolas is not afraid to leave her readers in unexpected places, but it's worth experiencing these characters and their search for where they fit in their family and the world.

The Family Tabor
By Cherise Wolas
Flatiron Books July 2018
400 pages
Read via Netgalley