Saturday, October 10, 2009

Read-a-thon! Read-a-thon! Read-a-thon!

Yes, that is a direct from quote from the lovely Trish.

So many of us start anticipating the next read-a-thon the very day that the previous one ends. (Sorry for that extremely poorly written brain is squishy this morning, and try as I might, I just can't seem to phrase it any more coherently. But I hope you get my meaning.) Seriously, to so many of us, Dewey's Read-a-Thons are literally some of our favorite days of the entire year. And I just can't go on with this post without again acknowledging the joy that Dewey continues to bring to our lives. I can't believe it's been almost a year since she died. And every day I've missed her. Face it, we'll always miss her. And you know, I have to think she wouldn't hold our tears over missing her against us, but I also think she would be much happier knowing that we continued to celebrate our love of reading with one another in a joyful manner. I can't promise that I won't cry a little, or a lot, feeling the empty space where Dewey should be, but I will promise that I will try to hold on to the wonderful gifts she so freely gave to us all in the creation of her baby, the read-a-thon. The gift of time set aside to indulge in a passion. The gift of sharing all the silly giddyness with friends. The gift of meeting new people and starting new friendships. For everything, Dewey, thank you.

When the date for this read-a-thon was first announced, I thought that I wasn't going to be able to participate. Normally it would be the weekend we celebrated Gray's birthday.  At first I thought I was okay with that. Until the official sign-up post went up, that is, and everyone started excitedly chatting about it. I'm ashamed to say that I went into major pout mode. :(  But that evening at dinner, Rich and I were talking about it, and the thoughtful, soon-to-be birthday boy chimed in with, "Well, Mom, why don't we just celebrate my birthday the next weekend?" We explained to him that if we did that, he'd have to share his birthday celebration with Halloween festivities. And bless his sweet heart, he said that was okay with him. So, thanks to Gray, I will be able to participate in my fifth straight read-a-thon! :D

And this year, it's going to be even more of a family event here. This will be Annie's fourth read-a-thon, but in the past the guys have always taken off for fun adventures elsewhere. But this time, Rich is going to fully participate, and the boys are going to participate on a mini-scale. Gray has committed to reading at least 4 hours. ("But it's okay if I read more than that, right Mom?" :D ) And Max...well, if he meets his 1 hour goal, we'll be thrilled. Sort of a poster child for reluctant reader, this little guy is.

So, how are we going to pull this off, both Rich and I reading for 24 hours? (Or attempting to anyway...probably shouldn't count those chickens yet.) With a heaping pile of bad parenting. Yep, a huge stack of DVDs and extended Nintendo DS time. The boys will be overdosing on "screen time." Actually, hopefully they'll be doing all kinds of other things. But when the string of "Mom, can you play chess with me?" and "Dad, let's go play tag." and "Mom, can you make me some more cards?" and well, you get the idea...when this normal string of requests begins, we'll answer it with the electronic babysitter. Yes, I do feel guilty...but it's just one little weekend, right? It won't scar them for life or anything, will it? Come on, help me here people...

Okay, and what is half the fun of the read-a-thon? Yep, putting together that lovely, teetering pile of books!

You've heard it before, you'll likely hear it again: I am a slooooow reader. Wish I wasn't, but I am. Thus, I really only need a pile of three or four books. Maybe five if they're all exceptionally short. But where is the fun in having a pile that small?!! And a person needs options, right? Right. However, this person probably doesn't quite need 35 options.

So, as Annie and I have both done for the last two read-a-thons, I'm going to ask you to help me weed down my pile with that little "first sentence" game. I'll post the first sentence from the books in that precarious monstrosity I've labeled my "read-a-thon pile," and you'll tell me which ones grab you. The duds will thereafter be eliminated.

Which ones would pull you in and keep you awake in the wee hours?

1. Follow the rules.

2. Mr. Sherlock Holmes, who was usually very late in the mornings, save upon those not infrequent occasions when he stayed up all night, was seated at the breakfast table.

3. On a morning in mid-April, 1687, the brigantine Dolphin left the open sea, sailed briskly across the Sound to the wide mouth of the Connecticut River and into Saybrook harbour.

4. What a lot of hairy faced men there are around nowadays.

5. I am telling you this just the way it went with all the details I remember as they were, and including the parts I'm not sure about.

6. The surname of the family was Cox, the father a very successful trial lawyer, but the target was the mother.

7. The slaaf stumbled along the shore of Willow Lake.

8. "Mrs. Locke?"

9. After a hard day, your steps become heavy.

10. My first anime convention...did not start out smooth.

11. Dear friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn't try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.

12. Midsummer: The long days begin in bright, rising mist and never end.

13. The promised me nine years of safety but only gave me three.

14. This is how things look: Shady Pines Apartments, four shabby buildings tucked off the road near the highway.

15. Anyone who writes a book of science about great, flesh-eating beasts should be required up front to disclose their bias.

16. When he was thirty-six, Gregory Volfovich Chudnovsky began to build a supercomputer in his apartment from mail-order parts.

17. Once upon a time, a scattered group of girls undertook the passage from girlhood to womanhood in a city built around a bay.

18. That's a great idea!

19. I opened the door and froze.

20. Here we go!

21. I was born in this house, and grew up here.

22. I once believed that life was a gift.

23. An owl called, its shuddering hoots repeating mournfully in the distance.

24. The forecourt of the Chinese Theater smelled of rain-wet stone and car-exhaust, but a faint aroma like pears and cumin seemed to cling to his shirt-collar as he stepped around the clustered tourists, who all appeared to be blinking up at the copper towers above the forecourt wall or smiling into cameras as they knelt to press their hands into the puddled hand-prints in the cement paving blocks.

25. How shall I begin this tale so you will get some sense of what manner of creature I am?

26. A Midwestern town.

27. Like many fathers, mine could occasionally be prevailed on for a spot of "airplane."

28. Science, reason, and rationality have, by nearly any recent measure, suffered serious diminishment in the public sphere.

29. Anyone living in the United States in the early 1990s and paying even a whisper of attention to the nightly news or a daily paper could be forgiven for having been scared out of his skin.

30. No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.

31. This is my story about what happened to me last year when Mum got ill and Dad and I had to go and stay at Aunt Nan's and I had my weird dream.

32. "Here they come," said Cecy, lying there flat in the High Attic dust.

33. It was so weird.

34. "I'm off to school, Ma."

35. "Say what you will about our mutual ex-husband."

Thanks for playing...I'm sure you'll all pick me some winners. :D

On a sort of related note...

Annie is a member of the Teen Advisory Board at our local library. And our library is one of the local libraries that helps sponsor the annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival each spring. Today all the sponsoring groups get together and participate in a fund-raising read-a-thon. (Pretty sure this 4 hour version will be a piece of cake for Annie...and a nice warm-up for the 24-hour one, huh?) Anyway, I wanted to thank all of you who so generously sponsored her! She's thrilled to be walking in there with such a nice list of sponsors and an envelope full of money. Thank you!

Okay, I'll finally shut up.


Louise said...

Of course your boys will be able to have one day "by themselves" with their Nintendos and DVDs - don't worry at all :-) They'll probably be thrilled :-)

I find book number: 3, 13, 17 and 32 to be those with the most intriguing first sentences.

I am also participating in the read-a-thon, it will be the first one, but I am not sure if I am going to be a reader or a cheerleader.


Megan said...

Pssst, Debi! I signed up to read! Don't tell my inner committment-phobe...

So glad you'll be reading (and with practically the whole family, too!). That would have been the suck if the first one I finally really signed up for would have been the first one that you didn't!

It's really blowing my mind to find that a bunch of the bloggers doing the Read-a-thon now never really knew Dewey. :-( But what's awesome is that even though she's not with us anymore, her Read-a-thon idea seems to be bigger than ever. Look, she's *still* one of our biggest community builders. =)

I gotta get to work on my pile, though, mine, like yours probably doesn't *need* to be all that big... As for yours, I think 3 and 4 sound interesting, and I *know* 11 is excellent. =)

Bart's Bookshelf said...

Going to suggest these two:

Dear friend, I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn't try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have...
(Because I know which book it is and it's a good'un!)

The promised me nine years of safety but only gave me three.

Can't wait for the read-a-thon!

Amanda said...

I've got to give you my picks first before I forget them: 13, 17, 21, 22, and 31. Though if you have The Ask and the Answer in your pile (can't remember what that started with), you should include it, too. :D

And now...excitement, bubbling over, and chanting: Read-a-thon! Read-a-thon! Read-a-thon!

I'm so excited you're all going to be able to participate this year!!

Vivienne said...

I am so jealous that I can't join in. I am now pouting very badly. I have to spend the day at school doing a course of felt making with the girls.

I like the sound of 19 and 23, they give me the impression of thrillers. Though Sherlock looks good too.

I am so pleased to hear your whole family are joining in.

Jean said...

Tell Annie that my check is coming! It went out in yesterday's mail, better almost late than never.

In terms of sentences, I like 16, 31, and 33.

Good luck to all of you on the Read-a-thon! I'm betting both boys hit their goals and then some.

Suey said...

You didn't give us a limit! I liked a lot of them, but I narrowed it down to 4, 11, 13, 19, 25, and 31. Now I'm dying to know what books they are.

I'm doing the read-a-thon for the first time this time, even though I've been "around" for them all, just couldn't do them. My strategy is to also involve my family, so hopefully it will work. Can't wait to try!

Anonymous said...

Aww, sweetie... *huggles* Everything I've heard about Dewey leads me to believe that she'll understand if you'll always cry a little at the Read-a-thon/any other strong reminder. *hugs* And there's nothing at all wrong with that, please don't feel like you must never cry at all anymore.

And Gray is a sweetheart. ^-^ He's an absolute love. (I... got roped into teaching English on Saturdays when the Read-a-thon starts, but I'm thinking I may have to 'cheat' and get a picture book about a horse for us to read together or something. Do something fun for an hour.) As others have said, don't worry about the boys. They'll be fine for a day. ^-^

As for the first lines... 9, 12, 13 (actually, I'm really curious where that one's from too), 29. (I feel useless.)

Eva said...

As you know, I'm with you on Dewey. I can't believe it's been almost a year either-it makes me rather naseous. But she did give us so much.

Sounds like the read-a-thon this time around will be extra crazy in your house! :) I don't think you're bad parents to use an electronic babysitter one weekend! Especially since you're setting such a marvelous reading example!

Here are my votes from your one-lines:
#3 (love nautical stories), #4 (it's just funny), #12 (love midsummer!), #15 (science! humour!), and #23 (owls!).

Chris said...

I know how you feel about missing Dewey, Debi :( It really is a celebration of her and everything she did for us, and it's mostly a happy time, but there are times when I get sad during the readathon too. I remember Eva's video last year when she talked about Dewey last year and got choked up and that just touched me so much. I felt so close to her just then.

But we're going to have a blast! And I'm glad that the whole Steven's family is getting in on the action this year :D Can you convince Gray to do some updates on his blog this year? He's a gem for pushing back his weekend!! Just get Max some more Zelda books and he'll be happy :)

As for which books I think you should we go: 5, 10, 11, 13, 19, 22, and 25. I did better this year Debi!! Last year I picked about 3/4 of your list :p

Rich said...

I vote for #4 and #25.

And, I must say, that I will be doing some sleeping during those 24 hours...probably considerably more than most readers! I'll just try to dream about books.

kreed said...

I vote for 14...I can't believe the read-a-thon is here again. I sort of live vicariously through you during the read-a-thon every year, and it seems like you just did the last one! Time flies - crazy! Have fun with the whole fam this year and hooray for Gray being so sweet!

I am sorry I missed the chance to sponsor Annie for her read-a-thon. I probably missed it on your blog...but make sure if your kids have anything like that going on and send out an email or whatnot that I am on the list!

BTW, too much screen time hasn't seemed to have any immediate ill effects - my kids should have antennae growing out of their heads! I think an electronic babysitter for one weekend is more than acceptable if it allows you to participate in something you enjoy so much!

Debi said...

I picked 4, 7, 10, 11, 13, 17, 19, 22, 25, and 33!


Staci said...

I see I'm late!! Can't wait to see the titles of the ones you picked!!

Debi said...

No!!! You're not too late. That comment that looks like it's from me is really from my daughter...those were just the ones she liked.

Eva said...

I'm going to add the one about Our mutual ex-husband to my choices! Because it sounds like something out of Jane Austen. (And definitely not because I checked the copy of Fables Vol. 5 in my room at the moment to see what its first line is...)

DesLily said...

oh my.. well.. i do like Sherlock Holmes..though I wish I knew which one that is from lol.. my fav of all his stories will always be Hound of the Baskerville's.

Kailana said...

How great that the whole family is joining in! :)

Amanda said...

13, 22, and 25

And I must say, every time I read a post about your husband being such a reader, I get that little twinkling of jealousy. My own hubby enjoys reading a good book, but takes months and months to complete just one. I would LOVVVVE for him to willing participate in a readathon with me! Though he does occupy my dogs and cook meal so I can be lazy and read all day. I shouldn't complain too much :)

Melody said...

I'm always envious with you all for participating the read-a-thon every year. I so badly wanted to join, but with my two little ones at home it's so hard to concentrate! I'll have to wait until they're much older then. ;)

You've some great first opening lines there! I'd go with 1, 5, 11, 13, 15, 17, 21, 22 and 25. :)

Chris said...

Hmmm...I just had a sudden compulsion to come back and add #35 to my list..wonder why that is? Anyway, I'd like to add #35 to my list please Debi! ;)

Stephanie said...

Yeah. 5 read-a-thons and not once have I been able to participate. Between work and Chad's football and the girls' soccer, it's just never in the cards. Maybe the 25 read-a-thon when I'm retired and the kids are gone!!

Yeah...5, 13, 15, 25 and 26 (since I am a Midwestern girl!) for the read-a-thon!

Trish said...

:) So glad that my little chant has rubbed off on at least you and Amanda. I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!

Wow--a family ordeal, huh? I was hoping my mom would read with me this year but she'll be out of town. As will my IHOP buddy, Laura. So I'll be reading alone--thank goodness for all of you guys. :)

And one little weekend in front of the TV isn't going to hurt anyone.

Read-a-thon, Read-a-thon, Read-a-thon!!!! :D

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