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 sentence...my 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.