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So. The bed is made, a load of laundry is running and the dishes of dinner, snacks, breakfast and lunch can wait a while longer while I write up this second-and-last update for the April 2014 24 hour read-a-thon. Let me say first: I had such FUN! My go-with-the-flow attitude was just what I needed to make this readathon a success. I am very grateful to my reading buddy Kuki whom stayed with me (or rather on top of me) most of the time. She even tried to wake me up before the alarm to continue reading ;) Her being so faithful made me less sad about my former readathon buddy Juno isn’t here any more.
I’ve been reading just one book and wasn’t able to finish it in time: Crossing to Safety ~ Wallace Stegner (ebook)
Percentage of book read: 51%
Amount of time spent reading: 7 hours and 35 minutes
Amount of time spent socialising: 1 hour 30 minutes
Mini-challenges: just the kick-off and end of the event memes
End of Event Meme
- Which hour was most daunting for you?|
The first few… I was looking forward to it so much and then I something came up that made me miss out on the first six hours. So in fact I got an eighteen hour twentyfour readathon ;) Had to adapt a little and try not to be too disappointed. Also, when I went to bed at 1:30. I had planned on reading a while longer but my eyes fell shut even before my head hit the pillow.
- Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
YES! I’ve only been reading Crossing to Safety and time flew! I can definitely recommend it to everyone.
- Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
- What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
My own attitude of going with the flow and just enjoying the event, taking part in the community stuff. I may not have made that concious decision if Andi hadn’t mentioned it in one of her video blogs!
- How many books did you read?
- What were the names of the books you read?
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner (1987).
- Which book did you enjoy most?
- Crossing to Safety obviously ;)
- Which did you enjoy least?
- If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
- How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I want it to start RIGHT NOW! Reader and unofficial cheerleader (like I did now).
According to my e-reader I need only 3 more hours of reading to finish the last 27% of Crossing to Safety. If.. I had started at the right time I had made it. So I am a little tempted to steal that time right now but on the other hand there are several tasks waiting for me. Appealing my self-discipline. ;)
Anywayz, I have enjoyed myself SO MUCH that I’m determined to make reading part of my daily routine again (and play on my phone less). Thanks to Wallace Stegner I already know I want to read Bill Bryson’s Walk in the Woods next. Yay for getting out of my reading slump!
THANK YOU Dewey and all the awesome people behind the 24 Hour Read-a-Thon!
During Dewey’s 24 hour Read-a-Thon I read Neil Gaiman’s book Coraline as a graphic novel (adapted by P. Craig Russell). Technically it might not have been the first graphic novel I’ve read, but it certainly was the first one I bought myself, knowing it to be one!
About 15 years ago, shortly after I had met Mr Gnoe, I read the Pulitzer Prize winning work by Art Spiegelman: Maus, a Survivor’s Tale — an autobiographical story about Jews (depicted as mouses) surviving the World War II Holocaust. At that time I also got acquainted with the (just as grim) comic books of Tardi. Both I did not consider to be graphic novels at the time, because the term seems to be in in vogue only since the last few years.
So what is a graphic novel exactly? Well, there’s no real consensus about that :) Some consider it to be a posh term for all kinds of comic books provided they’re bound in a durable format like printed books, others believe there’s a distinction in artistic quality (which of course is a subjective matter).
Neil Gaiman himself — yes, I will get back to Coraline in a short while — considers it to be nothing more than a marketing term, a sales category.
[..] there’s no meaningful difference. For some reason the term “big thick collected or original comic published in book form” has never really caught on, while “Graphic Novel” did.
Myself, I am still in doubt whether or not to distinguish graphic novels from ‘ordinary’ comics. It just doesn’t feel right to call the collected Best of Mutts (Patrick McDonnell), that I bought along with Coraline, a graphic novel as well — even though it is a beautiful hardcover ‘coffee table book‘. I think I would like to hold on to the idea that a graphic novel is a story or collection of short stories in comic format (a balanced combination of narrative art and dialog or explanatory text), that holds something more than plain, popular entertainment. Like: could it be a novel without the image art? Does the story have some sustenance? I know I’m walking on thin ice here ;)
Do you have an opinion about graphic novels?
Back to Coraline now. It’s the fantasy/horror story of a girl moving with her family to a huge house that’s divided into four apartments. Exploring the house, Coraline finds a door into an ‘other world’, where her ‘other mother and father’ live. These parents tempt her with things that are all better than at her real home, because they want her to stay.
Doesn’t that immediately make you think of Alice in Wonderland? It does even more when you read about the neighbours persisting in mispronouncing Coraline’s name as Caroline in the first pages (think Lewis Caroll). It’s been too long since I read about Alice’s adventures (I must have been a child of about 9), but it would be fun to compare the stories.
Another book Coraline reminded me of is the classic Japanese novel I was reading for the read-a-thon as well: I Am a Cat, by Natsume Sōseki (from 1905). It begins as follows:
“I am a cat. As yet I have no name.” (p.5)
And here’s when Coraline meets a cat at the new property (p.41):
And it explains to us on the same page:
“Now, you people have names because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names.”
Or, when Coraline first sees the cat on ‘the other side’ (p.39):
Cats naturally being wise, it has a theory about it on the next page (p.40):
“You people are spread all over the place. Cats on the other hand, keep ourselves together. If you see what I mean.”
Back to I Am a Cat:
“Cats are truly simple. If we want to eat, we eat; if we want to sleep, we sleep;” (p.26)
I guess the fact that Coraline reminded me of these classics helps in making it more of a reading experience than simple entertainment. Although it was also just plain fun to read Coraline ;)
Like Maus, the graphic adaptation of Coraline by Russell has won an important prize: the 2009 Eisner Award (an ‘Oscar’ for comics) in the category of Best Publication for T(w)eens. Er.. that’s not my age group! And since I’ve grown up I don’t really like reading YA or children’s books. But it didn’t bother me now ;) At least it’s obvious that a targeted audience of adults is not a condition for being called a graphic novel (as some argue).
Russell, who’s some sort of god in the graphic novel world, says about his adaptations:
“The appeal of an adaptation is in starting a piece secure that there’s literary worth in the source material. If it fails, I can’t blame it on that. I’ve always been fascinated by the challenge , the puzzle-solving challenge of taking a piece apart line by line and reassembling it into an entirely different art form.
[..] It’s the beautiful writing. It also helps that Neil has a huge following so I know all the effort I put into the work will actually be seen. I’ve done plenty of work that left me feeling I’d thrown it down a well. Doesn’t happen with Neil’s stories.”
I bought my comics for the read-a-thon following advice from veteran participants. Next to Coraline and The Best of Mutts I ended up with Persepolis and Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi. But during my 24 hours of reading I only got to read Coraline! Which indeed made a nice change of palate. And as you notice I’ve come to learn some things about the graphic novel world at the same time ;)
Now that I’ve crawled out of my familiar reading nook I might also try one of Gaiman’s actual fantasy books — next year. For the rest of 2009 there’s something else to consider: with my other graphic books on Mt. TBR I might join the Graphic Novels Challenge… I would only need to decide on two more before December 31st to make the minor level of six books. Why not reread Maus volumes I & II?
Books I’ve read this year… (2008)
Een plaats voor wilde bessen (Jagodnye mesta / Wild Berries), Jevgeni Jevtoesjenko (ring)
The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing (challenge book) reading along with online experiment!
De jacht op het verloren schaap (Hitsuji o meguru bōken / A Wild Sheep Chase), Haruki Murakami
Obasan, Joy Kogawa
Isaac Israels in het ziekenhuis, Merel van den Nieuwenhof
Meneer Pip (Mister Pip), Lloyd Jones (ring)
Let Them Call It Jazz, Jean Rhys
Het kleine meisje van meneer Linh (La petite fille de monsieur Linh), Philippe Claudel
The Teahouse Fire, Ellis Avery
De liefde tussen mens en kat, W.F. Hermans
Na de aardbeving (Kami no kodomotachi wa mina odoru / After the Quake), Haruki Murakami (re-reading)
Ik heet Karmozijn (Benim adim kirmizi / My name is red), Orhan Pamuk
Met de kat naar bed (Travels with my cat), Mike Resnick
Jennie, Paul Gallico
Anna Boom, Judith Koelemeijer
Possession, A.S. Byatt (challenge book)
The gathering, Anne Enright
The amazing adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (challenge book)
Het vergeten seizoen, Peter Delpeut
Kermis van koophandel: de Amsterdamse wereldtentoonstelling van 1883, Ileen Montijn (non-fiction)
I haven’t dreamed of flying for a while, Taichi Yamada
The truth about food, Jill Fullerton-Smith (non-fiction)
Pnin, Vladimir Nabokov (challenge book)
New York Trilogy, Paul Auster (challenge book)
Migraine voor Dummies (non-fiction)
The bone vault, Linda Fairstein
In Patagonië, Bruce Chatwin (challenge book)
De thuiskomst, Anna Enquist
Dagboek van een poes, Remco Campert
On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan
I sent one of this year’s favourites to my dear friend Loes for BAFAB week = Buy A Friend A Book. It’s Phillippe Claudel’s Het kleine meisje van meneer Linh (La petite fille de monsieur Linh), shown in the picture above. If you haven’t read it yet, you need to — now!
Personal challenges for 2008
ETA: prolonged into 2009, 2010
Read 12 books of 13 of the longlist of the Dutch election for Best Foreign Book that were already on my wishlist:
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
✔ The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon
✔ Possession by A.S. Byatt
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
✔ New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
The Sea, the sea by Iris Murdoch
✔ In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
✔ The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
✔ Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Chosen by Chaim Potok
With 6 books read in 2008 I’m right on track :)
I also had my own Bookcrossing museum challenge: I visiting 6 exhibits in 2008/2009 and releasing appropriate books. Those exhibitions were not random but followed a lecture course I took. I posted about them in Gnoe’s Museumlog (sorry, it’s in Dutch).
Special rings and challenges I participated in this year…
Special rings & rays
De Aziatische boekendoos
The SIY (Set It Yourself) Challenge, 3rd edition. Ibis3 made us a nice challenge page on which you can see that I completed my mission in time!
The SIY (Set It Yourself) Challenge, 6th edition. The challenge page will tell you that I succeeded again!
Bookcrossing Four Seasons Release Challenge with a total of 14 books:
- 3 books in spring
- 3 books in summer
- 2 books in autumn
- 6 books in winter
Last but not least…
Find my releases on Gnoe’s Bookcrossing Releases map!
Our handsome guy :)
And already so at home!
We’re just not happy with how he’s exercising on the OUTSIDE window sill :(
Living three stories up you see! :-0
We decided to call Remy Ringo, because we love the song by Stereo Total (Ringo, I love you)! And he’s such a funny happy little guy ;) A bit clumsy too… Dropped off the window sill twice already :\
Why rename him? We’ve got this family law that cats should have two syllable names that end on ‘-o’… Not my idea, but when we don’t obey you can rest assured my brother finds a more appropriate name and everybody will start to call him that. But well, we’ve managed it again! :))
Also, we didn’t particularly like the reference to Hector Malot’s 1878 novel Sans Famille (Nobody’s Boy). Ringo has got us now!
After hesitating for a long, long time we decided to get a new friend for our 11 year-old cat Juno (the real Woman in white ;) And suddenly it all went VERY fast — something like the one-click-buying-thing on amazon I wrote about a while ago — so I present to you: Remy Ringo! (Find out why we renamed him)
A new man in da house! He is about 6 years old, very cute and pretty small (especially compared to our former tomcat Jumbo who was HUGE ;)
We are thinking of renaming him, but first he needs to feel at home. Well, that really has been going well! Both pictures were taken on his first day with us. Of course the cats have been swearing at each other a few times — but today, on his third (!) day here, they already played a little together! And he really likes getting our attention :) Which is G O O D.
We’re amazed at how Juno has taken to him. After her friend Jumbo died 1,5 year ago she got aggressive to visitors out of stress and she even got depressed twice — didn’t know it could happen :\ So, you can imagine we were afraid the new cat would stress her out as well. But NO WAY! She is being very friendly and tries to make him feel at home. We are very proud of her :) And it is good to know we’ve made the right decision in taking in a new cat :)) Some positive news for other people in the same situation?
I finished Wilkie Collins’ book The Woman in White a short while ago. I liked it very much, but I have already told you so. I also promised that I would get back to you about the Sarah Waters connection… Well, there’s not much more to say. Waters’ tribute to Wilkie (that’s how I wish to understand the comparison between Fingersmith and The Woman in White) has gone a bit too far to be appreciated for my liking. But that’s all.
Wilkie Collins’ classic comes highly recommended! And because of its size it’s perfect holiday reading matter :-) It can be downloaded at the The University of Adelaide Library website (among others). A Penguin reading guide is provided by the Penguin Group.
How do you like the picture of my real woman in white? She’s called Juno and likes reading very much… I tend to sit still at those moments — great for taking a cat nap on my lap! :-)