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Sunday, 19 October 2014

Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon: Hours 21-24

Are we ready to read the crap out of the last four hours of this readathon?  YES WE ARE.  If you fancy a reading break, you can catch up with my previous update posts for  Hours 0-4, Hours 5-8, Hours 9-12 and Hours 13-20, all of which are full of photographs (of books, food AND cats), challenge entries and reading updates.  Hope you're all raring to go for this last push towards the end of the day!  :)

~ Hour 21 (10am) ~
I've been reading: Our Zoo by June Mottershead

Pages read since my last update: 13

Pages read altogether:  192
Mini challenges completed:  12
The menu:  A bit more of my continental readathon breakfast!
In six words: It's wartime at Chester Zoo... fascinating.

Thoughts: I'm slowly warming up back into my reading this morning, after my decent little stretch sleeping (a first for me during a 24-hour readathon, normally I'm away from my book for an hour at most) - and despite the fact that Our Zoo is naturally taking longer than a humorous book or an exciting novel, it's such a lovely read that I think I'm just going to carry on with it and hope I finish it by the end of the day.  World War II has broken out and Chester is now coping with an influx of evacuees from several other zoos in target areas like Birmingham and the Devon coast, so it's all getting a bit hectic as the Mottersheads cope with a surge in animals and the loss of many of their keepers and other young employees to the war effort.  I may end up missing my page goal by more than half, but I should be able to easily finish this by lunchtime, so I'll have read one really lovely book AND managed to avoid headaches and burnout by sleeping, which is really a quite acceptable outcome, I think.  :)

Hosted by Lisa's World of Books

Best book of my reading year:
by Harper Lee
This book... THIS BOOK... why oh why didn't I read it earlier?!  It's just the most wonderful novel, so moving and profound and funny and just... wow.  I read the book AND watched the film back in April and adored them both.  It's such an iconic and beloved novel, and I'm so glad it lived up to the colossal expectations I had going into it.  You can read my double review here.

Best reread of the year:
by Jeremy Mercer
I'm always a tiny bit leery when I go to reread a book, in case for some reason it doesn't quite hit the spot any more.  It's so sad to find that a favourite book was better in your head, y'know?  Happily on this THIRD reading of Jeremy Mercer's account of his year in Paris living at Shakespeare and Company, I fell in love with it all over again and enjoyed every moment.  It's about books, book people and life in PARIS, what could possibly go wrong?  Read about my happy relationship with this book here.

Best YA novel of the year:
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Now I think about it, this was also a reread, though I first read it so long ago that it hardly counts.  I read it back in April and I'm still thinking about it now.  Not necessarily about the themes of rape and school-age sexuality, but about a young woman's journey towards self-expression and ultimately freedom from her traumatic experiences.  It's a deceptively easy but utterly brilliant read, and the TV movie is also excellent.  I double reviewed both here.
~ Hour 22 (11am) ~
I've been reading:  Our Zoo by June Mottershead
Pages read since my last update: 13

Pages read altogether:  205
Mini challenges completed:  12
The menu:  My second pain au chocolat and the last of my coffee
In six words:  Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...
Thoughts:  I really don't have anything to say this hour.  I ate more food, because BRUNCH.  I read some pages.  I did the challenge for the last hour.  AND NOW I'M GOING TO GO AND READ.  Really.  I might even hit 20 pages, get some speed up!  COME ONNNNNN!

Readathon time in my house: me (right), everyone else in my family (left)
~ Hour 23 (12 noon) ~
I've been reading:  Our Zoo by June Mottershead
Pages read since my last update:  15

Pages read altogether:  220
Mini challenges completed:  12
The menu:  Gu salted caramel hot chocolate, this time straight from the fridge as milkshake
In six words:  ONLY ONE HOUR LEFT! How disappointing.

Thoughts: Okay, so I'm probably not going to finish Our Zoo, as even with a concentrated reading effort I seem to be stuck in the mid-teens as far as hourly page counts go.  All you people who read 60 pages in an hour... well, just keep it to yourself until after this readathon's over.  I might have a jealous angry She-Hulk moment.  I'll do the end-of-readathon survey right at the end, in an hour's time, so in the meantime I'm going to go see how much I can cram into the next 50 minutes!

WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?! Go read while you've still got time!

~ Hour 24 (1pm) ~
I've been reading:  Our Zoo by June Mottershead
Pages read since my last update: 33
Pages read altogether:  253
Mini challenges completed:  13 (including the 3 readathon surveys)
The menu:  Nothing - I'm dying for a cuppa now though!
In six words:  Time to catch up on commenting!  :)
Thoughts:  And so we come to the end of another Dewey read-a-thon...  I've actually had my best reading hour yet, flat out on my bed, and a few minutes in Millie came and carefully inserted herself between my and my book, curling up and settling her head on my arm to purr and generally supervise proceedings.  Good lass.  I'm only about 30 pages off the end of my book and actually really in the mood to carry on reading (must have been all that sleeping, it restored my mojo beautifully!) so I think I'll finish it this afternoon, and maybe even go back to The Great Gatsby for a bit as well if I have time.  I've been craving a couple of really good reading days, so I might as well!
1.  Which hour was most daunting for you?
I'm not sure any hour was particularly daunting, because I had a PRETTY good idea that I was actually going to allow myself to go to bed at some point this time.  Blustery October nights and staying awake just don't go together that well.  But I did have a while in the middle there where I was finding it hard to get motivated because my progress felt so slow, so I had to make a conscious effort to keep chugging away!
2.  Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Obviously everyone has their own readathon book preferences - comics, graphic novels, thrillers, chick lit, YA - but personally I found my current read, Our Zoo, to be completely engaging.  It was slower going, admittedly, but I've not once felt the urge to put it down and move onto something else, because it's been such a pleasure to read.
3.  Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the read-a-thon next year?
You guys have pretty much got this thing running like a well-oiled engine.  Maybe one tiny niggle would be the fact that a couple of your challenge links from the main blog were bad - one of them for a good couple of hours - but everything fell into place eventually so all's well that ends well!  Oh, and actually, the number of prizes up for grabs seems to have far outstripped the number of actual winners (that might not be the case at all, so just ignore me if I'm wrong), so maybe you could try to even the numbers out so there were more reader and cheerleading winners each hour to match?
4.  What do you think worked really well in this year's read-a-thon?
ALL THE OTHER THINGS.  The cheerleaders seem to have been particularly good this time.  I didn't get a single visit in April, but I think I've had three or four this time around which is always so encouraging, especially if you're flagging a bit.  :)
5.  How many books did you read?
In another Dewey first for me, I actually only read one book over the entire 24 hours.  Well, and a couple of bits and pieces from a book of humorous mini-essays - but I didn't plough through multiple super-quick novel(la)s this time around.  I didn't mind though, because my choice turned out to be a perfect cozy read!
6.  What were the names of the books you read?
Our Zoo by June Mottershead, a new release in September, and I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron, from the library.
7.  Which book did you enjoy most?
 As you're probably sick of hearing by now if you've been around all day, I've absolutely fallen in love with Our Zoo by June Mottershead, who was a small child when her father created Chester Zoo and grew up alongside the zoo and its residents, both animal and human (her best friend as a child was a chimpanzee called Mary!).  I watched the whole of the recent BBC drama of the same name, but June's book covers that section of their story in a mere couple of chapters and moves onto the bigger story of how the zoo grew and developed over the years, through wartime and peacetime and hard times and good times.  It's reminding me a lot of a domestic version of Gerald Durrell's books, and it's one of my favourites of the year so far.
June Mottershead playing with two orphan lion cubs
8.  Which did you enjoy least?
 This really doesn't apply for this readathon as I've been so tremendously slothlike at building up a respectable page count.  :P
9.  If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year's Cheerleaders?
 I wasn't, and I don't - I saw them around a lot today, on Twitter, on other people's blogs, and multiple times on my own.  It really does make a difference, especially during a 24-hour readathon when regular Readers have a limited amount of time to read AND cheer other people on.  It's nice having people throwing their energy into buoying up flagging participants as the hours go by!
10.  How likely are you to participate in the read-a-thon again?  What role would you be likely to take next time?
I'm sure I'll take part again, providing work and life doesn't get in the way of course.  I'd definitely be more inclined to branch out a bit during the April instalment, as a cheerleader or challenge host.  I seem to be less likely to droop in spring, more likely to stay awake longer, read harder and have more good cheer to spread around my fellow read-a-thonners!  WE SHALL SEE.  It really only remains to say...
I hope you all had a wonderful time, and that if you've been around over the last 24 hours you've enjoyed the various challenge entries, photos, ramblings and GIFs I've thrown your way as the day's gone on.  Now... go relax somewhere, you deserve it!