Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Slow Start for Readathon (and a Few Book Bargains)

Well, I thought I had this all planned out perfectly.  Amanda and I had booked a hotel room, packed our suitcases, and selected piles of books.  We had the perfect readathon planned.  So how come I didn't even start reading until 4 p.m.???

We had a good start last night:  checked in to our lovely hotel room, had an excellent dinner at a Lebanese restaurant, and made it to the 8:15 showing of Jane Eyre (which we both found underwhelming).  But I just could not get started reading today.

Part of the problem was that Readathon always falls on the second Saturday, which is also the day of our monthly book discussion groups.  Our classics group (at 10. a.m.) was discussing I Capture the Castle, of which I am terribly fond, and I could not miss that.  Immediately following was the Jane Austen Book Group (at 11 a.m., discussion of Jane Austen's biography by Claire Tomalin, which I hadn't actually read), which I missed last month, and I felt too guilty to skip it again.  Then it was lunchtime -- see how this is going?  Already lunch and I hadn't read anything yet!

We did try to read during lunch, without much luck.  I did read a couple of short stories from The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami, but then they became so odd I had to put the book down.  In desperation, I chose Mrs. 'Arris Goes To Paris, which I have been saving specially for Readathon.  I have a cute little edition published in 1958 which I purchased in a charming antique bookstore during my Christmas vacation in Baltimore.  It's 157 pages and a tiny little book, only about five by six inches, so it was a quick read.  At last, I've completed something!

I did read a few pages of the Jane Austen biography this morning, and a bit of a nonfiction book called Jane Austen and Crime, which is intriguing.  Right now I'm finally reading one of the books I've owned the longest, a book of essays called My Misspent Youth by Meghan Daum.  I purchased this book about ten years ago when I was living in Nebraska.  It had a local connection since Ms. Daum was a resident of Nebraska at the time.  I have been moving it from house to house ever since, quietly unread.  I've read four of the ten essays so far and they're quite good, so at least I'm not angry that I didn't donate it to the library book sale.

And other than reading, eating, and book discussions, Amanda and I also entered an online mini-challenge and ahem, went to the Half-Price Books -- I had been longing for a copy of The Complete Stories of Evelyn Waugh which I saw months ago.  It was still on the shelf, so obviously, I was fated to buy it.  And also Stoner, a NYRB Classic that Thomas at My Porch raved about in this review.  It was half-price and in very good condition, and besides, my library doesn't own a copy.  I had to buy it, didn't I?

And I'm not even going to discuss my outing yesterday to a fundraising book fair for one of the local school districts.  There were thousands of books, paperbacks all 50 cents and hardcovers for one dollar.  Here's what I added to the TBR shelf:

From top to bottom:
  • Phineas Redux by Anthony Trollope (I now own five of the six Pallisers novels, still haven't finished a single one yet)
  • The House at Sugar Beach by Helen Coope
  • Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane
  • The Mountain Lion by Jean Stafford (an NYRB Classic and it looked interesting)
  • Return to Thrush Green by Miss Read
  • The Three Daughters of Madame Liang by Pearl S. Buck
  • Drood by Dan Simmons
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

Total cost:  $5.50 (I also bought a book for each of my daughters, so my total output was $7.)  Such bargains!

Anyhow -- I hope to make some progress and actually finish some of the other SEVENTEEN books I brought with me.  I'm crazy, I know.  But I need choices.  You should see my carry-on luggage when I travel.  I really do need to break down and buy an e-reader someday.

How's everyone else doing with Readathon?  I hope to post with more progress before the end of the night.


  1. Slow start is better than no start! ;) I hope you're having fun with it *\o/*

  2. hey, at least you're having fun, right?

    And you picked up some great things, of which I am jealous. :)

    happy reading!

  3. Embracing the spirit of the ReadAThon is what is important. CHEERS!!!
    I am very jealous actually abt getting a hotel room.... So cool and fun.
    Congrats on winning a challenge!!!!

  4. I love I Capture the Castle! I haven't seen the movie and will someday but I know it's not as good as the book.

    I really want to read "Stoner" and The Complete Stories of Evelyn Waugh is an awesome purchase. Your book acquisitions yesterday are great, too!

    It's hard to settle down to read suddenly when you've been busy...especially when you are supposed to read!

    Hang in there and have fun!

  5. I feel your pain. My daughter always laughs at me when we travel together. I'll pack two tees and a pair of jeans for a week's stay,but my other bag is loaded with books and projects. I want choices, too. I don't know what will strike my fancy, so I bring something for any mood I might find myself in. I totally get what you're saying! Have a great rest of the Readathon Weekend. I'm jealous!

  6. Sounds like you're having a great time. Hope you get some more reading done!

  7. I love your selections! It sound like a celebration of books day if nothing else. I hope you've gotten more reading time in.

  8. Wow! What a packed weekend you're having! How lovely to lock yourself away in a hotel room to read and with lovely Lebanese cuisine thrown in!
    I really must read Mrs Arris goes to Paris again, as well as the others in the series.
    A great haul of books at a great price :-)

  9. Slow start or not, still sounds like a perfect day! The House at Sugar Beach was very good on audio - read by the author.

  10. "reading, eating, and book discussions"
    sounds perfect to me!

    And what a hoard from the book fair. Can't believe you found the whole Palliser novels collection.

  11. How I wish I could have joined you and what a great book haul!

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who has books in my home which have lain unread for 10 years.


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