Wrap-up: My Second Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon

My alarm went off at 4:30 on Saturday morning, and to no one’s bigger surprise than mine, I was wide awake. I put on comfy clothes, got my stack together, grabbed my snacks and store-bought Starbucks drink thingy, and got settled on the couch. Hubs was still asleep, obvi, so I didn’t put on any music or turn on the tv for reading company. It was just me, one lamp, and the darkness. I did some tweeting and instagramming, and then 5:00 hit.

[stack]

It was time to read.

I’d fallen asleep Friday night trying to finish Cecilia Ahern’s Flawed, which I’d been iffy about earlier in the week and all about by Friday night. So that was my first readathon completion.

If there was one thing I learned from the last Dewey’s, it was that while reading comics is a great idea in theory, it’s super mentally exhausting. My brain can only intake so much in a 24 hour period. BUT! I had some comics that I wanted to get through, so the plan was to alternate between comics and prose.

I started reading Gene Yuen Lang et. al.’s new Superman trade right before sunrise. It’s no surprise that the art was absolutely perfect; but the current DC universe outside of the connected Batverse is…odd. I don’t read continuously, so I spent most of my reading just learning what the characters were like in this iteration. Call me a purist, which is weird because I love non-canon more than the average person, but it feels really weird to read about a Clark/Superman and Lois who are actively not together, and are perfectly fine with that. A lot happened, but I didn’t get a lot out of it. I did however make a discovery about my own internal voice:

Just me? I dunno. I watched the animated series well into my teens, and he has a very distinct voice.

Back to prose.

Before this weekend, I had never read any Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I have been vaguely interested, but was intrigued when I read the blurb for Memories of My Melancholy Whores somewhere, and had been keeping my eye out for a copy, which I found a couple months ago at Bookmans, my favorite local chain ever. It’s really short and straight fiction, so I figured I could get through it pretty quickly. I did, for the first 94 pages… and then…the mailman woke me up.

If having a dystopian society, Superman, and a weird old man in my head when falling asleep can do one thing, it’s give you weird dreams. I won’t go into detail, but I’m sort of sad I woke up when I did, because now if I find myself being chased around a never-ending train in an underground tunnel (also never-ending, I think?) I don’t know how I’ll win.

I got right back into it after some phone-scrolling and more fake latte drink, and man. Garcia Marquez is weird. And this particular book doesn’t even have magical realism. But the writing is gorgeous, even in translation, so maybe I’ll try something longer.

In need of something completely different, I moved on to We Are Robin.

God. Damn.

That was definitely the highlight of my comics reading this year. I didn’t know any of these people, but I was immediately emotionally involved in their story. This diverse group of young people with diverse problems, different backgrounds, attitudes, and strengths. I will probably collect this one.

I had to take a break three issues into We Are Robin to go to Mayhem rehearsal, which was all kinds of great. But that’s another story for another day. I will mention, however, that I stopped for a giant cold brew at Starbucks, and my Starbucks is apparently one of the ones piloting beer and wine + small plates? It’s weird, but we’ll see how it goes.

Back from rehearsal with soda and more snacks, I went back to the Robins, who did not disappoint in their final issues. I was just sad that there wasn’t more.

After I was done with that, it was time for the central focus of the night: Hamilton: The Revolution. Being the complete libretto of the Broadway Musical, with a true account of its creation, and concise remarks on hip-hop, the power of stories, and the New America  (yes, that is the full title of the book. The chapter titles are equally wonderful and hilarious). Jeremy McCarter’s skillful essay writing contrasted perfectly with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s annotated libretto, and both were equally effective at making me severely emotional.

Photos are everywhere, and they include production photos, backstage candids, those amazing portraits you might have seen on Facebook and Twitter, and all kinds of other things. As someone who has been and will continue to be unable to see the stage play in its current form, these photos not only expanded my experience of reading the book, but also will continue to influence my listening to the cast recording. I’m listening to it as I write, actually. Right now. There is one particular photo of Anthony Ramos as Philip Hamilton pointing his pistol in the air, and he just looks so young and afraid; I won’t be able to forget that. (Nor will I be able to forget the next several pages, covering the next few songs. The essay before “It’s Quiet Uptown” was incredibly moving; I couldn’t continue immediately. Yes, I cried. That was not the first time while reading, and it wasn’t the last. But I laughed too, sometimes just as hysterically, so we’re good.)

I took a break around 9 because I realized I hadn’t had any real food all day, and I didn’t want to get anything on my book.

I finished Hamilton around 2, and was totally emotionally wrecked. But I wanted to continue with the readathon, so after a bit of reflection, writing my reviews on Instagram, Litsy and Goodreads, I wondered what I might be able to handle reading.

I started out with Virgin, since I had added it to the original stack as fun prose. I wasn’t digging it, so I sort of did some page hopping, and set it aside. I really wanted to do just prose, so I didn’t try Lumberjanes (also, since it was already 2AM, I didn’t think I had capacity for reading visually). This is the third readathon (first Dewey’s, then 24in48) in which I have added Lumberjanes to my stack and then not gotten to it. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Instead I broke out the iPad and scrolled until I found something that looked fun.

I started reading about a girl who somehow ended up on a desert island with five celebrities, and then, once again, I woke up. I’d fallen asleep on the couch, and it was almost five. I rolled myself to bed and got some real sleep.

THE END.

Numbers:
Books completed: 5
My Own Damn Books: 3 (yay!)

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March Check-In: I read some stuff

Books read in March: 10
My Own Damn Books: 3

Whoops.

March began with my library ordering all of the Captive Prince series. I had been hearing lots about this series, more and more, so obviously it was time to put it on hold. And I just…blasted through the whole thing in the first third of the month. I had lots to say, pretty much immediately after I finished the first book, and the remainder of the trilogy did not disappoint. Now I’m just sad C.S. Pacat hasn’t published anything else. Though I might see if she’s working on something on the interwebs.

Then, I got back on the horse with Uninvited. I had started reading it several weeks ago, and was incredibly captivated by the writing and the concept: in the incredibly near future, a scientist will isolate the gene that distinguishes someone capable of homicide. Our heroine learns that she has it, thanks to getting “uninvited” (because rich kids don’t get expelled) from her school. And society as a whole, really. Horrible gets worse when something any person would do gets taken out of proportion. And then the shit really hits the fan.

Cover of Uninvited

I was hooked. I devoured the rest of it as quickly as I could and immediately looked on the library’s virtual side to see if they had the second one (it’s a duology) so I could start reading immediately.

They did!

Unleashed was not quite as good, partially because it became a very different storytelling animal. It was still set in the same universe, but Davy was not at the center of the thing anymore. Instead of a Hunger Games-y damn the man kind of story that you would expect after the first book, it becomes more of a When She Woke “it’s all personal” kind of deal. And there’s a lot more of the romance that I can’t help but compare to the Russiaverse in Claudia Gray’s magnificent A Thousand Pieces of You. Maybe that’s why I found myself so attached to it; that book was one of my favorites of last year.

Generally speaking, I really enjoyed them, even if it meant the first half of the month only involved me reading one of my own books.

When I finished Unleashed, I was in that rare state of invigoration where I needed another book immediately. So I chose to pick up Kiss Crush Collide (the second of my books that I read this month).

Boy, am I glad I paid less than a dollar for that book.

I didn’t bail, but only because I was hoping for much more of a revelation+character growth, neither of which was determinate at the end. Okay, maybe there was a little bit of growth. A very little bit. But I hated the main character more often than I liked her (she was given a car for her birthday that she refused to drive because she doesn’t like having to do things that she doesn’t do well, so she either walks places or makes people drive her places and pick her up. What?), and her love interest (with whom she cheated the whole time on her dillweed boyfriend…who was STILL her boyfriend, dick or not) stole cars for a living. I mean, he was a valet at a country club, so why not take everyone’s cars for joyrides, right?

Right.

Once I finished that (it was thankfully an easy, quick read), I decided to try a few more things from my physical and virtual shelves. I started a lesbian office romance, an erotic dystopia, a James Baldwin passion play, a historical romance, and a stripper romance. I have not finished any of those.

I did, however, read the second trades for two of the three DC titles I’m reading right now: Batgirl and Grayson (the other one is Gotham Academy, which I adore but haven’t gotten around to reading just yet). Babs I got from the library, and Dick (and Jim, and Juan) were a quick and easy read at B&N on one of my “I need to not be in the house” days. They were fun.

Cover of Batgirl vol 2Cover of Grayson vol 2

Finally, I decided to pull an Alice Clayton book off the shelf. Wallbanger was a definite hit for me and I’d bought The Unidentified Redhead from BookOutlet for pennies. The thing that all the books I’d started didn’t have, but this one did? Fun. I apparently needed some fun.

 

Cover of The Unidentified RedheadAlice Clayton is the queen of fun. The Unidentified Redhead hits all my buttons: nearly angst-free, meet cute, precious love, side splittingly funny, stupid jokes, corny dorky heroine, and a bit of a cinderella feeling (the tag in Goodreads for a book like this is “star and commoner”). Add hot sex, and I’m all there.

Needless to say, once I finished the first one, I needed the next in my hands.

I put it on hold at the library (I also own the third one but BookOutlet is weird like that), but had to wait a couple days to get it, so was productive at other things without spoiling my readerspace for Claire and her Brit.

That one got consumed pretty quickly, and I immediately moved on to the third.

The Redhead Plays Her Hand has been placed on the back burner, as my brain has been occupied by other things. I’ll finish it soon, but it wasn’t going to happen in March.

Going into April, here’s what’s on my incomplete list:

The Redhead Plays Her Hand by Alice Clayton (paperback, mine)
Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (ARC, mine?)
Too Close to Touch by Georgia Beers (paperback, mine)
Blues for Mister Charlie by James Baldwin (paperback, mine)
Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha (kindle book, mine)
Down To You by M. Leighton (iBook, mine)
You Know Me Well by David Leviathan and Nina LaCoeur (eARC, mine?)
Through the Storm by Beverly Jenkins (downloadable audiobook, library)

(Also, I had a Monday off for Cesar Chavez day and it happened to coincide with 10 dollar bag day at the Friends of the Library book sale. Did you know that when the majority of the books are paperbacks, you can get nearly 30 books into one of those reusable bags? Willpower, what’s that?)

Have you been getting my prayers, Hypatia?