Readathon Updates

Hour 1 done.  3 pages read.  Go, me!   Must stop looking at Twitter.  196 new.   That should take up the next hour pretty well.

Hour 2 – 3:  Yellow Wallpaper finished.   Creepy.  Love the end.   I don’t usually read short stories.  I have a tendency toward long, Victorian and pseudo-Victorian novels.   Not the best for a readathon.  Got a mocha and a breakfast sandwich and started the intro to Cold Comfort Farm.    Not making much headway yet.

Hours 4 – 7:  I was able to give up on Twitter when it reached 1100 messages an hour.  I went to read in bed and the inevitable happened so these hours have been part napping/part reading.  Cold Comfort Farm is an ebook and has no pages, which is annoying, but I’m only 11% through it, which is, embarrassingly little progress.   I have a cup of tea and will try to get a bit further.  It is as enjoyable so far as the movie.  I have very little experience of the literature she’s satirizing, except I saw Precious Bane on TV years ago and hated it.

Hours 7 – 13:   Hmm, there was some reading on the couch followed by napping on the bed.   I guess I should’ve signed up for the Napathon.    I’d be at the head of the class in that.    Late posting:

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? Cold Comfort Farm

2. How many books have you read so far?   1 short story and half a book
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?  Just staying awake long enough to finish CCF
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?  If naps are interruptions, yes.   Otherwise, no.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?  How much trouble I’m having staying awake and it’s just the first half!

Hours 14 -15:  Time slips by so easily during a readathon.  That’s always the same.   But this time, it’s not even late and my bed is calling.    Maybe I’m fighting off a bug.   I don’t know.   I’m probably going to go read in bed and you know what will happen then.   I’ll try to report back at some point.   After all, it’s 9 more hours.   I will try to keep reading.

Hours 16 – 23:  I’m back.  I read until 1 AM, then woke again at 5:30.  Not falling back asleep immediately, I read until the cat woke.  So, I’m in at the finish, like that cheating marathoner :D

Hour 24:  Well, it would be great to say I finished Cold Comfort Farm after all my naps and distractions, but I still have a few pages left.   Still, I always enjoy the readathon and all the people around the world reading, too.   Thanks to the hosts!   You did a fantastic job!

 End of Event Meme:

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you?  17th?   1 AM Eastern time, whatever that is
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?  The short story the Yellow Wallpaper is good and creepy if want to switch things up a bit.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?  Nope
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Everything.   Even though the event grows each time, it still works really well.
  5. How many books did you read? 1 short story and 1 novel (I’m rounding up)
  6. What were the names of the books you read? Yellow Wallpaper and Cold Comfort Farm
  7. Which book did you enjoy most?  That’s tough.   Yellow Wallpaper is a really good short story, but Cold Comfort Farm is also excellent.
  8. Which did you enjoy least?  Didn’t read enough for that!
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?   N/A
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?  I certainly hope to!  As a reader.   There are a lot of blogs I can’t comment on for mysterious reasons.   Sort of ruin the whole cheering thing.   Plus I read so slow and get so distracted it’s probably better if I try to focus.

Thanks again, everyone!   Hosts and participants, you all make a great event!

24 Hour Readathon!

I’m up, I’m up!  I didn’t get up early enough to get things ready, but I was out of bed by 8, so that’s a start.

Here’s a meme:

Opening Meme:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Maryland, U.S.A!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Cold Comfort Farm has been on my mental TBR for decades now, so I’ll say that

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Salted chocolate caramels and coffee!   Lots of coffee.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

Not a morning person so you know the readathon is special if I get myself up for it.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

Last October was so beautiful I went on a hike during part of it.  That doesn’t look likely today.  Also, I signed up for the Readalong of The Yellow Wallpaper.

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Villette – The End

And I have two words to say to Charlotte Bronte.  “Ya bastard!”  I realize Charlotte is Lucy and vice versa and Lucy can’t do anything nice without immediately pulling a one eighty and being horrible, but the final set up where she makes M. Paul give Lucy the most thoughtful gift in the world and give her a hope of happiness only to dash it all to pieces was utterly uncalled for.  I realize that if you’ve lost your whole family, you might think happiness is impossible — I had the same feeling about Hobbes – just because your best friend died does not make the whole world shit.   Do not inflict your pain on the world and call it Truth.    And you morons who like happy endings can pretend he got home just fine.  No.  I can’t.  Because you told me he didn’t.

So, I finished this last night, but too late to write about it and I agree with everyone how great Ginevra is and how if we can’t have a real ghost nun, that explanation was a hoot.  The drugged out fete was a great scene, though i don’t know why the usually observant M. Paul didn’t spot Lucy when the bookseller knew her and Ginevra knew her as she drove by in a carriage and Lucy was close enough to them to hear what they said.   It seems like Lucy got out of there just in time.  After they start drugging you, the next step is an asylum.  Not quite sure how Lucy managed to run a school when all she knows is English, but maybe she was right and the French didn’t care whether their girls learned anything.

This is not Ginevra, but it totally could be:

fanny-engaged

So, as others have also said, I’m glad I’m done reading it, but I enjoyed the heck out of this readalong and could not have plodded through some of it without you all.  Quite amazing this book has so little web presence when nearly 35K people rated it on Goodreads (which definitely makes me feel less special), but most of what I’m finding now is GIFs from readalong posts.  Thanks to Alice, the Reading Rambo, for hosting, and my fellow readers for being entertaining and insightful.  I would read almost anything with you guys, but I hope it’s The Monk next.

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon!

I never make it 24 hours.  If only this had existed in my misspent youth… but I read as long and as much as I can.  This year the first one is April 25th!   So head on over and sign up!   There are no rules — you just do what you can and it’s a great, friendly community.   http://24hourreadathon.com/

This time there’ll also be a readalong in during the readathon:  The Yellow Wallpaper, a short Victorian classic.  I’ve signed up for this, too.

ReadathonReadalong1

No one has to read this.   You can read whatever you like.  The whol idea is that there’s a bunch of people around the world reading during the exact same time.  So, check your time zone if your going to join!   1 PM in the UK, 5 AM – 8 AM in the continental U.S.  Oh, and snacks!   Stock up on your favorites!  Nom!

Villette Readalong Part 6

Who’lda thunk it?  Thanks to a short reading, I caught up.   And don’t know what to say.   Am I supposed to think M. Paul’s ex is the nun?  That’s disappointing.   So’s the storyline.  It seems to be more a series of incidents than a plot.   That bizarre scene where they quizzed Lucy and she didn’t know anything.    CB seems not to know how to build up to a thing.  At no time do we get an inkling that such a test might be required.    It’s hard to feel sorry for her though, as all the time she’s revealing her ignorance she’s sneering at the French level of intelligence.     And why Paul seems to need to convert her now.  You knew she wasn’t Catholic when you promised your friendship, jerk.

Haven’t seen Ginevra in 100 pages.  Guess we’re done with her.   I might have felt the scene with Daddy Home was cute if I weren’t so generally annoyed and disappointed by everyone except the grandmother who’s a cranky-ass bitch and makes no bones about it.  Even when it seems like CB has finally made M. Paul into a good guy she turns right around and makes him a louse.   Par for the course, except that near the end, people are suppose to make progress and learn something.  And Lucy’s I must be sad and alone – except for M. Paul attitude is too messed up to deal with.  Bah.   One thing I’ll say for it — it’s about as far from a conventional romance as you can get.

How do You Solve a Problem like M. Paul?

This is the 5th readalong post for Villette c. 27-33, only 6 days late.  Glynis and Megs both outlined the problem of M. Paul excellently, so it would be redundant at best to try to do it myself.  But then, Lucy herself has more than a little Jekyll & Hyde going on, so they are in many ways an ideal match.   She makes him a present for his fete day and then perversely refuses to give it to him.   Later when he’s rooting through her desk, her heart melts and she relents.   He is tickled pink (though I thought his questions were more because he was worried it was for Dr. John who had rejected it.)    He does have his charming side, no question, leaving her chocolates and books.   His jealousy about Dr. John rather belies his statements that he’s just a friend and she’s like a sister to him.   Really, dude?   Then why do you have a literal hissy fit when they’re having a nice chat?  Then at the picnic she tells him not to get ham or jam.   Lucy, not everybody is a Puritan.   I bet some of those people would have liked ham and jam for their rolls.

Errbody cray-cray.  Lucy finally realizes she’s cray-cray after she wants to see M. Paul and talk with him more than anything in the world except fleeing and hiding from him when he does come to her.  This has been a very short post, but that’s really all the section was.   Paul and Lucy alternating being insane at each other.   There was some boring stuff about Dr. John writing a letter.   Big whoop.   Who cares?   They ignore Lucy most of the time now, but it’s not because they’re together.   They are a very dull couple.   Or will be if they can ever get together.   And one brief scene with the nun, who is altogether too scarce in the book.

I really like Alice’s idea for the dysfunctional menage a trois.  Ginevra clearly likes Lucy a whole lot more than she likes whoever the guy is with the nice hands.  And Lucy says she doesn’t like Ginevra, but I don’t believe her.   And Paul could probably get used to Ginevra.   They could have their own tiny, totally freaky little school.  Maybe bring the nun with them.

villette-lucy-snowe-and-paul-emanuel-and-the-nun

Reading Ireland Month + 4 Days/Begorrathon: The Book of Evidence

So, I failed to finish this in March, but I’ve finished it now – John Banville’s The Book of Evidence, which I think won a prize or was at least short-listed.   It should not have taken long, it’s only 220 pages long, but it is fairly dense prose – the rambling memoir of a man in prison, how he got there and bits of the rest of his life, too.   He is referred to as an unreliable narrator, but aside from not seeming remotely like a scientist, I’m not sure what was unreliable, besides himself as a person.    He apparently quit his job and has been living for years on Mediterranean islands with his wife and son.   How he could afford this, I’m not sure unless it was money left to him in his father’s will.   Maybe he says and I’ve forgotten because I read the beginning a month ago.   It was hard to get into.

But eventually, I did, which is why I finished it.   Freddie Montgomery gets himself into trouble blackmailing some criminal who gets the money from bigger criminals who don’t take kindly to Freddie’s inability to repay.   Why he couldn’t have seen this coming and blown the island beforehand is all part of Freddie’s character which seems to be just sort of vaguely aware of things including himself.   He’s just drifting without purpose.   So, he ditches his wife and kid and goes home to Ireland where he discovers his near broke mother has sold the paintings that he wanted to sell.   He goes to the home of the friends they were sold to.  The daughter of whom he sort of had a relationship with in California.   While there he is captivated by a Dutch master, of a woman with gloves.   It may have looked like this:

womanwithgloves

Yeah, doesn’t do anything for me either.   But he, after some delay stiffing a cab driver, twice, and his elderly mother, decides to buy some tools and steal the painting.   Although it’s never really clear if he actually decides to do this or he just happens to do it, not really knowing what he’s going to do.   He has almost no money at this point, which just shows how completely vague he is – he’s been in Ireland a few days and is down to five pounds and yet he has no plans to try to get a job, not even any thoughts about getting money beyond the occasional glance at easily pocketable knickknacks in the Behrens’ house.   Which he doesn’t steal.   He takes this painting which is too large to wrap, barely fits in the crummy car he rented and will be impossible to unload.   He then in the same unthought-through fashion kills a maid from the house.   If some criminals do actually operate in this I have no idea what I’m doing manner, it would explain some things we read in the news, but it’s hard to believe anyone operates so completely without actual thinking unless under the influence of drugs, which apparently he isn’t.   Or severely mentally ill, which he probably is.

I went looking for someone else’s ideas on why he’s unreliable and found a piece by someone named Bruce Bawer that speculates that he’s actually a homosexual and repressing this has made him essentially lose his marbles.  Possible, I guess.   There does seem to be some indications that way.  Whether repressing this would have this result, I think unlikely.  After all, homosexuals have been for decades repressing these feelings because of social pressure and don’t really seem to have increased the murder rate that I know of.   The man could be disturbed and a repressed homosexual without the one thing being the cause of the other.

bookofevidence

It’s a long portrait of a pretty completely repellent human being.   If Freddie has any redeeming features, I don’t know what they are.  No one, not even himself, is really real to him and I suppose that has to serve as an excuse for him.   He doesn’t treat anyone well and yet is outraged over the smallest slights.   He expects people such as his mother, to welcome him home, though he took all the money and left her without a cent, never brought her grandchild for a visit, he expects the treatment of the prodigal son, but is quite put out when there is no fatted calf to kill for him.   The only moment of genuine feeling for something outside himself seems to be for this painting that he steals, but that ends in much the same way as every other thing in his life – he dumps it by the side of the road.

And this is why I have this blog.   Is this a good book?   It’s well written.   Is it worth while spending time with Freddie (whose name I couldn’t remember for most of the book)?  I certainly couldn’t just give it a number of stars and leave it at that.  It seems to me the 20th century became obsessed with evil, immorality and amorality and examined them and other repellent characteristics ad nauseum and yet never learned anything from it.    Only the first quarter of this review is readable, but it is put so well I’m going to link to it anyway:

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v11/n09/walter-nash/interesting-fellows

“…and it is in the course of this theft, planned and executed as though the thief had never heard of witnesses…”

Yep.   He’s so out of touch with reality that his actions will not only inevitably lead to incarceration, even if they didn’t they will in no way help him with his problems.    At one point, he skims a plate of his only remaining friend into a lake from an upstairs window.   This is emblematic of everything he does in the book:  pointless and he doesn’t know why he does it.

Almost forgot, I want to thank 746books along with Niall at The Fluff is Raging for hosting this event.   Despite my lackluster participation, I was glad to find this and hope they do it again next year.

Phinnea's Book Blog List

Idle thoughts on books and movies. Some new, but mostly old.

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