The big challenge for me is trying to figure out what I should read during Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon. The organizers suggest variety, levity, and in some cases brevity when choosing books. I think that is basically good advice. My problem is that I don’t want to read anything that I am really looking forward to (like a few Dorothy Whipples) because I worry that reading them in a compressed period of time may make me rush too much through them. I don’t want to take a savor-worthy read and cram into a few hours.
I needed to find books that will be exicting and engaging but not so precious to me that I will feel like I am giving them short shrift. And to avoid that feeling of having to read a particular book (turning the read-a-thon into a chore) the key is to have many options. I have a pretty long list from which I will choose.
Kingsley Amis – Lucky Jim
I have heard good things about this academic novel. And its on the short side.
Margaret Atwood – Bodily Harm
I read this one years ago and I have been meaning to go back and re-read all of Atwood’s fiction.
Frank Baker – Miss Hargreaves
I know that Simon T will think that this is one that I should savor, but it has been sitting on my TBR for as long as I have been reading his blog and it seems to be one that will draw me in pretty quickly. I may need that. And if it turns out to be savor-worthy I can always re-read.
Heinrich Boll – End of a Mission
Anything by Boll would make for good contrast with most of my other selections. I will pick this one up when I feel the need for something a little more masculine.
Charles Burkhart – The Pleasure of Miss Pym
The only non-fiction on my list, this is a thin volume about the work of one of my favorite authors.
Jasper Fforde – Thursday Next: First Among Sequels
I enjoyed The Eyre Affair, but not enough to become a bona fide Fforde groupy.
MFK Fisher – The Boss Dog
A very short book of vignettes that take place in the south of France. I have tried starting this one before and haven’t gotten past the first page. Just wasn’t in the mood. I figure this way I can power through until I start to like it (I hope).
Thea Holme – The Carlyles at Home
Molly Hughes – A London Child of the 1870s
Two of my shorter Persephones. (How convenient that they fall next to each other in this alpabetical list.)
Shirley Jackson – The Haunting of Hill House
A scarey thriller by a very good writer. Perfect for October.
Dezso Kosztolanyi – Skylark
Don’t know too much about this short Hungarian novel except that it is a NYRB edition. And I have had wonderful luck with those.
Bernhard Schlink – Homecoming
If it is half as compelling as The Reader it should easily hold my attention.
Nevil Shute – Requiem for a Wren
I love Shute, and you might think I would consider his work to be savor-worthy. But the bottom line is, whenever I read his novels I can never put them down. He writes gripping, fascinating, page turners. Can’t wait.
Matthew Stadler – Allan Stein
Don’t know anything about his one, but I needed a little gay on the list.
Meg Wolitzer – The Position
I loved Wolitzer’s The Wife and liked Surrender, Dorothy. In this novel four children in the 1970s have to cope with the surprising and run away popularlity of a sex manual written by their parents.
Oscar Wilde – The Happy Prince and Other Stories
Wilde tells a great fairy story. (No pun intended.)
What a lovely pile – I wouldn't mind a TBR like that. I found The position great fun, and of course you've got a couple of Persephones! I've never come acorss the Miss Pym book but must look out for it – I reread her autobiographical notes/diaries/letters entitled A very private eye – at the weekend.
You definitely have lots of goodies to choose from. Just remember to relax and have fun…absolutely no rushing and cramming. I will cheer you on!
Wow, that is quite a variety. With that many to choose from it seems you will have the option to savor those that you might decide to by reading smaller portions of them. (Not familiar with the “rules” of the read-a-thon — but you don't actually have to “complete” books do you? Just read the whole time?)
I had to laugh at your comment about Simon T and Miss Hargreaves. I read that one recently with great trepidation — I was afraid he had overhyped it for me, but found it an enjoyable read. :)
Enjoy your read-a-thon! I'll look forward to your report as I've never attempted one.
Warning! Based on your post, I couldn't tell whether you've only read The Eyre Affair, but if so, DO NOT read First Among Sequels. The title is perhaps misleading but it is actually the fifth book in the Thursday Next series, and if you've not read the intervening ones (in order: Lost in a Good Book, the Well of Lost Plots, Something Rotten), it will likely not make any sense to you!
Verity: Well good luck finding the Pym book, it was published by the University of Texas Press in 1987. Although you have access to a stellar academic library don't you? So maybe it won't be difficult for you to find.
Stacy: Good advice. It is about the process not the result. Just have fun.
Susan: I am not forcing myself to finish anything, but I have a feeling I will finish a few.
Steph: Are you serious? How annoying is that. And since I only kind of liked The Eyre Affair I am unlikely to go find the three others that lead up to this one. Thanks for the warning.
What a wonderful pile of books. The only problem I can forsee is how on earth do you pick what to read first?! I can particularly recommend The Carlyles. Good luck with your readathon!
I'm going to live vicariously through you on this one. Do let us know if it was harder than you thought it would be to focus on reading for 24 hours (minus the brief respite for sleep).
Your pile looks great (if a bit more intellectual than my readathon piles ever are). Have lots of fun this weekend!
Wow that is quite the pile. Good luck with the read-a-thon!
Looks like a great reading pile! I'm so excited about the readathon!
You're right, the books have to be chosen according to very specific criteria. And selection is essential. Looks like you have it all sorted out. Good luck with your preparations!
Very nice selection – look forward to seeing what gets read.
What a great selection! You are sure to find something to read to fit whatever mood you find yourself.
I am still undecided about the read-athon. I have been in a reading slump lately and am still undecided about participating. I will definitely be around to cheer you along!
I will also be joining in on the Read-a-thon. D.C. metro area, represent! Look forward to it and to hearing your thoughts on the Nevil Shute book. I've read three of his books, but not that one.
Hahaha, I'm just pleased you're going to read Miss H! It should add some fun to the readathon. I would join in, but our start time here is 1pm, and… well, actually, I can't see me managing 24 hours of reading any time.
Oh, and the Shirley Jackson is great, and gripping!
I can't participate in the read-a-thon this time around, but you will love Homecoming. I enjoyed The Haunting quite a bit as well but it's one of those books that you don't really appreciate with one reading. I had to read it several times to appreciate its worth.
I will try to stop by to cheer you on.
Fleurfisher: So nice to see you back amongst the bloggers. I think picking the first one might be the easiest part.
Kim: I already know I am going to slack at some point and will definitely keep you all informed.
Jodie: I always say you need salt to balance out the sugar. So the more literary stuff is there for balance.
Amanda: Are you going to stick to classics?
Marieke: I have the books sorted out, but am not sure I am ready with overall preparations.
Desparate Reader: Me too.
Molly: If you are in a slump I would think the readathon would be torture.
Christy: We need to have a DC get together. What Shutes have you read? I would guess On the Beach, Town Like Alice and….?
Simon: I am not sure I will manage it either. Well I own Miss H because of your enthusiasm so I have high hopes.
Ti: Good to know about Homecoming. I hate the fact that I accidentally bought a movie tie-in copy of The Haunting of Hill House. They even changed the title on the edition to match the movie.
We do! That would be cool. As for the Shute books, yes to the two you mentioned and Pied Piper is the third. When I was a kid my parents taped Crossing To Freedom, a TV movie adaptation of the book starring Peter O'Toole and I watched it many times. So I sought out the book when I was older.
Wow what a great stack! I'm sure you'll stay entertained for many hours with all of those books.