Saturday, July 02, 2011

Under The Midnight Sun 24 Hour Read-a-thon!

The Under The Midnight Sun Readathon begins today! Reading and blogging about Canadian books for a full 24 hours! (12:00 noon, July 2nd - 12:00 noon July 3rd) Please take the time to encourage and coax these people along. Many people read to fall asleep, so reading (and blogging) for 24 hours could be quite challenging. If you're not taking part, please take the time to visit these blogs and offer your support. If you are taking part, good luck!

Bad Tempered Zombie

*Jenga will be reading but not blogging at this time
**R is my 7 year old daughter. It's her first time blogging or trying to stay up for 24 hours straight. She will be blogging here at The Book Mine Set.

I also have exciting prize news! Since the title of this Read-a-thon is inspired by the north, and since I was a little disappointed by how few northern books were read for the 4th Canadian Book Challenge, I'm very pleased to offer a Northern Authors Prize Pack, featuring:
1. Jamie Bastedo's Tracking Triple Seven

2. Annelies Pool's Iceberg Tea

3. Cathy Jewison's The Ugly Truck and Dog Contest

4. Richard Van Camp- The Moon of Letting Go

This prize pack will be chosen randomly from all those who participate in the 24 hour read-a-thon.

I will be updating this post about once every hour or two of the challenge:

12:00 pm- Hour One

Well, I'm well rested and ready to go! I plan on getting through as many of these as I can:
Ray Price- Yellowknife
Dionne Brand- Ossuaries
Margaret Hutchinson- Tamarac
Miriatu Kamara- Bite of the Mango
John Valliant- The Tiger
Lynn Coady- Play the Monster Blind
Bryan Lee O'Malley- Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Which seems like a lot, but with the exception of the graphic novel, I started all of these before the Read-a-thon even started, so hopefully it'll be just a matter of finishing them off and reviewing them. I might also throw in a few picture books as I'm being ambitious.

My daughter R is reading Ted Staunton's Morgan's Secret and Frieda Wishinsky's Arctic Storm. Probably more.

Here we go!


Only 22 hours and 30 minutes left to go. So far so good. I managed to finish Dionne Brand's Ossuaries, which I'll review in the next half an hour, and another chapter of Ray Price's Yellowknife. My daughter got all the way through Ted Staunton's chapter book Morgan's Secret and even wrote her very first review. Now I have to check out how everyone else is doing.


3.5 hours down. So far, so good, though I haven't finished a 2nd book yet-- though my daughter has read and reviewed her 2nd!

Special thanks goes out to Em, who with her wonderful words of encouragement, seems to be more active than those of us actually doing the Readathon! Hopefully more updates from participants will start drifting in over the night ahead. I see that Gavin, Wanda, Heather, and Melwyk are the only others that have updated so far...

Back to reading. I've knocked off chapters in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Tamarac, and The Bite of the Mango since last updating. Hopefully, one of those will be finished before I check in again.

8:00 pm

16 hours to go! I know I haven't checked in a while, but I did get a lot accomplished in that time. I took a supper break and finished and reviewed The Bite of The Mango. I'm getting a kick out of all the picture books and children's novels being read for the Canadian Book Challenge so far-- I only fear that newcomers to the challenge will see all the titles and think that it's only for kids! Oh well. The adult titles will soon outnumber the children's titles, I'm sure. And as a parent, I love that children's books are getting the attention they deserve.

Speaking of children, my girl is still doing fine-- though taking a break at the moment. She's a bit of a speed reader, but I can tell she's not wild about the blogging part. Still, she's being a great sport!

9:30 pm
I just spent the last hour reading outside and am feeling more refreshed. I had planned on reading outside earlier but we had an unexpected rain shower and I had to wait for that. It's funny-- when my parents visited Yellowknife at Christmas they were amused to no end by the consistent weather: sunny, cold, no wind, Unlike Newfoundland, and indeed most other places in Canada, that like to boast, as if it's an original saying, unique to them, "if you don't like the weather now, just wait five minutes," Yellowknife doesn't have a lot of variation. We get short but sunny and warm summers and long and cold but sunny winters, never wind. Yet for all our consistency and predictability, the good people at Environment Canada still manages to get it wrong. Oh well.

It's nice reading outside at the moment, but the mosquitoes are coming on-- it may call for a dose of repellent. Another lesson on Yellowknife? Locals like to brag about how big and numerous the mosquitoes are-- in three years, it hasn't been that bad. Some days are worse than others, but nothing like a summer I spent in Iqaluit 4 years ago. Egad!

I'm getting sidetracked. Back to reading!

12:20 AM

That's me, outside reading at midnight. Just past the halfway mark and stretching my eyes wide open in a sad attempt to convince you that I'm not tired. My daughter fell asleep 10 minutes ago with a book in her hands. But past the halfway mark, I'm really proud of her.

By the way, the Under The Midnight Sun Read-a-thon is technically a misnomer. Yellowknife, though being North of 60, still has a sunset and sunrise even on the longest day of the year. However, because they're so close together there's enough light so that it doesn't get any darker than dusk. Last night, the sun set about an hour ago (11:34pm) and will rise for me again at 3:50. I hope to be awake by then.

I still haven't finished another book, but I imagine I'll have the Scott Pilgrim book done next time around. I'm quite enjoying Lynn Coady's and John Vaillant's books, but the others are kind of dragging me down.

I think I need another tea. For the other participants still awake: have you been hitting the caffeine?

2:53 AM

Still awake! And on my 2nd wind. Really started to hit a wall there about an hour ago. Started mixing my metaphors. Anyway, reading outside has helped. Another tall glass of Coke helped. And a graphic novel helped. Finished Bryan Lee O'Malley's book and reviewed it here.

I'm not seeing much action left from the other Read-a-thon participants, though it looks like Melwyk made it to 4:00 her time, which is still more than me at this point. Hopefully I'll still be awake when the other participants wake and get right back at it! 9 hours to go. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

5:00 AM

Seven hours to go my friends. I've already said thank-you to the caffeine and fresh air gods for getting me this far, but I think now it's time to also give credit to the long daylight hours (beautiful sunrise today!) and a rather annoying robin.

Glad to see Wanda, Em, and Jules are all on the clock again.

Also, you might note that I just heard from Richard, and the book he has donated is The Moon of Letting Go.

Speaking of prizes, would any of you participants mind if I threw Emeire's (Em's) name into the draw as well? She may not have been reading, but she's certainly come through as a cheerleader.

8:20 AM

Rounding the bend now. My daughter woke up at about 7:00 and got right back at it, but seems to be drifting off again.

I managed to finish Play The Monster Blind, which I'll review soon, as well as a Canadian short story which I prepared a Short Story Monday post for. At this point I'm doubtful that I'll finish another book in the next three and a half hours, but I'll keep chugging away...

10:43 AM
I have to admit. This final hour will be the toughest. I started to read The Tiger, the more compelling I have of the three left but found myself having to go back to read some passages over and over. The challenge has become focused more on staying awake than reading.

I suffer insomnia often, so it's not an unfamiliar feeling for me unfortunately; an almost drunk feeling-- sluggish, jerky, jumping at shadows. And I'm breaking out in acne like I haven't in 17 years. Sheesh.

Clearly nothing else completed since I last checked in.

My daughter tried to read several times since waking up this morning, but each time she started to nod off again, so now she's happily watching Sponge Bob with her brother. But at four books, and over 12 hours, she did a great job and I'm so happy that she took part. She's going to keep going with the 5th Canadian Book Challenge anyway.

Well, this check-in took all of 8 minutes. I'll check in again at about 11:45 to let you all know who won the Northern Prize Pack...


Thank-you to everyone for participating. It's been a blast. I'm tired. Good night.

Congrats to Melwyk for winning the Northern Prize Pack.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

It doesn't look as though I will be able to participate very much after all, although I hope to get some time to read later this afternoon.

Go, all you marathon readers!

Anonymous said...

Now I kind of regret I am not taking part as I am neither working nor going to the festival :(
I have a lot of studies to do though...
I'm with all of you in spirit and will keep an eye on your progress!
Special good luck to the youngest participant!!!

Heather said...

HI John, I am ready to start my first book, Spin by Catherine McKenzie. I have Little Brother by Cory Doctorow on my ipod for when I have to drive children around.

Have fun everyone.

Kate said...

Good luck everyone, and happy reading! I would love to participate another time; but with a busy morning tomorrow, I will need a good sleep tonight to make sure that my brain is working properly! Maybe I'll do some Canadian reading this afternoon in support of you brave readers!

Melwyk said...

Good luck to you and to R.! How wonderful that she's joining in. I haven't read any of the books on your list, though many of them are on the never-ending TBR! Hope you get through them all and enjoy your reading.

Melwyk said...

ps - that prize pack looks wonderful; I've read Jamie Bastedo before and was really impressed. Nice theme :)

Heather said...

HI John and R.

3 hours in and all is well. My family and kinda letting me read. One run to the gym to pick up son, but I listened to the audiobook. Great choice there, it's even starting to make more sense. Have a fresh cup of tea and am ready for me.

I posted an update on my blog as well.

Anonymous said...

Thinking about it, I would probably be useless at a read-a-thon as I am quite a slow reader and even slower reviewer!
I guess it must be more motivating with short books or books already started...

Gavin said...

I've got a post on the read-a-thon here. Don't know how much reading I will actually get to today but good luck to everyone!

Wanda said...

I'm reading too and now heading in to my 7th hour. Finished 'The Time In Between' and am now reading Sue Goyette's 'Lures'.

Heather said...

Dinner time for me. Yummy bbq steak and oven smashed potatoes. I'm over half way through my first book. Totally enjoying it.

John Mutford said...

Sorry Wanda! I knew that, then forgot it-- only 4 hours in an my brain is already shot. Anyway, I've corrected the post above to reflect that.

John Mutford said...

Heather: Sounds great!

Heather said...

I have finished my first book. Spin by Catherine McKenzie

I have had this on Mtn TBR for far too long and am glad I have finally be able to enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

It's great! Although I have taken the easy option I feel like I'm doing this read-a-thon with all of you! I am enjoying checking on your incredible progress and it has given me the motivation to write my reviews for my Canadian short story tour. I'll finish the last post tomorrow as it's time for bed for me now...
I'll be back as soon as I'm awake. Good luck to all!

Heather said...

I felt as though I needed a bit of sorbet to cleanse my palate between dishes (okay, a children's book before the next big book).

The Lime Green Secret by Georgia Graham

Jules said...

10 hours in, and I've only done about 5 -6 hours of reading. Other things got in my way. But you look to be doing well. I now have a thunderstorm to add to the reading atmosphere. Good luck to all the participants!

April said...

What a marvelous experience I'm having. There's nothing better than spending time immersed in a book that takes your breath away. Angel Wing Splash Pattern by Richard Van Camp is probably the only book I'll finish for the readathon, and I'm even hoping to re-read some of it as well. My initial introduction to his work was when I heard him tell a story on CBC's North by Northwest program.

Wanda said...

Wow, so many of you getting thunderstorms tonight!

John: I'm only giving brief updates, no reviews (hope that's okay). Like your daughter, I'd rather spend time with the book.

John Mutford said...

Wanda: I'll tell you what I told my daughter, "You'll review the damn book or be cut out of the inheritance." Okay, so I didn't say that. However, I am finding that the writing is a good break from the reading, if you find yourself getting run down. And will you be counting them towards the 5th Canadian Book Challenge? If so, just a quick blurb or two in your updates will suffice as a review.

Heather said...

had thunder storms here also. It's 1:20 am and my eyes need a rest. half way through Dust City . am loving it. see you in the morning

Anonymous said...

Good morning!
It looks like you're all doing pretty great.
I'm particularly impressed by R's performance!
6 hours sleep, not enough for me, but I'm thinking "come on! Some people are not even going to bed and reading all night... Get up!"
How are you all doing now?

Anonymous said...

Come on John! You can do it! Would listening to an audio book in your sleep count, I wonder? You know the way they say you can learn by listening to tapes in your sleep...

I'm now fully awake after checking on everybody and it's time to start my day!

John Mutford said...

Em: So glad you're awake again. You have no idea how much the cheering on helps. When everyone else went to sleep, and for a while it was just me, it was hard to keep going! I've still a long way to go, but this helps!

Jules said...

I made it to 1, and fell asleep. Awake now, and will am finishing the last 6 hours. Usually I'm alot better and 24 hour read-a-thons. Ah well, when I'm done, I have a list of new blogs to check out.

Wanda said...

John: I visit and comment on near as many blogs as you, you wouldn't dare cut me off! LOL! You'll get your reviews, you'll just have to be patient and wait for them like a good host. ;)

Anonymous said...

It's 2.30pm here, the sun is shining and it's warm. I just read two Canadian short stories on the terrace for my Short Story Monday post.
Glad to see some of you are still going. Well done! Only a few more hours to go...

Melwyk said...

Wow, great photo!! Keep going...I fell asleep but am back at it with still a few hours to stuff in some reading :)

Gavin said...

I managed to stay up 'til one or so and almost finished my first book. My update is here. Thanks to John and all the participants. If we do it again next year I promise to participate!

Heather said...

Yes, Add Em in the drawing.

Finished Dust City them moved onto another children's book Splinters. Now it's time for The Water Rat of Wanchai by Ian Hamilton.

Anonymous said...

I'm touched by the idea of being added in the draw, but I'm not sure it's really fair...

Participants are starting to finish up now. Good luck to the remaining ones, especially to R! I am waiting for more recommendations for my friends' kids ;)

Melwyk said...

Yes, Em has been a huge encouragement with her comments :)

I wish it wasn't noon in my time zone. I think I'll keep reading anyhow...I'm loving my latest read. Thanks so much for running this and I can't believe I fell asleep :(

Heather said...

Hi John and R.

Thanks so much for hosting. my first readathon was fun even if I didn't stay awake all night. I have posted a roundup of my results on my blog.

I'm in for this again next year, though of course I aim to read all my Canadian author books by the end of June. ha ha ha

Now I need to go and visit the rest of the participants.

Anonymous said...

Well done to all of you!
I know there weren't many of you taking part, but I thought it made the event more intimate and friendly, and certainly easier to follow to post comments!
It's really a shame I didn't participate as I didn't get as much studying done as I had planned. Still, I read three short stories, the first book of Essex County and wrote about 3 reviews as well.

I hope I'll be fully available for the next one!


Melwyk said...

So delighted to find out I have more great reading coming this way!

Thanks, John for hosting and for organizing all this. As Emeire said, though there were few of us this time, it made it feel very friendly. Nice to be able to follow everyone's progress and cheer each other on. I am definitely in if we do this again.

April said...

I'm so glad i participated even though I could not stay awake for the entire event. I admire all of you who did. Thanks, John, for all your efforts, and I hope you will do it again next year.

Perogyo said...

Congrats to Melwyk!

I really enjoyed this readathon, I'm glad you've set it up- thanks! It was so cool to see what everyone is reading at the same time(ish) that I was.

Great start to the Canadian Book Challenge.

Jules said...

Congrats to all the participants, and thanks again John, for hosting this!