Saturday, October 26, 2019

My Brain on Books XXIV

I am reading for The Office of Letters and Lights the folks who bring us NaNoWriMo today as I love what they are doing for literacy with their Young Writer's Programs and because I've participated in NaNo every year since 2004.  I have been blessed to have it in my life and would like to give something back if only kudos and link love.  I'm putting this plug at the top in hopes some who stop by will check out their site and see all the great things they do to foster love of reading and writing and story in kids. 

This post will be organized like a blog inside a blog with recent updates stacked atop previous ones. I may be posting some updates on Twitter @Joystory and the Joystory fb fanpage. But this is where I do anything more than a line or two.  Including mini-challenges that don't require a separate post..   







4:44 AM - Made it.  Still going strong.

I stuck with The Catholic School for over two hours.  Then switched to The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess for another hour.  There was some snack scavenging and some social media lurking and a long distraction with giphy after discovering its existence on the hub.

Now I'm concerned I'm not going to wind down fast enough to get a substantial sleep before my alarm goes off at 11AM to prep for my Sunday afternoon date with my husband.

1:55 AM - Lost in an Italian Catholic Boys School.




10:10 PM - Five hours of browsing among 18 books

The 'browsing' included reading whole chapters or intros or short stories.
Besides all that I downloaded a free ebook of Whuthering Heights and 'reread' the same four chapters from Disc 1 of the audio.  The British accent of the narrator and her attempts to provide accents as indicated by Bronte's spelling coupled with my spectrum sensory issues had me frequently frustrated.  Having now read the same passages with my eyes I think I'll have an easier time of listening tho I miss the ability to speed up the audio the ap on my computer does not provide.  One of my sensory issues is that I listen better when I listen fast.

But I intend to return to the audio book later and pick up my crochet.  First I want to return for as long as my eyes will allow to The Catholic School.

Now that i've got the grazing urge sated i'm feeling ready to focus on one story long enough to get lost in it.  Hoping my eyes will allow that to be The Catholic School but if not it will be Wuthering Heights.



via GIPHY


5:55 PM - List of Yesterday's Library Haul not yet mentioned.

  • Everything Inside : stories by Edwidge Danticat
  • Hunter's Moon : a novel in stories by Philip Caputo
  • The American Spirit: Who we are and what we stand for by David McCullough
  • Moral Imagination : essays by David Bromwich
  • The Last Book Party : a novel by Karen Dukess
  • Whisper Network : a novel by Chandler baker
  • The Program : Inside the Mind of Keith Raniere and the rise and fall of NXIV  by Toni Natalie with Chet Hardin


Am going to be browsing in these for awhile.

4:44 PM - Books I Browsed in my Android device in the last three hours


  • Mind to Matter by Dawson Church (How thoughts become things by changing the physical structure of our brains and then our behaviors)
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville ( a reader i visited was reading this which reminded me I had been reading it last fall or summer and hadn't finishd)
  • NO PLOT? NO PROBLEM! By Chris Baty (NaNo Prep)
  • From Where You Dream by Robert Olen Butler (NaNo Prep)
  • Scrivener by David Hewson (NaNo Prep)
  • Writers on the Spectrum by Julie Brown (NaNo Prep because I'm on the spectrum and it gives me insight.  Plus she identified Melville as Aspberger which prompted me to start Moby Dick)
  • My Ishmael by Daniel Quinn (a teen girl answers a want ad from a teacher looking for students and discovers the teacher is a gorilla)
  • Little Black Book of Stories by A. S. Byatt (short stories)
  • World Famous Cults and Fanatics by Colin Wilson (NaNo Prep because my storyworld features a cult)
  • Nothing by Blake Butler (a rhapsody on Insomnia)
  • Raising Cubby by John Elder Robinson (Robinson's first book was a memoir about discovering he was Asperger in his 40s.  In this one he learns his teenage son is also)


I spent 5 to 15 minutes with each one.  All but the first I'd previously started and was various distances in.

2:22 PM - Personal reactions to The Catholic School by Edoardo Albinati:

What is it about this book that kept me coming back to it after repeatedly putting it in the no-go pile at the library for quite logical reasons.  I'd taken down it's metadata so there was no fear I'd loose track of its existence.  There was always next library visit or waiting for it to become available as ebook or audio.  Yet it seemed a magnet drawing me back to it even after the initial checkout of the pile of chosen ones.

It is not what is known as a page turner with a plot that acts as a string tied to your eyes.  If there are any strings involved it is the sentences themselves and it's not because any sentence is calling attention to itself for any known aspect of 'sentenceness'.  Maybe it would be more precise to say it was thought itself that is the string but if said thought were clothed in shabby sentences there would be discontinuities that break the spell that kept me reading in spite of all the physical challenges and the book would never have insisted on coming home with me on the bus tho it would not fit in the bag.

Beyond the sentences and thoughts themselves it is the mesmerizing fashion Albinati combines philosophy, cultural commentary, modern headline, fictionalized memoir, coming of age and gothic ambiance in a nearly 1300 page tome. Thus combining physical and mental exercise. :)

Not tome.  Story.  That's probably the actual string.  Duh?  Because I don't think my comments so far have made clear that there is the definite feel of a developing story in the competent hands of a master storyteller.  One who can hold dozens of threads in play at once as in the weaving of a fine tapestry.wall hanging.

11:11 AM - The Catholic School by Edoardo Albinati
This nearly 1300 page tome solved the problem of the nap attack.  The smallish print forced me to put a second pair of reading glasses over the first adding 2.0 to 2.75.  I needed to mount the book on a book easel to free my hands for I needed the left hand to hold the flap open and the pages on that side pressed flat and my right hand to slide either a book mark or my finger along the line.  This is why I so seldom make the attempt anymore with these ginormous books that I once inhaled back in the day.  20 pages in one hour!.  I remember when it felt slow to do less than 100 pages an hour.

This was one of the books from my library haul yesterday.  The first in several years because I can no longer walk alone to the library and then in 2016 had incurred a large fine after misplacing an audio book.  It was the fact of having misplaced a library item that shamed me into abandoning use of the library and I left the fine on my card to remove the temptation of using it.  I guess I finally forgave myself.

Since 2014 I've qualified for door-tp-door transport with the local bus service.  I've mostly reserved use of it for health-care appointments but in nonor of the read-a-thon I decided to go to the library yesterday.  And the experience was so positive I think I'll be repeating it.

The Albinati book was one of a couple dozen items I gathered in my first half hour and then spent the next hour browsing and taking down titles/authors in my android device with bluetooth keyboard with Evernote.  I spent a bit of time with each item, making stacks of yes, no and maybe.  In spite of the fact that I kept placing The Catholic School in the No pile for the fact of its size, weight and font size I kept coming back to it, opening it randomly and finding myself reading a page or three before reluctantly putting it back in the No pile.  I went to the checkout counter without it tho I had at the last moment attempted to fit it with the stack in the crook of my left elbow and could not control the stack one-handed with it there and I had to have a free right had for my white cane.

As I stood by the elevator I glanced back over to the table where I'd sat and the book was still there.  So was my coat!  I'd walked off without my coat.  I returned for it and on the way across the room I told myself that the bookbag was not over heavy and tho the big red book would not fit inside, the shoulder bag freed my left hand.  So I grabbed it up along with my coat and headed back to the checkout counter.

The image I'm posting must be for the British edition as the one I'm reading has no photo and is solid red with black title and yellow author text.  Which is probably what caught my eye and prompted me to pull it off the shelf in the first place.  This edition is the only English language edition on Goodreads (it is translated from Italian) and tho I have librarian privileges I've not used then in so long I'd have to relearn how to add an edition and such tasks or soooo time consuming anymore!  So not today anyway.

Well this has gone on too long already so I leave talking about the substance of the book and what is magnetic draw for me is in a later update.  Right now I just want to get back to reading it.



9: 09 AM - Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Donada Peters (Narrator)  Random House Audio CD
Switching to disc 2 but not sure I'm going to continue immediately.  Fending of nap attack.  Need something that requires me to keep my eyes open.


6:05 /AM - I began the day finishing off the last 10% of the fourth book in Mercedes Lackey's Jouster series which I've been reading for the last two or three weeks.  My attempt to finish before I slept shorted me on much needed pre Thon sleep.  A bit less than four hours!  And still didn't finish.  Now I have a slimmer chance of making the full 24hrs without at least a nap.

5:05 AM - Opening Survey!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? 
Longview, Washington USA a few miles from the majestic Columbia River

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
The audio of Wuthering Heights.  I last read it as a teenager and I know I could not have understood it beyond the shallow plot level.  Reviews I've read in the last decade have more than hinted that I need to read it again

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Cheesy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I'm visually impaired, Asperger, mood disordered but reading and writing stories is my joy.  Reading often means 'listen' now so I am usually crocheting as story and fiber art weave their manifestations together.  I've been a NaNoWriMo for three years longer than a Dewey Thon reader and will be again this year so some of my reading today will relate to NaNo prep

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?
For the last several thons I put all my focus on reading and neglected the visiting and the mini-challenges.  I'm hoping to shift that balance back a bit at least.


4:44 AM - I'm setting this to go live at 4:44 AM but it may be as much as an hour before I check in.  Making coffee, Getting eyes focused.  Settling in at primary reading station.  But I will be reading via audio by 5AM.


Ode to Dewey
by Joy Renee
We Miss You Dewey




4 tell me a story:

martine 10/26/2019 10:56 AM  

Hi visiting from the readathon list. Hope you have an excellent reading day. Martine

Katherine Nabity 10/26/2019 11:38 AM  

What a great idea to tie the readathon and NaNoWriMo together! Hope you're having a great reading/listening day!

martine 10/27/2019 2:01 AM  

Thanks for calling back, and your recommendation, it does sound right up my street.

Katherine Nabity 10/28/2019 12:19 AM  

*high five from far away*
Well done! At about 3am I hit a wall, as I usually do. Still had a fun day of reading though!

Good luck on NaNoWriMo!

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