It's hard to know how to address the close of yet another fantastic Read-a-thon. This is, in part, due to the fact that I last awoke 24 hours and 15 minutes ago and am, quite understandably, more than a little tired. There's also some blame to levy against the fact that, in the previous two events, I at some point slipped into several hours' napping, and felt I'd somehow cheated on my way to the end. Every time, the experience has been unique, despite the persistent themes of revelry with fellow readers and a reverence for the written word. This is, perhaps, the first major takeaway; no matter how many Read-a-thons I enjoy, I imagine each will produce its own special flavor, bring with it its own unique rewards. First, the official survey, and then some final thoughts before resting my eyes a spell.
End of Event Meme
1. Which hour was most daunting for you? I'd have to say somewhere around hours 22 or 23. I'd really thrown myself into reading, and between the book's tone and my exhaustion, things took a rather dark turn.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I'd recommend the book I read this time around, but at over 1k pages I don't think it's necessarily the best idea, not unless finishing is low on your list of priorities. For science fiction fans and, to a lesser extent mystery fans, Asimov's Robot novels (The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, The Robots of Dawn, and short story collections like I, Robot) would be excellent choices.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve Read-a-thon for next year? I did wonder, at one point, whether or not anyone had tried enlisting celebrity participants. Advocacy for literacy is a popular enough cause, and there are plenty of writers out there who enjoy engaging with their fans in ways that put their own fanhood on prominent display. Could you imagine a Read-a-thon in which Neil Gaiman shares updates on his favorite reads?
4. What do you think worked really well in this year's Read-a-thon? Everything. Honestly, this is no exaggeration. I've only participated in three Read-a-thons now, but this was by far the smoothest. If I absolutely had to single something out, I think the "home page" was tidy and efficient, from sign-ups to the lists of prize winners. But seriously, job well done by all involved.
5. How many books did you read? Part of one.
6. What were the names of the books you read? Stephen King's IT
7. Which book did you enjoy the most? I love IT so far.
8. Which did you enjoy least? N/A
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year's Cheerleaders? I wasn't a Cheerleader, and the only advice I'd have is for them to make sure they check back to see if Readers have responded to their wonderful blog comments. Not to follow-up with more, really, just so they can see some sign of appreciation for the good they've done by cheering us on.
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? 100% without a doubt participating, barring major life crises and acts of nature beyond my control.
Although I have a great deal more reading yet to do before I reach the end of IT, I have two observations that have crystallized over the course of my reading thus far:
1. Stephen King is a far, far better writer than I can ever hope to become.
2. This by no means implies that I can't become a writer of that caliber. Exceeding my own hopes isn't all that different from exceeding my own expectations, and I do that every day, no sweat.
As I do following any fit of serious reading, I'm reminded of just how amazing it can be. But in this instance, more so than similar cases past, I find myself genuinely yearning for the reading of every book I've ever set aside for some indeterminate point in my future. I think of taking a year off from writing, or at least a year off from worrying about writing, and just spending day in and day out reading with an appetite as voracious as the awaiting book pile is tall. After this year's National Novel Writing Month, I might do just that; I should have enough to focus on compiling, revising, editing, etc. and can at least focus on that instead of the actual writing itself. Or maybe I'll just make reading my main priority, and let writing happen as it may, without pressure. Of the few books I've managed to finish this year, quite a few had been on my list for years. I think I should like to knock a few dozen more such titles off that long-standing list, instead of waiting for Read-a-thon to come back around and remind me, like some long-suffering amnesiac, that reading is so much more than fun. For me, and so many of us, it's essential to a well-lived life.