Trees of Reverie July 2015 Readathon: Follow-up

I participated in the July 2015 Trees of Reverie Read-a-thon. This post is a collection of reviews I wrote about books completed during the readathon. These reviews were originally shared on Goodreads, which was one of my goals for the readathon, and are quite short.

Books finished:

  1. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (FINISHED; net change: 115 pages)
  2. Supernatural: John Winchester’s Journal by Alex Irvine (FINISHED; net change: 59 pages)
  3. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (FINISHED; net change: 121 pages)
  4. Lady of the Moon by Amy Lowell, Mary Meriam, and Lillian Faderman (FINISHED; net change: 98 pages)
  5. A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis (FINISHED; net change: 76 pages)

Reviews:

1. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

This book was… interesting. I blazed through it in four days. As a memoir of grieving, it invoked memories of my own grieving process and connected with me emotionally, but the author and I have very different life experiences, and this was almost enough to pull me out of the experience. Didion moves in wealthy, well-connected television and literary circles, and while I’d love some day to be as published and celebrated and connected as she is, that experience is currently very remote to me.

When mentioning her famous friends, she cites the fact they are famous, which is very distancing, and feels a bit like name-dropping. Other reviewers here are quick to remind us that this is a hallmark of her style, this coolness and emotional distance, but I think the critique is still valid: for a memoir about grief, such distance seems a little bewildering. However, it is still well-written and emotionally stirring, even if my own grief memoir would (will) look nothing like it.

2. Supernatural: John Winchester’s Journal by Alex Irvine

I blazed through a good chunk of this last year and then put it down for several months. The last 1/4 or so seemed to lag a bit — not sure precisely how it was different than the start, but my interest waned.

This book is absolutely only for Supernatural fans — it fills in a bit of backstory, as well as giving a greater sense of John, who we know comparatively little about. Written as a journal, it includes a mix of personal musings, notes about anniversaries and birthdays, and the kind of esoterica you’d expect to find in a hunter’s notebook. I gave it four stars because it lost me for a bit, but it’s still an interesting and enjoyable read.

3. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

This book was hard, but also amazing. The narrator’s unique voice obscures and reveals, and the revelations are perfectly timed and wondrous. Though the reader does not learn the precise nature of the narrator’s crime, it doesn’t truly matter, in the end. Masterfully crafted, and well-worth the read.

4. Lady of the Moon by Amy Lowell, Mary Meriam, and Lillian Faderman

The construction of this book is interesting, featuring a selection of Lowell’s poems, followed by a critical essay examining the Sapphic imagery of her work in the context of her relationship with Ada Russell, and ending with a sequence of poems that reimagine the courtship and relationship between Lowell and Russell.

Of this, I very much enjoyed the essay, and the context it gave allowed me to better appreciate Lowell’s poetry. By comparison, the poems at the end, the work of Mary Meriam, seem a bit childish. Lowell’s work involves lush description, vivid detail, and sly eroticism. Meriam’s work, particularly the sonnets that begin the sequence, is flat. The rhyming in the sonnets is a trifle unimaginative, and the diction is oddly inconsistent; overall, Meriam’s work is a bit of a let-down, when compared to the clever writing of Lillian Faderman’s essay and Lowell’s own vibrant poetry.

5. A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis

I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while, and it was referenced in The Year of Magical Thinking, so I decided to finally dust it off and read it.

This book is very intense. The introduction by Lewis’s stepson gives further insight to the creation of the book, but even without this context, the reader is drawn in. Lewis’s grief is raw and near, and it makes even this dedicated apologist question everything he knows and feels. He grappled with feelings of guilt and sorrow and anger in personal journals following his wife’s death. Later, upon reading them again, he decided to publish them, in the hopes they might help others facing loss heal a little more.

Here, Lewis is not the eloquent and impassioned writer of Christian apologetics, but merely a man of deep faith struggling to get through the loss of the woman he loved. He looked unflinchingly at his own crisis of faith and then shared it with the world, an act of courage. He survived, got himself through one of the hardest times in any person’s life; this book might help anyone else do the same.

To see all Read-a-thon posts, go here.

Trees of Reverie July 2015 Readathon: Final Update

(All times are Brisbane local time)

I participated in the July 2015 Trees of Reverie Read-a-thon. This is my final update post.

Readathon update:

I miscalculated, out of exhaustion, and didn’t realize that I wouldn’t wake up until just before the readathon’s end. That means that these numbers are the same as the Day 9 update post. And now it’s done!

Thanks for following my updates and folks who encouraged me. It was good to “meet” the other readathon participants, and I’m following some of y’all. Take care until next time!

 

  1. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (FINISHED; current page: 227 of 227; net change: 115 pages)
  2. Supernatural: John Winchester’s Journal by Alex Irvine (FINISHED; current page: 217 of 217; net change: 59 pages)
  3. The Jewish Study Bible by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler (Eds.) (Current page: 343 of 2181; net change: 9 pages) Note: not originally listed, not technically being read for the challenge, but the challenge dates encompass two weeks of parshot (readings), and so those will be included in my page count.
  4. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (FINISHED; current page: 233 of 233; net change: 121 pages)
  5. Lady of the Moon by Amy Lowell, Mary Meriam, and Lillian Faderman (FINISHED; current page: 98 of 98; net change: 98 pages)
  6. A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis (FINISHED; current page: 76 of 76; net change: 76 pages)
  7. Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction by Dominica Malcolm [Ed.] (Current page: 55 of 252; net change: 35 pages)
  8. Octavia’s Brood by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha [Eds.] (Current page: 152 of 296; net change: 152 pages)

Net change for all books read: 665 pages
Books finished: 5

To see all Read-a-thon posts, go here.

Trees of Reverie July 2015 Readathon Day 9

Day Nine, Saturday, July 19:

(All times are Brisbane local time)

I am participating in the July 2015 Trees of Reverie Read-a-thon. This is my day 9 update post.

Readathon update:

Long day at the conference, so I didn’t get much more reading done, and the readathon ends in 9 hours. I’ll try to get some more reading in before the end, and I’ll make a final update post after midnight on the 19th, Brisbane time.

 

  1. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (FINISHED; current page: 227 of 227; net change: 115 pages)
  2. Supernatural: John Winchester’s Journal by Alex Irvine (FINISHED; current page: 217 of 217; net change: 59 pages)
  3. The Jewish Study Bible by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler (Eds.) (Current page: 343 of 2181; net change: 9 pages) Note: not originally listed, not technically being read for the challenge, but the challenge dates encompass two weeks of parshot (readings), and so those will be included in my page count.
  4. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (FINISHED; current page: 233 of 233; net change: 121 pages)
  5. Lady of the Moon by Amy Lowell, Mary Meriam, and Lillian Faderman (FINISHED; current page: 98 of 98; net change: 98 pages)
  6. A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis (FINISHED; current page: 76 of 76; net change: 76 pages)
  7. Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction by Dominica Malcolm [Ed.] (Current page: 55 of 252; net change: 35 pages)
  8. Octavia’s Brood by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha [Eds.] (Current page: 152 of 296; net change: 152 pages)

Net change for all books read so far: 665 pages

To see all Read-a-thon posts, go here.

Trees of Reverie July 2015 Readathon Day 8

Day Eight, Saturday, July 18:

(All times are Brisbane local time)

I am participating in the July 2015 Trees of Reverie Read-a-thon. This is my day 8 update post

Readathon update:

I’m volunteering at a local activist conference this weekend, so my reading is gonna slow down, especially since I was silly and didn’t sleep enough last night, leaving me too exhausted to catch up on my desired reading pace. But I did manage some transit reading to and from the conference, and that’ll have to do.

There’s still about a day and a half left, so I may be able to get another couple hundred pages in before the challenge ends. But I’m going to bed early tonight, so it’ll have to wait for tomorrow.

  1. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (FINISHED; current page: 227 of 227; net change: 115 pages)
  2. Supernatural: John Winchester’s Journal by Alex Irvine (FINISHED; current page: 217 of 217; net change: 59 pages)
  3. The Jewish Study Bible by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler (Eds.) (Current page: 343 of 2181; net change: 9 pages) Note: not originally listed, not technically being read for the challenge, but the challenge dates encompass two weeks of parshot (readings), and so those will be included in my page count.
  4. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (FINISHED; current page: 233 of 233; net change: 121 pages)
  5. Lady of the Moon by Amy Lowell, Mary Meriam, and Lillian Faderman (FINISHED; current page: 98 of 98; net change: 98 pages)
  6. A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis (FINISHED; current page: 76 of 76; net change: 76 pages)
  7. Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction by Dominica Malcolm [Ed.] (Current page: 55 of 252; net change: 35 pages)
  8. Octavia’s Brood by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha [Eds.] (Current page: 134 of 296; net change: 134 pages)

Net change for all books read so far: 647 pages

To see all Read-a-thon posts, go here.

Trees of Reverie July 2015 Readathon Day 7

Day Seven, Friday, July 17:

(All times are Brisbane local time)

I am participating in the July 2015 Trees of Reverie Read-a-thon. This is my day 7 update post

Readathon update:

I stayed up late baking bread, and so I got a hefty chunk of reading done

  1. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (FINISHED; current page: 227 of 227; net change: 115 pages)
  2. Supernatural: John Winchester’s Journal by Alex Irvine (FINISHED; current page: 217 of 217; net change: 59 pages)
  3. The Jewish Study Bible by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler (Eds.) (Current page: 343 of 2181; net change: 9 pages) Note: not originally listed, not technically being read for the challenge, but the challenge dates encompass two weeks of parshot (readings), and so those will be included in my page count.
  4. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (FINISHED; current page: 233 of 233; net change: 121 pages)
  5. Lady of the Moon by Amy Lowell, Mary Meriam, and Lillian Faderman (FINISHED; current page: 98 of 98; net change: 98 pages)
  6. A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis (FINISHED; current page: 76 of 76; net change: 76 pages)
  7. Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction by Dominica Malcolm [Ed.] (Current page: 48 of 252; net change: 28 pages)
  8. Octavia’s Brood by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha [Eds.] (Current page: 68 of 296; net change: 68 pages)

Net change for all books read so far: 574 pages

To see all Read-a-thon posts, go here.

Trees of Reverie July 2015 Readathon Day 6

Day Six, Thursday, July 16:

(All times are Brisbane local time)

I am participating in the July 2015 Trees of Reverie Read-a-thon. Due to unforeseen circumstances, there may be no more challenge posts, which is fine. In that case, I will continue to post updates through the end of the readathon.

Readathon update:

I stayed up late baking bread, and so I got a hefty chunk of reading done

  1. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (FINISHED; current page: 227 of 227; net change: 115 pages)
  2. Supernatural: John Winchester’s Journal by Alex Irvine (FINISHED; current page: 217 of 217; net change: 59 pages)
  3. The Jewish Study Bible by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler (Eds.) (Current page: 343 of 2181; net change: 9 pages) Note: not originally listed, not technically being read for the challenge, but the challenge dates encompass two weeks of parshot (readings), and so those will be included in my page count.
  4. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (FINISHED; current page: 233 of 233; net change: 121 pages)
  5. Lady of the Moon by Amy Lowell, Mary Meriam, and Lillian Faderman (FINISHED; current page: 98 of 98; net change: 98 pages)
  6. A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis (FINISHED; current page: 76 of 76; net change: 76 pages)

Net change for all books read so far: 478 pages

To see all Read-a-thon posts, go here.

Trees of Reverie July 2015 Readathon Day 5

Day Five, Wednesday, July 15:

(All times are Brisbane local time)

I am participating in the July 2015 Trees of Reverie Read-a-thon. This is the Day 5 update post; the challenge for Days 5 and 6 will be posted on Day 6.

Readathon update:

Not much reading today — had to go run some errands and such. Waiting for the dishwasher so I can start prepping the bread to bake tomorrow morning. Will use this down time to read, and hopefully tomorrow’s number will be higher.

  1. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (FINISHED; current page: 227 of 227; net change: 115 pages)
  2. Supernatural: John Winchester’s Journal by Alex Irvine (FINISHED; current page: 217 of 217; net change: 59 pages)
  3. The Jewish Study Bible by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler (Eds.) (Current page: 343 of 2181; net change: 9 pages) Note: not originally listed, not technically being read for the challenge, but the challenge dates encompass two weeks of parshot (readings), and so those will be included in my page count.
  4. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (Current page: 122 of 233; net change: 10 pages)
  5. Lady of the Moon by Amy Lowell, Mary Meriam, and Lillian Faderman (FINISHED; current page: 98 of 98; net change: 98 pages)
  6. A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis (Current page: 32 of 76; net change: 32 pages)

Net change for all books read so far: 323 pages

 

To see all Read-a-thon posts, go here.

Trees of Reverie July 2015 Readathon Day 4: Recommended Read

Day Four, Tuesday, July 14:

(All times are Brisbane local time)

I am participating in the July 2015 Trees of Reverie Read-a-thon. This is the Day 4 Challenge post.

Challenge:

If I could share and recommend only ONE book/series that I’ve read so far in 2015…

Oh, my! Just one? How do I even choose?! This is such a hard question…

Ugh. Okay, If I have to pick just one of the books I’ve read this year, I’m going to have to go with— Wow, this is hard…

Alright, I pick:

Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine Von Radics. I was invited to read my poetry at a reading she was also a part of, and though I got a bit lost and was late, I loved what I heard of hers, and after the event we swapped a copy of our own book for the other’s. I didn’t get to read it until a week later, though, when I devoured this book over the course of a flight from Oregon to Alaska for a debate tournament, and I made my teammates read my favorites, and gesticulated a bunch and was very, very excited.

(Warning for profanity.) Continue reading “Trees of Reverie July 2015 Readathon Day 4: Recommended Read”

Trees of Reverie July 2015 Readathon Day 3: Book Playlist

Day Three, Monday, July 13:

(All times are Brisbane local time)

I am participating in the July 2015 Trees of Reverie Read-a-thon. This is the Day 3 Challenge post.

Challenge: Book Playlist

I take playlists really seriously. I prefer a playlist you can put on and leave in the background for hours; most of my playlists range from 3 to 12 hours. I love sitting down to spend a couple hours combing through music to find a list that works well together, conveys the feeling of the book/ship/show/concept/etc. that the list is dedicated to. Continue reading “Trees of Reverie July 2015 Readathon Day 3: Book Playlist”

Trees of Reverie July 2015 Readathon Day 2: Spine Poem

Day Two, Sunday, July 12:

(All times are Brisbane local time)

I am participating in the July 2015 Trees of Reverie Read-a-thon. This is the Day 2 Challenge post.

Challenge: Spine Poetry

Today’s challenge is to create a poem using book spines. Here’s what I came up with:

2015-07-11 22.13.04 HDR

Within the enchanted,
supernatural
John Winchester’s journal:
a field guide to getting lost,
a grief observed;
O, Lady of the moon
protect Octavia’s brood
from enemies below

 

 

Readathon update:

I got off to a poor start, not managing to get any reading done on Day 1 of the challenge (I was working on an article for publication, on deadline), and getting very little on Day 2, but here’s what I’ve got in so far:

 

  1. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (Current page: 130 of 227; net change: 18 pages)
  2. Supernatural: John Winchester’s Journal by Alex Irvine (Current page: 169 of 217; net change: 11 pages)
  3. The Jewish Study Bible by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler (Eds.) (Current page: 343 of 2181; net change: 9 pages) Note: not originally listed, not technically being read for the challenge, but the challenge dates encompass two weeks of parshot (readings), and so those will be included in my page count.

Net change for all books read so far: 38 pages

 

To see all Read-a-thon posts, go here.

Trees of Reverie July 2015 Readathon Day 1: TBR List

Day One, Saturday, July 11:

(All times are Brisbane local time)

I am participating in the July 2015 Trees of Reverie Read-a-thon (I participated last July as well!). This is the Day 1 Challenge post.

Goals:

  • I want to polish off all the books-in-progress on the list
  • I want to read for at least four hours each day
  • I want to write a brief review for each book I read and post it (likely on Goodreads)
  • I want to complete each of the daily updates and challenges

My To-Be-Read List (in order):

  1. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (Current page: 112 of 227)
  2. Supernatural: John Winchester’s Journal by Alex Irvine (Current page: 158 of 217)
  3. Are Prisons Obsolete by Angela Davi (Current page: 40 of 115)
  4. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (Current page: 112 of 233)
  5. Every Person’s Guide to Judaism by Stephen Einstein and Lydia Kukoff (Current page: 78 of 179)
  6. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  7. Octavia’s Brood by Adrienne Maree Brown and Walidah Imarisha [Eds.]
  8. A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis
  9. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
  10. A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
  11. Lady of the Moon by Amy Lowell, Mary Meriam, and Lillian Faderman

 

To see all Read-a-thon posts, go here.

July Read-a-Thon Is About to Start!

Check that turn-around time! The July Trees-of-Reverie Read-a-thon starts tomorrow, and I’m excited.

I’m in the thick of classes now, so this time I’m gonna track my school reading. Y’all will get a look at what I’ve been assigned for my courses, and hopefully you’ll get to discover a book that interests you.

Books read so far for class: selections from Requiem for a Paper Bag by Davy Rothbart [Ed.], selections from The Works of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, An Extraordinary Theory of Objects by Stephanie LaCava, and selections from On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz.

Books I’m on track to read within the time-frame of the read-a-thon: more selections from On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, selections from Them: Adventures with Extremists by Jon Ronson, selections from Detection by Gaslight: 14 Victorian Detective Stories by Douglas Greene [Ed.], selections from A Study in Scarlet & The Sign of the Four, selections from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes & The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, and The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

That’s a lot of reading, but I have 3 weeks to get it done! You can follow along here on my blog, where I’ll be posting a running page count every other day, on Facebook for quotes and tidbits, on Twitter for late-night ponderings (and updates on Camp NaNoWriMo progress), on Instagram for (what else?) action shots, and on Tumblr for fun questionnaires and community activities.

Let’s get this party started!