Dewey’s Reverse Readathon Wrap Up – July 2022

I love Dewey’s Readathons. I have been joining, in one way or another, for a few years. Every time I participate I get a little bit better at having fun and getting the most out of the event. This is the same readathon that credit with breaking my back-to-back reading slump to an end. Suffice to say – I’m a big fan. Selfishly dedicating time to read booking it in my calendar as an event that cannot be rescheduled has been an epiphany for me. Plans to read are PLANS.

The reverse readathon is my favorite. Typically, readathon begins on Saturday morning and ends Sunday morning. Reverse readathon begins on Friday night at 8 pm EST and continues through Saturday night. If you want more details, check out the site here.

In my experience, the success or failure of my readathon comes down proper prep. By that, I mean (1) the reading stack, (2) food prep, and (3) the reading area(s).

In past years I have prepped my stack first with care and planning (soooo type A) and I idealized my reading while ignoring all the things I know about myself. Basically, I was trying to figure out what I could finally force myself to read. Boo to this. I am such a mood reader that I eventually I discovered I was more successful to make make way waaaaay too big a stack. That way I have choices. As long as I have twice as many books in my stack then I could ever possible read, I am set. And, obviously, finding books on my kindle and an audiobook so that I could change scenery as needed helps keep me going.

This readathon I decided to dedicate to middle grade fantasy. I had so many great choices!

Next step: the food. Some people food prep so they don’t have to cook. Others are amazing at planning nutritious snacks. Not me. Coffee, tea, and sparkling water (it tastes better out of a wine glass) are obvious. Then, I go crazy with the food. My grocery trip for readathon is absolute nonsense. Think, massive sleepover food. Nothing fancy but I can assure you that I do not go hungry. There is something tasty available to me for even a single second. Anytime I think about not reading, I just change snacks! And, I am a pretty nutritious eater usually so it is lovely to just eat whatever sometimes.

Third, you have to set up reading stations and be prepared to change locations. One thing I really struggled with in my early readathons was the amount of sitting still. Audiobooks are the best remedy for this. But, you have to consider weather as well. I recommend setting up three different reading locations in your home so that you can keep changing positions. Or, just put the audiobook on and putter around. It has really kept me reading for as long as possible.


I’m in central time so I started reading at 7 pm CST. I started by reading The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay. Just look at this gorgeous cover.

“There were no curtains at the window, and the room was bare, except for the sofa and Abi’s rocking horse and Abi herself, hunched over her book like a diving bird on the edge of a pool, poised between worlds.”

opening line of The Time of Green Magic

SYNOPSIS

When Abi’s father marries Max and Louis’s mom, their families start over together. Abi suddenly finds herself the middle child, expected to share far too much—especially with grubby little Louis. Then they move into an eerie, ivy-covered house, big enough for all of them. But for the children, strange things start to happen in that house. Abi reads alone, and finds herself tumbling so deep into books, they almost seem real. Louis summons comfort from outdoors, and a startling guest arrives—is it a cat or something else? Max loses his best friend…and falls in love. Meanwhile, Louis’s secret visitor is becoming much too real. Now Abi, Max, and Louis must uncover the secrets of their new home—for there can be danger in even the most beautiful magic. from Goodreads.


This book, as the sun was setting over the lake, was perfect. The book was like a potion itself, simmering perfectly right to an action packed rolling boil of an ending. I don’t even think I moved while I read it. I loved watching Abi, Max, and Louis learn to become a family as they are growing and changing and adapting. And, of course, dealing with possibly sinister forces. Truthfully, this book needed no breaks and no snacks. I sat down and read it all in one go.

Then, of course, I had to move around for a bit. I had roughly 10% of an audiobook left so I switched it on, tidied up my space, and started setting out my snacks.


SYNOPSIS


Will Darling came back from the Great War with a few scars, a lot of medals, and no idea what to do next. Inheriting his uncle’s chaotic second-hand bookshop is a blessing…until strange visitors start making threats. First a criminal gang, then the War Office, both telling Will to give them the information they want, or else. 

Will has no idea what that information is, and nobody to turn to, until Kim Secretan—charming, cultured, oddly attractive—steps in to offer help. As Kim and Will try to find answers and outrun trouble, mutual desire grows along with the danger. 

And then Will discovers the truth about Kim. His identity, his past, his real intentions. Enraged and betrayed, Will never wants to see him again. 

But Will possesses knowledge that could cost thousands of lives. Enemies are closing in on him from all sides—and Kim is the only man who can help. from Goodreads


Doesn’t think look like fun? There is a soldier returning from the war, a book store, a mystery…it sounded perfect! Y’all… What I did not notice was the small subtext, “A 1920s m/m romance trilogy in the spirit of Golden Age pulp fiction,” which should have read, “A 1920s m/m romance trilogy with numerous open door romance scenes that are not appropriate for listening to in a shared space while on speaker.” This had some hot and steamy scenes that just cropped up unexpectedly and I was too slow with the pause button. You need to know that this book is well written, wonderful characters, great twists and turns, and lots and lots of open door scenes. In the end, there was not enough mystery for me to want to continue the series. I wrapped this one up (with headphones!) while getting some movement into my evening.

Next on my list is another middle grade fantasy, Rumblestar by Eli Elphinstone.

“The trouble with grown-ups is that they always think they’re right – about bedtimes and vegetables mostly, but also about beginnings.”

opening line from Rumblestar

SYNOPSIS

Eleven-year-old Casper Tock hates risks, is allergic to adventures and shudders at the thought of unpredictable events. So, it comes as a nasty shock to him when he accidentally stumbles into Rumblestar, an Unmapped Kingdom full of magical beasts. All Casper wants is to find a way home, but Rumblestar is in trouble. 

An evil harpy called Morg is sending her followers, the Midnights, into the kingdom to wreak havoc and pave the way for her to steal the Unmapped magic for herself. But Casper cannot turn a blind eye because the future of his own world, he discovers, is bound up with that of the Unmapped Kingdoms. 

And so, together with Utterly Thankless, a girl who hates rules and is allergic to behaving, and her miniature dragon, Arlo, Casper embarks upon an adventure full of cloud giants, storm ogres and drizzle hags. Can he, Utterly and Arlo, the unlikeliest of heroes, save the Unmapped Kingdoms and our world from the clutches of Morg and her Midnights? Live a life filled with adventure with Abi Elphinstone in this brand new series where a whole new world is waiting to be discovered… from Goodreads


I started this book late in the evening on Friday, fell asleep reading it, read it in the middle of the night, and continued on reading when it was time for breakfast. I couldn’t put it down and I probably won’t stop talking about it anytime soon. The two main characters, Casper and Utterly, are completely different people from different worlds but they must work together to save the universe. I love this middle grade fantasy trope. But, I have yet to meet a character like Casper.

Casper describes his talent as always being exactly on time. Casper loves time tables (not the math kind, the schedule kind), and when trouble rears its head, Casper just keeps suggesting that they find a trusted adult. Casper is me. He completely stole my heart in a way no pre-destined hero ever could.

This book was so absorbing that I didn’t really register that the author named one of the bullies Candida. Once I noticed it I could not stop snickering. Is this a popular name in England? Or is the author just a hoot? Doesn’t matter, I can hardly wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.

After I finished Rublestar, hugged it and put it lovingly back on my shelf, I knew I needed to walk around for a while. Happily, the library let me borrow a copy of Artemis Fowl The Last Guardian as an audiobook. Out I went to walk along the lake!

SYNOPSIS

It’s Armageddon Time for Artemis Fowl

Opal Koboi, power-crazed pixie, is plotting to exterminate mankind and become fairy queen.

If she succeeds, the spirits of long-dead fairy warriors will rise from the earth, inhabit the nearest available bodies and wreak mass destruction. But what happens if those nearest bodies include crows, or deer, or badgers – or two curious little boys by the names of Myles and Beckett Fowl?

Yes, it’s true. Criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl’s four-year-old brothers could be involved in destroying the human race. Can Artemis and Captain Holly Short of the Lower Elements Police stop Opal and prevent the end of the world? from Goodreads


I didn’t finish the whole book. I walked around the city, chasing the shade. Nathaniel Parker is one of my all-time favorite narrators and he brings all of these characters to life. I love this series as an audiobook for his dynamic narration as much as the storyline. At this point it had been an hour since I snacked so I had to go home.

Back home again I really thought about my remaining stack. I was trying to figure out a third book that I could start and finish before the end of the readathon. Based on the pages, I grabbed Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger.

“Blurry, fractured memories swam through Sophie’s mind, but she couldn’t piece them together.”

opening line from Keeper of the Lost Cities

SYNOPSIS

Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.” There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first. from Goodreads


This book has sat on my TBR shelf for far too long. I think I get a little tired of the prodigy character who is both totally unaware of their powers and also the most powerful creature the world has ever seen. (Hence my obsession with Casper in Rumblestar). But, this series is wildly popular so I thought I would give it a go.

It is ridiculously good! I love a great cast of characters. Between the students and the adults, there are a lot of characters to love and they are all fairly well flushed out – especially considering this is the first book in the series. The storyline was not sacrificed for the sake of character introduction and development. I was riveted. And, by the end of the readathon I only had 50 pages remaining. I ended up finishing the book that night and I have already loaded up the second book in the series on my Kindle.


Inbetween all of this reading (and eating) I did try to interact with people on social media but, honestly, this is not my favorite aspect of the readathon. I love the idea that there are readers all around the world reading at the same time. But, I don’t need to stop reading and chat with them all the time. Goodreads has a place to gather but I haven’t figured it out yet. I pop in and out of Twitter, mostly to pick up more people to follow and therefore drown out the politics on that site, but I lurk pretty hard and engage less than I could. Maybe next time!

This was my most successful readathon yet and I managed to read 965 pages and listen to a combine 15% of audiobooks in approximately 16 hours. It was a breath of fresh air and I cannot wait for October to do it all again.


Tell me, please. Have you participated in a readathon? Any tips?


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