Category Archives: Read-a-thon

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon, April 2020, End of Day

And that’s a wrap!

This has been lovely day, full of books and reading friends. Another Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon has come to an end for me. For those of you who are still reading, and perhaps going the full 24 hours, I wish you happy reading! Tomorrow, I’ll reflect further and share my thoughts on my reading for this event.

Thank you, Andi and Heather, and everyone who worked so hard to make this such a wonderful event and experience, again! It was so amazing, during this time of social distancing, to get together with so many people who love reading.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon, April 2020, Afternoon Edition

Quiet Time in the Favorite Chair, by Gina Brown

What a delightful morning of reading and listening! And now, after a break for lunch (homemade split pea soup with homemade bread), and a short walk because the sun finally came out after our rainy morning, I’m back for an afternoon of reading and listening. This is turning out to be a wonderful, calm, comforting read-a-thon for me.

I hope you are all enjoying your reading for this springtime read-a-thon, too!

1:00 pm, Pacific Daylight Time:

This afternoon, I am in the middle of reading The White Robin, by Miss Read. I’ve been slowly reading and savoring over the last few years, the Fairacre series, reading the books in order and not wanting it to ever end. When I do finish with Fairacre, I will move on to her Thrush Green series, but I mourn the day I finish all of her books. Of course, I can always start again and re-read them all!


UPDATE: 4:15 pm, Pacific Daylight Time

This afternoon, I am still reading (and enjoying) The White Robin, by Miss Read. The morning rain finally stopped and the sun came out, so I just had to spend a little time outside. I took some flower photos from around the yard to share with you. And then it’s back to my book, to finish before dinnertime!


UPDATE: 7:00 pm, Pacific Daylight Time

I finished reading The White Robin, and loved it as much as Miss Read’s other books in the Fairacre series. Dinner and getting settled into the evening have taken up some of my reading time, but I’ve started my next book: No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, by Greta Thunberg. This is a library book that I checked out just before the quarantine started. I saved it to read for today’s read-a-thon!


UPDATE: 9:15 pm, Pacific Daylight Time

I am just finishing the book by Greta Thunberg, my last book for this April read-a-thon.  I’m so impressed with Greta! Friends, we need to listen to her! Right now!

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon, April 2020, morning edition


5:00 am, Pacific Daylight Time:

And so we begin another Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon! Good morning, everyone! I hope this is a delightful day for you, full of books and fun! I have quite a list of books to read, much more than time will allow, but I’m looking forward to reading and sharing thoughts with you throughout the day.

I will create a morning blog post and an afternoon post, adding to each as I finish a read. Then I’ll post an evening update to wrap up my day. So please check back here every so often for those updates. Also, I am too darn old to stay up all night reading, (it’s just not going to happen!) so I’ll say goodnight at a “reasonable” time for this elder and leave the all-night reading to friends with more stamina than I.

So without further ado, I begin with breakfast and a book to finish:  Molly’s Millions, by VIctoria Connelly.


UPDATE:  6:20 am, Pacific Daylight Time:

First book finished:  Molly’s Millions, by Victoria Connelly

It was mid-March when the self-isolation for this pandemic began. Almost immediately, a favorite author of mine, one that I follow on both Goodreads and Facebook, made one of her books a free download as a way of reaching out to her readers during this crisis. I was very touched by her kindness and downloaded the book with much appreciation. I started it earlier this week and just finished it for the read-a-thon.

That author is Victoria Connelly. I’ve read quite a few of her books and enjoyed each one. The book she gave us to read during our self-isolation was called Molly’s Millions, and it was a fun and imaginative story, a perfect comfort read during a pandemic!

A summary from the publisher:

Hard-up florist Molly Bailey has just won a fortune in the National Lottery. And she wants to get rid of it – fast! Tom Mackenzie is on the verge of losing his job. He needs one hell of a story if he hopes to secure his future in journalism. And his luck may have just come in. With a strong belief that sharing her good fortune is the only way forward, Molly unwittingly becomes the most sought-after person in the country as she distributes her wealth to the masses. With only her terrier pup, Fizz, and her trusty Beetle for company, Molly embarks on the journey of her life. But with Tom hot on her heels, will she succeed before her family and the media catch up with her? And, with Tom leading the pack, would that really be such a bad thing?

Thank you so much, Victoria Connelly, for the gift of an enjoyable and cheerful read!


UPDATE: 7:20 am, Pacific Daylight Time:

Second book finished:  On the Horizon, by Lois Lowry

Lois Lowry is one of my all-time favorite authors! On the Horizon is her newest book, just recently published. It’s a sad and beautiful book about two tragedies of World War II: the  attack on Pearl Harbor and the bombing of Hiroshima. This is a book we all need to read, young and old, to understand the human toll of war!

from the publisher:

Lois Lowry looks back at history through a personal lens as she draws from her own memories as a child in Hawaii and Japan, as well as from historical research, in this stunning work in verse for young readers.

On the Horizon tells the story of people whose lives were lost or forever altered by the twin tragedies of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.  Based on the lives of soldiers at Pearl Harbor and civilians in Hiroshima, On the Horizon contemplates humanity and war through verse that sings with pain, truth, and the importance of bridging cultural divides. This masterful work emphasizes empathy and understanding in search of commonality and friendship, vital lessons for students as well as citizens of today’s world. Kenard Pak’s stunning illustrations depict real-life people, places, and events, making for an incredibly vivid return to our collective past.In turns haunting, heartbreaking, and uplifting, On the Horizon will remind readers of the horrors and heroism in our past, as well as offer hope for our future.

Click here to read an interview with Lois Lowry about this book.


UPDATE: 7:30 am, Pacific Daylight Time:

Something else I am reading today:


UPDATE: 9:00 am, Pacific Daylight Time:

Third book finished:  Escaping the Giant Wave, by Peg Kehret

My favorite of Peg Kehret’s books is her autobiographical story, Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio. She had polio as a child, and Small Steps is her story about that experience. She also writes terrific adventures for kids, and Escaping the Giant Wave is one of those! But it was more than just a thriller/adventure. It was also a very honest story about bullying. Definitely worth reading!

from the publisher:

The Worst Vacation Ever!

Thirteen-year-old Kyle thought spending a vacation on the Oregon coast with his family would be great. Kyle’s perfect vacation becomes a nightmare while he’s babysitting his sister, BeeBee. An earthquake hits the coast and starts a fire in their hotel. Can Kyle and BeeBee outwit and outrun nature’s fury to save themselves from tsunami terror?


UPDATE: 10:00 am, Pacific Daylight Time:

Fourth book finished:  Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, by Michael Pollen

Sixty-four excellent, common sense rules on how to be a healthy eater. Excellent advice here, and I would like to incorporate more of these ideas into my daily life. I wouldn’t have this constant struggle and worry about weight if I simply followed more of these rules!




UPDATE: 11:00 am, Pacific Daylight

Currently listening to:  The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, by J. R. R. Tolkien, narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi!


Read-a-thon Coming!

Once again, I’ve signed up for Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon, which takes place on Saturday, April 25th. When I was working and still had a young person at home, I didn’t think I could take that kind of time on a Saturday, so I didn’t participate in the Read-a-thon then. After I retired, I had no excuse, and so I started signing up for them, October and April, and I’ve loved each one I’ve participated in since then! They really kick-start my reading, and that’s definitely what I need right now.

The photo above is one that, if I remember correctly, Dewey used on her blog. Is that memory correct, friends, or do I just associate it with her somehow?

Anyway, I am really looking forward to Saturday! See you at the Read-a-thon!

Reading on the porch…

2019 October Read-a-thon: Wrap Up

…painting by Sally Rosenbaum

What a lovely day spent immersed in books about gardens, garderners, and planthunters! And this afternoon, I also spent time outside working in my own garden, planting bulbs, raking leaves, and preparing the garden for winter.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon is a very special event, and I’m so glad I was able to participate again this Fall! I’ve loved my themed reading for the last two read-a-thons so I’ll be tempted to do that same kind of thing for the Spring event.

Thank you to all of you who organized and made this event happen again! I’m sure Dewey would have been thrilled with the level of participation and with how wonderfully it is organized and managed. She left us too soon, but left a beautiful legacy.

Books Read:

One of my winter barrels…

2019 October Read-a-thon: Afternoon


This afternoon I have been reading Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, by Marta McDowell. It’s such a pleasure to read, well researched, completely entertaining, and full of wonderful artwork and photos. I’m not rushing through it, although I’m making good progress. This may be the last book I read for today’s Read-a-thon, but that’s okay. I’m thoroughly enjoying myself and my reading about gardens and gardening project!

The Vegetable Garden in summer at Hill Top, Cumbria, home of Beatrix Potter. A wooden beehive sits in the bee bole, exactly as it did in Beatrix’s time, and tools are arranged among the vegetables in homage to Mr McGregor.

2019 October Read-a-Thon: Argentinian Adventures

My Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon continues! It’s a beautiful day outside, and the colors of leaves and fall-blooming flowers are just gorgeous throughout the neighborhood. So after lunch, I put on my earphones and went for a walk while listening to one of my chosen books. But now I am back inside and just finished reading a short book about a planthunter in Argentina

Argentinian Adventures: A Planthunter in Argentina, by John Lonsdale, is a series of essays about three of his planthunting trips to Argentina.

…from the author:

Argentina is a fascinating and endlessly varied country. This book accounts of three visits, the first of which was a three-month tour of the north of the country, collecting plants for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. This first visit encouraged me to undertake two further visits while still employed by Kew Gardens. Because of these botanical connections, there is a wealth of references to the fabulous flora of the region. Flora can’t exist in isolation to fauna, and animal life is discussed whenever it is chanced upon. Several exciting episodes imposed themselves into what became increasingly eventful journeys.

I love reading about planthunters! It’s such an interesting combination of plant information, culture, and travel. I enjoy looking up the plants they find, names in Latin, of course. And I do enjoy the travel and cultural parts of these experiences. This was a fun one for me because I was familiar with northern Argentina and many of the places he talked about, although not the remote areas.  Here are some of the plants he mentioned in these essays.


Read-a-thon: The Writer in the Garden


The Writer in the Garden is a collection of essays and poems on gardening. Jane Garmey edited this amazing book, and the collection is wonderfully varied and interesting. There are so many different takes on gardens and gardening, from observations by Charles Kuralt to personal anecdotes by E.B. White, and seasonal descriptions of gardens by Carol Bishop Hipps and Jamaica Kincaid, and excerpts from classic garden books by Vita Sackville-West, Gertrude Jekyll, and Celia Thaxter.

One of my favorite quotes from this book was a description by E.B. White about his gardening wife, Katharine S. White, toward the end of her life. The excerpt was taken from his introduction to her wonderful gardening book, Onward and Upward in the Garden, and it is a poignant glimpse of her planning her Spring garden knowing that she would not be there to see the garden bloom in early spring.

“As the years went by and age overtook her, there was something comical yet touching in her bedraggled appearance on this awesome occasion—the small, hunched-over figure, her studied absorption in the implausible notion that there would be yet another spring, oblivious to the ending of her own days, which she knew perfectly well was near at hand, sitting there with her detailed chart under those dark skies in the dying October, calmly plotting the resurrection. —E. B. White”

…Mademoiselle Gachet in the Garden, by Vincent Van Gogh

2019 October Read-a-thon: Mid-Morning





So while I had my morning cup of coffee, I read Grace Lin‘s first picture book, The Ugly Vegetables. First of all, I love Grace Lin’s books! And this one was a sweet gardening book for young children, and it was a story out of her own experience. Her mother planted Chinese vegetables, while all the neighbors planted flowers in their gardens. The little girl didn’t understand why her mother would plant those ugly-looking vegetables. But at harvest time, when the neighbors were cutting their pretty flowers, a wonderful smell wafted throughout the neighborhood. It was the Chinese soup the little girl’s mother was cooking, using all those ugly vegetables!  All the neighbors came to see what was cooking, and all had a bowl of soup and wrote down the recipe from the little girl’s mother.

I followed up Grace Lin’s book with another gardening book for children. We Are The Gardeners, by Joanna Gaines and Kids, is about a family that becomes interested in plants, starting with a little fern that the dad brings home one day. One fern, and then other houseplants, and then the idea for starting an outdoor garden! The whole family plans the garden. The whole family does all the work to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, water it all. As always, there are a number of disasters in the process, but the family learns some very important life lessons from their experience:

Our journey as gardeners started with one small potted plant, but things did not go a planned. Turns out, trying something new isn’t always easy, but sometimes, it’s the hardest work that leads to the greatest reward.

Green Green: A Community Gardening Story, by Marie and Baldev Lamba, is a picture book about city living and the need for a little green space in a neighborhood. As the city grows larger and larger, the children of the neighborhood “inspire the community to join together and build a garden for everyone to share in the middle of the city.”  This story reminded me of Seedfolks, by Paul Fleischman, a book I loved and reviewed here.


Another book for young people that I read this morning is Wangari’s Trees of Peace, by Jeanette Winter. The story of Wangari Maathai’s efforts to plant trees in her deforested country of Kenya is a story of courage and leadership…and a testament to her belief that “the little grassroots people can change this world.” She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work, and has inspired so many people throughout the world.


I’m fascinated by the many stories of great and influential gardeners. Gertrude Jekyll, by Twigs Way, is a lovely short biography of one of England’s most influential gardeners. This was a fast read (although the print was very small for my older eyes), with beautiful illustrations and photographs. I enjoyed learning about GJ’s life and career, and am inspired to read more about her and books written by her! One small note of trivia from the book: her family was friends with Robert Louis Stevenson, and he honored them by naming the main character in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, using their family name!