Category Archives: Read-a-thon

Read-a-thon Wrap-Up, October 2021

Painting by Deborah DeWitj

9:00 p.m.  My Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon is over now. It’s been a long time since I pulled an “all-nighter.” (I get more excited about pulling an “all-dayer” these days, even though I do love naps!)  So although I’d love to stay up all night and read, I will leave the “night owl reading” to others and wish you a very happy reading night!

Thank you so much to all the organizers of the read-a-thon! I know it is a lot of work for many people, and I just want you all to know how much I appreciate you working to keep this fun tradition alive and thriving after so many years.

Here are the books I read and thoroughly enjoyed for this read-a-thon:

Read-a-thon Afternoon, October 2021

Owl illustration, by E.K. Belsher

6:00 p.m.:  I really enjoyed the books I read this afternoon for my OWL-themed Read-a-thon! And while looking for owl photos and art for my posts, I found the beautiful owl illustration above. It is by E.K. Belsher, an artist from Vancouver, BC.  Please visit her website here to see more of her extraordinary illustrations.

After a lunch break, I finished listening to the beautifully-written classic, I Heard the Owl Call my Name, by Margaret Craven. The location of the story was here in the Pacific Northwest, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, so I am familiar with and particularly liked the descriptions of the landscape of that area.  Also, because I have long been fascinated by the culture of the Native Peoples of that area, this story really resonated with me. It was a great choice for my “owl theme” for this read-a-thon, and I will be writing a full review of the book in the next few days because it is also one of the books on my Classics Club list to read 50 books in 5 years.

A short story I read this afternoon, also has “owl” in the title, but has nothing to do with owls.  An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, by Ambrose Bierce, is a powerful and moving story, set during the Civil War. Peyton Farquhar is a wealthy planter and slave holder who was helping the confederates during the Civil War. He was captured by Union soldiers and and is being prepared for execution by Hanging at Owl Creek Bridge. The story of how he was captured and of his attempted escape is told in a flashbacks. This story was originally published in 1890 and packs a powerful punch. I think it’s eerie enough to count it as one of my short stories read for the RIP-XVI challenge.  I vaguely remember seeing a film of this story long, long ago (was I even in high school yet?) and remember being haunted by it for a long time afterward.

The next book I read this afternoon was a fun book for middle grade readers written by Jean Craighead George.  It is called There’s an Owl in the Shower. I have read and loved many of JCG’s stories about nature and animals. In this book, Borden Watson was a young boy whose father was a logger who had lost his job due to the new government law, the Endangered Species Act, which included protections for the Spotted Owl.  The forest Borden’s father had been logging was home to the owl species.  Borden was very proud of his father, and so was very angry that a little bird could cause his father so much pain and stress.  A hero had been felled by a measly little bird.”  And then, while Borden was in the forest determined to shoot and kill Spotted Owls, he finds an owlet that had been blown out of the nest. He brings it home, not realizing it was a Spotted Owl, and his family take care of the cute little thing. This owlet, and all that the family learned about the lives of owls while helping it survive, changed their understanding of the complex issues surrounding endangered species. It’s an interesting book that helps young people understand both sides of the issue and learn about the fascinating lives of owls.

Spotted Owl

My next book has been sitting on my bookshelf for a couple of years. It’s a lovely looking book, and I was anxious to finally read it. The Secret Life of the Owl, by John Lewis-Stempel, is a little gem full of all kinds of information, poetry, tidbits of history…all about owls. He also talks about each of the different types of owls in Britain, so although it is short, it is packed with learning for anyone interested in owls. And according to Mr. Lewis-Stempel, we all are interested in owls!

A collection of books and information on owls would not be complete without some of the poetry about these amazing birds. One joyful poem is The Owl and The Pussycat, by Edward Lear. I have a book of this short poem with illustrations by Jan Brett, an illustrator I love, so of course I added it to my pleasurable day of reading about owls.


After dinner, I will spend a few more hours reading a book that my blogging friend, Nan, (Letters from a Hill Farm) recommended to me recently. It’s called The Owl Service, by Alan Garner, and I’m about of 1/3 of the way through it. I may not finish it tonight, but will count it as part of my OWL day.


My afternoon was packed with some wonderful reading. I’m off to dinner now, and will check back in with you all at the end of my day.

painting by Jesse Willcox Smith

Read-a-thon Morning, October 2021

Read-a-thon time

NOON:  What a lovely read-a-thon morning — rainy outside but with plenty of hot tea and enjoyable books indoors.

My first book read today was Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen. It is one of my all-time favorite books. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read it, and how many times I shared it with children, but it never gets old and it’s like visiting an old friend each time I reread it.  On a cold winter night, a young girl and her father go owling.    “It was late one winter night, long past my bedtime, when Pa and I went owling.”


After Owl Moon, I read some other children’s books from the library. Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell, and illustrated by  Patrick Benson, was delightful. Three owlets wake up in the night and find that their mother is gone. They waited, but she didn’t return. They waited some more, huddled together on a branch outside the nest. They were worried. Would she ever return? A very sweet owl story for the young ones!


Owl Sees Owl, by Laura Godwin, with beautiful illustrations by Rob Dunlavey, is a word book. The story is told visually and with single words, four at a time on a page. It’s a heartwarming story of a young owl’s exploration of his world outside the nest while his family is asleep. The four words on each page tell the story of his adventure. I would love to read this book (over and over again) to a very young grandchild sitting on my lap. Alas, my grandson is almost 15 years old, but he would have loved hearing it read to him back then!


Owls: Our Most Charming Birds, written and illustrated by artist, Matt Sewell, is a guidebook for older children (and adults) who really want to learn about owls found all over the world. The illustrations of each owl are wonderful and the information that accompanies each one is excellent and informative. I learned a lot reading this one. It’s a book I definitely would have had in my 6th grade class library!



Another old family favorite on my bookshelf is Owl at Home, by Arnold Lobel. My kids loved every one of Arnold Lobel’s books, and this one is well-worn and well-loved. From the publisher: “Owl lives by himself in a warm little house. But whether Owl is inviting Winter in on a snowy night or welcoming a new friend he meets while on a stroll, Owl always has room for visitors.


Otis the Owl, by Mary Holland, is a beautiful photography book about the life of a baby owl. The photographs are amazing, and the story about the young life of this owl and his sister is interesting. But this book is also a science book for the young naturalist. There’s a wealth of information about owls after the story ends. See an example below. What a wonderful book for learning/teaching about owls!


Wow! Owling: Enter the World of  the Mysterious Birds of the Night, by Mark Wilson, is an awesome book I found at the library. It was just jam packed with information about owls and comparing them to other birds. It’s a complete education for young and old, for anyone interested at all in owls!

A special book:  My friend, Marlo, shared a very special book with me on baby owls.  She created it for her grandchildren and very generously sent me the link to the photo book along with the following story about how she created it. “I’m going to add a little-known, amateur book to your available titles. Several years ago we stayed in a vacation home that had an owl nest in the yard. I spent most of the month sitting in the yard watching. Here is a link to the book I made for my grandchildren. … What a great experience it was!”  THANK YOU so much, Marlo, for adding your book to my owl reading today! I loved it!

The rest of my morning was spent doing Saturday chores and listening to the audiobook, I Heard the Owl Call my Name, by Margaret Craven. It is fiction, and not directly about owls themselves, but is a beautifully written classic about the native peoples and culture of the Pacific Northwest, of which owls play an important part.  I’m not quite finished with it yet, but after my lunch break / blogging time, I’ll finish this audiobook and continue with my afternoon read-a-thon reading!  

And outside, the rain continues!

The Read-a-thon Begins, October 2021

5:00 a.m.:  GOOD MORNING!  So begins another special day devoted to reading. Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon is an institution in the book blogging world. I remember Dewey and her blog, The Hidden Side of a Leaf, and am happy that her wonderful idea of how to unite readers and bloggers in an enjoyable event at least twice a year took hold and grew over time. What a wonderful legacy she left us!


Illustration by John Schoenherr, from Owl Moon

In my post yesterday, I explained why I chose the theme for my reading today: OWLS!  I’m looking forward to spending today in the company of such terrific birds. I will update my reading progress mid-day, and again in the evening, so check back then to see which books I’m reading today.
My big mug of tea is ready; I’m in my comfy reading chair; and my books are stacked on my table and waiting on my Kindle. Time to start my reading day!

Enjoy your day of reading everyone!

October Read-a-thon, 2021

It’s almost time again for the October Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon! When I was teaching 2nd grade, read-a-thon days were the best. The kids would gather piles of books from the class library. They’d find a cozy spot on the floor somewhere and settle in for a wonderful reading session. I always provided snacks for them because books and treats go well together. And they would spend long periods of time reading and going through their piles of books. So that’s some of the excitement I feel when Dewey’s Read-a-thon comes around again…it’s my turn to gather the books and treats, and read, read, read!

Some of my former 2nd graders during a spring read-a-thon.

For the last few years, I’ve enjoyed doing a theme for my read-a-thon reading. Looking at my bookshelves for some inspiration, I realized I have quite a few books on owls, and that seemed the perfect theme for my reading this time. A pair of Great Horned Owls have nested nearby this year, and we hear them often in the middle of the night or early morning. They have been delightful nighttime companions, even leaving us some owl pellets under our cedar tree, so in honor of our bird friends, I’m going to read or reread my books on OWLS. I have also gathered some other books to read that simply have “owl” in the title.

Tomorrow morning at 5:00 a.m. Pacific coast time, I will begin my reading. I don’t last 24 hours these days, but I will read as long as my old eyes will let me, and I will post some updates on this blog a couple of times during the day.

Happy reading tomorrow, read-a-thoners!


My One-Book Read-a-thon

“Fear was the scariest of emotions and it nestled there, growing ever stronger and sprouting shoots, a seed in the fertile soil of doubt.”

Usually, my participation in Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon is theme-based and full of books. This time, however, I had my first one-book read-a-thon. I simply spent the day reading Jacqueline Winspear’s latest book in her Maisie Dobbs series, The Consequences of Fear. It was a great way to spend my day, and after a very busy week, I enjoyed my rainy day read-at-hon reading!

From the publisher:

October 1941. While on a delivery, young Freddie Hackett, a message runner for a government office, witnesses an argument that ends in murder. Crouching in the doorway of a bombed-out house, Freddie waits until the coast is clear. But when he arrives at the delivery address, he’s shocked to come face to face with the killer.

Dismissed by the police when he attempts to report the crime, Freddie goes in search of a woman he once met when delivering a message: Maisie Dobbs. While Maisie believes the boy and wants to help, she must maintain extreme caution: she’s working secretly for the Special Operations Executive, assessing candidates for crucial work with the French resistance. Her two worlds collide when she spots the killer in a place she least expects. She soon realizes she’s been pulled into the orbit of a man who has his own reasons to kill—reasons that go back to the last war.

One of the things I enjoy so much about Jacqueline Winspear’s series is that each book is equally compelling and fun to read. I might be able to pick out a favorite, but mostly the series is just really consistent and even. This latest volume didn’t disappoint and kept me reading on and on.

Another thing I enjoy about this series is the growth and changes in the main characters over time. The characters have become my friends, and I care about them. I also love Maisie’s insights and intuitions. She’s a trained professional psychologist, and combined with her empathy and life experience, she’s a compassionate investigator, and her insatiable curiosity and questioning mind leads her to solve the most baffling cases.

“Truth walks towards us on the paths of our questions.” [Dr. Maurice Blanche]”
~ quote from Maisie Dobbs, the first book in the series

Although I stayed up late last night to finish the book, today I am feeling a satisfied tired — the aftermath of a successful readathon!  And I am already looking forward to another Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon in the Fall.

Read-a-thon: April 2021

It’s been such a busy week here so I’m really happy that today is Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon. It is wonderful to be spending some time reading again!

The week was happy-busy. Our daughter, now vaccinated, came to visit for the first time since last year. She is an avid gardener, so while she was here, we visited three garden centers for inspiration and specific plants, dug a new flower bed in front of the bicycle/gardening shed my husband has built, and ordered a load of garden blend soil. She was a wonderful help with these Spring gardening projects, and since the sun shone all week, we were able to get those projects mostly finished. Byron and I were sad when she left for home, but look forward to a return visit from her next month.

Today, after such a sunshiny week, it is raining. Perfect read-a-thon weather! My readathon plans are minimal this time. Nothing fancy…no special snacks or anything. Just reading and more reading. I have a number of books I’d like to finish today. I’m in the middle of Jacqueline Winspear‘s latest book, The Consequences of Fear. I’ve borrowed a few books from the library, and my Kindle is loaded, so I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.

I’ll keep a list on this post of the books I finish, so check back later to see what I’m up to.

Read-a-thon Time, Oct. 2020

It’s time again for Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon. This annual Fall challenge is something I’ve enjoyed for many years. However, this year has been a strange one, and October has been a challenging one for us, so I’m not going to be able to spend the kind of time I usually give to this day of reading. But I am reading and listening as much as I can, and am enjoying the time I can devote to reading today.

In line with my focus on more cultural diversity in my reading choices, I checked out from the library a number of books about different winter holidays. I’ll list them here, as I finish reading them today.

From the publisher: When young David and Mama and Papa are celebrating Hanukkah one frosty winter evening in Brooklyn, Papa sees a parakeet sitting on the window ledge. He lets the parakeet in and everyone is delighted to find that it speaks Yiddish. They name it Dreidel and it becomes part of their family. 

From the publisher: During Diwali, Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrate the legends and stories that describe the triumph of good over evil and justice over oppression. Critically acclaimed author Rina Singh explores her Indian roots as she tells the Diwali stories, which remind us that eventually light will prevail over darkness.

From the publisher:  It is the first night of Hanukkah. Hershel of Ostropol is walking down the road. Tired and hungry, he is looking forward to reaching the next village. He is sure that bright candles, merry songs, and platters of potato latkes will be waiting for him. But when he reaches the village, Hershel discovers that the villagers aren’t celebrating Hanukkah. They’re too scared of the goblins that haunt the old synagogue at the top of the hill. Hershel wants to help the village people. “If I can’t outwit a few goblins,” Hershel tells the rabbit, “then my name isn’t Hershel of Ostropol.”

From the publisher:  From its beginnings as a farming celebration marking the end of winter to its current role as a global party featuring good food, lots of gifts and public parades, Chinese New Year is a snapshot of Chinese culture.

From the publisher: In an African village live seven brothers who make life miserable with their constant fighting. When their father dies, he leaves an unusual will: by sundown, the brothers must make gold out of seven spools of thread or they will be turned out as beggars.

From the publisher: Celebrate the holiday of Chanukah with eight original short stories by Jewish storyteller Scott Hilton Davis. Enjoy a fun-filled journey to Oykvetchnik, the tiny shtetl town in Eastern Europe where people complain a lot (except during Chanukah when they seem to be a little more charitable).

Evening Update:  I had a very nice time reading today, although it wasn’t a lot of time. I enjoyed each of my holiday choices. The book by Isaac Bashevis Singer was a treasure. I listened to the audiobook of Chanukah Tales from Oykvetchnik, and loved it. What a wonderful storyteller! All of them are books I would recommend for sharing with family during the holidays.

So another Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon comes to an end for me (no, I don’t stay up all night reading anymore).  I look forward to the next one, in April.

Happy reading, my friends! And happy holidays coming up soon!


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…