Category Archives: Read-a-thon

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!


October Read-a-thon Survey 2019

My Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon survey:

What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I am reading from my home in Forest Grove, Oregon (a college town 30 miles west of Portland.)

Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

The book I’m looking most forward to reading today is Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, by Marta McDowell.

Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I’m committed to staying on my Weight Watchers program today so I’ve planned healthy snacks…carrots and snap peas for crunch, apples, bananas, and oranges for sweetness, and a packet of chips for a salty snack.  A good breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And then, of course, coffee for keeping me awake and going throughout the day! Wish me luck!

Tell us a little something about yourself!

Reading is my delight! I’ve always been a reader in a family of readers. I also love to garden, thus my reading theme for today. I’m a mom to two wonderful grown-ups, and a grandma to one handsome, tall, intelligent boy. I’m a retired school teacher enjoying each and every day of my retirement. I am a dedicated volunteer with Moms Demand Action, and my focus is on helping to educate my community about the new Red Flag Law here in Oregon. And I’m a walker (my knees do not like to have me running!) with long legs and a fast pace, who enjoys participating in 5k races.

If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I did participate in the last read-a-thon, and this time I am going to get up and move around more! I have an audiobook that I will listen to throughout the day on my short walks. I think I’ll be able to last longer, read longer, if I exercise a little more throughout the day!

Thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you enjoy your reading today as much as I’m enjoying mine!


October 2019 Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon begins!

AND WE’RE OFF! My time for starting Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon today was 5:00a.m.  Luckily, I’m a morning person and am often up at that time anyway. I fixed my coffee and I’m ready to start reading…and reading…and reading! I love spending my Saturday with a total immersion into books. My reading today will be books with GARDEN at the heart!

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon 2019

Tomorrow is the 2019 Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon and I’m ready and excited to start reading my pile of books!  When I participated in last April’s read-a-thon, I put together a list of books written for young people about art and artists. I enjoyed that themed reading so much I decided to put together a list of themed books for this read-a-thon, too. So this time, I will be reading books about GARDENS: gardening, gardens, gardeners, flowers, trees, plants of all kinds…books for all ages.  I think I will really enjoy my reading of books with GARDEN AT THE HEART!

I also plan to publish a couple of posts throughout the day with mini-reviews and thoughts on the books I finish.

Thank you to everyone involved in planning and running this fun reading activity! Have fun, everyone!


Roses, by Peder Severin Kroyer


Starting to Plan

I looked at the calendar this morning and realized April is coming quickly! And early in April, April 6th to be exact, is Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon! Time to start planning!

Last year, I bought myself this little notebook just for the Readathons. This will be the third set of lists put together for this fun activity. I start with lists of ideas and wish lists, then I move on to actual plans for the day. It’s fun to look back at my lists from the last two readathons and see what I was thinking and doing at those times…and what I actually accomplished, too.

I’m so looking forward to April 6th!