Category Archives: Read-a-thon

The Seventh Seal

This book, the screenplay for The Seventh Seal, by Ingmar Bergman, has been sitting on my bookshelf for over 45 years! It’s traveled with us through many moves, and has always held a secure place on our shelves even though we’ve culled our collection of books many times.

I reread it the other day for Dewey’s 24-hour Read-a-thon, and I was once again blown away by the excellence of the writing, the depth of the ideas, and by Ingmar Bergman’s understanding of the human condition. I’m talking about the screenplay…the film itself is absolutely incredible because of the visual story-telling power of Bergman!

The story is as simple and as complex as life. It takes place during the Middle Ages, specifically during the time of the Crusades and the plague (the Black Death). A weary knight is returning home from the Crusades, and he meets Death outside a village. In an attempt to delay his inevitable death, he challenges Death to a chess game. If he wins, Death must tell him his secrets and let him go. If he loses…Death is right there to take him.

Everything else that happens in this story is related to what humans do and the questions they seek answers to in the face of inevitable death. There is humor, kindness, and love. There is fear, cruelty, and selfishness. There is faith and hope and despair. And there are no answers and no escaping death, but there is also a very human need to do something meaningful with one’s life. It is a fascinating and ultimately hopeful story. A story told by a genius!



This was one of my “alternate” choices for my Classics Club 50-books-in-5-years list.


October Readathon Wrap-Up

Dewey’s 24-hour Read-a-thon for this Fall is over and I am already looking forward to the next time–April 6, 2019! There were so many years when I wasn’t able to participate, so it is especially sweet for me to be able to give myself a day to do nothing but read. It’s a fun event, so nice to meet up with other readers online and hang out together sharing our mutual love of books. THANK YOU SO MUCH to all the organizers and everyone who helped to make this a very special event!

My approach for this read-a-thon was to simply enjoy whatever I read. I didn’t want to count pages or go for a specific goal of how many books to get through. I just wanted to savor the freedom of having a whole day set aside for reading. I started with some quick reads–two lovely children’s books–then listened to the audiobook versions of two short stories by authors I really like. I read a graphic novel and the screenplay to an old classic movie. And I finished a book that I had started earlier in the week. I almost finished another book that I really wanted to read for this event but I got too tired to keep my eyes open any longer. That’s okay. I’m finishing it up today!

What a great day!

October Readathon Morning

This morning begins the Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon! I’m up early, have my big mug of morning tea, my pile of books and my Kindle all charged up. Ready to go! So I will start with the “Getting to Know You Survey” while I’m drinking my tea, and then it’s on to a day full of reading!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I’m reading from Forest Grove, Oregon, a college town about 27 miles west of Portland. Lovely town surrounded by agricultural fields and wineries. Lots of beauty to see on my daily walks!

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I’m excited to read any and all of them!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
I’m most looking forward to the coffee I will treat myself to today. We have a new coffee shop in town, Black Rock Coffee Bar, and I’m going to head over there a little later and do some of my reading there while having a great cup of coffee.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Avid reader, grandma of one bright and articulate eleven year old boy, former elementary school teacher, walker, knitter, gardener. Enjoying my retirement!

5) 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?
Read more books than last time!


Read-a-thon Afternoon

The afternoon of this read-a-thon has been very enjoyable. I took a reading break, late morning, and attended a town hall meeting with one of our Oregon senators, Ron Wyden. This was actually his 888th town hall meeting since he was first elected, and I think that’s a wonderful achievement for any politician! He is a senator that really listens to his constituents!

After the meeting, it was back to my reading, and I spent the afternoon immersed in Alice Hoffman’s elegant book, Green Angel. Alice Hoffman’s prose is absolutely beautiful, and this story of grief and renewal was a very moving one. The book begins here:

I once believed that life was a gift. I thought whatever I wanted I would someday possess. Is that greed, or only youth? Is it hope or stupidity? As far as I was concerned the future was a book I could write to suit myself, chapter after chapter of good fortune. All was right with the world, and my place in it was assured, or so I thought then. I had no idea that all stories unfold like white flowers, petal by petal, each in its own time and season, dependent on circumstance and fate. The future is something no one can foretell.

A shy and introverted young girl, called “Green” (because she is gifted at gardening), loses her family when a terrible disaster destroys the city across the river from their home. Her family had gone to sell produce in the city, leaving her reluctantly behind. So many of the people in the community were killed, and the environment all around was damaged, as well, so Green’s grief was for everyone and everything that she knew before. The slow healing from such a devastating loss is poignantly described in this story.

This is actually my second time reading this book. The first time was quite a few years ago after I had suffered a devastating loss of my own. This was the first book I was able to read after spending most of a year unable to complete any book. It was, for me, a very healing book, and helped me get back to myself and to my reading. So I was curious to read it again, at a much happier time, and see how I felt about it. The beauty of it brought tears to my eyes.

So it has been an interesting afternoon, and a very enjoyable one. I’m continuing with my reading this evening, although I don’t plan to stay up too late… We’ll see! I’m loving this read-a-thon!

Read-a-thon Morning

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon started for me (in my time zone) at 5:00 a.m. That’s not early for me as I’m almost always up by that time anyway…I’m a morning bird! I started out with my usual tall cup of tea and an ebook downloaded from the library. The ebook is from a series of books that I share with my grandson. I wanted to start our the read-a-thon by reading about people whom I admire.  Who Was Ernest Shackleton is a nicely written account of Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated voyage to the South Pole on his ship, Endurance, and his brilliant leadership that made survival possible for all his men.

My second book of the morning was Chasing Light: Michelle Obama Through the Lens of a White House Photographer, by Amanda Lucidon. The photographs were beautiful! And reading about a beautiful person with great integrity and courage was a lovely way to start my day!

Read-a-thon Eve

Tomorrow morning, at 5:00 a.m. (in my time zone), Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon begins.  This will be my second time doing this fun read-a-thon, and I’m really excited to start! I’ve gathered up books from my shelves and from the library, and I downloaded way too many ebooks from the library web site. But I’m all set, ready to go!

My book choices are varied. I included a number of children’s books, and will revisit some of the books I used to read each year while teaching (I miss them!). I’m been listening to the audiobooks of the Harry Potter series, and I’m on the last book, so I will definitely spend some of the day listening, although I may not finish it tomorrow. I’ve included some books that are on my TBR list, and others that just called out to me from the library shelves.

I also decided that I will take a break every hour and walk on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes. When I’m immersed in a good book sometimes I sit for hours on end, so the walking breaks feel really good. As far as food and treats go, I’m keeping it simple and basically just eating what I normally do during the day. I usually snack on fruit or veggies, or have some crackers with hummus, so that’s what I’m planning.

I’ll check in on Twitter and on Instagram, as well as post an occasional update here during the day. I also want to take some time and check in on other readers! I look forward to reading alongside you all!

Happy reading, everyone!