I have a bad habit of bringing twice as many books with me as I’ll ever be able to read. Weekend trip to Vermont, where I’m driving two hours everyday and playing one or two gigs, so I don’t have to read anyway – five books. Backpacking through China and Mongolia – a constant rotation of four books (although I did read everything I brought and picked up along the way and left it where I finished it).
Tonight I need to take a break from reading as we’re mixing the last song coming out on my new (and fourth) record. Unfortunately, I don’t have samples from this record to share yet, but I did release a side-project with the cello player I work a couple of months ago.
So, I brought three books with me to the studio. I’ve just started peeking at Green Oranges on Lion Mountain, about a doctor’s year in Sierra Leone. Keeps me traveling to the different parts of the world.
1. What are you reading right now? Green Oranges on Lion Mountain
2. How many books have you read so far? 2
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Probably the one I’m reading now. That was high on the list of things I wanted to get read.
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? I did have to give away an overnight shift for work. I’m probably still going to go in for a few hours though. Late at night I can usually get reading done between calls, and it will help me to not just go to bed.
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Yeah, I have had to do some packing today, and now I’m in the studio, but I knew I was just going to have to read in between doing stuff.
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? I wish I had more time to check out and comment on other folks’s blogs.
9. Are you getting tired yet? Nope, but I was one of the lucky ones to have an 8am start time, so it’s just a normal day so far.
Although I kept out a selection of books to chose from for the read-a-thon, this is what my shelf actually looks like right now:
This has turned out to be a bad time to try to move in Portland, ME. We had two months notice that our landlady is selling the house, and didn’t find a place to stay until this week (one week before move out). And that place won’t be available until June 1st. Luckily, a friend and coworker had a small apartment that he owns open up. We’ll be cramped for the month of May, but the house we’re moving to is a dream.
Check out other folks shelves at the “Shelfie” post: http://www.thebookmonsters.com/deweys-readathon-shelfie/
I finished Karma Cola, a witty and odd collection of characters that sarcastically personify the clash of east and west in India.
Pages read total: 361
Food must be found; books must be read. I headed out to Haggarty’s a Brit-Indie take-away joint that has notoriously long wait times for a place that is take-out only. I managed to read 33 pages while waiting for my chicken jalfrezi.
I’m a big fan of Gita Mehta, and her wry sense of humor regarding Indian culture and the influx of western people living there.
“The were the Port Out gentry, who struggled for one hundred years to impress upon us that the most noble muscle in the human body is the sphincter, which must be kept tightly clenched at all times. By the time they returned Starboard Home, a whole sleepy continent had been trussed up in the great Victorian Straightjacket.”
This book focuses on the giant industry that has arisen around ‘Gurus’ and people traveling to India to find enlightenment of some kind. I haven’t traveled to India, but I did live outside of Kathmandu, Nepal for a while, and many of the foreign folks I met there said they would come to Nepal to get away from the hustle and crush of India.
Pages read: 203
Page in current book: 35
I fell asleep quite a few time while reading this, and also had to pack up a few things as I have a giant move impending next weekend.
Pages read: 298
Colin Thubron is a classic choice for the first book in a travel inspired read-a-thon. This one is short, and the only fiction I’ve ever seen by him. It makes sense though, all those characters he’s met and observed in his life that can’t be written about in the journalistic non-fiction format in the way they can be characterized in fiction. To The Last City is the tale of a small group of people journeying to less-visited Incan ruins. A Belgian and his French wife who is half his age, an older British couple whose resentment of each other fills the air, a mis-guided and confused aspiring priest, and the doubtful guide whose job it is to keep all these folks safe and happy.
This is a really good book, but here is quote that really stuck out so far:
” The Englishman lay in his sleeping bag listening to the quick, regular breathing of his wife.
In the faint light, he could see she had placed her boots between them, with her anorak and a water bottle. “
And finally getting around, four hours late, to the introductory questions:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Portland, ME, USA
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Red Dust, I think. Maybe Grass Roof, Tin Roof.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I’m not nearly that prepared.
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! A lapsed traveler, due mostly to my drive to be a musician which keeps me tied to where I’m playing, recording, and also perpetually broke.
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? I was so excited to realize I didn’t have a gig booked on a Saturday night so that I could participate! Although I do have to go to the studio, and also to work at some point during the 24 hours.
Pages read: 66
Page in current book: 67
Hour six update: Book finished, 168 pages read. Heading out to get some Indian food….
I’m getting a usual late start here. I’m drinking milk and contemplating the orange that has been banging around my purse in anticipation.
My plan for this read-a-thon was to tackle a small mountain of short travel books. This used to be a travel blog, and I haven’t been contributed to it much since I’ve been slow on the traveling. The traveling hasn’t really stopped. And Portland, ME is one of the most interesting places in the world to be based out of (and I don’t say that because I’m from here, I’m a very reluctant Portlander). I’m not really sure why I’m not writing more. So here’s the pile ‘o books. And I swear I’m getting started.
Dewey’s 24 hour read-a-thon: http://24hourreadathon.com/
Pages read: 0
Disappointment that wordpress has changed so drastically and for the worse since I last used it: high
Paradise is finished. What started as a mellow, dreamy account of a confused boy being taken from his family as repayment for debt, turned into an adventure as he grows and proves himself to be a savvy and lucky young man. As a sub-plot, the book also looks at the growth in popularity of organized religion as the merchants travel from village to village and have to navigate a new set of customs and beliefs at each one.
Information on the author, an expat himself, whose books explore ideas of displacement and desire.
A quote I found interesting, a reminder that perspective is everything. When I was doing archaeology work, rain was the bane of our existence. It ruined sites and brought everyone’s moral down. In this case, it has quite the opposite effect,
“A light rain sped them on, making the men break into song as their bodies cooled. Even the ones who were ailing from the wear and tear of the journey found their old strength returning.”
I am back in my pjs and back in bed with books. The gig was great, after a less than ideal start of a missing bass player and a strange partition that was blocking the crowd from seeing the stage, but all was remedied.
I had left Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club: A Memoir open on my bed, but I think I’m going to move on to Paradise, which I’m halfway through and really need to finish. Although the Lairs’ Club was considered the cutting edge of confessional autobiography where you get to lambaste your family and tell all your secrets, I think I’m reading it ten years too late. Now this kind of thing is common place, and it even seems to pale a little compared to The Glass Castle: A Memoir.
Paradise is a subtle story of a boy sold to his “uncle” Aziz when his dad can’t pay outstanding debts in colonial Africa. Short-listed for the Booker prize, it thankfully is not full of the expected violence, but is more of a coming of age story as Yusuf adapts to his new traveling merchant lifestyle and realization that he may never see his parents again.
Current book: dabbling, but will probably take a chunk out of Paradise.
Pages read since start of read-a-thon: 9 (but I’ve got coffee in hand and am about to remedy that.
Current page in Paradise: 93
I have to run out the door to play an hour long at a fall festival, and got woefully little reading done after responding to an e-mail for a request to play, reading through ten read-a-thoners blogs, and reheating Indian fair.
The e-mail I was a little conflicted about. People seem to think that musicians are hankering to play at every opportunity that calls. This isn’t true. I’m eager to work, as it were, but the hours of writing, practicing, rehearsing, not to mention the cost of equipment, gear, gas, and the like, mean that I expect to be compensated for my work. Regardless of the fact that the work in question is also art. “Exposure” is, largely, bullshit. It doesn’t pay my rent, or buy me groceries. To be asked by a successful national chain to play at their annual event for free, is a good exercise in asking for what I’m worth and potentially saying no and walking away.
Current Book: The Liar’s Club
Pages read since start of read-a-thon: 2 (go ahead laugh)
And yet another thing that is not actually reading: A Book Puzzle!
What do you think this title is?
I turned on the computer this morning to make my morning rounds, and discovered that I had completely missed the fact that one of my favorite geek-out activities starts today. Dewey’s Read-a-thon is a twenty-four hour catch up on reading, read new blogs, literary-word-fest.
My friend Susan in Korea, who writes a fantastic book blog: Naked Without Books, got me hooked in the first place.
Luckily for me, the only thing I have to do today is play a short gig at the Munjoy Hill Association Fall Festival, but first I’m going to read a little while eating some leftover Indian food from the new best Indian restaurant in Portland, Maine, Haggarty’s. I know, I know, doesn’t sound very Indian does it? It’s Brit-Indi owned by a couple of Scotsmen, and it’s great.
I actually have a purpose for this read-a-thon. I uploaded a bunch of books to paperbackwap and bookmooch, but haven’t had time to read them before (confession) marking them mailed. I know I’m terrible, but they are my books, and this is my method for getting through my monster To-Be-Read pile. So I need to quickly get through:
And for my obligations on Bookobsessed Yankee Book Swaps, I may dabble in:
And just because the opening chapter is really fun, it has pictures, and it’s by two local authors:
I have a wide range of relatively short things to choose from, and tons of leftover Indian and Thai food from the last two days musicians meetings.
For people who are used to seeing my posts on international and national travel, you are about to see a level of book geekdom that you may not have known existed in me. You can choose to follow along, or ignore and wait for more pictures of pretty places to pop up in the future. Although, the limbo my life has been in lately hasn’t been very inspiring for travel blogging. I’ve been in Maine much longer than I intended, and I’ve been in denial about how much I’m actually enjoying being home.
And on to the Read-a-Thon’s official questions:
1) I am reading from Portland, ME today. (My hometown, which I’ve inadvertently returned to after seven years of jaunting around the world.)
2. Three random facts: Well, I’ve already admitted that I post books to bookswapping sites before I’ve read them so that I’ll read them faster. I’m on a diabolical plan to be the best female honky-tonk guitar player. Cambodia and Chile are the two places I’ve never been to that are top of my wish list. Oooo, and one more, my mother recently informed me that I’m a sapiosexual.
3. Goals for the read-a-thon: see above.
4. Advice to new read-a-thoners: don’t feel guilty about sleep.
This week’s shows
Sat., 6/4, Common Grounds Coffeehouse, Lexington, KY, 9pm
Sun., 6/5, The Purple Fiddle, Thomas, WV, 1-3pm
Monday, 6/6, Club Cafe’s Open Stage, 7pm, Pittsburgh
Friday, 6/10, Caz Cafe Coffee, 7pm, Buffalo, NY
It’s been an interesting string of (bad?) luck this week. I’ve had a great time hanging out with geographers and one of my longest running friends Chris. Every time I come to Lexington, I usually end up at the UK geographers happy hour, where a group of very cool, extremely educated folks inspire me to think about grad school again – just not for geography. Human Geographers are some of the most creative, and serially unemployed thinkers out there. I am seriously looking at TEFL/TESOL masters programs, and found a great one today at American University in DC, which includes a stint in the peace corps as part of the degree program.
But back to the music. Berea is a cute little town about an hour south of Lexington. Actually, it’s not that far south, but Lexington’s traffic is so horrendously bad for such a tiny city, that it takes that long to get there from here. Even though the really nice man who owns Main St. Cafe had done a lot of advertisement – no one was at the show. He said it was the worst day the restaurant had had since the day after New Years. That worked out fine for me, I did make some tips from the few people that were there, including a four year old girl who came up to me and said, “you sing REAL good.” It was a good chance to get the jitters out of some new songs.
Tonight I’m at Common Grounds Coffeehouse in downtown Lexington – and just found out there is a huge outdoor festival happening down the street. This could go two ways – either no one will be in the coffeehouse because they’ll be outside boogieing to jam bands, or it will force a few folks in for beverages out of the crowds and the heat.
Tomorrow I get up at 5am to make it to WV for the afternoon show. My friend Chris is coming with me as far as Pittsburgh. We just picked up a copy of Mark Kurlansky Cod on audio for the drive at my favorite used book store in the world – The Friends of the Library in downtown Lex. It looks like tomorrow will be thunderstorms through-out NE WV, so that might keep folks away too. Sigh.
*All photos are Chris'; I forgot my camera this time, but that means for once, I’m actually in some of them.