Yesterday was the start of a 24 Readathon, created by Dewey. Details can be found here.
I, unfortunately, wasn’t at home for the start time but that didn’t stop me joining in.
I began at 1 pm with the audiobook of A Study in Pink, a Sherlock novel by Arthur Conan Doyle and read by Stephen Fry. I’m sure most of you will be familiar with this famous detective from London and his side-partner John Watson. A Study in Pink is our introduction to these characters and one of the most famous tales. I won’t get into the plot here but if you would like to know more you can click here.
I’ve read this story a few times in the past but listening to Stephen Fry read it brought a whole new element of excitement. I’m sure this was due to his own enthusiasm of Sherlock Holmes – Fry was once the youngest member of the Sherlock Society in London. I listened to this on and off throughout the 24 hours – basically, every time I began to get restless I would go do something else and listen to a few more chapters. I got through the whole novel within the 24 hours, but luckily for all of us, Fry has recorded every Sherlock Holmes tale by Conan Doyle so I am looking forward to listening to more.
I picked up a total of nine other books throughout the 24 hours and completed three of them. Lets begin with the completed books:
Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
I won’t talk about this book too much as I am going to be doing a full review on here soon.
This is a re-telling of The Tempest by Shakespeare. It opens with a production of The Tempest that is suddenly brought to a halt as the lights disappear and voices shout out ‘Lockdown!’ We are then transported back several years to meet a director named Felix, who is famous for his extravagant and unorthodox Shakespeare productions. In the first chapter we find out that he loses his job and is then lost for what to do next. He eventually ends up teaching Shakespeare to inmates at a prison. Atwood has done an incredible job with this book. It’s fast paced, contains an unreliable narrator and is full of symbolism and references to the original play; I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to read it!
Paper Wings by April Green
This is a collection of poetry, haikus, and art. It is deeply touching, simplistic, and profound. This will also have a follow-up review soon as I have so much to say about it. It’s incredibly beautiful and I did have to put it down a lot to compose myself a little.[Goodreads Link]
Loss by Victoria Hislop
This is a collection of short stories written by women over a century. It features well-known classic authors such as Shirley Jackson, to contemporary authors such as Emma Donoghue. All the stories are on the theme of ‘Loss’ – whether that be material objects, a loved one, a life they once lived, or even their own life. It’s a good collection and certainly worth reading. As is often the case with wide collections such as this, some stories were wonderful and some not so great. Hislop has also put together two other similar collections entitled ‘love’ and ‘life’, to bring together a total of 100 women’s voices.
Now onto the books I didn’t complete.
Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops by Jen Campbell
I have read all of this books previously, however, last night it was nice to dip in and out of. I found, particularly, reading a couple of pages after April Greens poetry was humorous enough that I recovered from my grief but light enough that it didn’t stop me reflecting on the importing of the poetry.
The title of this book kind of says it all. Jen Campbell is a writer and YouTuber, as well as many other bookish related things. She is also an ex-bookseller (though my bank account would believe she was still a bookseller; it feels the effects of her recommendation videos) and this book contains a whole host of hilarious and idiotic customers have said in bookshops.
Doctor Who: Time Lord Fairy Tale
Again, a fairly self-explanatory title. This book is a must-have for any Dr Who fans. It is a series of fairy tale re-tellings with a Time Lord twist, with titles such as ‘The Three Little Sontarans’ and ‘Snow White and the Seven Keys to Doomsday.’ I love having this book in my collection.
The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura
This book is a no-brainer for me. It includes two of my great loves in life; Tea and Japanese culture. I got four chapters read in total of this book from the little black penguin classics editions. It discusses the relationship between tea and the Japanese culture of Zen; the way in which the simple act of embracing the tea ceremony has helped shaped their views on meditation, art, etc. I am looking forward to reading the rest of this book.
The Applause of Heaven by Max Lucado
This is another reread for me. I read it several years ago and this morning decided to return to it, using chapter one to prompt my morning devos. Max Lucado’s main goal in this book is to help us realise that life is probably going to be shit at times, that we are likely to suffer in this world, by despite all of that there is an underlying sense of joy and hope for Christians who are actively seeking to bring His kingdom into this world.
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche
Unfortunately, I couldn’t take the whole 24 hours off from studying. However, in this instance, I am incredibly excited to study. For those of you who don’t know I am doing a double degree in Philosophy and Religion. Buddhism fascinates me and I find it hard to find any criticisms of this religion – except of course the absence of Jesus. This book is aimed at a Western audience; through anecdotes and clear instruction, Sogyal Rinpoche sets out the basic principles of Buddhism. He includes teaching from the Buddha and other significant religious leaders to bring a sense of understanding and depth to what he has written. He is incredibly humble and respectful. For anyone wanting to understand Buddhism I highly recommend this book.
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I won’t talk too much about this book as I have a feeling I will be doing a full review once I have finished the book.
It follows three main characters, whose lives all interconnect with each other during 1960s Nigeria. Ugwu is a young houseboy from a poor, rural background. We also follow his master’s partner Olanna, a rich Nigerian. And finally Richard, who is partner to Olanna’s sister. It’s a complex storyline but more than that, it is an important piece of literature commenting on the civil war in Nigeria at that time. I felt I had a decent understanding of African history but I am now realising I am completely ignorant so I find myself stopping often to think about what’s going on and sometimes looking up certain aspects of the civil war to try and understand more. It will probably take me a while to finish this book as I really don’t want to rush through it.
The book is incredibly well-written, beautiful use of language, complex character, and riveting suspense. I can’t wait to carry on with this book.
This was all of the books I read during Dewey’s 24-hour readathon. I stayed up the whole time and managed to read for most of it. I loved the experience! Next one is in October so be sure to join in if you can!
Let me know if you have read any of these books and what you thought of them. I shall be back with my April wrap-up, which is coming in two parts, over the next few days.