Thursday, October 16, 2014

Survival prepper

No, not the end-of-days-is-coming-apocalypse-now-hoard-all-the-cans-of-beans-and-ammo kind of prepper. Survival of the autumn Read-a-thon.

To read some of the posts about participants' current and past preparations for a twenty-four hour marathon of reading, you would not be faulted for thinking they were, indeed, the other kind of prepper. Lists of books, stockpiling of snacks, pre-read-a-thon house cleaning, clearing of schedules, announcements to family, friends and work not to interrupt and all sorts of other things are on the agenda for quite a few participants.

Me? Eh.

Last spring, my first time, I settled in with a quintet of books - the Fire and Ice series from George R.R. Martin on which the series Game of Thrones is based. Five books, even though I was already almost through the first one, would surely last me the day in spite of my lightening fast reading pace for fiction. I spent most of the day in various coffee shops, because a) didn't have to look at the not-clean house and feel guilty, and b) people brought me food and drink without me having to do anything except hand over my debit card.

This time I'm doing things a bit differently (no, the house will still not be clean for this event).

1. Reading material - I've been saving up the kindle editions of Real Simple and Cottage Journal Seasons for this event. They are both holiday editions, feasts for the eyes as well as fairly decent reading material. I've one other holiday magazine, a Better Homes and Gardens picked up at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago, that I will also use for light reading.

The Mitford Bedside Companion, in paper form, is in the stack. Jan Karon's series of novels about a country town Episcopal priest are sweet, light reading full of memorable characters. This book excerpts some of the novels, but also includes new essays and reflections from the author. Again, it's perfect for those times my focus wanders and my brain needs a break.

Embracing Obscurity is my current non-fiction read. It's highly doubtful I'll be done with it before Saturday; it will be first on the nonfiction stack.

Holley Gerth's What Your Heart Needs for the Hard Days is the devotional I'm currently using. This will most likely be my starting point for the day.

But what to use for a sustained fiction read? Someone posted a link to NPR's list of fifty of the books on the list for the 2014 National Book Award. Much of the list is politically correct twaddle, but one caught my eye.

According to Amazon, "An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity."

Actors, the apocalypse (caused by a raging flu decimating 98% of the world's population in days), a character with a line from Star Trek tattooed on her arm ("Because survival is insufficient") - what can go wrong?

Well, a whole lot. We'll see - this is currently on my Amazon wish list, and I've yet to decide whether or not to buy it.

There's an unread Elmo Jenkins trilogy (picked up for free some time past) on the kindle that may provide some sustained reading time. We'll see - so many choices available in the backlog on my kindle, plus so much temptation available at the click of the "buy now" at Amazon.

2. Food and snacks - I'll most likely begin the day at Panera, as I love breakfast but hate to cook it (really, hot pans and grease before I've had my coffee?). Move to Starbucks midmorning or earlier, for a second dose of coffee. Back home for lunch, which, if I get myself moving after work today, should be leftover salisbury steak and either maple/brown sugar acorn squash or potato-leek gratin. Lots of water in the afternoon, along with some popcorn, maybe, upstairs at my desk. Again, if I get myself together the night before, I'll have had a soup simmering in the crock pot to have for dinner along with some rolls purchased whilst I was at Panera that morning. Evening reading in front of the fire with a carafe of hot chocolate and home made apple crisp.

3. Naps and other responsibilities - Not that naps are a responsibility...though one may happen. I find that I can only spend so long sitting and reading before I really, really need to move for a while. Audio books are not my thing (I can't sustain focus on them - my mind wanders and I'm constantly rewinding to hear what I missed), so listening while walking isn't much of an option. But it only takes ten minutes to vacuum the living room, and less to empty the dishwasher. Once I'm home after lunch, I expect to be doing some of that to keep the blood flowing.

It still strikes me as funny that we are making "preparations" to read all day. While I admit the time frame is longer than is usual for some, it shouldn't be this big of a deal. If you are a true reader, you squeeze it in any time, any place you can. Standing in line. Waiting for  dentist appointment. On the bus. At lunch at work. While you are waiting for the pasta water to boil.

In the days before electronic readers, my one undying requirement in a new purse was that it had a handy, exterior pocket big enough for a paperback book. I had one on me at all times.

So, less than 48 hours to go until the start. I certainly won't read for 24 hours - I like my sleep - but I'd like to beat my spring total of about 14 hours.


Unknown said...

We're terribly glad to have you even if the extreme prep is a bit...extreme. I think for many it's a great excuse to clear the calendar and prioritize reading...something they may feel guilty about in the face of family, work, and other responsibilities. I know I have a 4yo and work three jobs, so this is a treat above all others. Enjoy your day! Hopping from Panera to Starbucks and beyond sounds HEAVENLY!

Andi, Readathon Host, doing a bit of pre-event cheerleading :)

melissa said...

Ha! I've got Station Eleven on hold as an ebook at the library. Hadn't seen that you have it listed here. Small world, eh?