Hi there, world! Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon has officially started here in Houston. I’ll be updating this post all day as I finish books. I’ll also be updating my Twitter and Instagram, so feel free to follow me there and cheer me on!
7:30-Okay, I did oversleep but I’m HERE NOW LET’S DO THIS.
7:35-I got dressed up for this. Because what’s the point of a readathon without bookswag?
7:45-I’m listening to Prince while reading. It’s a little distracting, but so damn good.
9:00-Book one finished!
As health officials scramble to manage the Zika virus, is a more catastrophic disease on the horizon? Author Sonia Shah traces the histories of some of history’s worst disease eruptions, exploring what those diseases did and how they were able to thrive. Weaving history, scientific analysis, and even personal anecdote (such as Shah’s visit to the cholera-ridden Haiti) she shows how human factors-like overcrowding and lack of infrastructure-aids the spread of disease. I love reading books about diseases (not in a creepy way, I swear) but something was missing in this book. The subject was interesting, but Pandemic still felt lacking. It felt disjointed and unorganized. I was never truly drawn into the book. Still, it’s an interesting book about a fascinating subject matter.
Caffeine: Surprisingly none
10:00– I celebrated the end of my first book with a coffee-run to Dunkin Donuts (you can take the girl out of Boston…). Then my life took a sudden sharp turn as I got dumped WHO DUMPS SOMEONE RIGHT BEFORE GAME OF THRONES PREMIERES??? So…coffee. Yay?
1:00- Book 2 finished!
It was a fashion battle of the bands. In November 1973, American and French designers went head to head in an ostentatious and outrageous fashion show in Paris.
The competition, set up by American fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert with the assistance of French aristocrat Marie-Helene de Rothschild, was held in the Theatre Gabriel in the Chateau de Versailles. It was ostensibly a benefit for charity; the evening would be dinner and a fashion show between five French (Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro, and Marc Bohan) and American (Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Anne Klein, Halston, and Stephen Burrows) designers. Although it wasn’t exactly a “competition”…it totally was, and the French went into the show as the presumptive winners. After all, Paris was the fashion capital of the world.
But as with most things, the world of fashion was changing during the tumultuous 1970s. Fashion used to be the realm for the aristocratic ladies who lunch; wealthy women who change their haute couture clothes several times a day. Now,the fashion world was changing, and ready-to-wear clothing was on its way up. The French rejected the trend. The Americans embraced it. The fashion show wasn’t just about the pretty dresses-it was about whose vision of the future reigned supreme.
To the shock of the fancypants audience, the underdog Americans emerged as the undisputed winners. Their designs were fresh, their runways energetic, and their models racially diverse. Despite their catty infighting, shoestring budget and technical difficulties, in this fashion show, the Americans elbowed their way onto the world stage, ushering in a tectonic shift in the way race, gender, sexuality, and economics would be treated in fashion for decades to come.
I don’t know anything about fashion, so a lot of this flew over my pretty little head. But I was still really interested in this little slice of history, even when I didn’t buy what Givhen was arguing (she says that this fashion show paved the way for ready-to-wear clothing while also saying the shift from couture to ready-to-wear was inevitable. Which was it?). Also, I wish there were more pictures. She kept talking about these beautiful clothes and stunning models but they were barely represented in photographs. All in all, I enjoyed being in this world, which I know so little about.
Caffeine: Large iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts
Music: Nina Simone
2:00– Onto book 3! But first, some food.
9:00-Book 3 finished!
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Okay, guys. It’s a little late in the game, but I’m adding a new rule to the Readathon. No bummers. I’m serious. How in the hell am I supposed to go on with reading books when I’ve already read THE book?!
Stephen King is considered to be the master of modern American horror, but with all due respect, that’s not true. Haunted hotels, telekinetic prom queens and evil clowns (or just, you know clowns) got nothing on human depravity. Pet Semetary may have freaked me out, but it’s Toni Morrison’s story of the dead child coming back to life that’s going to keep me up at night.
Sethe was born a slave but escaped to the free state of Ohio before the Civil War. Haunted for 18 years by what happened to her at Sweet Home-a beautiful name for a place full of ugly things, she keeps to herself. Her current home is haunted by an evil spirit-she and her neighbors believe it is the vengeful ghost of her daughter. When a man from her past expels the spirit from her home, that’s when things get weird.
This book broke me a little. When I was younger, I’d devour any book I could get my hands on, even if I didn’t quite get what the author was saying. Back then, I didn’t like Toni Morrison’s writing. I found it confusing and I’d have a hard time following the plot. So I never read Beloved. Now, I’m glad I waited, and so grateful that I had the chance to read this American masterpiece for the first time. But I don’t think I’ll read it again any time soon.
And seriously, guys. NO MORE BUMMERS
Caffeine: Chai tea
Music: Yo Yo Ma
10:48– HOLD UP EVERYONE BEYONCE JUST DROPPED HER NEW ALBUM MA’AM HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME YOU KNOW I WANTED TO FINISH LIKE TWO MORE BOOKS.
12:00-Book 4 finished! This was a reaction to the aforementioned bummer of a read.
Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris
Finally, a celebrity autobiography that isn’t a total waste of time!
Usually, celebrity autobiographies are pretty boring. Even if you like the actor, it’s tedious to listen to them blather on about their craft and how lucky they are and blah blah blah (the obvious exceptions are the WW2 celebrities, who made movies and punched Nazis). Neil Patrick Harris gets this-not enough to resist the urge of writing an autobiography-and makes his book pleasant and clever-and surprisingly heartfelt.
Framed as a Choose Your Own Adventure book, the reader is an active participant in the book, flipping to different pages in the book based on decisions Neil asked you to make (an example: “To get famous, turn to page 46. To get laid, turn to page 78”). It’s a bit that surprisingly doesn’t get old, as we go through Harris’s childhood, his first bit of stardom as Doogie Howser, his coming to terms with his sexuality and falling in love, and his current status as a certified famous fancy person. Along the way, we hear from his famous friends and husband, get recipes, and learn a lot about magic. To be honest, I could have done without the magic.
Choose Your Own Autobiography was a funny and endearing book. I already was a fan of Neil Patrick Harris-after the 2013 Tony Awards, who wasn’t?
But after reading the book, I’ve become a bigger fan. His big heart and sheer love for his family shines through on every page. Plus, he’s actually a good writer! Will wonders never cease.
Caffeine: Being fueled by the power of Beyonce
2:40-So this has been real, but I ended up watching Doctor Who with a friend and now my eyes are closing. I’d hoped to get more reading done, but it was still a fun time. Thanks for joining me!