Oh, how I wish I was doing Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon this weekend. You have no idea how much I wish I was doing this. (Don’t know what the Read-a-Thon is or what it’s all about? Go here.) Instead, I’ll be doing this:
Every year, there’s an event at my workplace that involves all hands being on deck. This takes months of planning, has enough drama to rival any soap opera, and is very labor-intensive. Of course, it’s tomorrow. I’m not directly involved, but as I’m one of the hands on deck, I need to work tomorrow afternoon all the way into the wee small hours of Sunday morning. I like my paycheck, so that’s where I will be.
But if I was participating, here’s what I would be reading. (Just in case you needed some more ideas.)
This stack includes two Beth Kephart books, Undercover (which comes out in paperback soon – you can watch the trailer here) and Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River. I received Undercover as a Christmas present and I purchased Flow at Beth’s talk back in February, where she graciously indulged my groupie-like self and signed both books (and four of her others!)
Also keeping in the Philadelphia spirit, I would read two others. Daniel Gottlieb’s Letters to Sam: A Grandfather’s Lessons on Love, Loss, and the Gifts of Life is a collection of letters that Gottlieb wrote to his young grandson, Sam, who has autism. Daniel Gottlieb is a local therapist who writes extensively for the Inquirer and other outlets. He is a local treasure. Kelly Corrigan, author of The Middle Place, grew up in suburban Philadelphia and her memoir would also be on my Read-a-thon list.
I would also try and read later, at the bar by Rebecca Barry, which I summarized here when I picked this up as part of my Library Loot. I would also include The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton and The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi. All of these three (and more!) are due back to the library real soon.
Sigh. I didn’t sign up as an official Cheerleader, but I plan to do so anyway, at least during the morning hours when I also plan to read as much as I can. (Most likely that will be my current read, Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor by Brad Gooch.)
There’s also an optional charitable portion of the Read-a-Thon. Although I’m not officially participating, I will be officially contributing. The charity I’ve chosen is 10,000 Books for Children: The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Book Drive. Here’s what this project is all about:
Join the Free Library and help buy 10,000 Books for Children to ensure that children and teens have new and exciting books to keep them reading over the summer. The Free Library’s book budget was cut 25% earlier this year and the Library had to stop ordering new books until early July. We need your help to stock the shelves for the 65,000 children and teens who will be going to their local branch libraries for books to read over the summer. Studies show that reading four or five books over the summer has an impact comparable to attending summer school and can play a significant role in helping children maintain their reading level. Even preschoolers benefit from early literacy activities—they are more likely to be “ready for school” and their literacy measures, such as rhyming, alliteration, and concepts of writing, are superior to youngsters with little or no exposure to books.
I chose 10,000 Books for Children because The Free Library of Philadelphia was my very first library – the one where my mother took me to, and the one where I joined my first Summer Reading Club in 1974. I still remember going to storytime there (and being photographed for the newspaper!) and I believe strongly in the Summer Reading Club program. Plus, with the heavy emphasis on Philadelphia in the books I would have been reading tomorrow, it makes perfect sense.
Happy Reading, everyone! I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s posts and cheerleading as much as I can.