Ladies and gentlemen, IT! IS! TIME! Time to read. Ignore responsibility. Read. Neglect personal hygiene. Read. Go off the grid toward the real world, but extremely on the grid online. TIME. TO. REAAAAAAD!!!!

This is my fourth round participating in the 24 in 48 Readathon, in which I attempt to cram 24 hours of reading into a 48 hour span. Not quite as crazy as a straight 24 hour ‘thon  like Dewey’s, but still reasonably outside the realm of sanity. Follow along and check back in through Sunday to see the inverse relationship between “number of hours read” and “percentage of sanity remaining.”

Friday, Jan. 26

6:30pm

LET IT BEGIN! Except I haven’t really gotten my crap together, so I’m hustling around setting up my command station in the spare bedroom, a.k.a. pop, a puzzle, sticker books, and several TV trays. Oh, and the $570 worth of library materials I checked out this week. The picture below isn’t even all of them; these are just the ones by authors I’ll be seeing at the Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival (SEYA) in March.

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But of course, I open my readathon with none of those. I’ve discovered my new favorite thing is audiobooks of novellas, because 10 hours is about my limit for audiobooks, and even then my patience is tested for the last 2 hours.

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With time limits of <5 hours in general, novellas keep me engaged for the whole story. I’m starting with the last hour of “Binti” by Nnedi Okorafor, which I’d begun listening while traveling a few weeks ago, and is only 2.5 hours altogether. Short length aside, it’s quite a phenomenal sci-fi story (and hello, it won the Hugo and Nebula awards) about a girl who throws off her people’s rooted lifestyle to pursue her dream at a top university on another planet. When her ship is attacked mid-journey, it’s up to her to bridge the gap between two species to prevent further slaughter.

7:30pm

Once “Binti” is done, I move straight on to the audiobook of its sequel, “Binti: Home.” It’s hard to describe in any detail without spoiling portions of “Binti,” so I’ll just say that it’s basically an examination of the phrase “You can’t go home again.” It delves into the ideas of prejudice introduced in “Binti,” with the added dynamic that the titular character is forced to recognize her own internal prejudices, even as her people are looked down upon by others.

“But Hannah,” you say, “what are you doing while you’re listening to things?” In a moment of weakness for fun designs + an homage to the Dad Unit, Reigning Puzzle Master of the Universe, I bought a 1000 piece puzzle at Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago in anticipation of this weekend. ISN’T IT SO CUTE???

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Of course, the moment I opened the box and dumped it all out, I had a moment of…

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11:45pm

When “Binti: Home” wraps up, I’ve clocked a little over 5 hours today, which was my goal, and the Husband Unit is making noise about showering. Like that’s a priority. But my book is done, so I guess I can do that.

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Total Hours: 5 hours, 14 minutes

Saturday, Jan. 27

7:00am

My alarm clock is my mortal enemy. I contemplate sleeping more (blankets so coooomfy) but the time calculator portion of my mind won’t agree. If I get up now, I can conceivably squeeze in 15 hours today without cracking midnight, allowing for breaks for such inanities as showering. So I get up. Unfortunately, I do not have access to an audiobook of “Binti: The Night Masquerade,” which just came out, so I’m forced to change up my game. First on the docket is “Mosquitoland” by David Arnold, chosen by virtue of his attendance at SEYA and the CD’s checked-in status during my massive check-out trip to the library on Tuesday.

10:27am

I hear rustling. The Husband Unit, whom I’d left buried in the blankets several hours ago, has emerged. “Why’d you get up so early?” “Umm…to read, bro?” The puzzle is coming along shockingly well, but unfortunately most of the remaining pieces are similar combinations of black, white, and teal.

10:54am

It’s becoming apparent that I’ve tuned out portions of this audiobook while working on this post, because there is suddenly danger involving people I don’t recall being introduced to. Oh well.

12:52pm

The puzzle border is DONE! Now to sift through lots of solid black pieces to fill in the ocean, and solid white that has to be divided between Antartica and several large polar bear sections. YOU WILL NOT DEFEAT ME, ANTARCTICA.

1:43pm

I have yet to eat anything but an English muffin today, but thankfully the Husband Unit returns from running errands with pizza; I AM SAVED.

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2:45pm

Puzzle is finished I AM THE CHAMPION! “Mosquitoland” is still going. It’s shaping up to be a 3-star read, full of longing and anxiety and all those coming-of-age musings. My slight detachment isn’t helped by my multitasking, but that’s how these things go. And now to get up off the floor, because my tailbone doth protest.

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4:15pm

“Mosquitoland” is done, and man does 8.5 hours feel reeeeealllly long after two books under 5 hours. Interesting enough, but contemporary isn’t really my jam, even though it’s the easiest genre to follow over audio. My brain is starting to wander, so I cue up the audiobook of “Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi, because a) I’ve read it, so having wander-brain won’t ruin anything, and b) I want to see how they translate its unusual writing style into sound.

If you’re unfamiliar with the book, “Shatter Me” has a stream of consciousness feel, with portions of the text scratched out as if you were reading main character Juliette’s diary or hearing her thoughts. The audio gives a little scratch-out noise, like a harsh pencil mark, after the applicable phrases. It’s interesting if you know what it’s referencing, but this book is probably one best read in print initially.

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5:50pm

My body’s annoying need for sustenance has once again pushed itself to the forefront of my mind. I haven’t left the house all day (Fresh air? What’s that?) and cooking sounds -100 uninteresting so the Husband Unit and I venture out to the Land of All Tastiness aka Panda Express. I’m doing well enough on time that I don’t even subject him to an audiobook in the car, though I do bring a backup print book in case he tries to bamboozle me. True to form, we’re waiting in line when he asks, “So you want to go to Menard’s after this?”

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He’s kidding. Thank goodness. And though it’s irrelevant, I’d like to share what my fortune cookie said – “Strive to broaden your horizons each day” – compared to what HIS cookie said:

“You are destined for greatness.”

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8:03pm

I’m at a little over 16.5 hours, looking good to hit 20 hours and maybe be in bed before midnight, which is pretty unusual for me. I’ve hit 1 and 2am to make that mark in prior readathons, and I can attribute this to one key factor: most of my family is OUT. OF. TOWN.

My family spends quite a bit of time together, which is great for fun and shenanigans, but it isn’t exactly conducive to lots of solitary reading. The timing for this readathon has come perfectly together like some ancient prophecy foretelling The Golden Age of Books.

9:34pm

Time to change things up and switch to a print book! Not that I couldn’t keep going with audio, but because I legit need to read this one – “Throne of the Crescent Moon” by Saladin Ahmed – as there are book club gals on the hold list at the library. When I first brought it home, the Husband Unit commented, “Why is Moses on the cover?” “That’s not Moses.” “Look, he’s got one of the Commandment things.” “…Just stop.”

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But I’m not going to just sit in any old chair and read, oh no no no. Those days are gone, because a recent addition to our house is…

THE BOOKAPILLAR!

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Possibly the greatest gift I’ve ever received from the Husband Unit outside of my wedding ring, The Bookapillar is the answer to that timeless question, “Who the heck buys those giant stuffed animals they sell at Dillon’s during the holidays?” I have wanted one of these things for YEARS, as the Mother Unit can attest since I tried to sneak one into the cart at Sam’s Club once, a venture that was devastatingly unsuccessful. Well, now that we’re no longer in an apartment, and the living room is no longer a renovation construction zone, the long-awaited Bookapillar has come home. And since I know you’re dying to know, he’s got 9 basketball-sized segments and is the length of our couch. He’s going to serve as a neck support pillow, since I tend to read in various slumped positions of terrible posture.

11:30pm

My half-distracted state of listening made me almost forget how much more immersive print reading is for me…almost. Ten seconds into my book, the Bookapillar curled around me, and I’m gone. Not asleep gone, but that good kind of gone where you’re totally absorbed in the story and time passes in the blink of an eye. It’s a reader thing.

I only sit up because I really want a drink of the pop that’s not quite within my reach, and I have a vague notion that I should check the time. It’s past 11pm, and since I’m on CST that means the next official 24 in 48 blog post is up, with new names of door prize and challenge winners. With 1800+ participants, I’m not really expecting…

STOP THE PRESSES SOUND THE ALARM WAKE EVERYONE UP I HAVE WON A PRIZE!!!!!!!

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I love prizes. My excitement is increased because the other time I won, it was in the very last drawing, so there weren’t as many prizes left to pick from as there are now. I feel like I’m rolling in a Scrooge McDuck gold vault of options as I open 10,000 tabs to assess all the options. You submit your top three choices, so we’ll see what actually shows up in my mailbox, but no surprise in revealing that all my choices are from sci-fi powerhouse Tor.com publishing. They really do a good job of getting lots of options for all types of readers, both US and international.

11:59pm

I’m still up, but we’re crossing the threshold into Sunday, so here’s some updated totals. It has been a fantabulous day!

Saturday hours: 14 hours, 51 minutes

Total hours: 20 hour, 5 minutes

Sunday, Feb. 28

12:43am

I can hear the Husband Unit’s voice coming from the basement, which means some of the dudes must be playing online, which means I have all kinds of time on my hands. But I probably should get at least a few minutes of sleep. Probably.

1:50am

I’d just like to point out that even though I continued the trend of staying up super late, I didn’t have to this time. I hit my goal of 20 hours before midnight, and am at 21.5 by the time I go to bed, but I’m not totally exhausted at this point like I usually am. It’s much more pleasant to stay up late for fun than because you feel like you need to!

12:40pm

Ok, I slept. And showered, and ate, and blah blah blah. But now it’s nose in book time, with under 4 hours left to go and 6 hours before my timeline is up!

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2:38pm

Still listening to “Shatter Me,” and indulging in a recently discovered pastime that I quite enjoy – sticker mosaic books! They’re basically paint-by-number books, but with stickers, obviously. They’re harder to find than the adult coloring books most people are familiar with and don’t have as many options available, but I prefer the stickers. No worries about hand cramps, deciding on colors, making all your pencil lines go the same way, and the inevitable feeling that you’re being a super slacker if you don’t color every single teeny tiny segment a different color. I found a sticker book of neon animals on clearance at Barnes & Noble, and I looooooove it!

I use tweezers to peel and place them, and while that might sound like overkill, I think it’s actually a lot easier than trying to do it with my fingers. I can get pretty exact positioning extremely quickly, especially with the smaller pieces that would be really frustrating if I was doing it by hand. It’s supposed to be relaxing, after all.

3:45pm

The audio of “Shatter Me” finishes and I dutifully key in the time to the hours/minutes calculator I’ve been using this weekend. I see the numbers, think, “Well, a little bit more to go,” then realize I’ve had a moment of mush brain, because this is what it actually says…

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THAT’S A 24, NOT A 23. I AM DOOOOOOOONE! And my first thought is…

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HAHAHA no. More like…

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Peace out, y’all. I still have to finish my book club book. Maybe later tonight. Maybe tomorrow. One thing’s for sure, it won’t be right now.

Total hours: 24 hours, 36 minutes

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