Firebrand Books

My Reading and Book Review Blog

October 2014 Readathon Updates


(I’ll be updating this occasionally throughout today’s 24 hour readathon. )


I grab some coffee and Between Weathers, an account of traveling around the remote, sparsely populated Shetland Isles which are way up to the north of Scotland. I’ve been craving maps and travel non-fiction for the last couple of weeks so this has to be the first book I read for this readathon. I’ve decided not to actually tweet or blog very much this time round so I can just concentrate on the selfishly wonderful pleasure of reading for hours and hours and hours alone and uninterrupted.


I’ve finished Between Weathers and am over a hundred pages into re-reading Pride and Prejudice. It’s been glorious to be taken so far away from here by books, first to the Shetlands and then to Austen’s world of letters and balls and drawing rooms, all while occasional (but very heavy) rain showers bounce off the window frame and echo on the neighbourhood’s roofs. It’s definitely time for breakfast though as my concentration is slipping and I am craving more coffee. 🙂


Oops. I got a little derailed by a phone call and finishing my third book but so far I’ve been wandering around the Shetlands with Between Weathers, been outraged and delighted by the fortunes and misfortunes of the Bennet sisters with Pride and Prejudice and Educating Alice has made me dream of running away to learn a new skill somewhere exotic as its author did repeatedly in a quest to improve herself. I think I need some more non-fiction next so time to take a break and then I think I’ll settle down to Britain After Rome and some time spent contemplating the so-called ‘Dark Ages’. I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a day of reading so much. Choosing a couple of re-reads to mix in with new-to-me titles has meant today has been very relaxed and I don’t feel at all tired yet…


Yes, I can definitely confirm this: I’m having the most enjoyable and productive readathon I’ve ever had. I took a break from Britain After Rome to read A Time To Keep Silence (Patrick Leigh Fermor’s brief but enjoyable account of staying at monasteries on silent retreat which was originally published in the 1950s) as a palate cleanser to keep my mind sharp and then returned to it for more ‘Dark Ages’ history. I’m now about three quarters of the way through it which, if my quick maths is to be trusted after so little sleep, means I have read more this readathon than at any other. By about 100-and-something pages with over three hours left to go. And I don’t even feel particularly tired or as if my head is stuffed too full of dates, quotes and characters like I usually do towards the end of a readathon. Strange witchcraft indeed.

Oh and I took a short break to re-arrange the bookcase by my bed after having a bright idea. As you do. 🙂

As awake as I feel and as well written as Britain After Rome is, I think it’s time for another break from this history non-fiction book. I don’t think I can absorb the hmmm, people-liness of the Trollope (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever read any of his novels) and I think HHhH might be better suited to another day when I am approaching it completely fresh. So my choice of what to read next is between the play about Hans Christian Andersen staying with the Dickens family, a collection of Elizabeth David’s cookery essays, Bulgakov’s biography of Moliere and four very different novels by Elizabeth Taylor, Herman Hesse, E M Delafield or Dodie Smith. Decisions, decisions. I think I’ll have a mug of cinnamon-spiked cocoa while I peruse the blurbs and make a decision…


I actually ended up reading past the 24 hours. That’s never happened before either!

In the end I decided to go with the biography of Moliere but I admit I did read it very s l o w l y and got distracted by another phone call. I only went past 23:59 because I was sitting face away from my clock and was determined to get to the next obvious break in the book before setting it aside. But it’s time to sum up.

I have read three complete books, 75% or so of a fourth and about 50% of a fifth. I think I’ve read something like 1500ish pages but that sounds incredibly high even based on some of the books being re-reads and I am too tired to count properly now. So, take the number with a pinch of salt until I’ve checked the page counts in the morning. I need my bed. Goodnight, beautiful readers. I hope everyone who’s taking part in the official readathon hours enjoys the rest of their event.

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