A Tale of Two Cities Read-Along

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The Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities read-along begins today! Laura of Reading in Bed is hosting this fabulous event. I’m very excited to be joining her and the other readers as we work through one of Dickens’ most well-known novels. Learn more about the event here.

Despite my Dickens obsession, I’ll admit I’ve never read A Tale of Two Cities. I kind of know what it’s about, and I own more copies than I should for someone who hasn’t read it. I’ve been meaning to read this one for years, and now it the perfect opportunity. My favorite Dickens novel so far is Bleak House, so I can’t wait to see how this one compares.

I don’t know if I’ll have dedicated posts every Monday like some other readers, but I’ll try to have at least one update before the event ends. Either way, I’m sure I’ll be tweeting about it over at lostgenreader.

Reading Schedule:
April 21: Start reading
April 28: Book the First ch. 1-6 and Book the Second ch. 1-5
May 5: Book the Second ch. 6-16
May 12: Book the Second ch. 17-24 and Book the Third ch. 1-3
May 19: Read to the end
May 26: Wrap up and winner announcement

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Charles and I are ready. Are YOU?

#24in48 Readathon

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Welcome to the #24in48 Readathon! This event is hosted by Rachel at A Home Between Pages. Basically how it works is that participants need to read for 24 hours within a 48-hour time frame. The readathon starts at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, April 5 and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 6. Read more about this event here.

I’m getting a bit ambitious this time around, but that’s only because I originally had eleven choices and somehow managed to knock it down to eight. My last readathon was all classic books, so I’m switching it up this time. I’ve got Young Adult. I’ve got short stories. I’ve got novels. I’ve got James Franco. I really just have a little bit of everything. I think variety will be key this time around. I don’t have any particular order, but I hope to get through at least five books. I also hope to read for more than 24 hours. We’ll see how it goes.

My Readathon List:
1. Palo Alto by James Franco
2. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
3. Night by Elie Wiesel
4. How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers
5. A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
6. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
7. Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro
8. The Only Boy by Jordan Locke

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I’ll mostly be updating on Twitter (@lostgenreader), but I might get something written up on here at the end.

Happy reading to all participants!

What are YOU reading this weekend?

A So-Called Writer’s Recap of #AWP14

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The Association of Writers and Writing Programs, or AWP, hosts an annual conference in a selected city each year. For those pondering what to attend in the literary world, this is THE book conference. With well over 10,000 attendees this year, AWP filled the rooms of the Seattle Convention Center and Sheraton Hotel for three days of panels, readings, a massive book fair, and more shenanigans than an episode of The Ellen Show.

There’s a lot to cover in regard to the AWP Conference, so naturally I’ll just cover my own experience. I’m not sorry in advance if I get snarky, because no one should ever apologize for snark. It’s a gift for the givers and the takers, just as the written word is a gift. That being said, let’s begin.

First of all, I think it important to note that I attended the conference as a shameless so-called writer. I’m not published outside the world of my undergrad college. I don’t have a book deal. I haven’t been discovered. I don’t know when my first book will come out. (Note: This is all my fault because I have yet to really commit to submitting my work. Hashtag writer problems.) I write words that oftentimes make little sense, and yet they’re sometimes blindly enjoyed. I have a self-proclaimed gift while also being incredibly modest to anyone who compliments said gift. My presence at the conference was simply to take in my surroundings, and take them in I did.

The book fair is what really sells me on attending AWP. To get through the entire thing is a major accomplishment, one that I somehow managed. I felt like I survived a jungle scene from Mean Girls, or the Hunger Games (the games, not the books themselves), or a less-than-mediocre book series with more books than anticipated. (I’m looking at you, Sookie Stackhouse.) After going through dozens of aisles to visit hundreds of tables over the course of three days, I somehow managed to pack my bag with 2.5 totes worth of books, journals, information cards, buttons, stickers and other forms of writerly swag. I have yet to go through everything, but I can say that I have enough information to never run out of places to submit or people to converse with via social media. Your life begins the moment you enter an AWP book fair, and it ends the moment nothing remains. You will never have nothing as long as you attend an AWP book fair. Perhaps that’s a stretch of a statement, but it’s one I’m willing to commit to.(Note: I will be reviewing my AWP book fair reads in the future. Stay tuned.)

Aside from the book fair is the overwhelming amount of wisdom you pack into your brain by listening to panels and readings as well as meeting and conversing with other writerly types. I attended panels pertaining to a variety of subjects, including unsympathetic characters, memoir humor writing, author day jobs, and what writers of children and young adult literature wish they’d known before writing said genres. Some panels will blow your mind, some will reaffirm your own beliefs, and some will just plain suck. My friends and I only walked out of one panel, so I consider the panels an overall victory. The novel I’ve been (sometimes) working on involves a character who could be considered an unsympathetic one by readers, and the panel really helped me accept that people don’t need to sympathize with a character in order to like them. I already knew this as a reader, but it convinced of that as a writer. I find that we doubt ourselves as writers where we’d never question something as a reader, so I was grateful to break through that barrier.

It’s also important to write about dance parties. First of all, no one is above attending the dance parties. I don’t care how important you are in the grand scheme of things. Who the hell wouldn’t want to get their groove on? Okay, Guy-Holding-Beer-With-Hand-In-Pocket had no interest in doing the Landshark, or any dancing, for that matter, but I digress. AWP is an opportunity to get insanely pissed (I mean drunk…trying to be British here) and shake it. I attended two such dance parties and made the greatest fool of myself after consuming all the wine. I know this has nothing to do with books, but when you’re with bookish people it really has everything to do with books. Reality: Most bookish types don’t know how to dance, and it’s fucking glorious.

Lastly, I want to talk about Sherman Alexie. He’s a fucking riot. From talking about how straight men react to gay men, to reading about an unfortunate prom night, to making the interpreter sign about him being attractive at the end, I couldn’t get enough. I’ve read his work in my Native American Literature course during my undergrad, and I’ve seen Smoke Signals a few times, but somehow neither of those experiences had prepared me for his public festival of joy… I mean reading. I don’t want to ramble on about my respect for Native American culture and literature, but I will say that I have a great admiration for anyone who can rock their culture by writing about it for what it is and open the eyes of those around them. People like Sherman Alexie are responsible for my general openness to genres that I wouldn’t have considered years prior. I didn’t read Native American literature or young adult literature (as an adult) until Sherman Alexie. He opened my eyes to new ideas as well as the beauty within his culture. There are rough edges, of course, and pain, but people sometimes forget about the beauty. He presented me with a gift that I will cherish until the end of my time.

I could go on for a very long time about the AWP Conference. I could tell many inside jokes that only select few will understand or care about. I could explain Guy-Holding-Beer-With-Hand-In-Pocket. I could also get the fuck off the internet and eat a late dinner followed by devouring my totes full of AWP goodies. I choose the last one.

AWP Attendees: What was your favorite part about the conference?
Who will be attending AWP in Minneapolis? Is it April 2015 yet?

Literary Giveaway Blog Hop

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Edit: Thank you all again for entering the giveaway! Beth and Ann were the winners this time around. Happy reading to all!

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Welcome to the Lost Generation Reader literary blog hop. This giveaway is hosted by Leeswammes. Please check out her page for more information.

THE PRIZE:
There will be two winners for this giveaway. Each winner will receive a book of choice worth up to $20. It can be any book of literary merit – your choice! In other words, choose something that could be found in the Literature section of a store/website. This will not include Young Adult, Romance, or any specific genre. I will purchase the books from Book Depository.

THE RULES:
1. You must be 13+ years old to participate.
2. You do not need a blog to participate.
3. No restrictions on location. This is an international giveaway.
4. Winners will be picked using random.org.
5. FILL OUT THIS FORM.
Note: You must fill out the form above in order to be entered into the giveaway. While comments are appreciated, leaving one does not count as an entry.

This giveaway is open until February 12th (11:59 PM Eastern Time). I will select and contact winners the following day. The winners will have 48 hours to respond to the email. If there is no response by that time, I will choose again.

Best of luck to everyone!

For more giveaways, check out these blogs:

  1. Leeswammes
  2. Seaside Book Nook
  3. Booklover Book Reviews
  4. Biblionomad
  5. Laurie Here
  6. The Well-Read Redhead (US/CA)
  7. River City Reading
  8. GirlVsBookshelf
  9. Ciska’s Book Chest
  10. The Book Stop
  11. Ragdoll Books Blog
  12. Nishita’s Rants and Raves
  13. Lucybird’s Book Blog
  14. Reading World (N-America)
  15. Journey Through Books
  16. Readerbuzz
  17. Always With a Book (US)
  18. 52 Books or Bust (N.Am./UK)
  19. Guiltless Reading (US/CA)
  20. Book-alicious Mama (US)
  21. Wensend
  22. Books Speak Volumes
  23. Words for Worms
  24. The Relentless Reader
  25. A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall (US)
  1. Fourth Street Review
  2. Vailia’s Page Turner
  3. The Little Reader Library
  4. Lost Generation Reader
  5. Heavenali
  6. Roof Beam Reader
  7. Mythical Books
  8. Word by Word
  9. The Misfortune of Knowing
  10. Aymaran Shadow > Behind The Scenes
  11. The Things You Can Read (US)
  12. Bay State Reader’s Advisory
  13. Curiosity Killed the Bookworm
  14. Lizzy’s Literary Life
  15. Books Can Save a Life (N. America)
  16. Words And Peace (US)
  17. The Book Club Blog

The Classics Club Spin #5

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Update: The Classics Club has spoken! Number 20 is the winner! I will be reading Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. In honor of this, here’s a lovely picture of Dickens’ great-great-great grandchildren taking a selfie with his new statue…

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The Classics Club is hosting The Classics Spin #5, a fabulous challenge to go along with the members working their way through their classics lists. We are to each list twenty books from our list, and on Monday, February 10th the moderators will randomly select a number. Whatever book coincides with that number is the book we have to read by April 2nd.

My List:
Five Novels I’m Excited to Read
1. Burnett, Frances Hodgson: The Secret Garden
2. James, Henry: The Portrait of a Lady
3. Nabokov, Vladimir: Pale Fire
4. Hemingway, Ernest: A Moveable Feast
5. Wilde, Oscar: The Importance of Being Earnest

Five Novels I’m “Dreading” Due to Length
6. Dostoevsky, Fyodor: Crime and Punishment
7. Eliot, George: Middlemarch
8. Alcott, Louisa May: Little Women
9. Mitchell, Margaret: Gone With the Wind
10. Radcliffe, Ann: The Mysteries of Udolpho

Five Bronte Sisters Novels
11. Bronte, Anne: Agnes Grey
12. Bronte, Anne: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
13. Bronte, Charlotte: Jane Eyre (Reread)
14. Bronte, Charlotte: Villette
15. Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights (Reread)

Five Dickens Novels
16. Dickens, Charles: A Tale of Two Cities
17. Dickens, Charles: Great Expectations
18. Dickens, Charles: Little Dorrit
19. Dickens, Charles: Nicholas Nickleby
20. Dickens, Charles: Our Mutual Friend

Happy reading to all participants!

What book do you most want to read from your list?

Classics Club Readathon End Post

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ccreadathon2Confession: I didn’t completely obey my own guide to a rocking a readathon. I started out the morning like a champ. I ate my yogurt, downed some coffee, and started reading at 8 AM EST (7 AM for me) as planned. I was running on five hours of sleep which wasn’t the greatest idea going in, but I was still determined. I took a two-hour break to spend time with my brother before he headed off for another round at college several states away, but other than that I was dedicated to reading all day.

Enter midnight. Midnight can be a cruel antagonist for an ex-night-owl on five hours of sleep, especially after reading all day. No amount of coffee or dance party breaks can cure the inevitable doom of a slowly closing set of eyes. They were tired. They were dry. They wanted out. To top it all off, I was reading Shakespeare. Now, I took a class on the Bard once upon a time, so I’m not new to his writing style, but Hamlet deserved more attention than my eyes were willing to give him. So I gave in shortly after and went to sleep.

The questions below come from The Classics Club’s post.

  1. What book(s) did you read during the event?
    I read The Awakening by Kate Chopin, One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark, In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway, and Hamlet by William Shakespeare.
  2. What book(s) did you finish?
    I finished all books except Hamlet. I’m on Part 1, Scene 3 with that and intend on finishing it today.
  3. What did you like about our event?
    I like the start of the year push that the readathon provides. It really gets me going with my TBR lists and reading goals. I also love reading posts from other bloggers and enjoy the conversations on Twitter.
  4. Do you have suggestions for future Readathons through The Classics Club?
    I always struggle with making it the full 24 hours due to needing sleep and other life scheduling. I think it could be interesting having a weekend readathon that comes with the knowledge that sleep is necessary.
  5. Would you participate in future Readathons?
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  6. Anything else you’d like to share? (Favorite quote from your reading? Funny anecdote from the event?)
    I want to thank Adam again for putting this together, and the Classics Club in general for having such fun events and wonderful people. I get behind with blogging (a lot), but it’s such a fun part of my life thanks to events like this and people like the lot of you.
    As for quotes, I’ll compile something when I write my reviews…provided I actually write my reviews.

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their weekend! It’s -14 here (-41 with windchill), so I’ll be staying indoors until I have to go to work tomorrow morning.

Readathon Participants: How did the event go for you? What did you read? Feel free to send me any of your readathon posts for me to check out.

Second Annual Classics Club Readathon

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ccreadathon2Welcome to the second (annual) Classics Club Readathon! The host of this legendary (yes, legendary) event is, of course, The Classics Club. If you are reading this post on January 4, 2014, that means I’m reading. If you are reading this post the morning of January 5, my eyes are likely twitching while I guzzle coffee and attempt to keep going. Don’t ask what I’m doing after these dates. That’s just shenanigans that can’t be predicted.

Some of you may remember last year when I vowed to read a whopping FIVE novels in 24 hours. I did finish said challenge, but I didn’t end up reviewing a single one of them. It’s in my nature to not review most of the books I read, a nasty habit that I intend on erasing in 2014. As for this year’s list, I will be reading five books again. They’re all shorter reads, but they’re reads that exist on my TBR Pile Challenge and Back to the Classics Challenge lists.

My Readathon List:
1. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
2. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
3. One Day In the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
4. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
5. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway

Now, if you’re new to this event or need a reminder on how things work, I’ve made a list.

How to Rock a Readathon in Ten Simple Steps
Step One: Wake up on time.
Step Two: Don’t press the snooze!
Step Three: Get out of bed. (Yes, I’m serious.)
Step Four: Don’t shower. Showers are for wimps. They waste time and involve impressing people, and you have no one to impress but your books, and they already love you. You know they do.
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Step Five:
Go into the kitchen and prepare your morning coffee/tea/Red Bull and breakfast.
Step Six: Double the size of the beverage and consume all.
Step Seven: Gather your books. This should really be done the night before to give you as much sleep as possible in the morning, but I put it here just in case the reminded is needed.
Step Eight: Find a comfortable space to read. (Note: Any room where you will get distracted and start cleaning is not a comfortable space to read.)
Step Nine: Start reading at 8 AM (EST) on January 4, 2014.
Step Nine-Point-Five: Read for 24 hours, but also do whatever you need to do throughout the reading experience. This includes but is not limited to: bathroom breaks, food, taking out the dog, kicking out the family, NOT checking Facebook or Twitter (just kidding, do that if you don’t get distracted too easily), splashing water on your face to stay awake, guzzling coffee, breaks for five-minute dance parties, and blinking exercises.
Step Ten: Stop reading at 8 AM (EST) on January 5, 2014

Note: This is very important. Do NOT let people bother you during these 24 hours unless it’s at least an 8 on the importance scale, or unless it’s Twitter. I can always accept Twitter people. And bloggers, obviously.

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I’ll be live tweeting as I go along if anyone wants to follow @lostgenreader on Twitter. There will be books. There will be snarky commentary. There will be witty banter. There will be chocolate-covered snacks. There will be coffee. A lot of coffee. (Seriously, a lot.)

Happy reading to all participants!

What are YOU reading for the readathon?

Jazz Age January Reading Event

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Welcome to Jazz Age January! This spectacular reading event is being hosted by Leah of Books Speak Volumes. This event centers around all things Jazz Age, from novels written by Jazz Age writers to non-fiction about the 20s and contemporary fiction set in the 20s. Books must be read and reviewed during the month of January. More information can be found at Leah’s post here.

I decided to pick a book from each of these categories as well as an additional contemporary fiction novel. What it comes down to is that I have a Hemingway and Fitzgerald obsession, so anything to do with them is the bees knees as far as I’m concerned.

My List:

  • The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
  • Ernest Hemingway: The Paris Years by Michael Reynolds
  • Flappers and Philosophers by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’ll post more as the event goes on. Hope everyone participating has a nifty time! I know I will.

Participants: What are YOU reading for this event?

Back to the Classics Challenge 2014

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Welcome to the “Back to the Classics” reading challenge, hosted by Karen from Books and Chocolate. This is my first time participating in this particular challenge. I am also participating in the 2014 TBR Pile Challenge, but I thought I should add in another list of books since my Classics Club list is still rather large and daunting.

Please visit Karen’s blog for a full list of guidelines as well as general information about the challenge. The main guidelines are that the books need to be at least 50 years old, so nothing after 1963, and you can’t put the same book in two different categories. All chosen books need to be read only during 2014, and all reviews must be posted during the year as well. The categories below were chosen by Karen. I’ve filled out the optional categories, but who knows if I’ll get to them all. Fingers crossed!

And now, my reading list…

Required:

  • A 20th Century Classic: Dubliners by James Joyce
  • A 19th Century Classic: Washington Square by Henry James
  • A Classic by a Woman Author: The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  • A Classic in Translation: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsyn OR Nana by Émile Zola
  • A Wartime Classic: Night by Elie Wiesel
  • A Classic by an Author Who Is New To You: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
Optional Categories:
  • An American Classic: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • A Classic Mystery, Suspense or Thriller: The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
  • A Historical Fiction Classic: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • A Classic That’s Been Adapted Into a Movie or TV Series: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • Extra Fun Category: Write a Review of the Movie or TV Series adapted from Optional Category #4.  

Happy reading to all!

What’s on your list?

2014 TBR Pile Challenge

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Update: I changed a few book titles and am using the others in my Back to the Classics reading challenge.

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The 2014 TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Adam @ Roof Beam Reader is intended for people who have an overwhelming list of To Be Read (TBR) books. For people like me (and many of you), this means overflowing bookshelves and books stacks on the floor, couches, desks, tables, or really anywhere they can fit.

This challenge involves reading 12 books throughout the year that have experienced too much shelf time without being dusted off and enjoyed. If you want to join in the fun, stop by Adam’s blog and sign up. I can’t wait to get started!

My 2014 TBR Pile Challenge List:
1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
2. On Writing by Stephen King
3. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
4. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
5. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
6. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
7. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
8. Villette by Charlotte Bronte
9. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
11. Pnin by Vladimir Nobokov
12. A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Alternatives:
1. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenisyn
2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

What book are you most excited to read?
What book do I need to read first?

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