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It’s a Bookstravaganza, Bitches

Note: it helps to imagine the title of this post read by Dave Chappelle as Rick James.

For the last three years, I’ve challenged myself to finish a long, intimidating book before New Years.  In 2011, I read The Magic Mountain, in 2012 I read Infinite Jest, and this year I’m reading Middlemarch. All the while, a group of Edmontonians have been reading ambitiously for the past three Decembers too and they call it a Bookstravaganza! They took a different, and I gotta say, more fun approach and made it competitive and charitable. It’s like a readathon and Movember combined without the creepy mustaches. I love the idea, and you can expect to see me in on this next year! In the meantime, follow the Bookstravaganza blog, and check out my quick primer:

  • The concept is pretty simple: read as many books as you can during the month of December. Participants post short reviews to the blog as they go and the most books read wins.
  • Matthew's stack. Pretty jealous that he's going to be reading The Girls soon.

    Matthew’s stack. Pretty jealous that he’s going to be reading The Girls soon.

    There’s no criteria for choosing books, but the choices are seriously great. Most of the participants posted a stack of books at the outset and in each one there are SO MANY books that I am jealous of and want to be reading RIGHT NOW (no offense Middlemarch!) My favourite stacks: This one including Slaughterhouse-Five, She’s Come Undone, Ficciones, and JPod and this one including Into the Wild, Outlander, Lullabies for Little Criminals, and The Sisters Brothers and this one (pictured) because of The Girls, The God of Small Things, and Naked Lunch.

  • Charitable donations are encouraged, on a one-time or per-book basis, to the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation, which puts books in underfunded school libraries. I’ve sponsored founding member Matthew Stepaniac at a modest per book rate. He is on fire right now, reading at a book-a-day pace, so I’m a little nervous!
  • The ten readers have some pretty impressive stats. One of them read 31 books last December. That’s insane!
  • The reviews are great because they’re quick reads and there are multiple updates each day. Here’s a great little review of Todd Babiak’s Come Barbarians which simultaneously made me want to read it immediately and lock it up somewhere because I know I will be traumatized!

Thanks Matthew for answering my questions and letting me participate next year! Follow along on Twitter and at the blog.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. I followed your advice and read your title as Dave Chapelle, and it really was magical.

    This is such a cool project! It would take me about six months to read 31 books — I can’t even fathom doing all that in one month. Good on these guys!

    Think you’ll join them next year? ;)

    December 8, 2013
  2. This sounds like fun! :) I actually like your idea of reading something big each year … I really, really want to try War and Peace for 2014. I mean, a chapter a day is doable, right?

    Good luck with reading all the books!

    December 8, 2013
    • I’d be up for a W&P readalong… just not in Dec :) Nice to see you catching up!!

      December 8, 2013
  3. I love Middlemarch! I took a 400-level course at the U of A where we read it and watched The Wire. I’d recommend doing the same, if you have the time–there’s some fascinating comparisons that can be made between the two.
    I’m reading The Girls right now and OMG, Laura, you need to stop what you’re doing and read this book.

    December 10, 2013
    • Seriously? Ugh way to make me regret my educational choices. Shoulda taken English!

      I barely watch TV so it’s unlikely though I’m very curious as I think The Wire is about drug dealers, right?

      I can’t stop, gotta finish Middlemarch! But yeah I’ve heard as much and it’s moving higher up the TBR, for sure!

      December 10, 2013

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  1. Year in Review: My 2013 Reading Report | Epilogues

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