Poets v. the Pandemic: This Is What America Looks Like reading

If you missed last week’s reading of Poets v. the Pandemic, where I was one of the featured readers from the This Is What America Looks Like anthology, you can view that below:

I highly recommend this anthology, not just because I have a poem inside, but because there are some stellar writers in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area. So many stories and poems touch not only upon the pandemic and its impact, but also racial justice, the news circus, and the world through real Americans’ eyes.

Buy a copy, I’ll sign my poem when I see you!

I am so honored to read with local poetry icons like Reuben Jackson, Karren Alenier, Elizabeth Knapp, Gregory Luce, and Fran Abrams.

Changes Are Afoot


I hope everyone’s summer is full of fun, relaxation, and great books. (my sunflower, which I am happy to say, I grew from a wee seed)

I just wanted to check in and mention briefly that there are some assessments going on in my head about the blog and my own writing.  I have been posting M-Th and Saturdays, but I want to cut back some as I’m working full time still, potty training my young daughter, and just generally tired in the evenings from all the hustle and bustle.

Are there particular days that you read blogs more regularly?

I’m considering posting reviews on the days that get the most traffic/comments and leaving the others as breaks in between, though the Virtual Poetry Circle will stay on Saturdays for now as I often prepare those 1-2 weeks in advance.

On my off days for the blog, I plan to spend that 1-2 hours I would be writing a review working on my own fiction or poetry.  It’s time for me to carve out the time and get disciplined.  The toddler cannot be an excuse for laziness on my part.

So you see, this is part check in, and part pep talk for myself.

Also, I’m also in the midst of revising my review policy to cut back on the number of review copies I accept on a yearly basis.  I’m considering a specific target number and once I hit that number, I will have to close to review copy submissions/requests.

In that vein, I wonder how many review copies you each accept per year or what your hard and fast rules are?

Any feedback is appreciated.

Read-a-Thon, the Updates, & Mini-Challenges

I have commenced reading The Lotus Eaters, which I have to post on Monday for a tour.

Hour 1: pages read 80

Mini-challenge #1:

Reading from my apartment with Anna and The Girl

Facts about me: I’ve got wet hair, I’m wearing slippers, and I am in my new favorite reading chair.

# of books 9

Goal: finish The Lotus Eaters.

Advice: read in small doses, get up and walk around with your books for exercise to keep those muscles from atrophy, and have some snacks handy…and a husband or friend to cook for you is always helpful.

Hour #2:

I just want to say that I haven’t read much between 9-10am because I went to the library sale, and boy did I buy too many books and 4 books for the Vietnam War reading challenge giveaway!  I also picked up some great poetry books for the end of month giveaway for National Poetry Month.

OK Gals and Guys, back to reading…have a great time.

Hour 3:

We have our official participants: Anna and The Girl

And we have an unofficial participant:  Anna’s Husband!

Mini-Challenge, Hour 5:

From The Lotus Eaters, page 106–

“During the main course of sauteed sole and julienned vegetables, they discussed the logistics of surviving as a Western woman in Saigon — how to find feminine products and the chronic shortage of hair spray, where to have one’s hair styled, where to buy clothes, where it was safe to go along, what kind of culture there was, how to handle the number of soldiers all around.

Demitasses of espresso and sliced mango with sticky rice were served. . .”

Are you hungry yet?

Hour 6:

Just a few notes.  I’ve read more of The Lotus Eaters and read about 30 pages of Cross Country by James Patterson.

The Girl is taking a break and napping in the bedroom, and we had some orange chicken meal, which I found wanting — frozen Chinese food is not the same as fresh made Chinese…that’s for sure.

Hour 8:

Not much progress going on.  I’ve read about 140 pages in two different books.  I haven’t finished one solid book, but I’ve eaten jelly beans, cheese, crackers, drank 2 cups of coffee, 1 cup of cranberry ginger ale, and has some really bad frozen orange chicken.

I’ve also cheered almost everyone on my list, but I will get to the blogs in letter T soon!  Ok, back to reading.

Here’s some fun for everyone in Hour 11:

If the Cover Fits Challenge:






Thanks to The Girl for her contribution!
Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now? The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli
2. How many books have you read so far? I have not completed one.  I’m reading two off and on.  I’ve read 233 pages so far though…which is good for me.
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? Your Ten Favorite Words by Reb Livingston
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? No
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? There were interruptions, which is why I began reading Cross Country by James Patterson because its a lighter read and I don’t have to concentrate as hard.  I also took a few breaks to walk the dog and cut up some cheese for snacks and eat lunch and dinner.
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? Read-a-Thon has been a flourish of activity and reading and the time just flies by.
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? No suggestions here.  Just wish there were more mini-challenges that weren’t repeated from previous years.  And that the sentence from book titles challenge was a vote that included all the entrants.
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? Cheerleading is tough work, and though I signed up for only 1 hour, I’ve completed that hour and will probably do some more later on as part of a break.
9. Are you getting tired yet? Not at all surprisingly.
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? I love when cheerleaders visit the blog to cheer me on with their little rhymes, etc.
Hour 14:
Anna and The Girl have headed home for the evening, and I hope to finish up The Lotus Eaters.  I’ve also got an audio book on stand by should my eyes get tired.  My husband is asleep on the couch — poor guy worked this morning really early.  I hope everyone is having a great time.
I’ve been cheering, but I’ve met the one hour commitment, but you never know, I could stop by your blog to cheer you on some more.  You’ve been warned.
Pages read:  265
Hour 15:
Ok, I’m really getting sleepy, so its off to bed for sleep or maybe just a nap…we’ll see but I wanted to leave you with my parting cheer: (and a page count)
Some of you may have seen this already, but here it is in case you haven’t:
Looks like you are making great headway
Keep up the reading, don’t let that head sway
Eyes on the page and coffee in hand
You’ll be entering a new land.


Pages read:  331
I’m going to rest my eyes for a bit and listen to my audiobook.  Keep up the good work!

Hour # 23:
I listened to Shutter Island for a while, but feel into a nap, but I’m back now reading Cross country and The Lotus Eaters.  I’ve dropped by some blogs on my list to cheer them on in these wee hours of the read-a-thon.  Keep up the good work everyone…here’s my cheer in case you’re curious:
Don’t let those eyes droop
head out on the stoop
get some fresh air
before heading back to that chair
pick up your book
take another look
read, read, read
Ok, onto the Cliffhanger Mini-Challenge at Alicia Blade:
I think the biggest cliffhanger for me happened in Suzanne Collins Catching Fire, and I am still waiting for the resolution to the revolution!  Yes, that book ends with a big reveal of behind the scenes political activity, and I want to know what happens.  Will Katniss grasp her destiny with both hands and challenge the Capitol…what will happen to Peta, what is up with Gale, and who are these underground revoluntionaries?  I cannot wait to get the next in the series, MockingJay.
Time read: 17 hours
Pages read: 391
Audio Chapters: 4

End-of-read-a-thon Questions:
1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
Hour 15 was a beast
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
The Lotus Eaters is a really absorbing read.  Cross Country isn’t a bad choice either, the chapters are nice and short.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
No suggestions other than some tweaks to the mini-challenges.  I think the book title sentence challenge should include all entrants in the final vote.
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
I really liked the cheer teams and the division of blogs to cheer for.
5. How many books did you read?
I didn’t finish 1, but I’m nearly finished with The Lotus Eaters, about halfway through Cross Country, and just at the beginning of Shutter Island on Audio.
6. What were the names of the books you read?
The Lotus Eaters, Cross Country, and Shutter Island
7. Which book did you enjoy most?
I enjoyed them all.
8. Which did you enjoy least?
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
I think it would be fun to have some premade cheers for those unable to make up their own, but then again maybe people just want to cheer in their own way. No other advice, but I did like the shout out to National Poetry Month with the cheerleading team names.
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I’ll probably read and cheer again next year, though cheering is addicting and took time away from my reading.
Have a great Sunday everyone!  Keep reading!