Even though I was excited about the 48-Hour Book Challenge, it also seemed like a shame to spend a whole weekend holed up inside reading. And then I realized… duh, I didn’t have to to all my reading inside, or even in the car!
I flipped through my trusty copy of 5-Star Trails: Louisville & Southern Indiana to find a good trail that I could do with my earbuds in. (Usually I prefer to hike without listening to anything–aside from the soothing sounds of nature, and anyway, sometimes listening to music or audiobooks puts you at risk of being run down by cyclists or trail runners.) But I synced the rest of What Happened to Goodbye to my iPhone and set off for some nature.
I also brought my Kindle, and when I stopped for a snack break on a nice bench on a bridge, I started reading Riot by Walter Dean Myers. Since it’s written in screenplay format, it was a very quck read, and I read all of it there, looking out on the lake.
Riot is historical fiction, set during a specific event–the New York Draft Riots of 1863. It’s a topic that lends itself to a lot of complexity–I have a degree in history and I’m very interested in the clashes along class, color, and cultural lines in American History. These riots–which were largely poor Irish Americans looting poor black Americans when really both groups’ true enemy was wealthy white Americans–seemed like an excellent topic for a historical novel, with lots of complexity to flesh out. Unfortunately, Riot fell a bit flat for me, with a lot of cardboard characters and cardboard dialogue. One of the protagonists, Claire, says lines like, “None of this is right. Why should anyone hate me because I’m black?” about 20 times throughout the novel. Like, yeah, we the 21st century audience get it, but why would a 15-year-old black girl in 1863 just constantly say things like that in conversation? HMM? But like I said, it is an interesting topic and the screenplay format makes it a quick read–probably a good choice for a certain flavor of reluctant reader.
Anyway, I got off the trail and back to my car just as it started raining! I finished What Happened to Goodbye in my apartment parking lot, hoping to wait out the rain, but it was still going strong when I finished the book and scurried inside. It was solid chicklit–a few elements seemed implausible, particularly the way the teenagers used social media… which was kind of a big plot point… but whatever. I also felt like the teens overreacted insanely to things, and then I realized that I’m old now and the teen drama is probably more realistic than my own adult reactions.
Now I’m home and happy to spend the last few hours of the challenge out of the rain and curled up on the couch with a book. I think I’m going to start with Ugles: Shay’s Story by Scott Westerfeld and see what else I can get through before my finish line at 7pm!