As you may have noticed I have been involved in a couple of Read Alongs recently. I even want as far as creating a Page especially for them here.
For the first time I am about to embark upon a period when I will be involved in two Read Alongs at the same time and I just wanted to mark this momentous occasion with a post encouraging you all to get involved if you can.
So what is involved in a Read Along, and why should I get involved with one?
Thanks to someone's reTweet, I joined up to the Read Along for The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch, a book that I totally fell in love with. However, it was not simply the quality of that book that has turned me into a self-confessed Read Along Addict: it is the process itself. I am assuming that the RAs that I have experienced are fairly typical in that a host blog or website divides a book up into several sections, each of which can be read in a week relatively easily. The host posts a schedule of each week's reading and chooses a day of the week for people to receive an email with questions about that section of the book. The bloggers taking part agree to post their answers to the questions two days later and usually the host asks them to provide links to their posts so that everyone can read and comment on each other's thoughts.
Sounds pretty dull, but it is actually a great way to read a book. For a start, you are forced to take the reading slowly. I actually found it very satisfying to dedicate one day a week to my reading and I looked forward to it, just like the latest episode of my favorite TV show. Then, to add to the experience, once a week I had a set of questions to make me think about what I had been reading. This made me concentrate on aspects of the book that I might not have paid much attention to and brought out details that I had not seen as important at the time of reading. However, the very best part of the experience is reading all the other answers and getting into discussions with other people about what has happened, what it means, what will happen next, etc, etc. This is a fairly new experience for me, because I rarely read something at the same time as someone else that I can communicate with during the process. I have been a member of my book group for almost two years now, and I love the discussions we have about the books we have read, but we only talk about them once we have finished. The chance to discuss books whilst still in the process of reading them is a true delight that I did not expect.
As another unexpected pleasure, I have now found a list of blogs that I like reading and friendly bloggers that I enjoy communicating with. Reading and writing the last posts for The Lies of Locke Lamora was a bitter-sweet experience: bitter that such a great book was over but sweet because I knew that we would all be reading Mr Lynch's second Gentleman Bastard book: Red Seas Under Red Skies. I have no doubt that I will feel bereft when we finish the RA for that book. However, I have my second RA group to help me through the crisis, and some people are in both groups, which is even better. Although we are only three weeks into Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, the host, Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings, is already talking about the group reading the second and third books in the series shortly after we finish. YAY!
This week we start Red Seas Under Red Skies, with questions due on Thursday and posts on Saturday. If you are interested in taking part, you can sign up here.
On May 21st we start Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. If you are interested in taking part, you can sign up here.