The Great Read-a-Thon 2012

I am going to tell you a story. It is about reading and betrayal.


Once, a long time ago in elementary school, there was the Reading Rainbow contest. The contest was pretty sweet: The school put up a giant  rainbow in the cafeteria and gave us some kind of little name card in the shape of a butterfly. They sent you home with a reading log that your parents would have to sign off on and then every week they'd calculate how long you spent reading. The teachers would then convert that time into motion across the rainbow, and you'd get to watch your butterfly compete with all the other people in your class. Pretty rad, right? 
What I was thinking back then was, "Finally, Rogue River Elementary School! This is the kind of contest I can win!"

I was actually thinking, "There is absolutely no way anyone can win this except me." 

Week after week, I kept submitting my reading log to my teacher. Week after week, she kept calling my parents, asking me if I made it up. Both parties were puzzled. My parents just shrugged helplessly and vouched for me, having already submitted to the fact that their one and only daughter would grow up with devastatingly under-developed social skills that spawned from the fact that she was a nerd. 

One day, while eating lunch, I looked up from my book to gaze at the rainbow and saw that my butterfly was a different color. 

"Ah-ha!" I thought. "They've finally recognized that I am a reading tornado and nothing will come in the way of my complete domination of this contest. Bwah, ha-ha, ha-ha."

Imagine my horror, then, when I got up to inspect my new butterfly and realized that the name Ariana did not appear. Instead, the name plaque read, "Kristen". I sounded out the name in my head, tasting the bitter defeat on my tongue as I mused on my new nemesis. 

I went back to my seat and looked directly across from me at my best friend. Kristen looked up from her book and smiled innocently. "Did you want my milk?" she asked me, offering the tiny container to me. 

I took the milk from her outstretched palm, smiling tightly at her and murmured, "Thanks." Before the words were even out of my mouth, I saw her look down and become absorbed back in to her book. 

"Traitor." I thought to myself, filled with the kind of irrational rage that only an elementary-schooler can have over a contest about reading. Then I stuck my miniature straw into the milk carton and slurped noisily, spitefully trying to rob my friend of the extra 10 minutes she would be able to put on her log that night. The milk tasted bitter, like defeat. 


So that's why Kristen and I are still friends. If you can't beat your friend at a contest involving reading, you can just shrug and accept that you'll eventually score lower on the SATs and then only get accepted into a community college.

Kristen and I both still read quite a bit. I read mostly for school now, but Kristen reads a lot for fun. Thus, we have The Great Read-a-Thon contest. We will each list the books we've read and see who has read more at the end of the year. 

RULE NUMBER ONE: We have to have read the ENTIRE book. Example: I was assigned to read Ulysses by James Joyce for class but then our teacher had us read the last third and segments from Dubliners. I don’t get credit for either book because I didn’t actually read them in their entirety. That said, Kristen and I have both read Dubliners before in high school, so that wouldn’t count anyway. This leads me to. . .
RULE NUMBER TWO: You can’t list books you’ve already read unless you don’t remember reading them at all.
RULE NUMBER THREE: Look, I'm not taking literature classes as much as I'm taking classes about plays and shit, so those are going up there too. Deal with it, hoss!

*Last Update: 12-16-12*

Ariana: 14, unless you take out the plays. . .in which case. . .9
1-14-12: Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie
1-29-2012: A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennesse Williams
3-18-2012: Taming of the Shrew - SHAKESPEARE, HOMIE.
3-27-2012: Midsummer Night's Dream - Shackspree
4-5-2012: Merchant of Venice - Wllm Shkspr
4-12-2012: Measure for Measure - Shakes, Pear E.
5-30-2012: Safari Jema - Teresa O'Kane
6-2-2012: Shades of Gray - Jasper Fjorde (Please note: This is not related to 50 Shades of Grey, which is that terrible trashy book everyone has been talking about.)
6-23-2012: Every Boy's Got One - Meg Cabot (This book, however, was trashy and terrible.)
8-30-2012: My Mortal Enemy - Willa Cather
9-17-2012: The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison
11-2-2012: Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller
11-5-2012: I've Got Your Number - Sophie Kinsella (Terrrrrrible.)
12-16-2012: The Game - Neil Strauss
12-31-2012: Nanjing Requiem - Ha Jin

Kristen: 10
1-22-12: The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
1-27-12: The Girl Who Kicked a Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson
3-7-12: The Pillars of Earth by Ken Follett
6-7-12: The Most Important Fish in the Sea by H. Bruce Franklin
6-16-12 World War Z by Max Brooks
6-18-12 Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson (Extremely trashy and yet....quite amusing.)
8-15-12 A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin (finally.)
8-20-12 The Possibility of an Island by Michel Houellebecq (I started this in June....and could never quite finish it. It was my literary response to reading Undead and Unwed.)
9-18-12 Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
10-24-12 The Other Hand by Chris Cleave
12-26-12 Coldheart Canyon by Clive Barker
12-30-12 The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman

Check back regularly to see if we’ve read anything else. Kristen will probably win.