Posts tagged ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’

Getting a Read on “Madness,” One Book at a Time

Kicking off Thursday at noon, this year’s Penn State Marathon Reading will feature 10 books united by “madness and psychological themes.” For 24 (or so) hours straight, the normally tranquil lawn in front of Pattee and Paterno Libraries figures to get pretty intense.MARATHON

This year marks the fourth annual Marathon Reading, and after taking part in the first two—we read Catch-22 in 2012 and One Hundred Years of Solitude in 2013—I can vouch for this being a really cool event. I’m still kicking myself for missing last year’s marathon read, which introduced the theme concept with readings of famously banned books Brave New World, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Fahrenheit 451. Sarah Denes of the School of Languages and Literatures, which co-hosts the reading, says a theme event gives readers and curious listeners alike the chance to “come and sit for maybe an hour and hear an entire reading.”

Whether you’re reading, listening, or (ideally) both, the marathon reading is a group effort. Denes says 328 people read at last year’s event, most for just five or 10 minutes at a time. Exceptions include the classes that drop in as a group—meaning each student might only read for two minutes—and the hearty bibliophiles who stick around for the overnight stretch. Denes says that last year, “there was one person who read for 25 minutes at 4:30 in the morning.”

I’m not quite that enthusiastic—or, well, crazy—but I’m excited to read during daylight hours on Thursday, hopefully while the opening book, Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, is still underway. The marathon is set to end early Friday afternoon with Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, and like nearly all of the titles, you can expect to hear it both in English and at least one other language. Depending on when you show up, you might hear Kafka in German, Lu Xun in Chinese, or Camus in French.

Oh, and if you’re there Thursday afternoon, you might also recognize some of the readers: President Eric Barron and women’s volleyball coach Russ Rose are both set to read in the opening few hours, not long after we kick things off with the event’s now-traditional opening reader, Sue Paterno.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

September 23, 2015 at 9:02 am 1 comment

100 Years of Reading, in About 24 Hours

English professor Chris Reed introduced the book as a “perfect” choice for the format, because “the plot’s not really the point. You can walk away for a while and come back, and pick it right back up.” Sue Paterno ’62 took the podium for the first reading, apologizing in advance for any of the Spanish names she might mispronounce. And then she dove right into One Hundred Years of Solitude, the subject of the second annual Penn State Marathon Reading.

Sue Reads

The classic of “magical realism” by Colombian author and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude seems an appropriate follow-up to Catch-22, which kicked off this new tradition last fall. Like Catch-22, Marquez’s book is filled with absurdity, humor, and characters with memorably (and sometimes confusingly) colorful names. And of course, like Joseph Heller’s classic, it uses all those tricks to open (and occasionally blow) its readers’ minds.

The event kicked off at 1 p.m. Thursday and is expected to continue through early Friday afternoon, or however long it takes for the hundreds of volunteer readers—students, faculty, local luminaries, and yours truly, at 7 a.m. Friday—to get through it. Late-night pizza, early-morning donuts, and lots of caffeine were supplied to keep things moving. If you stop by the reading—you can’t miss the tent set up in front of Pattee/Paterno Library—you might hear passages being read in the original Spanish; there were copies available in French and what I think was Mandarin, as well.

As a participant, I hope this is the second Marathon Reading of many. What a fun thing to be a part of.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

September 5, 2013 at 6:48 pm 1 comment

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