Reading Diary: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
I looked down at the city. I could see almost everything from here--the East River and the Hudson River carving the shape of Manhattan, the grid of streets, the lights of skyscrapers, the dark stretch of Central Park in the north. Everything looked normal, but something was wrong . . .
"I don't . . . hear anything," Annabeth said.
That was the problem.
Even from this height, I should have heard the noise of the city--millions of people bustling around, thousands of cars and machines--the hum of a huge metropolis . . .
"What did they do?" My voice sounded tight and angry. "What did they do to my city?"
Now I know why so many people went nuts over Harry Potter a few years ago--because I'm going nuts over Percy Jackson right now! Last weekend, I reread The Lightning Thief and then powered through the next four books of the series as if they were made of oxygen and I were drowning. Remember the year when I couldn't finish anything? Well, this seems to be the year when I will be finishing everything!
Apparently, all I need to do is to recreate the conditions of my unexpected long weekend: an illness which kept me from work for an additional two days and a glitch which took out my Internet connection the whole time.
I turned to my friends. They looked stunned and scared, and I couldn't blame them. The shield had shown us at least three hundred enemies on their way. There were forty of us. And we were alone.
"All right," I said. "We're going to hold Manhattan . . . We need to guard the bridges and tunnels. Let's assume they'll try a midtown or downtown assault, at least on their first try. That would be the most direct way to the Empire State Building. Michael, take Apollo's cabin to the Williamsburg Bridge. Katie, Demeter's cabin takes the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel. Grow thorn bushes and poison ivy in the tunnel. Do whatever you have to do, but keep them out of there! Conner, take half of Hermes' cabin and cover the Manhattan Bridge. Travis, you take the other half and cover the Brooklyn Bridge. And no stopping for looting and pillaging! . . .
"Silena, take the Aphrodite crew to the Queens-Midtown Tunnel . . ." I closed my eyes, trying to think of what I'd forgotten. "The Holland Tunnel. Jake, take the Hephaestus cabin there. Use Greek fire, set traps. Whatever you've got . . ."
The last time I had a weekend of reading that was this epic, I didn't know that there was such a thing as the Internet. And that makes sense. You see, the real problem with going online isn't having to deal with all the distractions; it's becoming a distraction yourself. If I had had Internet access last weekend, I would have been busy livetweeting Pope Pius XI's encyclical Casti Connubii and taking notes for a Reading Diary entry on Jean Webster's novel Dear Enemy . . . too busy even to think about reading an entire five-book series. Yet none of it would have been work I really needed to do.
Of course, self-inflicted "busyness" isn't the only culprit. There's also that hang-up I've had since my brothers outgrew read-aloud in the evenings: a fear of reading alone . . . of finishing a fantastic book and finding that there is no one to share the experience with. Well, I finished five fantastic books over the weekend, all by my lonesome self, and I feel great!
Accordingly, my reading challenge of the year will be to read what I want to read and to stop worrying about getting others to join me. (This will surely affect the "Two or Three" Book Club, but I'm not yet sure how . . .)
But it's impossible to read in a vacuum, and I'll admit that the crowning glory of my reading marathon was the look on my brother Camera Man's face when he saw, for the first time, just how fast I can read. Until last weekend, he was the only member of my family who had never seen me inhale a novel, and he was simply floored at the feat. My Percy Jackson and the Olympians boxed set was his birthday present to me, and if you had asked him, last year, to estimate how long it would take me to get through all five novels, he might have said a month. (LOL!) I've told him he can get me a boxed set of the spin-off series, Heroes of Olympus, for my next birthday. =P
This post isn't really a review of Rick Riordan's series, but I'm already planning a future post about one thing I really loved about it. More of that blogging busyness, I guess, but the draft practically wrote itself in longhand, so I feel good about it. =)
Image Sources: a) The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan, b) Map of Manhattan Bridges and Tunnels