It’s possibly the only nationally recognized “month” to span regularly two months and two years, occasionally two decades, and even two centuries every hundred years or so. It’s National Novel Reading Month, celebrated each year from December 15-January 15.
The days are miserably short, the holiday frenzy stifling, the sweets irresistible, the compulsion to max out the credit cards downright intoxicating. – when better to curl up with a really good novel and escape it all?
As with any proper significant celebration, there are rules – five to be exact except there is no #5 as it happens. There is a rule about length (at least 50,000 words). There’s a rule about reading “at least one novel from a new author or from a (sub) genre you don’t typically read (or may have even heard of, e.g. New Weird and Cyberpunk [or even New Weird Punk’}” The rules are on the NaNoReadMo website, of course.
You’ll also find a FAQ Sheet on the website – definitive answers to probing questions, e.g. “Do I have to have a list before I start? What happened to spontaneity?” Turns out it’s recommended you have a list but you are not absolutely required to do so Another important fact is that the instigators of NaNoReadMo are facing head-on the fact that some readers want to be able to relate with fellow readers of the same book – they are working on a forum to facilitate those essential links.
The rules and fact sheet are pretty straightforward, probably enough to get you over the 2011-2012. Readers plagued, stymied or otherwise distracted by unanswered questions can email email@example.com for quick and lucid response. Better yet, ask an independent bookseller or a friendly librarian for tips on a good read.
[Editor’s note: NaNoReadMo is not to be confused with NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, which takes place in November every year. You’ll see frenzied writers hunched over computers in coffeehouses throughout the month, trying to commit 50,000 words of fiction before midnight on November 30. Full disclosure: Did it once, wish I had time to do it again! MCT]