To put it simply, the Lenten Read-a-Thon is where we set aside novels, short stories, movies, and television for Lent and pick up some edifying nonfiction. Ash Wednesday this year is February 18th, but I am posting about this now so anyone who wants to join in will have opportunity to acquire this year's books. Behold, I have told you before.
The first time we did this, we read The New Complete Works of Josephus, which was some serious marathon reading. Although it was somewhat edifying, in order to finish in time, I had to read so much material that most of it went in one ear and out the other, or in one eye and out the other, as it were. I was considering repeating that folly with The Works of Philo, which, though shorter than Josephus, would still have meant twenty pages a day of tiny print. I'd rather read Philo at a slower and more meditative pace, so I decided to nix that idea.
Instead, I have alighted on two shorter works. The first is my selection and the second was selected for me; that is, it was given to me free by a priest who is urging his whole congregation to read it, and I figure Lent will be a good time to do so.
So the first book is this:
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
The Call to Joy of Matthew Kelly
Anyone at all is welcome to join in. With the editions I have, given that the forty-day fast of Lent is forty-six days (because that's how we Catholics roll), the reading comes out to a healthy and very do-able eight pages a day. Anyone who finishes early can feel free to start in on Philo.
Everyone is welcome to join. Reading begins next month on the 18th, and everyone is encouraged to finish the books before the Easter Vigil on April 4th.