The Last Unicorn Read-along: Wrap-up

Posted July 16, 2013 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments

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It’s time for the round-up of the The Last Unicorn Read-Along! It’s been a little longer in coming than I’d anticipated and I deeply apologise for that. Life has a way of, well, getting in the way. But the round-up is here now! We didn’t have a large amount of participation, I’m afraid to say, but I hope everyone who did participate had fun! (And thank you for joining me once again!)

I’ll be linking the posts in groups per week like so [Name: Post Title], though I’ll be shortening my own titles and titles that don’t immediate make it clear what the post is about. You also get a bonus post linking to Stainless Steel Droppings because Carl is an amazing short story reviewer and both his post and the discussions in the comments are, while not a part of the read-along, still of interest to anyone who wants to learn more about the available stories set in The Last Unicorn‘s storyverse. ^_^

Welcome to the Last Unicorn Read-along! (DreamWidth)

Lynn: Week 1 (DreamWidth)
Cheryl: The Last Unicorn Read-Along, Week 1

Lynn: Week 2 (DreamWidth)
Cheryl: The Last Unicorn Read-Along, Week 2

Lynn: Week 3: Movie (DreamWidth)
Cheryl: The Last Unicorn Read-Along, Movie Edition

Lynn: Week 3: Short Stories and Graphic Novel (DreamWidth)
Mene: Book review: “Two Hearts” by Peter S. Beagle
Carl: The Woman Who Married the Man in the Moon ~Peter S. Beagle

That’s all the links I’ve got, so please let me know if I’ve missed out on any!

And now for the personal babbling about this read-along. As you may have heard me mention quite a few times, this is the first read-along I’ve hosted. It’s also the first read-along I’ve participated in. Nothing like jumping off the deep-end, I suppose? But that’s not really what this is about. I’ve talked about it before the times when I mentioned toying with the idea of doing/holding a read-along. This is more reflective, now that I’ve done it.

I didn’t go out of my way to announce the read-along or promote it. It was a scary endeavour, so I actually wanted to keep it small. The fewer people involved the less pressure on me and the less chance of spiking my anxiety to the point where I’d have to bail on people. That’d be fine (sad, but fine) if I were participating in someone else’s read-along, but not so much if I’m, you know hosting the read-along. So small was better. I’d actually hoped to see a little more participation from friends, but ah well. I’m not about to try and force people to do things they don’t want to do. I’d just looked forward to nattering about a story near and dear to me. ^-^ (Er, so I hope none of my friends end up feeling guilty now that I’ve admitted that! I didn’t say it to make people feel guilty… And I shan’t let the demon chorus win and make me take it out either.)

Anyway! I actually had a lot of fun. I’m a literary student, but not a terribly good one. I’m not disciplined enough nor clear enough in my arguments. I loathed writing essays, but coming up with discussion questions and rambling about my responses to those questions was surprisingly easy and I loved, loved, loved reading other people’s thoughts and opinions on the book and on the questions I’d posed!

Clearly, I fail at generating longer discussions and I’m not quire sure how to improve on that, but I also need to work on my questions! I think it’d help if I managed to stick to a more question-based way of discussing things. I’m not sure why I didn’t, actually. It’s how I prefer to discuss and poke things. I suppose it’s all the many feels I have for the story getting in the way. (That and I didn’t get to write on it during my time at university. Tragic! Although I got to write about Tam Lin, so I suppose it evens out in the end.)

Question-wise… I got a little too specific at times, especially for the movie, which I know incredibly well. That’s actually predominantly caused by two different factors. First of all, because I know the movie so well, the things that a first-time (or almost first-time) viewer would notice might well have largely become background noise for me and I wouldn’t ask them because I no longer really notice their importance. And I also tried to keep the discussion tied to the book rather than really let it veer off into its own tangent if it wanted to. That’s something that wasn’t quite balanced and something I didn’t know needed balancing until after the fact. It’s very tempting to apologise to people, so I’m trying hard not to do that. I don’t think it was too terrible an attempt for a first time.

And, of course, by the time the discussion for Two Hearts and related came about I’d completely run out of questions. Actually, I had some questions ready, but by this time I’d run out of confidence that my questions were any good — I’d already come up with so many — and I’d run out of desire to write yet another post centred around discussion questions. Probably because I’d asked so many questions already, but also partially because I didn’t have that many for the graphic novel adaptation. It felt unbalanced. I’m not sure how to go about that differently. It was quite freeing not to have to worry about whether I was coming up with good questions and trying to come up with interesting comments or points. It was different and that might have actually been welcome at that point. I’m not sure. I’d love to hear people’s thoughts!

Would I host another read-along? Yes. I would. When I toyed with the idea of a read-along for The Last Unicorn, I was also already toying with a read-along for Seaward by Susan Cooper since it’s getting rereleased this year. (Finally. It is awesome and if you’re a fan of fantasy, especially that drawing on Celtic lore, I’d say it’s a must-read. Even if you don’t decide to participate in the read-long or if I decide I’m not doing a read-along after all! It’s quite short too, so it won’t take you very long to read.) I’m still torn on whether or not I want to do that, largely because I have no idea what kind of discussion questions I would ask. I simply don’t have a strong enough grounding to be confident or, more to the point, to have the words I need to make questions. So if I do do a read-along, I might stick to topics rather than questions and see how that goes. Possibly I might see about roping in someone to co-host the read-along too. That’d be a lot of fun too. (So, yes, if that sounds like a fun way to spend a couple of your weeks in August/September, let me know ASAP.)

I’d love to hear comments on what people liked and didn’t like too, especially since I seem to be planning another read-along already! (I know I need to promote it more, but I’m afraid I’m not sure how to go about it, so thoughts and tips on that would be nice too.)

Again, I hope everyone had fun!

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