Are you wondering what #RealTimeReadingADOW means? I’m putting on my professor hat and answering a few FAQs.

Q. What is a Real-Time Reading?
A. A real-time reading is what happens when we read the relevant chapter(s) of a book (usually ADOW or SON) on the day or days on which the action in that chapter occurs. In the case of ADOW, all the action in the book takes place between 18 September and 31 October.

Q. Why on earth would I want to do a real-time reading?
A. Most of us read books once, and we read them fast. As I’m always telling my students, when you read a book for a second (third, fourth, fifth…) time and read it slowly you will see aspects of the story you didn’t see the first time. You might see hints of things to come and foreshadowing, because now you know how the book ends. You might appreciate characters in a different way, because now YOU are a different person. You might think of questions you never had before.

Q. How does a real-time reading work?
A. It’s simple. First, get a copy of the calendar that plots out the chapters in ADOW and the dates they correspond with. You can do this by downloading the free companion ebook (be sure to click on the link for your country in this post: OR you can download a free calendar and print it out thanks to our friends at The Tenth Knot ( Then you find your copy of ADOW. Get a cup of tea, a glass of wine–the picture shows what reader Laura Ventura of the AllSoulsCon has ready for her reading–and set aside a bit of your day to revisit your friends in the book. You can swing by here and see what I’ve posted to accompany your reading. Sometimes it ‘s a song, a picture, an explanation of what inspired me, or another glimpse into the creative process. This year, I might share some of the challenges we’re facing bringing the book to the tv screen.

Q. Are there other ways to participate?
A. Of course. Reading is the #1 way people participate, but you can also post a photo/question/comment in any of my real-time reading posts on Facebook. You can also post a photo/question/comment on Twitter or Instagram–just be sure you use the #RealTimeReadingADOW tag so I see it. And if you want your post to show up on the website in the “FANS RESPOND” feature, you should also use the #deborahharkness tag. If you really want an active discussion of the books with lots of like-minded friends here on Facebook, request membership in the All Souls Discussion Group ( With more than 4000 members, this is the biggest “book club” you’re likely to belong to!

Though we officially started on 18 September, the day Diana met Ashmole 782 for the first time, we are on pause today and tomorrow. The next chapter–and my next post–will be up on 21 September when Matthew and Diana have their fateful meeting in the Bodleian. So you’ve still got time to join us on our annual All Souls real-time reading.