So as you guys know, I participated in Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon for the first time yesterday. Hundreds of other booklovers joined in, either as readers or cheerleaders, posting and commenting on blogs, Instagram and Twitter.
I expected to enjoy spending a day reading, and challenging myself to get through as many pages as I could. But what I hadn’t realized was just how much fun the Read-a-thon community would be! Cheerleaders from Team Tiger stopped by my blog throughout the day, leaving encouraging comments and quotes (even though I had decided to update via Twitter as it took less time). Dewey’s Read-a-thon Twitter account (@readathon) interacted with my Tweets, and fellow readers also replied with encouragement, shared enthusiasm for the book I was reading and even traded cat pictures!
Of course, spending a day reading purposefully, without any guilt, was great. I had anticipated some trouble with drifting focus, distractions and tiredness. But what actually challenged me the most was physical comfort. I had back surgery a few years ago, and I’m definitely not in as good shape as I should be. So sitting for hour upon hour reading was really difficult – and painful – for me. I tried to change positions, chairs, get up and walk around periodically or do a couple of stretches, but still, by the end of the day I was feeling pretty sore.
I also didn’t pay too much attention to the suggestions to pick shorter, easier books to read so I’d feel like I was making progress more quickly. While I really enjoyed my chosen book, in retrospect I think that is really good advice, and next Read-a-thon I think I’ll choose several shorter books.
Despite these couple of minor issues, I am incredibly glad I participated! I think with more advance notice next time (I only found out about this one 5 hours before it started!) I’ll be able to make sure that I’ve got a good stack of books selected, some yummy reading snacks at hand, and maybe even add in some yoga poses to help stretch me out.
Now, on to my reading!
For my first Read-a-thon, I decided to read a book that has been staring at me temptingly since I finally got m hands on it earlier this week – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I’m working on a full review, but suffice it to say that even though this was longer and a bit more intricate than I think the ideal Read-a-thon book would be, I’m still glad I picked it because it was so good.
All told, I probably spent about 8 or 9 hours reading. Having found out about the Read-a-thon so late in the day, I decided to start late, so I didn’t get started until about 10:30 AM, took several breaks to make food, watch some TV, and do chores. Basically whenever my back was hurting. I stopped reading at about 2 AM, having finished this book and attempted to read The Cuckoo’s Calling, which I’m part way through at the moment. But I got tired, and with today being Thanksgiving here in Canada and entailing some family events that I need to be awake for, I decided not to push through until the end.
I think I did pretty well, and am pleased with having finished Fangirl in one day. The Read-a-thon itself was amazingly well coordinated, the folks who ran it did an excellent job of setting up cheerleaders, engaging with participants, and creating a thoroughly enjoyable event. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for future Read-a-thons, and can’t wait to give it another go!
Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-A-Thon came up with a survey for participants, so rather than do a whole separate post, I’m adding my answers here!
- Which hour was most daunting for you? I didn’t do the full 24 hours, but of the time I participated, I’d say first and last. First because I was a bit intimidated, and last because I was so tired!
- Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Anything that isn’t too long, isn’t too involved, and has the kind of plot that really grips you. It could be different depending on the interests of the reader, but things like the Harry Potter books, most good YA lit, thrillers, mysteries or good literary fiction.
- Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Maybe try to avoid weekends with holidays in as many countries as you can? Wasn’t much of a problem for me, but I did see some chatter about people who couldn’t participate because it was Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, and family commitments intervened. Other than that, I think it was excellently organized, planned and executed, and am in awe of what you guys accomplished! Oh, one idea that might not be at all practical – for newbie readers, maybe you could help match them up with more experienced readers who could answer questions and make sure to engage with them throughout the day. For me, interacting with people on Twitter really made the whole experience. Having a “Read-a-thon buddy” would make it a really positive experience for those who aren’t already involved in the online book community. Just a thought – might be far too difficult to organize!
- What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I was a last-minute addition, so I didn’t get a chance to engage with pre-event posts and info, and I didn’t really do any of the hourly challenges or post updates for cheerleaders to comment on. But from what I can tell, the interaction on Twitter, having a hashtag so I could see what other readers were saying and engage with them all made it feel like a community event, and that made it amazing for me. I tip my hat to the organizers, because I know how much work goes into organizing something on this scale. Having cheerleaders, prizes, guest hosts every hour or few hours and a troupe of bloggers who helped be the face of the event all made it a wonderful event for us book-lovers!
- How many books did you read? Because I only found out about the event 5 hours before it started, I hadn’t really prepared myself mentally or in terms of time and supplies for a proper 24 hours. So I only got through one book – but even that is a good accomplishment for about 8 or 9 hours of reading – considering it was a longer one!
- What were the names of the books you read? I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell from start to finish, and I dipped in and out of Confessions of a Hater by Caprice Crane, The Cuckoo’s Calling by J K Rowling and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick.
- Which book did you enjoy most? Fangirl, hands down!
- Which did you enjoy least? Didn’t really get into Confessions of a Hater, and The Cuckoo’s Calling just wasn’t what I was in the mood for.
- If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I wasn’t a cheerleader, but I can tell you they rocked!
- How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I’ll definitely be joining in every chance I get. I’ll be a reader, but I did enjoy engaging with others on Twitter, and I think next time I’d try to set aside some time to visit other reader’s blogs and leave them some encouragement too!
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