It’s nearly here! Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is coming up on Saturday April 25th (AKA tomorrow!). It only happens twice a year, so I spend a lot of time (about 6 months) counting down to the next one.
In case you’re new to this wonderful bookish event, Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a chance to join readers around the world as they set aside a full day to do nothing (or nearly nothing) but read. You can join in for the full stretch, for your normal waking day, or even just for a few hours – whatever time you can spare.
In addition to the reading, there are hourly challenges and plenty of online activity to make you feel like part of something big. And if you sign up as a reader, you can even request cheerleaders who will stop by and cheer you on!
I normally spend about 12 hours reading, and don’t do many hourly challenges because the internet is irresistible and if I let myself spend too long on it, I won’t get back off again. But I will have a running post that I’ll be updating with my progress, as well as some updates that I’ll be posting on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
This will be my third Readathon, so I’ve had two chances to make mistakes. On the plus side, you can learn from them. Here’s my roundup of things you need to know, and some useful tips that might help you make it through unscathed!
Find out when the Readathon starts in your time zone here.
Sign up as a reader (with your blog, Tumblr, Twitter account, Instagram or YouTube) here.
Sign up as a cheerleader here.
And if you’ve got some prizes you’d like to generously donate, you can do that here.
Dewey’s 24 Hour Redathon is on Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram and Facebook.
Important tips on reading material:
The first time I participated in the Readathon, I got a bit carried away. I picked mostly long or more challenging books. I figured with that much time at my disposal, it was a good time to really dig in. Which sounded great in theory, but in practice I discovered it was hard to stick with one story for that length of time. It was also hard to be on my first book (going at what felt like a snail’s pace) while I watched one Tweet after another zoom past with status updates for Readathon-ers who’d read 2, 3, 4 or even more books! So I re-thought my strategy.
How to pick Readathon books:
- Short is sweet. It’s great for morale to zip through your first book by the end of hour one, your second by hour three and your third by hour five. Closing one book after another helps keep you motivated – plus, you don’t end up feeling stuck in one story. It’s okay to have some longer ones in the mix, but be prepared to dip in and out of them, and try to pick fun, light reads.
- Variety is the spice of life. So you’ve got a few historical fiction books languishing on your TBR. Or there’s a whole stack of mysteries you’ve been planning to read – and looking forward to. But what if you settle in to read and discover you’re not in the mood for corsets? Or that the mysteries aren’t thrilling you? It’s good to have a few different types of books to choose from rather than a whole stack that fit the same genre and/or theme. Choose a selection of: short stories or essays, graphic novels, young adult fiction, something funny, something serious and something suspenseful. Even audiobooks can be a great change of pace – you can play one while you go for a walk or get some stuff done around the house if you’re getting restless.
- The more the merrier. I like having a big stack of books picked out – even though I know I’ll only get through a few of them. It’s exciting to see the colourful spines smiling at me, and it makes me feel like I’ve got a lot to look forward to!
- Life is short. Why stick with a book you’re just not feeling? Acknowledging your mood is vital during Readathon. If you try to stick with a book that you’re just not into, you’ll slow down, it’ll start to feel like a slog, you’ll be distracted by anything going on around you, and you’ll even start clock-watching. If, for whatever reason, you’re just not into the book you’re reading, move on to the next one. You can always go back later!
- Clean your house and stock up on snacks. It can be hard to concentrate if you’re looking at the dust bunnies collecting in the corner or trying to figure out what you can make out of whatever’s left in the back of your fridge. Sort it out ahead of time and you’re all set!
- Careful with the caffeine. Too soon and you’ll crash. Too late and you won’t be able to stop when it’s time to call it! Likewise resist the urge to pour yourself a cocktail unless you’re nearly done because that’s a quick way to a long nap!
- Figure out what schedule works best for you. Particularly if this is your first time at the rodeo, you don’t have to start at the very beginning (5AM?? Are you even serious right now?) if you’re not a morning person. You also don’t have to prop your eyes open with toothpicks if you’d really rather call it a night. If you can read for the full 24, great. If not, or if you have other real life things you can’t get out of, no big deal! Anything is better than nothing.
- Take breaks. Check out what’s happening on Twitter. Do a few laps around the block. Make a cup of tea. Post an update. Breaks aren’t cheating – they’re necessary.
- Find a Readathon buddy. Whether you spend part of the day at a friend’s house or have an online reading buddy, it’s great to have someone you can interact with periodically. You can cheer each other on, and when you feel like you’ve made a promise to someone to see something through, that can often help you stick with it when your resolve is faltering!
- Be comfy. Wear something you will be able to relax in (even if it’s pyjamas!) and get yourself a cozy pillow and nice fluffy blanket. The more comfortable you are physically, the easier it’ll be to lose yourself in your book!
- Change the scene. If you’re feeling uncomfortable or keep getting distracted, try changing locations. Last year I scouted several comfy spots around the house – some I regularly read in (my armchair, my bed) others I don’t (the bed in the spare room, the dining room – even the curve in the staircase at one point) – and I also wandered down to my local Starbucks for a while. Sometimes a new location can refresh your mind.
- Don’t beat yourself up. If you can’t focus and keep getting distracted, don’t feel bad. This is meant to be fun – not feel like homework. So what if you only end up logging a cumulative three hours? If you enjoyed it, and if it’s more reading than you usually get to do in a Saturday, call it a win.
How to get involved:
There’s a lot going on online during the readathon, which means there are a lot of ways you can get interactive!
- The first and easiest is to join in on Twitter. Tag @readathon and use the hashtag #readathon to become part of the conversation and check in on what everyone else is up to. You can post pictures of what you’re reading, share status updates and even chat with hosts and fellow participants.
- Post updates on your blog, YouTube channel, Tumblr or Insagram. You can either create one blog post that you go in and update throughout the day, do multiple posts, or post a roundup at the end of the readathon – whatever suits your style. You can also pre-record some YouTube content, or post short videos as you go along. And don’t forget to snap some selfies (or pictures of your cats, as the case may be) for Tumblr and Instagram!
- Check out Hourly Challenges and Prizes. I haven’t personally participated much in these (if I get too involved in online activities I find it hard to get back to reading), so I’ll direct you to the Readathon website for more info!
Alright, that’s it for my lessons learned! I know lots of you are veteran Readathoners (most have probably done it more times than I have), so this is where I invite you to share your advice in the comments. What did I miss? Anything I didn’t think of? If you wrote a Readathon prep post, link me to it!
Good luck, readers – I’ll be seeing you throughout the day tomorrow!