Books Magazine

It's Readathon Time!

By Mle_vnc @Backlist_Books
It's Readathon Time!
It's time for the Spring 24 Hour Readathon! This will be my second Readathon - and I'm hopeful that I'll do slightly better than the first time around! My first Readathon (last fall) was a bit of a gong show. Not only was it my first, but I didn't find out about it until the day before it began, so I had very little time to prepare! I now know some important trick and tips for surviving (and succeeding at) 24 hours of reading.
Here are some tips (based on mistakes I made) so you'll be better prepared than I was:
1. Find a comfy spot - but don't stay there too long.
I thought curling up in my comfy armchair would be a perfect reading strategy - but after 4 or 5 hours my back started aching like crazy, and once the pain started, I couldn't get rid of it. This time around I'll be cycling through different reading spots (comfy chair, kitchen table, desk, couch, even lying on the bed) every hour or so in an attempt to avoid the same problem! I might even toddle down the hill to my neighbourhood Starbucks and read there for awhile.
2. Snacks.
You will need them.
3. Decide ahead of time if you plan to post blog updates.
I never realized how long it takes to write a simple blog post until I was watching the clock for the Readathon. My advice is to either publish one post that you can go in and edit with updates on hours read and reading progress throughout the day, or to come up with an easy template you can copy and add in your reading progress to.
4. Get in on the Twitter action!
I had so much fun interacting with Readathon folks on Twitter last time around! I ended up doing this rather than updating my blog. First, follow the official Readathon account @readathon. Then on the day tag your tweets with #Readathon (or even #CatLadiesofReadathon, which became a big thing for me last time, what with three cats constantly trying to interrupt my reading) and occasionally check in on the hashtag to see what's going on! (Also check on #Dewey.)
5. Pick books wisely.
You've probably got a bunch of big, long, intimidating books sitting on your shelves but rarely have time to sit down and really wade into them. So you might think, "hmmm, 24 hours of reading? That should be enough time to make a dent in War and Peace." ROOKIE MISTAKE. First of all, you're getting up (if you're in my part of the world) at a ridiculously early hour to read. Reading has a tendency to make a person tired. Reading War and Peace? Even with 12 cups of coffee you're not keeping your eyes open reading that at 5AM, lemme tell ya.
You also want to feel like you're making progress. And while seeing a chunk of a huge book go by can be satisfying, it's even more satisfying to read a short book and finish the entire thing. Short books (even novellas) and ones that are easy to read are key.
And finally, make the books ones you're genuinely excited to read - and have a stack ready so that if one isn't grabbing you, you can put it down and move on to the next. This is the time to be fickle.
6. Get some exercise.
In addition to changing your reading spot and position periodically, it helps to get moving. If you're hard-core readathoning and want to take minimal breaks, do some jumping jacks, stretches, sit-ups and run in place (horizontally or upright) every once in awhile. If you're okay with only reading for some of the day, going for a walk or tidying up the house here and there just to get the blood flowing is a great idea. (Oh, and don't forget to rest your eyes every now and again!)
7. Minimize distractions.
Send the kids to a friend's house. Turn off the TV. Select music carefully. Turn off alerts on your phone. Whatever it takes to keep you focused!
8. Consider audiobooks.
No matter how much of a reader you are, 24 hours is TOUGH. Download a couple of audiobooks, and when you're feeling really sluggish, switch to listening and do something active. This is also a great tip for those who intend to read for the full 24 - this way you can keep "reading" while making food, walking the dog or whatever else you simply can't get out of doing.
Bonus Tip: This one's from the hubs, who says (and I paraphrase), "Here's a tip. Cheat. Just say you read a bunch of books, then you can hang out with me instead." So there's always that option.
If you're new to the Readathon, you can visit Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon website to find out more here. If you're not signed up yet, you can do so here. If this is the first you've heard about this brilliant event and you want to observe for a spell, or if you have plans this weekend that will prevent you from participating for the whole thing (though I strongly recommend that you invent an illness and do this instead of whatever else you were supposed to be doing), you can sign up to cheerlead participants here.
If you're scared of the whole 24 Hour thing, remember you can read for as much or as little of the day as you want to! You can even informally participate (last time I just read for a chunk of the day and got in on the Twitter activity).
Good luck!

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