In October 2007, Dewey from The Hidden Side of a Leaf (her blog has since been taken down, so this link won’t work but it is archived at the WayBack Machine) started the 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, an event that was inspired by 24 Hour Comics Day. In her words, here’s how the read-a-thon got started (posted on August 30, 2007):
My husband and son go to 24 Hour Comics Day, an annual event held in October. My role has always been to drive them there and pick them up the next morning, so that my husband doesn’t have to drive half an hour after being up all night working on his comic.
When I participated in MotherReader’s 48 Hour Book Challenge this past spring (and even won a prize!), I was reminded of the 24 Hour Comics Day. That weekend, I decided that this October 20th (a Saturday), while my husband and son are off making comics, I would hold a 24 Hour Readathon. Ideally, if it goes well, I’d like to make it an annual thing.
When Dewey first started the read-a-thon in October 2007, 37 people participated. When she again hosted the read-a-thon in June 2008, 69 people participated. At Dewey’s last read-a-thon in October 2008, there were 119 people participating. As someone who helped Dewey with the organization and execution of the read-a-thon, I can tell you that she was blown away by the response to her idea.
The read-a-thon, in about one year’s time, became such a cornerstone of the book blogging community that the event was nominated for best event/carnival/meme for BBAW. It didn’t win, but Dewey really appreciated the nomination.
After Dewey passed away in November 2008, the three of us who had helped Dewey with the past two read-a-thons, Hannah (WordLily), Ana (Nymeth), and Trish (Hey Lady!) knew we wanted to continue the tradition. We certainly don’t expect to live up to the high standard that Dewey set for us, but we can certainly try.
Updated November 2009: There is now a French version of the read-a-thon! They had their first read-a-thon in June 2009 and had 10 people participate. They’re already planning another read-a-thon for 2010!
There is also a German version in the works! Their first read-a-thon is scheduled for February 6, 2010.
Updated September 2010: The read-a-thon has been a great success in France! The first read-a-thon had 10 readers, and now they’re up to 54!