April 2017

The All-Event #IGreadathon Challenge!

Time for something special! Amanda from Fig and Thistle Books, and a long-time friend-of-the-thon, had a rad idea: an ALL-EVENT CHALLENGE! Here’s the scoop!

  • Each account is allowed to post 24 images using the #IGReadathon AND #FigThistleBooks hashtags.
  • At the end of the readathon, Amanda will use a random number generator to select a winner!
  • Prize: $15 book of your choice from the Book Depository.  This challenge is international.

Now get going!

April 2017

Warm Up: In Honor

There is so much to love about Dewey’s readathon. The community, the books, the challenges, and the prizes?? It’s a book nerd’s dream come true. But there’s something else that I’ve always loved about it. That it is an event carried on in memory of a book blogger named Dewey by friends who loved and respected her. And it’s an opportunity to get to know somebody that I unfortunately missed out on while they were with us in this confusing, exciting world. When you tell someone who isn’t in the book blogging community about the book blogging community, it’s hard to emphasize how much love there is. Dewey’s readathon epitomizes that love.

For this reason, I’d like you to meet, or remember, a woman named Heather Croxon. She was a great friend to me and many other readers. She blogged at Bits & Books. A few months ago Heather was in a random, tragic accident and she passed away at only 31 years old.

Her positivity was infectious. The sweet Aussie was always down to help with any project. Like many of us, she was funny and a little bit snarky. What I loved best about Heather was how welcoming she was to everybody. And she had that magical gift of being able to make perfect recommendations. It was very clear that she really listened, was interested in learning about a person’s interests, and would think of you when she read or saw something that would totally be your jam. Thank you, Heather, for The Kettering Incident, the most me TV show there ever was.

It’s strange mourning in the age of the internet. Especially when the person you are mourning had such an internet presence. All of Heather’s social media accounts are still there. Her blog is still there. Instead of over the years slowly forgetting the specifics of a person we loved, we can revisit their thoughts as if they were speaking to you right then and there. And her blog is a wealth of bookish delight that everyone should check out.

This readathon, I want to ask you to do two things. The first thing is to remember Heather Croxon and any other bloggers and readers we may have lost this year. Please share your memories of them in the comments below, so we can learn a little bit more about our community. The second thing is to check out this list of some of Heather’s favorite books this readathon. Let’s keep the memory of our friends alive through the things they loved most!

The Night Manager by John le Carre (or most anything by him)

The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

Messages from a Lost World: Europe on the Brink by Stefan Zweig

The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

Inside the Head of Bruno Shulz by Maxim Biller

The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

The Wonder Lover by Malcolm Knox

Airmail by Marieke Hardy

Watchmen by Alan Moore

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

Dear Reader by Paul Journal

Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt

Thank you so very much to Julianne for this remembrance and for getting to the heart of what we hope to do here, twice a year, to honor Dewey and our book community. You can find Julianne on Twitter at @outlandishlit or her blog.

April 2017

Warm Up: 21 Short Books in 7 Genres!

*Andi says: “Just in time for a last minute library run or download!”

One of my favorite things about the days leading up to readathon is seeing everyone’s towering TBR piles. All those gorgeous books!

My TBR tends to be … less tower and more cottage. This is because I’m a slow reader. I read every word, often twice (or three times). I sound out unfamiliar names. It can take me a while to get through a book, especially a long book.

Since one of my other favorite things about readathon is the satisfaction of ticking titles off my TBR list, I like to have at least a few shorter books on hand.

If you’re like me and looking for recommendations of shorter books, here is a starter list of quick reads. Some are newer. Some are older. Some are even older than that. Most are between 100-200 pages (give or take). For children’s, YA, and poetry, I’ve included a few in the 200-350 range since they tend to have larger font and less text per page.

I’m still working on my readathon TBR, so please let me know your suggestions in the comments!

Literary Fiction

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, translated by Gregory Rabassa. This novella was my introduction to Marquez’s work and the book that made me fall in love with his writing. The Vicaro twins announce their intention to murder Santiago Nasar, but somehow, no one passes that message to Nasar. Heartrending, gorgeously written, and utterly riveting.

Paperback page count: 128

Sula by Toni Morrison. This short novel packs a wallop. Nel Wright and Sula Peace were close growing up until an accident drove them apart. Ten years after leaving town, Sula returns. Fireworks ensue in this emotionally complex and challenging (in the good way) story.

Paperback page count: 192

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka. The fates of Japanese picture brides, sent to the U.S. to marry men they knew only from photos, are explored in this mesmerizing novel told in the third person plural. Let me say that again: third person plural. It’s brilliant.

Paperback page count: 144

Classics

Daphnis and Chloe by Longus, translated by Paul Turner. This 2-4th century Ancient Greek novella packs more action, adventure, and romance into 100+ pages than I ever thought possible—pirates, abductions, attempted abductions, and insight into Ancient Greece values, traditions, and ways of life. Also, it’s funny!

Paperback page count: 128

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. During a bleak New England winter, Ethan Frome falls in love with his sickly wife’s vibrant young cousin. It’s Edith Wharton, so stunning prose plays counterpoint to ironic tragedy. Yet it still manages to be tense and suspenseful while waiting for the inevitable hammer to come crashing down.

Paperback page count: 77

Passing by Nella Larsen. In 1920s Harlem, childhood friends Irene and Clare—who is passing as a white woman, including to her racist husband—reconnect. Irene is wary of Clare’s increasingly insistent overtures, which lead to a tragic climax in this difficult and important novel that confronts the anguish and rage racism causes.

Paperback page count: 160

 Children’s/Middle Grade Fiction

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. Amidst the chaos and deprivation of the Depression, 10-year-old Bud Caldwell searches for his father after his mother’s death. A spirited and beautiful story that kept me fervently reading to the very last word.

Paperback page count: 272

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. Inspired by her father’s folktales, Minli sets off on a journey to improve her family’s fortune. This warm-hearted story about the power of storytelling goes by much too fast.

Paperback page count: 320

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. Or any of DiCamillo’s novels. They might leave you sobbing, but it’ll be cathartic sobbing. She’s genius at distilling complicated, overwhelming emotions into lean, raw, powerful stories, for any age.

Paperback page count: 272

 Young Adult Fiction

A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley. To recover her health, sickly Penelope is sent from London to the English country estate where her ancestors worked for centuries. While there, she discovers she can slip through a gap in time back to the 1560s, where she discovers a plot to rescue Mary, Queen of Scots. Penelope knows the plot will fail but can’t change the outcome. It’s a powerful, gripping story about the value of witnessing.

Paperback page count: 336

The Wee Free Men (Tiffany Aching #1) by Terry Pratchett. If you haven’t yet dipped into Pratchett’s Discworld series, this is a great place (and time!) to start. Nine-year-old Tiffany discovers she’s a witch in this charming, moving, and hilarious story.

Paperback page count: 352

 Long Division by Kiese Laymon. In 2013, 14-year-old City Coldson delivers a blistering diatribe at a patronizing spelling bee and becomes an overnight YouTube star. His mom packs him off to his grandma’s rural town with a book called Long Division. Which is about a boy called City Coldson set in 1985. The 1985 City travels back to 1964, and things get twisty from there. I didn’t always follow the thread, but I couldn’t put it down.

Paperback page count: 276

Middle Grade/YA Poetry

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. I read this memoir in verse while in a major reading slump, and the gorgeous sensory poems kept my eyes glued to the pages. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about reading it. Her poems read like memories feel—snapshots of moments woven together to create a larger narrative.

Paperback page count: 368

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. Lai’s autobiographical story follows Hà’s childhood in Saigon, her family’s flight from the city by ship, and her struggle to adapt to being a refugee in the U.S. Emotional intensity is expressed through sense images, which keeps readers grounded in Hà’s experience. I started reading it on my phone and then couldn’t stop until I got to the end.

Paperback page count: 288

Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings by Margarita Engle. Set in the 1950s and 60s, Engle’s story takes readers from her parents’ first meeting to her 14th year. Her poems often revolve around place – her mother’s birthplace of Cuba before and during the revolution, California where Engle grew up, and Europe during a summer trip after she can’t return to Cuba. It’s an evocative combination of travel writing, poetry, and coming-of-age, with incisive insight into the experience of being a second generation American.

Paperback page count: 224

Memoir

Mom and Me and Mom by Maya Angelou. If you’ve been following Emma Watson’s book club, you might have seen her hiding copies on the subway for lucky travelers to discover. Angelou’s moving, inspiring memoir focuses on her relationship with her mother and reads like prose poetry. I read it straight through a few years ago (but and it wasn’t even during a readathon).

Paperback page count: 224

84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff. A charming, heartening collection of letters sent between Hanff, a straight-talking New York City writer, and an antiquarian London bookshop. From the first letter Hanff sent in 1949 seeking a rare book, we follow her and the booksellers’ relationship spanning more than 20 years.

Paperback page count: 112

Ill Met By Moonlight by W. Stanley Moss. This is a fascinating read for fans of nonfiction about WWII. It’s Moss’ diary of his mission to kidnap a German general from occupied Crete, aided by Patrick Leigh Fermor and the Greek resistance.

Paperback page count: 212

Speculative Fiction

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells. Chaos ensues after a scientist figures out how to make himself invisible but can’t make himself visible again. Suspenseful, philosophical, and creepy, it raises timeless questions about the relationship between humans and technology/science.

Paperback page count:192

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Arthur Dent discovers his best friend Ford Prefect is an alien as he rescues Arthur from Earth seconds before it’s demolished. Cue a hilarious romp through the universe.

Paperback page count: 208

 The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami. In this mesmerizing story, a young boy is imprisoned underneath a library. From there, things get weird, compelling, and spooky, with a heaping dose of melancholy.

Paperback page count: 96

Thanks SO much to Sally Allen from @BookishinCT and Classic Books, Modern Wisdom! We’re hoarding all these recs!

April 2017, Uncategorized

Warm Up: Music While We Read

I grew up being one of those choir freaks. I feel deeply connected to music, so naturally when I read I also like to listen to music. However, I get distracted easily, so all the music I listen to while I read is instrumental. Now, some of you might think that sounds boring. However, I will tell you there is instrumental music that can move anyone’s soul. If your looking for something to listen to while you read here are my suggestions.

Movie sound tracks have wonderful music. Here are some of my current favorites to listen to:

Finding Nemo
Passengers
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Monster, Inc.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Boss Baby
Game of Thrones
Night at the Museum
Forrest Gump
Schindler’s List
P.S. I Love You
How To Train Your Dragon 2
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Sherlock
Downton Abbey
Edward Scissorhands
Avatar
And of course any of the Harry Potter Movie Sound Tracks!

If you are into to popular songs that are on the radio, there are several artists that recreate them instrumentally. Here are my recommendations for some awesome artists:

The Piano Guys
2Cellos
Simply Three
Vitamin String Quartet
Brooklyn Duo
Midnite String Quartet
Dallas String Quartet
Piano Tribute Players

For those of you who like classical music I recommend some more contemporary composers:

Philip Wesley
Break of Reality
Brain Crain
Michele McLaughlin
Joe Bongiorno

A non-music suggestion is some ambient sounds. I have been loving ASMR Rooms on YouTube.  The creator is brilliant, and who doesn’t want to feel like you’re in your favorite Hogwarts house common room?

Currently I’m loving 221 B Baker Street.


Also, the website coffitivity.com gives you the feeling of being inside a coffee shop from wherever you happen to be

For those of you who have Spotify, as an added bonus I created a playlist that contains 24 hours worth of music to listen to with no repeats. The playlist is entitled “24 hour Readathon Playlist” The playlist is also free to listen to on random shuffle for those that aren’t premium members. Here’s the direct link!

Whatever you choose to listen to I wish you happy listening and happy reading.

Find Elizabeth on Instagram at @lizzardreads!

April 2017

Warm Up: Twenty-four or One, There’s No Wrong Way to Readathon

This April will be my 16th Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon.

Wow, that actually makes me feel really old.

The first Readathon meme I ever made.

Out of the past 15 Readathons, I managed to last the full 24 hours just once or twice (and I totally napped). I had a lot of fun participating all day and all night those times, even though I was pretty much comatose come Sunday.

And I’ll admit, back in the early days of my blog, I felt compelled to do the whole 24 hours, because wasn’t that the whole point of a 24 Hour Readathon?

My first Readathon Pile O’ Books, my insanity on full display.

So I tried, hard, to stay awake. I made sure that I wasn’t working either the Saturday of Readathon or the Sunday after. I skipped events and birthday parties, because I was serious about Readathon. To be honest, I was probably a little too serious. Because when I would inevitably fall asleep (and once or twice it was in the early hours of Readathon because my pre-Readathon night’s sleep was horrible due to all the excitement), I would wake up feeling panicked, like I had failed.

Then a few years ago, my friend (and now blog partner, Kim) and I signed up to go to a book event in April. It was out of town, so it meant a long day away from my computer. When I found out that Readathon was scheduled for that same day, I was genuinely upset. I don’t think Kim knows how close I was to canceling our plans (sorry, Kim). But I stuck with my plans (which had been a long time in the making) and instead I woke up early, posted a little about Readathon, and then went to the book event and had a great time. We got home that evening, and I participated several hours online.

All the goodies I came home with from that book event. 🙂

And the world didn’t end because I had to step away from my computer for most of Readathon. I had tons of fun because I wasn’t under self-imposed pressure.

Over the years, I’ve noticed a lot of people say they can’t do Readathon because they have other plans- work, weddings, parties, cleaning the grout in their bathrooms.
But, readers, I’ll let you in on a little secret- You don’t have to Readathon all 24 hours. You can do it for just one hour, or two, or twenty minutes now, and three hours later. You can read five books, or none. You can tweet the entire time and only do the challenges. Seriously, you don’t have to read AT ALL. You can sleep in, and start Readathon late. You can go in without any kind of plan at all, or you can have a whole schedule of posts and tweets and spreadsheets filled out in anticipation.

Nerd it up your own way!

Part of the reason I so adore Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon is because it plugs me into our community of readers. I love the excitement, the snacks, the book piles, the posts, the cheers, I love it all! And even spending a few minutes on April 29th will be worth it.

Come Saturday the 29th, I’ll be working the morning shift at Fountain Bookstore and then heading over to Kim’s house because our book club is meeting to discuss our current read. I’ll wake up early and post about Readathon, I’ll be checking in as often as possible on Litsy and Instagram and Twitter. When I get home from book club, I’ll spend a few more hours online and maybe reading (definitely Twitter cheering).

It’s great when I can spend the whole 24 hours to focus on Readathon, but it’s also great to know I can drop in and out anytime during the event. And so can you!

So, join us. Leave your fields to flower… or just join us for an hour!

~Kate @ MidnightBookGirl

Thank you so much, Kate! You’ve done so much for us over the years. This is EXCELLENT advice! Follow Kate on Twitter at @Midnghtbookgirl or her blog (where you’ll find all her social links!).

April 2017, Uncategorized

Warm Up: Why Readathons Make the Book Community Stronger

Hi, my name is Dannii and I am a self-confessed bibliophile. Ever since the age when meaningless squiggles turned to letters on a page, I have been obsessed with reading. It was not until relatively recently, however, that I discovered the wonderful people of the online book community.

I know, I know. Where had I been?

Late 2015 I watched my first Booktube video (Sahsa Alsberg’s, if you’re wondering) and I created my own bookstagram and GoodReads accounts the very next day.

2016 was the year of my very first readathon, and I don’t think it was until that time that I realized how equally infatuated I had become with both reading and the wonderful people who proclaimed their shared passion as mine, on the internet.

Being a reader was always in my blood. Being surrounded by people who never understood or appreciated my ardor never dulled my captivation with books. It did, however, dull something inside of myself. I never stopped reading. But I did stop talking about reading. Reading was not only my escape but became the only sphere I had in which to be truly myself.

I lost a part of myself in all these years of living almost, what felt like, a double life. One in which every night I would travel to past times and fantastical lands, trade the everyday for the make-believe, perform feats of breathtaking magic, fall in love over and over again, and never tell a soul about it the next day.

The internet provided a space for me to not only share this hidden part of my myself, but for me to be, finally, understood.

Reading, by its very nature, is a solo activity, often suited to those with an introverted nature. How wonderful that this singular-person activity could be shared online with like-minded people and even transformed into a group event in the form of a readathon. How wonderful to lose myself in a book and find myself in the realization that hundreds or thousands of others are performing the very same activity, at the very same time as myself.

Readathons, and their controlled times of fevered reading, enlivens us to share our passions and to delight in the sharing of others. It encourages us to loudly proclaim what we love and to proudly mark ourselves as part of this open and inclusive community.

During a readathon, we become not several individuals performing the same activity, but a banded and passionate army of bibliophiles; promoting our love, our true selves, and, most importantly, each other.

Find your thing and you’ll find your tribe. Shout it loudly as you hold them close. I found both my passion and my people, and they are all of you.

Thank you so much, Dannii! You can follow Dannii on Twitter at @dannii.elle.reads or at United by Pop where she is a blogger.

April 2017

Warm Up: Share and Share Alike!

Reading and sharing have always gone hand-in-hand.  After turning the final page of a loved book, a reader’s first instinct is to share it.  We post rave reviews, talk about it around the water cooler, loan it repeatedly, and give copies as gifts.  It’s no surprise that readers want to share their love of reading by supporting organizations that promote literacy.  In keeping with the Dewey Readathon’s emphasis on philanthropy and giving, here are some ways you can promote literacy and the love of books.

Lions Clubs International’s Reading Action Program is focused on increasing literacy world-wide through service projects and activities that underscore the importance of reading.  Each of the 46,000 clubs in 200 countries focus on the specific literacy needs in their own communities.  Find a club near you or donate by visiting www.lionsclubs.org.

First Book provides books and other educational resources to children in low-income households, schools, and communities.  The First Book website allows you to set up your own campaign to solicit donations.  Ask for donations in lieu of gifts for your birthday.  Adopt a qualifying classroom in your own community by holding a fundraiser and designating the proceeds to purchase books for that class.  Plan an event with your family, co-workers or book club.  Browse current events at https://firstbook.fundly.com/ for ideas.

Each year, One Book, One Nebraska (my current home state) selects a book by a Nebraska author or that has a Nebraska theme or setting, and encourages residents to read the book, then participate in book clubs and other related programs.  The idea started in Seattle in 1998 and has become popular in many states and cities.  If you can’t find a program in your town, visit with your local librarian about starting one.

Pediatricians and Nurse Practitioners encourage reading aloud, and provide books to patients, age birth to 5 years, through Reach Out and Read.  You can help by donating books, or by modeling read-aloud skills as a Volunteer Reader in select program waiting rooms.  http://www.reachoutandread.org

Reading is Fundamental, Pizza Hut’s Book It, the UK’s National Literacy Trust, Reader to Reader – the list of places to donate your time and money in support of reading can be a bit overwhelming, but sharing the joy of reading doesn’t have to be.

  • Start a Little Free Library
  • Connect with readers on Goodreads, LibraryThing, or Shelfari
  • Form an “Under One Hour Book Club” or a “Choose Your Own Novel Book Club” (ideas courtesy of O Magazine)
  • Create crafts or activities that will start discussion on a book you and your child read together. (Thanks to www.readingrockets.org)
  • Go on a “novel” blind date. Wrap a variety of books in plain brown paper with a brief, enigmatic description attached.  Participants make their pick and share the scoop on their “blind date”.
  • Volunteer to read to nursing home residents.
  • Listen to a family-friendly audio book during long car rides.
  • JOIN A READATHON!
  • Visit my blog, Just One More Thing… , and watch for my mini-challenge.  Solve a bookish puzzle to raise the donation made to a literary cause.

“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world [or your own].  Love of books is the best of all.”

  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Thank you so much for this wonderful and thoughtful post, Tami! Follow her on Twitter @mrschupa.

April 2017, Uncategorized

Warm Up: Short Reading Recommendations

Few things bring out my competitive spirit quite like reading. I know sometimes I should slow down and savor, but it turns out I’m a glutton for books. More is always better.

Nothing gets my competitive juices pumping quite like Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. Twenty-four hours to read as much as you can? I’m so there.

I need to get the most out of my 24-hour reading blast. So I’m going to stick to short book that I can blaze through.

Here are nine nibbles of novels I already read and loved (plus one I will read myself during the readathon). I highly recommend these for your April 29th reading binge!

  1. Binti – Measuring only a slim 96 pages, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a refreshing dose of afrofuturism. Follow the eponymous protagonist Binti across the galaxy in this bite-sized novella about prejudice, culture, and home.
  2. The House on Mango Street – Weighing in at only 110 pages, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros tackles culture and belonging with a deceptively simple style that belies the magnitude of art and symbolism woven into this book. A true favorite of mine that I love to teach. You can read it in a sitting.
  3. Night – Coming in at only 120 pages, Night by Elie Wiesel is by no means a light read. However, it is an important one. It details a first-person account of life at Auschwitz. Night is required reading as far as I’m concerned.
  4. Animal Farm – “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” George Orwell’s 122-page barnyard dystopia seems increasingly relevant and referenced in our current political climate. Give it a read and picture politicians as pigs!
  5. Ethan Frome – Here is another classic for you to sink your teeth into. Edith Wharton’s 128-page Ethan Frome depicts stark life on a frigid farm in turn of the century Massachusetts. It’s the perfect dark tale to lead you into summer!
  6. We the Animals – A more recent work, Justin Torres’s We the Animals clocks in at only 128 pages. This story of heritage and coming of age pairs quite well with The House on Mango Street. I recommend reading them together as your Dewey’s one-two punch.
  7. Hunger – With only 134 pages, Knut Hamsun’s Hunger has influenced the likes of Kafka, Joyce, and Henry Miller. Abject poverty, hunger, and despair? Sounds like the perfect novella for a sunny April afternoon.
  8. The Old Man and the Sea – Good old Papa Hemingway. The Old Man and the Sea is one of his finest works. If you haven’t read this tight tale of a man’s struggle with a big fish, think about tackling it for this readathon. At only 134 pages, you can finish it before your drink runs dry. (Your soda, that is.)
  9. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – With an elegant 150 pages, Muriel Spark tells the story of a notorious teacher and her dangerous relationship with six girls who worship her. Pair this one with one of the darker reads for a little balance.
  10. My Read: By Night in Chile – I’ll be reading this novella by Robert Bolaño to get ready for my own trip to Chile this June. According to Goodreads, it’s “a deathbed confession revolving around Opus Dei and Pinochet.” Sounds intriguing!

I hope you’ve found something good to read for Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon. Get your TBR stacked and your coffee brewing! Come read with me on April 29th. Tweet to met @Becky_Renner I can wait to read with you!

You can also visit Becky at https://beckyrenner.com.

October 2016

Warm Up: Try Something New This #Readathon

Hi everyone- my name is Wesley and I blog over at Library Educated. This isn’t my first readathon, but I realized that with almost all of the readathons I do kind of the same thing – lots of cheering, rereading a favorite, finding a couple graphic novels to keep myself motivated and awake, and not really getting up from the couch. This year I’m going to try and do some different things, and hopefully this will encourage you to try some new things too!

Try an audiobook

I’ve never listened to an audiobook. I’ve always said that my attention span is too short and I’m too easily distracted for one. But do I actually know that? No. Because I’ve never tried. So this year I’m going to find a (free) audiobook and broaden my horizons. If anyone has any suggestions (especially if it’s a short story, or something classic- I think I heard something about Christopher Walken reading some Poe?) please feel free to shoot them my way.

Get out of the house

As I mentioned before, my readathon battle station is primarily my couch. But this year, I think I will try to get off of my comfort zone. Maybe go to a local coffee place, or to the library, or if the weather is decent (in Wisconsin, I’m not going to hold my breath) a park bench somewhere. A new location from where to read might be inspiring, even if it involves putting on a bra and a pair of shoes.

Participate somewhere other than Twitter

I love me some Twitter, well, most of the time. Twitter during readathon is my favorite, due in no small part to my love of ridiculous GIFs and feeling like I’m chatting in real time to readathoners all around the world.  However, that’s basically the only place I haunt during readathon. This year, I’m going to make a point to get to some of the other place around the interwebs where readathon is represented. I’m going to guess it will be Goodreads, because that’s where I log all of the great reading suggestions I get during readathon!

Be better about following the fun new blogs that I find

I get introduced to so many new folks and their blogs during readathon and I feel like I never follow up with continuing to read their blogs or talk to them. Maybe I need to make a list on Twitter, or revamp my Bloglovin’ feed but this year I’m going to try to make some bonds during readathon and expand my horizons. Now who wants to be my friend?!

Don’t just eat junk food

Just kidding. I’m going to continue to only eat junk food during readathon. But maybe I’ll drink more water? Yeah, that I can do.

Best wishes for a wonderful readathon for all of you, I will see you there!Try something new this readathon!

October 2016

Warm Up: Tips for When You’re Down and Out

I love to read.  And I love to take a large amount of time and really focus on my reading.  Nothing makes me happier than a day spent curled up with a book (apart from one where it’s warm and I can be sat outside reading). So it follows that I love the readathon.

It’s true, I do.  I sit there and I start reading and I enjoy it. Then a moment hits when I lose the love. I think I’ve hit that point in every single readathon. It’s like I’m going along and this is good, I’m loving it and it’s everything I want in the day. And then all of a sudden this readathon idea is the stupidest one in the world and I never should have done it and really why do people do this to themselves?!  Now I’ve been doing the readathon for several years that self-loathing voice can add in “you’re stupid. You decided last time not to do this again and look what you’ve done.” It’s not pretty but it’s real.

I know that a big part of that is probably to do with my mental health and the pressure I put on myself to achieve and be perfect.   But that doesn’t make it easy. I almost expect that every time now and I try to put some strategies in place to manage it.   Sometimes it’s because I’m seeing updates on Twitter of people who have read way more than I have. Or I’m not loving my books. A lot of the time it doesn’t seem to be for any real reason which means my strategies don’t always work. However I wanted to share those in case they are useful for anyone else.

My number 1 thing is to carve out a specific time to read in the day that’s non-negotiable.  It’s sort of my own personal readathon tradition. I have a favourite dinner that goes in the oven, takes a while to cook and needs no attention during that time.  That’s my nonstop reading time, I turn off the Wi-Fi, pick up my book and lose myself.  If that’s the only time I read without being distracted I try to be pleased with that.

And that’s what the readathon is about really isn’t it? I’ve learned that for me just taking the time to read is more important than the massive number of books and pages I could have got through had I forced myself.  I’ve not been reading as much this year as before.  I really miss it but I just haven’t had the motivation to read I’ve had before.  In fact in the last few months most of my reading has been in those non-negotiable reading times – on the train or waiting for appointments. If I’ve been reading at home it’s mostly been finishing something I started elsewhere.

Secondly I listen to audiobooks as well.  I find I can switch between books and audiobooks with no break in a way I can’t when I finish an actual book. I can craft or rest or sort my messy kitchen and listen and feel like I’m making progress on more than just my reading if that’s something I need.

I no longer make a plan for what I read because I rarely stick to it. It can feel like pressure if I’ve planned four books and get stuck on two.  It’s not a failure but it’s how I’ve felt (damn you depression).  Sometimes the book I’ve been saving for the readathon isn’t what grabs my attention on the day.  And even if I do start reading it that doesn’t mean I won’t put it aside for something else.

I try to start with a short book so I can feel accomplished.  And that’s often kidlit.  This year I’m wondering about rereading Matilda by Roald Dahl as I’m going to see the musical soon.

Finally when I’ve really wanted to keep reading but not had the motivation reaching out on social media can help find encouragement and likely another reader feeling the same to sympathise with.

I’m pleased to say that now I have strategies in place (and in part am in a better place with my mental health) I usually end up taking a break and then getting back into my reading and finding the love once again.

How do you keep motivated during the readathon and deal with those down moments?

funkyfairy22Thank you SOOOO very much to Emma for this important post! Find her on Twitter or her blog.