October 2017

10 Years: Building Community with Fun

Dewey created 24-hour readathon 10 years ago and for about eight of those years it has lived on without her.  I started blogging in 2007 and it didn’t take long to be discouraged with very few if any commenters.  I stumbled upon Dewey’s blog and began reading.  She encouraged me to continue doing what I loved even if no one commented because I brought poetry reviews and poems to a wider readership just by being present on the Internet.  She said, “Readers will come.”

What does this have to do with readathon?

Dewey loved book blogging but she loved having fun online with her book-loving friends.  From Weekly Geeks to readathon, her mind created activities that begged for participation.  I was hooked from the first time I participated in 2008.  Some of my favorite memories are with readathon, especially the year Anna (Diary of an Eccentric) and I decided to do the event together at her house.  We ate Chipotle and snacks, while her daughter had a great time participating in the mini-challenges (comic book writing and more).  She was much younger then, but spending time with both of them while reading books – sometimes out loud – and just goofing off made it memorable.  I’m not sure how much reading we actually did that year, but we had a blast.

I think that’s what Dewey wanted all along: Readers coming together, sharing books, and being creative together.  Here’s to 10 more years.

Thank you SO much, Serena Agusto-Cox from Savvy Verse and Wit

October 2017

Warm Up: Readathon Memories

As someone who loves to write, books and reading are important to me, for helping me get inspired to write and also for relaxation purposes. I listen to an ebook or audiobook multiple times a day and always before bed every night.
I first participated in Dewey’s 24 Hour  Readathon  in 2014. I love competitions and reading events. I managed to read all of One Day by David Nicols during my first event. In the years since, I have read/listened to a variety of books in different genres.
By far the best part of the Readathon  (after the reading) is that it’s  such a fun event with book lovers sharing their experiences and activity on social networks and other blogs.
I wrote a blog post in 2015 which was a “warmup” post for the event and enjoyed blogging my progress.
I am part of the Goodreads Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon group, and follow the event accounts on Twitter and Facebook.
Here are some examples  of what I read during the Readathon. I read various types of books, from books from my teens and childhood to Classics and fiction. I’ll even read a short story or a graphic novel if I feel like it.
Thanks so much to Andi and all who make the Readathon so enjoyable. I will continue to take part every year as I have done since my first time participating in the event. It’ll always have pride of place in my calendar!
My advice to those who still haven’t joined the event is: go ahead and do it! It doesn’t matter if you read 1 page or 1,000. Just enjoy the event- it’s so worth it!
Thank you to Katherine Hayward for sharing some of her Readathon memories!
October 2017

Warm Up: That Special Dewey’s Readathon Feeling

I often say books are my friends. To be honest, that’s not just a phrase– it really represents day-to-day life for me. I have wonderful people-friends, but we are scattered all over the world and have our own lives. So, when I feel lonely, happy, bored, anxious, overwhelmed, playful, excited, disillusioned, scared, hopeful, vulnerable, insecure, liberated, or [insert any and all other emotions here], I turn to literature.

Books never disappoint (okay, Girl on the Train did disappoint). There is a story for every state of mind or matter of the heart. Imagine how I felt when I found out about Dewey’s readathon – an entire 24 hours dedicated to reading and it comes along with an entire community of like-minded, equally book-obsessed, virtual people-friends! Every positive adjective in the Oxford dictionary would not be enough to describe my feelings toward this day and these people – I would probably have to borrow from other languages.

I love the planning of snacks, making of anticipatory blog posts, sifting through my Mt. TBR, and chitchats with everyone on social media about it all. I never met Dewey, but I imagine her to be like my favorite book –  a safe haven, an adventure, at times hilarious but also irritating, full of wisdom and anecdotes, and above all a feeling like you’re coming home.

I’ve only participated in a few Dewey’s readathons, nonetheless I know that this is just the beginning to a wonderful tradition for years to come. I am looking forward to many more hours of chocolate indulgences, graphic novel scares, pushing through sleepiness because I don’t want to lose a minute to some ZZZs, out-of-my-comfort-zone poetry, social media updates, and coffee, coffee, coffee. So here’s to book-friends, people-friends, and a cozy blanket. Have a great readathon!

A ginormous thank you to Juliane for this amazing post.


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


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


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
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
Downton Abbey
Edward Scissorhands
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
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.
  • 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.