October 2016

Warm Up: Gamify Your Readathon

Readathon’s an exciting time. You’re reading NONSTOP with thousands of your closest new bookish friends. But sometimes even that isn’t enough to keep your reading momentum going as the clock is ticking. Or maybe you’re going into the readathon while you’re already in a reading slump (hello, me). I’ve come up with a number of ways to keep your reading fun and fresh, no matter your situation. Let’s make #readathon even crazier and more ridiculous than it already is.

Book Taste Testing

I’m sure many of you do this to an extent by crafting a glorious TBR pile for the readathon then jumping around to whatever calls out to them. But for this activity I want you to get serious. Dim the lights, bust out the wine and cheese platter, and take a look at your bookshelf. Pick out ten books, either randomly or purposefully trying to pick out a variety. Grab some books you think you want to read and grab some you had forgotten about. Now I want you to kick back, relax, and read the first ten pages of each book. It’s highly encouraged to literally toss books aside if they don’t catch your interest. If you find one that you don’t want to put down after the ten pages, I expect an invitation to the book wedding. If nothing thrills you, do it all over again with new books!


Crowdsource and Randomize Your Reading

It’s hard to be really truly random in choosing books. So many biases influence our choices. Even if we bought a book and thought we wanted to read it, the initial shiny book syndrome can wear off and you’ll veer away from it for no reason in particular. I could tell you to grab a book randomly off the shelf, but even if you closed your eyes and chose one, there’s no saying how many do-overs you’d impose, you monster!! (I think I’m projecting right now). So let’s hold you accountable here. When you want a random reading choice, open up twitter, facebook, instagram, litsy, or wherever you do your readathoning and do a call for book numbers with #readathon. And, if you see one of these calls by a fellow, desperate reader, give them 3 numbers. The first is which bookcase, the second is how many shelves down from the top, and the third is how many books in from the left (or right, live your life). If somebody gives you a number too big, just loop back around and finish counting from where you began (like if somebody says 5 for bookcases and you have 4, you’d be pulling a book from shelf #1). Bonus points for sharing a photo of your shelf – ultimate accountability!!


Sync Your Crafting With Your Reading

During the readathon, it’s great to take eye breaks by listening to audiobooks (if you’re not an audiobook convert yet, I dare you to sign into your library’s online audiobook service and try one out). I don’t know about you, but when I listen to audiobooks I need to be doing something else at the same time so I don’t get too comfortable and doze off. If you’re a crafter, this is the challenge for you. If you’re knitting/crocheting/weaving/sewing/WHATEVER, change colors based on a parameter of your choosing. Maybe whenever a new character talks, or when a new chapter starts, or when the characters are in a new location. It depends on the type of book you’re listening to. Regardless, you’ll end up with a product that’s uniquely synced up to your book – a good craft for this is a striped scarf. Oh my god, imagine a scarf that’s the exact length of a new favorite book!! Ok, maybe that would be too long if you’re a fast knitter. Use your best judgment when participating in this one.

If you’re not a hardcore crafter, grab a coloring book or a blank piece of paper to doodle with the same color changing concept! Bonus points for sending your work of art to the author.

Some other quick suggestions:

Find a friend or do a shoutout on the #readathon hashtag for a competitor in a #readingduel. Challenge them to either read for as long as you can without stopping or see how many pages you can read in a set time limit (no cheating!).

Read the last page of the book first and come up with what you think will happen to get the characters there before you actually start the book. Let us know if you’re as creative as the author!!

If you’re on Habitica (or some other habit gamification app), set up a habit that will reward you for each time you read a certain amount of pages or for when you finish a book. Make sure to create a Reward you can redeem with your earned coins to give yourself a break. This can easily be translated into real life as read pages = get points/rewards.

Print out a Books on the Nightstand Bingo card. Even though BOTNS is sadly over, the bingo cards are still a delightful way to refresh your reading. You win #readathon if you get a bingo during the 24 hours.


Thanks so much to Julianne for this fantastic warm-up post! Visit her at her blog, Outlandish Lit.


6 thoughts on “Warm Up: Gamify Your Readathon”

  1. I’m going to make a Habitica Guild and Challenge for this. I’ll post the link here in another comment once I finish it. That way, if you are interested, you can join the guild, join the challenge, and talk about the books you are reading there as well as on the other social media platforms.

  2. This is so fun! I was so excited to finally participate in my first readathon, I’ve been trying to for years and something always comes up. Well, this time is no different. I was about to start organizing my reading list when I found out we’re going on a trip that day! I want to still try and see how much I can read on the road before I get carsick. I think I’ll try the Book taste testing a bit different. I joined Epic Reads First5 and I haven’t read all of them so I’m going to read five chapters from those books (the ones I haven’t read and the ones that aren’t sequels).

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