October 2016

Warm Up: Readathon, As You Like It

I participated in my first Dewey’s Readathon because of the sheer force of goodwill I witnessed on social media in the weeks leading up to the day. Readers were so excited, so enthusiastic, so eager to spend the day reading together, they’d prepared their reading lists (and snack menus!) weeks in advance.

Oho! What have we here? I though, like Horace Slughorn laying eyes on Harry Potter for the first time. Except instead of being the collector, I wanted to be the collected.

It wasn’t just the enthusiasm that sucked me in with the force of gravity, on Jupiter. It was the warmth and generosity, the goodwill and support. Listen, I’ve seen all kinds of behavior on social media, much of it, I will confess, decidedly the opposite of appealing. Yet here were hundreds of humans spread across our spinning orb who had come together to experience and celebrate a shared love – of books. It didn’t matter what kind of books – genre, classics, graphic novels, literary fiction, comics, nonfiction. It didn’t matter what form of books – audiobooks, e-books, paperbacks, hardbacks. All were represented. The centripetal force was a mutual passion for the experience of reading.

Witnessing the pure joy radiating from this community united in a singular purpose … it felt like discovering my own golden ticket. But instead of rivers of chocolate (which, I won’t lie, also sounds pretty good), it was books, books, and more book and – best of all – fellow book lovers with whom to share them. Need reading recommendations? Want suggestions for creating a comfy reading space? Interested in snack ideas and recipes? Seeking a reading buddy for whatever book you’ve planned? You got it. Photos of book piles, furry companions, energy-boosting spreads, bookish clothing and accessories? Yes, and on whatever social media platform you favor.

And unlike the first day of summer, Dewey’s doesn’t come just once a year. We get to do it all over again on Saturday. I can’t wait!

Some of us already have our lists and menus prepared (hats off to you awesomely organized peoples of Earth!). Some of us will figure it out as we go along (picture me waving at you). Some of us will be thrilled to read or listen to one book. Some of us will polish off a tall stack. Some of us will split our time among reading, mini-challenges, and social media. Some of us will barely lift our eyes from the pages, sticking as close to the 24-hour mark as we can make it. The beauty is, we support each other to readathon however it best works for each of us.

For me, I have one (two-part) inviolate rule: Enjoy the day and spread the joy. And I have a three-step plan for doing just that.

Step one: Kick my inner perfectionist to the curb. It’s not a competition, including against myself. A successful readathon isn’t measured by how many hours I read or how many books I finish. It’s about connecting with this community of readers.

Step two: A little structure goes a long way. Any one of the activities I have planned for Saturday – reading, writing, and social media – can suck me into a black hole of rapidly vanishing time. I’m planning to set my timer to allow myself time enough to participate in everything I have planned.

Step three: Be a good citizen. I joined readathon for the community. How I can give back the joy it has given me is by nurturing that community through cheering other readers on, like good citizens do.

That’s my plan, and I plan on sticking to it! Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your best readathon tips and suggestions. I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Wonderful post, Sally! Visit her at her blog!

sallyallenbooks

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