October 2016

Warm Up: Readathon Brings You Back

When I started my blog back in September 2009, I had no idea the book blogging world existed. My intentions were to create a little space for myself on the internet where I could blog openly about my classics reading project for my friends and family to read. But over the course of the next few months, people found me and I found the book blogging community. The first day I received a comment from someone other than my mom (who truly was the only one who read my blog regularly), I freaked out. Because why wouldn’t I? Another book lover had found me and was also cheering me on in my reading quest.
Over the course of that first year of blogging, I learned a lot about the blogging community in the midst of some personal struggles. While I had gotten happily married in December 2009, I was unemployed and miserable during that first year. There were little to no teaching jobs in my state, so while I would interview and sub when I could, I spent a lot of time at home in our apartment. And I thrust myself fully into blogging and being a part of this community. I hosted readalongs and book chats, joined reading challenges, and discovered new blogs to keep me entertained and focused on reading. I read classic after classic and posted multiple times per week to keep growing my own space on the internet. And in April 2010, I joined my first 24-Hour Readathon in honor of Dewey.
My husband jokingly teased me that day about whether joining a readathon was any different than what I was already doing, but I loved the idea of a community of readers all setting aside a day to read. And it was an amazing day. Book bloggers from all over came to visit and leave me encouraging comments. I met some new bloggers during that readathon that I still talk to today. I read a LOT, which is a theme during all readathons. But most of all. I was struck by the community of it all. The idea that reading together from all our collective couches and cozy spots made a community, well, I believe that’s a special idea. And I loved it.
In the years since that first readathon, my life has changed. I finally found a full time teaching job which has truthfully pulled me out of the cocoon of the blogging world. And while I’m still a voracious reader, I don’t have nearly the amount of time I used to. Blogging has fallen by the wayside as my priorities have changed, and while I still attempt to write, sometimes a couple months go by before a post goes up. But, I still love the community of book bloggers. I think it’s a unique community because reading is a very solitary process. We all read on our own, with our imaginations creating the images of the words on the page. And while we may read the same book, our interpretation may be different. That makes what we do during the readathon so special and unique. That is why twice a year, no matter what else I’m doing, I participate in the readathon. I’ve hosted on the main site, been a cheerleader, and have held mini-challenges–all in an effort to give back to a community that has given me so much.  Two times a year, I can be fully invested in this amazing community. I can cheer on people who are tackling challenging books, or reading with their kids, or enjoying a much anticipated new release. I can check out bookish pictures on Instagram and Litsy, keeps tabs on my blogging friends through their posts and twitter, but most of all, I can feel like I am a part of a larger community. The readathon, unlike anything else, reminds me of just how amazing the book blogging community is.
So when you’re reading on Saturday, set aside some time to reconnect with the bloggers you love. But also reach out and meet some new ones. Take some time to scroll through the associated hashtags and comment. Because for two times year, reading isn’t just a solitary activity, it’s a community quest and we can all use the encouragement. I hope you all have a successful and fun readathon, and if you’re like me and haven’t been blogging regularly, take some time to remember what an amazing community we’re a part of, and how we are always welcomed back.
Thanks so much to Allie from A Literary Odyssey!

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