Have you ever wanted to participate in a 24-hour readathon but weren’t sure where to start? No problem! As a veteran (and fan) of readathons I am here to offer some tips that I’ve found have helped me get the most out of a 24-hour readathon.
For those who might be unfamiliar with the concept, readathons are basically reading challenges. The goal is to read a certain amount or books or as much as you can during a specific amount of time. There are many different types of readathons. Some are themed, or genre specific, or have specific challenges to complete (e.g. read a book with green on the cover). One particular type of readathon that has gained popularity recently has been the 24-hour readathon, which as the name implies, is a challenge to read as much as you can over a 24-hour period of time. The original and probably the largest of these is the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon which takes place bi-annually with participants from all over the world tuning in to read at the same time, but there have also been smaller and more frequent 24 hour readathons popping up that you can participate in. There is also no reason not to DIY your own 24 hour readathon if you’d like to try your hand at the challenge. Here are a couple of tips I’ve learned from participating in 24-hour readathons to get you started.
Get people involved
While reading (particularly if you are practicing social distancing) is generally a solitary activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t get others involved! If you are participating in an organized readathon, there will likely be a social media page or hashtag you can follow, challenges you can participate in, or other ways you can engage with fellow readers participating in the readathon. Even if you are participating in your own 24-hour readathon you can post your progress on social media or let your friends and family know about your readathon. Who knows, they might even want to join you! Engaging with others and sharing your excitement is honestly half of the fun of participating in a readathon and can serve as the encouragement you need to get through the challenge.
Have your books prepped ahead of time
The key to a good 24-hour readathon TBR (to be read) pile is to both know what you want to read ahead of time and to leave yourself enough flexibility to change your mind. In otherwords: make sure you have lots of options! I try to have a graphic novel or audiobook handy in case I feel like switching things up. Knowing your reading style here can be particularly helpful. Are you the type of reader who embraces the challenge of tackling a 600 page tome? Or are you the type of reader (like me) who prefers to read many shorter books during a readathon to break things up? Either way, having your books ready to go save you the trouble of choosing the day of your readathon, which leaves more time for reading.
Take breaks if you need to
This might just be me, but after a couple of 24-hour readathons I realized that my days of pulling all-nighters are over. While part of the fun of a 24-hour readathon is staying up past your bedtime and reading as much as possible, realizing around 4:00am that you’ve been reading the same page over and over again also kind of defeats the purpose. So take a nap or a break if you need to! If you are one of those people who can function without sleep for 24-hours straight, I am in awe of you (also how do you do that?). But for the rest of us who get cranky without at least a few hours’ worth of sleep it’s okay to rest. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to read more once you do.
Audio books are your friend
Audio books are always a wonderful addition to your reading life, but they can be especially helpful during a 24-hour readathon. Audio books are the perfect solution if you need to give your eyes a break or feel yourself disengaging from your e-reader or paperback but still want to get some reading in. This is especially true if you don’t have the luxury of blocking off an entire 24 hours for reading; participating in a readathon doesn’t mean you can’t still take a walk, run errands, cook dinner or spend time with the family but audiobooks let you do both things at once so it’s a win-win!
Most important of all: remember to have fun! Whether you read a couple of hours or 24 hours straight, whether you read 50 pages or 500, or whether you participated in a worldwide 24 hours or DIY’ed it, the goal is to have fun and read so don’t pressure yourself, read what you can and have fun with it.
These are just a few of the things I have learned from participating in several 24-hour readathons. Each readathon ends up being different. Sometimes, you can only read a couple of hours, other times I have powered through my entire readathon TBR. Either way, the fun comes in giving yourself the time to center reading, sharing the excitement with fellow participants, and geeking out over the books you have read. Do you want to or have you participated in a 24-hour readathon? What are some of your tips and tricks you’ve learned along the way?