The Inevitable #Readathon Come Down

It’s the day after the epic Dewey’s 24 Hr Readathon.  I am incredibly pleased with my progress this time.  I was able to finish 8 books!  I learned so much from the first time I jumped into the deep end by doing this event last year.

Here are the things I learned last year that helped me this time:

  • Keep a mix of short novellas and stories on hand to build some early progress and confidence that you will make your number goal. Anything under 200 pages is perfect for this purpose.
  • Add some graphic novels as palate cleansers to help you switch context and give your eyes and brain a little bit of a break.
  • Consider having some lighter than normal material included that you can fly through quickly.  To really put some numbers on your personal board, you may need to skim pages, and that is always easier with less intense or heavy reading material.
  • Read things you love.  If you have a favorite series or genre, lean into that instead of trying a lot of new stuff.  Or if you want to take a chance, then choose one option that’s new for you but otherwise, stay in your lane and read like the wind!
  • It’s crucial in a readathon to dump and run if a book isn’t hitting you in the right way early on.  You don’t have time to waste.  Set a limit as to the pages you will struggle with before shelving it for something you will like and breeze through. My advice would be 10-20 pages.
  • Audiobooks may allow you to be mobile, but for you to even possibly finish one, you have to speed it up to chipmunk speed or choose a super short one that is also sped up.  (Oliver Saks’ Gratitude is a great option!)  That’s pretty tough, so choose wisely or just assume that you may not finish it in the 24 hours allotted.
Here are some things that I learned this time for next year:
  • It’s important to go outside and walk.  I live in a very bustling neighborhood.  I should have forced myself outside for coffee at a cafe and to get a croissant or something while I was there.  But I got sucked into my first book and didn’t make it out until lunch.  By that time, I was wandering around indecisive with hunger and looking for a restaurant that was quiet enough to keep reading.  BAD PLANNING!  Next time I will get up a little before the readathon starts, shower and walk to a cafe to put some steps on the Fitbit and not stay on the couch all morning, afternoon and night.
  • Make sure I have slim but fun reads.  I have a lot of novellas and short works to read, but the subject matter isn’t really light.  And while I like a weird book every once and a while, I don’t enjoy reading them back to back.  A lot of what I have on hand are indie press works, which tend to be a bit more experimental, or works that were recommended because of their beautiful use of language.  For those books, I love nothing more than reading an amazing sentence or paragraph and just stopping to let it resonate and wash over me.  You really don’t have time to savor in a readathon.  So I will think this one through a bit more as I plan my pile for the next event.
  • I suggest having a to be read pile but don’t limit yourself to it.  I had a nice stack, but at one point kept looking at it and wasn’t very inspired.  Luckily, I was home and able to look at my shelves and pick something out on impulse which ended up being perfect.
  • Plan a fun outing for yourself where you can incorporate reading.  The first time I did the readathon I scheduled a reflexology appointment for the same day.  They let you take your Kindle in and while my feet are being rubbed and all pressure points attended to, I can make progress in the most decadent way possible.  I am kicking myself that I didn’t make my appointment ahead of time and got too wrapped up in the books I was reading to make plans, let alone leave the apartment.  It might not be as extreme as that, but maybe a stop at your favorite library, rose garden, cafe- something that will make the day a little more special.
  • Spend time checking in with the community on  Dewey’s site, Twitter, Litsy and Instagram.  I found that I could post something on Instagram, copy the verbiage for Litsy and send it automatically to Twitter.  That’s great for sharing out, but it was also important to encourage others on and keep a dialog going with everyone else doing the readathon.  I saw a great tip about creating a column on Tweetdeck to follow all the #readathon posts.  So every hour I would spend about 10 minutes posting, checking in and cheering or conversing.  It absolutely helped me feel like I was participating within a community.
  • Don’t stress yourself when you hit the inevitable wall.  I made it to hour 18 with solid reading and that was ok.  I could have had more coffee or taken a shower and pushed myself more, but I had reached my goal and my body was telling me I was done.

I will update more in a later post on my thoughts on what I read plus my finishing stats.

I hope you had a blast if  you did Dewey’s this year, and if not that you would consider doing the next one on April 29th, 2017!

Readathon Commencing in 5, 4, 3…

In exactly 7 minutes, Dewey’s 24 Hr Readathon will begin and I couldn’t be more excited. They say that the planning that takes place leading up to an event is time well spent. Daydreaming and thinking about how fun something will be can only help to intensify and prolong the enjoyment of said event. So I try to savor the planning process and draw out every pleasure from my trips and special events.

To that end, here is my proposed stack:

Happy readathon!
Here is my proposed stack of books for the readathon.

 

To that end, I have been in full daydream mode all week in anticipation. But the most fun has been when someone has asked me what my weekend plan are and I know they are seeing a smile of pure delight as I tell them about the readathon. I had two very great conversations with co-workers come out of the exchange. One was inspired by my passion for reading which is evident. He has a 3-year-old daughter and asked how can they instill such a love for books in her? I have so many thoughts that it will have to be another blog post. But I was delighted by that idea. Another co-worker asked me what I would be reading, so I showed him my proposed stack that I had posted on my Instagram account. Watching his eyebrows raise as he took in the types of books I selected was a blast! He admitted that he was impressed by the selection and we ended up having one of the best conversations about books I have ever had at work. We were taking notes on what to read based on each other’s suggestions, as he also is a big fan of works in translation and literary fiction. Thanks, Dewey for giving me the spark to have these types of conversations!

And now it’s time to start.  Let the reading begin!

Well Hello There, Fellow Readers.

What a funny year this has turned out to be.

When I started this blog, I was in a job that I liked and had been doing for a while, so I could afford the mental space to relax a bit, read books and spend the time blogging and reviewing.  Things started to change at work, and I enjoyed it less, so I retreated even more into books as a restorative balm.  And when I say retreated- I pretty much hibernated into reading.

I had set a goal for myself to read 50 books in the year 2016 on GoodReads.  I felt that was reasonable and something I could look forward to completing.  I had no idea that I would ever do something like this… 171 books- that’s 342% more than my goal.

Go big or go home!
Go big or go home!

 

And about two months ago I started a fantastic new job at a new company.  I am being stretched in new and exciting ways in my new role, and it’s thrilling.  I expected that my reading would subsequently decrease as I engage more with getting acclimated to the new job. But I am working much closer to home and am finally able to use the mass transit system, which means I can read on the train and if I can’t read, I can at least listen to an audiobook.  If anything, this new commute time has added to my reading time, not hindered it.  And my new company cares about that oft thrown about phrase “Work/Life Balance” so I am not answering emails all night and weekend.  It’s marvelous.

And not only is the year not over with yet, but we are coming up on the next “Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon” that I loved so much six months ago.  I am hoping to use this as an opportunity to get closer to 200 books read this year.  At this clip, I think it is possible.

But with all that reading, I have been awful at the writing and blogging side and now is the time to pick it back up.

So I wanted to pop back in, say hello and get back into the spirit of blogging about books.  I have some exciting books on the horizon and some gems that I want to share from my reading this year.

I hope you will check back from time to time! So please tell me, how is your reading year going?  What have been your favorite books?  I would love to hear from you.

That’s it for now.  I am off to start planning my proposed pile for the readathon next weekend.

Exuberant Love of All Things Literary

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