These past few days, 12/2-12/5 to be exact, I’ve been participating in my first read-a-thon and I wanted to document my thoughts.
I have a few reasons for never having participated in a read-a-thon before. Typically, I don’t hear about them until they’re over. I don’t often see them mentioned on IG (at least, not among those I follow) and I only follow two book accounts on YouTube (I kind of hate the term Booktube, sorry) and only one of those actively participates in read-a-thons. That account belongs to my friend Chelsea and even though she’s always on the up-and-up about these things, I’m always at least a week behind in my videos and so by the time I hear about them, it’s in her wrap-up videos.
I’ve also mentioned in the past that I’m horrible at setting a TBR. I’ve come to terms with this. For the most part, when reading a book, I have no idea what I’ll pick up next. Sometimes review novels take precedence, sometimes a new addition to my shelves catches my eye, and other times I’ll dive into a re-read or something that’s been moping on my shelves for years. I won’t really know what I’m going to pick up until I’m done with my current read and asking myself what I feel like going for next.
Picking a stack of books based on several prompts – depending on the timeline of the read-a-thon, this could be anywhere from 3-8 books – forces me to at least pretend to commit to a set list of books and frankly, that intimidates and pressures me. Not to mention, telling myself I’ll read x-number of books in x-number of days. Yes, I set a yearly goal for myself, but I never set a weekly or weekend goal! It feels like a lot of pressure – like I would specifically be setting myself up to fail.
Then my friend Chelsea decided to co-host her own read-a-thon and I decided if I was ever going to try one out, now’s the time!
Chelsea and her friend April have put together the Harry Potter Weekendathon (#hpweekendathon) which lasted four days and had 5 prompts to pick books for. I was hoping to combine the prompts into 3 books (thus putting less pressure on myself), but I didn’t actually commit myself to this until Friday morning when I woke up, so without a lot of thought I found 4 books. I wanted to meet the requirements, but in a way that at least felt somewhat completable for me. Yes, going with completable.
-Harry: read a book that Booktube has hyped
-Hermione: a book with badass female characters
-Ron: a book with red/orange on the cover
-Dumbledore: A book featuring LGBT characters
-Hagrid: A comfort read/favorite author
I had a book going when this started and fortunately, it had a badass female character, so I chose Good Behavior by Blake Crouch as my Hermione. I picked what I knew I was going to read soon, which was Bernard Cornwell’s The Empty Throne (because I’m still going strong with this series, dammit, and I’m almost done!) as my Hagrid. While he’s not a favorite author, Cornwell’s world has certainly become very familiar to me, as I’ve now been working through his Viking series since about July/August. I managed to combine Harry and Ron into one with Illuminae by Jay Kristoff, despite being suuuuper late to that hypetrain. Lastly, I picked The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss as my Dumbledore because I’ve wanted to read it for over a year.
I did my best to keep notes on my progress and thoughts throughout:
Day One (Friday): I was lucky enough to have today off and had already planned to take myself to a local café that I wanted to try out and so naturally, I was going to bring a book. I about 75% finished with Good Behavior on Thursday night, and with it being a novella, I finished it easily during my stint at the café. I also thoroughly enjoyed my morning and my coffee and hope to make a solo café trip a somewhat regular treat for myself.
By this evening, after I’d finished some adulting, I was on to my next read, The Empty Throne. I figured this was where I would get hung up, as these books can be a bit of a slow read at times (though not in a bad way!) However, I put a good dent in the book before bed.
Day Two (Saturday): I was able to get some reading in this morning, before once more being forced to adult. I spent a big part of the day getting shit done, but gave myself little pockets of reading when possible. It’s now about 7:30 and I’m already two-thirds of the way through the book, with plans to read before I sleep!
Yesterday, I was figuring I’d finish two books and perhaps start the third. Today, now that I’m farther along than I thought I would be, I’m wondering if I’ll be able to complete three books and start the fourth. I want to read Vesuvius Club next because it’s relatively short, so I think I have a better shot at finishing that than Illuminae, which I know is somewhat complicated, at least design-wise, and pretty chunky.
I have to wonder, am I doing more reading this weekend in an effort to achieve my read-a-thon goal, or because I have relatively few plans? Would I have read this much anyway? I’ll never know!
Day Three (Sunday): I woke up and finished the last bit of The Empty Throne and dove right into Vesuvius Club. By the end of the day I was finished with Vesuvius (just checked, this book has been on my shelves for two years! Ugh. Glad I finally read it.), which was a relatively short book. I did perhaps skimp on some adulting, but managed to get the necessities done. By the end of the day I was curled up in bed and just starting Illuminae.
Day Four (Monday): Stayed up past midnight digging into Illuminae, which I found more interesting than I thought. Despite work today and a snafu in my personal life, I’m now halfway through this beast. Would likely have to suffer some serious sleep deprivation if I wanted to finish this today (though at that point would probably be past midnight, so then wouldn’t count) so I don’t think that will happen. But I can at least push for the halfway mark!
Well, I wrapped up my Monday evening by shockingly finishing Illuminae. I went for the sleep-deprivation and plowed through the book before going to bed much later than I wanted. But the book was incredibly engrossing and as much as I wanted to finish my mini-challenge, I wanted to finish a great book even more.
I’m pleased with the insane amount of reading I pulled off this weekend and I don’t know if I managed it because of the read-a-thon or because of my schedule, or maybe a combination of both. I can’t say I’ll rush right out to find another read-a-thon, but maybe I’ll give another one a shot someday.
Have you ever done a read-a-thon? If not, would you? Thoughts?