Hi all! Maria here, of http://abookgeek.blogspot.com. I’ve been participating in readathons for more than a decade now, and was thrilled to get the chance to write an introduction post!
I first started participating in readathons in October 2009. For the first few years I was figuring out what worked for me, getting into the groove of things. Through trial and error I figured out my own dos and don’ts of the readathon, and chronicled everything on my blog. I come from a family of bookworms, and without fail, every single readathon at least one family member would comment, “That sounds AMAZING!!! Wish I could join in too!” My answer was always the same: “You should! Come join me!” – but between them having small kids and busy schedules and me living in a tiny apartment with pretty much only <i>one</i> comfortable reading chair, it just never happened. “Next year!” Always “Next year!”
In the end, it took 5 years, and me moving into a larger house with my very own library(!!!) but in October 2014 I hosted my very first family readathon. It almost got postponed once again as the readathon fell on my Mum’s birthday that year, so I figured she’d rather do something else to celebrate – but once she got thinking about it, she actually couldn’t think of a better way to spend her birthday, than to have an excuse to sit around and read all day… From there a tradition was born.
Here in Denmark, the readathon runs from 2pm Saturday – 2pm Sunday, so we meet up at 1pm’ish with all our snacks and books (usually at my place, as my library is perfect for it), and spend the first hour setting up, talking books and sharing recommendations, trying to figure out which book to read first — some of us changing our minds several times over until the very last minute! — and completing the “Getting to Know You” survey, but once the clock strikes 2, we immediately stop talking (prompting an “This is so silly!” from one of my sisters the first time she participated, as she was in the middle of a story… no worries – we got to hear the end of it over dinner 😉 ) and settle down with our books and snacks, only interrupted by a “pass me the chocolate, please?”, a “Maria, what should I read next?” or a quiet chuckle as somebody reaches a particularly funny part of their book. I keep track of the time and check the hourly posts here, and whenever there’s a suitable mini-challenge we always put aside our books and answer them together (our favourites so far have been “What fantasy land would you most like to visit” and “Guess these 10 books from the very bad reviews”).
We take a proper break for dinner (usually prepared ahead of time – long live the slow-cooker!), as we’re generally all eager to talk and share stories at this point, but afterwards return to our books… people slowly dropping off one by one, as it gets late and they want to head off home. Usually the last person leaves between 11-12pm, and I’m left by myself in a suddenly very quiet house, with the last remnants of the snacks, trying to finish just one more book, before I have to call it quits and head off to bed too.
That first year I was joined by my mum and my two youngest sisters. In subsequent years my oldest niece joined in as well… followed by my third sister…. my Dad… my oldest nephew… a second niece. Not everybody is able to join every single time, but it’s something all of us prioritize very highly… to the point that we’ve been known to “cheat” and hold the readathon a weekend early or late, in order to allow as many of us as possible to join in. We’ve held a readathon after a week away together, where we only just had time to get home and unpack, before we all joined up at my place again (most of us took names sometime during the afternoon that time!) We’ve held a readathon where my sister was SO heavily pregnant that her water actually broke within the first hour! That was certainly the most action-packed readathon yet! (my nephew wasn’t born until the following day though, so the rest of us got a tad more reading in). We’ve held a readathon with some members participating over Facetime as we were on different sides of the world. And we’ve held a socially distant readathon this spring, when Corona tried to steal the tradition away from us.
This October Readathon will be our 13th time reading together. I think it’s safe to say that it’s a tradition that’s here to stay.