October 2020, readathon

Things I Learned from My First Dewey 24 Hour Readathon Experience

TBR stack

Impossibly Ambitious TBR stack

  • First and foremost, I am overly ambitious and incapable of choosing between books. Hello impossible to-be-read pile.
  • Turns out, I can get up at 7 in the morning on a Saturday and even function, if by “functioning” you mean remain in bed and read.
  • People will assume it’s for charity (because why else would you be doing this?) and if you don’t rush to correct them, they might make you breakfast in bedill-gotten breakfast

ill-gotten breakfast

  • Headaches are minor annoyances that I don’t actually notice while reading, only when I stop reading and walk around the house to get a cup of water or something. If I never get up to get a cup of water, I never notice I have the headache. (Flawless logic.)
  • You can’t actually survive all day by drinking only coffee.
  • The only thing more satisfying and enjoyable than reading all day is posting about it on instagram with pretty filters, so even though you’re sitting around in the same position all day, you’ve documented it well enough on social media that your life looks very glamorous.
  • Some graphic novels are not, in fact, faster reading than normal novels, because if you just skim over the pictures and only read the text nothing makes much sense.
  • Orange snacks and library books don’t mix well. (I’ve been informed I could use a fork if said orange snacks were spear-able, but did I mention how I cease to function when all I imbibe is coffee all day? I wasn’t at my most coherent.)
  • Related note, turning pages with your elbows slows down reading considerably.
  • 24 hours is a long time, and I am not in college anymore. Even drinking an energy drink couldn’t make me last through the night (I managed-ish until 3 a.m.) AND THAT’S OKAY. It’s not a contest. 
  • Structural integrity is important for blanket forts. If you make one that is tenuous, be sure to bring extra (non-orange) snacks so you don’t have to risk going in and out.

      Sadly Snackless Blanket Fort Blanket Fort

  • Shoveling M&Ms into your mouth every time you doze off after 1 a.m. is not an effective way to wake back up (you may in fact fall right back asleep, now you’re just asleep with a mouthful of M&Ms, which can’t be safe), nor is it going to help you feel very bright and cheery in the morning.
  • I have an addiction. Hello, my name is Aubrey, and I’m a bookaholic. Not only did I pick up a book the very next morning, the second I woke up after reading 20 hours straight the previous day, I’ve found myself reading significantly more since the marathon. Perhaps because I just whet my reading appetite, or perhaps because I took out over 30 library books and can’t decide which one of my babies to return without reading so I’m just trying to get through them all.

Overall experience: 10/10 would deprive myself of sleep, socialization and proper nutrition to read all day again. Highly recommend the experience.

14 thoughts on “Things I Learned from My First Dewey 24 Hour Readathon Experience”

  1. Hah my boss asked me if it was a charity thing today. His wife is a librarian though, so after I explained it he said he’d tell her all about it. I’ve found it’s less weird this year explaining that it’s not a thing where you go somewhere to be with other people, everyone’s like oh it’s an online thing, lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! This year it seems more explainable. I work at a library so the other thought people have is that it’s somehow for work. Don’t I wish.


    2. Yes it makes so much more sense in this year’s world, doesn’t it? 😂 I’m also a librarian so the other thing people assume is that it’s for work. Don’t I wish.


  2. Great post. I can’t remember much about my first Readathon apart from that I was nervous but excited. After a few sessions of doing it, my family knew to call me before the Readathon or after it, and know to let me enjoy it. My husband just gets that it’s Readathon weekend and knows what that means. I’m always doing something book-related but I hope to get through the books I need to this weekend. And maybe something else just because. Have a good Readathon! I’ll be an hour 2 Goodreads host and hosting mini challenges in hours 2 and 3 and my posts are the first 2 hours. Fortunately that’s early afternoon for me so not a late or early start. I try not to stay up extremely late, sleep then start day 2.


  3. Oh, great points and much of my experience as well. Readathons and readers and bookaholics unite =)

    I don’t push for 24 hours either, I need sleep. I’m old. Also when I tried it my body got physically ill and miserable. Don’t feel bad for bedtime, sleeping in before starting, or naps!

    Sugar is a great mini energy as you said with the M&Ms but sugar can cause crashes too. Good point on mixing water for hydration — it helps with energy! I like to think I am getting water in me with the coffees and teas too *snickers*

    RE: Headaches – I get those too with eye strain. Good lighting is a must. I like to make sure I have headache pills on hand just in case. If you get a headache during read-a-thon day, I like to take a pill, and then lay down (not sleep) for about 15 minutes with my eyes closed in a dark room. It helps the headache go faster than pills alone. Or, if it’s night and you don’t want to lay down but want your eyes to have a break (a lot of time it’s text strain or color contrast), taking a walk outside at night can help the pill alleviate the headache too.

    It’s a good idea to have a timer to remind you to stop reading the last 10 minutes of every hour to give your eyes a break and help prevent eye strain. Moon reader app does this automatically for you if you use it on your phone or tablet, but since I mainly read physical books or e-ink readers, I do not have this auto reminder. If you have an Echo dot or show in your house, you can keep setting an alarm or timer; use a phone; use an old fashioned timer; whichever works.


    1. The point is to have fun, set goals, socialize, catch up on reading — but read-a-thons are also GREAT stress relievers and the point is personal pampering, self-indulgence, and stress relief. You cannot have the last three if your body gets miserable or anxious, so it’s best to find what works for you to keep it stress-free and fun.


    2. Oh that’s smart, setting a timer. I usually stick at least one audio book in the mix to help with eye strain now that I’m an old pro at this, but giving my eyes more frequent rests would be a good idea


  4. Oh that’s smart, setting a timer. I usually stick at least one audio book in the mix to help with eye strain now that I’m an old pro at this, but giving my eyes more frequent rests would be a good idea.


  5. haha lovely! And readathon TBRs SHOULD be impossible. So you have plenty to choose from! I have never and will never stay awake for 24 hours (for any reason) and I’m okay with that. My best time is 22 hours and I was pretty amazed. But sleep is precious. I ALWAYS read the day after the readathon. It’s another readathon tradition, that post-readathon glow. lol.


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