2022 TBR Masterpiece Challenge

Our next readathon will be happening in October. Between now and then, we have a new challenge to keep us busy. But, by this part of the year many of us are already knee-deep in potential or ongoing TBR-related projects. So many books, so little time! A well-crafted readathon TBR can go a long way towards getting us closer to finishing our many reading goals.

Phase 1: Assembly

Step 1- Gather up all the books you have already started or that you are ‘currently reading’ for this year. Part of your mind has already been involved with those books, so just finishing some of them may help you feel less stressed. I often include at least one of the books I have been ‘currently reading’ for long enough that they have stalled out. Even if I just get a few more chapters done during sprints, that is often a worthy enough accomplishment

Step 2- Gather up all the books you have borrowed from the library or from friends/family that you are supposed to be reading soon. If you have a LOT of borrowed books, you may need to stick to library books, or just books you’ve been borrowing for the longest, or that you took custody of most recently. Just as with books you’ve stalled on, borrowed books can be great for sprints. They may also be a lure to get whoever you borrowed them from to participate in the readathon with you.

Step 3- List all the reading challenges and book clubs/groups you are involved with this year. Many of us try the Read Harder, 52 Books annual challenge, PopSugar, Book Bingo, etc. Many of us try to keep up with online or in-person book clubs, too. By this part of the year it can seem impossible to even come close to reading all the books for all the prompts in our challenges, and many of our book club books languish unread for months or longer after their official month is past.

Step 4- Decide how many books to include in your pre-readathon and readathon day TBRs. Do you find it stressful looking at a large TBR stack? Does the idea that you can’t get to them all keep you awake at night? Than be more sparing in your stack making. Think about how many days it usually takes you to finish a typical 200pg novel, and for the pre-readathon TBR work out how many days you have til the readathon. Based on these guestimated averages, set your pre-readathon TBR to be at most 1-3 books more than your guestimates would suggest (#days til the readathon/#days it takes you to read a 200pg novel = pre-readathon TBR).

Some of us are mood readers too much for a small TBR to work out. We can make a small stack, and even stick to it for a little while, but even in a 24hr readathon we wander off and read pretty much everything but what is on our TBR stacks. I am often in this group. I often choose a couple genres, plus borrowed books, challenge/club books, and ones I am ‘currently reading’. In each genre I pick about 5-10 books to be in my TBR stack, especially for pre-readathon weeks. When I get close to the actual readathon, I usually choose about 10-15 books from what is left on my original pre-readathon TBR. I might add a few random extra books, but I try to limit my TBR to no more than 20 books for a readathon. That usually gives me enough variety that I stick to my stack (mostly) during the readathon.

Step 5- Make your TBR. Post a photo of your TBR on social media so we can all admire your selections and be inspired to add new titles to our own stacks.

Phase 2: Reading

Now that you have a shiny new TBR, it is time to dive in. If you, like me, read every day anyway, you may simply ease into your TBR by continuing whatever book you were ‘currently reading’ last. Here are some ideas if that doesn’t seem satisfying enough, though….

Buddy Reads- If other people are also reading a book you are reading, you get people who can chat with you about your book, and you all might be more likely to finish it. The trick to these, if you feel like you have too many commitments already, is to choose a book you already have or want to have on your TBR for this event, probably a book you actually have on hand so that there is no need to wait for holds or shipping while everyone else finishes the book and moves on.

Reading Sprints- These don’t have to be official, or shared, though we do occasionally have ‘official’ hour long sprints during our readathons, and we often have sprints that one of us posts on social media. These are an easy way to focus on reading during a busy schedule. They also make it easier sometimes to focus on boring or difficult books. To do a reading sprint all you need to do is decide how long your reading sprint will be- 15min, 30min, an hour, etc.- and start reading when the sprint time starts. It works better when you silence your phone and ignore all distractions during the sprint, of course, but if this doesn’t work out don’t worry. Try again when you can, and after a while you may find it easier to focus on your reading when you want to or need to.

Reading Relays- These are a bit like reading sprints, but are usually a series of sprints, based on either time or page numbers/chapters. Set up a small stack of books for the number of sprints you have time for. For sprint 1, read the first book in the stack. At the end of that sprint, switch to the second book for sprint 2. Book 3 is for sprint 3, book 4 is for sprint 4, etc.

I like this game for rainy weekend days or sick days when I have nothing to do but read and relax (and do housework, I suppose). I set up 3-5 categories, with 2-3 books in each category. If I have 3 categories, I go back to book 1 for the 4th sprint, and cycle through the first 3 books til I finish them. If I finish book 1 during its second round, in sprint 4, then the next time that category gets its turn I move to the next book in that category. If by the end I have completely finished one of the categories but barely made a dent in others, that is a great indication that my actual reading appetite may require more books from that category for a while(really helpful when I am in a reading rut). If whole books are a bit much for the time you have, I’ve also played this game using different short story collections for each ‘category’.

Fall Pre-Readathon Reading Challenge

  1. A non-fiction book.
  2. A book with more than one poem in it.
  3. A play written by a woman.
  4. 5 books with autumn colored spines or covers.
  5. A short story collection by an author who did not publish a full-length novel.
  6. A book by Stephen King, John Grisham, Clive Cussler, Louis L’Amour, James Michener, Michael Crochton, or Robert Ludlum.
  7. A book by Anita Shreve, Jane Smiley, Barbara Kingsolver, Jan Karon, Pearl S. Buck, Jane Austen, or Edith Wharton.
  8. A book set on each continent (7 total- North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, Antarctica/Oceania)
  9. A book about the future, published before 1960.
  10. A book from a series of more than 3 books.

This list would have us reading 20 books to finish all the prompts, though if you wish you can of course combine some of them to read fewer books. If you run out of books to read before the readathon and need a few more prompts…

A. A book that was mentioned by, or being read by a character from one of the books you read for the first 10 prompts.

B. A non-fiction book about a place or subject that featured in one of the books you read for the first 10 prompts.

C. 5 books by one of these authors- Georgette Heyer, Arthur B. Upfield, Ngaio Marsh, Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, Dick Francis, Sue Grafton, Alexander McCall Smith, Susan Wittig Albert, Boris Akunin

D. 3-5 books by one of these authors- Andre Norton, Julian May, Joan D. Vinge, Michael Moorcock, Ben Bova, J.D. Robb, Larry Niven, Robin Hobb, Jack McDevitt, Mercedes Lackey, Kim Stanley Robinson, Octavia Butler


Book Report Challenge, Part 6

We’re in the final 4 hours of this readathon, so it is time for the last segment of the Book Report Challenge. For this last assignment you’ll be making something, and sharing it on social media.

Option 1: Make movie posters for each of the books you finished/read during this readathon.

Option 2: Make bookmarks for each of the books you finished/read during this readathon.

Option 3: Make a mobile illustrating a favorite scene from one of the books you read during this readathon.

Option 4: Prepare a food or drink inspired by or mentioned in one of the books you read. This could be from a recipe included in the book, but does not have to be. If you choose this option, tell us what you made, how it relates to the book, and provide at least a basic idea of the recipe. A photo of what you made would also be lovely.


Book Report Challenge, Part 5

Getting to know the characters:

Pick one or more characters in your current book. For each one, answer the following questions.

  1. What book(s) would this character have on their readathon TBR stack?
  2. What would they choose as their readathon snacks?
  3. Who or what would their reading buddies be?
  4. Would they complete the full 24 hours, or modify the hours to suit them? Would they only read a couple hours and get bored or busy?
  5. What distractions might pop up for this character during the readathon?
  6. Where and how would this character keep track of their readathon? Would they be posting on facebook? Writing in a cute molesking notebook? Broadcasting live on their own video media channel?

Book Report Challenge, Part 4

What happened next?

Have you finished a book yet during this readathon? This challenge works best with a book you have finished, or that you are nearly finished with. Your assignment is to write, chart, or draw the next chapter(s). Tell us what happens next in the main plotline, or to one of the characters, etc.

For example, if your report is on Hamlet, you might focus on what poor Horatio did after the last curtain. Now that the king and queen and Hamlet are all dead, and the Norwegian king, Fortinbras has turned up, does Horatio stick around to help? Does he leave Denmark? Is he going to be haunted for the rest of his life by the mess that the royal family of Denmark made of things? Does he write off Denmark entirely, move to Sweden or someplace nice and warm like Spain or Algeria where he can marry and settle into a career of some kind? Does Fortinbras stick around to sort out Denmark himself, or does he send his annoying cousin to manage Denmark? Or maybe one of Ophelia’s companions happens to be Hamlet’s cousin and is now the woman to marry to become the new king. There are so many next chapters possible, and you can tell your version in whatever direction you wish.


Book Report Challenge, Part 3

Retelling the Story: For the book you are currently reading, imagine you have been hired to rewrite your book replacing all the human characters with something else (hedgehogs, robots, fish, gnomes, orcs, cats, etc.). Pick a scene from the book and rewrite it using these modified characters. OR … Draw out a series of cartoons to show this scene using the modified characters.


Book Report Challenge, Part 2

Chart the structure of the book you are reading. Who are the important characters? What is the setting(time, place)? What is the basic plot? What problem(s) is central to the plot, and how is it resolved? Do the important characters get what they want/need?

There are some fun printable pages on Pinterest (and thus all over the Internet) for this sort of basic book report. Here’s one that might be helpful for this challenge, though if you browse Pinterest or some of the sites these graphics are posted on, you may find others you like better. Or, make your own version. Many of these printables are also designed to be colored, so pull out your crayons or markers and have fun decorating your book report.

This nifty printable comes from a site called Classroom Doodles, which has a lot of great book report graphics.

Book Reports Challenge, Part 1- 2022 Reverse Readathon

When was the last time you had to write a book report? For this readathon we are heading back to grade school and completing some bookish activities to show off what we have been reading. There will be 6 parts to this challenge, spaced out every 4 hours throughout the official readathon. If you are starting at a different time or extending your readathon to 2 days (or any other modifications you’ve made to personalize your readathon) you can still do this challenge. Share your completed activities on whichever social media site you are using to post your readathon stuff.

If you are reading multiple books for this event, this first activity will be for the first book you read to kick off the readathon. If you are only reading one book, you may do all 6 activities on your one book. Your assignment for this first book: Draw a picture to show what your book is about.


July 2022 Reverse Readathon! Sign Up!

Beachy scene with a small pile of books, sunglasses, and the words Reverse Readathon
8PM July 22 – 8PM July 23rd

It’s that time friends! Ready to come read with us? It’s time to sign up for the Reverse Readathon! We’ll be reading from Friday, July 22nd, 8 PM Eastern Standard Time until Saturday, July 23rd, 8 PM EST, as the intent of the Reverse Readathon is to give our friends on the other side of the world a chance to start early!

Keep in mind, you do not HAVE to read the entire 24 hours. If you can only join us for 30 minutes or even less, we want you to do it! And enjoy it! Read with friends around the world. Everyone is welcome. Sign up now and follow us on all the social media places (we are on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Facebook, Litsy, and kindasortawedontknowwhatwearedoing TikTok [now taking volunteers because Heather has no clue?]).


2022 Inter-Readathon Summer Reading Challenge

Keep track of your progress on your blog/social media sites, or wherever you like to track your readathons. Post images and discussions related to this challenge on Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram, etc. Yes, you can change stuff to fit your needs, no there are no prizes or rules, and yes this is just for fun. This is a new feature in the Dewey’s universe, and if it proves entertaining enough we will most likely do it again for the winter inter-readathon gap.

  • Go to your local library, bookstore, freecycle book source, thriftstore that sells books, etc. Pick a book at random and check it out/buy it/adopt it. Read it.
  • Get book recommendations from someone on social media. Pick 3 of those recommended books, get them, and read them.
  • Choose a book with at least 300 pages, and a notebook/reading journal. Read the book, stopping every 20-30pgs to journal about your reading(pictures, quotes, reactions, etc.).
  • Read a book published between 2020 and 2022.
  • Read a book originally published before 1950.
  • Browse the current world news. Choose a country/region/issue from the news that interests you. Find a book related to your chosen topic/location, and read it.
  • Read a book set during a world war.
  • Write and post a review for a book you enjoyed this year. (This can be on Goodreads, Amazon, your blog, etc. We will have a folder in our Goodreads group where you can post these, too.)
  • Make a 6-book rainbow (stack up books with a red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple spine). Take a photo and share on social media. Then read those books.
  • Read a book that was selected for a book club or group. 
  • Complete the 2022 Spring Readathon pre-readathon challenges (located in our Goodreads group).


Dates for our Upcoming Readathons

Our 2022 Reverse Readathon will start at 8pm July 22 and run through 8pm July 23.
Our 2022 Fall Readathon will begin at 8am October 22, and end 8am October 23.

Yep, you read that right. Our Reverse Readathon starts at 8pm on Friday, July 22. It is still a 24hr readathon, but it starts in the evening and runs overnight, for us folks in the US time-zones. This event is our youngest, and is quite popular with folks who hate getting up super early, as well as folks in non-US timezones where an 8am EST start time translates to a more obnoxious time. As a night owl, I personally like this format a lot, but don’t let it fool you. The staying awake and reading for 24hrs part is still hard (and fun).

For our traditionalists, our Fall readathon will be on October 22, starting at 8am EST. This is our other long-standing readathon event, pretty much the same as our Spring readathon, just in October.

Our official pre-readathon challenges will be posted in late May for the Reverse Readathon. In addition we’ll have a new Inter-Readathon Reading Challenge starting this year, for folks who need something to fill the long, slow months between our events(more info coming soon).

-Jamie Barringer