August 2021

2021 Reverse Readathon PreChallenge

Welcome back to Dewey’s Readathon! We had some changes to the administration of this much loved, long-lived reading institution after the last Spring Readathon. The new leadership team is coming together as we prepare for our most casual Readathon event of the year, the Reverse Readathon. For folks who have never done this one, we start at 8pm instead of 8am, so this year the Reverse Readathon starts August 6th at 8pm EST. We read, chat about reading, add far too many new titles to our TBRs, and whatever else we enjoy doing during readathons. All our events are about having fun and reading, but this one is more casual, at least so far.

So, the Pre-Readathon Challenge for this readathon is also more casual. Starting Sunday, July 11th, keep track of how many hours you read. This can be on social media, or in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet, or wherever works for you. Over the next 4 weeks leading up to the Readathon itself, see how many of these prompts you can check off. There are only 8 prompts, so if you aim for 2 per week you can finish all of them, and it is up to you whether you count the same book for multiple prompts.

  1. Read a murder mystery/crime novel OR romance novel set in a place you’ve never visited.
  2. Read a play published after 1950.
  3. Read a book listed on either the Guardian’s 1000 Novels Everyone Should Read list or Boxall’s 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.
  4. Read a book in which at least one character is non-binary gendered, where this is a character trait, NOT the central conflict of the narrative.
  5. Participate in a book-related Goodreads, Facebook, or other social media group (not Dewey’s).
  6. Add a book to your pre-readathon TBR that is mentioned in a book blog, booktube, or other bookish social media site. Read the book.
  7. Read a science fiction/fantasy novel, OR if you mostly read sci-fi/fantasy anyway, read a Western or cozy mystery.
  8. Read a non-fiction book.

You can keep track of your progress online or on paper or wherever, but if you post your progress online, feel free to use the hashtag #2021ReverseReadathon .

October 2020, readathon

10+ Years of Dewey’s Experience

Hi everyone, it’s Kristen from The Book Monsters or @bookgoil on social media!

I’ve been participating in Dewey’s Readathon for so long I can’t even remember the years now. Each time is a new experience and I enjoy each one!

There’s years I have plans and get an hour or two in.

There’s years I overdo it and cohost/twitter party/host a mini challenge and barely read because I’m all over the place cheering everyone on.

There’s the years I make it to about 19-20 hours of reading – how did I do that?!?!?

To say the least, no readathon is the same as the other and things can go unplanned.

What have I learned over all this time, you ask?

  1. Have fun, whatever that means to you. Do you feel like being social? Do it! Do you want to bury in books all day, do it!
  2. Plan a decent menu and don’t overdo it. I find overcaffeinating/overeating does NOT help in the least. Keeping to a normal schedule, adding in walks and breaks helps you to keep going. Think about the night (if you are aiming to stay up) as a longer day, walk around your home, eat a real meal or a take a cat nap.
  3. Audiobooks/graphic novels are your friends. I find that being able to move about and do things with audiobook and quick reads like graphic novels make you feel like you’re getting a lot read without doing a lot of page pushing.
  4. Have a buddy. I have two furbabes that keep me company, they also make me walk. This can mean making a friend online you track with, I tend to drag my online buddies into readathons with me and we cheer each other on.
  5. Clear your schedule, if you can, or work around it. Life gets in the way, it’s okay, just know that going into it you have so much time that you want to read with.
  6. Put your device away if you’re reading. I try to check in every 3 hours when I’m really reading, not on the hour.
  7. HAVE FUN… really. Just have fun. If you’re not enjoying a book, pick another from your stack. Download another from the library, run to your bookshelf and grab a new one. Be as social or not social as you want. I love all the check ins and challenges but they can really distract so pick and choose when you check into those if your focus is reading.

To end, here’s my cute pups, hopefully they’ll behave so I can read all day.

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.

October 2020, readathon

Self Care and Readathon

Let’s face it folks, this year has been rough. Across pretty much all demographics, 2020 has not been kind. It’s really one of the biggest reasons I’ve been looking forward to Readathon. Why I look forward to it every time; It’s a day I take for me. I turn off the news, turn on my favorite music, prepare my favorite foods and enjoy myself.

Admittedly, not everyone can do this, an entire 24 hours for you. But even just taking an hour or so for yourself can do wonders for your well-being. Taking a seat outside and bringing your favorite book with you can be a literal and metaphorical breath of fresh air for your system. Putting on an audiobook and giving yourself a mani/pedi can be so restorative.

And being able to interact with other readers helps. People who know the struggle of trying to continue reading after a beloved character’s death. People who know the pains of trying to get 5 minutes of reading in when you’ve got so much to do. People who can help and empathize with you. We’ve got a really good community here and that’s really helpful for self-care.

There are, of course, some Readathon self-care tips that cross over to the overall self-care:

  1. Drink water. Sadly humans have not yet evolved the ability to survive solely on caffeine. (I’m working on it!)
  2. Exercise. Okay, during Readathon it can just be getting up once in a while and moving around, but the principle is the same. Exercise gets the blood flowing, provides endorphins, and can actually give you some more energy.
  3. Ask for Help. Need advice? Need help picking your next read? Can’t find the energy to continue reading, even though you want to? Ask for help! We’re here to help and support you!
  4. Enjoy Your Book. I’ve seen so many Readathoners struggle because they want to read “X book” but aren’t really enjoying it. It’s okay to switch to a different book. Just like it’s okay to get so lost in a book that you don’t participate in as many chats/mini-challenges as you had wanted. Reading a good book can be a potent restorative.

There’s plenty of other tips/tricks for Readathon, but the most important one to remember: Have fun. It might sound cliche, but if you’re not having fun, it’s okay to step out, put the book down, go do something else. Taking care of yourself is a Readathon priority. Don’t worry about page counts. Don’t worry about your number of books read. Take some time for you, get lost in a book, and remember: We’re here if you need us.

October 2020, readathon

Scully’s Readathon Diary

I would like to thank my human for translating and typing this up for me. She is called Ellie and has informed me she has a blog at Curiosity Killed the Bookworm. I am a four year old Labrador and I have been readathonning all my life… Here is a transcript of my version of events.

12:00 There appear to be cheesy nuggets of delight on the table. Hang on, my human wants me to sit next to some books, maybe there’s a cheesy snack in it for me?

12:01 This is soooooo boring, where’s my treat? She’s pointing that rectangle thing at me, time to look adorable.

12:05 What?! No cheesy snack? I demand justice!

13:00 After finishing the midday eating, my human settles down with a book. It’s time for my early afternoon snooze, if I’m lucky I can snuggle into some of that blankie…

13:02 There is a pointy book corner jabbing my eyebrow. I hate books, they take away attention from me, serve no purpose that I can make out, and they don’t even taste good. Trust me, I tried one once. It didn’t go down too well with the humans.

13:05 Commence loud snoring.

14:00 She’s turning the pages too loudly, I’m off. I’ll be back for the snacks.

16:29 I’m starting to feel peckish.

16:30 Helloooo? Can you see me? What about now? Your book is in the way, I need to tell you IT IS TIME. I AM HUNGRY. FEED ME!

16:31 Apparently it is not time, I cannot believe it. I am starving. To. Death.

17:20 OMG she’s put the book down! Feed me! No, no, don’t pick up that thing.

17:29 After approximately ninety hundred hours of laser beam staring, she is getting up…and yes, YES going into the kitchen.

17:30 The beautifully delicious kibbles are being poured into my bowl, the drool is pooling in my mouth…

17:31 Well that was nice, time to play. What the?! She’s back on the sofa with a book again. This is uncalled for.

18:00 The other human played with me for a bit, time for another snooze.

19:00 Owowowowowooooohooooowaaaaa! There’s someone at the door, how exciting! They must be here to see me!

19:02 The visitor ran off without saying hello but they left behind food. It smells so good. If I sit down I will get some.

19:20 The humans ate all the food and now she is back to reading a book again. SIGH.

21:00 That was a good dream. I was running and it was raining snacks.

21:01 She is still reading. It looks like a different book thing, this one is less pointy. I shall lie my head on it.

21:30 Is that a snack packet being opened I hear?

21:31 I sit, I dribble, I eat cheesy snacks. So crunchy. So good.

21:32 More please!

21:33 What if I wave my paw about?

21:34 All gone sad face

22:00 Time for bed.

23:15 Something is not right, she’s still downstairs. And she’s not even drinking that rotten fruit juice.

23:20 I’ll just stare from the top of the stairs.

23:22 I do not know what she means, I am not creepy AT ALL. I am adorable.

01:30 OW! WHAT? Oh it’s you, mind where you’re treading.

02:00 Oh good both humans are asleep, time to check the perimeter.

02:10 No cheesy snacks to be found.

07:00 I think she moved! Here have a toy. I’m hungry.

07:01 I need a wee. But also HUNGRY.

07:05 EYE CONTACT! Result.

07:30 Twenty hours later I get my much deserved breakfast.

07:31 BUTTER ALERT

07:33 She’s eating crumpets. They are even better than cheesy snacks. They come with butter. If I sit down I get to lick the plate.

07:35 NOT BOOKS AGAIN? Did she not read enough yesterday?

07:36 Maybe she’s ill? I will snuggle, it is well known that snuggling has magic healing powers. Also she smells of butter, which is nice.

10:00 Hey, any chance of a walk? You need a break from the reading, you’ll go blind. Then you won’t be able to walk me.

10:01 She just told me later. Later is like days away.

12:30 I’m bored and hungry and my legs will fall off if I don’t get my walk soon.

13:00 HURRAH! She has put the book down. What, no don’t start taking photos again. I hope you don’t expect me to help this time.

October 2020, readathon

Vampire Challenge from Mommy in Color

A few weeks ago, my daughter, my mom and I watched The Wolfman starring Benicio Del Toro. It was one of my daughter’s favorite movies to watch with her other grandmother. My mother was a horror movie connoisseur. Nothing was too gross for her and there had to be LOTS of blood. But she loved werewolves.  Anyway, my family and I got into the age old discussion of which would you rather be: a vampire or a werewolf. Don’t get me wrong,I like werewolves. I loved Anne Rice’s Wolf Gift series. But vampires have always been my ultimate favorite supernatural creature. I enjoy the MANY ways there are for vampires to look from elegant and pretty like the ones in  Anne Rice novels or super gross looking like Nosferatu. My favorite vampire novels aside from Rice are The Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton and the Vampire Huntress Legend series by L.A. Banks.  Your challenge, if you choose to accept it,is to describe yourself with three vampires. I’ll make it a little easier and let you decide whether you want to use books or tv/movies. I’ll start us off: 
(from left) Akasha, Queen of the Damned; unknown vampire, John Carpenter’s Vampires; Gloria, Blacula  Good luck to all of you!!! Have fun!
October 2020, readathon

Mindful reading and the pandemic

Hi book peeps,

I am Juli from ichlese. I thought I could talk a bit about my 2020 reading journey, which just so happens is unintentionally exactly what I needed to cope with the current world situation. Over the past few years I found myself competing with …, well, … myself. I would select a certain number of books as my Goodreads goal and then only think about how to beat that number. Don’t get me wrong, I totally enjoyed myself along the way and I read many books which I loved, loved, loved BUT I didn’t feel like I internalized the stories and words as much as they deserved.

Relaxed reading lazy GIF on GIFER - by Gholbilune

So, at the beginning of this year, I set my major goal to be “mindful reading”. This entails carefully selecting books based on what I feel like and not based on the hype of the book community for example, DNFing them readily if they don’t get me engaged, tackling some books which have been on my TBR for a really long time, and (most importantly!) being present while reading. That means no scramming to finish a book between appointments just to mark it as read on Goodreads, re-reading passages if I particularly love them, re-reading entire books because I want to, sitting with my thoughts after finishing a novel, totally cherishing that book hangover rather than filling that void immediately with another story, and not being bothered by interruptions (especially if they’re furry and cute).

SLOTHILDA

Interestingly, this new strategy pushed me to investigate authors and not just their books (yes, I sometimes went down the internet rabbit hole). I generally tended to select a novel by new-to-me-writers based on the synopsis and a few general reviews but instead I found myself picking up books because I was enamored with the author. I started looking for glimpses of the author in the story. I started relating so much more to the characters and their journeys. And I started to be much more critical of which authors merit my time.

Slothilda Sloth

How does this relate to the pandemic and to Dewey’s readathon, you ask? Simply speaking, it allowed me to look within and pick a novel that would fill my emotional need no matter the situation – and we all know those needs changed a crazy amount of time with every development across the world this year – and it made me listen to the book community in a different way. I paid attention to exactly what people were saying about certain authors, I concentrated on reading between the lines when people wrote their reviews (what are they not saying for example), and I became more compassionate toward everyone’s internal struggles. I selected books because they made someone else feel good and I was curious to understand why. I picked up poetry collections left and right to confront myself with other people’s feelings and observations. And I read wayyyyyyy more non-fiction, specifically memoirs and accounts of individual’s journeys, than I have ever before, despite the fact that I personally struggle with non-fiction. Reading them mindfully allowed me grace with myself. If I lost interest or got distracted for a moment I didn’t chastise myself or get frustrated. I would be happy with reading even just a few pages here and there. That still amounts to reading the entire memoir eventually, right?!

Slothilda Sloth

Dewey’s readathon community is a big part of my mindful reading journey. I love how we all come together, from all parts of the world, from all walks of life, and read in unison. We support each other. We encourage each other. We respect each other. It’s such a lovely and needed sentiment in these times. I am looking forward to knowing once again that for 24 hours I am doing exactly what thousands of others are doing as well – diving into magical worlds, living vicariously through a fictional character, listening to an author talk to me about their life, chatting with other book lovers, adding books upon books to my TBR, and cheering every single one of you on to reach the goals you set yourself (even if your goal is to not have one just like myself) for this October readathon.

Virtual hugs,

Juli

October 2020, readathon

Fall Into Reading

Fall Into Reading . . .      Fall reading clipart no background

I was so excited to get the chance to sign up for a “warm-up” post for the Readathon!   I especially love the Autumn Readathon as it lends itself to a cozy blanket and hot cup of coffee or tea on a cool day.    I have always been a reader who likes to choose books that match the season we are in . . . in the summer time all of the books with beautiful, warm beach scenes draw me in and who can resist a Christmas story in December?!  So I interviewed some faithful book readers to see what they would recommend to us for “Fall reading” and maybe you still have time to get ahold of their recommendations for the Readathon on the 24th!

Our first recommendation is a “cozy mystery”.    Cozy Corgi Mysteries by Mildred Abbott.  The setting is in a bookstore – what could be better – and the owner always has her sweet Corgi alongside her.  I’m sure he plays a big role in solving the mystery of the day.  Upstairs in the bookstore is a bakery!  Now that’s pretty sweet!  And with these cute book covers who could resist them?

Picture

Our next recommendation is Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen – This story begins in the Fall season but the coming weather and winter season plays a big role in the tale.  I have found that anything by this author is a great choice!!  

Paperback The Sugar Queen : A Novel Book

For me personally – Autumn makes me think of pumpkin patches, country sides with Fall harvest in high gear, apple orchards, and I’m always pulled in by the pictures on the front cover . . . here are a few Fall choices from my own Kindle library.

The Hope Jar  by Wanda E. Brunstetter

And Then She Was Gone by Rosalind Noonan

Country Heaven by Ava Miles

The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard

Peas, Beans and Corn by Jennifer Wixson

Rain Song by Alice J. Wisler

I hope you have a great Readathon on the 24th and a great Fall season!!

Teri Henningsen

October 2020, readathon

It’s All About the Snacks! – Michelle

Hi All! It’s Michelle from Fitkittymama Reads, here with your next warm up post. Are you getting excited for the Readathon??

Second only to the books you choose to read, snacks are one of the most important parts of any Readathon experience. And it takes some preparation to make sure that you have the right snacks on hand to help you power through the event.

My first couple of times participating in the event, I focused on fun snacks and junk food and lots of caffeine, but soon learned that was not the best way to go. Here are the things that I have found to be helpful when planning for the food portion of my Readathon.

Hydrate

While the instinct may be to power up on caffeine, you actually want to make sure that you are getting plenty of water to keep you hydrated through the long hours. That’s not to say you won’t be needing some caffeine through the wee hours, but mix it up. I try to go for a mix of caffeine {I don’t drink coffee so go for sodas and green tea}, juices, and water throughout the event, alternating each caffeinated drink with a glass of water to ensure I stay hydrated.

Eat real meals

You should definitely have a real dinner, if not all of your normal meals throughout the Readathon. If you focus just on snacking, you won’t necessarily fuel yourself enough to get through the dark hours of the Readathon {not that you have to read all 24 hours}. I usually plan something quick and easy, like a salad with diced chicken or pizza. Other ideas are to prep something in the slow-cooker so that it’s ready when you are. Or if there are other people at home with you, ask them to do the cooking so you can focus on reading. If none of those options work, there’s always delivery!

Have a mix of healthy and fun treats

For my first Readathon, I focused a lot on the junk food treats and didn’t really think about how my body would feel throughout the day. I’ve learned in future events that a mix of healthy and not-so-healthy treats work best for me. This plan gives me fun, but also doesn’t leave me with a sugar crash or an upset stomach.  I’ve included a list of my favorite treats below for you to check out.

Plan a few extra treats

My philosophy has always been that it’s better to have too much of something than too little, extras can always be shared or saved for later. This goes for treats as well. When I shop for my Readathon snacks, I always buy more than I’m going to eat during the event. This gives me choices, if I want more salty than I originally planned for, or am really craving a piece of fruit, then I have an extra option on hand. It also helps me keep the Readathon spirit alive through the next week, as I enjoy or share any of the extra snacks.

Pick a treat that’s part of your Readathon tradition

Pick out a treat (or a few) that you always have as part of your Readathon tradition. I find that this helps to keep the excitement of Readathon high as you are planning, and keeps continuity through the various events. I have a couple of snacks that I traditionally have during my readathons, they are tater tots, something fresh baked (usually made the day before), and MnMs (Almond, Peanut, or Pretzel).

Snack Ideas from My Past Snack Lists

  • Nuts (I like to do almonds, but any nuts will do)
  • Crackers with meat and cheese (I love the single serve trays they sell at the grocery store)
  • Popcorn
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Brownies or cupcakes
  • MnMs, Peanut Butter Cups, or other chocolate candy
  • Licorice or orange slices
  • Apples, Bananas or Melon
  • Dried fruit
  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt
  • Salads (green salads, pasta salads, potato salads- I’ve done them all)
  • Pizza Rolls (or Bagel Bites, or something similar)
  • Tater Tots
  • Ice Cream
  • Fruit snacks or fruit roll ups
  • Granola bars
  • Donuts
  • Pretzels
  • Goldfish crackers
  • Beef jerky
What are some of your favorite snacks to enjoy during the Readathon? Share them below in the comments.