Prep for #24in48: What to Eat, Where to Sit, What to Do

First of all, let me just say how pumped I am for this weekend. It’s only Tuesday, but I’ve officially reached the point in the week where I don’t want to actually do any real work and I’m just planning for the readathon. As of this writing, there are 242 (!!!!) readers signed up to participate and over 500 followers on Twitter. I’m overwhelmed by all this readathon love, and how many new readers are jumping on board this train.

A few housekeeping things:

  • Due to popular demand, I’ll be announcing the dates of the next readathon as soon as this readathon ends. So you future planners will be able to mark your calendars nice and early!
  • With that being said, I’m officially switching up the timing of this readathon to a bi-annual winter/summer schedule, instead of the fall/spring schedule that it had been on. This gives people who also take part in Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon some breathing room.

Okay, so onto the really important things. Part of my IS IT TIME YET excitement of readathon prep is all the other stuff that goes into the weekend. As I’ve said over and over again, this is supposed to be FUN, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. So you have to be prepared.

First, food. You have to eat. It’s a whole weekend, and unless you have a houseboy (or a well-trained child or dog), you’re going to have to feed yourself. There are some super easy ways to do this without taking away too much time from reading. I am a proponent of anything in a slow cooker. I’m making this Boeuf Bourguignon recipe on Saturday, but I’m doing all the prep work on Friday night so it’ll be ready to just turn on Saturday morning.

Or make up a pot of chili or chicken noodle soup that can be sitting on the oven warming all day for people to eat as they please. (A loaf of crusty bread is crucial for all of these options).

Keep some healthy options for snacks along with the junk food you only eat during a readathon (Oreos are my ‘thon-only food). Hummus and veggies, obviously, but edamame is also great to snack on (buy it in easy-to-steam frozen packages). My snack options are going to include these, as well as chips and guac, cheese sticks, and fruit, and I’ll probably make something sweet as well.

It’s crucial to stock up so you can feed yourself well, but not spend too much extra time doing it. Unless you’ve got a really compelling audiobook and you need an excuse to stand over a stove for hours in order to listen to it. In which case, go nuts. (Audiobooks while grocery shopping are also a great way to replenish the snacks while still putting a book in your brain – and helpful to get you moving after sitting a while).

Second, where to sit. Just one tip: change it up. Do you have the perfect reading armchair? Even that’s gonna start hurting after a full day of sitting, so move to a couch or a bed (no napping! Actually, napping is fine) or the floor or outside (if you live in a warm climate right now). Or read standing up for a while.

The point is to keep your body from getting stiff and knotted up from being in one position for two days. Stretching, a little downward dog or toe touches are good for this too.

Third, what to do. Read! (Obviously). But read in different places. I like jumping in the car (audiobooks!) and going to a local coffee shop for a few hours. Or taking a walk (audiobooks!) in the afternoons. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have a friend who’s also readathon-ing, join them (or vice versa) for some quality reading time.

And don’t forget to take breaks to cheer on your fellow readers! Follow this blog for updates throughout the weekend (every six hours starting at 12:01am on Saturday morning). In the first update, I’ll repost the Google doc with everyone who’s participating so you can find them directly online. Check the hashtag #24in48 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. too.

Building Your #24in48 Stack

I’ve been doing readathons for a loooong time now. Between Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon in the spring and fall every year and hosting this shindig for the past few years, I’ve learned – sometimes the hard way – how to build my book stack for a ‘thon.

But why should I set aside specific books, you might be asking? Can’t I just stand in front of my shelf and decide in the moment?

You certainly can, and some people do, but I’m a proponent of being more intentional about my readathon books. Not every book is going to be right for you or for a readathon. And it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by ALL the books on your shelves, rather than a small dedicated list of titles. Are you doing the #Hamalong and reading Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton? It can be part of your stack, but it’s probably a good idea to read it in bits and chucks, interspersed with lighter reads. I’m in the middle of A Little Life but I probably won’t read more than a chapter or two during the ‘thon because it’s both long and heavy (in terms of subject matter).

My suggestion is to set aside a mix of books: short books, long books, comics (if you read them), funny books, genre books, and a few serious books. This combination will give you plenty of variety during the weekend, without overwhelming you by too many choices.

(I discussed this and 8 more tips back in July if you’re looking for more help in planning your ‘thon.)

Tell me, readathon-ers – what’s on your stack?

Prep for #24in48: What to Read?

Are you staring at your shelves, planning for the readathon and feeling overwhelmed, like me? Get a stack of books for Christmas or Chanukah and don’t know where to start? Or want to change things up in 2016?

I’ve got some ideas for you. As it’s a new year, everyone seems to be making reading resolutions, of all kinds, and the readathon is a great excuse to get a jump start on those resolutions.

I have to plug the 2016 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge, since I wrote it. It’s 24 tasks, designed to help you expand your reading horizons and help you push yourself to read things you might not otherwise would have. It’s so much fun and there is a Goodreads group (along with the suggestions in the linked post) to help you with the tasks.

Personally, I’ll be fulfilling the task for reading out loud to someone else be regaling my dog with a story, preferably one that requires a lot of voices.

If you’re looking for some comics to read during the readathon, also check out the 2016 Panels Read Harder Challenge, which is the same idea as the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge but for comics.

If you’ve got mountains of books in your house that just never seem to get read (despite the fact that you keep buying new ones), check out Andi’s #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge which is exactly what it sounds like. Pull your readathon list from the books you already own and feel a little better about that other resolution to buy fewer books/spend less money.

Do you have a similar problem with ebooks? Kerry’s #CleanYourReader challenge runs until March and is all about finally reading some of those ebooks filling up your reader. I’ve definitely got a couple of romance novels I’m planning on reading during the ‘thon from my reader.

Looking for more ideas? Check out Bustle’s list of 9 Reading Challenges to take on in 2016 (it includes the Read Harder Challenge too).

I hope that gives you some ideas and some inspiration for the readathon. In the next few weeks, I’ll be posting a few more ideas and suggestions for your weekend ‘thon. If you haven’t signed up already, what are you waiting for?? Join the 80+ readers already participating.