Snacks, Stacks, & Community: Readers share how they #24in48

Every few rounds of 24in48, we update our How To Readathon: #24in48 Style post. But since we did that this past July, this year we wanted to do something different. We talked to some of our bookternet friends, and asked them what they love about 24in48, how they approach the weekend, and if they had any unique advice, tips, or experiences they wanted to share.

They delivered and then some, so whether this is your first time or your tenth (this has been going since 2012, y’all, wut), be sure to check out what your fellow readers have to say.

At the end of this post, we also round things out with some specific tried and true book recs for your readathon stack from your #24in48 cohosts. You can download a PDF of our recs here!

Don’t forget: You can find our how to post here, FAQs here, sign-ups here, and participant list here! Don’t be afraid to DM us on social media or send us an email at 24in48readathonofficial [at] gmail [dot] com if you have any questions you can’t find the answer to!


💖 From Michele (@ultrabookgeek):

24in48 is definitely a classic example of it’s about the journey not the destination. It’s not about how long you read or how much you read. It’s about setting aside time to do one activity you really enjoy and making it as simple or extravagant as you wish. You can read in bed for 4 hours or make it to 24 with a million snacks, and tracking systems while ensconced in your coziest chair. As someone who participates time again the best advice I have to offer is to read in blocks of time, have some breaks for eating and napping, stay updated on social media for prizes and other peoples updates and have lots of snacks and drinks on hand. Lastly, make sure your family knows what you’re up to and knows to give you space as needed. Pick some books you’ve been meaning to read, find a cozy spot and happy reading!

😻 From Melissa (@balletbookworm):

How to have a successful 24-in-48 Readathon (from a reader who has both read for the full 24 hours…and has not even been close on occasion):

  1. Pick out an over-ambitious TBR “stack” (digital and paper and audio formats included): Choose a wide variety of lengths, formats, and genres—this narrows your actual TBR list and prevents aimless meandering around your house wondering about to “read next.” You can even start by knocking off books you have already started (finishing a book right away is a great boost to the start of Readathon). And don’t forget books that aren’t usually considered Readathon fodder like big poetry collections, classroom reading/textbooks, etc. – all reading counts in a Readathon.
  2. Have your favorite junk food at hand, if you like, but don’t forget to have a balanced meal, too: 24in48 isn’t a good time to gorge yourself on junk just because READATHON OMG or try out those new lobster-cheddar balls in the freezer case at the grocery store (trust me, both of those things lead to 2am indigestion regrets). Pick up some trail mix with dried fruit so you can have a snacky/crunchy good time to mix with your favorite candy. Have water standing by as well because as much as many of us are COFFEE DEATH BEFORE DECAF FIGHT ME, hydrating does help with the late-Readathon bleahs. A little advance prep for a stew in the CrockPot or a lasagna in the oven also helps cut down on aimless wandering at mealtime (this time in the kitchen, haha).
  3. Don’t sweat errands/chores, etc. because it’s 24in48: you’ve got 48 hours to play with here, but if you are out and about for periods of time (the kids have a soccer match, or you have to take the car to the mechanic, or do the grocery shopping, etc.) bring along a kicky book (or two) or fire up an audiobook on your phone or tablet (I’m extremely partial to my library’s Overdrive/Libby collection). Audiobooks also make great road companions if you have to drive around for a while and if the kids are in the car, or if the grownups can’t agree on what to listen to, a children’s book like Matilda or the Lemoncello series can keep everyone entertained for hours. And, like I said, all reading counts in a Readathon.
  4. AND IF YOU DON’T GET 24 HOURS OF READING DONE, CELEBRATE WHAT YOU DID READ! The biggest point of Readathon is just reading and sharing that love of reading with the rest of the 24in48 community. So if your plans didn’t work out or someone got sick or you fell asleep or it just worked out to only a few hours of reading time scraped together here or there, that’s OK. Gremlins won’t come after you (and if they do, we’ll fight them for you). Readathon is for having fun. But if you did make it to all 24 hours of reading….HIGH FIVES FOREVER

📚 From Sue (at Doddyaboutbooks):

The 24 in 48 is my very favourite readathon (you always have a special place in your heart for your first, right?) I have never made the full 24 hours (I made it to 19 once which I was totally stoked about). For me the readathon experience is about getting a bunch of reading done, and however much that is is great.

Here are some of my hot tips for a successful readathon:

Have lots of choices available. You will want to feel like you are getting somewhere, so if you have some poetry, novellas and graphic novels on your TBR, now is a great time to tackle them. This will also help keep your attention when you’re feeling tired. Audiobooks are also great for when your eyes get tired or if you have to do chores. Leave the Odyssey and Don Quixote fo another time – you will thank me.

Don’t be afraid to nap! Don’t keep dragging yourself on if you need match sticks for your eyelids! Sleep at night and nap during the day if you need to – it will help you concentrate.

Check in on social media. The blog has 3 hourly check ins, which is s nice time to give yourself a bit of a break and see how others are going. Plus there are prizes!

Snacks. I’m not much of a snacker, but staying hydrated is super important. I tend to stick with water and tea. Also, premake any meals so you just need to reheat them 😉

Last but not least – have fun! That’s the whole point right?

✨ From Sarah:

How I Readathon:
I’ve been most successful by choosing a stack of short (under 200 pages) books to have on hand, as well as a regular length engrossing audiobook. Every time I need to get up to do something, I put in my headphones and switch to the audiobook. This allows for almost continuous reading. The stack of books helps because then I can just grab whichever one looks good next instead of having to go choose from a larger selection. Having shorter books allows for a feeling of accomplishment throughout the weekend. Finishing a book every few hours motivates me to keep going!

💻 And finally, from Katy’s “So you want to do a readathon” post following our July 24in48 (at thebookishcronk):

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Great Selection of Snacks

My very first readathon I had no snacks or really any food in my house. This was a mistake. You have to have some snacks or meals planned out or at least some easy finger food like a sandwich. I tried to eat ramen my first one readathon and it was Not Good. (Picture a book with broth on it. Sad day indeed). Also I tried to read and cook at the same time and I tripped over my cat. True story.

Preparing a Book Stack and Sharing it with Your Friends is Fun!

I actually really enjoy this part even though I haven’t had a chance to create my stack until this evening. For me, it’s the dream of books I could get done this weekend, but don’t feel like you have to stick to it if something on your bookcase appeals to you after a really intense book. I also recommend that you have a few shorter books and/or graphic novels included. Sometimes, that’s a perfect break from novel-reading that can get you across the 24 hour mark.

We’ll see you in a few weeks, ‘thonners! (We can’t wait)

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How to Readathon, #24in48 Style

First of all, there is no one right way to readathon. Let’s just get that caveat out of the way up front.

But as 24in48 reaches maturity (insert cheek pinching here) and there are more prizes to win and places to participate, several ‘thon-ers have requested a bit more guidance in advance of this summer’s event. Hopefully, this will be good for any newbies joining us for the first time or veterans who want to level up. For some of the basic questions, like how to sign up, what is the 24in48 anyway, and what counts for reading time, check out the FAQ post.

  • Signing Up
    • A lot of people (more than you’d expect) participate in the readathon without signing up because they don’t think they’ll come close to reading for 24 hours. Here’s a secret: the vast majority of people who participate don’t come close to reading that much. In fact, I don’t even really think the point of the event is to read for a full 24 hours. Sure it’s a good goal, but really the intention is to set aside some solid reading time over the course of a weekend, hang out with your bookish friends online, and maybe win some stuff. That’s it. It is literally the most low pressure readathon ever. There is no “failing” at readation. Did you read during the weekend? Congrats! You didn’t fail.
    • So there is zero reason to not sign up. Which you can do over here.
    • You must provide your email, your name (even if its your online persona), and at least one place where you’re participating.
    • Please please please don’t choose a platform from the dropdown and then leave the “handle or URL” field blank. Telling me you’re going to be on Facebook without linking to your FB profile doesn’t help. Same with putting Litsy and not listing your handle (you know, that name after the @ sign). If I can’t find you online, I have no idea if you’re actually participating or if you just signed up to try to win prizes. So you won’t be able to win anything.
    • If you need to go back and edit your entry, you should have gotten an email on the account you used to sign up that will let you click through to change your sign-up info.
    • If you DIDN’T get an email, send me a message at 24in48readathonofficial@gmail.com and tell me what you’d like to change and I’ll update it for you. (Don’t abuse this, please.)
    • Pro-tip: if you listed a bunch of places where you think you’ll be participating and realize that you’ll only be using one, like Twitter, edit your entry to reflect just the one. You don’t have to be everywhere to get credit.
  • Tracking Time Read
    • In order to be eligible for prizes for participants that read a full 24 hours, you’ll need to keep track of your time read.
    • There are a number of ways to do this, but the most popular/successful is by using the stopwatch function on your smart phone or by Googling “stopwatch.” (The Bookout app is also great, but I don’t know enough about it to include instructions here.)
    • Every time you start reading, hit start, then pause when you stop to take a break. It doesn’t have to be exact, but because this is on the honor system, please don’t abuse the clock (like letting it run while you nap).
    • Pro tip: Take a screenshot (esp. if you’re using your phone) every time you stop the clock, just in case you accidentally reset it. You can use multiple screenshots to prove your reading time if need be.

stopwatch screen capture

  • Challenges and Check-ins
    • Every three hours a new post will publish on the blog, alternating between challenges and check-ins.
    • The Hour 0 challenge will always be an intro survey and the Hour 48 post will always be a closing survey.
    • Challenges: every six hours (Hours 6, 12, 18, 24, etc.), you’ll have the opportunity to do a fun little task (usually photo- or comment-based) to be entered for a prize.
    • Check-ins: If you entered your info on the sign-up post, you’re automatically entered to win a random check-in prize, as long as you’re actively participating on one of the platforms you entered in the sign-up form (i.e. Twitter or Instagram, etc.)
    • The best way to keep up with these posts is to subscribe using the Follow button in the bottom right corner of the blog, which will push an email to you every time a new post is published.
    • subscribe button screen capture
    • Pro tip: Even though you are free to participate in the full 48 hours (midnight Friday to midnight Sunday) using your local time zone, following Eastern Time in the US (the official readathon time zone) is the best way to ensure you’re catching as many of the challenges/check-ins as possible. Posts are labeled by hour number, not by time (Hour 6 vs. 6:00am on Saturday), so if you start Hour 0 in concert with the readathon, you’ll have an easier time catching all of the challenges. If you need help figuring out what that translates to in your local time, check out this world clock conversion tool. (The downside of course is that if you’re on the opposite side of the world, your reading weekend might spill into Monday or start on Friday instead. If you decide to use local time, you won’t be penalized for having not started or starting early re: prize drawings).
  • Adding Social Media to Comments
    • Often the challenges will ask you to take a photo and link it in the comments. You can do this by posting the photo to your social media of choice and dropping the link into a comment (your entry won’t be counted unless its in the comments.)
    • For Instagram: click on the date of the post (see below) to go to a direct link to the image (https://www.instagram.com/p/BPnWz65AlBh/). Your account must be public (or the @24in48 insta account needs to be following you already) in order to enter. Instagram capture
    • For Litsy: share a direct link to your post by clicking on the arrow at the bottom of the post and selecting how you want to share it (I usually email the link to myself in order to comment from my computer, but if you’re using your phone to comment on the blog, you can just copy and paste the link from the body of an email or wherever you’ve shared it to and add it to your comment). For the below post, this is the direct link: http://litsy.com/p/eGlZMm9PZGYw.
    • Litsy screenshot
    • Due to the number of participants, comments that only include a handle (i.e. @24in48) and directions to go look for the entry will not be eligible. You must include a direct link or the actual image in order to enter for prizes.
    • Pro tip: tagging all of your social posts with #24in48 to cheer on your fellow readathoners is great, but make sure your accounts are public (at least for this weekend) so others can cheer you on too.
  • Winning and Claiming Prizes
    • You MUST be signed up on the original sign up form in order to be eligible for prizes,. You can sign up even after the readathon begins, but you can’t win anything unless you’ve signed up. And your sign up information MUST include not just the platform you’re participating on but the actual place I can go to find you, be that the URL or the handle. (If you’ve already signed up, you can edit your entry by going to the email you received and clicking through to edit.) You can’t win anything if you don’t provide me a way to find you during the readathon.
    • Even if your readathon weekend doesn’t contain much social media or regular check-ins (which is a perfectly fine way to participate), make sure you post something about the readathon when you start the weekend on one of the platforms you entered when you sign up so we know that you actually are participating. You’re still eligible for check-in prizes as long as we can see that you’re reading along.
    • If you are staying away from social for the weekend, don’t forget to check the blog periodically or at least once at the very end to see if you won something during a check-in or challenge. Prize winners will be announced throughout the weekend, so scroll through all the posts to check for your name.
    • As soon as you see that you’ve won a prize, hop on over to the prize page (which is being updated as prizes are added) and select your first, second, and third choices. If you live in the US, please do not select any of the international prizes unless that is all that is left. The sooner you claim your prize, the higher the likelihood you’ll get your first choice. The prize page will be updated periodically throughout the weekend so you’ll have a good idea of what’s still available.
    • Pro tip: Make sure that the name you use to comment and the one you use to sign up are consistent. If I can’t match your comment to an entry on the participant list, you’ll lose out.

I hope this helps as you’re prepping for the ‘thon. If you have any follow-up or additional questions, leave ’em in the comments below.

9 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your 24in48 Readathon

Because 24in48 is both longer than and shorter than a lot of ‘thons out there, it can feel a little daunting to plan your weekend, and to make sure you’re optimizing your reading time without getting overwhelmed or without feeling rushed at the very end.

So here are 9 tips to help you prep for and execute your best readathon:

  1. Decide on a loose schedule. You certainly don’t have to stick by it to the letter, but its helpful to structure your weekend in advance. If you have set plans already – like a child’s soccer game or brunch – figure out how many hours you’ll need to read each day to hit your goal. And don’t forget to account for breaks; I like to set an hourly goal – like reading for two hours – and then allowing myself a ten or 15 minute break for Twitter or stretching my legs, among other things.
  2. Fill your readathon TBR with short books. This is not the moment to start reading the 720-page monster, A Little Life. I’ve set aside probably 10-15 books that are no more than 300 pages, and most are well under that. I find that I’m much more productive during my ‘thon if I can get through a couple books in short order, even if I do decide to read from a doorstopper at some point during the weekend.
  3. Don’t be afraid to DNF. Even if you’re an avid opponent of DNFing (stands for “Did Not Finish) in your normal, non-readathoning life, you absolutely should embrace it during a ‘thon. Sometimes a book just isn’t working for you in that moment, and if you feel pressure to keep going with it, the wrong book will derail your entire ‘thon. You’re not DNFing forever – just for the weekend.
  4. Mix it up. Try a variety of genres or topics or plots during readathon; it’s the very best way to keep your interest high. I like to switch around between non-fiction – like memoirs or pop sociology – and fiction – like YA, literary, mystery, and sci-fi – to not get bored with what I’m reading.
  5. Formats are your friends. Because this readathon takes place over a full weekend, you are probably going to have to leave your couch at some point. This is where audiobooks are tremendously helpful. I love being able to get up, go for a walk or a run, or even just doing some yoga poses in my apartment while still putting a book in my head. (If you’ve never tried audiobooks before, check out this recent Book Riot post about ones we love). Similarly, switching between print and ebooks can save your eyes a bit of strain.
  6. Stock up. If you can, go shopping for and prepare food in advance. During the winter 24in48, I’m a big fan of throwing something in a slow cooker and letting it get yummy without me having to touch it. But for the summer, I’ll be prepping fresh stuff for easy access: cutting up cucumber and red pepper slices or making a big bowl of berries that I can snack out of. And if you do feel like you need to move around, a trip to the grocery store – audiobook in hand – is a good distraction for an hour or so.
  7. Sleep. This is not a sprint. This is a readathon for people who like to sleep, so take a nap if you want. Get a full night’s sleep on Friday, and wake up when you want on Saturday to get started. Getting plenty of sleep with allow you to power through when you’re pushing for your goals.
  8. Set goals. Yeah sure, reading for 24 hours is a goal, but setting personal goals is great for personal motivation. It could be something as simple as setting a page goal or a book goal, or to cross three books off your #ReadHarder Challenge, or to meet a monetary goal if you’re reading for charity. You can also simultaneously participate in the #Cramathon, which is a ‘thon also happening this weekend, which all about finishing short books.
  9. Keep a parachute handy. This is the “Emergency Exit” book, a book that will reset your reading system no matter what funk your previous read has put you in. That can mean an indulgent kind of book – like romance – or a well-loved reread or a book that you know you’re going to love because of the genre or author or topic or whatever. This is your parachute when nothing seems to be clicking.

Those are my suggestions for having a strong readathon. Any tips you’d add?