Sunday, October 25, 2009

sunday salon: thoughts on my first readathon

The Sunday
I participated in my first 24-hour Dewey's Read-athon (or almost 18-hour read-a-thon in my case) yesterday, and I loved it. Going into it, I wanted to have a variety of books to choose from, achievable goals, and I wanted to have fun. The biggest surprise for me during the read-a-thon was how much fun I had interacting with people. I also understand why many veterans abandoned mini-challenges, limited time on Twitter and blogging and focused on reading.

Strategy: My strategy fluctuated throughout the day, but around 6 p.m., I found the strategy that worked best for me: at the top of the hour, check in with the blog to see if I'd won any prizes (maybe next time!) and what the next mini-challenge was, check my email to see all of the comments on my blog (thanks cheerleaders, I had so much fun discovering new blogs, and I hope you'll revisit this one too!), check and update Twitter with my progress, pop in on a few other blogs, and check the football scores. I tried to keep this activity to 10-15 minutes. Then, I set my alarm for the top of the next hour, and I put the computer to sleep. When the alarm went off, I finished my current chapter and started the cycle over again. I read more quickly, enjoyed the community more and had more fun. It was the right balance for me, and it's a strategy I'll keep for the next read-a-thon.

Books: Here's the breakdown of what I read yesterday:
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (kids graphic novel) - 217 pages
  • Rescuing Seneca Crane by Susan Runholt (kids/YA mystery) - 276 pages
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (YA science fiction) - 374 pages
All three were wonderful in very different ways. I'll post full reviews this week!

Goals: I had two goals for my first read-a-thon.
  • Read from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. (except for the KU game). I overslept, so by the time I started reading it was almost ten. The KU-Oklahoma game was blacked out here (in New York!), so I followed the score online and read through it. I bailed at 1 a.m. instead of starting a new book because I knew I couldn't finish it before bed. Overall: less than I hoped for, but still good!
  • Read 800 pages. I read 867 pages! Yes, I read all children's and young adult novels, but I still met my goal!
Charity: I planned to give to charity in some way, but I didn't want to commit to pledging a certain number of cents per page read or dollars per book read. Instead, I'm donating a flat amount ($20) to The Metropolitan Museum of Art's family and education program in honor of Kari and Lucas (my favorite teenage detectives!) Kari and Lucas met at a museum drawing class in their first book, and art museums figure prominently in their adventures around the world. After the idea came to me, I vowed to donate to an organization or cause that's meaningful to a character in a book I read during the readathon. Next time, I might even ask for sponsors to donate too!

Wrap-Up Meme:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Oddly, the first hour because I overslept and was already behind!

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

The Mystery of the Third Lucretia, The Hunger Games, Diary of a Wimpy Kid

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Many of the mini-challenges required people to post on their blogs, yet non-bloggers were encouraged to participate. In the future, it would be great to have fewer blog-required activities! Also, I noticed at least one blog was picked twice to encourage people to randomly visit. While, it is mathematically possible, it would be great to spread the love and not have duplications!

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

I was amazed how much work was put into it. Thank you to the organizers!

5. How many books did you read?


6. What were the names of the books you read?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rescuing Seneca Crane, The Hunger Games

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid because it woke me up, and I was genuinely surprised how funny I (as an adult) found it

8. Which did you enjoy least?

The Hunger Games (it was up against stiff competition!)

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I will absolutely participate next time (provided the date works for me) as a reader, and I will probably try to be a cheerleader as well. I found myself being an accidental cheerleader and loved it!

Overall thoughts:
It was a great experience, and I can't wait to do it again!


  1. Congrats on reading 3 books and exceeding your page goal! THat's so awesome you're donating money. :)

  2. I feel the same about the mini-challenges. I do like some of them, but my focus is just to read as much as possible, and then visit people the next day to see how they did.

    Great job!

  3. Congratulations on your first readathon and for exceeding your goals.

    Well done!

  4. Oh my, you did VERY well! It sounds like your strategy works great, I'll keep that in mind! Working on a timer is a great time management tool, so why not apply it to the readathon, right? :)

  5. Glad you had so much fun! I'll probably try to read more next time.

  6. Susan Runholt here. Carrie, I was really pleased that you chose another Kari and Lucas book for your readathon. And I am so excited that you are giving your donation to the Met in honor of the two sleuthing chicks! For an author, that is just a tremendous -- I don't know what. Honor and inspiration, I guess. I'd better get going and finish book three! It's about Africa. Maybe somebody will read it and donate to Heifer International!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!