Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday Salon 3 - Why I love read-a-thons

HAPPY EASTER! I hope everyone is having a lovely day. I'm currently in Coleman with my in-laws. Today's post is all about Dewey's Read-a-thon. Read-a-thon is this Saturday at 1 GMT.

WHY THE READ-A-THON IS EVERY BIT AS COOL AS YOU THINK IT IS (or not as scary as you think it is)

I thought about doing a video post to tell you why the read-a-thon is so much fun and why you should join, but I figured I'd just end up yelling "Read-a-thon! Read-a-thon! Read-a-thon!" in an overly excited tone. I'll spare you for now, but I wanted to share the top 10 reasons why I love the read-a-thon so much (and other miscellaneous information overload).

1. Being able to reenact those teenaged years when you could stay up for 24 hours with no worries

2. Reading and blogging for 24 hours without the guilt that you should be doing something else

3. Meeting and connecting with other bloggers all over the world who are doing the same crazy thing you are

4. Mini-challenges: a great way to give your brain a rest after a long stretch of reading

5. Snacks. Junk food. Caffeine. Whatever your poison, I know I'm not the only one who stores up on yummy foods to eat throughout the day and night

6. Remembering Dewey, the fabulous blogger who started this incredible community builder two years ago

7. Reading for a cause--I'll be donating $5 to ProLiteracy for every book I finish during the 24 hours (see a list of suggested charities here--definitely not an exhaustive list).

8. It's the silliest fun one could possibly imagine that involves reading and blogging (yes, you know I'll be posting that Harry Potter Puppets video again)

9. Accomplishing what you thought was impossible--reading more than you expected and staying up later than imaginable

10. Hours of cuddle time with your favorite cuddle-buddy (for me, Maggie)


The read-a-thon is really what you make of it. It is scary and daunting. It's tough to set everything aside and devote all that time to reading and blogging. But it is such wonderful fun. Even if you can only participate for a few hours here and there, join for a few hours. Even if you can't read, visit a few blogs and cheer us on. We LOVE cheerleaders. We LOVE comments. We NEED the encouragement. And finally, forgive us for seriously jamming up your readers throughout the event. :)

This will be my third time participating in the read-a-thon. When my friend Laura first tried to talk me into doing the read-a-thon last summer, I scoffed at her, telling her that staying up for 24 hours did not sound like fun. I'm a slow reader and have an incredibly short attention span. I can barely read for an hour without getting restless. Laura ended up not being able to participate that time, but I decided that morning to jump on the bandwagon. I had the time of my life.

Read-a-thon Tips
(please fill me in with your tips, too!! I'd love to add them to the list)

The Books:

**Keep a stack of books handy. If something doesn't catch your attention immediately you can quickly move on to something else

**Pick books that are short and don't require a ton of attention. Put that War and Peace back on the shelf...right now! Eva has created a big long list of books that are sure to keep you reading through the wee hours.

**Include some Young Adult titles in your stack--they provide a perfect break from heavier reads and they are sure to keep your full attention. (Tip from Laura)

Before the Read-a-thon:

**Either pre-prepare some meals or have quick and easy things on hand. Don't want to spend time cooking! (Hence all the yummy snacks--Jodie suggests a combination of sweet and salty snacks for variety)

**If you will be doing blog updates (which I recommend!!), make a template beforehand so you can just plug in numbers and quickly post

**Get all of your weekend obligations like cleaning out of the way early. You'll be too tired on Sunday unless you are a superhero (which I don't doubt some of you are).

**Let people (friends/family) know ahead of time that you'll be participating in a 24-hour read-a-thon so that they don't think you fell off the face of the earth when they try to get ahold of you (tip from Joanne)

**Laura and I created a spreadsheet to help us keep track of minutes and pages--very handy! We also have a column for the hour, our time zone, and the read-a-thon time zone. This time we'll also add time spent blogging, mini-challenges entered, bloggers visited, etc.

During the Read-a-thon:

**Don't overload on the caffeine. While in small doses it can be OK, it might make you jittery and then crash. Especially if you aren't used to it.

**Take some time out of your reading to join a mini-challenge or do some cheerleading. If you spend the whole 24 hours reading you'll certainly get a lot accomplished, but you'll miss out on the community building aspect.

**Don't torture yourself. If you can't make it anymore, don't worry (I've never been able to make it the full 24 hours, but I'm gonna try my darndest this time).

**Keep your camera charged and handy so you can include fun pictures of you, your books, your cat, your food, your reading spot, etc. (Tip from Laura)


Throughout the week I'll be cleaning and doing laundry so I don't have to worry about anything over the weekend. I'll be compiling my books so I don't have to find something to read at 2 AM. I'll be making a list of participants so that I can cheer you on. And, of course, I'll be piling up my read-a-thon snacks. What I'm looking forward the most, though, is meeting Laura (and maybe Kari) at 2 am at IHOP for a late-night Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity.

The books I'm thinking about reading (um, I'll probably only read four of these--see tip about choices!!):
*The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Shaffer and Barrows
*Fun Home – Alison Bechdel
*Catch Me If You Can – Frank Abagnale
*Tales of Beedle the Bard – JK Rowling
*Second Nature - Alice Hoffman
*Sam's Letters to Jennifer - James Patterson
*The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven - Sherman Alexie
*Notes from the Underbelly - Green
*The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - John Boyne
*Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
*Cause Celeb - Helen Fielding
*Animal Husbandry - Laura Zigman

Anything up there that you've read and recommend? Anything you think I should steer clear of?

What is YOUR favorite part of the read-a-thon? Any special memories? What are your fears? What tips do you have to share? Have I twisted your arm and convinced you to join or did you already sign up weeks ago? Read-a-thon!Read-a-thon!Read-a-thon! :D

Yayyyy Read-a-thon! Sign up here.


Molly said...

GREAT post!

This will be my first read-a-thon (well, half read-a-thon, I'm going to strive for 12 hours of reading) - and I am very excited.

I gleaned lots of useful tips from your post - particularly the blog template for quick updates and the excel spreadsheet for an easy tracking system.

bermudaonion said...

Happy Easter!

Frances said...

What a post! Such energy and enthusiasm. Have you been eating jelly beans for breakfast? It all sounds wonderful, and I wish I had that kind of time available to me, but I don't. Will check in with all you crazy readers though and wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

You almost convinced me! But I get too little sleep during April anyway to participate this year... after I graduate my friends! I'll be here to cheer everyone on :D

Ana S. said...

wow Trish - I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this post :D

Okay, first of all: "I figured I'd just end up yelling "Read-a-thon! Read-a-thon! Read-a-thon!" in an overly excited tone." lol! I'd actually pay to see that :P

I love your list of reasons why the read-a-thon rocks. I love the advice you and Laura offer - perfect! And most of all, I love your enthusiasm.

The read-a-thon is like a gigantic slumber party for book geeks all over the workd, and that's the main reason why I love it. It allows us to bond like nothing else. It gives us a chance to be silly together. And it's just so much fun.

I like your list a lot! Fun Home and Tales of Beedle the Bard are definitely good ideas. Quick reads and satisfying.

Thanks so much for joining, Trish, and for being so enthusiastic.

J.S. Peyton said...

This is the first year that I've joined the Read-a-Thon so I don't have any great memories yet but I look forward to making some! I'll definitely keep all of this great advice in mind.

Bonnie said...

Happy Easter Trish!! I'll be cheering you guys on for the
read-a-thon!! Great post with tips!! You are well prepared.

Vasilly said...

I love this post, Trish! I'm adding a ton of picture books to my pile for those quick reads. Most of the books I'm adding to my pile are 200 pages long or less. I don't want to get bogged down. Great advice with the cleaning and errands before time.

Here's some of the books I plan on reading for the read-a-thon:

Ashley said...

This is my first year trying out the read-a-ton and I'm so excited for it to start! I'm in the process of getting my stack of books ready, so these tips were so helpful!

I love the suggestion about documenting the read-a-thon with pictures. Great idea!

Joanne ♦ The Book Zombie said...

Awesome post!! This will be my second time participating in a Read-A-Thon and all of your tips are perfect - especially the ones about snacks and having books picked out beforehand.

Something I learned from my first experience was that I should have let more of my extended family/friends know what I would be doing - this time I'm letting people know in advance that I have plans for the weekend (or maybe just letting the answering machine take all the calls lol) :)

Jodie said...

I'm looking forward to cheerleading this year. I'm in UK time so I'll be able to drop by right from the start.

Last year when I read I wished I had peanutbutter KitKat chunkies so I suggest stocking up on both sweet and a little bit salty snacks.

I'd avoid The Boy in the Striped PJs but that's just me. It made me have irrational rage.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Thanks for all the encouragement! I loved the first Read-a-Thon and ended up missing half of the second one because I had to attend a conference. I am hoping to do well in #3.

Comments, comments, comments. I agree. That's what keeps us blogging on.

bethany (dreadlock girl) said...

hey yo! Glad you are going to do this :) I am signed up too and can't wait.

Unknown said...

Trish, thanks so much for this awesome post! I loved reading your tips for the 24 hours.
This is my first read-a-thon (can you believe I never even heard about concrete read-a-thon dates?) and I'm excited, but also a bit scared... Still, I'm shooting for 24 hours, but won't be too sad if I don't quite make it.

Melissa O. said...

I'm really looking forward to participating as a cheerleader in the readathon on Saturday! I didn't think I'd be able to handle staying up for 24 hours but I may give it a shot next time, or try a half-readathon to ease myself in :-) But cheerleading is a neat idea and I can't wait!

Laura said...

I LOVE this post! I'm SO excited for next Saturday! You have such a great list of books to read...we should work on a spreadsheet this week :) I'm already looking forward to pancakes and hashbrowns, and "Ron, Ron, Ron WEAsley..."

Debi said...

Trish, I telling you, after that tease, you absolutely MUST make that "Read-a-thon! Read-a-thon! Read-a-thon!" video!!!! It will be the perfect motivation for 3:00am droopy eyelid syndrome! YOU MUST DO IT!!! :)

This post was absolutely wonderful, Trish! Looks like some good books on your pile there. I'm so I don't have enough books in this house that I need to read, I went out and bought a huge pile today using the read-a-thon as a handy excuse. Yes, I'm bad, I tell you.

And as for my favorite part? Well, hanging with people like you and Nymeth and Eva and Becky and Chris and... Yep, I soooooo love that part. *happy sigh*

Kim L said...

Happy Easter! I'm going to participate this year as a cheerleader. I finally don't have something else planned for the exact same weekend as the Read-a-Thon. Yay!

Thanks for all of the tips!

Amanda said...

Happy Easter Trish. You have some great suggestions. I'm a little leery, but still excited, about going into this Read-a-thon (especially as my mom might not be able to take the kids afterall, yikes!!). I'm sure I'm stockpiling too many books, but too many is better than not enough, yes?

You know, before October, I'd never heard of the Readathon, and i first heard about it from YOU. I'm going to have to include the potter Puppet Pals video on my blog, too, juts for the memories. :)

Lisa said...

I WANNNNNNNT to! I really really REALLY want to! BUT. Stupid children. My husband is leaving town on Sunday for 3 days away. I dunno if I can ignore my house and get no sleep and then be a solo parent starting the next day. What time does it officially start, again?

I WANT TO! I haven't been able to before and I was determined I would be doing it THIS time. WANNNNNT. WANT. Wantwantwant.

Melody said...

As I wrote to Nymeth earlier, I wish I'm able to participate but it's tough joining with two little girls always vying for your attention! I'll have to let this pass but just to let you know I'll be supporting everyone in spirit!! :)

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Molly - so glad you'll be joining us for at least part of the time! It really is a blast.

*Bermuda - Happy Easter to you.

*Frances - LOL--sadly this post was written earlier in the week and scheduled, so my extreme amount of energy is pre-jelly bean. :) Hope you can pop in for part of the fun on Saturday.

*Regularrumination - I bet you're probably pulling 24-hour read-a-thons for school. Good luck on graduation!

*Nymeth - Did you catch the part where I said I would spare you for now? I'm going to try and do my first post on Saturday as a video. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am. :D Giant slumberparty is a great way to put it.

*JS Peyton - Yay--glad you'll be joining us for the first time. Hope you have a blast! :)

*Red lady-Bonnie - A little prepared--I think everyone just learns as they go along what works best for them.

*Vasilly - A lot of my books are around 200 pages as well--it's nice to be able to quickly finish a book instead of having to read one chunkster for most of the time.

*Girl That Reads - Pictures are so much fun--even if they are just of random things. Hope you have a blast!

*Joanne - Good tip about letting people know you'll be doing the read-a-thon! I hadn't thought of that, but it might save some confusion on Saturday--I'm adding it to the list.

*Jodie - Sweet and salty! That sounds like my kind of snacking. I agree that lots of choices definitely helps when you're wanting to grab for something different (goes for books as well). :)

Jeanette said...

I had so much fun last time but won't be able to participate this time. :-( Growing a baby is so exhausting even when I get plenty of sleep. I thought about doing a half marathon but a good friend is having a b-day party and I just don't think I can do it this year. Of course, reading your post makes me even more sad that I won't be a part of it.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Debnance - So glad you'll be able to join us this time! and I agree-those comments are so helpful with motivation.

*Bethany - Woohoo! :) So excited for Saturday.

*Kathrin - I think the best advice any of us could give you is to have fun and do the best you can do. Like I mentioned in the post, I've always had to take a little cat nap and a lot of other people do, too. Good luck! I think you'll have a blast.

*Melissa - You'd be surprised at how fast the time goes and how much adrenaline you have--helps make those wee hours go easier. Glad you'll be joining us!!

*Laura - :D I'm sure you'll be getting an earful from me all week. Read-a-thon, Read-a-thon, Read-a-thon!!! Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity!! :D

*Debi - LOL--don't know if I can make a video at 3 am, but I'm planning my first post to be video related. :) HOW can you not have enough books in your house? And yes, hanging out with you guys is hands down my favorite part of the read-a-thon. Can't wait!!

*Kim - YAY!! Can't wait to "hang out" with you on Saturday night--I bet you'll make a great cheerleader. I'm sure you'll be able to get some reading done as well.

*Amanda - Too many books is definitely better than not enough books. I didn't make a pile my first time and really regretted it. I'm so excited you'll be able to join, and all that leeriness will disappear on Saturday morning.

*Lisa - Are you central time? If so, starts at 7 in the morning. I want want want want want want want you to join as well, but it is absolutely understandable if you can't. Maybe you can join for a few hours? :D

*Melody - I completely understand--I'm sure it is difficult with little ones. Hopefully you can check in here and there.

*Jeannette - Oh no! Don't feel bad about not joining. We'll miss you for sure, but YOU and your baby are definitely more important than getting no sleep. Have fun at the birthday party!

Anonymous said...

YAY! If I hadn't already signed up, that would've convinced me, for sure! ;)

But, I did sign up... for my very first Read-A-Thon... over the weekend!

I'm so excited. I've warned the husband already that I'll be reading for 24 hours... we'll see if that does any good! lol

Lisa said...

Ok, I discussed with Mike- I'm IN for it. Yikes. And I'm Mountain time, so 6 am start, which is cool cause the Bug gets up about then.

tanabata said...

Great tips! I'm starting to get really excited about the read-a-thon, and started making a list of the pool of books I'd like to have on hand. I'm going to have to stock up on snacks this week too.

I've only read Tales of Beedle the Bard from your list, but it's short and the stories are fun so it's definitely a good choice. :)

Jess said...

I read Sam's Letters to Jennifer -- nice easy read -- perfect for late in the night. Good luck!

Darlene said...

Awesome post Trish! I really need to make a list of the planning I need to do for the weekend. Like get posts ready and snackies. I know what I'm reading but I need to figure out how I want to keep track of it and stuff like that. Ooooooooooh, it's getting exciting isn't it!!! I'll be back to scour this post again so I get everything organized for myself -nothing like good advice from a pro.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Crazycommamomma - That's awesome you'll be joining us!! Yes, the hubbies can present a problem, but I like to give mine a project to keep him busy. :) LOL! Happy reading.

*Lisa - WHEEEEEEEE!! I'm a morning person, so I say the earlier the better. SO EXCITED!

*Tanabata - Yay--so glad you'll be doing the read-a-thon, too! I can't wait to see what books and snacks you pile up on!

*Jess - I'll definitely have to keep Sam's Letters on the top of the stack for late night.

*Dar - I have a little spreadsheet that I'll email you. You might want to change it for your needs, but I found it really helpful last time. Woohoo! I can't tell you how excited I am for this weekend. :D

joanna said...

I'm so bummed that I can't participate this time!! I'm sure you'll have a blast! :-)
From your list, the only one I've read is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and I have to say that although it's a short book and a quick read, I'm not sure it's read-a-thon material... The book kinda stays with you - plus I'm not sure it could really be followed by something light... It's a great one though!

Darlene said...

Thanks for the spreadsheet Trish. I appreciate it. I'm excited too!!!

Jeane said...

I don't think I could do a read-a-thon. My husband and four-year-old are too dependent upon me! It looks like so much fun, though.

By the way, I gave you a blog award!

S. Krishna said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing! This is my first time participating and I AM SO EXCITED!

Anonymous said...

Wow! i just signed up for the read-a-thon and this post made me sooo excited!!! GREAT tips, too! I can't wait...thanks!!

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

*Joanna - Sorry you can't participate! Hopefully you'll be able to pop in briefly to see the craziness. :) Your the second one to tell me that Boy in the Striped PJs might not be the best book. I did read The Diary of Anne Frank last time, though, so maybe I'll just read it early on?

*Dar - Hope it is somewhat useful for you--but you'll figure out what works best as you go along.

*Jeane - Maybe you could sneak in a few hours here and there...? Thank you SO much for the award!!

*Swapna - I hope you have a blast! It realy is a lot of fun and I hope you found something helpful here.

*Obsessed Reader - It will be so much fun on Saturday--looking forward to chatting with you then.

Literary Feline said...

What a great post, Trish! I love how organized you will be. :-) I am sure I will make an appearance as an unofficial cheerleader when I can. It's so much fun watching everyone's progress.

blacklin said...

This post really is great! This is my first read-a-thon and all I've thought about are the books. I forgot about snacks, meals, etc. Thanks again for posting this entry.

claire said...

Thank you for all the great tips! I've signed up already and very excited, as this is my first. I won't be able to read 24 hours with 3 little kids, but I'll do my best. It's hard to pass up this amazing opportunity to read all day, with other voracious readers such as I.

Haven't read any of those books but there are three that I would like to read. :D

Michelle said...

Wow! Yay for the read-a-thon! I am not going to be reading but I will definitely be cheering you on! Good luck!