I buy books. And sometimes I read them. This blog is for the times when I do more than just store shelf candy.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Better Late than Never: The Conclusion of My Read-A-Thon

It's done. My read-a-thon hymen has been broken. I would have been back here sooner to report on the experience, but I was sore. Just kidding. It was my internet connection that's to blame; every time I tried to log in and blog, it would die. And after a number of attempts, I had to attend to other priorities. And then, inertia set in.

Oh well, better late than never.

So, how was my first time?

It was an interesting experience. It probably would have been more fun and productive if I had done all the things the right way. Like starting exactly at 8 PM, staying up the whole 24 hours (which I've done a number of times for the flimsiest of reasons), doing the mid-event survey, taking on a couple of challenges, and cheering other readers.

But I was overwhelmed, ill prepared, and distracted. Facebook and all its shiny, bright applications kept on calling my name. Caffeine failed me in the wee hours of the morning. And Sunday was pretty much eaten up by family socials.

I did not do a diligent count of my actual reading hours, but I probably totaled 8 measly hours *coughattentiondeficitdisordercough* . It was an epic fail by Dewey's standards, but since my objective was only to try this out and learn from the experience, then I shouldn't beat myself up about it. The underachiever tells herself.

Plus I made a dent on Pillars of the Earth's 900++ pages; I read more than I would have read that weekend if I had not participated in the read-a-thon. So, yeay me!

I certainly would do this again. But next time, I will take it more seriously, preparing myself physically, begging off from other commitments, planning and using strategies to make the most of those 24 hours.

So, here's my post-event report:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

At a little after 6AM (11th Hour ), I felt I could still continue if I pushed it, but I would not have done justice to the reading. I would have missed out on the excitement and the details of the story, so I decided to nap for an hour. The alarm went off, but my upper eyelids refused to let go of my lower eyelids, so I remained asleep until 9AM. By the time, I awoke, I already had to get ready to leave for a family lunch.

But the toughest hours were when I found myself at a funeral service, listening to the longest eulogies I've ever heard in my lifetime. I was struggling not to pull out my book and read, which would have been rude. And then I also struggled not to lie down on the pews and start my personal sleep-a-thon, which would have been beyond rude.

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

My strategy was to read 1 looooong door stopper of a book. I don't think there's anything wrong with that strategy at all -- it's a good way to read your bucket reading list epics in one sitting, especially those books written by authors born in the regions of the world where vodka was rumored to have been invented. The strategy would have worked better if I had holed myself up in a room with very few distractions; I probably would have finished the book.

So maybe next time, I should tackle War and Peace? *grimace*

But for next year, I'll probably take Blooey's advice and go for a variety of highly visual, easy-to-read books.

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

I find it unfair that the Northern American readers start reading at dawn with a full bar of energy while we start 4 hours before midnight. BUT, I realize that's just how things are, so I really just have to prepare better next time by sleeping in the hours immediately preceding the event.

Other improvements would be to have an online forum where people can chat and update each other of progress.

I am definitely pushing my book club to do this together in one place next year.

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

That there are many read-a-thoners all over the world just made it such an exciting experience -- the thought that all these people are reading and are engaged in the challenge made it a novel experience and gave it a sense of community, of global bonding among reading enthusiasts. Priceless.

5. How many books did you read?

1/4. Sigh.

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

Ken Follet's The Pillars of the Earth

7. Which book did you enjoy most?

Ken Follet's The Pillars of the Earth

8. Which did you enjoy least?

Ken Follet's The Pillars of the Earth

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

I appreciated all the cheers, but I liked the customized ones better than those which were generic for all readers. Like when the cheerers mentioned the book I read, I felt good that they actually read my post.

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 surely participate again and get my book club more actively engaged. I want a full production number -- get us all in one big, brightly lit place with a fabulous coffee and cookie spread, hold hourly gimmicks and quick physical games, announce challenges, and give out prizes. I need as many lazy boys and a couple of vibrating massage chairs. Tattoo booths. Roving massage therapist. Plus a lot of noisy musical instruments.

So there. Read-a-thon virgin no more.

Thank you to all those who cheered me on!! I enjoyed my first read-a-thon.


  1. Oh, wow. Only you can make a Read-a-thon sexy.

  2. Let's all read together next year!

    Gosh, I loved POTE... I think it may be one of the best books I've read all year!



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