Big sigh of exhaustion and relief, guys. We’ve made it through another 24 hour readathon.
This was the first year, actually, that I stayed up for the whole event. I passed out for a few twenty-minute spots here and there, but on the whole, I plowed through the night and made it to the bitter end. *clambers up a mountain of books and raises my tattered, fluttering flag* This land, have I conquered.
Let me start off with the final survey, then I’ll post my wrap-up and general rambling thoughts about yesterday’s MASSIVE UNDERTAKING.
End of Event Meme
- Which hour was most daunting for you?
Probably hours 21, 22, there in the middle of the night when I was fighting to stay awake.
- Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I’ve had GREAT success with the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness (SUSPENSE. EXCITEMENT. FAST MOVING PLOTS), The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (PERFECT FOR READATHONS, I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH), and graphic novels interspersed throughout the day to break up the monotony of white pages and black words.
- Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
I wish there was a masterlist of everyone who won prizes–Towards the end of the day, it gets difficult to go back through every single Hourly post and see if you’ve won.
- What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
THE CHEERLEADERS WERE AMAZING. Best, most interactive cheerleaders I’ve ever had. #TEAMAUSTEN!!!
- How many books did you read?
- What were the names of the books you read?
Death Comes to Pemberley, Persepolis, More Fool Me
- Which book did you enjoy most?
- Which did you enjoy least?
I think Death Comes to Pemberley. I enjoyed half of it, but in the end … eh. It had no character development at all and relied a little too heavily on “Last time, on Pride & Prejudice…” sort of recapping.
- If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
Wasn’t a cheerleader, but as someone who was floored by how active my cheerleaders were, I’d say–keep up the good work! Oh, but, maybe space out your cheer sessions? I had several different people cheering me on at the start of the event, but around hours 20-24, Twitter was pretty quiet. And those are the hours you need people poking and goading you the most!
- How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
Oh, absolutely 100% doing it again. Best two nights of my year. ❤
Real quick, for people just breezing past thing post, let me give you a little advice for next time: EYE DROPS to rejuvenate itchy eyes come the middle of the night, and GOOD HEALTHY MEALS to hold yourself together. Candy and caffeine may keep you awake, but the energy is jittery and insubstantial compared to what wholesome, filling, real food will do for you. Please, please, please consider that!!
Anyway. Okay. On with my post.
Waking myself up with a bowl of Count Chocula as I lay in bed and read. Being an adult, guys. Being an adult. #readathon
— Christina (@chimpanzeethis) October 18, 2014
I didn’t read the full 24 hours, as readathons have a tendency of bringing all number of unexpected distractions. (I witnessed some teenagers racing into my neighbor’s backyard, for instance, and had to go tell him; abruptly we realized we had nothing in the house to eat for dinner, which turned into a meandering trip to about six different places including, eventually, the grocery store.)
So, I’m afraid I didn’t plow through the vast volume of books some of the readers did (and I really want to do that one of these years. I want to feel that sense of holy crap I’ve finished another one as I slap each book on my Read Pile.) As it was, I read 3 books virtually cover to cover—Death Comes to Pemberley, by P.D. James, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, and More Fool Me, Stephen Fry’s latest autobiography. Death Comes to Pemberley had just enough suspense and intrigue to catapult me through the opening hours of the readathon—The night before the Darcy’s annual ball, Lydia comes crashing to their door in a coach screaming that Wickham’s been murdered. They find a body—not Wickham’s—in the woods around Pemberley, and so launches an investigation. However, I think I should’ve dropped the book somewhere around Hour 10, when I was still slogging through it. The writing is slow, not great for a readathon, and the story gets repetitive towards the end—ultimately, the excitement for the story I felt when I started the book did not hold until the end. I closed the book with a flat taste in my mouth. It was only okay, in the end. After spending all day slogging through one book, I used Persepolis as a palate cleanser. It probably took me two hours to read, but they were an emotionally precarious two hours. I closed the graphic novel feeling changed—and feeling like an idiot in so many ways. My unquestioned preconceptions that have lasted a lifetime, my ignorance and disinterest in other cultures—my complete stupidity in not buying Part 2 before I started. I’ve got to pick that up soon. Finally, I closed the show with More Fool Me. Around 2 or 3 in the morning, I was bundled up in bed fading fast. I tried a number of other books only to suddenly wake up, having not comprehended a page.
Sitting myself up and slapping my cheeks, I cracked open More Fool Me — Stephen’s writing has a strong, clear voice, and I was interested enough to wake up considerably. (A snickers bar, plate of ritz crackers and garlic/herb cheese, and fried eggs and toast parsed throughout the rest of the night didn’t hurt matters a bit.) During the diary entries at the end of the book, my attention did start to waver, and I skimmed a little before reaching the final pages shortly after 7 am.
I had fully intended to stay awake until 8 o’clock, but something just shut down. I had no sooner posted on Twitter about staying awake to the bitter end than I folded up my glasses, turned out the light, and completely lost consciousness.
I did a few things differently in this readathon that I need to remember: One, I ate. A lot. In the middle of the night I had crackers and cheese, fried eggs and toast—I made sure to keep my energy up with actual filling meals, not cup after cup of coffee. I think, because of that, I woke up this morning feeling refreshed. I also, just before I went to sleep, drank about a half liter of water. In past readathons, I haven’t snacked enough, haven’t hydrated enough, so I’ve woken up the next morning feeling DEAD.
Something I need to do different for the next readathon: Pick FAST books. They don’t necessarily have to be short, fluffy reads, but they do have to be high interest, fast paced, EXCITING BOOKS. Books with dense writing, slow starts, soggy middles, meandering ends, kill the momentum! If I’m at Hour 10 and am still halfway through the first novel I sat down with, and I’m sort of interested but mostly like, “Well, I have to finish it now”, I should just put it away to finish later. The point of the readathon isn’t to plow through books as fast as possible, but one bad book could wreck your whole night!
Anyway, I need to either get some more sleep or get out of bed and commit to being awake. I want to do some writing and revive a little beFORE THE WALKING DEAD TONIGHT!!!!! okay. If you made it through the readathon yesterday—how are you doing? Are you d e a d? Did you eat a lot of books last night? Is there one still giving you indigestion? Leave me a comment, I want to know!