The Spring 2015 Readathon has come and gone, and I had a blast. This was my first year participating as a reader as well as a cheerleader; in previous years, I’d cheered, but never read. I have always enjoyed the cheering part of the Readathon, but I’ve decided, now that I’ve actually experienced both reading and cheering, that participating in both is even better.
I had so much fun! And even though I spent a great deal of the day out of the house, I think I kind of made it work. But now that I’ve actually participated as a reader, I have a much better idea how to make my next Readathon experience even better.
Book selection. I did give some thought to picking out the books I might want to read on the big day, but now I know better what kinds of books will work for me during a Readathon, especially if I’m also cheering.
I started the Readathon with Greenglass House, by Kate Milford. I read 102 pages before I decided to move on to another book, but most of my Readathon time was spent on Greenglass House. I am loving it so far—it’s exactly what I like to read.
It’s the kind of book you want to read slowly, savouring the story as it unfolds before you, absorbing the hint of mystery as you become involved with the different personalities you’re encountering. But for me it’s not the kind of book that stands up well to the distraction of popping onto Twitter every once in a while to cheer on other Readathon participants.
I realized this when I ending up whizzing through 52 pages of Jonathan Kellerman’s When the Bough Breaks, the first in the Alex Delaware series. When the Bough Breaks is one of those highly readable thriller-ish mysteries where you’re racing to turn the pages so you can see what happens next. There’s no slow savouring needed here. You read without even realizing you’re holding your breath, as your eyes scan the words as quickly as you can, getting the gist of the story into your mind so you can turn the page for more of the same.
In addition to being a quick read, a page-turning thriller is also much easier to pop in and out of. I found I could tweet some cheers and then go right back to reading.
So my next Readathon? More page-turners.
Adding short stories to the mix. While I had planned to, I didn’t actually end up reading any short stories this time around, but I wish I had. Just so I could have the satisfaction of finishing something! Next time I think I’ll actually select the short stories ahead of time—and pay attention to length while I’m doing so.
Balancing cheering with reading. This is a tough one. Because the bottom line is, cheering on Twitter is FUN! There’s the immediacy of reaching out to someone who’s doing some heavy-duty reading, there’s the pleasure of the occasional short conversations that ensue, there’s that really lovely feeling of meeting and getting to know other readers you never knew before.
So next time, I’m going to time myself when I’m cheering. And when I’m reading. Maybe use the Pomodoro technique. Actually, using the Pomodoro method might work really, really well in terms of balancing cheering with reading.
Resting my eyes. My eyes also seemed to tire more quickly than they normally do when I’m reading. It was a little odd, since I really didn’t read all that much. But I think taking some breaks to rest my eyes would also be a good thing. Maybe I could work that into a modified Pomodoro technique, too.
Not feeling sleepy. I am normally a night owl so I found this bit a little strange. I was feeling sleepy at around 9:00, even though most nights I don’t go to bed until after 1:00 a.m.! Someone on Twitter mentioned walking around while reading, and I think I might give that a try. After all, I do this when I’m talking on the phone for long periods of time, and afterwards I tend to feel charged up with energy rather than tired. It’s worth a shot, right?
Hopefully I’ll be able to take part in the Fall Readathon, both as a reader and a cheerleader (a lot will depend on my work schedule, as it will be my busy season then). And if I can participate, I’ll be sure to come back and read this post!