Did I read a lot of books in the first half of January?
Did they all end up qualifying for the #DAReadAThon?
I’ve read 7 books so far this month, but only 3 of them ended up being for the readathon. I swapped some prompts around from my initial list, but all the books I ended up reading were in my initial post: I read The Vegetarian for Protego (prompt: #ownvoices), The Mothers for Lumos (prompt: recommended by a diverse book blogger), and Sorcerer to the Crown for Stupefy (prompt: hyped all over the internet). I also made significant progress in White Girls and started All The Single Ladies. All of these books, of course, qualify for the Read Harder 2017 Challenge and the Litsy Reading Challenge. Here’s my final point tally:
3 books completed: 15 points
960 pages read: 96 points
Tweets about the Readathon: 2 points
Total: 113 points
I really enjoyed curating a list, talking to other readers about it (especially on Litsy), and having a goal in mind. This was my first readathon, and I think I’ve learned some lessons from it that I can use in the future:
- Pick more “easy” books. I went in with a heavy-hitting list– and was looking forward to it! But I got sick at the beginning of the second week and found myself in bed staring at a pile of books that require real effort to read. I ended up reading Nimona (graphic novel– good guy vs. bad guy with a hell of a twist) and A Monster Calls (gut-punch-gut-punch-gut-punch. I’m working on a post about it) instead of the more rigorous books I had planned for the readathon.
- Have a backup plan– or twelve. I’m sure if I’d felt better, I could have figured out some diverse books that were already on my shelf and were a little easier to read, but I hadn’t built in that cushion. I ended up finding The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo, which would have worked for Expecto Patronum (a book featuring an issue of personal significance) or Expelliarmus (a book featuring a marginalized group I don’t read much about), on my shelves, but alas, too late. Sundays are my longest days at work, so the last day of the readathon was a total loss.
- Know thyself. So, what’s easy for me? Fantasy novels, for sure. I devoured Sorcerer to the Crown. Fiction is generally easier for me to get into than nonfiction. I love books like All the Single Ladies, White Girls, and The Argonauts, but that genre isn’t the first one I reach for when I’m looking for a book to lose myself in. I think I wanted to read BIG IMPORTANT books for this readathon because I think diversity is a BIG IMPORTANT topic, but…there’s more than one way to diversify literature. And some of those ways involve spaceships and sword-fights and graphic novels.
- Get ready earlier. I had several bookish “obligations” that slowed me down at the beginning of the readathon: finishing Hild and reading the book I decided to send off for my #GameOfTomes book swap with some people from Litsy. I need to get better at clearing my plate before the readathon starts! That’s nearly 800 pages that could have gone towards the readathon.
I loved all the books I read, but what was most surprising to me was how many of my books didn’t fit into any of the categories. It wasn’t like I could just pick up any book and feel confident that I was reading diversely– it took a conscious effort. I want to keep that effort up, especially since books like The Vegetarian, The Ghost Bride, and The Three-Body Problem have the potential to introduce me to perspectives I would otherwise miss. And isn’t that the whole point of reading for me in the first place? To see the world through someone else’s eyes?
I’m really bummed that I can’t do this weekend’s #24in48, as it’s my partner’s birthday on Saturday and Sunday is an 8-hour workday for me. It’s such a cool idea (participants try to read for a total of 24 hours over 2 consecutive days), but the timing never seems to line up for me because of my weird work schedule. Maybe one of these days I’ll do one just for myself!
Now, if you’ll excuse me…