24 Hour Read-A-Thon: Rakem Sitta

From 4pm this afternoon until 4pm tomorrow afternoon, I’m joining in on the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon! It’s sort of a reading challenge, only everyone participates at the same time. For 24 hours, we read books, post in our blogs about our reading, and visit other readers’ blogs. We also participate in mini-challenges throughout the day.

This is my sixth time participating in the read-a-thon. This time, I’m only reading, no cheerleading or mini-challenge hosting. Normally, I would be at work tomorrow, but I have the day off to attend a job interview – so I’ll actually get to participate in more of the readathon this time than I did in the fall!

Here’s what I’ve got in the house to choose from over the next 24 hours:

  • Twenty Years After (a little over 4 hours left in the audiobook at the start time)
  • Sex and God at Yale (audiobook)
  • Cemetery John (audiobook)
  • Confessions of an Arabic Interpreter
  • Running With Scissors
  • The Taqwacores (which I started a few weeks ago in Beirut)
  • Sex and the Citadel
  • “?? ???” (an Arabic children’s book)


Hour 1: 4-5pm

Introductory Questionnaire:

  1. What fine part of the world are you reading from today? – I’m reading today from my partner’s house in Dubai.
  2. Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? – I’m looking forward to Confessions of an Arabic Interpreter. I heard the author speak at a bunch of events at the Emirates Festival of Literature this year and haven’t gotten to picking up his book that we bought yet.
  3. Which snack are you most looking forward to? – Last night, I spent hours (upon hours) preparing Warak Enab Bi Zeit. The batch is on the stove right now cooking, and will be ready to eat by late this evening!
  4. Tell us a little something about yourself! – I really should be spending this weekend addressing wedding invitations rather than readathoning.
  5. If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? – I’m not going to worry so much about how many hours I read. Today’s mission is to read as much as I can, but still keep it balanced with enough sleep to be functional (and un-grumpy) tomorrow.

For about half of the first hour, we had people over, so I didn’t get to start reading right away like I would’ve liked. Once they left, though, I went on to start listening to Twenty Years After.

Hour 2: 5-6pm

Listened to Twenty Years After while Zaid went to visit at his parents’ house.

Hour 3: 6-7pm

Continue listening to Twenty Years After while Zaid visited his parents. I also had a very short nap.

Hour 4-6: 7-8pm

Continue listening to Twenty Years After while Zaid visited his parents. Finished cooking the stuffed grape leaves.

Hour 5: 8-9pm

Continued listening to Twenty Years After. Ate stuffed grape leaves for dinner while watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory to break up my reading.

Mini-Challenge Re-Title Your Current Read: I would probably re-name this book Twenty Naps Later. Seriously. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad in dead-tree form, but this narrator has been killing me since I first picked it up. And the whole audiobook is 28 hours long.

Hour 6: 9-10pm

Continued listening to Twenty Years After. And had a shower.

iamnotafraidHour 7: 10-11pm

Put down the Dumas for a while to pick up a bedtime story. Zaid read me La Akhafu (I Am Not Afraid), my first Arabic-language children’s book. We picked it up a few weeks ago to use to help me with my reading fluency – I know the alphabet but am very slow to decode it – and tonight I finally remembered to ask him to sit down and read it with me.

Hour 8: 11pm-12am (pre-written because I’m in bed with the lappy off…)

Now is the time when I give in for the night. One of these days I’ll be able to read for 24 hours again! But not while I’m living in a country where Sunday is a work day. 🙁

Hour 9-16: 12-8am


Hour 17: 8-9am

Sleep, and then listening to Twenty Years After.

Hour 18: 9-10am

Listening to Twenty Years After on my way to a job interview.

Hour 19: 10-11am

Job interviewed, followed by listening to Twenty Years After as I hunted down breakfast.

Hour 20: 11am-12pm

Continued listening to Twenty Years After.

Hour 21: 12-1pm

Went to a meeting with Zaid and someone he met last week.

Hour 22: 1-2pm

Finished reading Twenty Years After. Finally! Started listening to Cemetery John on my way home from grabbing lunch.

Hour 23: 2-3pm

Now that I’m back at home, I’m going to move on to read an actual paper book. (I know, I know … shocking.) So for this hour I’m going to read The Taqwacores, see if I can get it finished by the end of the read-a-thon. Wish me luck!

Hour 24: 3-4pm

I’m continuing to read The Taqwacores right through the end. I’m on a roll!

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? – Probably the hour before I went to sleep last night. I wasn’t really tired yet, and a part of me wanted to do the proper 24-hours-reading thing, but I knew I needed to sleep before my interview in the morning. So it was an internal struggle.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? – Definitely not “Twenty Years After”. Ugh.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? – Maybe have a way to check if there are people who ended up participating but who hadn’t originally signed up, and thus nobody like cheerleaders notices them? That’s what happened to me this year. 🙁
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? – Most things. It’s a pretty well-oiled machine.
  5. How many books did you read? – I finished one that’s been weighing on me for a while, and have about half-finished another book I’ve been keeping on the back-burner.
  6. What were the names of the books you read? – I finished reading “Twenty Years After”, started “Cemetery John”, and am currently working through “The Taqwacores”.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? – Definitely “The Taqwacores”. I should’ve moved onto this one ages ago when I was feeling bored.
  8. Which did you enjoy least? – “Twenty Years After”. To be fair, though, I was already having a hard time with it before the read-a-thon.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? – Not applicable.
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? – I’ll definitely be participating again. Not sure what role I’ll take – it depends on when the October event falls and if I’m working through it again like the last one.

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