Today’s the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon!

From 8am this morning until 8am tomorrow morning, 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.

I participated for the first time back in April, as simply a reader … this time, I’m participating as a reader, cheerleader, and mini-challenge host!

Let’s start with the mini-challenge: I’ll be hosting this between 10pm-1am Eastern Standard Time. It’s going to be something fun but simple, so keep an eye out! I’m looking forward to seeing what all of you come up with.

Next up is the cheerleading: I’ll be cheering a little bit each hour, probably, but particularly later on in the night (aka early morning) since I know that a lot of people go to bed then and there will likely be less people cheering. I’m pretty much going to try to give myself a break once an hour to get up, stretch my legs, grab a snack/drink, and cheer a bit before plunging back into whatever book I’m reading at the time.

And, finally, the reading: This is what I’ll be spending most of my time doing. I’m aiming for the full 24 hours this time around, with little breaks in between for cheering and such. I’ve made sure that I’ve got a rather large stack of books to choose from, including a couple audio books. Here’s what I’m starting with, though I may drop any number of them or grab others from my bookshelves if the mood strikes me for something different:

  • Treasure Island (audio) by Robert Louis Stevensonfinished Saturday @11:05pm
  • In the Land of Believers: An Outsider’s Extraordinary Journey into the Heart of the Evangelical Church (audio) by Gina Welch
  • Beloved by Toni Morrisonfinished Sunday @12:20am
  • The Perils of Paella by Nancy Fairbanks
  • Slam! by Walter Dean Myers
  • Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
  • The Boy in the Burning House by Tim Wynne-Jones
  • Obasan by Joy Kogawa
  • Tell It Slant by Beth Follettfinished Sunday @3:10am
  • Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
  • The Wizard, the Witch, & Two Girls from Jersey by Lisa Papademetriou
  • Why Haven’t You Written? by Nadine Gordimer
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahirifinished Saturday @1:50pm
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

I’m also trying something different this time around: I’m going to try to keep all of my stuff for the read-a-thon (with the exception of the mini-challenge) within this one post, updating it as the day goes by. I want to try to swamp people’s feed readers a little less, and that way everything’s all together! We’ll see how that goes, though … if it turns out to be impractical, then I’ll change back to doing periodic separate posts.

What about you? If you’re participating in the read-a-thon, comment here and I’ll make sure to stop by your blog at least once in the next 24 hours!


Hour 1: 8-9am

  • completed the Start Line Meme (below)
  • eating some oatmeal for breakfast
  • starting my first book: Interpreter of Maladies
  • reading on my bed in my room, with the sunshine coming through the giant windows!

Hour 2: 9-10am

  • continuing to read Interpreter of Maladies
  • still reading on my bed in my room
  • completed the Back-In-The-Day Children’s Book Mini-Challenge (below) and the “Surprise”

Hour 3: 10-11am

  • continuing to read Interpreter of Maladies
  • still reading on my bed in my room
  • had a snack – a yummy pear!
  • completed the Six Word Celebration (below)

Hour 4: 11am-12pm

  • continuing to read Interpreter of Maladies
  • still reading on my bed in my room
  • spending some time cheering!
  • completed the Indie Pride mini-challenge (below)

Hour 5: 12-1pm

  • continuing to read Interpreter of Maladies
  • taking a break this hour to eat lunch – homemade soup, and probably Subway!
  • went out to eat lunch (Subway) and get some snacks and drinks for later
  • completed the Show Me the Books mini-challenge (below)

Hour 6: 1-2pm

  • went out to eat lunch (Subway) and get some snacks and drinks for later (continued)
  • continuing to read finished reading Interpreter of Maladies
  • skipped the challenge for this hour
  • moving to the living room for a while for a change of scenery!

Hour 7: 2-3pm

  • started to read Beloved
  • still reading on a camping chair in the living room

Hour 8: 3-4pm

  • continuing to read Beloved
  • still reading on a camping chair in the living room
  • completed the Armchair Travelling, Book Puzzle, and Love To Hate mini-challenges
  • had some oatmeal-peanut butter cookies for a snack

Hour 9: 4-5pm

  • continuing to read Beloved
  • still reading on a camping chair in the living room
  • skipped the challenge for this hour

Hour 10: 5-6pm

  • continuing to read Beloved
  • still reading on a camping chair in the living room
  • took a short break to talk to my partner online and to cheerlead a bit!
  • completed the Pet Pics, Prized Pages, and Pachyderm Prose mini-challenge (below)

Hour 11: 6-7pm

  • continued to read Beloved
  • still reading on a camping chair in the living room
  • ordered delivery for dinner – will arrive in the next hour!
  • completed the Attempting Audiobooks mini-challenge (below)

Hour 12: 7-8pm

  • continued to read Beloved
  • still reading on a camping chair in the living room
  • got my dinner and ate it! yummy veggie spring rolls and shanghai noodles with chicken
  • listened to Treasure Island while eating dinner (in my bedroom)
  • completed the Mid-Event Survey (below)

Hour 13: 8-9pm

  • continued to read Beloved
  • half an hour reading on a camping chair in the living room, then moved back to bedroom
  • completed the Title Word Scramble mini-challenge (below)

Hour 14: 9-10pm

  • continued to read Beloved
  • still reading on my bed (while I’m still alert enough not to fall asleep accidentally!)
  • completed the Under the Covers mini-challenge (below)

Hour 15: 10-11pm

  • listening to finished reading Treasure Island while making chili with my roommate
  • hosted my World Review mini-challenge!

Hour 16: 11-12pm

  • going back to reading Beloved
  • am reading in my bed again
  • having some cookies for a snack!
  • skipped the challenge for this hour
  • realized that I just poured the last glass from my first 2L bottle of pop (diet, caffeine-free A&W root beer; the other bottle that I bought, and am saving for later, is diet coke with caffeine!)
  • taking some time out of reading to check up on my mini-challenge and comment on some blogs

Hour 17: 12pm-1am

  • finished reading Beloved
  • having a few more oatmeal-peanut butter cookies for a snack
  • completed the Ban This Book mini-challenge (below)
  • starting to read Tell It Slant

Hour 18: 1-2am

  • continuing to read Tell It Slant
  • still reading on my bed
  • inserted links to people’s Wordles into the InLinkz from when it was down; drew and posted a winner for the mini-challenge!
  • completed the Pitch Your Book mini-challenge (below)

Hour 19: 2-3am

  • continuing to read Tell It Slant
  • still reading on my bed

Hour 20: 3-4am

  • finished reading Tell It Slant
  • starting to get a bit sleepy, but I know that I won’t get back up if I have a nap; instead, I’m going to ingest some caffeine to stay awake!
  • starting to read The Boy in the Burning House

Hour 21: 4-5am

  • continuing to read The Boy in the Burning House
  • still sleepy … bed is calling me, but I’m resisting!

Hour 22: 5-6am

  • sleeping

Hour 23: 6-7am

  • sleeping

Hour 24: 7-8am

  • sleeping


Hour 1: Starting Line Meme

Where are you reading from today? – Mostly from my house, specifically from my bed, the futon couch in the living room, and the futon couch in the office. I will probably also be spending shorter periods of time listening to audio books while cooking, shopping for snacks, and possibly assisting my roommate with some clothes shopping.

3 facts about me … – I’m a teacher, I love the colour purple to a fault, and I’ve been working on picking running back up lately.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? – I currently have 12 books in my pile, but I won’t necessarily read them all. I was trying for variety more than anything. Also, I can always grab something off my shelf if the mood strikes me for something different than what I selected yesterday.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? – Just to read for as much of the 24 hours as I can, to comment a fair bit on the sites I’m cheerleading for, and to have fun!

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time? – Short books and lots of mini-breaks.

Hour 2: Back-In-The-Day Children’s Book Mini-Challenge

What were some of your favorite children’s books when you were younger? Do you have any new favorites now that you’re an adult? Have you included any children’s or YA titles in your Read-A-Thon stack this year?

My favourite children’s books when I was a kid were Robert Munsch books. Honestly. I think that I must have read The Paper Bag Princess about a million times before I was 7 years old. I also really loved reading Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys mysteries, as well as The Babysitter’s Club (and, before that, Babysitter’s Little Sisters). My parents’ bookshelves in the basement still have tons and tons of books from all four of those series. I would pretty much read anything that I could get my hands on.

I have a few YA titles in my stack this year – I’m particularly looking forward to reading Slam! by Walter Dean Myers. I’m saving those for later on in the day/night, though, when it’s harder for me to concentrate on more “serious” adult reads.

Hour 3: Six Word Celebration

Your challenge is to creative a six-word celebration of Dewey’s Read-a-Thon. Go on, you know you want to!

Sleepy bloggers read their book piles.

Hour 4: Indie Pride

What is an indie book? A book that has been published by a non big 6 publishing house. These big 6 houses include Macmillan, Random House, Simon and Schuster, Penguin Group, Harper Collins, Hachette Book Group. Any other houses are eligible! So put on your biggest smile and press click!  Okay okay, so you don’t have a camera handy.  Give me the title and author of the book that you read and you’re in.

One of the books that I’m reading today is Tell It Slant by Beth Follett, which is published by Coach House Books, an independent Canadian book publisher here in Toronto. Oddly enough, I actually spent four months one summer living in a co-op house right in front of Coach House! I’m reading a few other “indie” books today, too, but that’s the one I’m most looking forward to.

Hour 5: Show Me the Books

I’m keeping this one simple – I want a picture of books – show me a book shelf, your tbr pile, your nightstand piled with books, your prized ARCs, whatever, just post a picture of some books

I’ve now included a picture of my “to be read from” books for today’s read-a-thon, and put it up near the top of the post with the text list. (It obviously doesn’t include the audiobooks that I’ll be listening to). Take a look at the books in my pile to choose from today! I won’t necessarily get to them all, but I’m trying to stick within these for choices.

Hour 6: Microfiction

I’m skipping this hour’s challenge to get back into reading after a bit of a break.

Hour 7: Armchair Travelling

My challenge to you (if you choose to accept it) is to write a post sharing some of the sites from your books, or some facts about the place where your books are set. It could be books that you are reading for readathon, or books you have read recently, or some of your favourite books ever.

I have been reading a whole lot of Canadian books lately, including the entire Scott Pilgrim series last month. SP is set almost entirely in Toronto (where I live) so I’m going to include a few random facts about Toronto for you:

  • There are about 2.5 million people here, in a city that takes up about 630 square kilometres! (those are the stats for the “city” itself, not the metro or surrounding area)
  • After English, the second and third most widely spoken languages at work are Chinese and Italian (surpassing even French, technically the second official language in Canada).
  • On the last census, almost 18% of people proclaimed “no religion”. The religions with the highest percentages were Catholicism (31%), Protestantism (21%), Islam (7%), Hinduism (5%), Judaism (4%), “other Christians” (4%), and Buddhism (3%). All other denominations made up less than 1% each.
  • The public school system – the Toronto District School Board – is the largest school board in Canada, running 558 schools. (Note: I work for them, too.)
  • The public library system is also the largest in Canada, with 99 different branches and over 11 million items in the collection.
  • We are currently in the middle of municipal elections in Ontario, and there’s quite a heated race going on in Toronto – the mayor we’ve had for the last few years has stepped down, so we’re trying to find someone new to take his place!

Hour 7: Book Puzzle

For this challenge, you will be creating a Book Puzzle.  Essentially, this is a series of pictures, graphics, or photos that you put together that will describe a book title.

Here’s my puzzle! Can you figure it out?

Hour 8: Love To Hate

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it is to make a list of your Top 5 Love to Hate characters. These can be villians that are really well done, “bad” characters that you dig, or anything else that you think fits the title.

My top 5 Love to Hate characters (off the top of my head) are, in no particular order:

  1. The White Witch in the Chronicles of Narnia
  2. Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights
  3. Dark Lord Sauron from Lord of the Rings
  4. Gollum from Lord of the Rings
  5. Victoria in the Twilight Saga

I know, I know, I’m terribly predictable. But I don’t really come up with character lists well on command!

Hour 9: Shake Those Pom-Poms

I’m skipping this hour’s challenge.

Hour 10: Pet Pics, Prized Pages, and Pachyderm Prose

This is a simple 2-part challenge: (1)  Post a picture on your blog of a current or past pet. (2)  Tell us your favorite animal book and then write a sentence using the name of the main character and only the first letter of that name.

Here’s a picture of my cats – Mona and Skittles – from during the last read-a-thon in April! Unfortunately, they are not feeling quite so social right at this moment, so I’ll have to wait until later to take a newer picture of them. (You can click on the thumbnail to see the picture at full size.)

As for my sentence, I had to really think about this, since I don’t usually read books with animals in them, particularly children’s books. So, I’m going to go with a childhood favourite: Curious George. And for the sentence: Curious George could climb continuous courses ‘cross country crests.

Hour 11: Attempting Audiobooks

(1) Choose a few books from amongst your readation pile, then go to… (2) Once you have found a book from your pile on Audible, click the little right-pointing triangle under the cover and next to the word ‘Sample.’ (3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you’ve listened to the samples of 2-3 books. (4) Leave a comment here with the title, author, and narrator of the book you think will make the best audiobook of the ones you sampled. Please specify what it is about the book or the narrator that you think would make this a good one. (5) Consider listening to an audiobook either during this Readathon while you need a break, or in the future!

I’m already listening to two audiobooks as part of the read-a-thon: Treasure Island and In the Land of Believers. I tend to really like audiobooks that are a story written from the first-person perspective, and I particularly like non-fiction audiobooks. I’m almost finished Treasure Island, but I think I will prefer In the Land of Believers since it’s written rather like a memoir, and that’s the type of audiobook that I really tend to get into. I’ve also listened to a small part of it to try out the narrator’s voice, and it seems like a good fit! That’s really important, because at least once I’ve had to listen to an audiobook with a narrator who I found annoying, and that is not helpful.

Hour 12: Mid-Event Survey

What are you reading right now? – Currently, I’m a little over halfway through reading Beloved by Toni Morrison. It’s taking quite a while, even though it’s interesting – I’m definitely going to have to pick a lighter read for my next book to change things up a bit.

How many books have you read so far? – So far, I have only finished one book (Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri). I’m okay with that, though … I purposely started the read-a-thon with the “harder” books from my pile, since I know that this is when I have the most attention span and concentration and the least amount of tiredness.

What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? – I’m really looking forward to reading Tell It Slant by Beth Follett. It’s got Canadian content and queer content!

Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? – Nope!

Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? – Not much, mostly just food-related.

What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? – That cheerleading is a lot easier and less time-consuming than I thought it would be. I think this is largely because quite a few of the blogs my “team” is responsible for don’t seem to be participating.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? – Nope!

What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? – Nothing I can think of!

Are you getting tired yet? – Not really, but it’s only about 7pm here and I made sure to nap yesterday and get a good night’s sleep.

Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? – Go for your more difficult books near the beginning, then head towards YA or lighter reading later on in the day/night. Also, don’t worry so much about how many books you read – it’s all about having fun!

Hour 13: Title Word Scramble

Unscramble the twenty book titles and then leave a link to your post.

  1. Firefly Lane
  2. East of Eden
  3. Water for Elephants
  4. To Kill A Mockingbird
  5. The Great Gatsby
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  7. The Art of Racing in the Rain
  8. The Time Traveler’s Wife
  9. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  11. A Wrinkle In Time
  12. The Polar Express
  13. Love Walked In
  14. Where the Wild Things Are
  15. The Shining
  16. Goodnight Moon
  17. Interview With A Vampire
  18. The Secret Life of Bees
  19. The Search
  20. The Help

Hour 14: Under the Covers

Name 2 books that had a cover that you loved and/or a blurb that sounded really good, but when you read the book it either had nothing to do with what was on the cover/blurb or was not as good as you thought it would be.

Eat the Cookie, Buy the Shoes: Giving Yourself Permission to Lighten Up by Joyce Meyer

Product Description:

Engrained in our culture is the belief that unbending discipline is the only sure way to success. You must go to the gym five times a week, never order the dessert, and don’t even think about buying that dress you keep staring at in the store window. Breaking from such a regimented lifestyle is a sign of weakness, right? Wrong!-and Joyce wants to tell us why…

Though setting rules in our lives are important, it’s just as important that we break them from time-to-time. Structure is a powerful tool, but when diverging from your own goals is seen as catastrophic, it can have a hugely negative effect on us. Balance is a core value in life and every once in awhile we deserve to indulge in a guilty pleasure or two. So don’t feel bad about straying from your goals every once-in-awhile and in fact, embrace it: eat the cookie and buy the shoes!

I entered (and won) a giveaway for an audiobook version of this book … and didn’t realize that it had a strong Christian focus until it showed up at my house. I haven’t even thought about starting to listen to it.

Reflections on Islam: Ideas, Opinions, Arguments by George Jonas

Product Description:

The 9/11 attacks shattered the image of Islam as a wholly peaceful faith, raising the possibility that this seemingly new struggle between East and West is just the latest variant of a much older contest between Islam and the non-Islamic world. In Relections on Islam, award-winning author George Jonas addresses a range of questions about Islam: Is there a difference between Islam and Islamism? Was it a mistake to invade Iraq or simply a mistake to stay? These provocative, elegant essays showcase Jonas at his best on a topic of enormous importance.

Let’s just say … this guy is not a good resource to learn anything useful about Islam, nor is his book anything remotely near objective. I had to force myself to finish reading it, and then mocked it mercilessly for at least a week afterwards. You can read my review if you want more details.

Hour 15: Wordle Review

I’m hosting this one! Join in here.

Hour 16: Poetry Angst

I’m skipping this hour’s challenge.

Hour 17: Ban This Book!

Ban This Book! is a nod to banned book week.  The object is to take any book, maybe your current readathon book, and find a ridiculous way to get it on the banned/challenged list.  Present the story or events completely out of context, use innocent quotes and turn them into something dark and dirty!

The book that I just finished reading is Beloved by Toni Morrison. Now, I would hazard a guess that this book may have been challenged before – there are some little bits of sex scenes, and other types of violence, largely to do with slavery in the US and the fight for freedom. If I were going to try to argue for this book to be banned based on silly reasons, though, I would argue that it’s immoral because … one of the main characters is thought to be the ghost of another main character’s dead child (who she killed herself [to avoid having her taken into slavery])! I mean, really, what kind of parent would want their child to read about a mother who kills her own child? (Never mind the horrid-ness of the house haunting and then later appearance in physical form of the ghost.)

Hour 18: Pitch Your Book

In a comment, please tell me the book name and author and since pitching is an art in short form, please keep it to a maximum of 4 sentences for the actual pitch (book and author don’t count toward sentences).

The book that I just started to read is Tell It Slant, a Canadian indie novel by Beth Follett. It’s a quick read and rather interesting; fairly literary in nature, sort of a back-and-forth timeline with lots of stream of consciousness writing. It’s also about a lesbian couple, seems like something important to know. So all in all, it’s indie lesbian Canadiana – always a good choice!

Hour 19: Non-Fiction Read-A-Thon

I’m skipping this hour’s challenge.

Hour 20: Memoirs/True Stories

I’m skipping this hour’s challenge.

Hour 21: Character Photo Challenge

I’m skipping this hour’s challenge.

Hour 22: Favourite Sidekicks

still to come

Hour 23: Make It Up

still to come

Hour 24: End of Event Meme

Which hour was most daunting for you? – Probably hour 21 … I started falling asleep while reading and decided to take a 20 minute nap. My partner called to wake me up from my nap, whereupon I decided that my body just wasn’t going to let me stay awake anymore, so I went to sleep for the rest of the event. I almost made it, though!

Would you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? – Not really from this year. I kind of decided to start with some fairly heavy books, and then they took longer to read than I expected, so I didn’t end up getting to most of the “lighter” reading that I had planned.

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? – Not really!

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? – I really loved the timely hourly updates, particularly the little pep talks that came with them near the end.

How many books did you read? – Three full reads, one finishing up of an in-progress, audiobook, and started another novel.

What were the names of the books you read? – I read Interpreter of Maladies, Beloved, Tell It Slant, finished up listening to Treasure Island, and starting reading The Boy in the Burning House.

Which book did you enjoy most? – I think that I enjoyed Interpreter of Maladies the most, but I also had a weird sense of deja vu … like I had read it before. I don’t remember reading it before, but maybe I did? Who knows. Anyways, it was my favourite – the short stories gave a nice variety even with them being all focused around the same topic somehow.

Which did you enjoy least? – I think that I enjoyed Beloved the least, but not really because of its merits as a book. It was just a too intense (and complex) read for a read-a-thon. I had a bit of trouble understanding what was going on at certain points, and that’s definitely not the kind of books that lends itself to being read in one straight sitting.

If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? – Try to aim to visit blogs once every couple hours. Most people didn’t post or update every single hour, so if you were around more often than that, you wouldn’t necessarily have anything new to comment on or cheer them on about.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? – Definitely! And I would do this again both reading and cheering, and maybe even hosting another mini-challenge if I can think up something interesting.

26 thoughts on “Today’s the 24 Hour Read-A-Thon!”

  1. It is a gorgeous morning for a Read-A-Thon here in Toronto, isn’t it? Couldn’t have asked for a nicer day. I like the combination of books you’ve chosen (I have the Stevenson in my stack for the day, too: can’t believe I’ve never read it). Good luck with your reading!

  2. (Non)traditional Buddhist readathon blessing:

    Just as the books fill the shelves,
    Pile together on the floor and stack up on the table
    So may the joy of the readathon
    Flow forth to brighten your day and lift your spirit.
    Books already read, books in progress and books yet to be read.

    By the power of every word on the page
    May your book be delightful,
    As scary as Lovecraft’s Cthulhu
    Or as sweet as a box of See’s candy.

    Let the power of the images evoked by words
    Keep you stay awake long through the night
    May no obstacle impede
    Your day filled with books.

    For all of those who are reading today
    Who follow in the path of Dewey
    May your day be filled with the four blessings
    Of fabulous books, tasty snacks, comfy chairs and joy.

  3. Great way to set up your post Carina! I might have to add more information to mine as I go along. I prefer that to multiple posts 🙂 Happy reading!

  4. The party’s just starting to pop
    And you’re already having fun.
    Don’t let the momentum stop
    And get some reading done!

    You’re doing great so far! Hope you’re enjoying Interpreter of Maladeies!

  5. Love in the Time of Cholera and Beloved have both been in my to-read pile for ages now. I need to get to them soon.


  6. Thanks for the info on Toronto – I’ve just put Toronto on my “Places to See” list

    Finally finished my 1st book, too.

  7. A thought to mull over: “The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.” — John Greenleaf Whittier

    Enjoy your reading!

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