Thursday, January 31, 2019

#24in48 Readathon (Now With Mini Book Reviews)

This past weekend was one of my favourite ones of the year. It was the 24in48 readathon. 24in48 is a readathon where you try to read for 24 out of the 48 hours between midnight Friday/Saturday until midnight Sunday/Monday. It happens twice a year -- once in January and once in July -- and I seriously look forward to it more than Christmas. I've participated in it four times and have hit my 24 hour reading goal each time.
In 24 hours of pure reading time I can read between 8 to 10 books. I built my readathon stack with a lot of different options. I knew I wouldn't read all these books but I wanted to make sure I had a variety of books to choose from once I had finished a book.
My natural tendency is to be a night owl so I drank some caffeine later in the evening, took a shower around 10pm to wake myself up, and baked some banana muffins around 10:30. Yep, that would be 10:30 at night. I dove in at midnight with a fresh banana muffin, some Earl Grey tea, and Cancel The Wedding.

I'd heard so much about this book and my library doesn't carry it. I finally decided to test out the inter-library loan system and it worked really well. I really liked this story of a woman setting out to discover the secrets of her mother's past and how what she learned impacted her own story. I read for 2 hours and 17 minutes after midnight on Friday and went to bed around 2:45am.
I set my alarm for 8ish, made some coffee-hot chocolate, some more Earl Grey tea, and got some strawberries for breakfast. Then I settled in for more reading. Unfortunately, my phone timer reset itself overnight. Argh. Thankfully I've learned to take pictures whenever I pause it.

At the end, I like my stopwatch to show that nice 24 hour number so I had my phone running to catch up with my reading time form the night before, and then I timed my other reading on the iPad. Then I tracked it on paper and added it all together so I knew when my phone had caught up with my actual reading time. This is the second time this has happened to me and TIME MATH IS HARD you guys. Ugh.
The kids joined me for some reading time before they had to head off to the synagogue. These are some of my favourite times with my kids. Also I'm holding my book really close to my face because I hadn't put my contacts in yet but can't really read with my glasses.

I loved Rebecca Solnit's book of essays, Call Them By Their True Name. I tried to finish it before the readathon but I had about fifty pages left. I finished it off. I think you should read her book. She has very powerful things to say about issues facing us today.
Then I read the second book in the Binti series. I don't know if this is my favourite science fiction ever but it's interesting. This book took me a little over an hour to read. Dave always brings me a sandwich from our favourite deli for readathon lunches. It's a tradition and I love it! I took a lunch break and then dove into my next book.
I had started Renegades before the readathon. It was 550 pages long and I'd only read about 200 pages beforehand. I read the rest (350 pages) during the readathon. It's an interesting apocalyptic book about superheroes and villains. But who is who??? I think it takes place in a futuristic New York but it could also be Chicago or LA or any big city with a subway system and a shore. It took me three hours to finish this book off. (Every time I finish a book, I hit "lap" on my stopwatch to record how long each book takes me.) By the time I finished Renegades I had read for just over 8 hours and it was 5:30pm.

I have to admit, I was a little frustrated at this point because Dave and the kids had plans to be gone for most of the afternoon/evening but Dave wasn't feeling well, and Sam had a random throw up incident. So they stayed home. Sam hadn't complained of not feeling well, only threw up once, and immediately went back to eating, but we didn't feel like he should go out among people, just in case.

It's a lot harder to read when the whole family is around, even though Dave does the majority of the heavy parenting on readathon weekends :) I had frozen pizza for supper. Readathon weekends are all about easy food.
I read the first two books in Susan Coryell's series for the July 2018 24in48. Susan is Janice's husband's cousin. Her books are set in Virginia and contain a supernatural element. I really enjoyed reading her trilogy. And by 9pm on Saturday night, I'd read for just over ten hours.

Once Dave and the kids went to bed, I got a second wind (much as I expected would happen) and I picked up The Gown. I barely moved while reading this. I read it in 3 hours and 11 minutes, finishing shortly before 1am. I LOVED this book about the imagined stories of some of the women who embroidered Queen Elizabeth II's wedding gown. There was also a present day story where a woman was trying to find out her grandma's story. In many ways, with the secrecy surrounding family, this reminded me of Cancel the Wedding.
One change I made during this readathon was to drink more water. I'm always saying I should do that but I'm so bad at it. However, by 2am, when I finally gave up and went to bed, I'd drank four whole bottles of water and I felt better than I usually do at that point in the readathon. By that point I'd read for just over 14 hours, leaving 10 hours to read on Sunday, which felt quite doable.
Thankfully my timer didn't reset over Saturday night. Phew. I finished The Duchess of Bloomsbury on Sunday morning around 8:20am. I think I woke up around 7:30am. The Duchess of Bloomsbury continues the story of Helene Hanff, an American and her friendship with a British bookseller. If you haven't read 84, Charing Cross Road go and get it right now. It is a lovely book. Then read this one.
Sunday morning we woke up to a dump of snow with more expected. So I decided to get off my lazy butt and join my family in shoveling. Also, Dave and the kids were going to church so I wanted to help them leave! Ha! It was nasty shoveling because more snow was blowing around as we worked.
After all that hard work (it took about twenty minutes!), I sat down again and raced through The Unwanteds. Someone in my book club recommended it as a book Sam might enjoy. I think he would like this post-apocalyptic novel about The Wanteds (who live in the grey world and learn to fight) and the Unwanteds (who get shipped off to learn the arts).
This book took me a little over two hours to finish and by then I had just over 7 hours left to read. It's always exciting to me when I start counting down to 24 hours instead of just adding them up!!! Since Dave and the kids stayed away for lunch and some of the afternoon, I had a simple lunch of spinach dip and pumpernickel bread and dove into Sold On A Monday.
Sold On A Monday reminded me a lot of Before We Were Yours but I feel like it was a bit more hopeful. There also wasn't a present day story. I think you should read this book. I also loved the story of Lillian's experiences at the paper as a woman in the 30s. I finished this book with almost 20 hours read at 4pm on Sunday.

Unfortunately by that point, Dave and the kids were home, and Dave needed a nap. Because we often buy Oreos or Fudgeeos for readathon weekends, I told the kids if they played quietly for an hour, they could have two cookies. They played really well for almost two hours so they got three cookies. Yep, when Dave can't parent on readathon weekends, I resort to bribes so the kids will let me read. #winning

I should add that both kids joined me for about an hour of quiet reading time on both Saturday and Sunday nights but I have no pictures of this. It was really cozy and lovely though.
Girl in the Blue Coat is a story set in Amsterdam during World War II. It's about a teenager trying to find a Jewish girl. The author said the story really clicked when someone suggested she write it from a teenager's point of view, rather than an adult's. I think the story actually would have been better with adult characters. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. I didn't finish this book until 7:30pm because I helped Dave get supper together.
Then I had a little under two hours left to read. My book stack was down to six books from its original start of fifteen books. Plus I'd finished two books which weren't in my original stack. By this point in the readathon I'm simultaneously exhausted and just wishing I was done but also getting sad that it's almost over. I'm usually a bit of a mess. Also, I know that whatever book I choose next, I likely won't finish, so it's always hard to choose that final book.
I ended up going with The Bookshop of Yesterdays which Janice gave me for Christmas. I got so into it, I read past 24 hours without realizing it, and got the book about half done.
I finished my full 24 hours around 10:15 on Sunday night, two hours before the midnight deadline. The first time I did 24in48, I finished around 11:15pm on Sunday night. The second time I finished around 11:40pm on Sunday night. When I did it this past July, I must have been less distracted because I finished really early -- around 5:30pm on Sunday.

I was hoping to finish earlier this time but, because Dave and the kids were around more on Saturday, and Dave wasn't feeling well, I didn't get as much focused reading time. But I still read for 24 hours and read all or part of eleven books.

I hope this post has convinced you that readathons, especially this one, are really fun and that you should do one as soon as possible!

One thing I haven't mentioned is how much I love the community around readathons too. What really makes readathons fun for me is engaging with other participants through the hashtag. I participate solely on Instagram and I love visiting other readers and cheering them on when I'm taking reading breaks. After all, I know how much I appreciate the encouragement when it comes my way.

So if this post has convinced you that readathons might be for you, let me know and I'll twist your arm persuade you to join the next one. There is often some sort of readathon going on and I feel like I know the best ones to do. Ha!


  1. I added "The Gown" and "Call Them by Their True Names" to my library list per your recommendation. The Gown I'm close to 100 on the waitlist for! The books "Before We Were Yours" and "Sold on a Monday" I know as being farrrr too heart-wrenching for me to read; maybe in a few decades, haha.

  2. LOVED reading about this! Brent would roll his eyes and NOT be helpful like Dave is, so I definitely need to either get the kids to spend the night somewhere else part of the time or wait until their old enough to take care of themselves ha. Maybe I can work on grandparent help for the one this summer. I want to do it SO BAD.

  3. I love reading about your readathons!! As much as I love reading...I'm not sure if I would enjoy actually participating in a readathon. I'm not really sure why, though. I think I would just miss my normal weekend too much?? Hahaha. I'm glad you love it though!!

  4. This looks like so much fun! Also the fact the The Gown reminded you of Cancel the Wedding makes me want to read it that much more.


Thank you for being interested in my life as I blog it and for leaving a comment. Comments make me happier than reading a good book and drinking a cold Coke. Almost :)