Blog, Bookish Life

#FBCReadathon: Suggestions and Ideas

The FBC Readathon is running from October 9-11, 2020. You can sign up for the readathon here. This will be my second readathon and I find it hard to be motivated. So, I asked the members on the Litsy app and the Feminist Book Club communities on suggestions for the readathon:

1. Planning– Amanda likes to plan ahead, be it books, meals, or naps. Sometimes planning might not be possible because of work. Kerry A. states that “Due to the hours I work I can only read in short bursts which help me focus.”

2. Choose books that you like– Lisa T. observes that “reading a book you love makes the time fly” The key is to find books that are “great as opposed to good or just okay.” Charity L. advises to choose a TBR (to-be-read) that’s smaller than you would like and “pick three or four books that really interest” you and maybe, “one or two alternates.”

3. Variety– Cassandra S. mentions that a variety “of genres in both physical form and audiobook form” is helpful. Amanda L. who is more of a mood reader mentions that her reading varies on the “physical, mental and emotional states of the current moment.” Variety is important to keep going through a readathon.

4. AudiobooksJules G. loves audiobooks and starts the readathon with one as it helps her to read and organize her readathon snacks, or set up her cozy reading place, or do the chores that need to be taken care of. You can also listen to audiobooks while doing other activities, like walking the dog, cleaning, cooking, or yoga. Sarah N. listens to audiobooks while running, “commuting, or just trying to tune out the world.” Micayla L. is planning to have e-books on her phone to read while traveling.

5. Genres– Some suggested romances and graphic novels to read. Jules G. likes rom-coms as “something lighthearted and funny to cleanse the palate” which she flies through. Charity L. advises to include at least one Young Adult/Middle-Grade novel and graphic novels as finishing these quickly gives a sense of satisfaction to see it in the finished pile. Jill K. also recommends “different types like novels, non-fiction, graphic novels, and even cookbooks.” Jennifer D. suggests fantasy as a readathon is “the perfect time to escape into a series with great world-building.”

6. Start early and swap– Andrew B. proposes to “start early on the first day of the readathon. I try to read some after midnight to get it going even if it is less than an hour and read in the morning when I wake up to get going and build momentum.” Meg L. advises swapping “books and reading modes. Like go for a walk with a nonfiction audiobook, then curl up with some coffee or tea and a thriller, then do a chore while listening to your audiobook, then watch the sunset outside with some contemporary fiction.” She believes that the key to completing a short, time-based readathon is “doing different activities and taking stretch breaks.”

7. Tracking or not– Cassandra S. is a competitive person so she creates “a spreadsheet tracker” which she prints and updates. Jennifer D. likes to compete with herself so seeing the timer ticking her “looming stack of books getting smaller is a major motivation.” On the other hand, Sara C. avoids “data gathering, tracking, [and] quantifying” as they are distracting and stressful.

8. FoodSnacks and eating are an important aspect of readathons. Kate T. concedes that as much as she loves junk food, “eating fewer carbs and sugar will help keep you alert.” She also suggests drinking lots of water and tea which “will also get you up and going to the bathroom, which helps keep you awake, too.” Charity L. seconds light snacks and low caffeine. Soubhi K. ensures plenty of food choices, “and may even prepare meals beforehand so I don‘t have to cook.”

9. Moving on– It is perfectly fine to move on if there’s a book that you don’t like. If Lynn L. loses interest, she finds another book to read or “go do something else, like a craft, and then come back to reading. If Kerry A. loses interest, she’ll “stop for a snack or take the dog out.” Rachel M. agrees that “If I get bored with one book or writing style, I can just pick up another!” Janet M. read an article “about a book reviewer reading multiple books at once” which permitted her “to not have to read books straight through without starting a new one” and she has been reading a lot more since then. Jules G. wants to remind the participants that it’s not a failure if you don’t make a certain goal of reading the books you want to read.

10. Social media– You can post your updates on Instagram and other social platforms with the tag and tag #FBCReadathon. Some readers like to take social media breaks and some don’t. Jules G uses social media when she gets tired of or stuck in a book. Jill K. also loves the social aspects but is careful not to compare herself to others. Charity L. limits herself and posts “on Instagram every six hours or so and on my blog for kickoff, half-time, and wrap-up.” Despite missing out on the community aspect, she can read for more time.

11. Other responsibilities– Often participants have other duties and responsibilities. As Jill K.’s work and kids come before reading, her totals are never when she hopes, and yet “seeing how much reading I can do when I try is still fun!” Soubhi K. emphasizes letting the family know that “I am doing nothing but reading those days, and remind them several times before the actual day of.” Despite Missy E.’s good intentions, “only take part if you can manage plenty of alone time!” Hailey E. leaves her phone in another room on silent to avoid distractions.

12. Reading nook/place– Choosing a dedicated place to read is helpful. Kelly R. loves a soothing bathtub but others might read outdoors, “Whatever your happy, peaceful spot is, go there.” Charity L suggests a reading nook or three to be able to read comfortably and without distractions.

13. Moderation– Myka H. recommends moderation, “being super nonjudgmental about what I’m reading, like food is sometimes, a gourmet meal or sometimes, fast food. Sometimes food can be carrots or Cheetos. Moderation in all things to keep my brain happy.”

In conclusion, Meg L. focuses on finding a few 10-15 minute breaks be it “waiting in your car, an audiowalk” or other hidden opportunities. Remember to read, and have fun, or as Rachel S. says, “Reading is awesome, but so is sleeping and eating.” I am looking forward to the readathon with suggestions from the members and I hope you will enjoy the readathon. All the best!

(The opinions have been edited for length and clarity.)


Rashmila likes to read books by/about women/people of color. She prefers fiction to reality. A dog parent and word ninja, she volunteers for non-profits and is multilingual. Favorite genre- contemporary literary fiction.

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