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How to Prep for the Best Readathon Experience

Hey, Renee here. I’ve got some unsolicited advice for everyone participating in the #FBCReadathon this weekend. (Have you signed up yet? What are you waiting for? It’s free! There are prizes!) I want to make sure you have fun this weekend but also that you go out of your way to find some peace, relaxation, and joy. Because in our hellscape, this is required. You can’t pour from an empty cup and, well, I hate to break it to ya, there’s a lot of 2020 left. We need all the energy we can get. So take this weekend to recharge those batteries.

I joined my first readathon in January 2019 and had the absolute BEST weekend. I’ve tackled a couple more readathons since then and I’ve learned a bit about how to set yourself up to have the ideal weekend.

Make sure all your comfy clothes are clean.

comfy fashion ideas courtesy of @tylerfeder

You know which clothes I mean. The extra luxurious sweatpants you bought on vacation, that muumuu you refuse to let anyone know you own, the extra fuzzy socks you only wear on “special occasions” – make sure they’re all freshly washed. You want to feel as relaxed as possible for your reading time. Really lean into the coziness of the weekend. Channel the vibe of your lazy cat in a sunspot on a stolen blanket. (Also make sure your favorite blanket is freshly laundered.)

Stock up on snackies.

drool-worthy baked goods courtesy of @peney.cakes

Easy to eat finger-food is ideal. One of my favorites is apples and cheese. Prep ahead of time so you’re not stuck in the middle of a gripping chapter and suddenly realize you need to slice the pineapple or mix up the guacamole (just get the pre-made stuff, who are you trying to impress?). The same goes for your beverages. If you like cold brew, be sure to have cold brew made ahead of time. If you know you get a craving for root beer in the afternoons, get that root beer in the fridge stat. Love English breakfast tea? Double check you have some on hand.

Baked goods are a special way to start a readathon, so if you’re a baker, try to find some time this week to whip something up. My bestie Jeney (pictured above!) made readathon donuts for me on my first go-round and it made the whole experience even more special. I’ve been known to make a scone or two in my day, so I’m going to try to do that on Thursday night so they’re fresh for Friday morning.

Make sure you snag a good mix of healthy stuff and treats. Trust me, after a 3 lb. bag of gummi worms, you’re going to crave some celery. (I recently experienced this. Yes, I took down a 3 lb. bag of gummi worms. I’m not proud. Actually, I’m sorta proud.) There’s no rule that says you can’t buy a veggie tray for yourself. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post… we’ve got something super special for your tummy!

Give yourself lots of reading options.

Carmen @tomesandtextiles has become one with her FBC books.

You won’t read all the books you collect, but you will want options. Make sure they’re varied, in terms of genre and style, but also in length, format, and audience. One of the best decisions I made for my first readathon was purchasing the full set of Mary Poppins books by P.L. Travers. It’s my favorite Disney movie but I’d never read the books. They’re quick reads and are light, fun, and sweet… perfect for a change of pace after the literary fiction and memoir I tend to read.

Hit up the library or the Libby app and browse what’s new or recommended by your local librarians. I love the “What’s Popular” page on Libby. It’s so cool to see what other library lovers in my town are reading. You can also download audiobooks from your library. This is a great way to get in a few more pages if you need to run some errands or get out of the house. I’ll be listening to one while doing my daily walks with my dog.

Reading with the little people in your life totally counts and they’ll be excited to participate in the readathon, too. So find some new books you can share with the kiddos and make the moment special (sharing your baked goods is optional).

Need some recommendations? Check out our master list of all the books we’ve voted on for our featured book of the month in the last 10 months.

If you’ve got kiddos or pets, coordinate with your partner, friends, or family to keep them busy for long stretches of time.

lazy Rudy Powers loves readathons

For the ultimate readathon experience, try to find some real-real alone time. This can be difficult when we’re all juggling adult responsibilities like parenting and caregiving. But exercise that muscle that asks for help. It’s uncomfortable, but I believe in you. Obviously, do this in the most responsible way you can while in a pandemic. I know some families are being super selective on who is in their “bubble,” so if you’ve got another family in your bubble, see if you can arrange a playdate. If your parents are in your bubble, ask if they’d like to take the little one to the park. For pet parents, audiobooks may be your best friend if you’ve got a super active pup. But if you have a partner, ask if they’ll take over walks, meals, and clean up for a weekend.

If all else fails, rope your kids, partner, siblings, parents, and friends into the readathon. Make it a weekend long socially distant party! It’s more fun in a group anyhow. (Six feet apart. And masked.)

Charge all your devices and your backup batteries.

My #PhDBFF @drvimviriya looks chic while reading and chatting (she looks chic while doing anything, tbh)

I know it’s not hard to plug in your devices but it’s not super convenient either. And if it hasn’t been made clear yet, this weekend is all about convenience.

So if some of your books are ebooks, make sure your e-reader is charged. And we’ll be hanging out on social media all weekend, so you’ll want to keep your smartphone charged up. Double check that your extra batteries are all juiced up, too! And to be extra safe, grab your extra long charging cable so you can limit how often you need to get up. Because, lazy weekend.

 

The bottom line: Make this weekend special in whatever way feels special to YOU.

 

Renee Powers founded Feminist Book Club in 2018 to provide a space for intersectional feminists to learn, grow, and connect. When not reading or running the biz, you can find her drinking coffee and trying unsuccessfully to teach her retired racing greyhound how to fetch. Favorite genres: memoir, contemporary literary fiction, short stories

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