This first readathon was quite an experience. I read 210 pages to finish Wuthering Heights and 242 pages from Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron, a short story anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan for a total of 452 pages in 24 hours. I also only participating in 17 of 24 hours for the readathon - I took 2 longer naps and 1 short nap this morning. This was underwhelming - I thought I was going to power through the end of Wuthering Heights and then knock down 3-4 shorter novels in the read of the time for the readathon. That did not happen for a couple of reasons that I will explain below. Hopefully this will help me read more for April's readathon.
What I Learned:
1. Do not read Wuthering Heights!
I was able to finish Wuthering Heights after about 16 hours of reading - 210 pages in 16 hours! Abysmally slow reading, mostly due to the complexity of the character relationships and the Victorian language/writing style I had difficulty comprehending. Overall, Wuthering Heights was a great book that I would recommend others to read but not with time constraints. Powering through this book resulted in fatigue and disinterest in reading anything else for a little while which hindered my overall reading for this event.
2. Shower early.
The readathon start time on the East Coast was 8:00 AM, so I set my alarm for 7:00 AM to get up and have breakfast and settle in for the day. I was going to use my shower as a mid morning pick up to wash away any restlesness or tiredness I was feeling. This was a big mistake - because I stayed in my pajamas for the first part of the morning, I also stayed in the mentally sleepy state and fell asleep at 11:00 AM, only three hours in! I couldn't resist napping and that wiped out 2 hours of reading time for me. After I finally decided to shower around 5:00 PM I was wide awake and ready to go. So next time, I will shower before the readathon starts.
3. Plan social media time wisely.
I think this is a warning mostly for first-timers, who are new to the scene for the readathon. I was so distracted by blogging, twitter and instagram on the iPhone that it distracted me from actually reading. I think it's why Wuthering Heights took as long as it did to finish - if I was at a boring part I would just stop reading and check twitter to see what everyone else was up to.
One more point for Twitter-- make sure your tweets aren't private! I was tweeting other readers and hashtagging my heart out for more than half of the event with no response and I was feeling a little isolated from the community until I figured out that my security setting were set to private and no one could see what I was tweeting to them!
4. Plan your reading area.
I planned my reading area for the loveseat and side table in my 1 bedroom apartment that I shared with my husband and 2 cats. This was great while my husband was out of the house - plenty of room to spread out, no distractions, quiet background. But as soon as he came home he turned the Walking Dead marathon on and I kept glancing up from my book to see what was happening on the TV show, or asking him questions about the series plot line. I should have taken my reading into the bedroom or dining room while the show was on but I stayed in the living room and inhibited my reading.
24th Hour Mini Challenge Survey
1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
Probably the fourth or fifth hour.. After the initial excitement wore off and my adrenaline calmed down I needed a nap to refresh myself.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
Both of the books I read were not very high interest so I don't have any experience this year, but hopefully reading everyone else's responses will give me a better idea of what my TBR pile should be for April.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Since this was my first readathon I'm going to hold off on critiquing anything that happened simply because I was such a novice myself.
4.What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The twitter interaction was amazing! I loved being able to see everyone's real time status and photo updates.
5. How many books did you read?
I finished 1 book and read 1/2 of another.
6. What were the names of the books you read?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (finish) and Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron, edited by Jonathan Strahan (1/2).
7. Which book did you enjoy most?
Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron. It is a short story anthology all about witches - perfect for October and the length of the stories broke up the monotony of Wuthering Heights.
8. Which did you enjoy least?
By process of elimination I would have to say Wuthering Heights since it's the only other book I read although I didn't not enjoy it, it just wasn't as enjoyable.
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
I was not a cheerleader this year but it made me so happy to see everyone else's encouragement on my updates that I am definiately signing up to to be a cheerleader in April. Go Team Otter!!
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
100% will participate next time as a reader and a cheerleader.