Weekend Readathon: What I Read & How I Survived

This weekend I participated in the 24 in 48 Readathon. The goal is exactly as it sounds, you try and read for a total of 24 hours in the span of 48 hours. Yeah, it’s a DOOZY. This weekend I read for just over 18 hours. While I didn’t make it to 24 hours, I’m still very pleased with how much I read and the books I was able to finish.


The books I finished during the 24 in 48 Readathon. Not pictured is my audiobook Kitchen Confidential


I love the idea of readathons because I can focus in on tackling a stack of books without the usual distractions (phone, computer, TV, etc). But it can be difficult to stay on track especially after a long day. How do I stay engaged? I’ve learned a few tricks along the way, mostly from readathon pros. Here are my five tips for powering through a readathon:




While a readathon can be a great time to tackle those hefty doorstopper novels, I prefer to churn out a lot of smaller books at once. For me, it’s about getting the most bang for my buck and I want to finish as many books as I can. Picking out several shorter books keeps things interesting and allows me to mix up my reading over the span of several hours.




My best and probably favorite tip revolves around food. Readathons require, well, a lot of reading, and you will need snacks throughout. I like to prep my snacks and meals before the readathon begins because I would rather have more minutes with my books than preparing meals. For me, this also meant having a lot of coffee on hand. However, if you aren’t able to prep food ahead of time, my next tip will allow you to still read while chopping in the kitchen.




If you haven’t tried audiobooks, a readathon is a great time to start. Audiobooks are perfect for those moments when you just can’t hold a book. I often listen to audio when cooking, cleaning, and even while showering. And after so many hours of reading, sometimes it’s nice to let someone else read to you. I use Audible, but there are MANY great platforms. And as far as genres, I listen to a range but usually prefer memoirs and autobiographies, especially if they’re read by the author. Some of my favorites are:

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah,

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, read by Claire Danes




It sounds like a no-brainer, but give yourself permission to just take a break and not read. Go for a walk, watch a movie, take a nap, spend time with other people. It’s true that I could have made it to 24 hours if I hadn’t taken that nap or stopped to watch a movie and three episodes of a show on Netflix, but it was important for me to pause and do anything other than reading in those moments. I don’t feel like I failed the readathon. If anything, I enjoyed it more because I didn’t feel pressured to reach a certain goal.




Most importantly, readathons should be fun! I didn’t feel like I had to push myself because I was excited to have a weekend carved out for reading. Participating in readathons often puts my time into perspective. I realize that I can actually read a lot during those pockets when I choose to mindlessly watch that show on Netflix which I’ve seen no less than a thousand times. It’s all about making time to read, and when I look at all the hours in my day, I can always find the spare time.

Have you ever participated in a readathon? I have a much less strenuous one in mind for August. Do you have any readathon tips or tricks to help you survive? Feel free to share in the comments!


Author: thereadingnixon

Educator & avid reader living in NYC.

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