24 Hour Readathons Don’t Work For Me and Why That’s Okay

Today we’re talking about something that’s really taken off on Booktube in particular in the last few years and that is the well-loved 24 hour readathons. I feel like at some point most people on Booktube have either hosted, participated or done one just by themselves—it’s almost a rite of passage. Today, I want to talk about my own experiences with 24 hour readathons, why they don’t work for me, why I’m okay with that and why it’s okay if they don’t work for you either.

I want to make it clear that this is not me making fun of people who participate or host these. I’ve seen this style of readathon help a lot of people read when they’ve been in slumps or if they’re time poor and only have the weekends off work to read. If this works for you then that’s genuinely great to hear, but I want to share my own thoughts.

So let’s get into the crux of it…

I’m going to start with what the big one is for me and that’s just a simple fact. I’m not healthy enough to stay awake for 24 hours straight. You could argue that no one should be staying up that long, but I’ve seen ‘healthy’ people participate, sleep a few hours the next night and bounce right back. I’m chronically ill—I have one bad night of sleep and I might as well cancel any plans I had for that week.

You’d think being chronically ill for eleven years that I’d be well aware of that fact, but I only really came to terms with this recently. A couple of weeks ago I participated in Becca’s 48 hour Bookopolathon—honestly, it was a great event and I really enjoyed it. But over those 48 hours, I ended up staying awake for most of it. Part of this was because my cat was refusing to settle, but another part was because I felt like I had to push myself to read for as much of that as I could. That’s really on no one but myself.

But as a result, I was pretty much out for the count for the rest of the week and I ended up feeling depressed, nauseous and in pain. I did get some great reading done, but I still could’ve gotten that reading done, albeit over a few days, even if I’d slept that weekend.

I’m a competitive, overly-ambition person when it comes to dealing with myself. I don’t care what anyone else has read—you read 20 pages? You’re literally awesome, you’re killing it. But if I’ve read 20 pages? No, no—that’s a disappointment Ely, you said you’d read these 13 books that all have 300+ pages and you hadn’t started any of them. No longer joining in with readathons like this isn’t going to change that part of my personality—that’s a conversation for my therapist and I. At the same time, I know that these readathons exacerbate that mindset for me and it’s best to stop them.

Here’s another thing: I just can’t read for 12, 24, 48 or however many hours straight. I can manage somewhere around the 3 to 4-hour mark and then I’m like;

Alright, time to stare into the abyss for the rest of the night because I’m so done.

A lot of my friends are in the same state of mind here. Reading for so many hours in a day is hard and it’s totally okay if you can’t do that for whatever reason, whether you decide to join in with these readathons or not. And if the opposite if true and this is how you kick your TBR’s ass, then power to you!

So as much I want to love you, weekend readathons, I think I’m going to stick with the week and month-long ones from now on!


2 thoughts on “24 Hour Readathons Don’t Work For Me and Why That’s Okay

  1. This is a very interesting post! I never join 24hr readathons (or the likes) because it tires the hell out of me, and I’m always a huge mood reader that follows a specific schedules for my reading time. The last time I joined one was last year, and I definitely agree with you how it felt like a competition to see who reads the most. Everyone was jamming 5 and more, but I haven’t gotten into one book.

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  2. I enjoyed reading the post. I’ve never participated in one but I have seen many 24-hour readathon announcements. I’ve always thought about participating in one, but I don’t know if I’d be able to do it unless my event TBR was filled with books that I couldn’t put it down. It’s one thing to push myself versus the book doing the leading. Also, my experience staying up late to complete projects has always translated to being more sluggish the next day and even the rest of the week. Although I haven’t joined one yet, I think I’m with you on this one. Unless I’m propelled to by a really good book/series, I don’t know if 24-hour readathons will work well with me. Like you said, it’s okay if it doesn’t. I appreciate you sharing your experience.

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