Sunday, April 19, 2009

TSS: Read-a-thon Summary

All in all - this was a GREAT event!! If you did not participate this time, please consider participating next time (I believe these happen twice a year: once in April and once in October). The organizers did an absolutely OUTSTANDING job - and deserve a huge round of applause: Nymth, Hannah, and Trish!!

This was my first time participating and I learned SO much: both tips to help me next time and insights into my own reading pleasure. The tips that I learned for me (these may not apply to anyone else out there) are:
  1. Decide on a goal and select reading material to coincide with that goal. Do I want to read a lot of pages? Then pick books that are plot driven and easy to comprehend (for me - that would mysteries). Do I want to complete a lot of books? Then pick books that are short (YA novels would work great). Do I want to tackle my own TBR list? Then ignore the stats of others who are racing through reading material - and just focus on personal joy and fulfillment.
  2. If possible, set aside the entire 24 hours for this event. I am NOT a multi-tasker. If I want to avoid feelings of "failure" next time - then I either need to totally clear my calendar for that time period --- or choose the cheerleader option and not focus so much on reading goals ( the way....the Cheerleaders were STUPENDOUS!!!! Both the "official" cheerleaders for the event most notably Beth, Dawn, Natasha and Melissa - and bloggers who cared enough to write an encouraging comment)
  3. Create a comfortable reading environment. I LOVE my book nook -- it is my favorite escape place BUT.....I need to work on a temperature control device (probably an oscillating fan) as it is the dormer room of the house and can become VERY stuffy and warm (I think last night it was probably close to 80 degrees). Also....I need to diversify my instrumental music collection. I like "bookish" atmosphere of background music while reading, but I quickly realized that the 3-4 CDs I have downloaded on my iPod are not nearly enough variety. I will spending quite a bit of time on iTunes trying to remedy that situation before October.
  4. And finally.....a lesson that I need to apply to my entire life, not just reading....DON'T COMPARE!! As I have mentioned before, I am very much a type-A perfectionist, which has its good points and its downfalls. On the positive side, I am always striving to do my best and to improve. On the flipside, however, I can easily be derailed when I compare my "best" with the best of others. And...when I am not "best" I have "failed" I know -- totally illogical and untrue, but such is the insight into my brain. What am I talking about? Well, there are two readers in this marathon event who I think deserve recognition: Deborah at Books, Movies, and Chinese Food, who read a staggering 5170 pages and completed 19 books!!!! AND..... S. Krishna who read 3875 pages (in 17 hours) and completed 14 books!!! At one point during the day she was reading 5.5 pages a minute!!!!
It is so incredibly easy for me to look at those stats and say "why did I even bother" (again - I know it is faulty thinking, but it is the way I am wired). But here is the insight that I learned about me: I am sure that I can take speed reading classes, and while I will never read 5.5 pages a minute, I am certain that I could increase my speed. The thing is ..... I like savoring words!! I like reading the story for the plot but also...I like reading the story to analyze how the author wrote it. I like underlining beautiful passages and making notes. I like re-reading a particularly poetic passage that begs to be savored. AND....this is a big one....I feel very guilty if I do not read every word that the author has written (well, maybe not the articles, but all the other words). I know how long it takes me to write - and revise - this little blog. I simply cannot imagine the time and effort - sweat and tears - it takes an author to write a book. I know it takes weeks, months and sometimes years to complete a manuscript, and I feel guilty if I read the entire work in only a couple of hours.

Now please - do not hear what I am NOT saying. I do not think all readers should subscribe to this way of thinking. But I have learned this about myself - and I think I need to learn to accept this in order to find peace and joy in the next read-a-thon event.

So, with that insight in mind --- I am going to extend my own personal read-a-thon into today. It is a dreary, rainy, Sunday and all my lesson plans are complete. I am thoroughly enjoying Rebecca (in fact, I already know that I will want to re-read this book and take copious notes) and perhaps I can come close to finishing the book today.

My final stats for the official 24 hour read-a-thon are as follows:
  • books read: 1.5
  • number of pages read: 505
  • number of hours read: 9.5
I will post reviews for Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder and Rebecca later this week. For now, I am going to visit fellow bloggers and give them a note of congratulations --- and then enjoy another afternoon of blissful reading!


  1. You're right - the read-a-thon's not a competition. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

  2. What I have told my kids over many years, it doesn't matter what others do, do what is right for YOU! Only you can decide that. I feel if I read 50-60 pages an hour, that is a good average. Other than that I am just speed reading. Unless it is a really simple book with large print, obviously I can read more. You have been a source of great inspiration and I think I may consider doing the challenge in the fall. Great job, Molly. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it.

  3. Congrats :D
    You did a great job, adn the most important thing you had fun. That's what it's all about

  4. You did GREAT, Molly! Congratulations!! =)

  5. Molly, you did a great job...and I loved reading your wrap up thoughts...very wise! I've participated in a couple of these, I couldn't agree more!

  6. I agree with all you said above I only managed 468 in 19 hrs cause I too like to analyze why the person or the author wrote or did what they did. I can speed read but I choose to live through the character. And your right its not a competition.

  7. It's definitely not a competition. Everyone reads at different speeds and has different goals. If you did well for you and had fun, that's all that matters! And you have goals for the next time already, which is a great thing!

  8. Congrats Molly!! What an accomplishment, you should be proud! I can understand your feelings and comparing yourself to others as I do the same at times. It sounds like you gained some great insights about yourself and your own reading style. I think it's so important to find what works for you and not compare yourself to others who speed read! It's a hard comparison and you should be so proud of your own accomplishments.

  9. Molly, you did great. I didn't read much more. YOu know, like you, I like to read a bit more slowly and make sure the words register fully for me. I like going back and rereading certain things. This wasn't a competition and nor should it be. It's about honoring Dewey and spending a day doing what we love-reading.

  10. I don't think it's about reading the most you can, but just reading something, all together, with everyone else. So hopefully you'll not compare anymore... but I know what you are saying, 'cause I'd probably do the very same thing. It sounds like you did fantastic, no matter the numbers! :)

  11. Great job. It sounds like you had a lot of fun.

  12. You did very well! Maybe next time I'll try to get my courage up and join in.

  13. Molly I think you did a great job--better than my stats! I think what others have said is so true--it is not a competition--remember your comments early on about reading being a solitary event? It really is a very personal thing, we just happened to be all doing it in unison (all in our unique ways) together yesterday!

    Now that we have under our hat, October's event should be even better.

    I am struggling with the to twitter/not to twitter dilemna. I feel like I missed out on a whole other part of the experience yesterday not being a twitterer. I think it would be too tempting to twitter at work, which would not be a good thing? Hmmm...I need to check it out further I guess.


  14. Congrats on all that you accomplished, Molly! I think you did really well :-)
    It was also my first time and I had a lot of fun. I wished the read-a-thon would take place more often...

  15. This was a wonderful post to read. It helped me to understand more what a Read-A-Thon is like ... and some of the pitfalls! I tend to read like you --- slow and steady -- well slow compared to 5.5 pages a minute! Holy cannoli! I think it is amazing to just read for that long a time ... I can't imagine doing this while doing something else. Nor can I imagine being able to stay up 24 hours so I know I'd be down quite bit. Now I know why S. Krishna read 100 books by March! : )

    Wonderful post and you did a great job. It IS about enjoyment -- or should be!

  16. I think you did a great job. I didn't have any goals about books or pages read. I just wanted to have a good time, and I did, finishing just 2 books and getting 5 hours of sleep. :)

    Diary of an Eccentric

  17. Wow, somebody read 19 books! That's amazing. I sure hope to participate in the read-a-thon one day. Glad to hear that it was fun!

  18. This is a great post! Rule number four, don't compare, is one of my biggest problems when it comes to the read-a-thon. I would have loved to read as much as S. Krishna and Deborah but I'm just like you: underlining great sentences and passages, savoring the book, and re-reading.

  19. Well, S. Krishna is a superhuman! :)

    You did great, Molly, and it looks like you've learned some great pointers for next time. I learned much of what I did through trial and error the first time, but even this time my actual time spent reading was AWFUL!! Luckily I picked some really short/easy books to read.

    Glad you had fun! I look forward to next time and I guess I'll have to learn how to twitter by then. Seems like there was a lot of action over there!!

  20. Although I couldn't participate in this read-a-thon, I enjoy reading everyone's summary. Like you, I would most likely ficus on reading one or two books. 505 pages is quite an accomplishment. Congratulations! :)


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