OK, so the title makes this post sound a little overdramatic, but it’s not clickbait, I promise. I started Tome Topple with all the best intentions of reading at least three books, but in the end I only managed to finish half of that. So in my eyes, I did kind of fail.
I’m sure you’re probably side-eyeing me, thinking Kate, that’s not failing, but I’m quite all or nothing when it comes to readathons. As in, go hard or go home. So, although I said in my Tome Topple TBR post that I was going to take it easy and just try to read a few books, I actually wanted to aim higher and read more than I’d planned. (This is basically how I am with life; I set myself a pretty high goal and then try and outdo it. Why.)
But as often happens, life got in the way. I work full-time, so I was at working for a lot of the readathon, and kept missing sprints (which I normally love doing). When I get home in the evenings I go to sports classes, so it’s usually after 10pm by the time I have any reading time. Which wasn’t really conducive to reading 3+ 500 page books.
My plans to spend the whole middle weekend of the readathon with my head in a book were also derailed when my boyfriend suggested that we meet up on the Saturday and Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, this was lovely and I wasn’t going to say no. But, he kind of thwarted my reading time.
As a result, I only ended up reading Strange the Dreamer, and half of The Poppy War. Strange is 536 pages, and I read 245 pages of The Poppy War, making a total of 781 pages. Not too terrible, but I’m disappointed I didn’t do better, especially considering the free time I had during the first weekend that I didn’t fully use because I also thought I’d have the middle weekend.
But, despite achieving far less than I’d hoped, I adored Strange the Dreamer and The Poppy War is fantastically dark so far. This readathon has also taught me a few things.
1. Any reading time you can cram in around work, commuting, and general life is going to help. I managed to squeeze in an extra 15 pages most mornings while sitting having my cup of tea before I started work, and another 30 when waiting for a delayed train.
2. Sometimes plans change and you’ve got to sacrifice reading time to put other people first. I hadn’t originally planned to meet up with my bf over the weekend, but it was the best weekend for him, and I compromised to be able to see him. We’re in a long distance relationship, so we don’t get to see each other that often, and any time together is therefore precious. Plus, he often sacrifices time for me, so I definitely don’t mind doing the same. We ended up having a great two days together, so it was worth it.
3. Weekend readathons are better for me. With my current work and commuting schedule, any readathon that falls during my free days (or is longer but encompasses them) is going to suit me best. That’s not to say that I don’t want to do two-week long readathons, but looking at how I struggled to find reading time with this one during the week days, I think weekends are always going to be better.
4. Pick up books you’re excited about. I’d been meaning to read Strange the Dreamer for months and as soon as I started it, I was in love. The world and the characters were wonderful, and because I was enjoying it so much, I was motivated to keep reading in any free time I had. The same thing happened with The Poppy War. It was so captivating that I was desperate to read more as soon as I finished work. For me, reading a book I’ve been excited about (and having it live up to expectations) is conducive to reading more and reading faster.
So, although I feel like I ‘failed’ Tome Topple, I didn’t really. I learned more about which readathons are going to suit my schedule and how I can squeeze in more reading time, and I managed to pick up some truly great books in the process.
Have you done any readathons before? What works best for you when trying to read a lot of books?