Another long weekend has passed seemingly in a flash and the first official Thanksgiving Readathon is now at an end. I want to send a special thank you over to my friend and co-host Jackie from Death By Tsundoku for her collaboration in making this a highly successful endeavor.
We had over 20 bloggers take part in the readathon through Sign-Up posts and on social media, which is an exponential increase from last year (when with no announcements in advance, I believe there were 3 of us participating). I loved seeing everyone’s posts featuring reading nooks, mugs of tea, Thanksgiving feasts and pictures of the titles you were about to tackle.
I read 1.75 books during the readathon but they were LONG, so it’s okay (read my sneak peak reviews of each below). I’m looking forward to continuing this tradition next year and hopefully also further expanding it. In the meantime, hope everyone had an amazing time reading and also spending time with family and friends over the past 5 days.
You have two more days to enter our Winter Reading Giveway – it’s open through Tuesday November 28th at midnight. If you’re planning on posting a Wrap-Up post for the Thanksgiving Readathon today or tomorrow, make sure to paste your link into the Rafflecopter for an extra entry!
Here is a list of everyone who joined along whether through a blog, social media or both in the Thanksgiving Readathon fun. I’ve linked to Sign-Up posts were applicable, and I’ll add Wrap-Up posts links when they get posted (make sure to share in the comments).
Thank you to everyone for showing so much enthusiasm and passion for reading, making this first official year of the readathon very special. It learned me discover some new book bloggers as well as learn more about some of the people I already followed.
If I forgot anyone please let me know of course!
Kelly @ Kelly Kristensen Editing
Carole @ Stitches & Tea
Juliana @ Wild Places
Aside from last year’s unofficial Thanksgiving Readathon, this was my first time making readathon plans, and I made a few fatal errors at the outset.
The first error was as usual to significantly overestimate the time I would be able to dedicated to reading. Readathon or not, that’s a pretty typical part of my life anyways – so no huge surprise there. The second error was not looking into the length of the books I selected to try to maximize the number of books I could finish in the allotted time.
Turns out that if you pick 600 page books to start with, you probably won’t get through that many of them in 5 days, unless you can do nothing but read in that time. Lesson learned! I read nearly 1000 pages during the readathon, but only completely one book and am nearly done with the second (at 60% of Prairie Fires but the sources start at 80%). I’m still proud of myself for following through with it, and now I can plan to be more strategic for my next readathon!
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne (BOTM)
Sneak Peak Review: I had VERY high expectations for this title because just about everyone whose review I read of it absolutely raved about it. The Goodreads reviews for this novel are also extremely positive overall, with a sky-high rating of 4.46, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I started off thinking Boyne’s writing was amazing and the story was incredibly captivating. I think there is so much merit in the way in which Boyne takes the reader through various decades of the 1900s, showing different ways in which people responded through time to homosexuality in Ireland and elsewhere. There were parts of the novel that were incredibly moving and thought-provoking. By half way, unfortunately, the writing started to fall apart for me. Not the quality of individual sentences, but rather the overall structure of it. There was A LOT of repetition of themes/anecdotes/jokes that had already been mentioned earlier in the novel. I thought the second half of the novel was at the level of an unedited draft, with rambling dialogue that added nothing to the plot or character development.
Prairie Fires by Caroline Fraser (ARC)
Sneak Peak Review: Laura Ingalls Wilder was one of my favorite authors growing up, and I spent many afternoons of my childhood pretending to be little Laura in her house in the Big Woods. I even had a dark green dress that I particularly loved and wore all the time because it came with an apron that made me feel really in character. Despite this early attachment to the Little House series, I knew very little about the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and to be honest about the controversy surrounding her writing and the role her daughter played in editing and revising drafts of her work. I’m VERY well-informed now. Fraser’s nonfiction work on Wilder’s life was hugely illuminating not just about the author herself, but about pioneer life on the American frontier. More than a biography, this is also an economic and social exploration of the times that I found profoundly interesting. At the same time, it’s long and still also very focused on Wilder’s life and her daughter Rose Lane, so I think if you’re not a fan you should probably skip it.
Family & Friends
For keeping me sane, happy, loved and feeling secure. It’s important to know you have a support network and also to be there for others when needed. Facetiming with my family in Italy on Mondays is at the top of my list of priorities so I know they’re clued into my life and I can also participate in theirs.
I think a picture will suffice for this section.
I really like my day job and I think that’s relatively rare. If you didn’t already know I work in TV research and switched companies earlier this year. It’s turned out to be a good decision and I have nothing to complain about (which is also pretty rare). Very thankful that I feel stable and motivated in my position.
Reading & Blogging
I started to blog about books (and read even more than before as a direct consequence) because I wanted to find a creative outlet that matched my interests and passions. Mission accomplished. I find blogging challenging but also very rewarding, and it’s motivating to see my little blog grow as I learn and improve it.
Just thought I’d throw a fun one in. I haven’t been yet because Los Angeles has decided to go bonkers and there are apparently lines even to just get into the market part of the store. Also, I’ll be in ACTUAL Italy in about a month, so I’m in no rush. But I know that in 2018 it’ll be amazing to have Eataly here in LA to visit once a month or so and have access to all the Italian delicacies I’ve been missing from back home.
I think Jackie and I made a stellar team on this readathon. We sent a volley of emails back in forth through the preceding weeks to iron out the schedule, rules and other details. I took the initiative with putting together the giveaway items, and Jackie took over setting up the Rafflecopter. We really collaborated effortlessly and I think next year, now that we have the basics set up, will be even smoother.
There are a couple things I think I would want to do differently for the 2018 Thanksgiving Readathon:
- Announce the readathon earlier. I think we gave people 2 or 3 weeks to plan but I’d like to start to remind readers of the upcoming readathon probably closer to mid-October, so everyone can have more of a chance to plan ahead.
- Provide some reading structure for those who crave it. I think keeping the essence of the readathon as super flexible is important, since Thanksgiving weekend is so busy. I also want to provide a structured ‘reading challenge’ for those interested though. Maybe an escalating schedule of reading with 1 hour on Wednesday, 2 on Thursday, 3 on Friday etc., accumulating to 15 hours total over the weekend.
- We could also do daily image challenges with prompts for Instagram/Twitter.
- Create different Sign-Up, Wrap-Up and promotional images for the readathon, so we’re not using the same one over and over.
Any other ideas for how we can make this even more fun next year?
If you participated in the Thanksgiving Readathon, make sure to link your Wrap-Up posts in the comments below or on Jackie’s blog. If you didn’t participate, do you think you’ll join next year?
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