Are Your Reading Goals Off-Track? Try a Readathon

Posted by Marie on July 21, 2019


Keeping up a solid reading habit can be tough. Luckily, readathons allow book lovers from all walks of life (and interests!) to get back on track by making their favorite pastime fun and energizing again. The best part? You'll be turning the pages along with many others and it's also a nice boost for your Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Book vlogger duo Ariel Bissett and Raeleen Lemay are the co-creators and hosts of The Reading Rush, currently "the largest readathon on YouTube." Goodreads spoke to Bissett and Lemay via email to learn all about readathons and how they can be used to prune back those growing Want to Read piles.

Their number one piece of advice?

"Don't put too much pressure on yourself to read tons of books. It's all about having a good time." 



Goodreads: What's a readathon (for the uninitiated)?

Ariel Bissett and Raeleen Lemay: Basically, a readathon is an event where you spend an allotted amount of time reading as much as you possibly can. Some last a weekend, some a week, some even a month, but no matter how long the event is, the goal is always the same: READ.

GR: How can readers participate?

AB and RL: The only rules for a readathon are when it starts and when it ends. Within that timeframe, you read, read, and keep on reading!

One fun way to get involved is by joining in on the reading sprints that take place on Twitter: A bookish host leads everyone participating in a designated period of reading, involving mini-challenges (like taking a photo of your current read) and mini-games (write a haiku based on what you just read).

There are giveaways, fun challenges, and above all, thousands of people around the world all reading at the same time! On the other hand, if you prefer to take it a bit easier, participating can be as simple as just reading by yourself throughout the week.


GR: How did the both of you get started?

AB and RL: Hilariously, the first one we participated in was our own! We made the first Reading Rush (which was originally called the BookTubeAThon) back in 2013 and have been running and competing in them every year since.

When we first started, we were the only readathon on YouTube. Now it's grown to a point where you could be participating in readathons every week if you wanted to. We hope to keep running these as long as people will participate in them.


GR: Any accomplishments you're both proud of?

AB and RL: We're just so proud of how far the Reading Rush has come! When we started the two of us expected to be the only ones participating. We remember trying to convince our friends that this was going to be a fun idea. A couple years later, it's the largest readathon on YouTube with thousands of people joining us every year.

GR: What's your advice for a person who's never tried a readathon?

AB and RL: Take the opportunity to find one that fits your reading tastes. Maybe find a thriller-athon or a graphic novel-athon…whatever you're into, you can find a readathon full of passionate readers like you! It'll make it a lot more fun and it's a fantastic way to connect with other book lovers online and learn about new books to read.

GR: What are your top tips and tricks?

  • AB and RL: Choose books you think will be addictive, easy, and quick to read. This isn't the time to dig into War and Peace. Moby Dick can wait 'til next week.


  • Don't keep reading books that are dragging. The key is to stay motivated. If you suddenly find yourself not caring about what Mr. Darcy thinks, maybe it's time to find out what's going on with Harry at Hogwarts. Whatever makes you pick your book up!


  • Spend all of your time reading. Cut out TV, movies, etc. Maybe take a few breaks, but part of the fun of a readathon is really pushing yourself to see how much you can read.

  • If you were planning to see friends, set up a reading date instead. Were you planning on going for a jog? Listen to an audiobook. Need to go to the dentist? Take a book for the waiting room. There are endless ways to pack reading into your every day plans. At the end of the readathon you’ll be amazed at how many reading opportunities there are in your day.


  • Try convincing the people around you to participate as well. It will make it much easier to stay on track. If your whole household is participating, it'll be a lot less strange when they see you camped out on the lawn with a pile of books beside you.



  • Interact with other participants online. They will keep you motivated and excited. Spending the week hanging out with other book lovers is what makes this so magical.

GR: What's been your biggest takeaway from doing readathons?

AB and RL: I think the biggest takeaway we've learned from running and participating in The Reading Rush is that book lovers are not the quiet solitary type that we're always depicted as. There is clearly a want for readers to come together, to celebrate reading, and it's so wonderful for us that we get to organize this event and give readers a week each year to go book crazy.

GR: What are some upcoming or yearly readathons that book lovers should know about?

AB and RL: There are so many to choose from! Some fun ones are the Koreadathon (this celebrates Korean literature), SmutAThon (exclusively romance books), #24in48 (you try and read for 24 hours out of a 48 hour weekend), and BuzzWordAThon (they give you a buzzword, and you read books that fit that word!).

Additionally, Catriona at LittleBookOwl has a very handy Readathon Calendar on her website so you can keep up with all of the readathons that are going on.


For inspiration, check out the Reading Rush's top readathon book picks:

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Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Donna ( Momsbookcollection ) First day and the first time i am entering this Readathon and i am loving it already.


message 2: by Cal (new)

Cal (Cal's Reading Corner) Donna ( Momsbookcollection ) wrote: "First day and the first time i am entering this Readathon and i am loving it already."

Yay!!! Welcome to the readathon <3


message 3: by Tammie (new)

Tammie Tackett me to my 1st trying this


message 4: by Rathi (new)

Rathi Venkatesh I'm participating in this readathon for the first time. Going very well so far.


message 5: by Tammie (new)

Tammie Tackett i am now on my 2nd book and using it for 1 challenges


message 6: by Alyssa J. (new)

Alyssa J. I love the banner artwork! Does anyone happen to know the artist behind it?


message 7: by Syu (new)

Syu Alyssa J. wrote: "I love the banner artwork! Does anyone happen to know the artist behind it?"

Marina @popmarleo


message 8: by Alyssa J. (new)

Alyssa J. Syu wrote: "Alyssa J. wrote: "I love the banner artwork! Does anyone happen to know the artist behind it?"

Marina @popmarleo"


Thank youuu, Syu!


Katie Cat Books Readathons where there are all sorts of tasks and such that interaction in my opinion take away from the reading. I prefer the casual readathons, where the goal is just to read and enjoy reading.


message 10: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Katie Cat Books wrote: "Readathons where there are all sorts of tasks and such that interaction in my opinion take away from the reading. I prefer the casual readathons, where the goal is just to read and enjoy reading."

My thoughts exactly. I can and often do read for hours on end, with my cats and coffee next to me.

But, to each his/her own. Enjoy reading however you do it!


message 11: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Currently doing the NetGalley reviewathon which is my first readathon. Not behind on reading, in fact I am 29 books ahead of schedule, but I am behind on my NetGalley ARCs so this is giving me the motivation to finish as many of them as I can in the next month. Should be able to do about 30 I am guessing.


message 12: by Elyse (last edited Jul 24, 2019 10:05AM) (new)

Elyse Wow, I can't believe they didn't mention Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon!! The second annual Reverse Readathon is Aug 2-3! http://24hourreadathon.com

I don't care for Youtube and they've been unhelpful on their Instagram. I do readathons on Instagram and Goodreads and on some blogs.


message 13: by Beth (new)

Beth I started a readathon through my county's Library June 1st, and it ends in 8 days. Unfortunally, our county is only 54% towards our goal of winning a $500. donation to a local No Kill shelter for All animals.


message 14: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Cindy wrote: "Currently doing the NetGalley reviewathon ..."
Cindy, where is that? On Netgalley directly??

„Don't keep reading books that are dragging.“
Good advice for any reading, not just readathons.


message 15: by Dee (new)

Dee i'd add that the Dewey 24 readathon is from the 2-3 August (starts 8pm EST on Friday and goes through 8pm EST on Saturday). its run twice a year and i'm a huge fan of it - with readers from all over the world


message 16: by Susan (new)

Susan Agree that Dewey's is a wonderful community whether through Goodreads, Instagram or Facebook.

http://24hourreadathon.com


message 17: by Tammie (new)

Tammie Tackett i signed up already


message 18: by Celine (new)

Celine I might join next year. This is my first time committing to reading, if you can see my previous year goals lol.


message 19: by Samantha (new)

Samantha The people that do this must not have a young toddler at home like I do... LOL. I can only read when hes sleeping, when I'm at work, or when hubby is home too.


message 20: by Kyle (new)

Kyle MacDonald Dee wrote: "i'd add that the Dewey 24 readathon is from the 2-3 August (starts 8pm EST on Friday and goes through 8pm EST on Saturday). its run twice a year and i'm a huge fan of it - with readers from all ove..."

I am signing up for this too! Never heard of it but its seems really fun, plus will fun to update progress on social media and see how others are doing.


message 21: by Amy (new)

Amy Facebook groups have read-a-thons too


message 22: by Jayce (new)

Jayce Love the concept. But why are y’all dissing the classics so much? War and Peace, Moby Dick, and Jane Austen... come on! Totally binge-worthy.


message 23: by Kim (new)

Kim I'm enjoying The Reading Rush. First time I've committed to a readathon and I'm getting all my library books read before they fall due!
I'm only doing the reading bits not all the extras, so I should finish well before schedule with 7 books read and I will probably try to fit in an extra one or two.


message 24: by John (new)

John I wish Goodreads had promoted this sooner. I've already missed three days. :,-(
Oh well. next year, maybe?


message 25: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Hayward Pérez I'm doing the Reading Rush right now. I've done Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon for years and am also going to do the Dewey's Summer Reverse Readathon again on August 2nd and 3rd. I hope to try other readathons.


message 26: by Katherine (new)

Katherine Hayward Pérez I'm doing the Reading Rush right now. I've done Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon for years and am also going to do the Dewey's Summer Reverse Readathon again on August 2nd and 3rd. I hope to try other readathons.


message 27: by Elyse (new)

Elyse Dee wrote: "i'd add that the Dewey 24 readathon is from the 2-3 August (starts 8pm EST on Friday and goes through 8pm EST on Saturday). its run twice a year and i'm a huge fan of it - with readers from all ove..."

Three times a year since last year! :)


message 28: by Jessica/Carissa (new)

Jessica/Carissa Robinson This is my first time doing the Reading Rush too! (Formerly known as Booktubeathon) I'm catching up, slowly but surely... I am now on my 4th book out of 7!


message 29: by Allie (new)

Allie I love this concept!


message 30: by Strazdas (new)

Strazdas Hmm i guess there really is already an idea for everything you do. I tend to do most of my reading in quick concentrated bursts, like taking a week off work and completing a book every day. Turns out theres a lot of others that do the same.


message 31: by Kazim (last edited Oct 30, 2019 10:10PM) (new)

Kazim Jafar I though Read-a-thon were for school fundraisers. I'm gonna give it a shot if I ever get the time to do that. Oh well... Thanks for the info tho.


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