On readathons and other reading challenges

Hi friends, happy Sunday! I hope you had a lovely week. Today I’m back again with another fun discussion – I hope about something that’s been on my mind for a little while now.

It’s something I wasn’t really aware of before I joined the community – which is quite normal, if you ask me…They’re called readathons, or reading challenges, or bingo. Basically, I see them around for a while now and if they have different names, they’re all kind of doing the same thing, which is MAKE YOU READ BOOKS. Which we love, right?

What is a readathon?

Or reading challenge, or bingo, or whatever you want to call it?

I’m no expert in this, since I never hosted one, but I think I have seen them around enough to explain what they are. They are these little challenges you set yourself, a lot of the time over the course of a month or more, to read certain kinds of books. Basically, you are here to set a TBR list for the upcoming month within a particular theme, and try to read as many as you can. There are so many examples of readathons and reading challenges, but so you get a better understanding of this, if you’ve never heard of it before, there is the ARC-ish Readathon that was hosted by Aimal a little while ago, the Dumbledore’s Army Readathon hosted by Aentee a while ago, the #AsianLitBingo that is currently happening within the blogging community…

You get the gist here: you just have to READ BOOKS. Magnificient, isn’t it?

Why readathons are quite awesome

There are so many reasons that these kind of initiatives are awesome, but to spare you, I will quote some of the main reasons making me love these little challenges.

  • I love that it brings the community closer in a short time by making them talking about particular books.
  • I’m especially in love of how, for instance, following the lovely cw. over at Read Think Ponder as she does the #AsianLitBingo, makes me discover so many books I didn’t know and now want to read. My TBR is NOT happy, but, well… #sorrynotsorry.
  • I think it’s quite fabulous as well just how readathons MAKE you read. You’re not in competition against anyone but yourself, and it’s really good to challenge yourself once in a while.
  • They make you get out of your comfort zone at times – make you read books you did not think of reading in the first place. We might not be reaching for some books on instinct, or maybe we want to more but we don’t know where to start / are too lazy / insert here many different reasons this could happen to you.

I’m sure there are so many different reasons why these kind of challenges are great, for the community, for the books, for sharing the love. But overall, this is quite awesome.

I shall stop there and make a confession about it all. I never did a readathon and I don’t know if I ever will.

Why I don’t do readathons

First of all, don’t get me wrong here: I would LOVE to be able to participate in readathons, yet I can’t bring myself to do it. Why, you ask?

If you’re doing a readathon, you have to HAVE the books you’re going to read on hand – or be able to buy them as you go. If I’m taking the example of the Asian Lit Bingo, you are spotlighting books with Asian characters and Asian voices. In this challenge, there is a bingo board, where there are many suggestions of books you can read for this challenge: a graphic novel with an Asian main character, a retelling with an Asian MC, and more. This bingo allows you to explore such a massive panel of books in just over the course of one month. Thing is: you need to find the books answering the challenges, buy them or take them from your library if you have the chance to have one and read them. I don’t have the chance of having a library with English books and I can’t buy all the books because: time of shipping: longgggggggg (it’s not so long, but enough to make me late on the challenge) and money: not growing on the trees in my garden, unfortunately.

When you’re doing a readathon, you also have a determined TBR for the time being…depending on the readathon, obviously. In the case of the #AsianLitBingo of before, you can read from many different genres and many different kinds of books. For me, lover of changing things up once in a while and reading fantasy and contemporary alternatively for the most part, it’s SUCH a good thing. However, if you’re doing a readathon on a particular theme, in a particular genre or for instance, an ARC readathon where you get through all of the ARCs, there is no spontaneity, as you actually know what you have to read next in order to complete the challenge. I like to read books at my own rhythm and vary between genres…so I’m kind of scared not to be able to. No one’s forcing me, I know, but…well, I know me and I’d definitely feel pressured.

YES. Talking about pressure…I am one of these very pressured bloggers freaking out over my blog posts – I feel like reading challenges will make me freak even more? If that even makes sense? Having a time frame to read books…(Because I’m an overachiever and obviously I’d want to read ALL the books)

Don’t get me wrong here. I have nothing about readathons. Like I already said it above, I LOVE the whole idea of it, I LOVE seeing people participating and I LOVE following them from aside even if I am not a participant for all these things said above. It is quite wonderful to have so many books recommendations, to see people thriving to read more in these moments. It is also quite awesome to add more books to my TBR and have my own little challenges alone by reading these books, brightening my horizons and loving these new books whenever I can get around to buying them.

You know, if for now, I’m not doing these kind of challenges…Never say never.

Are you participating in reading challenges? Why or why not?

If you’ve never done one, do you want to sometimes? Let me know your thoughts in comments!

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. πŸ“š |🌍 | πŸ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

68 thoughts on “On readathons and other reading challenges

  1. I LOVE readathons, though I don’t participate in them very often because I don’t often have enough time to commit to them to make it worthwhile. One readathon that I’ve done for a few years now is the Booktubeathon that happens every summer. This usually happens at a time when I have more time to read, which is awesome πŸ™‚ Great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh that’s so great, I don’t know about this readathon, I need to look it up. I’m always scared never to have time to commit to the challenge and end up being disappointed in myself ahah πŸ™‚ Thank you so much, Holly! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m only participating in the year long challenges like Beat The Backlist and the Netgalley Challenge so that when I do read a book that’s been on the Backlist or has been on my NG shelf, I feel good, like I’ve accomplished something. I don’t go out if my way and I don’t post monthly updates (too stressful), but I just see if the book I’m reading qualifies, and it usually does or doesnt, lol.
    I can’t do book bingo or those other things because I have too many book commitments as it is! 😱

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yearlong challenges are actually great – I’m only doing the basic Goodreads challenge but I need to learn more about these two you’re quoting! It feels good to reach these kinds of reading goals, I agree πŸ˜€ Thank you so much for your comment, Stephanie! ❀

      Like

  3. I don’t really do reading challenges either. My reasons are pretty much the same as yours. I do set challenges for myself, though nothing so rigid as you see around the blogosphere. Mostly when I think of challenging myself it has been to make sure that I’m reading a diverse range of voices and genres. I used to really only exclusively read genres there were also YA, but as I’ve got older that has stopped being true. I want a mix of everything – including a fair amount of non-fiction, these days.

    I feel you on those shipping times. It is PAINFUL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I do try to do that as well – read more different books, and I’m doing the Goodreads challenge as well but other than that, no – I don’t think the pressure of these challenges is for me, I’d rather read at my own rhythm πŸ™‚
      Right?! Why can’t books magically appear on our doorstep the second we order them?

      Like

  4. Ah, reading challenges. I both love and hate them, like you. I actually don’t participate in challenges often – kind of for the same reasons as you. I don’t like feeling confined to a set of books in a specific theme. I love read-a-thons, though. The kind that don’t have a theme or anything, you just read what you want. If you ever want to try one, the Dewey’s 24-hour Read-a-thon is my favorite! I usually gather about 10 books – short, long, graphic novels, all sorts of things – and just read from that pile. There are challenges, sprints, and discussions to engage with the community. I do that one almost every time it comes around πŸ™‚ No guidelines for what types of books, how many books, challenges, just read for 24 hours and chat with people!

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh thank you for the recommendation, I need to check that one out then! I would love to participate more in these kind of things, but specific themes or TBRs make me feel a bit, restricted and I don’t like it. the Dewey’s readathon seems perfect for me then πŸ˜€
      Thank you!! ❀

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  5. My Sweechie I couldn’t agree more with you!! I love seeing people doing those readathons and stuff, but I’m a mood reader, I usually don’t have the right books at hand, (I’m buried under ARCs), and I would definitely feel the pressure to read, and that’s no good for me! So I enjoy hearing about them, but from afar, and I go my slow own way with my books πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you my sweechie, I’m glad you feel the same way! ❀ It's great to watch all of the enthusiasm and get all of the recommendations, but I don't think the pressure here is for me ahah πŸ™‚

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  6. Great comments. Good view points. I do the annual Goodreads challenge. I’m doing my first buddy read next week. And I used to have a book club. But I haven’t done any of the readathons yet. I look at them as fantastic ideas, but hard to execute for the same reasons you noted. Then again, I like to push myself into doing something different every so often. Might be worth a short one to test the boundaries.

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  7. Awesome post! I myself love readathons. They really motivate me to read and catch up on my TBR. I definitely see your point – they can sometimes be a hit-or-miss for me. It really depends on the theme, but also the time frame. Sometimes, there’s a readathon I really want to do, but the dates just don’t work out. Lovely post! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Readathons really seem like a great way to make you read all the books for sure – that’s one of the reasons why I love these. I wish I could commit to one of these, maybe someday I will πŸ™‚ Thank you so, so much for your comment, Jordyn! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I actually have never participated in a readathon either! It’s actually quite funny – I have several readathons I want to host, but I’ve never participated in them. πŸ˜‚ I know, it’s weird! I also don’t like having a set number of books to read; it’s the same reason why I can’t do monthly TBRs. It just unnecessarily stresses me out! I might want to do one someday, though, because who knows; I might love it! πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, it is a bit weird but well – maybe if you start your own readathon on your own terms, it feels better since it actually fits your time frame and themes or whatever πŸ™‚
      Maybe we both should try readathons someday, we might end up loving it πŸ˜€
      Thank you for your comment, Mikaela! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  9. No reading challenges for me, except to read as many books as I can! XD For me, I’m more of a mood reader, so I’ll read what I want to. Setting a monthly TBR of what I will have to read in order to complete that reading challenge seems… strict. For me. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you feel the same way, May! I don’t like to set up particular TBRs either, I would rather read what I want, whenever I want ahah πŸ™‚ Thank you so much! ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I rarely ever participate in readathons because I am such a mood reader! At the start of a readathon I could be like “YES I’m so excited I can do this!” and then 2 days later I’m just not in the mood to read the books that you’re supposed to or I’m not in the mood to read at all!

    I have participated in one or two readathons where there were no set rules or challenges so I could freely choose what to read which was awesome! πŸ™‚ But money is also a big factor and I can’t always buy all the books I’d need for readathons like the Asian Lit Bingo!

    So I totally understand your point on readathons! This was a GREAT post!!! πŸ˜€ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahah oh I’m so glad you get the feeling – I think the same thing would happen to me if I ever started a readathon: not feeling in the mood to read the right books.
      I think I might try these more flexible readathons someday, that sounds awesome! Thank you so, so much Jackie! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve never done a readathon, but I am participating in a reading challenge this year. It’s a backlist challenge and I chose I think 26 books from my TBR that I wanted to read for it. I like that I have the whole year to do it, and 26 books isn’t too much of a commitment in the scheme of things. I didn’t want to set a number that was so high that I’d only be reading those books. I like the idea of readathons but they seem like too much pressure to me! Too much in too short a period of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh, that seems like such an interesting challenge – I love the idea that it’s not on a too-short time-frame. That’s what stresses me out most of the time ahah πŸ™‚ Thank you so much, Angela, and best of luck for your challenge πŸ™‚

      Like

  12. Great post Marie. πŸ™‚ ❀ I see people taking part in Readathons, and posting the introductory "I'm taking part in … Readathon" and it always makes me want to take part, mainly because of the reasons you mentioned in your post. It looks like a lot of fun and it's a great way to be a part of the blogging community that little bit more, but I don't think I'd ever be able to take part in one either. Mainly because I'm a mood reader and the idea of setting a to-read list based on a Readathon would slowly become my downfall. There's a reason I rarely stick to my to-read list because I always get halfway through and then I spot another book that catches my eye and that I have to start right away. πŸ™‚
    Still, like you said never say never right? πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Beth! ❀
      I am weak too and I can't resist reading some books, I don'think that setting TBRs would be something for me. I can't even set monthly TBRs like some other bloggers do, ahah πŸ™‚ Thank you ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right. Yeah there are definite pitfalls to being a mood reader, especially when it comes to Readathons we can’t take part in. And TBRs aren’t all that. I end up failing at them more often than I stick to them! πŸ™‚ That’s all right. ❀

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t participate in a readathon because I don’t want to force myself reading a book that I’m really not interested and not to forget the pressure. I’m also a mood reader so nope it definitely won’t work out for me.

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  14. I’m so with you on all of this. I love the idea of readathons, but I’m such a mood reader they’d most likely just made me hate reading for a while xD. I have a similar problem with acquiring the books, too. My library doesn’t have a big selection, especially of books that aren’t super popular award-winners or bestsellers, and I can’t afford to buy more than one or two books a month, so I don’t usually have access to the books featured in the challenge. I feel like I’d like a readathon that was more general, like, “read 5 books you own but haven’t read yet” because it would give more options for genre etc. Great post, Marie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one. I wish I could have all the books that I want and spend all the money on them to do fun reading challenges – or have them from a library, but I can’t, so…I watch from aside and let my TBR slowly grow because of all the recommendations ahah πŸ™‚
      Thank you so, so much Lenna! ❀

      Like

    1. Oh no! Well, reading challenges aren’t for everyone – they’re not for me either, so you’re not alone, don’t worry πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for your comment!

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  15. I feel the same way about themed readathons: on the one hand, I’d love to do all of the diverse challenges ever in life. On the other hand, I have a very strict book buying budget that doesn’t really allow for me to splurge all at once. They’re definitely fun in terms of finding new books to read though πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes – if we can’t afford all the books to participate in the challenge, it’s definitely awesome to get all of these reading recommendations, I love that πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for stopping by, Christine! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Hey!

    Nice blog (: I just started mine up and was looking for a few relative friends in the book world! I have a Booktube channel too. Also, There is a giveaway currently going on and I will be posting more as soon as I finish editing a few videos.

    Thanks and I hope you like my blog! :*

    Like

  17. Great post, Marie!! Like you, I love the idea of readathons and reading challenges and all of that and how it can bring the bookish community together and just makes you read. I also love it because reading people’s lists help me add books to my TBR I might not have discovered otherwise. BUT I’ve also never participated in one and most likely never will. Mainly because I’m a terrible mood reader and I would feel really pressured to stick to the TBR if I did as well. Which I can never stick to my TBR on my own so that would be terrible a kill my motivation for it. I just know I would do terrible at a reading challenge lol. πŸ˜‚πŸ™ˆ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you so, so much Melissa! ❀ Haha well I would do terrible at any reading challenge I think, I'd put too much pressure on myself and overall get mad at myself for not being able to read all the books haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m the same as you- I love the idea of readathons but I’ve never participated!! I also know that I would feel pressured about it too. And also I am a massive mood reader too- so I would find it nigh on impossible to fix a tbr in advance and not want to deviate from it at all- which would then increase my stress πŸ˜‰

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  19. I pretty much agree wholeheartedly with your entire post! I LOVE readathons. I think they’re great and when I see one I always WANT to participate. And sometimes I do. But mostly, I just end up not doing them myself and just following on the sidelines. Because of every reason you listed: you need to have the books, which is not always easy. And I just don’t like pressuring myself – I’m a big mood reader and when I force myself to read something I’m not in the mood for at that time, it could lead to a slump and I just don’t want that. So I’m a big fan of readathons, but I don’t always participate for those reasons πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so, so much, I’m so glad you could relate to this post. I’m a big fan of readathons as well and I hope to participate – successfully ahah – in one someday πŸ˜€

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  20. Interesting point of view, Marie! I’ve only participated once, and it was two weeks long. Which makes me wonder if, maybe, you would feel less restrained if it didn’t take up the whole month of your reading? And look for loosely-themed ones if you prefer variety (e.g., read a graphic novel, read a collection of essays, a.k.a. not genre-themed). In any case, I definitely enjoyed the experience and recommend that you at least try a readathon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! ❀ I really want to try and participate in one readathon someday – maybe one that is a bit less restrained and varied for sure πŸ™‚ It seems like a LOT of fun πŸ™‚

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  21. Readathons and challenges seem great for the community/interaction aspect, but I never join in them either. For one thing, I’m a mood reader. For another thing, I too would just end up feeling more pressured and stressed! Having to read certain books, having to read them during a certain time, having to keep track, having to make posts about it, having to join in Twitter chats or things at certain times when I might not be able, etc. It’s just not worth the stress it would add for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you feel the same way! Reading should remain fun and if a challenge puts us under too much pressure, it’s not worth doing it πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for your comment, Kristen! ❀

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  22. I also do not participating in readathons for 2 reasons… 1) They generally are for short periods of time (most often over a one week span) and unfortunately I have two small humans to care for, so I don’t have the luxury of reading for hours on end. 2) I usually hear about them too late… like when they are already started lol

    I like participating in reading challenges better. For example, diversity bingo is going on throughout 2017, as is Naz’s ReadDiverse2017. I like long term challenges because they are more attainable for me πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahah, same, I don’t often read for hours on end and ALWAYS hear about these challenges when it’s way too late. I definitely want to try and do some of these longer challenges, I think they’d be more for me πŸ™‚ Thank you so much, Amanda! ❀

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  23. I love this discussion! I too LOVE the idea of readathons so much!They seem awesome, so much fun and a great way to meet new people! I don’t really know why I haven’t participated in them before – I think in the few that I’ve seen, the books have been pretty hard to hunt down but I have the wonderful oppurtunity to have a great library nearby so hopefully I can get to participating and having fun in one soon! I think, like you, the whole idea of feeling pressured definitely makes me feel a little hesitant. I’m a lot of a mood reader and I have no idea whether I can stay to the readathon and it makes me really afraid! (especially because I think I’ve *finally* broken out of this hell of a slump and the last few months in it have been HORRIBLE, I treading carefully!) Love the discussion so much! ❀

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    1. Thank you so, so much my forever crazy!!< 3 ❀ I hope you'll find a reading challenge that you enjoy doing and does not put too much pressure on you – or maybe try a challenge on the long term? I think I'll try and do that someday πŸ™‚ Thank you!! ❀ ❀

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  24. Great post, Marie! I love readathons because I find like they really motivate me to read it’s like a push I need but don’t know how to give myself πŸ˜‚? I definitely understand why they’re not for everyone though! I think it helps too that I put zero pressure on myself so I don’t really mind if I fail or not, haha. I love how some of them are interactive too! Have you ever thought of maybe participating in a super lowkey one were you can read whatever you want? Might be a good place to start if you ever wanted to try them out πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Lauren! I’m so glad to hear that readathons help you get into reading mode again and get through tons of books πŸ˜€
      I definitely am considering doing one low-key readathon, where I can choose my own goals and books – it sounds like fun minus the pressure and hassle of having to get particular books ahah πŸ™‚
      Thank you! ❀

      Like

  25. Ooh yes! There are so many readathona and I love the idea of them, but I haven’t participated in such a long time haha. I did once when I first started blogging and I kind of wasn’t a total fan, mostly due to the reading challenge itself because I didn’t particularly want to read many of the books that went with the prompts. I’m also a very spontaneous reader, a mood reader if you will haha so I think I’d also be horrible with completing a list of books? πŸ™ˆ The only reading challenge I’m doing really is setting a Goodreads goal for the number of books I want to read this year haha. 😊 Lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I get it – I’m kind of a mood reader as well so I wouldn’t do good with a list of imposed books. I think I’d do better with a reading challenge where I can pick my own books to read? I’d have to try that someday. Thank you so much, Analee! ❀ ❀

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