1. There Will Be Pizza
And other delicious snacks. Read-a-thons are all about luxuriating in reading pleasure, and as we all know, what we're shoving in our mouths as we turn the pages is a huge part of that. Some people prefer to go for vegetables and dips and healthy, healthy food - but let's face it, that really isn't my style. For me, the ideal read-a-thon food is anything I can cook quickly and/or graze on. That means stuff I can cook, slice up and nibble (pizza, Spanish tortilla); stuff I can toast (pancakes, toasted teacakes and, er, toast); cakes and pastries (chocolate chip muffins and custard Danish pastries being my vices of choice) and stuff I can pour into a bowl (sweet popcorn, Hula hoops, M'n'Ms)... I think I might have put on three stone just writing this paragraph.
2. Read-a-Thons are a Geek's Paradise
NO WORD OF A LIE. There are SO MANY opportunities to geek out during a read-a-thon, which is probably why I love them so much. Before every read-a-thon I have a total list-making frenzy, combing through my LibraryThing catalogue hunting down potential reads. It stops me overlooking any perfect candidates and sometimes I stumble across a book and get that NOW IS YOUR TIME feeling. Aside from all the list-making, a read-a-thonner also has the opportunity to keep numerous read-a-thonny statistics (page numbers, hours, books) to his or her own level of nerd-compulsion.
3. Snoozing Is Compulsory
Whether you're doing a 24-hourer or a seven-dayer, it is VITAL that you get some snoozing time in there somewhere. Obviously, if you're reading for seven days you're going to be, y'know, SLEEPING and all that. But if you're reading for any prolonged amount of time, day or night, you know that at some point your eyes will start to burn, the words on the page will start to swim, you'll read the same paragraph thirty times, and suddenly the cushion/sofa/bed/floor will look sooooo inviting... That's when you snooze. Twenty minutes later, you wake up, pop a handful of M'n'Ms, and the read-a-thon goes on!
4. Step Away from the Interwebs
This is v. ironic because quite often during readathons I end up spending a ton of time online reading (and writing) stuff ABOUT said readathon. I suspect I am not the only one. WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE READING THIS RIGHT NOW, HMMMM? I thought so... The bestest thing about read-a-thonning is that it is a most excellent excuse to NOT do other stuff, like laundry, gardening, cleaning, shopping and playing on Twitter. Okay, there might be a bit of playing on Twitter. And laundry. But the read-a-thon is a very good reason to keep these dangerous, dangerous things in moderation and retreat somewhere cosy where you can read and eat biscuits instead.
5. I Did it Myyyyyy Waaaaaaay
Above all, a read-a-thon should be FUN! Whether you're reading over breakfast or before bed, at work or in the park, sunbathing in the garden or huddled in an armchair watching the rain, for twenty minutes at lunchtime or twenty-four hours on your day off, it's all about doing it your way. Everything about your read-a-thon is personal and interesting, which is why I love trawling other people's updates! I want to know that X is reading Sarah Waters in Edinburgh, eating Nutella with a spoon, while Y is in Florida reading Charles Dickens while their homemade lasagne cooks and Z is sitting on a bench on their university campus drinking chai latte and reading Sarah Dessen. This is what it's all about! Reading good books, eating good food, making good friends and being really, REALLY nosy about other people's reading habits.
Happy reading, everyone!