Why I Suck At Readathons


Subtitle: I Failed At Tome Topple. Let’s talk about why though. Failure is not the end of the world. It’s a learning experience. Which means, for me, this hit home why I struggle with readathons in general, even though there were more reasons than the obvious that it didn’t work out this time. Let’s discuss.

Part the first: I don’t do well with TBRs. This is the reason why I wonder at myself whenever I go “READATHON!” and get excited. Because I know at some point, I’ll look at my TBR and wince. I’m a mood reader. I much prefer following my whims and going with whatever feels right at the time. Some readathons leave room for that, because you could have an enormous pile of books to choose from and still feel like you’re within the parameters of the readathon’s rules.

Which leads me to a sub-topic of this first one. Tome Topple in particular didn’t leave a lot of room for changing up reads. That’s just in the nature of the readathon itself. It’s all about reading books that are over 500 pages. Changing your read halfway through or getting indecisive is going to cut into how much you can accomplish, and that happened to me. I started with The Blood of Roses by Tanith Lee. I got unsure about it and switched to The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams. Then I got unsure about that and changed back. This happened over several days, wherein I could’ve been reading and making progress but instead I was seesawing.

Part the second: Again this has to do with this particular readathon. Let me make clear I’m not disparaging it. Part of why Tome Topple excited me was because I wanted to read the longer books on my shelves. It seemed like the perfect excuse to finally do it, to refuse to have any weird fear about it. But I wasn’t taking into account how I read larger books.

I get as far in as I feel like at that time, and if I hit that wall, I pick up something shorter in between. It’s not that I lack an attention span or the book is bad. It’s simply a habit I’ve gotten into that keeps me from feeling bogged down when reading such a long book. I felt like I couldn’t do that here. 500+ page books only. But at some point, if I keep picking up books that are 500+ pages, nothing gets finished. The result is I start to feel stuck. What I need to do is pick up longer books more often and read them however I like, not feel beholden to a readathon to accomplish that.

Part the third: Shit happens. Forgive my foul language, but never did a phrase ring more true to me than right now. Toward the end of the readathon, my mother had an eye appointment. She’d been having trouble with her eyes, but we figured it would be okay. It turned out to be serious, so things got stressful, and I had to drive her to a specialist a half hour away and so on. Now don’t worry! Her doctors are amazing, they’ve seen this a million times, and she’s already started her treatment. It’s going to be fine, and we’re both very relieved. I’m simply pointing out how unexpected stress can kill a readathon faster than you can say [insert tongue twister here]. Rest assured I didn’t feel like reading at all, much less pushing myself to finish a really long book.

Part the fourth: Was it a failure though? She asked in a very high-pitched, incredulous voice. Because I managed 500 out of 678 pages of The Blood of Roses during the readathon. I got 250 pages into The War of the Flowers before setting it aside. That’s incredible headway. Cumulatively, that’s 750 pages. Which is the size of a tome, all right. I didn’t do half bad. I just wish I had finished something during the time allotted. I did finish The Blood of Roses after the readathon was over, so it wasn’t all pure frustration. I just wish I was more disciplined about these things.

I definitely learned a lot about my reading habits, how quickly your schedule can change, and how I want to balance my reading in the future. I’m also not going to give up on readathons. If one catches my fancy, I’ll still give it a try. Thanks for reading, and as always, happy geeking!

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