I have always liked the idea of a Readathon, or Read-a-Thon, or whatever it may be. The general idea is that you read-along with other people, and that sense of community in books and reading, things that I enjoy immensely, was appealing. I wanted to be able to read a book with someone and be able to say to them ‘OH MY GOD ARE YOU AT THIS BIT YET’ and ‘I KNOW RIGHT INSANITY’, and so on. So when I saw a latest readathon to tackle books of over 500 pages, I though ‘Grand, I have lots of big books I want to tackle, let’s do this’. But I kind of failed, because although I was pumped and picked my books, I forgot the whole ‘community’ bit, because it was all on twitter. My bad. On the bright side, I’ve finished a few big books – and some smaller books, because they needed to be read.
But I’m still on the bandwagon that declares that readathons are the best, despite not being able to participate in one yet. So I’m trying again, but on something a little smaller scale – buddy reading! For those that have no clue what I’m saying, it’s again in the name, when you buddy read a book with someone – luckily I work in a bookshop so it wasn’t hard to find someone who also needs to read a certain book.
I have seen some opposition to readathons however, such as ‘but reading is such a personal thing’, ‘I read alone not in groups’, ‘Why talk to people when you can read?’ (You get the drift). And, truly, I get what you mean. You have to be the one to discover reading and actually enjoy it. It’s you that gets lost in the characters, the emotions, the feels, and all of that. But talking about books is almost as good as reading them, trust me.
When I was younger, I didn’t have many people that read the same books as me. In secondary school, there was the occasional book that others had read (hello Twilight) but again, not many. It wasn’t really, if I’m honest, until I reached university and, more importantly, the bookshop that I discovered the joys of talking about books in depth. When I started working as a bookseller, all of my colleagues were reading A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara, and so everyone was talking about it. As soon as I’d finished it, I understood why everyone was going so batshit crazy for it. The book itself is written beautifully, but the response it creates differs incredibly (if you want my response, go read my review). Talking about it, debating, discussing plot twists, analysing characters, swooning over certain moments – it’s fun, it’s engaging, and it makes the book worth so much more. It makes you feel closer to it and the writing. Being able to talk to people means getting new opinions and ideas. For example, I recently heard a review that hated the book, and talking about why was so very interesting. In the case of A Little Life, they disliked the fact that a certain character suffers from so much abuse that it becomes closer to ridiculousness and melodrama – which, when I think about it, I completely understand. And that’s ok! It’s great to have a different opinion when it comes to books, because it means that you’re truly engaging with the book and appreciating it.
Which is why I’m so eager to get into buddy reading and, maybe, try out another readathon – but next time I’ll be sure to check the details for where discussions are actually happening. Because that’s the whole point, Eleanor, you dodo.
Let me know what you think about readathons, if you’ve participated and, more importantly, if you’re up for buddy reading. I’m so game it’s not even funny.
Planned upcoming reads: Mistborn: The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson, The Archived by V.E Schwab, Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin, and Nod by Adrian Barnes.