Pop Culture

Why Readathons Are Worth Your Time

Alice Burton

Staff Writer

Chicagoan and aspiring cryptozoologist Alice Burton has a B.A. in Comparative Literature and is an Archives Assistant with the Frances Willard Historical Society. When not booking or historying, she is singing soprano wherever people will have her. She will watch any documentary on Neanderthals or giant extinct animals, and has a Stockholm Syndrome-like love for Chicago and its winters. Blog: Reading Rambo Twitter: @itsalicetime

Dewey’s 24 Hour Overly Ambitious Readathon (note: not actual name) is today, and I’m missing it because I have to go to a large building dressed as a character from a 1993 action movie.

I don’t know that I’ve ever thought I’d actually do the complete 24 hours, because that sounds like something to be done in high school or college when “consequences” aren’t really a “thing.” Like that time I took Tylenol PM at 7 AM to see what happened and slept through a bunch of my classes. What happened as a consequence? I got mildly scolded by one teacher. I try that now and I gotta deal with shit like work telling me sleeping at my desk is “unprofessional” or similar nonsense (I will get on my medieval sleep schedule soapbox, do not even get me started).

But readathons always sound so fun. You’re participating in an activity with other people, but you aren’t in the same room with them, so you don’t feel society’s harsh obligation to put on pants. You eat snacks all day, because you deserve them.


And there are challenges along the way, so you feel like you’re facing life head-on and dealing with adversity, when in fact you’re just trying to create a sentence from the book titles that are nearest to you.


Some people have an easier time of this than others


Our lives have become so scheduled and fractured into percentages of how much time per day we devote to each facet of our existence that it’s really really nice sometimes to take a day and go “Y’know what? Just reading. And eating. And maybe some naps. That’s all that’s happening.”

And that can also be maddening because you feel this nagging voice saying you’re being unproductive and you should do laundry and go buy frames for those pictures you bought two years ago that are still sitting on your desk and now is probably a good time to re-tile the bathroom, but YOU KNOW WHAT. No.

Because there are always Things That Need Doing. That’s never gonna stop. But what do you remember at the end of your life? That day you once again picked up dry cleaning? No. You remember the things that were a break from routine, the things that made you leave your normal life behind and venture into PREVIOUSLY UNEXPLORED REALMS, which in this case might involve the newest Stephen King novel.

stephen king

Aw yeah, girl


I can’t participate this year, but I am completely jealous of those who can. I am looking forward to pictures of your reading nooks, your snack selections, and your book piles. Science may one day answer what siren song the photo of the book pile holds, but until then, I only know that every time I see one, my brain lights up the same way it does when it sees one of those full-size Krackel bars.


So go! Read! Post photos! I will be cheering you in spirit if not in practice, as my local nerd convention center does not have good cell service when a million other nerds are also on their phones. And remember: this is your time on earth and you can do errands any other forgettable day. THIS DAY IS FOR READATHONING.


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