This is the... what... 6th? 7th? something like that... time I'll be participating in Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, and truth be told, I'm ridiculously excited about it. It's always been a fun experience, and I've been in a bit of a reading slump lately (due to not being able to read and knit at the same time...) so actually carving time into my schedule for reading is much necessary and appreciated.
If you're considering signing up for the first time (doooo eeeet!!!) I have a few recommendations, or Dos and Don'ts if you will, based on my experiences from previous years.
Be Prepared - But Not Too Prepared For a read-a-thon you'll want to read where the mood takes you - nothing breaks the reading mojo like a list of books you HAVE to get through - so I'd discourage setting a fixed goal for your reading. On the other hand, you don't want to be running around the house looking for the next book, when that time could be spent reading instead, so use a bit of time in advance to pick out possible reads, and load your e-Reader in advance... nothing worse than figuring out which book you want to read, and then having to down-/upload it first!
I have about 5-10 physical books I've picked out, and have just uploaded about 20 books to my Kindle into a special "Dewey" collection made just for a time as this :)
The Crockpot is your friend Living in Denmark my read-a-thon runs from 2pm Saturday - 2pm Sunday. Bad timing church-wise, but from a cooking POV it fits perfectly. I have plenty of time during the morning to set up my crock-pot, so by the time dinner rolls around I only have to take time out of my schedule to join Lars for the meal - not to actually cook it first!
(Of course if you have a husband/child/parent who'll cook for you - even better!!! Guess I could ask Lars to go get take-outs if I really wanted to, but crockpot meals are often nicer ;) )
If you don't have a crock-pot - leftovers are the way to go :) I might actually go that route this year, because I'm home alone Friday, so I might just make a big portion of lasagna which I'd then just have to reheat Saturday :)
Choose Wisely Not all books are read-a-thon material. This is not the time to attempt War and Peace (unless you've already read it 10 times and consider it one of your favourites - if so, more power to you! :) ). For read-a-thons you'll want short and light books. The feeling of accomplishment that follows finishing a book really spurs me on, so I, personally, am much more likely to read 4 books of 250 pages than 1 book of 1000 pages. Of course YMMV.
Rereads and comfort books are perfect for the read-a-thon. My favourite read-a-thon authors are Tamora Pierce, Anne McCaffrey, Laura Ingalls Wilder and C.S. Lewis.
Empty Your Calendar Of course, this all depends on how you want to prioritize, but add it to your calendar like any other appointment and give yourself permission to turn down other events for it. I mentioned earlier that the read-a-thon is bad timing church-wise in this time zone - somehow I have managed to be in charge of the Sunday School on the Sunday of the read-a-thon Every. Single. Year so far. This year I penciled in the date for the read-a-thon as soon as it was made public, and told the others that I wouldn't be able to come to church that day.
Just because it's an informal event performed at home doesn't mean that it's not a "real" event.
(This may not be an issue for you at all. I had a friend ask me if we could hang out on Saturday... I felt SO guilty about saying no, because it wasn't like I was doing anything important or had made a commitment to anybody other than myself. But I shouldn't feel that way - I've been planning for this read-a-thon for months! Of course, if this was a friend I only saw very rarely instead of one I see every week or so I'd probably have prioritized differently.)
Cheer on Other Readers The best thing about the read-a-thon is that it is a communal event. Like NaNoWriMo it takes a solitary event and makes it social. So go be social! Cheer on other readers and join mini-challenges. It means a LOT to me to get comments on my progress posts, so I try to post comments on other people's posts as well.
Hold Your Reviews If you like to review books (and I do), don't worry about reviewing them as you go along. That's what Sunday is for. Take notes if necessary, but otherwise just leave them for later.
Don't Get Overwhelmed Want to join but 24 hours sounds too daunting? Don't worry, just join in for as long as you can - whether that be 10 hours, 5 hours or even just 1 hour. No pressure at all.
Have Fun! After all, that's what it's all about :)