In less than 48 hours, hundreds of people from around the world will take part in Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon. For those who don’t know, this is a read-a-thon that takes place twice a year, once in April and again in October. I was unable to participate in April, because of C2E2, but I managed to get the day off of work on Saturday. I thought today I would talk about prepping for 24 hours of reading.

1. Come to terms with the fact that you will probably not read the entire 24 hours. Even if you do stay awake the entire time, you will need to take breaks, eat, participate in mini-challenges, etc.

2. Choose your books wisely, and remember to over pack. Last year, I tried to read The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. While I love Dickens, it is a long, dense read. (I never finished it.) Everyone needs to find what works for them. For me, it’s shorter books with compelling stories (which generally means speculative fiction in my world). I’m currently still deciding. I might do a Rachel Vincent day, and re-read/read the Soul Screamers series. However, I also have a Kindle full of books, a list of books from NetGalley, and a pile of books from ALA. I will probably pull everything out and decide what kind of mood I wake up in on Saturday.

3. Embrace multiple formats! The read-a-thon starts at 7:00 AM in my timezone, which means it also ends at 7:00 AM. At the beginning and end of the day, I love audio books. Audios are also great if you need to get things done, such as cleaning, errands, workouts, etc. When you wrists get tired of holding open a book, e-readers are wonderful.

4. Set goals, but don’t let them ruin the fun. I love stats, and keep a number of them while reading. Generally, I keep track of the number of books, number of pages, number of hours/minutes reading, and number of mini-challenges I’ve participated in. I always try to get one of these numbers higher than the last time, but mostly, I just have fun. I know it won’t be possible to always have higher numbers.

5. Plan a few breaks and snacks. To me, one of the worst things during a read-a-thon is to find myself hungry with nothing I can just grab and eat. This is a marathon, not a sprint, so think about the kinds of foods that will help your energy last. Plan to take some kind of break every few hours. Get up and move around, participate in some mini-challenges, or just close your eyes for a minute (but just a minute). Also, try to plan anything that you know will come up. I, for example, have to take a trip out to Medards to get flooring for my kitchen while it is still on sale. I will have a specific time set to go, and a list of what I need. I may have an audio on my mp3 player to take with me also.

6. Have your reading area ready before you go to bed on Friday. I like to have my potential books stacked up, any blankets or pillows in the area, and an audio book ready to cue up. I’ll also put water in the kettle and coffee in the French press. That way, when I stumble out of bed, all I have to do is turn on the stove and press play.

This year, I am also trying to raise some money for My Charity Water, a group that raises money to provide clean water sources for people that do not have access. 100% of the money donated goes to funding projects. I’m collecting until the end of the year, using the Read-a-Thon and NaNoWriMo as events.

So, how do you get ready for a read-a-thon? Never participated? Go sign up!