I haven’t done many reading challenges before. I haven’t even done a 24-hour readathon but, in the last week of August, I decided to give a 7-day reading challenge a go with some members of the editorial committee for my uni’s student newspaper. There were 7 prompts to complete, with the aim to read one book per prompt. I really thought I’d end up titling this post Failing to read 7 books in 7 days but my competitive edge kicked in and I ended up completing it.
If only I could read 7 books every week. My TBR would soon disappear, but unfortunately I think this is a one-off event. It was a real struggle; I couldn’t have managed without minimal university work and some free evenings. Keep reading if you’re interested in the books I read and my experience trying to read a book a day.
Read Your Prettiest Book
– The Woman of the Wolf and other stories by Renée Vivien
Read a Book of Your Favourite Colour
– The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson
(the cover is blueish grey — a weird favourite colour, I know)
Read a New to You Author
– The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Read a Book with 5+ Words in the Title
– A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Read a Book by an Author of Colour
– Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
Read a Book by an Author with a ‘z’ in their Name
– Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
Read a Book Recommended to You
– Blended by Sharon M. Draper
(this wasn’t a personal recommendation; @cecilia.reads recommended this on a YouTube video and spoke so highly of it that I just had to get it)
I am a mood reader, making a pre-planned TBR pretty difficult for me. Instead of choosing all of these books before the week, I picked 3 that fulfilled all the prompts and then planned to choose others that worked with one of the prompts throughout the week. It worked out in the end, but I think if I do another readathon I will have to stop mood reading for one week and just choose all the books in advance.
Day 1 – Monday 24th August
Today was an exceptionally read-y day. I spent the morning doing some research for a section of my dissertation, which means reading articles, and finished in time to start Woven in Moonlight mid-afternoon. I read into the evening — with a brief break for dinner — and I couldn’t put it down. I absolutely loved the combination of Bolivian political history and fantastical elements, identity struggles, and the romance. I ended up giving Woven in Moonlight 5 stars, which was a great start to the readathon.
Edit: Since my initial read of Woven in Moonlight, it has been pointed out that the book glorifies Spanish colonialism and relies on harmful Bolivian stereotypes. As someone relatively unaware of Bolivian history, I was ignorant to these issues. I won’t be carrying on with the series.
Day 2 – Tuesday 25th August
I started Such a Fun Age in the morning as my brother borrowed (stole) my laptop for a Teams call making uni work impossible. I picked it back up again later and it was one of those evenings where I just couldn’t decide where I wanted to read, so I flitted between my bed and my reading nook (throwing my cat out of my seat more than once) but I eventually finished it. It was another 5 star read; I absolutely loved the exploration of the babysitter/parent/child dynamic and its intersections with race. I attempted to get a head start on The Woman of the Wolf and other stories, but I think I read about 4 pages before I went to bed.
Day 3 – Wednesday 26th August
I had quite a bit to do today so I wasn’t able to read any of The Woman and the Wolf until the evening. Fortunately, it was a short collection and I was still able to finish it. I really enjoyed these feminist tales and I am glad that Gallic Books are publishing these relatively unknown classics. It is certainly possible to read a book a day but I don’t think it’s achievable long-term. It is a shame; it would make reading my 100+ TBR a lot easier to cut down.
Day 4 – Thursday 27th August
I started Blended this morning and was absolutely loving it — it’s such a cute story. Plus, MG novels have bigger writing than adult books and are a lot quicker to read. I switched to the audiobook for an hour as I was getting fed up of physically reading and it was available on Scribd (you should definitely go and listen to it) and I did some embroidery at the same time. I switched back to the physical book towards the end as it got too intense to do two things at once! It is such an impactful and heart-wrenching read. I understand why it is so highly praised and I would highly recommend it.
Day 5 – Friday 28th August
5 books in 5 days is a lot of books. I kept trying to read The Girl Who Speaks Bear but I couldn’t concentrate and eventually gave up on reading it in the morning. I came back to it in the evening and found myself a lot more invested, so concentrating was no problem. But, I only just managed to finish it in time to say I’d read it when we all checked in that evening to see how we were getting on. I didn’t get more than a couple of pages into A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder; it’s impossible to get a head-start on the next book the night before.
Day 6 – Saturday 29th August
Thankfully it was the weekend as A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is a lot chunkier than I first thought at 430 pages. I spent the whole afternoon reading it and really enjoyed it, especially the mixed media format. I did struggle with the idea that Pippa would have time to do all the things she was doing and keep on top of all her A level commitments and I definitely don’t believe she would have been allowed to do her ‘original’ EPQ project idea. But, I might just be better that my EPQ was a badly organised nightmare and added no value (except stress) to my A levels.
Day 7 – Sunday 30th August
I was done with reading at by Sunday. My eyes did not want to focus on paper, so I turned to audiobooks. I read The Nickel Boys whilst embroidering. It was a harrowing read, especially as it is based on true events — which I looked up afterwards — but I found that it dragged a little bit. I really wanted more events and details about the facility and I didn’t love the writing style; I felt really disconnected from the characters. It was insightful and interesting and still worth a read though.
And, just like that, I completed the readathon. Woo!
I wasn’t sure I could get sick of reading, but I really started to tire of it by the weekend. I don’t like adding deadlines to things I do for fun, so a reading deadline did remove some of my motivation. But, I had a brilliant reading week — lots of 4 and 5 star reads and 7 books ticked off my TBR. I won’t be rushing to complete another challenge like it anytime soon, but it would be fun to give it a go at some point.
Maybe next year.