In the last week of August, I took part in (and somehow completed) a 7 day reading challenge with some of the editorial committee for my university’s student newspaper. There were 7 prompts to complete and the aim was to read 7 books and fulfil all the prompts. I really thought I’d fail this–I originally wrote this post down with the title Trying and failing to read 7 books in 7 days–but my competitiveness kicked in and I ended up managing it.
If I could read this much every week, my TBR would shrink in no time. However, it was a struggle; it is definitely something I couldn’t have managed without completely free evenings and minimal university work. This is just a day-to-day account of my experience reading 7 books in 7 days.
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
(though any of these books could’ve fitted this prompt)
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 recommended to me personally, but @cecilia.reads recommended this in a YouTube video and spoke so highly of it that I had to buy it)
I’m not very good with TBRs, so instead of choosing all of these books before the week, I picked three (Woven in Moonlight, Such a Fun Age, and The Girl Who Speaks Bear) that together completed all 7 prompts, with the plan being to then pick up 4 more that fulfilled the rest over the week. A seemingly ingenious plan, right? Wrong. What I actually did was end up picking Woven in Moonlight as the only book by an author with a ‘z’ in the name, forcing it to fulfil that prompt, when in reality it was also my prettiest book and the book with my favourite colour (grey) so I then had to settle for shoe-horning the other books into other prompts. It worked out, but I definitely recommend just picking a full TBR before starting the readathon–something I will definitely do if and when there is a next time.
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.
Day 2 – Tuesday 25th August
I started Such a Fun Age in the morning as my brother had borrowed (stolen) my laptop for a Teams call and so I couldn’t get anything done. 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–not literally–my cat out of my seat more than once) and 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’ve decided that reading a book a day is possible, but not achievable long term. It’s a shame, as my 100+ tbr would disappear pretty quickly if I could!
Day 4 – Thursday 27th August
I started Blended in the morning and was absolutely loving it–it’s such a cute story. Plus, Middle Grades 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! I started The Girl Who Speaks Bear straight after but barely read any of 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. Saying that, I was only just able to finish it before we checked in that evening to see where everyone had got to with their reading, and I didn’t get more than a couple of pages into A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.
Day 6 – Saturday 29th August
I was so happy it was the weekend because A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is a lot chunkier than I first thought–over 430 pages. I spent the entire afternoon reading it. I loved the mixed media format and the general storyline, but I struggled with the idea that a) Pippa would have time to do all the things she did and keep on top of all of her A level commitments and b) that she’d be allowed to do even the ‘original’ project idea for her EPQ. However, I am bitter, as my EPQ was an absolute nightmare–we were not supported through it very well, and it added no value beyond stress to my A levels!!
Day 7 – Sunday 30th August
I was definitely read-out by this point. So, I turned to the audiobook of The Nickel Boys whilst doing an embroidery. I’m not a huge fan of how the pot turned out, but I am proud of my leaves and my lettering! It’s still cute! Anyway, I found The Nickel Boys to be an incredibly harrowing read, especially given that it’s based on true events, but I found it dragged a little. It felt more like a really lengthy explanation of the facility and the events that took place there and the style made me feel disconnected from the characters. I do think it’s worth a read–it was really insightful and interesting–but it wasn’t a favourite for me.
And, just like that, I had completed the readathon. Woo!
Reading 7 books in 7 days is tough. I didn’t think I could get sick of reading, but I did start to tire of it by the weekend; deadlines always remove my motivation. But, it was a brilliant reading week–the majority were all 4 and 5 star reads and I’ve finally ticked off a few books that have been sat on my TBR for months! I won’t be rushing to complete another one anytime soon, but I would definitely give it a go again at some point.
Maybe next year?