A Readathon Fit For a King

Last week I set sail on a journey.. the first of its kind for me.. a readathon.

This particular readathon was a four day, four prompt adventure in honour of King’s Day here in The Netherlands. It was — if this is not already obvious — hosted by four Dutch booktubers. Namely Iris, Berthe, Daphne, and Lucy.

Let me give you a bit of a background

Assuming you are not Dutch, nor an expat living in The Netherlands, you probably have no idea that we celebrate the King’s birthday as a National Holiday. That’s right, we all party our butts of wearing orange in honour the King’s birthday.

Or, you do like I did (and probably others who participated in this particular readathon) and stayed home, sat under a cozy blanket with a cuppa (tea, coffee, maybe Irish coffee…), and pulled out the first book you wanted to complete.

If you’re unsure what a readathon is, well it’s pretty much explained in the name. Much like a marathon for runners, it’s a period time where you commit to reading a certain number of books in a generally short period of time. There are weekend readathons, week-long readathons, and even twenty-four hour readathons.

The Prompts

The Readathon of Kings was, as mentioned above, four days with four prompts, each with something Dutch involved. I’ll list them and bold the Dutch part, and/or give an explanation in italics.

  1. Read a book with orange (national colour) or red/white/blue (flag colours) on the cover.
  2. Read a book written by a Dutch author.
  3. Read a book that has something to do with royalty. King’s Day, get it?
  4. Read a book you bought because it was cheap. The Dutch are known to be stingy, or to stretch a euro so to speak…

I’m so grateful for this super Dutch readathon in honour of King’s Day! Since I moved to Amsterdam two and a half years ago (holy crap has it really been that long?), I have really tried to integrate into the Dutch culture so this was a nice addition to my integration efforts.

And so the journey sets sail…

I was realistic and chose only to try prompts one and four, with the option of sliding in a re-read of The Little Prince for prompt three. Below is my first ever YouTube video which just so happens to talk about my #readathonofkings TBR (to-be-read).

Alas, this Readathon proved more difficult than I had expected. I had intended to have the full four days free to just read. But, as it often does, life decided to throw some curveballs at me. I suffered some pretty bad headaches — probably from not moving much and not drinking much water. I was exhausted — probably having spent the earlier half of the week entertaining a guest. Fun fact: I fell asleep fully clothed, hat and all, around 21:30 on Sunday night. I made plans with friends that kind of popped out of nowhere.

But I did try! I did spend at least an hour reading every day. This doesn’t sound like much for someone trying to get in two books (a 360 pager and a 200-something pager) in four measly days.

The Results

I didn’t finish the book I had chosen for the first prompt — Autumn by Ali Smith — hell, I didn’t even start reading it because the other book I chose was closer in physical distance to me when I decided to start reading.

That being said, I did get myself half-way through the book I had chosen for the fourth prompt — Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman — which I am really, really enjoying. I’m not one for strange and sometimes fantastical stories, but Gaiman’s writing really pulls me in.

I didn’t even bother trying to get into The Little Prince because I was trying to focus on getting Fragile Things done!

I was feeling a bit low knowing that, even though I tried to take on what I thought was a reasonable challenge, I didn’t even finish one of the books I’d chosen. Not. Even. Close.

I then realised: hey! I did read a book having to do with royalty, prompt three, without actually even intending to.

The joy of being a writer is that you get to have cool, writer friends who write full manuscripts and sometimes need help to go through to proofread, edit, comment on, or even help weasel out intricacies that their clients or editors point out. I am lucky enough to have a great friend and writer in Gurpreet Sihat — for whom I have guest posted here — who needed a some advice on a manuscript she has written. And that manuscript, folks, had to do with royalty. GAME, SET, AND MATCH, as Mario Tennis would tell you upon winning. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you don’t know what you’re missing).

Want to see how the readathon went? Check out my vlog + wrap up video:

The Takeaway

So my overall experience with my first readathon did not go as planned. However, having had a major reading slump in April, it did wonders for my reading life. I’ve gotten back into an almost-daily reading routine and YA GIRL AIN’T MAD ABOUT IT.

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