It's 2:00 on Sunday afternoon, and I've just finished my 48 Hour Book Challenge. (You can find links to other wrap-up posts here.) Here are my stats:
Books read and reviewed: 11 (plus I started and didn't finish a 12th)
Time spent reading: 18 hours, 35 minutes (2.13 pages/minute)
Time spent reviewing: 5 hours, 20 minutes (29 minutes/book)
Total time spent: 23 hours, 55 minutes
Total pages read: 2370
Observations: I was very dedicated. I spent as much time as I possibly could on this challenge. I didn't do laundry, unload the dishwasher, or cook at all during the 48 hours. I did sleep, and I did shower, but I ate most of my meals quickly, and Mheir was severely neglected (he rented himself some violent movies, and played golf). Sadly, I had to attend a dinner event on Saturday which, though lovely, cut out my reading time after 5:00 pm that day. I tried to read when I got home, but the combination of an early day and wine at the dinner made this largely unsuccessful. But apart from that, I read and reviewed just about as much as I could. I ended up spending just slightly under 24 out of the 48 hours on the project. Not a bad ratio, if you take sleeping into account.
The thing that kept me from reading more books was that for the life of me, I couldn't give the reviews short shrift. I normally spend about an hour per review, and I did manage to cut that in half, but I just wasn't willing to cut it any further. These were great books! They deserved to be talked about. And it does please me immensely to know that, after the past couple of months of writing fewer reviews than I would like, I was able to publish 11 of them this weekend. They aren't quite as full-fledged as I would normally do, but I feel like they're good enough to give people an impression of each book, and help people decide which ones might be a fit for them.
So how do I feel about the challenge? It was stressful, a bit, concentrating so much on one thing, at the expense of others. (Of course it didn't need to be stressful, but my competitive spirit came to the surface). But it was also exhilarating and validating. Too often, I let all of the other responsibilities in my life push reading and reviewing aside. There are many days in which the only reading I do is in bed, before I fall asleep. And when life is busy, that sometimes amounts to barely a few pages.
This weekend reminded me how much I love to sit down and read a book cover to cover, in one sitting. It reminded me of how much easier it is to write reviews if you write them immediately, while the book is still fresh. It reminded me of how many amazing and different books I have on my shelves, and how important it is for me in terms of my own happiness to make time to read them. Immersing myself in stories is what I love to do. I also love to share those stories, the best of them, with other readers through my blog.
This weekend has convinced me that I need to make reading more of a priority all the time, not just on 48 Hour Book Challenge weekend. I'm thinking of setting aside one day a month to have my own personal 24-hour Book Challenge (because 48 hours in a row is a bit tough on Mheir). I'm not sure if I'll really be able to do it, without the additional motivation of a "contest". But I'm going to try.
Pam, I can't thank you enough for the gift of this weekend! I don't need any prizes (though I wouldn't really refuse one) - my stack of 11 read and reviewed titles feels like quite enough. I'm already looking forward to next year.
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.