If you've spent a lot of time in the bookish corners of the Internet — like Bookstagram, Booktube or Book Twitter — there's a certain term you may have seen pop up time and time again. And if you've found yourself wondering "what is a readathon?" well, I'm here to answer all your questions. Because if you've got a massive pile of books looming on your bedside table, a readathon might be exactly what you need.
Basically, a readathon is a community effort to devote yourself to reading over a set period of time. Sometimes they have particular themes or challenges, sometimes they have a set book or series to tackle, but often they're just a gentle reminder to pick up a book. Throughout the readathon, you'll find a community of like-minded readers online to cheer you on, making them the perfect motivation if you're in a bit of a reading slump.
You might find that you read a bit faster during a readathon, or that you're inspired to finally pick up some of the books you've been holding onto for months; other times you might read more slowly, but make a ton of book-loving online friends while you're at it. No matter what, a readathon will remind you of your love for books, and inspire you to tackle that TBR one book at a time. Here are some of the best readathons coming up in 2017.
From March 19–26, take part in a female-focused FemPowerAThon, perfectly timed for Women's History Month. This readathon has specific challenges to aim for, like reading a book about a woman that is not set in the western world, or reading a graphic novel written by a woman — but it's up to you how many of them you tick off.
If your budget can't quite stretch to all those new feminist books, there's another readathon from March 19–26 that's a lot cheaper; the BorrowAThon is all about borrowing books from your friends.
3. Cosy Reading Night
If committing to a full week of reading is too difficult for your schedule, the three-hour-long Cosy Reading Night might be perfect for you. The creator, Lauren, is based in the UK and runs the evening from 8–11pm GMT — but other participants can take part in their own timezones. The idea is simple: snuggle up for a few hours with a nest of blankets and a good selection of snacks, light some candles, and read your heart out. The next one will be in April — so keep your eyes out for Lauren to announce the date.
4. Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon
On April 29, get ready to lock yourself inside for a full 24 hours with your book selection for Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon. There are prizes for taking part, and it can get seriously competitive, with some participants staying up for the full 24 hours to win. But don't worry if you like your beauty sleep: there are prizes on offer every hour, so you can win something even if you only have a few hours to spare. The community spirit during this one is definitely worth joining in for.
5. Harry Potter Readathon
From May 15 – August 6, the Harry Potter Readathon will inspire you to re-read your favorite series all over again — as if you needed any encouragement. There are also challenges, quizzes, and movie nights throughout!
6. Biannual Bibliothon
As the title suggests, the Biannual Bibliothon is run twice a year — so the next one will be coming up this summer. It's one of the most fun readathons out there, as it involves a range of reading challenges, and even some video challenges for those of you feeling brave enough to pick up a camera.
Another one to look out for over the summer is the BookTubeAThon; it's aimed especially at BookTubers, but anyone can take part, and it's always got some fun reading challenges to spur you on. The best part, though, is the author pep talks: guest videos from your favorite authors encouraging you to keep on reading!
If you're into horror, then the Halloween-themed Spookathon is bound to be your favorite readathon of the year. The next one is taking place October 16-22, and the main challenge is to read all your spooky thrillers. There are also specific challenges, like reading something with red on the cover, or something with a paranormal character, if you need any more help choosing!
This fantastic readathon is all about reading diverse books. There are no specific challenges, so it's up to you what you read, but the hosts recommend that you focus on own voices books to ensure that you're reading authentic representations of diverse characters. There's currently no word on when the next DiverseAThon will be, but the hosts have hinted in the past that there's more to come — so keep your fingers crossed.