I’ve been taking part in a lot of readathons and buddy reads of late and they’re really helping me to branch out with my reading and to pick up books that I’ve been putting off for a while.
A buddy read is basically when two or more people read the same book at the same time so that they can discuss it together. A readathon is essentially a challenge to read a set number of books over a short period of time, usually along a certain theme. For example, when I took part in the TimeHopAThon, the challenges were past (a classic), present (a new release) and future (sci-fi) themed.
For the TimeHopAThon, this meant that I finally picked up both Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and a random Isaac Asimov book that’s been sitting on my shelves gathering dust for three years. For the buddy reads, I picked up George R. R. Martin’s first novel (and discovered it was signed) and Dune by Frank Herbert. When we read Dune, there were several of us who’d owned it for at least five years and never got round to it.
As you can imagine, that makes buddy reads and readathons a pretty powerful tool, both for readers and for authors. It’s a great way to either push yourself out of your comfort zone or to encourage yourself to read the books that you’ve been putting off for too long. That in turn helps to broaden your mind and introduce you to new concepts, and it also helps you to pick up a few bits and bobs that you can apply to your writing.
So go ahead and put yourself out there. Take part in some readathons or some buddy reads and see if it changes the way you approach your reading habits. I know it changed mine.