The Reading Rush 2020

This last week was the 2020 Reading Rush, which is a week-long readathon with seven different challenges to complete throughout the week. It’s run by Ariel Bissett and Raeleen Lemay, who both started out on YouTube and now also run the podcast Books Unbound, which I love. I took part last year and I managed to read seven books in a week, and quite a few were ones I’d been meaning to read for some time, so it was a no-brainer for me to take part this year too.

One of the things I love about the Reading Rush is the interactive element; the discussions, the challenges, the Twitter sprints and booktube vlogs. This year, they’ve improved on this aspect with a new website, allowing for forum-like conversations on everything from the individual challenges to the book club to when and where you can join in with read-ins and reading sprints. You can also get your ‘badges’ when you complete the challenges, which always helps to foster a healthy sense of achievement!

For the first challenge, read a book with a cover which matches your birthstone, I read The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. I’m astounded that it’s taken me this long to read this – I’m fairly sure almost every other teenager had to read this at school? Despite the heavy subject matter, I actually really enjoyed reading this. I was so invested in both Celie’s and Nettie’s lives, and I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome of the tale. A five star read to kick off the week, so a pretty good start.

I then read The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang, for the challenge of reading a book which begins with ‘the’. This was another five star read, it was so heartwarming and wholesome. I had a bit of a false start with another book which I didn’t end up finishing, but I did then move on to A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, which is included in the Mars Trilogy pictured above. This was for the challenge to read a book which inspired a movie you’ve already seen, which in this case is John Carter (which I LOVE). To be honest it was pretty close to what happened in the film, but was still an enjoyable read.

For the read a book in a genre you want to read more of challenge, I read To Be Taught, If Fortunate, by Becky Chambers. This is more of a novella, but wow did it pack a punch. This is sci-fi set about 100 years in the future, and follows a woman and her three companions who go on a mission to far-off planets in search of life. I then read the second volume of the Lumberjanes comic series, which was for the challenge to read the first book you touch. This was another heartwarming and comforting graphic novel, with added adventure and magic.

I read a short poetry collection, Memories of a Swedish Grandmother, to fit the challenge of reading a book completely outside of your house, although I’ll admit that I only read most of this outside at the park before it started to rain in earnest. And finally, to read a book set on a different continent than your own, I picked up Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation. I was unsure about this one at first but I ended up completely loving it. I can’t even tell you why – but I highly recommend it!

I had an excellent reading week, and although a lot of these books were on the smaller side, I managed to get to quite a few books which I’ve had for ages and have been meaning to read, which is always a satisfying feeling. The Reading Rush always prompts me to read a bit outside of my comfort zone, even if I am just choosing from books that I already own. This is always a fun, interactive, and well-organised readathon – hopefully this might happen more than once a year in future!

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