‘I Tried Reading 7 Books in 7 Days’: The Reading Rush 2020

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This is my first year taking part in The Reading Rush – a weeklong readathon organised by booktubers Ariel Bisset and Raeleen Lemay – after a friend got me obsessed with booktube. As we’re still mid-lockdown, mass reading seemed like the perfect way to pass the time.

The readathon has 7 prompts and the aim is to assign 1 book to each prompt and read 7 books over the course of the readathon. However, you can also double-up challenges if a single book fulfils multiple prompts. I tried to pick mostly books that I had never read before or that I have not read for a while to meet the following challenges:

  1. Read a book with a cover that matches the colour of your birthstone: The Power by Naomi Alderman
  2. Read a book that starts with the word ‘The’: The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
  3. Read a book that inspired a movie you’ve already seen: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  4. Read the first book you touch: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
  5. Read a book outside of your house: Survival by Chris Ryan
  6. Read a book in a genre you’ve always wanted to read more of: Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker
  7. Read a book that takes place on a different continent than where you live: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini

Day 1

Pages Read: 36/2201

Books Completed: 0/7

Today was a great reading day: I finished 2 books…that were not on my TBR (to be read). I started my Reading Rush with Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier – a classic I have been wanting to read for ages and fulfilled my ‘Read the first book you touch’ challenge. To say I have only just started the book I really love it, especially the mystery surrounding the first encounter with Maxim and the intrigue created by the fact that we don’t learn the name of the protagonist right at the beginning!

Day 2

Pages Read: 43/2201

Books Completed: 0/7

Frankly, not a great day for reading – I just got so busy and so distracted! I spent the whole day with one of my pals so naturally not much reading got done! I tried reading a couple of my easier books to give myself a bit of a boost so I read the beginning of The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling. Will get back on track tomorrow!

Day 3

Pages Read: 74/2201

Books Completed: 0/7

Another manic day!

I was in Blackpool all day, so I only managed to cram in a few pages of Rebecca. With the story so far, even though it was suggested that the protagonist would become romantically involved with Maxim, the master of Manderley, I did not expect it to happen so quickly! The pair have tea once, go for a passive-aggressive drive together, and then on the day the protagonist is set to leave Paris for New York with her lady, the pair get engaged. So already I am suspicious, to say the least.

Day 4

Pages Read: 314/2201

Books Completed: 1/7

An excellent reading day! All I have done since I got home is keep my head in a book.

I read a few more pages of Rebecca before I left Blackpool where the protagonist and Maxim have finally arrived at Manderley, only for the suspense to continue as Maxim appears to grow more distant and the staff appear quite standoff-ish towards his new and young new wife…I’m intrigued.

To give myself some more momentum, I finished my first book of The Reading Rush! I finished The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling (granted the smallest one of only 104 pages but a book nonetheless)! Then, I started book number 3, which was Survival by Christ Ryan (the second smallest!) but I got into a reading groove.

Day 5

Pages Read: 517/2201

Books Completed: 2/7

I spent 2 hours reading this morning and finished Survival by Chris Ryan taking my grand total to 2 whole books! Survival is one I have read before, but not for at least a decade. I love this book so much and it holds up really well considering I read it when I was 10 and am now 20; it is still as entertaining and gripping. The book follows 5 teenagers who upon joining an international summer programme become stranded on a desert island and have to survive until they are rescued. Not only is the book excellent in terms of the narrative, but it is also informative. Chris Ryan is a former-SAS hero and thus the book is dotted with survival tips as well as a dedicated Top 10 section at the end of the book.

I also started Eat Pray Love and I loved the beginning of the book so much that I watched the film again! However, this significantly ate into my reading time – I got 60 pages in and then fell asleep on my book at 1 am. That still brings today’s total to 200 pages and 517 in total, which is around the quarter of the pages I should have read!

Day 6

Pages Read: 580/2201

Books Completed: 2/7

Staying up until 1am reading is a bad idea, but do I learn? – No.

Today I managed to read another 60 pages of Eat Pray Love and the first 120 pages of the book cover the author’s trip to Italy, specifically Rome. The book itself is summed up in the tag line: ‘One Woman’s Search for Everything’.

In her thirties, Elizabeth realises that the life she is leading is not the one she wants. So, after a bad divorce and a rebound fling, she buys three tickets and spends a year travelling the world. The book is split into 3 sections, each exploring the 3 places she visits – Italy, India, and Indonesia. One to explore pleasure, one to explore spirituality and one to explore love. 

My thoughts so far – this book makes me hungry! The first 120 pages spent in Rome describe in such graphic detail the spaghetti and the pizza and the wine and the Neopolitan and every other foodstuff under the Italian sun!

Day 7 

Pages Read: 741/2201

Books Completed:  3/7

The final day of The Reading Rush! I spent most of the day reading and finally finished Eat Pray Love, bringing my total for the week to three books finished and five challenges complete.

Final Thoughts

This week has been mental, but I have never read so much in one week! Even though I read almost constantly, there is something so much more fun about reading as a challenge – even spending hours choosing the books to meet the challenges was so much fun. I would definitely like to participate again next year!

However, it is worth mentioning that The Reading Rush displayed ignorant and insensitive behaviour by failing to read their book club pick, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, an incredible social commentary by a Black woman. By doing so, they missed an opportunity to uplift marginalised voices and profited from a book they failed to prioritise. It is hoped that the creators will learn from their actions, listen to the voices of participants and, in the future, ensure their platform is inclusive and representative of the whole reading community.

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