Sometimes you just need a vacation even if you can’t go anywhere. Introducing the bookish staycation! When your Instagram feed is continually refreshing with pictures from your friends of exotic landscapes, passport stamps, and the open road, you know it’s summer, and if you don’t have hotel reservations for a nice getaway, it’s easy to feel left out. But what if I told you that you can have a vacation just by sticking around your area? And what if there was a bookish way to do it? To take some time off, do something new, and put reading front and center in your life for a while, try some of these reading challenges for a bookish “staycation.” Follow along with the hashtag: #BookishStaycation
There is bound to be a library nearby that you haven’t visited yet. Look up the nearest libraries by searching Google for “library near me”. Pick out a library you’ve never been to before and take an afternoon to go explore and have a bookish staycation. If possible, find something that is outside your comfort zone. If you frequent a public library, try out an academic library, special collection, archives, or legal library. One thing I enjoy is always checking to see how a library organizes a certain collection. What’s the YA section like at a different public library? How do they organize the YA collection, by genre? Which leads me to the next challenge….
Have you always wanted to arrange your books by color? By height? By genre? Throughout the year, it’s easy to let your personal library get cluttered and out of sorts. If it’s a rainy summer day or brutally hot, stay inside in the air conditioning, put on some music, and rearrange your books. Prepare to get dusty and stretch like the best yoga sesh on this bookish staycation. Moving things around and rethinking your organization is a nice way to become reacquainted with books you bought but never read and also pick out books to reread. Create a literal “to be read” shelf and focus on putting the books you most want to read front and center.
With so many amazing online sites and blogs where you can find recipes, I sometimes forget that the many cookbooks stacked up around the house contain endless inspiration, too. You might have impulse-bought that bread making cookbook, or even the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, but now is your bookish staycation opportunity to make a recipe from it. Curl up and page through a beautiful cookbook to find some fresh ideas. Force yourself to make your next dish following instructions on paper bound in a lavish book rather than a Pin you leave open on your iPad.
If you’re like me, there are certain books on your shelves that you were so certain you’d read when you bought them, but now, years later, you accept that it’s not going to happen. Time to do a reading swap! Invite a few friends over, and have everyone bring over three or four books they are ready to pass along. While guests mingle, arrange the books in an organized jumble on your table. Then have everyone pick a few they want to take home. Readers can join in with advice on what they recommend. Anything that doesn’t get claimed can get donated to the local library. Use this occasion to start a monthly tradition. Combine a book swap and potluck dinner with the best kind of book club: one where you don’t read the same book but instead talk about what you’re reading and what you’ve loved lately.
Give yourself the excuse to just not do anything but read. The 24 in 48 Readathon is coming up on July 22 and July 23rd. In this readathon, you try to read for 24 hours within a 48 hour time period. The hours don’t have to be consecutive, so you can take breaks and divide it up into something manageable, like 12 hours on Saturday and 12 on Sunday. Follow along with other readers on social media with the hashtag #24in48 and win prizes. And hey, why not treat every weekend like a readathon? Even though I feel a pang of jealousy seeing a friend’s glorious seaside vacation on Instagram, I know that if I were there, too, I would just be reading anyway. A readathon, whether official or unofficial, can happen on the beach or in your bed. Location is important, but reading is the transportable magic you can take everywhere, and with a bookish staycation, you don’t have to drop all your money on plane tickets. You can just drop everything and read instead. And if you need more ideas on what to read now that summer is upon you and your reading is no longer prescribed, check out my post on The Best YA Books to Read after Finals.