hitchhikers
Photo: Morgan Rees / The Daily Pennsylvanian

Book lovers gathered in Kelly Writers House on Thursday to read aloud for seven hours straight.

The Writers House hosted its annual Marathon Reading program, where students and faculty took turns reading out loud from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy” series.

For seven hours, different readers stood at the podium in the Writers House, reading Adam Douglas’ “Hitchhiker’s” series aloud while attendees read along silently, enjoyed refreshments and discussed the series with each other.

“Every year we decorate the house with elements of the book and create a space where people can immerse themselves in the text,” Writers House Director Jessica Lowenthal said. The program is attended by not only students and faculty, but also members of the surrounding community who enjoy reading literature.

Program Coordinator Erin Gautsche established the Marathon Reading program in 2007, and it quickly grew into an annual tradition.

Every year, the Writers House Planning Committee chooses a book to be read aloud from start to finish and decorates the building with props from the book. This year a giant whale was on display at the front of the Writers House, referencing an iconic scene in the famously outlandish series when a whale falls from the sky.

Program coordinator Allie Katz has helped organize the last five Marathon Readings.

“I enjoy organizing community focused events, especially those that bring together such a diverse group of people,” Katz said.

Normally the program lasts as long as it takes to read a single chosen book, but this year the length of the event was set at seven hours. When the event concluded, readers left off at the middle of the second book of the five-part series.

Harry Saffren has attended every Marathon Reading since 2008, and usually stays for the entire event.

“A few of my friends and I have always enjoyed reading books aloud,” he said. “It’s a unique way to experience literature.”

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