I set a Goodreads goal to read 24 books in 2017.
I read 61 as of mid-December and the year isn't even over yet!
A lot of people want to increase the number of books they read in a year. There's that saying, "Successful people read 50 books a year, and you should too if you want to be successful!" I'm not sure if I believe that completely (it depends on whether the books you read are helping you develop as a person!), but I always want to read more. Reading and writing are my passions in life and have been for as long as I can remember. Storytelling has a special reverence in my heart. So naturally, I make reading and writing a priority in my life.
As a writer, reading is necessary to my success. It's one way that I hone my chops and distinguish my voice against other authors. To other people having any goals about reading might seem superfluous. I get that. But even if you don't see reading as a necessary part of your life, you might find that experiencing a few books adds a lot of meaning to your life anyway.
Whether you're already a ravenous reader or would just like to add reading to your routine, I'd like to share with you the 5 ways in which I read more books than ever this year. I hope they help spark some ideas for your own reading habits!
1. I took advantage of my library's audiobooks.
I feel like this is a cliched answer - one that every post like this would have in it because audiobooks seem like an easy fix for reading more, but in complete honesty, audiobooks make me happy and I highly recommend them. There are some books I wouldn't have read if I hadn't downloaded the audiobook. For instance, I had a big issue starting and finishing the Divergent books in the print editions. The voice of the story fell flat for me until I heard Emma Galvin reading it. I fell in love after that, and Tris (the main character) is now one of my favorite heroines.
Of the 61 books I've read so far in 2017, 25 of them were audiobooks. That's nearly half. In previous years I have appreciated and utilized audiobooks, but never THAT many because I couldn't always find affordable ones. This year that changed when I began using Overdrive which is an app that allows me to download audiobooks from my library for free. I was able to use audiobooks whenever I wanted without worrying about a budget. Signing up for Overdrive was definitely something that boosted my reading this year, and I'm super grateful that my library uses the service.
I have to acknowledge that some people just don't like audiobooks or aren't interested in them. If that's the case, then there's no need to force yourself to listen. I would recommend checking out an book read by the author or an audiobook read by a cast of characters rather than just one narrator, thought, before you completely write off audiobooks! But to each his own.
2. I actually did the school readings.
For once, I committed to actually doing the every reading for my English classes. Since I count any book I read towards my Goodreads challenge even if it's for school, this boosted my number quite a bit. I like making my time effective and killing two birds with one stone, so this commitment worked for me.
An alternative to this, if your major doesn't involve reading novels or if you're not in school, would be taking advantage of your library and using the return dates for the book you borrow as your own personal goal date for having it read. This is a great way to discover books you haven't seen before and save money while meeting your Goodreads challenge.
3. I read what I want. Period.
That means if I wanted to read Scott Pilgrim and count it toward my reading challenge, I could. If I wanted to finish the Harry Potter series before the end of the year even though each book is over 600 pages, I could. It's my challenge, and I get to decide what counts. I follow a lot of BookTubers and book bloggers who seem to psych themselves out about counting anything "too easy" for their challenge and that makes me sad. My motto is, as long as you're getting what you want out of your reading/challenge for the year, then more power to you. Do what you want not what you "should do." Period.
4. I quit stressing about page counts.
This reason goes with number 3. Not only do I make the challenge, but I also don't have to feel any pressure to read a certain kind of book just because I set a goal for myself. Sure, it's great to get to a certain number of titles for the year, and shorter books make that goal more attainable, but it's even better to read books you actually like no matter what the length of them is! I don't read shorter books just for the sake of boosting my challenge anymore (although I have less tolerance for 400+ page books in general), and that has prevented many reading slumps this year. After marking another book as read, I want to pick up my next book. I'm excited about reading and about finding good stories because I'm not slogging through a novella I don't care that much about just because it'll help tick another book off my list quickly.
5. I read different topics, genres, and authors.
Before this year, I primarily read YA novels. I still love a good YA, but I've branched into self-development, classics, and literary fiction more than I have before. It has made all the difference. For starters, I don't have a problem switching between several books if they're on different topics. That means when my attention span starts to wane, I can take a break with a book on another topic. I like to have at least one nonfiction and fiction book going at one time now, but even those books are more varied by the subgenres I pick up. I've read about politics, picked up a sci-fi, studied a ton about finance, and got into more classics than before. Changing up what I read has been a great way to stay excited about each book I read. I feel like each new book I pick up has a new idea to challenge me or teach me, and that's one thing that keeps me reading.
Sometimes it feels like I could talk forever about books and reading! That's one reason I created this blog. I wanted to share this passion with other people and be able to talk to people who are just as passionate about literature as me. Thanks for your readership and for taking a little time to read what I write.
Also, let me know in the comments if you see value in setting reading goals or if you prefer not to! I'm interested to hear your thoughts.
Poet. Reader. Lifelong Student.