Monday, January 5, 2015
Last year, my New Year’s resolution was to read 52 books in 2014, an average of 1 book a week. In the end I read 43 books—not quite to my goal, but a great deal more reading in a year than I had done before. It was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to read 52 in 2015.
Along the way, I learned some tips and tricks about how to read more. I’m sharing them below mostly as a roadmap for myself this year, though perhaps my lessons might help someone else as well.
If you want to read more this year, here are a few ideas:
1. Make sure the next book you are going to read is on your nightstand. When Zeitoun was so enthralling I finished it in two days, I didn’t have Helter Smelter yet from the library, so I filled my spare time up with TV and quickly fell out of my habit of regular reading. Turns out if my next book is sitting on my nightstand, I’m much more likely to read it than if it is still sitting in the public library or Amazon warehouse. :)
2. Track your progress. It’s startling how satisfying shading in a little box with the book title Middlesex can be, and watching those shaded boxes accumulate over the year.
3. Make a list, but leave lots of blank spaces. In 2012 when I first started this resolution, I wrote down all the books in order I wanted to read during the year, but soon abandoned the list because I really wanted to read The Maze Runner instead of the scheduled Thinking Fast and Slow. This year a typical month might have The International Bank of Bob and The Fifth Wave scheduled, with two open weeks I could fill with a book that felt like a good read at that point, Quiet, as well as a recent recommendation, The Fault in Our Stars. (*Note: You’ve got to decide a week or two in advance of the blank space what book you want to read, so that you can make sure you have it ready to read—see Tip #1.)
4. Balance fiction and nonfiction. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is dense and requires some time to ponder, so it was nice to have it sandwiched between the quicker fiction reads Dune and A Thousand Splendid Suns.
5. Audiobooks are books, too. Runaway Jury helped me survive 30 hours in a moving truck driving cross-country. Ellen DeGeneres was my hiking companion for 10 miles one weekend in Utah with Seriously…I’m Kidding. I was taken to Mumbai in Behind the Beautiful Forevers when each character was brought to life with a unique voice and accent.
I’d love to hear if any of these ideas work for you, and what other ideas you have to read more. Whatever you do, pick up a good book, and happy reading in 2015!