Last year I read around 20 books, I didn’t fully keep track, that was my first mistake. This year my goal is to read 52 books in a year, so what I’m actually doing is changing my lifestyle to revolve around books. In essence I am developing a book culture in my life, the first step is changing habits in my life, which maybe the hardest thing to do. To develop a “book culture” in my life I developed this list of “11 Ways to Read 52 Books
- Always have a book around you.
The first challenge is to break your habits of when you sit down to relax. Generally, your first response is to do the easiest thing, either going on your phone to browse social media or flicking on the TV to watch something mindless. Neither of these things are bad I love to watch mindless TV, but it is very easy to get sucked into this and not realize it. When I sit down on the couch, I always have a book next to me so now my response it to reach for my book and not the remote. TV is a great way to unwind and relax but if your initial response is to always reach for the remote when you sit down you probably won’t reach your reading goals
- Delete Social Media from your phone.
One of the great distractions and time killers is social media. It is so easy to spend hours flicking through Facebook and Instagram, believe me I know I’ve done it, then I’ve thought to myself; “it’s been an hour and I haven’t looked up from my phone, I’ve seen some really cool pictures but haven’t accomplished anything.” One of the best things I’ve done is remove social media apps from my phone, it removes my desire to scroll through Facebook and Instagram looking at dog pictures. Also, it isn’t the initial response when I sit down on the couch to pick up my phone and browse on these apps. Now my initial response is to pick up my book and thumb through a chapter.
- Read books you like.
One for the best things you can do to increase the book culture in your life is read books you actually enjoy reading. I have a wide range of interests so I can basically find a book in any genera that interests me but if you strictly like romance or mysteries go for it, read them! Don’t feel the need to justify your book choices to other people, the books you read should be personal and mean something to you. I love a good sports biography and I would be happy reading them one after another but since I’m curious about so many other things I branch out and read other books. So read what you like not what others like.
- Don’t be frightened to quit books.
This one is fairly simple if you start a book and don’t like it, don’t read it. I’m based in Canada and Indigo (our national bookstore) has a great return policy. If it’s a “Heathers Pick” you can return the book for a full refund or replace it with another book. I get a lot of my books from the library and you don’t need to feel the need to finish the book if you’re not enjoying it, just bring it back and get another one. Libraries are one of my favourite things!
- Always have your next book ready.
When I’m about halfway through the current book that I’m reading I start thinking about what I’m going to be reading next. Sometimes if I know the book that I’m reading next I put it on my table next to the couch kind of as a motivator for the book that’s coming up next. Also, it’s a good way to not have any down time between books, if you already know what book you’re going to read next it reduces your downtime between books. I usually start my next book as soon as I finish a book, that gets me excited for what I’m about to read. This may not work for people that like to reflect on books, but I find it works really well for me.
- Keep track of the books you read.
I find keeping a list of your books that you are reading is one of the best motivators you can have in your book goals. I initially started off with an excel spread sheet to tract my books by just putting down the title along with the number of pages the book is. I recently started using “Good Reads”, which is a great app/website that allows to track the books you’ve read and also rate them. This app is also a good way to find books that you may want to read in the future. I recommend everyone to keep a book list of the books you have read and ones you want to read. Whether its on “Good Reads” or jotted on a napkin, it don’t matter just keep a list!
- Take a book when you know you have a long wait.
I’ve heard people say before to take a book everywhere you go and always be reading. I don’t find this is something that works for me, sometimes I don’t want to carry a book with me sometimes I just want to be in the moment and enjoy life. In saying this there are times when I could use the fast forward button, like when you’re wait at the DMV or Doctors office. So, when you know you’re going to have to wait somewhere for an extended period of time, bring a book! It’s a lot better than staring at the wall for two hours or worst your phone!
- Share your book journey with other.
One of the best ways to keep you focused on your book goals is to share it with others. Both my wife and I are big readers, so its really easy for me to share my book journey with another person. She is always interested in if my book is good, if she would like it, and a lot of times just what the book it about. If you don’t have someone in your circle that is also a reader, there is a Reddit community out there with people talking about their book journey that you can jump into. It’s also a great place to get recommendations for books and keep you motivated in general.
- Don’t focus on the number of books you’ve read.
This one seems kind of contradictory to number 6, “Keep track of the books you read” but really isn’t. You should keep track of the books you read just to keep you motivated through your book journey but focusing on the number of books you’ve read may be just a discouragement in the end, especially if you didn’t meet your goal. You may not reach your book goal but if every book you read is 800 pages it would be difficult to reach your goal. The reality is longer books take more time to read. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is 1276 pages in Penguin Classics edition is on my book list and I’m frightened of it just because of its length. Just understanding that sometimes it not about the end results it’s about the journey you took to get there is a key thing.
- Take a break in the middle of books.
This one ties in with number 4 “Don’t be frightened to quit books”, some books you may really like but you may need to take a break in the middle of the book just to keep your self focused. I recently read The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris, I loved the book and Theodore Roosevelt’s journey to get to the White House, but the book is very detailed and can be at times hard to digest all the information. So, in the middle of the book I took a break and read Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle Is the Way, I love Holidays writing and I found it a good break from Morris’s detailed biography of Roosevelt. Now I just have to work up the courage to read parts two and three of Roosevelt’s biography.
- Develop you’re reading culture.
If you couldn’t tell the general trend through this post its of book/reading culture. The main thing and ultimately the underlying factor in your reaching your reading goals, is working reading into your life. Reading is a great thing that helps improve your mindfulness, attention, and in general your overall mood. Work reading into your life whether it’s before bed (which works great for me) or in the morning (not so great for me) or during your lunch. Reading has to work for you and fit into your life where you want it. If your using reading as another vice to distract you from your life then you’re not really doing what reading is intended to be used for. If your head is buried in a book when you should be playing with your kid, then it’s just as well to pick up the smart phone again because you’re just trading one vice for another. In saying this if your family is having reading time and afterwards you discuss what your reading about this can be a great family activity. So, work reading into your life when it works for you, if it decreases the amount of time you spend staring at screens than its just another bonus.
The “11 Ways to Read 52 Books” as you can see is pretty simple, I think most people could come up with some sort of list of how to read more or at least have some idea of how to do it. Also, some people may just tell you that the way to read more is to “read more” but it always helps to have a general guide of how to do something. Whether your goal is to read 104, 52, 26, 12 or 3 books this year it doesn’t matter, its main thing is to enjoy what you read and appreciate your book journey.