In years past, I haven't put a premium on the number of books that I read in a single year. In general, I read between 50-70 books a year but in 2017 I've changed some of my reading habits and those changes have helped me to double my average number of reads per month. I can't promise my pace will stay the same for the whole of 2017, but I'm really loving that I've gotten through so many of the books on my TBR list for the year already. Wanting to reach that quota (10 books per month) has actually encouraged me to think about how I can fit more reading hours into my life and has led me to think about some habits (ahem, technology) that I could cut back on in favor of more reading.
Here are my tricks for reading more this year.
Make a Monthly "To Read" List
I didn't think I was going to be the type of person to do this -- I make enough lists in every other aspect of my life -- but because I work with publishers to review books before they are published, I am often working with reading deadlines. In the last week of each month, I make a list of books that I need to read in the next month. Generally, my lists are 5-8 books long, which leaves me with a little wiggle room at the end of the month to choose a book or two that I've had waiting on my nightstand but hasn't been a priority.
Get on Board with Audiobooks
I'll admit, I had a hard time getting into audiobooks. The tricky part for me is in the narrator -- I am super picky and the littlest thing can put me off from a story.
I've found that I particularly enjoy British narrators (because who doesn't love listening to a British accent) and I like narrators who aren't too dramatic with their expression but at least have subtle differences for each character's voice. Soon I'll be sharing audiobook recommendations both from myself and from followers on Instagram so stay tuned for that! (And if you have a recommendation, feel free to leave it in the comments section below!)
Find Time to Read in the Margins
This is one of my biggest tricks, and it's inspired by a quote from Lemony Snicket (the mysterious author behind one of my favorite children's series). "Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." Amen. I always make sure to have a book (or my Kindle) in my purse, and that has made a world of difference. Most days I'm just traveling from home to work and back so I don't actually pull my book out until bedtime, but when I unexpectedly find myself with wait time I can pull out my book and actually make progress on it. Not to mention that it keeps me from mindlessly scrolling on my phone -- a habit that I'm trying to break.
Join a Book Club - Or Find a Bookish Friend!
In the past six months, I've done both of the above. I've discovered a few colleagues that are fellow bookworms, re-connected with an old friend over good books, and been active in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club. The book club itself has me reading 2-4 books per month and I love to pass them on to my colleagues for further discussion. In addition to that, my mom is also a big reader and often gets to read my new books before I do. I love when she can preview a book for me (our tastes are often in sync) and tell me whether it's worth the read or not. I've also had a few people reach out to me via Instagram or e-mail and I love having conversations about books through those channels too!
Don't love it? Abandon it!
I try not to do this with my advanced copies (I won't give a review if I haven't finished it), but with books of my own choosing, I stick with a general guideline: if I'm 100 pages in and I find myself dragging, then I'll put it down. That doesn't mean that I'm never going to read it, but it does mean that now is not the right time. I used to have qualms about abandoning books but over time I've realized that with so many books and so little time, it's not worth it to read something that you don't like.
How do you fit reading time into your life?
Have any tricks of your own to suggest?
Leave a comment below!