There are some people out there who read more than 100 books a year, which seems pretty insane for some people. Even I sometimes think it’s a bit much, but this year I’m actually up to 76 books myself, which would’ve been more if I hadn’t had a few reading slumps over the summer and fall months. The thing is about these people who read this much, it’s not because they have all day to just sit around and read. In fact, a lot of them have full-time jobs and families to take care of.
So how do they do it?
Well, I can’t speak for them, but I’ve collected a list of some ways that can help you make more time for reading, as well as motivate you to keep on reading through the year. Maybe these will come in handy for those who wish to read more books in 2020.
Tips to Read More Books in a Year
1. Have a set time to read
Some people like to enjoy the quiet in the morning while drinking their coffee and reading a book. Whereas some, like myself, prefer to read after the day is pretty much done and there’s nothing else to think about while reading. Having a set time to read makes it easier for reading to become a habit that you eventually cannot quit.
2. Always keep a book with you
The great thing about light paperbacks and e-readers is that you can easily take them with you to appointments or just on regular errands. There’s nothing worse than sitting in a doctor’s office, the laundromat, or the DMV and being bored. I always make sure I have a book of some kind with me and I can usually get in at least 20 minutes of reading (if not more).
Reading on breaks at work is another way to have some reading time for yourself. A few of my coworkers also do this, so even on our short breaks, we’re seen reading at least a chapter before we get back to work. Heck, I even bring a book to the gym to read while I’m on the treadmill or stationary bike!
3. Don’t overload on the reading goals
It’s fun to have goals, but sometimes having too many set for yourself can just be overwhelming. Then you don’t end up achieving them. As for how many books to read in a year, I always set it lower than I actually want to, in case life happens and I don’t end up reading as much as I’d like to. Or in case I read some really long novels instead.
4. Quit if you must
I’ve learned myself recently that it’s better to just quit reading a book that I’m not enjoying. I mean, there are so many books out there that I’d like to read, so why waste my time reading a book I’m not enjoying. Of course, I do feel guilty when I quit a book, but it only lasts a short time compared to if I’d forced myself through it and felt worse about the time I wasted on reading it.
Fun fact: Gretchen Rubin says in her book, The Happiness Project, that the “winners don’t quit” mentality isn’t effective when it comes to reading. She explains that quitting a book early on gives you “More time for reading good books!” You can’t go wrong with advice like that!
5. Listen to audiobooks
If you have the brainpower to focus on listening to a story, then use it to your advantage! I have seen that a lot of people like to listen to audiobooks while driving, at the gym, or while doing household chores. Luckily for me, I don’t travel far to work, but even if I did, I have a hard time focusing on audiobooks. However, this works for a lot of people!
6. Use spare time wisely/Read instead of doing ____
On average, people spend up to five hours a day watching TV… and it could possibly be more now with streaming services available that allow us to binge-watch shows. I know I feel the guilt sometimes if I end up watching a show for hours and don’t read at all that day… so I’ve been trying to limit myself on how much I’m watching, or at least take the time for one or two episodes and read instead… then I’ll watch some.
7. Get involved in the bookish community
There are a lot of ways to get involved in the bookish community. You can join a book club in your area, maybe see if your library has one, or you can even join an online book club. Goodreads is another staple in the bookish community that can motivate readers or help you find your next book. They also have groups and book clubs you can join, and people are always teaming up to do buddy-reads!
8. Have a distraction-free reading area
Sometimes I find that it’s easier to read in total silence with nothing around to distract me. Other times I don’t mind a bit of background noise like the TV on low or if I decide to sit at a coffee shop or Panera and read while I have coffee and something to munch on. But as long as there isn’t much to distract you around, it’s definitely easier to get some reading done.
Also, put that phone away! Like, in another room. Unless you’re actually waiting for an important call, there’s no reason why you can’t get your phone away as far as possible from you so that you can have distraction-free reading time. And if you’re not very comfortable with that, then try using the Forest app to lock your phone from using any other apps for a certain period of time.
9. Juggle books
This might not work for everyone, and I’ll admit it’s not easy to do (at least not for me). However, some people are great at reading more than one book at a time. I’m able to do so once in a while, and I have found some of my own tips that help me to do this.
In any case, reading a fiction book and non-fiction book is the best way to go with this. Or to read in different areas – a light novel before bedtime and a more in-depth novel during the day hours during your possibly-set reading times.
10. Mark pages to discuss later
If you’re a book blogger or belong to a book club, there’s a chance you might like to take notes on the parts of a book you want to touch base on in your review/meeting. The problem here is that it takes you away from reading. So instead of taking your notes right away, use sticky notes or tabs to mark the page of what you want to discuss (or highlighters).
11. Participate in reading challenges
This is a fun way to boost your reading, not just in how much you read, but in what you read. Challenges often give a prompt of a type of book you need to read to complete it, so it might push you to read a genre you’ve never read before and you might discover you really like it. And of course there’s always the Goodreads Challenge for the number of books you read (again, don’t overdo it!). I find that setting my goal motivates me to read so I can stay ahead of the game.
12. Take advantage of travel time
If you happen to travel a lot, especially by plane or train, you have a perfect opportunity to get some reading done! I don’t travel much, but when I do happen to take a plane or I’m the passenger on a long trip, I always keep a book right with me so I can read.
13. Read shorter books once in a while
Just because a book is less than 200 pages doesn’t mean it’s not a good book. Sometimes the short ones are more enjoyable and hey, if you read a lot of short books, you’ll get through your reading goal in no time! Short stories are another good option too. It’s still reading!
Most importantly… don’t stress about how many books you read in a year. While, yes, it might impress some people that you’ve read so many books, the important thing is that you’re just enjoying the actual reading part of devouring books.
In fact, sometimes not worry about how many books you read actually allows you to read more.