One of my favorite accomplishments last year was reading more than 100 books. Yup, you read that right. 110 to be exact. No. I’m not a robot.
For years I hadn’t picked up a book. At the time, even reading one book felt overwhelming. I was always tired and reading made me sleepy. What I came to find was that I was actually just exhausted and reading wasn’t what was making me sleepy. So at the beginning of the year, I set a goal of reading 50 books with the daunting thought of being able to finish just one. But after each one I read, I kept digging for more. I quickly fell in love with reading again and now it’s a part of my daily life.
HERE ARE 9 WAYS TO READ 100 BOOKS
Okay, more than one book, let’s start small and grow together.
1. make time
I wanna take a moment to remind you that we all have the same amount of time in a day as Beyoncé. Okay fine, minus her awesome team, but still. What you choose to do with your time is up to you. If you want to read more, you’re going to have to take a look at your time management. The easiest thing to cut is mindlessly scrolling on your phone. We’re all guilty of it, even me. If you cut this amount of time, you’ll already have way more time in general, why not use some of that time to read? You’re actually mindlessly reading anyways. Why not bump up that 240 character limit to an actual book? If you aren’t ready to cut the mindless scrolling yet, then listen to an audiobook while you scroll. The goal is to get from mindless time-wasting to mindful time spent. There is time, you just have to curate it to fit your goals.
2. Finish the books you started but never finished
The first thing I did to get me in the mood was to read all the books I once started but left bookmarks in. I have a short attention span and I’m always ready for the next thing. If I was reading a book and got distracted or was too tired I would stop reading them. There was a stack of about 4 or 5 books that I had never finished. Some I’m so glad I picked up and are now some of my favorites, others I pushed myself to finish and was reminded on why I had stopped. My advice for this method is to just give the book another shot, but if you’re struggling with it—as in not enjoying it, you don’t have to finish it. If the book is putting you to sleep you might want to try catching up on sleep. Don’t blame Z’s on reading! Starting here is easier than opening up a brand new book because you don’t have to choose what to read, you just have to finish what you started.
3. Curate your library at home
I have been a book hoarder since my first trip to Barnes & Noble. If eating with your eyes is a thing, then buying with your eyes is also a thing, specifically for books. My justification? Books are a lifetime investment, I’ll read them eventually. Although this statement is true, my bookshelves looked a hot mess and eventually needed to start happening…now. So I started reading the books I already owned. Shocking! I would read them, keep the ones I loved and would donate the rest. I wanted to start curating my shelves to bring me joy and would only keep the books that I would reread or take with me on a desert island. This might seem shocking, but why would I want to keep books that I didn’t love? The idea of being surrounded by books made me happy, but knowing that the purge surrounded me by less, more loved books, filled me up so much more and made curating my library even more satisfying. It’s time to start finding out what books you really love. The ones you donate are ready to be someone else’s treasure. It’s quality over quantity people! Get reading.
4. Create challenges to help you read
One of the first things I did after finishing the books I had once started was make a list. Go figure. This list helped me not waste time figuring out what to read next. My system? A to Z. I chose a book that started with the letter in the alphabet and built my list. When I couldn’t find something, say for the letter X, I would either select a title that had an X in it or used it as a free spot for something I always wanted to read. I built a ton of these, I think I had about four lists going. I nearly finished one and moved away from this module to read things I wanted to. Challenges are a great way to get you going, you don’t have to stick to them. You can make them fit how you want them to and adjust accordingly to make it an experience you actually like. Competing with yourself is good, even if you participate in a challenge where you read seven books in one week (that one I actually completed). Whatever challenge works for you, try it so it helps motivate the reading bug. Before you know it, you’ll have at least 26 books read on your list this year.
5. Get a library card
Getting a library card was the best thing I did to help me read 110 books in one year. I’m so grateful for the public library system. Belle would be so proud. Reading doesn’t have to be expensive, reading can be free. You can borrow as many books as your library allows. Fair warning though, you’ll probably go overboard on your first trip. I did. Past me thought she could read six books in 21 days. At the time, I could barely finish one and I didn’t know that there was this thing called renew, where you don’t have to finish anything in 21 days, you can just borrow it again and keep reading. I get that there’s a thrill in buying books, I used to and still get a high from it, but using the library helped me read more without a financial burden. The books I read that I loved, went on my Christmas list and I now own them. Thanks mom! The library is a great way to read more, read often, and help you find gems for your curated master library at home you’re starting to build. Getting a library card is fairly simple, all you need is an ID. So check out your local library and get reading!
6. Audiobooks aren’t cheating
Listening to a book on your way to and from work is a great way to read more. And no, audiobooks aren’t cheating. Auditory reading is still reading. I would recommend starting with a memoir for your first audiobook. Often times these are read by the author and they usually give a great performance. It’s like listening to a podcast, if you’re into that, just more of a movie than a TV series if you will. You can even speed up the book if you want, or slow it down too but I usually listen to my audiobooks at speed 1.25. Choose what works best for you. If you’re ready for something else, I would listen to a mystery. Still kinda gives you that podcast vibe where you’re intently listening to what happens next. Personally, it’s really hard for me to listen to historical fiction on audiobook, or any fiction really unless the narrator is really captivating. The narrator makes or breaks whether or not I can get through it. But you’d be surprised at how many actors you know that narrate some of the books on your to-be-read-list. The library has a great selection. I love Audible too but decided to save some money and found the library to work better for me.
7. Read a book with a friend
Reading doesn’t have to be isolating. If you want to get back into reading, find someone who will read the book with you. It can be your coworker, a friend in a different city, or your sister. I read a few books with friends last year. Sometimes this works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Make sure you try and balance your to-be-read-lists and the other friend doesn’t just make you read all the books they want to read. If your friend doesn’t end up finishing the book but you did, don’t get mad. You freaking read a book! Add that to the list and keep reading. You can talk about it over wine and cheese or you can just comment on it next time you get together. There are no formal rules in the Friends Who Read Together Club, you just have to read. A lot of times if you have someone to hold you accountable, it’s easier to finish a book. Try integrating this and see how many more books you read in a year. If you read one once a month together, you’ll already have 12 by the end of the year. That’s way more than trying to finish one on your own. Want new friends? Join our Find A Lovely Book Club!
8. Read all kinds of books
I like to read multiple books at a time. I’m a big mood reader, so if I’m in the mood for a little inspiration I’ll read a memoir or a self-help book. If I’m in the mood to escape and relax, I’ll read a fantasy series or travel back in time with historical fiction. There are so many genres out there to help you get reading. Every genre has something great to offer. If you’re trying to get in the Christmas spirit, I suggest reading children’s literature. Why not take yourself back to the start of reading and reread some of your favorites as a kid? YA (Young Adult) is a great genre if you’re feeling lost and don’t know what your next step is. A lot of people think these are just for teenagers, but they centralize in the good ole coming of age story and let’s be honest, we are always coming of age. Our teen years were just the start of the first chapter in our personal revolution. If you want to learn something new or understand a topic better, non-fiction is where it’s at. Get yourself a free education and keep learning. If you’re in the mood for a bath, download a poetry book from your library and unwind with bubbles and words. All genres count. Everything you read will teach you something, help heal you, or just entertain you in time for a new awakening. Don’t be embarrassed about the genres your reading. Even romance is bomb.
9. Enjoy the books you read
Sometimes recommendations might spark interest, but at the end of the day they might not be your cup of tea. I spent a lot of time last year catching up on books and anticipated reads that I forgot to read the books I wanted to read. Try to balance the recommendations with your gut. If you go into a library or a Half Price Books and say, “Okay universe, what do you want me to read?” I guarantee you that The Universe will guide you to what you need to read. I spent a lifetime collecting these kinds of gems but never got around to actually reading them. Now that I am, I’m so happy The Universe pointed me to the book in the first place. If you’re reading something you don’t like, you don’t have to finish it. Even if it’s got raving reviews and you feel like the only one that doesn’t like it. Your opinion isn’t an unpopular opinion, it’s yours. Own it.
So how did I read 110 books in one year?
I made time. I stopped scrolling mindlessly and started reading mindfully. I finished the books I once started, picked up the next book and kept going. Just keep reading.