Last year I read 52 books, that’s one book a week, which to some might seem small but to many is a huge amount. Before I set myself the resolution last year to read a book a week I struggled to find the time to read one book per month and it was often just holidays that I got my ‘read on’ and sped through one or two books in a week.
I have always loved to read and even more so I have loved to buy books. I find it near impossible to walk into a book shop without buying a new book and my main reason for wanting my own home is somewhere to store my many many books. Hundreds of my favourite reads (and still to be read books) are stored at my mum’s, dad’s and grandma’s homes waiting to be carefully placed on a selection of beautifully styled book cases.
Anyway enough day dreaming, back to the task in hand… reading more.
I was first inspired by Frankie from As the Bird Flies to do more reading and so set myself the same challenge she set herself in 2014, to read 52 books in a year. I wasn’t quite sure if I could achieve it, but it seemed a sensible and measurable New Year’s resolution. I get a lot of pleasure out of reading, I learn, I’m inspired, it brings out every emotion I have and is a great conversation starter. Reading is fun, an escape, a lesson, what more can you get out of a new resolution.
How I read 52 books in one year
As a successful book addict I wanted to share my thoughts on how I managed to read 52 books in one year, without becoming a total recluse… but maybe a little one?!
1) Add reading to your daily routine
Find your favourite reading time, whether it is with a cup of tea in the morning before you start your day, snuggled up in bed before sleep or on your commute to work.
Once you get into the swing of things it becomes an addiction. Last week when I had three days in London and left the book I had been reading at home. I decided to just take some time out from reading, but a day into my three days in London and I was literally craving reading. I was having withdrawals, I didn’t feel right. It may sound over dramatic, but reading has become so ingrained in me I need it every day. Even if I just read one chapter I make sure I read a little bit each day. Needless to say on my second day in London I headed to the book shop and bought not one but three new books
2) Pick books you want to read
There are lots of books out there you think you should read, but ultimately reading is about you. Read what you want to read, read what interest’s you. If you start a book and don’t enjoy it, put it down and find a better one.
Find recommendations from friends or on Goodreads. Find your favourite authors and read more books of theirs. By all means try new things, I have set myself some challenges to read new types of books this year, but I hope they will still be books I enjoy.
3) Stop watching so much TV
I have almost completely stopped watching TV since I started reading more. I haven’t been a big TV addict since I was a teenager but since reading I have found myself thinking ‘I could watch this show or I could read this book’ and 9 times out of 10 the book wins. There are still a few shows I enjoy but generally I get more out of reading a book than I do watching a TV show.
4) Read on your commute
When I was in London I found my commute to be my favourite time to read, even though it involved changing trains and often standing the whole way. I could be squished under someone’s armpit and my back pushed against the door and still I could squeeze my book into a tiny space in front of my face. Reading was my way of coping with the horrible life of commuting and I completely disappeared into the world of my book, able to ignore the hell that was going on around me.
When I left London to go freelance I struggled to get back into a reading routine, not having my commute and briefly fell behind schedule until I found a new daily routine.
5) Talk about your challenge
Talking about my reading challenge was probably one of my favourite things about it last year. Most people at least ‘seemed’ interested, some were wowed, some thought ‘pff I read 100 books last year, big deal’ but most people wanted to know what I had been reading, how I did and what recommendations I might have. Talking about it helps you stick to it, holds you to account.
This year I have also vowed to write about my reading each month to really share my experiences with you. Here are my January reads.
6) Take a book with you everywhere
I ALWAYS have a book in my bag, always! You never know when you might have a spare 5 minutes, waiting for a friend, on a bus or train, needing a five minute break from work. I have probably read about 10 books this year in little stolen bits of time here there and everywhere. You might not read a whole chapter, but every word, every page counts, so take your book everywhere with you for every eventuality.
7) Get ahead of yourself
Though my challenge was to read a book a week it didn’t quite work exactly like that. When on holiday I generally read more than a book a week which made up for the times I didn’t read so much. Like my birthday month when I barely read one book, but luckily managed to catch up when things calmed down after all the celebrations.
Read when you can, you might have good weeks and bad weeks but don’t beat yourself up. It is only a book after all. Wait what did I just say… it is never ‘only a book’. 😉
Cheating is easier than you think. There are books that take time to read and there are books that you can often read in a day or two. If I found myself falling behind then I would read an ‘easy’ book to catch up. Once you fall too far behind you are more likely to give up the game, so catch up while you still can. There are loads of classic short fiction books out there and many many chick lit books or easy crime novels, if you prefer, that you can devour in one sitting.
So do you think you have what it takes to read 52 books in a year or just read more than you currently read? Let me know if you succeed in becoming a book addict or a reading obsessive. Share what you learn, what you read and most of all your top recommendations to add to my list.
Happy Reading all x