Have you ever read 52 books in a year? That’s averaging one book every week. Does that seem like a lot to read or a little to you?
I originally wrote this post in 2016 after I first read 52 books in a year. I have managed it twice more since my original book of reading. But since the pandemic hit my reading has dropped. I decided to update this blog post to help encourage me to get back to reading a book a week in 2022!
I don’t know about you, but the pandemic, lockdown and general Covid life has really affected my ability to focus on reading. Having spoken to lots of friends it seems it has been a really common thing over the last 22 months.
Whenever I sit down to read, my mind starts to wonder, it is unable to focus and after less than a couple of pages I’ve put my book down and either picked up my phone or gone to sleep.
I was worried it was a phone addiction (probably a little bit) or just the modern issue of a complete lack of being able to concentrate on one thing for longer than a few minutes. I really do think it’s a pandemic thing though!
As we hopefully start to move out of pandemic stage and into a ‘new normal’ (who else is sick of that phrase) I can start to feel my love of books returning.
This year I am determined to reignite my love of reading and get back to reading 52 books in a year.
I know reading helps my wellbeing, if I find time to read I feel less stressed, life seems manageable and ok when there is time to just stop and focus on nothing more than a good book.
I have always loved reading and perhaps even more so I have love buying books!
I find it near impossible to walk into a book shop without buying a new book. It is an addiction, but I think a healthy one! However the ‘to read’ pile is forever growing and it’s time to get on top of some of those unread books and get back to my daily reading habits.
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 a 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?!
Whether you are wanting to just read 5 books instead of 1 this year, wanting to read a book a week like me or maybe your goal is 200! I hope these tips on how to read more will give you some inspiration to turn the TV off and get stuck into a really good book!
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. Back in 2016, 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, It didn’t feel right.
It may sound over dramatic, but reading had become so ingrained in me I needed it every day. Even if I just read one chapter I made 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 🙂 oops!
I am starting to get back to that addiction. It is now the second week of 2022 (woah where did the time go!?) and I have read two books so far and started a third. The addiction is back and I love it. It’s like breathing, like eating, without it I just can’t survive!
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, In the past I have set myself some challenges to read new types of books, but sometimes it’s just better to stick to what you know and love.
I try to read a mix of fiction and non fiction, though find that I read fiction much quicker, so generally read more fiction books. Sometimes if I am struggling I pick something I know is going to be an easy read, before tackling something a bit more ‘intellectual’. You do You!
Stop watching so much TV
I had 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. I love to go to bed early with my book and snuggle up with Cookie while I get through a few chapters.
It’s a good way to end the day away from phones and technology.
I am sure it helps you sleep better too!
Read on your commute
OK now we know this is an old post I am updating. Who commutes anymore? Well some people do!
But if you don’t commute and are working from your living room (or Coworking Space!) then why not use the time you used to commute to read, even just half the time.
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.
Set a morning or evening reading routine that works for you, tell the family and let them know that is your little me time to read.
Create a cosy reading nook
Create a little space in your home where you love to read. It could be in bed with a candle beside you, in the bath or a little corner of the sofa you like to snuggle up in. Find the perfect cosy space to snuggle up with a blanket and a good book.
I made a little cosy reading nook in my house. I still have very few books shelves so most of my books are stacked on the floor, but I turned a problem of not having any shelves in a cosy little reading nook with some old pillows with a few blankets thrown over. I love it.
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.
I love talking about books and have recently started a new book club at Coworking Corner. I can’t wait to read the first book and share thoughts with a group of fabulous fellow book addicts.
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.
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