I have eight weeks left and three books to go.
I think I’ll meet my goal.
ONE HUNDRED BOOKS IN ONE YEAR. Yes my friends, it’s true. I have no life and read books like a crazy person. However, I have yet to acquire any cats and only have one sweater to speak of (which is free of pom poms, embroidery, and any tinsel or fringe so I still have my sanity). How in the world have I found myself approaching this somewhat mind-boggling milestone? Here are my top tips of how to read 100 books in a year.
1.Make friends with your library.
Our local library (even though it’s across an international border, I still call it local) is one of my favorite places to go. We visit at least once a week and gather our stacks of books that have patiently filed in from around the county, filling my ever-growing “holds” and “to-be-read” lists. I also use the library for most of our kids’ homeschooling curriculum. In the 100 books I’ll read this year, I think I’ve purchased less than five thanks to the library. I use the library’s app and website like some people use their social media accounts, checking multiple times a day to place a hold, see the status of an incoming book, or renew anything that’s close to its due date. It also helps if the librarians like your adorable children and swoon when they bring coloring pages folded up as ‘presents’ for them. Hint, hint.
2. Toss the television.
It’s been about three years since we canceled our satellite subscription, but only got rid of our physical television earlier this year. It was broken (lines appeared every time we turned on the screen) so there was no reason it should be taking up room in our living room. We handed it off to a friend who wanted it (why, I still don’t know), rearranged our living room, and now I welcome each evening with a quiet space free of a giant, blank screen staring at me from the corner. I have no idea what the latest shows are and I’m absolutely fine with that. We do have a Netflix account that we use quite regularly and have a few third party streaming sites for live sports (a must in this household!). Maybe you can’t actually say sayonara to your set, but consider setting some guidelines for when and how you watch and then see how that affects your reading life.
3. Read what you want to read, not what everyone else thinks you should read.
Simple, but life changing when it comes to ramping up your book intake. Find what you like to read and stick with it. Are you a memoir junky? Then load up on life stories and tragic endings. Are you into food, cars, or outer space? Check out as many titles as you can and learn all.the.things. Do you long for the far east, the wild west, or to explore the unknown corners of the world? Become an armchair traveler and let those novels carry you away. One of the things I love the most about reading is that it’s completely personal – no one is forcing you to read anything you don’t want to (unless you are living in some sort of 1982-esque society and if that’s the case, I lament your situation wholeheartedly). I’ve come to approach my reading as a personalized, post-graduate level education (graduate from high school and one quarter of community college, that is). Whatever I fancy learning about, I can go right ahead and do just that. I’ve checked out books about eugenics, international borders, polygamy, and marriage counseling, to name a few topics. The world is your oyster…or maybe your bookshelf? You choose the analogy and then go for it.
4. Find a rhythm that works for you.
Some people read one book and one book only until it’s done and then move onto the next one. Other people (ahem…my husband would call you crazy, FYI) read multiple books at a time. Guess which category I fall into? I’ve found that certain types of books fit into certain parts of my day. On any given day, I’m reading the following:
- Morning: a passage or two from the Bible, a personal/spiritual growth book, and a non-fiction audio book (while I shower and get ready).
- Afternoon: narrative non-fiction, memoir, or instructional book (like marriage, parenting, or leadership).
- Evening: novel or fiction, or sometimes the same book as the afternoon if I’m really into it.
5. Block social media on your phone.
This post was an ‘aha!’ moment for me. I did just what the writer said and have been without Facebook on my phone for about six months now (I don’t use Twitter, Instagram, or other social media sites). LIFE CHANGING.
But wait…a Bonus Tip (it is my littlest’s birthday, after all, so why not toss a present in for all of us?)!!!
6. Carry a book with you wherever you go.
It could be an e-book via a Kindle or other reader app, or tote along an actual, physical book. Either way, all those minutes you used to spend scrolling, swiping, and liking, now (thanks to Tip #5) you can use those minutes to read a page here and there throughout your day. I’ve learned the value of reading page by page instead of chapter by chapter…it all adds up to the same goal in the end – a completed book and a happy reader.
And that, my friends, is how you too can read 100 books in one year!
Okay, maybe 100 books is slightly outrageous and maybe your life is upside down with chaotic insanity and even the thought of paging through a book is the furthest thing from your mind right now. But hey – any books are better than no books so see what you can do to add some Vitamin B (haha!) into your life today. A year from now, you may find that 100 books isn’t as impossibly crazy as it seems.