How to Read, Enjoy, (and Quit) 80 Books in a Year
First of all keep in mind that some years this will be easier than others! 2022 was a hard year for me to read 80 books. I stopped tracking in July, had a bunch of duds in a row, and by November I had read only 38 books!
So I put together the best tips that I use to achieve my reading goals. I am taking my own advice with these tips on how to read 80 books per year.
FINDING BOOKS TO READ
These are not tips on where to buy books, although as an environmentalist, and a book-minimalist, I always find myself recommending the library and second hand book stores over buying new. There are so many sustainable – and accessible – ways to read 80 books every year! This section is for folks who don’t know what title or author to read next. How do you find new books to add to your TBR – to be read – pile? Where do you look for recommendations? Here are some tips on how to read 80 books per year if finding books to read is hard for you.
1.Join a book club. Being in a book club is one of my greatest goals, and this year I have finally experienced a bit of success! Every two months we get to vote on three books. The one with the most votes is the one we discuss at our next meeting. So right there is at least 18 books I can add to my TBR pile! If you aren’t already in abook club you can find one through your local library.
2. Speaking of your local library, they have loads of resources for finding new books to read. At my local library I really like the mystery bags. They also have a really strong staff picks section at each branch. And are always featuring new titles or authors on their website and blog.
4. Ask your friends what they are reading. I have one internet pal who I know reads the same theme of books as I do. So when I am in a desparte drought, I put the call out to Sarah for some ideas!
HOW TO READ MORE
Let’s be honest, 80 books is a lot of books for most folks. I mean, I think it’s a lot. I have a high school pal who reads over 100 books per year and please pick my jaw up off the floor. Some books take me the full 3 weeks of my library time, and a few overdue weeks as well. If “how to read 80 books in a year” seems overwhelming and impossible, maybe you need to start with 40 or 10! Whatever number seems doable and challenging. That’s the sweet spot to try and hit.
So now you’ve set your numbers goal. How do you ensure you can read more books. Here are 6 tips to help you read more books.
1. Don’t forget that audiobooks are “real” books. It really cheeses me off when people say that an audiobook isn’t a real book. Are you getting emotionally involved in the charcater development? Are you learning and being challenged by the material? IT COUNTS so you better count it. Plus, audiobooks are more accessible to some folks, so it is ableist to say that audiobooks aren’t real books.
2. If you don’t like it, quit it. I know what I like and what I don’t like when it comes to books. And I can usually tell pretty quickly with a book if it is one I am going to enjoy. If it is not, I feel no remorse for quitting it early. Why struggle through a title that you don’t even like, just to get a checkmark on your year? Life is short. Let’s make sure our reading material is interesting or entertaining. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t read hard books. Part of my goal setting every year is to find books that challenge my world view or understanding of things. This is important especially for white, cis, straight readers.
3. Put a book in your bag. This is especially handy if you read e-books or audiobooks! But it can be done with your favourite hardcover as well. This enables you to read on the bus, or while waiting for an appointment. Just make sure you don’t get so involved in the plot that you miss your stop!
4. Start Tracking. It’s pretty traditional goal-setting advice that if you aren’t tracking your goal, how will you know and measure success? It doesn’t have to be fancy either. I started a really simple Google Sheet where I can track the title, author, and component of the book that matches my other goals (essays, non-fiction, Canadian authors, etc.). Maybe you have a nice notebook, planner, or Bu Jo (Bullet journal) where you can jot titles down as you go. This will give you a great place to go back to as well if you are running out of ideas.
5. Stretch Goals. If you reach 70 by October, set an even bigger goal for the end of the year.
6. Break up the year into sections. Maybe you know that your summers are very busy with work-travel-kids, etc. so you only plan to reach 10 books from June to September. Or maybe summer is when you get most of your reading done so you put 40 books on the list for those months.
Like I wrote at the start, setting book goals can be difficult some years. If you are really keen on creating a better habit for reading more books, it can be difficult to “find time”. Sometimes you have to be really intentional to carve out time to reach your “80 Books a Year” goal. Grab your book while dinner is cooking and get a few pages in. Instead of playing on your phone while waiting for an appointment, put on an audio book or e-book. A few pages a day adds up. And some days maybe you’ll get more read. Where I live, we get snow and cold in the winter. I love a good stormy, snow day for cozying up on the couch and reading an entire goofy mystery.
Do you have any tips for reaching big reading goals? And reading 80 – or more – books per year?