Simply put, you will read more books in a year if you read more in a day. Plowing through books is the result of reading little and often and incorporating reading as a habit into your day, as opposed to just taking a book on your once a year holiday and wondering why you only read a handful of books last year. You will achieve this by picking up books you actually enjoy reading, so ditch what society tells us we should read, and indulge in your guilty pleasures without any guilt.
So far this year, according to Goodreads, I have read 15 books, which in 5 months works out at around 3 a month, which I am more than happy with. For most of us, reading is not our life, we have other commitments, goals, and priorities, so don’t bog yourself down with these articles about how to read 100 books a year, because you just don’t need to. If you choose high-quality books you will actually enjoy, then your reading year will be a highly triumphant one regardless of the actual figure.
Reading between 20 and 30 books a year, which is the result of say 30 minutes a day, really adds up to a significant amount of books in your lifetime, and does not require you to give up anything important, maybe just some time spent on social media, which quite a lot of us want to cut back on anyway.
Here’s how to do it:
The key to reading more books is to simply use maths and work backward from your yearly goal. Say you want to read 36 books this year, 3 books a month, give yourself 10 days to read a book. This can be made even more straightforward by getting the number of pages in that book and dividing it by the number of days. That will typically work out (for this example) at around 30 pages a day, which is around 30 minutes.
Reading for just 30 minutes a day will total to 36 books a year.
If you want to really demolish your unread pile, simply read before bed. If you read for 30 minutes each night before bed, no matter your yearly goal, you will read around 36 books on top of what you’re reading in the day. I tend to read for 20–30 minutes before bed so that if I didn’t have any time to read that day I would still be achieving my goals.
When you’re super close to the end of a book, write finish book in your daily to-do list. It’s really motivating to know anything you read in the day, is extra and will speed up your rate of finishing that book and add books to your yearly tally.
It doesn’t have to be before bed though, it could be on your commute or on your lunch break. Consistency really is key here, if you want to read while eating your breakfast, and you eat breakfast every day for at least 20 minutes then you will be really pleasantly surprised at how many more books you will read in a year.
I attribute all my good reading habits and motivation to Goodreads. If you have never heard of Goodreads, it is a social media dedicated to books and reading. Like all good social media platforms you have friends and people you follow, but you also have bookshelves. This is a way to categorise all your books into shelves such as To be read (TBR), read, DNF (did not finish) but you can add as many as you want if you would like to divide them further by genre or motivation. I also love the rating feature, whereby you rate the book when you’ve finished it, which really encourages you to reflect on the book, and helps you decide if you want to pick up a book by that author again or not.
One of the best features in my opinion is the yearly reading challenge, whereby you tell Goodreads how many books you’re aiming to read that year, and every time you update Goodreads and say you’ve finished a book, it will tally that up against your yearly goal. It’s incredibly satisfying to see the bar fill up with percentages. For example, I am 42% of the way through my current reading goal, which I would have never bothered to work out for myself, but now that I know that, I am definitely going to work to get that to 100% before the end of the year. Another cool feature is that it tells you if you’re behind schedule (or ahead) so you don’t end up falling behind and not knowing until its too late to catch up. But equally, don’t pressure yourself or make your reading goal stressful, I just find adding numbers and analytics really fun to my reading, but if it isn’t fun or productive to you, don’t bother- its just personal preference.
Yes, I read a children's book recently. Don’t judge.
Outside of Goodreads there is a buzzing online book community, which will fill you with excitement to read.
Search hashtags such as #bookish or #booklove to find this community and follow people with a similar taste in books to you. That way, whenever you’re scrolling through Instagram, you’ll have little reminders to pick up your book or find some recommendations that you want to check out. Use the save feature on Instragam to have a folder of books you want to read, which you can use next time you’re at the Bookshop or online shopping.
Equally, if you’re really enjoying the book community why not make a bookstagram yourself? You can connect with others who also love reading, which is particularly useful if you don’t have many friends in real life that love reading.
Equally, search “wrap-up” or “TBR” on YouTube and you will find an incredibly large book community, putting out weekly content on the books they’re reading and buying. Again, if you’re seeing book content on your YouTube homepage and subscription box, you will be receiving daily doses of motivation and reminders, to really help your reading habit stick.
Read books you will actually enjoy
It’s very trendy on Medium, Linkedin, and Youtube to read glamourous self-help or non-fiction books that will transform your life. You can read why I don’t subscribe to that idea here. Instead, most of my favourite books and the ones that have added the most value to my life are fiction.
This might not be the case for you, but if it is, just read fiction, you don’t have to read certain books to create a certain image. If you hate classics, don’t read them. If you love YA’s (Young Adults) buy and read them with pride. Most people don’t read half as much as they say they do, so why read particular kinds of books to meet their standards.
That applies to anything in life, to be honest.
If you read books you love, you will simply read more, there’s nothing more special than a book that drags you into its pages, that has you thinking about it when you’re actually living your life. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, embrace it and let the wave of motivation carry you. And if you want to read often and plentifully, then let discipline carry you when your motivation runs out.
Carry that book
Try to always bring your book with you if possible. Or if you prefer e-books or audiobooks, then make sure you have the Kindle app and Audible app downloaded on your phone, which is far easier to do. Try to replace the habit of mindlessly scrolling through social media with the habit of picking up that book. I once read over 150 pages in a waiting room because the doctor was like 2 hours late. Imagine a) how bored I would have been without that book and b) how much that dented my yearly goal. That's so much reading that is hard to chunk out of your busy day, but easy to find while waiting around.
Overall, you need to set a yearly reading goal and work backward from there to know exactly what you need to do every day. Then engage in book communities like book clubs (in person or online) bookstagram or booktube. Make reading a daily habit and carry your book with you everywhere to squeeze in those extra minutes that add up to extra books at the end of the year. But no matter what, as long as you are reading books that genuinely make you happy and you are reading enough books for you, then that’s all that matters. Let’s lose the idea that successful people read 100 books a year, because reading is just a fun hobby, not a competition.