Several years ago, I was introduced to a yearly reading challenge by a couple of millennials. The idea was that you challenge yourself to read a certain number of books in a year. Originally, I thought some of these youngsters had impossibly high goals for themselves: 50 books in a year? 100? 150? Are they kidding? Who has time for that?
But then one of those young people let me in on some of her tricks and it started to not seem so impossible. The first reading challenge I completed was a goal of 12 books. This year, I set a goal of 50 and beat it, finishing 60 books. Even though my schedule is just as busy as ever, I have met and surpassed my goal each year — and I feel so much better about how I am using my free time!
Use these tips to set a goal that you can achieve, and start your reading challenge this year with some of these titles. Let us know if you challenge yourself, and how many books you plan to read in the Prime Women Facebook group. My daughter and I are both trying to read 100 books in 2020!
Set a reasonable goal for yourself. If you usually read a book or two a month, challenge yourself to read three a month. Look for short titles or try some young adult novels to help achieve your goal of 36 books in a year. One of my quick read favorites is a young adult novel by Martine Leavitt called Calvin, about a boy whose life seems just like the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip — right up until he turns 17 and schizophrenia makes his stuffed animal Hobbes actually start talking to him.
Here are some other short reads to get you going:
Another trick to reading more is to find a series you can’t put down. For me that series is Donna Leon’s series about Venice police detective Guido Brunetti. The first in the series is Death at La Fenice. It introduces my hero, Vice-Commissario Brunetti. He is called to the Venetian opera house to solve the murder of the opera’s infamous orchestra conductor, who is hated by many. This book, and all that follow, chronicle life in Venice, with all its red-tape bureaucracy, charming locations, and delectable food, and enough intrigue to make you want to order the next one in the series before the one you are reading is done.
Other series to keep you reading:
Listening to audiobooks was a game-changer for me. I can listen to books in the car, while I walk, and even on my lunch hour at work. I usually have one book I am listening to, and another I read in print at the same time. Now, I read twice as many books as I used to each week. Look for books read by voices you love, like the Dutch House, by Ann Patchett, which is read by Tom Hanks. And many public libraries now offer audiobooks you can download directly to your phone. As a result, you can get your next great listen without an extra errand!
Other great voices to read to you:
If you typically read the same type of fiction, try to read something new. Challenge yourself to read one biography or non-fiction book or mystery per month. Get out of your comfort zone! If you want to start with a non-fiction title that may change the way you feel about non-fiction, try Malcolm Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers, about the ins and outs of how people talk to each other — and why what we say to each other doesn’t always go as planned.
Other books to break your genre pattern:
Finally, and most importantly, if you start a book you can’t get into, you don’t have to finish it! Move on. Everyone gets stuck! But don’t let a boring book hold you back. Pick up the next book and meet your challenge!