In 2022, I set a goal to read 30 books on Goodreads. I’ve never been one to track my reading consistently until the second half of 2021 when I turned to reading books more. I’ve now read 31 books this year and I wanted to give a little background and share some tips on what helped me become a more avid reader.
After spending 3 years working on my MBA (2018-2021), while working full time and spending about half of that time working from home due to COVID, I was tired of all the time in front of a computer. If you asked me how much time I spent in front of the computer, I would say it was nearly 14 hours a day. My problem when I work from home is I didn’t want to step away too long. I sometimes took my lunch break, but I was usually on for work by 7am (I like to be on before people start messaging me and to get a few things done) and stayed on/available until 5pm. Then I would have meetings, classes and homework for my MBA. I could spend about an hour on that before work and a few hours after work. It’s a LOT of time in front of a computer. I did what I had to do to make it work and earn my degree, which I’m proud of, but I have no desire to go back to that time.
With all that computer time, I would try to wind down with TV. Surprisingly (for myself), I had less interest in TV as well. It was more screen time after all and I had had my fill. Looking for something other than a screen to entertain myself, I finally turned to books. I have never been a big reader. I am not a fast reader and during any school season of life, the school books or textbooks often took up all my free time. During middle and high school, I remember having to read certain books for class and why were so many depressing? In some ways, it made me not look forward to reading.
I’m happy that I have finally found a way to love reading. It only took me until I reached my 30s, but hey, that’s still a good time to pick up reading for fun. I follow a few people who read all the time and I would often wish I could be like that.
Well, you have to take action to get anywhere. I’m a year and a half into my reading journey, so I’m fairly new to this reading for fun all the time, but I wanted to share how I got here.
First, follow other readers, whether that be on Youtube, Instagram or Podcasts.
Here are a few I enjoy:
Julie’s blog PBFingers.com – she often shares posts about what she is currently reading or has read recently with great summaries that help me pick out some books.
Caitlin’s Corner on Youtube – You can follow her videos or Goodreads account for what she is currently reading. I often love the fiction books she shares and it’s how I have found some of my favorite authors.
Clancy Burke on Youtube – Clancy is always reading something and sharing in her videos. She posts her reviews on Instagram stories and often reads nonfiction and biographies. While I prefer fiction, I have enjoyed reading some books she has mentioned and learning about other people’s careers and life stories.
Kelsey and Erica with The Girl Next Door Podcast – I LOVE their podcast and they usually do a few episodes a year of what they are reading. I also follow them on Instagram and they will each share current books from time to time.
Second, subscribe to a book list/newsletter for free. I recently started subscribing to Modern Mrs Darcy. I don’t read every newsletter, but when I feel like I’m hitting a book rut, it helps to have a list to browse.
Third, cue up Library books with the Libby app or on your library website. This has been the biggest thing for me, because you don’t want to buy every book and I will often forget about book titles I want to read. If I go into my Libby app as soon as I hear about a good book, I can usually set it to be put on hold. You know when a book is popular when it tells you it’s a 20 week wait, but it’s also exciting when the book is finally available to read. I also love that I can set the Libby app to Kindle friendly books as I can read from the Kindle app on my phone on the go when I have a few minutes and then read on my Kindle at home.
Borrow books from your library. I know this sounds similar to the above, but what I mean by this is when you borrow a book from the library, there is a return date. I have been reading many books that are popular and therefore, I can not renew them. Having a date that the book has to be returned by, encourages me to pick up my book some nights instead of turning the TV on because I know it is due soon.
Set a goal for number of books to read in a year and track on Goodreads. Remember you don’t have to set a crazy goal of 100 books. Maybe start with 12 books (1 a month) or 24. I picked 30 books randomly and at first thought it was a little too much given that it was more than 2 a month. As I signed into my Goodreads account later in the year, it would tell me 2 books ahead or 1 book behind and that would motivate me on meeting the goal. I know this doesn’t work for everyone but it did for me. If I didn’t meet it, I wouldn’t be too upset. Just the fact that I was tracking what I read and looking back at the list, I’m like wow I read a lot and that’s encouraging.
I know this was a wordy post, but I hope it gave you some tips if you want to read for fun more. I think the biggest tip I can give is constantly adding books to your hold list at the library. This way you always have a book coming up available so you don’t lose the momentum to keep reading. This is why I recommend following other readers who share a similar taste in books so you always have a list going of what you want to read next.
What’s your favorite genre to read?
I have found fiction love stories to be my favorite as I often read before bed. I learned thrillers are NOT for me.