I just finished reading my first book of 2014 – Barney’s Version by Mordechai Richler.
It was excellent. Romantic, captivating, hilarious, and uniquely Canadian, I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great read.
(Or, you could always just watch the film. I won’t tell.)
Anyway, as I delve into book #2 of the year (A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man… which I’m reading solely so I can use the term “Joycean”), I’m considering making a similar reading goal to last year.
As you may already know (because I can’t get enough of saying it), I read 52 books in 2013. Insane? Maybe; but it also was really great for me. Not only did having a goal keep me reading regularly, it also helped my writing, as well as my general conversation skills.
I’m not going to say it was easy, because honesty there were times I thought I’d rather glue my eyelids open and watch a marathon of Hollywood Game Night than keep reading.
But like Tom Arnold with a particularly tough charade, I persevered! And if you’re feeling
masochistic ambitious, here are some ways you can do it too!
1. Find The Time
I know that you’re thinking: This bitch cray! 52 books in one year?
And I get that. You’re busy. I was too. (Mostly watching TV and Youtube videos on how to perfectly apply liquid eyeliner). But regardless, here are a few ways I squeezed in some extra reading time:
- Always Keep a Book With You. Treat that baby like it’s your American Express Card (or- in my case, 17 different lipglosses) – never leave home without it! You’d be surprised by the amount of reading you can get done waiting at the doctor’s office, in line for the DMV, or just generally avoiding human contact. It’s a lot more productive (though not necessarily as much fun) than playing candy crush on your iPhone.
- Make the most of your commute. Read on the bus, train or subway on your way to and from work. Unless you get carsick.. because….
Aaah Sweet Brown. I can never get enough.
- Read on your lunch break. This was my specialty. Every day at lunch, I’d take my book to the food court and read for 30 minutes.
I kept waiting for someone to write me a Craigslist Missed Connection but… no dice.
2. Always Have Your Next Book Lined Up
Making a list of books I wanted to read in advance helped keep me on track. It also motivated me to read faster, as I was always excited to get to the next book on my list.
I found Goodreads to be an excellent resource for this, as well as suggestions from friends and blog readers.
Another tip is to check out the “people who bought this author also bought….”. and “suggestions for you” tabs on Amazon.
…….Or you could just read the entire Baby Sitters Club series (again). No one blames you.
3. Don’t Torture Yourself
As the saying goes, “If you hate a book set it free”…..Or something like that. In other words- if you start a book that you really don’t like or just can’t get into, move onto the next. Otherwise, you’ll just get discouraged and lose excitement and momentum.
I struggled with Infinite Jest for about 50 pages before eventually realizing that a David Foster Wallace dissertation about a missing VHS tape was not the hill I wanted to die on.
There’s 75 hours of my life I’ll never get back.
4. Mix It Up
Although I was seriously tempted to read nothing but 52 emo romance novels in 2013, I knew that, like all great pop stars, I had to
get a lot of plastic surgery and a white cane mix things up in order to keep it fresh and exciting.
Accordingly, my 2013 reading list was a serious hodge-podge of short stories, novels, memoirs & non-fiction. I also alternated between bestsellers like Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy (wait for the movie) to contemporary classics, like On The Road by Jack Kerouac (must read), and the occasional Penguin classic, like Howard’s End by E.M Forster (there’s a reason I didn’t major in English Lit).
5. Break It Down
Let’s face it- the number 52 just sounds horrifying. (Unless it’s being used to describe chocolate bars, glasses of wine, or issues of US Weekly).
The point i’m trying to make here, is that the idea of reading 52 books in one year can seem a bit daunting at first- so break it up into smaller goals. 52 books in one year works out to toughly 4 books a month, or one a week. You can even set a number of pages you’d like to read each day.
You know that acronym about goal setting? SMART?
Yeah- Use that!. But don’t tell anyone you’re doing that, because, well… it’s kinda lame.
So those are my tips! And remember kids, above all else- do it for yourself, and your love of literature!
…and maybe also to rub it in people’s faces.
Just a little :)