The start of the new year brings with it joy, hope and a new chance to start over or improve on the things that didn’t go quite so well. Everything can always be improved upon and made even better. It’s a matter of if you are willing to or not. One of my goals this year is to read more books. In this digital age, I find myself always reading, but it’s mostly news, online articles, papers, and researching on websites. Reading a book is different, it lets you become totally immersed in the book, the idea, the running theme of the book for several hundred pages. It lets you dwell and spend valuable time with it.
Last year, I managed to read more books than the previous year, however, I still have a pile of books waiting to be read. My husband, who likes actionable goals, would ask me how many more books would be considered “more” and when would it be “enough.” What would be my plan for achieving this goal?
Regarding the number of books, I am not going to compare myself to those who read 100 to 250 books or year or roughly 2-4 books in a week. Although that was me in my young, school days when I didn’t have the responsibilities of an adult, the question then remains how many books should I read? Do I need a numerical goal or should the focus be on how much indeed I get from these books?
On the number of books to read in a year, a study by Kantar Insights in 2019 surveyed British readers and found that although more than half (54%) had read a book in the past year, only 34% or readers managed to read 10 or more books. In the US, according to the Pew Research Center which surveyed Americans in early 2021, a quarter said they had not read a book in whole or in part in the past year. This is whether in print, electronic, or audio form. Those who did, read an average of 12 books per year. The survey has several interesting insights concerning demographics but I won’t go into that here.
Researching how best it was to read more books, I’ve selected some insights which I personally have tried and work for me and some which I need to work on
- Set an attainable goal for yourself. Start with one book per month or if you are finding that you are finishing it early, read another. Don’t make it it stressful. Reading books need to be enjoyable and not add to the daily stress of life.
- Choose books that keep you wanting to read. Don’t be afraid to put down a book half way through if you don’t like it or don’t know why you are reading it. We’ve all clicked on that bad movie on Netflix or chosen a book that showed promises but turned out a disappointment. Don’t waste precious time on it. Put it down and away. You don’t have to be a ‘winner’ when it comes to reading books.
- Read a diverse variety of books simultaneously. Rotate your reading between several books. I like a good fiction novel yet also I like books that are non-fiction and ones that help me grow personally. Read whatever genre comes to you when you feel like reading. You don’t have to read only one book before you move onto the next. You may read four to five books simultaneously. Read that fun book before bed. Read the non-fiction during the day or vice verse.
- Take it with you wherever you go. Don’t rely on our “smart” mobile phones when you have wait time. Bring your book with you wherever you go so that when you find yourself with a bit of extra time, you can just bring it out and enjoy a few pages of the book. Use a kindle or download the app if you don’t want to carry a physical book around.
- Find your reading nook. Do you have a favourite place you can just sit and read without being distracted? Find your reading nook, make sure it’s well lit and comfortable. Bring your favourite drink.
- Know yourself. By this, I mean to know your own eyes. For a long time I didn’t realise I didn’t finish some books because I was reading books printed in small fonts. Somewhere along in time, my eyes grew old, I became long-sighted and did not want to read the tiny fonts. I changed to buy books printed in big fonts or using a kindle where I can easily increase the font size. Reading became once again pleasurable. Oh, and of course my progressive lens helped.
- Join a book club or set up a book club. Discuss the books with a group. Reading is fun and not necessarily a lone activity. Hearing other views may open you up to new ideas.
I hope you find these tips useful. Happy reading !