After publishing my list of books I read in 2020 someone asked me how I possibly read so much, while maintaining a full time job that keeps me plenty busy throughout the week. I decided to use that question as a prompt for one of my daily writing sessions (part of a goal in January).
Since 2015 I have been keeping track of what I read here on this blog. Below are my annual stats.
- 2020: 71
- 2019: 89
- 2018: 55
- 2017: 59
- 2016: 69
- 2015: 44
Before this, I often kept a reading journal, especially when I was a middle school English teacher encouraging students to develop readerly habits. I have been an avid reader since I was a teenager. The joy of having a father who worked in the publishing industry was that I was able to get access to a lot of new books any time I wanted them! I went through phases with a variety of authors (Stephen King, Danielle Steel, Mary Higgins Clark – early days!) and then phases of discovering new-to-me content. I didn’t read much fiction in college, but once I became a teacher I began to read a lot of YA and adult fiction for my own enjoyment.
Nowadays, I choose to read something every day. Sometimes my morning routine is quicker than others and I can squeeze in 20 minutes of pleasure reading before work. Other days, I listen to an audiobook during my commute and/or my workout. Some week days I come home and still have energy and enough brain power to read in the evening; other days all I can manage is watching some bad tv before bed! But when I have the energy, I choose to read before watching tv. Back when I watched live tv with no fast-forwarding capabilities, I used to mute the tv during commercials so I could read. That is how much I enjoy reading.
There are certain things that I know I will enjoy and be able to read in just about any mindset. It helps to know what genres you like best, and to have a few favorite authors you can always go back to. If I’m slogging through a long, dense nonfiction book, I have to also have a fiction book that I am reading so that I don’t lose my love for reading in general. Reading those nonfiction books matter, but I need a balance in my reading life. I also give myself permission to quit a book. At this stage in my life, I know what I like and it’s not a good use of my time to read something I hate.
So my quick tips to how I read so much are:
- Find what you love and read more of that!
- Choose to read before you do other things (like mind-numbing tv)
- Find a balance (fiction, nonfiction, audio, etc.)
- Keep track and compete with yourself!
- Have fun!
One thing currently missing in my readerly life is a book club. I’ve participated in book clubs in the past, and I’m considering finding one for myself this year.