books and reading 2018
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I started 2018 with a goal of finishing 52 books by the end of the year. It averages out to a book a week or four and a third books per month. It didn’t happen in such a tidy fashion, of course. Instead, I finished eight books in January, two in August and September and four, five or six in each of the other months this year.
As we head into December, I’ve finished 50 books and have my next two started. This goal will be met - and then some.
Just a few years ago, a book a week for a year would have felt both bold and risky. But I’ve moved on. Instead of feeling risky, it felt like a nudge. Keep reading. Keep reading. And the more I read, the more I know it is a good thing for me. It gives me energy and life.
It’s been a year of reading what I wanted to read, when I wanted to read it. I’ve started and stopped another twenty or so books that didn’t quite fit or just weren’t timed appropriately. Reading in this way - while still maintaining the goal and prioritizing time to read - fills me up.
The year is coming to an end and I feel really good about my reading life.
And then - just to keep myself on my toes - I’m changing things up. It feels radical, but I’m not setting a “number of books” reading goal for 2019.
As much as I like goal setting, I like understanding myself even more. I consider this an experiment - an experiment in finding out how much I read when I don’t have a specific number of books in mind. And an experiment in finding out if the lack of a goal enhances or takes away from my reading pleasure.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find myself back here at the end of 2019 setting a 52 books in 2020 goal. But then again, maybe not.
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I often get asked for advice on finding / making time for more reading.
Here’s the best advice I have: give yourself a solid thirty minutes to get into a new book (or to know that it’s not for you). Once you’re thirty minutes in, you want to know what happens next and you will keep reading. Also, read more than one book at a time. Or, if your brain doesn’t like that, at least have a plan for what you will read next. It’s the lull between books that often slows us down.
Also, read anywhere and everywhere. I read on the playroom floor while my kids are playing around me. I read in bed in the morning and before bed. I read while I blow dry my hair. I read in the van while I’m waiting for after school pick up.
And if book books (you know, the paper kind) aren’t working for you, try something new. Try an audio book or download the Kindle App and read on your phone. The library has all of these different versions available for FREE.
And if you need some accountability, join or start a reading group. It doesn’t have to be formal. Just choose a book and ask your friend or parent if they will read it to and set a date to discuss. Sometimes just knowing that someone else is counting on you is all the push you need.
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And because I always like to find recommended reading lists, here are some of my favorites from the year:
To Siri With Love by Judith Newman
Calypso by David Sedaris
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast
The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel
Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
The One In a Million Boy by Monica Wood
The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
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Here’s to the beautiful people that turn words on paper into worlds that can be enjoyed and shared. Cheers!