Like many people, one of my goals in 2019 is to read more.
I have 3 specific reading goals:
- Read 30 books total
- Read all my book club books (or at least make valiant attempts)
- Read and discuss four books with my husband
I’ve learned, through trial and error, that I have some serious reading pitfalls. My biggest problem last year was not being able to finish a book, but then also not reading anything else–because I felt like I needed to read THAT book.
I’ve come up with some tips to help me this year, which may be helpful to others.
1. Plan your reading year in advance
For the first time, I’ve chosen 30 books that I want to read in 2019. You can check them out here. I’ve been keeping a list of books I want to read on my phone from a combination of sources, like “best of lists” from the New York Times and NPR, the What Should I Read Next podcast, and of course personal recommendations. (One of these books is a weird pick. I really disagreed with an author’s POV in an interview I heard, but I feel like I should read the book before making my final opinion.) I will add to this list once I get my book club recommendations. Which may have some overlap.
2. Monitor the books you read
For the first time, I will be tracking the books I’ve read. I often forget books unless it was something transcendent and fantastic (Station Eleven, All the Light You Cannot See) or a book I could not stand and threw across the room. I like the idea of tracking my books in one place, and I am more of an electronic than paper person.
3. Plan ahead and put library holds on your books NOW
I tend to be impulsive about books. I’ll hear or read about something that sounds great and I’ll want to read it ASAP. Or I get into a book series but the library has a waiting list of 20 people or don’t have the next book in stock. Buying books, which I already do for book club, is an expensive way to meet a reading challenge. While I definitely do like buying books, I want to use the library more in 2019.
4. Create a mix of books
I love reading literary fiction. In my 20s and early 30s, I read the Man Booker prize winner each year, and I have cherished some recent award winners. But sometimes I get stuck in a book, especially if it gets too depressing or scary or whatever trigger it pulls for me. Last year, I got stuck in a dreary section of The Goldfinch (that book’s first 100 pages, by the way, were so compelling I could barely breathe while reading them). I know if I got through that part, the book would be worth it. But instead I fell into a reading rut and didn’t read anything for two months!
So I’ve added some lighter fare to help me keep reading. Sometimes I need to read for escape, and I think it’s better to do that than get mired in Netflix reruns. Which I did way too much of last year.
5. If you like a series, reserve more books in the series than just “the next one”
This tip comes from my mother-in-law who knows how to use the library system better than anyone I know. I LOVED Still Life, but there is a hold on the next book in the Louise Penny series. She advised me to not only reserve that one, but also the next few, as I will not want to wait for another hold. She knows how impulsive I get about a great series.
6. Share your list with someone you’d like to read with
My husband and I want to read and discuss more books together. When we lived in London, we did not have a TV for a time. We read a lot of the same books and had a great time discussing them. I’ve shared my list with him so we can choose 4 books together. Spoiler alert: Asymmetry will be the first one.
Are you planning to read more in 2019? Do you have any book recommendations? Were you able to finish The Goldfinch?