Read Like You Mean It

How to Meet Your 2018 Reading Goals

If you’re reading this blog, chances are good you are a fan of books. Frankly, I consider reading to be one of the cheapest and easiest forms of relaxing entertainment there is. Still, it feels like many people only watch their To-Be-Read piles grow as they agonize over which book to give their precious free time and attention.

It doesn’t have to be that way. That doesn’t mean sign up for a speed-reading class so you can read The Iliad and The Odyssey in a single sitting (although that does sound like an interesting marathon to undertake!). Instead, here are some practical tips on how to enjoy more books in 2018 without stressing about what you have left unread:

1. Stash books like a squirrel does food in October, but be systematic. If reading historical fiction always helps you sleep, then that new World War II novel definitely belongs on the bedside table. Even if you only get through ten pages a night before drifting off, you are letting books relax you instead of checking out another Facebook image gallery of bad family portraits. Have a basket in the bathroom? Put a fun book like Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader in there instead of collecting extra carrots on Farmville. Laundry room? Romance! Living room? Fantasy sounds fun. Whatever you do around the house, there’s a book for that.

2. If you feel like you’re always waiting–for a meeting to start, for a train or a bus, for an appointment, for that annoying neighbor to quiet down–then audiobooks could be the right choice for you. As services like Audible become more popular and accessible every day, you can get books downloaded to your phone for cheap without having to haul CDs back and forth from the library. Listen to the soothing voices of famous actors, authors, or just voice talents extraordinaire recreate a favorite book or help you fall in love with something new.

3. Even those of us who bemoan that we don’t have enough time for a proper meal do have to sit and eat once in a while. And sure, you may eat lunch while you work on that big report, but there are at least two other meals in the day! Instead of zoning out with another episode of the bachelor after work, pick up a mystery, thriller, or other cliffhanger-style book to keep you reading until the last available second. Or, have poetry with your corn puffs and compliment yourself on starting the day with your brain all warmed up.

4. Lastly, don’t forget to count the reading you’re already doing. None of us can go through a day without reading, whether it’s advertisements, news stories, tweets, sports scores, or emails. Remember that even if you’re not picking up Dickens every day, you are still doing a lot of important reading and learning that helps you be inquisitive about the world. Try keeping a reading log and see how much you actually get through in a week; you could be happily surprised. Plus, you can already add this post to your list!