Let’s be honest. How many books have you read in July? How many since January? Finding time to read is becoming extremely difficult in a world filled with work to do, food to cook, children to take care of, and social media to browse.
I haven’t read much in 2018. The first 7 months of this year have been extraordinarily busy. I studied courses on political science of the European Union. I wrote a 100-page thesis on female entrepreneurship (find the results of my research here). And I launched this blog one month ago! In my spare time, I have been re-watching old TV shows and listening to podcasts. Books were not part of the program.
Now, August is approaching, and with it comes the beach, holidays and rest. So this month, I’m challenging myself to read a little bit every day and see how many books I can finish by September.
The challenge: read 1 book per week
There are 4 full weeks in August, so I have decided to read 4 books! Here are the chosen ones:
– “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer: the book was recommended by my favorite blog, cupofjo.com. Of course, it means that I ordered it a couple of weeks ago but never opened it. “Less” was published last year, received a Pulitzer Prize, and is supposed to be hilarious, so I’m excited to finally read it.
– “Am I There Yet?” by Mari Andrew: this is a graphic novel made by Instagram artist @bymariandrew. I have been in love with her drawings for a while now because they are incredibly honest, funny and relatable. Her book is about “the loop-de-loop, zigzagging journey to adulthood” and filled with wonderful art and stories.
– “Mom & Me & Mom” by Maya Angelou: the book is a classic of literature, depicting the legendary author’s relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter. I truly cannot wait to dive into Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life.
– “The Argonauts” by Maggie Nelson: I have been meaning to read this book for a while now, as it is considered to be one of the most important novels on the topic of LGBTQ rights and gender theory.
The advice: how to make it happen
I have been researching tips and tricks online to prepare for the challenge. My first finding is: there are no tricks. To read more, you actually have to sit down, grab a book, and get to it. However, there are a few things that you can do to improve the number of books you read:
#1 – Bring a book everywhere you go: most of us will try to open a book in the evening, but it’s hard to find time. To read more, you shouldn’t try to make space in your packed schedule. After coming home from work, doing groceries and cooking dinner, it can feel exhausting to add one more activity. Instead, carry a book at all times and open it as soon as you have a second, the same way you’d check your phone. I found this advice in 2015, and it allowed me to read all five “A Song of Ice and Fire” books in two months (that’s 1,8 million words!). Lesson learned: we definitely have more time than we think.
#2 – Buy the book immediately: books are cheaper today than ever before, but they aren’t free. Reading a lot can become expensive – however, if you have the budget, I would recommend that you buy the book as soon as you are thinking about reading it. Don’t plan to read it in a month or “as soon as you’ve got time”. Lesson learned: owning the book will give you more incentive to actually open it.
#3 – Read books that you actually enjoy: looking back at times when I wasn’t reading often, I always had a book opened in my nightstand. I would start it, hate it, and never pick it up again. To read more, you must accept that it’s okay to quit. If you are not loving a book, switch with one that you’d enjoy. Lesson learned: there’s no reason to feel guilty because you haven’t finished a book.
Who wants to try this along with me? Do you already have books planned for the summer? I would love to hear.