It’s no secret that I love to read. People have heard I read an average of 150 books a year and have one of two reactions. They either don’t believe me or immediately decide they could never do that. Well, would it change your mind if I told you I did not start out that way? How about if I told you I have a very specific plan in place that I have acquired through massive trial and error experiences. The first year I began trying to purposefully read through books, I read about 12. Then, that number grew as I learned what did and did not work for me. Now, reading has become a major part of my life and has become more than a joy but has even caused me to want to become a writer some day.
Whether or not that happens to you, it is so important to be a life long reader. The book really is better than the movie and there is so much to be learned from the great books that are out there.
If you are planning to tackle those reading goals this year, here are a few things I think about when planning my reading schedule for the upcoming year.
1. How many am I going to read this coming year?
For the first few years, my goals were very simple and straightforward. I would try to read one book a month. Many of us have started more than 12 books in a year but few of us actually finish them. Think of a number you think you read in a month then start there. Thinking about the whole year might be a little too daunting. Start small. It will grow overtime. There’s nothing wrong with planning low then having to increase that number through the year.
2. What am I going to read?
When I first started reading, I thought I was going to read every ‘self-help’ book I could get my hands on, which made for a very hard list. Leadership books and the like are great books but can be hard to get through after you have already read three or four others. I have started a process of alternating fiction and non-fiction books. Fiction could be just about anything from a mystery to historical fiction. Then, I will read non-fiction which could range from a leadership book to a spiritual book to a biography of a great person in history. This keeps me ready and excited for the next book.
When it comes to specifically naming which books you will read, you do not have to go far to find great opportunities. Books already on your shelves, friends recommendations, and favorite authors are already good places to start building your list. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Non-fiction: Anything by Mark Batterson, biographies on Abraham Lincoln, books about famous moments in history, anything by John Maxwell, anything by Andy Stanley
Fiction: The ‘Killing Series’ by Bill O’Reilly (historical fiction), The Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, Treasure Island, Don Quixote
3. When am I going to read?
We’ve all heard the old phrase, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” One of the greatest things I did was to plan a time to read. For me, reading right before bed worked out really well. It helped me slowly calm my mind down and focus. It is also a good idea to plan how many pages you are going to read. I usually shoot for one chapter per sitting and that tends to work well. It’s worth saying that I have noticed there is a lot of noticed time during the day to read. You can read while waiting in line, in the elevator, etc. Using a mobile device app like Kindle or iBooks creates a lot of options.
4. Where am I going to acquire my books?
Check your own book shelf first.
Ask friends to borrow their favorite book.
www.goodreads.com (website to find book suggestions)
5. Make a detailed list.
When I first starting ‘reading on purpose’ I noticed two things begin to happen often. The first was if I really liked a book, I would search out and read all I could find by that author or in tha genre. The result was not really getting a lot of diversity. Soon, I would be tired of the genre or run out of books by that author. The second thing would be if I did not like the book. I would get out of the habit to read and not be very excited about what was coming next. The way I found to be balanced was to plan out my books in advance. I plan at least 10 books in advance. That way I know what is coming but it is not so far that I have to wait a long time to add a new book.
This is what my schedule looks like. What about yours? Is there a book you are looking forward to reading this coming year? Is there a book you read every year? Let me know.