As you may know if you read my 2017 resolutions post, there was one particular resolution that was pretty aggressive: I want to read 50 books this year. In practice, that means I need to finish one book a week Every. Single. Week. Of. 2017. (and then I can have two weeks off!) While I was scared of this goal at first, I have to say that two months in I’m having a blast rediscovering reading. And I'm already learning some important lessons.
How to Track a Reading Goal in a Motivating Way
Since I’m using my first official bullet journal this year, I originally thought that I’d make a page of books and add to the page every time I finished one to track my progress. However, I noticed that my reading page wasn’t necessarily motivating me to add books. (What is the bullet journal going to do, tell me that I’m getting behind on tracking? Nope.)
I’ve had Goodreads for a long time, but until now, I’ve never used it to track a reading goal. Let me just say, I was missing out. Goodreads allows you to define how many books you want to read in a given time period and keeps track of every book you are currently reading, what you want to read in the future and the books you've completed. It shows your reading goal as both a number (I’ve somehow already completed 13 books out of 50, not sure how that happened…) and as a percentage (I’m 26% done with my reading goal, and at this point in the year I’m 5 books ahead of schedule.)
For all my avid reading friends out there, I've added my Goodreads reading list to the blog under my Twitter and Instagram feeds so you can see the books I’m reading and keep up with how I'm doing on my 2017 reading goal!
How to Quit Book Shaming
“You should be reading more nonfiction.” "If you want to go to graduate school someday, you need to get used to reading nonfiction exclusively." “Look at your Goodreads, it is completely dominated by Sarah Maas... at least try to throw some politics or economics in there to break it up.” (Side note: I’m on a Sarah J. Maas kick).
WHERE DID I GET THE IDEA THAT I NEED TO PRIORITIZE READING NONFICTION OVER FICTION? (Business school? Maybe that was it...)
Honestly, I have no idea why I book shame myself about reading too much fiction (as if there were such a thing). As all my readers out there know, fiction is fantastic. It’s inspiring, complex, forces you to use your imagination and sparks creativity. I particularly love dystopian fiction, which I like to think of as a thought experiment… it is interesting to see how other people handle the type of “what if” scenarios that are fleshed out in dystopian novels.
That being said, nonfiction is also fantastic. Reading nonfiction helps me develop an understanding of my favorite subjects that I wouldn’t be able to develop otherwise. Since I'm interested in the way that people's backgrounds and experiences shape their lives, I also particularly love reading memoirs.
My advice (which is as much targeted towards myself as anyone else): read whatever is making you turn the pages right now. If that’s fiction, be on a fiction kick. If that is nonfiction, also awesome. At least you are reading!
Using New Tools
The world I was born into at the beginning of the 90's has been changed by technology in virtually every way, and reading is no exception. Aside from awesome tracking and discovery tools like Goodreads, accessing and consuming written content is easier than it has ever been in my lifetime. I can listen to books literally anywhere in the world using Audible. I also never leave for a trip without my Kindle Paperwhite, which has completely replaced the stack of books I used to have to find a way to fit in my bag.
With improvements and new ideas coming out all the time to make reading easier, I'm convinced that now is as good a time as any to be rediscovering reading!
Do you have a personal reading challenge in 2017? Read any good fiction or nonfiction lately? Feel free to share in the comments!