Total Read Time: 4 Minutes
Is It Possible To Read 52+ Books A Year?
Not only is it possible, I’ve done it more than once. What started as a New Years Resolution grew into a bit of an obsession. I began to look for new ways to ingest books. Audio. Kindle. Good ‘ole Paperbacks. Soon, I began finding useful hacks to make the process easier and to get the most out of my new reading habit. 52+ Books started to look more and more achievable every day.
The first thing I did to motivate myself was to keep track of what I was reading in Excel. What started as a crudely formatted OCD project became an incredibly useful tool to track which books I was reading, and in which genre. It turns out, you learn a lot about yourself when you examine your reading habits in this way. I found out that I love reading Business, History and Biography books above all others. While I love science fiction, it turned out the books I chose to read included fairly few sci-fi novels. Who knew?
If you would like my template, you can download it here for FREE: 52+ Books Template
2. Setting a Goal
The first thing I did when starting this endeavor is set a goal. I figured that my average pages per book would be around 275, so I multiplied that by 52, and rounded up to 14,500 pages. This works out to about 40 pages per day, every day of the year. Not bad! Definitely a lot less scary than saying ‘Read 52+ books, go!’ My 2017 goal of reading 40 pages probably took me an average of an hour a day, mostly because some of the books I read were not the easiest reads. Some books, like Guns, Germs, and Steel, had relatively small print and the number of words per page was high. Others dealt with topics like finance or anatomy, which takes more mental energy to process than fiction. Regardless of which number you choose, make a goal and stick to it.
3. Sticking to Your Goal
If you want to read 52+ books in a year, you have to be consistent. It’s a habit. You need to do it every day. In order to give myself the best chance of accomplishing my goal, I would read a little bit right after waking up. Often I would have 20-30 minutes before work to jump into a book or listen to a chapter from an audiobook. Depending on where you work and how much time you have for lunch, you can also read a bit during that time. I would finish up with another 20-30 minutes after work, many times right before bed. Note: if you’re going to read before bed, I suggest reading a physical book rather than an audiobook or an eBook. I find it easier to sleep if I’m not looking at a screen or listening to someone talk.
4. Audiobooks For The Win
2017 was definitely the year of unlocking the audiobook for me. My county library uses Overdrive, which has a web-based platform and a mobile app, to disseminate audiobook and eBooks to its patrons. It’s completely free and there’s a wide selection at my library, with more than 10,000 options. The Overdrive app itself is very user friendly too! I estimate I saved at least $200 in 2017 alone!
5. Kindle Connection
I normally read more eBooks than I did in 2017 as a percentage of the whole. ‘Reading’ 19 audiobooks detracted from this number. I only read 3 eBooks! As my library continues to grow, however, I am buying more Kindle books and thinning the herd on the shelf. Reading eBooks instead of physical books can be a great option if you’re constantly on the run. Two of the books I read digitally I read on my cell phone using the Kindle app. This was a true savior when sitting in waiting rooms and a boon when trying to hit 52+ books in a year.
6. Crunch Time (The Wall)
If you’re anything like me, you sometimes procrastinate. I found myself in this situation around August of 2017. Many of the books I read up to that point were over 300 pages, some of them very dense. I decided I needed a moral boost to get me past the wall. It was then that I decided to read several classics (many of which tend to be shorter), and an array of business books (which are usually written with colloquial language). Instead of reading 4-5 books in September, I read 10 and I was back on track.
7. Reality Check
Reading 52+ Books in a year can be daunting. It can be even more so when your expectations include you reading large biographies and dense histories. Which is unfortunate, because those are two of my favorite genres. Your mind needs a bit of fluff sometimes. Read a short classic like A Christmas Carol. Read an Agatha Christie mystery like Murder on the Orient Express. There are perfectly viable options to get you to 52+ books without sacrificing quality.
Conclusion: 52+ Books? No Problem.
The most surprising thing about completing this goal is that whether you want to read 52+ books again or not, you come away with something you’ll never lose. Lifelong learning is incredibly important, and reading is a key aspect of learning. Other people have spent years diving deep into their work to produce a distillation of their field of study for others to read. There aren’t many shortcuts in life, but this is one of them. When you read 52+ books in a year for the first time, you realize how much there is to learn and how important it is to continue growing. If you complete this goal, you’ll never lose your ability to absorb information. Whether you read 26 books the next year, or only a few, you’ll find it easy by comparison. You might even long for more.
If reading 52+ books per year sounds interesting to you, join my book club! Share what you’re reading; connect with like minds; find your next great read!