Things That Made My Reading Life Better in 2018
2018 was a big year. I moved (twice!), travelled to Ontario, Mexico, BC, and Saskatoon, worked, tried some things, said no to some things, said yes to other things, and got married! Which meant that a lot of goals this year suffered, but my reading life goals did not suffer - and that is cause for celebration.
In the last two years, my reading life has transformed. I’ve always been an avid and quick reader, but there are a couple of tools, tricks, tips, and people in the last two years that have been an integral part of that transformation, so I thought I’d share what’s working in my reading life in case “reading more” is a part of your 2019 resolution regiment.
Here’s what working in my reading life:
Using Goodreads for all things book tracking and book goal setting. I’m a person who thrives around number goals, so using Goodreads for all of that has been really helpful for tracking purposes. Plus, it’s fun to see what my friends + family are reading, and to read what friends and family have thought of books previously. (Ps. Be my friend on Goodreads!)
Making friends to talk books with. I’m not saying everyone needs to make a bookstagram (an instagram dedicated to books), but having a list of people who to talk to - and who to listen to - when it comes to books and book recommendations. Maybe for you, that looks like joining an in-real life book club, or starting a work book club. Who knows? I will say that two of my respected book friends are Rachel A. Dawson (@alltheradreads on instagram), Ellie Harte (@emhreads on instagram), and @laurenlovestoread - we have similar book tastes, but different enough that I’m still finding new books to read and don’t agree with every review they give.
Having a love affair with my local library. Not everyone has an incredible library like the Edmonton Public Library (humble brag), but I use my local library to the fullest extent. At any given moment, I have 20 books out of the library and 20 books on hold. Falling in love with my library, different library branches, and finding ways to make the library work for my reading life has been a blessing.
Listening to a bookish podcast. Specifically, I listen to What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel. The podcast format is literary matchmaking: a guest comes on, sharing 3 books they love, 1 book that wasn’t for them, and what they’re currently reading. Anne has a really calming voice, and I love hearing what books people love, what books aren’t for them, and why - along with Anne’s excellent suggestions every time. Did this podcast make my “to be read” list enormous? Yes. Do I care? I’m 25 - I have the rest of my life ahead of me to read exceptional books. So, no.
Saying “not for me” or “not right now” with books. I used to think people were silly when they didn’t finish books. “Every book is worth finishing!”, I thought! “I will finish all the books, all the time!” But sometimes, it’s just the right book at the wrong time. And sometimes it’s just not the right book for me. I saved a lot of time this year by saying, “this is just a not for me or not right now book.”
Switching up genres. This year, I made a concentrated effort to read children’s picture books - but I also read some middle grade books, some mystery, some poetry, and some literary fiction. It made a big difference. This is an area I’d really like to do more with in 2019, so stay tuned for genres to come up during my 2019 reading goals!
Knowing my reading tastes. After two years and over 200 books read, here’s what I know: reading a series is how I get out of a reading slump. I prefer fiction written from the first person. My go-to genres are young adult fiction and, well, any type of fiction. I find it easier to read fiction, so I try to read one non-fiction book for every 3-4 fiction books I’m reading. (Easier said than done.) This summer, a friend reached out and felt she had to always read heady, intelligent books, but that wasn’t what she liked. She started reading what she actually liked, and her reading life took off. Spend time finding what you like reading, because life is too short to read crappy books.
At this moment in 2018, I’ve read 111 books. 97 of them were by women and people of colour (big up to Rachel for inspiring me to track that!). I am too lazy to count non fiction, fiction, and poetry, but I definitely didn’t reach my goal of reading 12 books of poetry this year. I also didn’t hit my original goal of 125 books, because getting married put a pause on reading for a month and a half! And I’m feeling really satisfied with my reading life, so I think it will stay the same, with some exceptions.
I’m doing a book goal of 125 books read in 2019.
I want to read plays more, so I’m hoping to read twelve plays (one a month), and I’m hoping this will be more successful than me reading poetry this year. If you have suggestions for what plays to read, let me know - I would love to hear your suggestions. First up: Kim’s Convenience.
Doing a reading challenge - or maybe ALL OF THEM because I’m an enneagram 3 not satisfied with the status quo! The 2019 ones I’ve looked at so far are from Modern Mrs. Darcy, Reading Women, POP! Sugar, and the Read Harder challenge. I might take a bit from each list and make up my own super list, but either way, I’m excited to use this as a guide for reading outside of my usual genres.
Walking to the library. This doesn’t have much to do with books, but I am excited to be living walking distance from a library, and am hoping to walk to the library any time I go, as a way to do more walking and as a way to hopefully not OVERLOAD on library books.
And I think that’s everything! Tell me all about your reading life: what worked in 2018? What are you hoping for more of - or less of - in 2019? What book are you most excited to read in 2019? Do you want to be my book friend? (Please!)