Wednesday, January 7, 2015

52 books in 52 weeks

I am not making a lot of resolutions this year. Actually, I am trying to keep it to just two or three things that I want to work on. One of those is reading more, way more. I decided to take the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge because I thought it would give me both an incentive to spend more time reading and a clear goal to work towards. My usual reading rate is about a book, maybe two, per month - so this will be a lot more reading, but really, what a fun challenge! I am excited about it already.

To succeed in this challenge, I need to find more time to read, because my usual twenty minutes before bed just won't cut it.  Of course, there aren't exactly loads of empty hours staring me in the face at this point in my life, so I had to be creative in my planning.

Some of my ideas for this challenge...

* Take my book along with me everywhere. This is something I am not too good at now. I spend quite a bit of time waiting at children's classes and appointments and I usually do not bring along anything except my phone. And you all know what a time suck that can be. Even though I am not on Facebook or Instagram or anything like that, I can always manage to waste perfectly good time poking around on my phone while waiting for someone to finish up. That's a lot of good reading time!  So I'll be keeping the phone in my bag and my book on my lap as much as possible. 

* Read a book in the evening instead of the newspaper.  After the kids are in bed I usually read the newspaper for twenty minutes or so, then we often watch a show or movie. I am going to read a book for those twenty minutes instead. I can read the paper at another point in the day - it isn't exactly a relaxing read before bed anyhow. I also read for twenty minutes in bed (or until I start falling asleep over the page!).

* Bring my book downstairs with me each morning. My current book is usually stationary on my nightstand, except for before-bed reading. I have been trying to remember to bring it downstairs with me each morning. A book is much easier to grab on the way out the door if it's sitting right there.  Sometimes  I even find a few minutes here and there during the day to read a bit, though not very often! Those rare minutes really do add up though, and seeing my book throughout the day encourages me to seize them whenever possible.

* Don't stress about finishing a book a week.  I do not want to feel like a failure every Saturday if I still have 100 pages to finish, so I have already decided not to have a strict one book a week goal. I am aiming for 52 books over the course of the year, knowing that some weeks I will read a whole book, other weeks maybe I will fit in two quick reads or only half a book, and on vacation I might read several books. I am hoping it will all balance out by year's end.

* Divide up the pages. Even though I don't want to commit to finishing a book in exactly a week, I do like to have an idea of how many pages I should aim for each day.  I divide the total number of pages by seven to find my target daily goal. Sometimes I use a second bookmark in my book, placed just after the target number of pages, to encourage me to keep reading.

* Count some of our read-alouds.  As a homeschooling mom, I spend a lot of time reading aloud with the kids. I will definitely count some of that towards my goal, which will help a lot. My rule is that if the book is geared towards tweenagers and up, I will count it. I will also count classics that can be read by a wide range of ages (like Alice in Wonderland).   I will not count picture books or the shorter chapter books I read with Rose.

* Vary the length of the books. My first book is Cutting for Stone, which is about 650 pages, but I am kind of cheating with that one because much of it was read in December of what is now last year. I like to have a nonfiction book going at the same time as my novel, and often those are much quicker reads, so that will help. I also plan to mix in shorter books from time to time to keep my momentum going.

* Set up a Goodreads account. Grace loves her Goodreads account and always finds lots of new reading inspiration there.   She tells me I can track my reading goal there too, but I have not tried that yet. I do enjoy the newsletter I subscribed to when I signed up; it is full of good reading suggestions. The reading suggestions you get when you rate other books are also very cool.

* Plan ahead. I am going to look ahead and have my next three or four books planned to be sure they are actually in the house instead of at the library when I need them! That's my current pile in the photo way at the top.

I am excited about reading all of them and seeing how close I can get to my goal. I think this is the most fun New Year's resolution I have come up with in a long time!

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