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I read 12 books in 2019, and you can do the same in 2020.
Sound like too few? Probably.
But being the crazy year that it was—becoming a new mom, being a stay-at-home housekeeper, starting a business. and making time to care for family and friends—this was the best I could do, and I am proud of it.
By January 2020, I will have managed to read over 14 books (a little more than one per month), and I want to encourage you to do so.
Bill Gates reads 12 each week (or so) but I don’t want you to get discouraged knowing that, because reading 12 books per week can be overwhelming. Instead, I want you to read not because you know it’s good for you, but because you love words, stories, growth, and depth. I want you to start with one. I want you to fall in love with it. I want you to make time to go to the book shop (used store or digital) and wonder which one you’ll choose next. I want you to make reading a whole experience you look forward to.
And so, if you want to read 12 or more books in 2020, follow this advice:
All genres are valid. Like our taste in clothing, books come in different sizes and colors. I want you to find and be honest about the genres you love and choose your first book based on your deep personal likes. Not on what everyone is reading, or on what would look more “intellectual” or whatever. Romance? Action? Suspense? Young adult? Go for it. I decided to re-read all seven books in the Harry Potter series 20 years after reading them the first time. And let me tell you this, I am as hooked as I was 20 years ago!
It’s okay if you don’t finish a book. Don’t force it. Honestly, if you are halfway through and it just doesn’t make you want to go grab it, leave it. You might get back to it when you’re ready or you might never—it’s okay. If you find you’ve done this with the past three books, check the genre you’re reading again and adjust accordingly. Give yourself grace. Reading is a habit and it takes time, patience, and commitment to grow.
Buying is not the same as reading. I am more an avid buyer of books than I am a reader. I buy three books and read one, literally. But I have come to accept that side of myself and have started a pretty rad collection of books. I choose those that most intrigue me first and pile the rest for later. Learn from me: you may want to read them all, yes, but better to choose only the books you’ll have the time to properly invest in.
Only two books at a time max. I’ve tried to read over four books at once. All that happened was that I became really disappointed because I felt like I couldn’t get it done. Trying to read too many can be too overwhelming, so don’t set up yourself for failure. Try one or even two if the genres are different—but no more than that. For example, while I’m currently reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, I am also reading Melinda Gates’ The Moment of Lift, which are two completely different pieces of literature.
Say hello to audio books. Audible became one of my most used apps this year. I discovered how different it is to listen to a book than read one and I appreciated both methods. When you spend a lifetime in your car going places and podcasts just don’t cut it, I suggest you try audio books. I have found my imagination runs wild when listening to books rather than reading them, and I love how I have discovered different ways to be fully immersed in the current book. Try both, and find out which genre you prefer to listen to and which you prefer to read.
Take a healthy break from social media. I deleted Instagram and Facebook from my phone about a week ago. It all just felt like too much. I have lost hours and hours on mindless scrolling and I have been wasting precious time I should’ve been spending with a book in my hands. Be mindful of the time you give to social media and the number of neurons you’re willing to sacrifice for it. I have found that spending time on apps such as Audible, Goodreads, and Kindle make me feel way more purposeful and useful.
Make it part of your daily schedule. No matter how busy life gets (trust me I know), squeeze in your half hour of reading per day, just like we make sure to squeeze in mealtimes. Choose a moment during the day when you have the time, patience, and space to read 30 to 60 minutes straight. That is all it takes. You’ll see how the books fly into and out of your hands.
Reading is, by far, one of the best ways to spend our lives. It nurtures us, teaches us, and makes us a bit more human, one book at a time. Make 2020 a year of reading books, traveling to places in your imagination, connecting with people through the pages, and being part of wild and magical stories.
Bonus recommendation list—here’s the list of books I read or heard on Audible in 2019.
>> Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
>> The Essential Oils Hormone Solution by Dr. Mariza Snyder
>> Wolfpack by Abby Wambach
>> Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
>> Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
>> Super Attractor by Gabrielle Bernstein
>> On Being Human by Jennifer Pastiloff
>> Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
>> Educated by Tara Westover
>> The Beautiful No by Sheri Salata
>> A Return To Love by Marianne Williamson
>> The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek