What I Learned Reading 100 Books in a Year
I read more books last year than I have in my life! My original goal was 65, but when I hit that in August, I figured I’d keep the momentum going and try to get to 100. (Ended with 102!). My former PR was 60, so it got me thinking about what was different this year. I thought I’d write a post about what I learned in reading 100 books last year. And hopefully- if your goal is to read more books this year this will help you, too!
1. Audiobooks are the best! I listened to so many audiobooks this year- 31 total. I get a lot of audiobooks from Libby (through my library) but also pay for a Scribd account and occasionally visit Libro.fm to purchase an audiobook from my favorite independent bookstore or Audible. My favorite audiobook recommendations are here. Also- audiobooks totally count. Reading is reading…
2. ... But not every book is good on audio. The narrator really, really, matters. Ari Fliakos and Will Patton are two of my favorite narrators and AudioFile has a great list of their top narrators. One of my biggest pet peeves is when an author who does not have the narration chops narrates their own audiobook. It can really ruin the experience for me (The Secret History and The Library Book come to mind).
3. E-books are the key to me reading fast. I think it helps not to know how many pages are left- my attention is held and I stay in the moment. I also have the Kindle app on my phone, so I’m never without a book. I do have a physical Kindle and love it- I have the Paperwhite.
4. I found a lot of fantastic new books this year! I read a lot of new-to-me authors (Tayari Jones, Chiamanda Ngoche Adiche, Kristin Hannah, discovered debut authors (Delia Owens, Tommy Orange) and revisited some favorites (Ruth Ware, Jane Harper, Lisa Jewell)). I ended with an average rating of 3.97. That said, after 100 books…
5. I’ve forgotten a lot of the specifics. I called An American Marriage my favorite book from 2018 but since I read it in January 2018 it feels like years ago. I need to re-read.
6. After I decided to get to 100, I found myself forcing myself to finish books that were fine but nothing special, just so I could add it to my "count". I rarely did not finish (DNF) books as it is, but when I was trying to get to 100 it started to feel like a chore.
7. Novellas count! I’ve only read a couple of novellas in my life, but they were a nice way to up that number count without a ton of pages. The only novella I read this year was Elevation by Stephen King. It was a nice story, but well, short. I don’t know that I’m a short story/ novella kind of girl. I like character/world/plot building, and when a story is too short I feel cheated.
8. At a certain point, It did start to get hard to pick out what I should read next. I was overthinking things. I wanted to get some “buzzy” books from 2018 under my belt but everything I picked up felt too long, too dense, or otherwise not right in the moment. That’s when I said forget the goal and started to pick up what some of my best recommendation sources were calling their favorites- Educated, The Great Alone, Where the Crawdads Sing. Even though these books weren’t short- I tore through them in a few days. Lesson learned- read what you like and the numbers will come.
9. At the beginning of 2018 I sought to finish the Modern Mrs. Darcy and Book Riot Read Harder Challenges. But I found that for me, it’s one or the other. Either I had to go for volume or for content. This year I'm shooting to read 85 or so books but to also finish some challenges. I’ll be tracking my progress here.
10. Take notes! 100 books is a lot. I’m still experimenting with my favorite note taking app (have been using Evernote the most, but also use Skribal and notes in Kindle).
Ok ok- putting the 2018 wrapup to bed now. Onwad!
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