When I was in elementary school, I went to the school library every morning before the bell rang and checked out a new book. I would read it that night, return it the next morning, and repeat. I was the first person ever in first grade to read 100 books at my school (you used to have to read the book at home, and then bring it into school and the teacher would pick a random page and make you read a few sentences to prove you really *could* read it). I was a very, very voracious reader as a child.
Since then, my reading life has basically gone in fits and starts. I did tons of reading in school, and minored in English Lit in college, but I wasn’t choosing many books on my own. My peak was the year I worked at the library – for obvious reasons.
But, at the end of 2016, I started gaining some momentum, after I discovered Maggie Stiefvater through one of my librarian friends. I devoured the Raven Boys series, and to my delight, after finishing Book 3, I found out she was coming to speak at my local library. I signed myself right up, got my books signed, and told Maggie how many hours of sleep I’d lost staying up very late to find out what happened next. Because that’s basically what I was doing – staying up super late 2-3 nights every couple of months to plow through a book. I wasn’t yet back in the habit.
And finally, finally, finally, in 2017, got my groove back. I read 34 books. Now, I know for many bookish people, this is not a big amount. But for someone who’d lost her reading way for a while, this is fantastic for me!
There are a few things that really fueled this revival. Since my biggest issue was figuring out WHAT to read next, I had to find some ways to find new stuff that wasn’t just wandering through a book store. I would recommend all of these to someone who is trying to get back in the habit:
- My husband gave me a new Kindle (with the most beautiful cover) for my birthday. This means I upped my Kindle book consumption, which meant that the book I was reading was also always available on my phone via the Kindle app. I’ve never been great about keeping knitting in my purse, which means when I was at a loose end waiting for something, I was scrolling through my phone. Now that the books I actually want to read are on my phone, I’m making much better use of those spare minutes.
- I started pursuing ideas of what to read. I started listening to the What Should I Read Next? podcast (thanks to my husband). Though not all books recommended here are my taste, I have gotten some really great recommendations out of it. The Golem and the Jinni (which was ABSOLUTELY SPOT-ON PERFECT in every way for me), and The Sun is Also a Star were two books I picked up due to this podcast, and they were definitely stand-outs in my reading year. I also first heard about Louise Penny here, and now I’ve read the first 11 Gamache books (also very good!). I also signed up for BookBub emails, and I’ve picked up several through there. Not all have been winners (there are a couple I abandoned), but I did manage to get the two books mentioned above on a deal through these emails. So… definitely worth it. I also read the “100 Books” lists on Amazon. They have a lot of different categories: books to read in a lifetime, YA books to read in a lifetime, sci fi and fantasy to read in a lifetime, etc.). I believe I found A Darker Shade of Magic on one of these lists (though I can’t find it there now! They must switch it up.), which took me into a 3-book series that I thoroughly enjoyed. Magic AND pirates? Sign me up.
- Reading while traveling. Mr. Snips and I went on a solo vacation (no kiddo) and I cannot tell you how much I plowed through here, including the massive 11/22/63. That’s not always going to be possible, but I have been doing a lot more reading even just in the car, picking up a few minutes here and there while we’re on the way to somewhere else.
So, that’s it! 2017 was finally a really solid reading year for me, when I managed to read consistently through the year. I plan to keep it up in 2018, and up that number even more!
What are you reading this year? I’d love to hear your recommendations!