I love reading and currently consume about three to five books per month.
Whenever someone publishes an article about how to read more books, I click it right away to see what others do to read more often. However, I’ve noticed the people who write these pieces usually read high numbers of books — as many as ten a month.
I’m going to guess that the reason some people read those articles is that they either want to fall in love with reading again, or they want to become avid readers for the first time in their lives.
While articles that teach you how to read two books a week are fantastic, people who are looking to start (or start again) should aim for a lower goal — like two books a month. This way, you avoid feeling overwhelmed. Plus, it’s a habit you can build up over time like any other.
Once you start getting used to reading two books a month, then you can move up to three, four, five, and more (if you want) over the months and years.
So, for now, here’s how you can read two books every month no matter what.
1. If You Don’t Have Time, Make Time
The main reason people say they don’t read is that they don’t have time. If you want to read two books a month though, you have to make and find the time.
Here are a few ways in which you can do exactly that:
Don’t work after a time of your choice
I work from home, so at eight o’clock (seven, if I work out) I stop working. It doesn’t matter what I’m working on because I should’ve gotten my priorities finished anyway.
This is when I read. If I want to watch a show or do anything else, it comes after reading.
Listen to an audiobook
You can buy an audiobook, or check one out from the eBook library, Libby (you need a library card for this), and listen to it any chance you get. When you’re driving to work or back home after dropping off the kids, while you do the laundry, or walk to the corner to get lunch.
Take breaks from work
You’re supposed to be taking breaks anyway, so use them as an excuse to read. You can set a goal to read three pages every hour or to read for fifteen minutes every hour and a half. This is for you to figure out and follow through with.
Dedicate time to reading
You can always block time out for reading. For thirty-minuets to an hour, specify at what time you’ll read every day, whether that’s early in the morning, or before you go to bed.
Instead of using social media, read
Social media is the reason people lose chunks of time. Those few minutes you spend on it, however, add up. Instead of opening Twitter or Instagram, grab your book.
2. Choose Your Two Books in Advance
In the next point, we’re going to talk about setting daily reading goals and figuring out when you need to start and finish your books, so you can’t skip this step.
If you know what books you‘ll to read in advance, it’ll save you the hassle of wondering what you’re going to read later. If you can’t buy books, go to the library (or a thrift shop, since they’re cheaper there.)
The key is to get books that you’ll actually like.
If you don’t know what you like, check out different genres and styles. Get a young adult book, poetry, and then some Stephen King — because you can never go wrong with Stephen King.
If you get books at the library, don’t just get two — grab at least four. This way, if you check out a book you thought you were going to like but end up finding boring, you let it go and move on to another.
If you keep reading books you dislike because you don’t want to give it up, reading is going to be a lot more like hell than heaven.
3. Figure Out When You Need to Start and Finish Them/Set a Daily Goal
Since you have your books, you have to figure out when you need to start and finish them and set a daily reading goal.
Let’s say it’s October, and I have two books I want to read. There is:
- Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan (353 pages)
- Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer (267 pages)
This is how I would break down my reading goals.
There are thirty-one days in October, and half of that is about fifteen days, which is how long I have to finish each book.
Next, I’d divide the number of pages per book by the number of days I have to read it. In this case, for Watch Us Rise, that would be 353 ÷ 15, which is twenty-five. That means I have to read twenty-five pages every day for fifteen days (by October 15th) to finish the book.
For Imagine, I would have to read sixteen pages every day since I’d divide 267 by 16 since I have that extra day (the 31st).
This way, you break down the overwhelm you feel when you pick up a new book. You have a game plan, and plans make life easier.
You can always read ahead, but make sure you don’t fall behind! You don’t want to have to catch up later. Write down the dates on a calendar, so you don’t forget.
Sometimes I know a book will take me more, or less, to finish, so I mess around with the dates. For example, I could give myself twenty days to finish Imagine, and eleven days to finish Watch Us Rise since YA books are easier to read.
You can also do this with audiobooks. However, instead of pages, figure out how many hours or minutes you have to listen to every day.
4. If You’re Reading a Long Book, Read More Than One at a Time
In November and December of 2018, I read the unabridged version of The Stand by Stephen King. It has 1,152 pages. I could never finish a book like that in a few weeks, and I had to read other books to achieve my goal.
So, I read smaller books in between. This way, I didn’t stress over finishing it before needing to begin another. Don’t hesitate to read longer books even if you’re a slow reader like me. Just read shorter books while you tackle those big ones.
I’ll usually read one book early in the day when I take a break, and the other, at night when I stop working.
If you don’t think you can read two books at once, stay away from the huge ones — unless you’re a fast reader or you don’t mind only reading one book that month.
5. Track Your Books
You don’t want to forget how many books you’ve read, so track them. By writing down the books you read, it’ll also motivate you to continue. Seeing the list of books I’ve read always brings a little joy to my soul. Plus, you get to see your growth over the years.
How you track them is up to you. I like to keep it simple. As you can see from the photo on the right below, I write down the title, author, and month I read the book. My sister, who’s an artist, draws the covers of the books she reads.
This is going to be yours for the rest of the year, so get fancy with it — I don’t care. Write down non-fiction books in one color, or the books you loved in another. Just don’t get overwhelmed — keep it simple, like me, if you know you’re going to go crazy.
Every time, you finish a book, write it down. This small step is everything because it gives you that sense of accomplishment that makes you want to continue.
You’ll find that reading two books a month is easy — even if you haven’t read in years.
Break it down and take it one step at a time.
And one more thing? Don’t wait until next month to start. Start today, this week, and read at least one book. Then, next month set the goal to read two books.
And have fun with it! It’s just reading after all.