I set a personal goal of reading 50 books this year and finished double my goal.

Included in my list were fiction, non-fiction, personal and work related books, as well as things I just wanted to learn more about.

How I did it:

  • I set a goal in Goodreads and tracked my progress there.
  • Set a reading cadence goal:
    • to read some each week, or each day depending on what my schedule looked like at the time.
  • Liberal use of all tools available to me:
    • physical books
    • library (physical checkouts and online resources such as eBooks and audiobooks)
    • Overdrive
    • SafariBooks
    • Project Gutenberg
    • LibriVox
    • Kindle
    • Audible
  • Always reading a few books at any given time. This is important for me, because sometimes I just do not feel like reading that non-fiction book on work stuff, or I’m really focused on a problem I want to solve and I don’t want to spend time on fiction.
    • This also helped when I was trudging through a work of classic fiction I really wanted to finish, but needed a break from the language or themes for a while.
  • Used multiple formats
    • I often got more than one format of a book so that I could listen to it, read it, and highlight/take notes. This was especially helpful for dense content that doesn’t lend itself to audio.
  • Always had a book with me:
    • If I was stuck in traffic, it was no big deal because I had a audiobook to keep me company.
    • If I was waiting a long time in line, or at the doctor’s office, I saw it as a bonus to get some reading time in.
  • Took notes:
    • Used digital and hard copy notes to track information I knew I would need / use again.
    • Scanned relevant dense pages I wanted to come back to so that I could take notes with a PDF app and Apple Pencil on my iPad.
  • Audiobooks:
    • I listened to audiobooks while driving, exercising, doing housework, or other tasks. Some I download if it’s possible to do so through Overdrive or Audible. Some I get form the library on CD.
    • I often have an audiobook on CD in my car, and one or two loaded on my phone.
  • Cast a wide net:
    • The Columbus Library is absolutely awesome. Whenever I have been away from Columbus, I have missed this great library. So I use it to the max. This is something I’ve done most of my adult life.
      • I search the library for books on a topic I want to learn.
      • Within checkout limits, I check out every book on the topic.
        • I often request additional book purchases from the library as the most recent are not yet purchased by them.
        • I also check networked libraries to see if I can request a copy through this route.
      • I group the books based on aspect (at times I group by size, subtopic, or whether they seem like they will be easier or harder to discern if I want to read them).
      • I weed through each book to determine which would be helpful, which are redundant or not useful and which I might want to have my own copy of for reference.
      • Then I read them.
  • Joined a book club:
    • I joined a book club that met regularly with other readers. Our book club list contained diverse books to expand my reading experience.

Some interesting things happened as a result of my reading that I did not anticipate.

  • For books I read on work topics, I wanted to share them with coworkers- but I know not everyone has the time or interest to dedicate. I could recommend whole books, or certain chapters or pages.
  • I realized that for some books, I just could not digest them in audio format. This has not happened often for me, but if the subject is particularly complicated, or the narrator is (for whatever reason) difficult to listen to, I switched format from audiobook to physical or digital book.
  • For non-fiction books, I found myself finishing a book, and then skimming through it again to take notes if I didn’t take notes as I read it the first time. This definitely contributed to a stronger understanding of the book’s content.

For 2018 I set my goal to 75 150 books and am working towards it every day.