In January, I set a goal of reading 60 books over the course of the year, and I’ve just updated the reading log. The result: I can only account for 32 completed books (cover to cover) out of 47 being read. I could give myself the leeway and include coffee table, cookbooks, DIY/instructional books, books that I don’t remember reading and have no record of – but I won’t.
Overall, I’m glad that I’ve been persistent with the reading, but the results show that my method needs some tweaking.
I am a bit disappointed that I am still reading more than 30% of the books I have started. It is not unlike me to start books and then take two years to finish them, but it is also not a helpful approach when it comes to trying to FINISH books.
As a result, I am determined to change my reading framework so I can meet the goal next year (still 60), as well as throw in some audiobooks to help me get through even more volumes of text.
Tweaks I am going to make for 2017:
- Have scheduled reading times.
- Listen to a minimum of two audiobooks a month.
- Only read for enjoyment and consign any intentional learning to audiobooks.
- Make 25% of the reading list short books.
- Plan reading lists by topic of deep interest.
Have scheduled reading times
I have a monkey mind, and mine is a particularly attention deficit chimp. I read six to fifteen books at a time, and unless the book really grips me, I’m usually reading a few pages and then moving on to the next book, and the next, and often in one sitting. A fault of the Kindle. I’ve got to train myself to sit and read one book at a time.
Listen to a minimum of 2 audiobooks a month
I used to think audiobooks were cheating, then I saw the error of my ways and realized it is a darn good way to get through the knowledge books I just don’t have time to read, but should. There are a lot of light fiction (i.e. le Carré), science (physics, biology) and history books (history of cities) that I’d love to read but don’t find myself in the frame of mind to do so. Also, since I am making the return to training, I might as well kill two birds with one workout.
Only read for enjoyment
A continuation of the point above. I’m not going to torture myself working through text which I feel I should read but struggle to enjoy. Life is too short. If I feel it important to absorb, I’ll find another, less painstaking way to do it. Audio and film/television adaptations.
Make 25% of the list short books
Penguin and Faber have an amazing selection. And I am still looking for quality, not quantity. And I don’t have time to read 60 x 400-page books. Sapiens is an amazing book, but I couldn’t work through that in three months. I’m so slow when it comes to reading. I have considered speed reading by I enjoy grazing words. That is why I read. Sprinting seems to take the joy out of the walk.
Plan the reading list by genre
I think this is where I could most benefit. There are definitely topics that I am consistently interested in, but don’t immerse myself in enough text simply because I get distracted by books that are driven by media conversation. I have said this before: book marketing works on people like me. So I need to create some categories that I consciously and purposely fill.
My three great reads this year:
- Think Like An Engineer: Inside the Minds that are Changing Our Lives by Guru Madhavan
- The Road Home: Buddhism for the 21st Century by Ethan Nichtern
- Invisible Planets: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation by Ken Liu