Book Challenge Progress

As far as my book challenge progress goes, I’ve read ten books out of the forty I have listed in my book challenge. Slow going but I have read a total of eighteen books this year (double the amount of books I read last year this time around) so I’m on a roll!

I’ve discarded a few books that have bored me at the first chapter (honestly, if I can’t get past the first chapter, why bother reading it when I have too many other books to read?) therefore the titles have completely been deleted off my list. I’ve already started my reading list for next year but perhaps it’s too soon?

Below, a few tips to complete a reading challenge for yourself:

Ditch your MP3 player

It’s easy to tune out everyone and listen to music on your morning commute which I understand. If you want to really finish that book you’ve been reading for over a month, take a break from your music, leave the mp3 player at home and focus on your book.

My commute is fairly short (50 minutes to and from work) so I would normally listen to some tunes while crossing the Williamsburg bridge. When I committed to completing any book I was reading at the moment, those five minutes waiting on the train platform and those fifteen minutes on the train to my destination piled up which allowed me to read at least a chapter (depending how short) or a quarter of a chapter. Add those minutes up to the commute home? And I’ve read two chapters (or one, again, depending on length) in the day.

I used to listen to my iPod while reading but found myself actively paying attention to the melodies than my story. As much as I like to tune out completely, the soundtrack of screeching train brakes and automated train advisories proved to be less distracting and intrusive.

Carry the book (or e-reader) with you

You have no idea how much time flies when you wait for someone at dinner, lunch, or brunch. Not to mention, your commute to wherever you may socialize as well as work. All those times in between add up to completing the book you’ve been reading since two months ago. You’d be surprised how much quicker the book is read when the work is physically always in plain sight.

Create a goal

Take the time to check in on how many books you want to read for the month or year, execute, and complete. Write it down so you can see it and take mini strides to complete, whether it’s a chapter or half of one; if the intention is there, it will be easier to follow through.

When I look at the book (or books) I’m reading, I commit to completing either a chapter a day, finishing the chapter I started at work during lunch, during my commute, or when I’m in bed. Because completing the book is on my mind all the time, I make that much of an effort to devote my time to reading about another world or someone else’s life.

Compile a “Books to Read” list

Coinciding with my “Read Books I Own” list, the book queue I created has significantly helped me accomplish my goals.

Make a list of books that sound interesting, that you’ve seen a blurb of on a talk show, mentioned in a newspaper article, a friend has mentioned, and so on and commit to reading those books. There doesn’t have to be any particular order or genre (unless you choose it that way), it’s all about the love of reading in an organized fashion.

Join or Organize a Book Club

I have to say, being part of a book club is tons of fun. Not only do you share your love of reading, you get to discuss these books with folks and read genres you may never have thought of reading unless suggested.

In my book club, we’ve read non-fiction, young adult, historical fiction, literary, horror, and books with magic realism. The variety I’ve encountered in close to two years is more than I’ve ever encountered in my reading lifetime. I’m a Stephen King fan so I read everything he’s written. Book club allows me to venture out and explore stories I’d never pick up otherwise.

If you have friends that share your love of literature, organize a book club that chooses a book once a month, then meets at a member’s home or a different locale; whatever works for the book club. I find that hosting makes the members of book club connect not only as book lovers but as friends as well. If you don’t know any book lovers, there are many book clubs on Meetup.com if you plug in your zipcode.

or (for those who like to go it alone)

Track your progress

Pay attention to how long it takes you to read books. I place a sticky on my bookmark with the date I started and space for the date of completion to be aware of my reading stealthiness. When you can gauge how long it normally takes you to finish a story, you can track how many books you will complete by the end of the year and realize that when a book is taking you over six months to finish on your list that’s 300 pages, abandon and move on to the next.

I started The Hobbit three times before I finally physically lost the book. Will I read it? Probably not. Chances are, I’m just that into it no matter how many people love it.

For those with e-readers, I don’t own one so I have no idea what that would look like.

Do What Works For You

At the end of the day, organize your reading habits however you please. These are a few ways that have allowed me to accomplish my reading goals. If not, I don’t know how many books I will have read at this point this year.

Happy Reading!

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