3 tips to read more books

I’ve always been an avid reader but this year my reading has increased exponentially. I’ve religiously tracked my reading on Goodreads since 2016 and noticed my reading volume has doubled since the start of the year. Here’s my book counts as of June 1 over four years. Note that the spike in 2019 isn’t due to reading shorter books. I’ve already read more pages in 2019 than I did for all of 2018!

Here’s a few ways I’ve kicked up my reading volume in 2019:

  1. I always have a book available to read. Sometimes I carry a physical book, which is my preferred format. Even better, late last year I downloaded Libby on my phone, which means I can instantly check out books on my phone from the New York Public Library.
  2. Reading is my go-to downtime activity. I don’t have a TV and my guitar is getting dusty. In the past, when I had a few moments free I’d sometime read an article online or clean up my email. Now I go directly to a book. Those little moments here and there add up.
  3. Track! YMMV but I really enjoy tracking and reviewing the books I read. Goodreads is my go-to social media.

Here’s my year in books for 2019. Feel free to follow me on Goodreads if you use it!

*Photo of my sister Autumn at a bookstore in Reykjavik, Iceland during our November 2017 trip.

Striving for Essentialism

I’ve kicked off 2016 with a lot of reading, mostly fiction. (So far, Brooklyn by Colm Toibin, The Martian by Andy Weir and now Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It’s strictly coincidence I’m reading all books turned movies so far this year.) I love reading, but when reflecting back on 2015 I can only think of a single book that has really stuck with me: Essentialism by Greg McKeown.

Essentialism takes a different approach to lifehacking. Rather than trying to eke more productivity of out each day, an essentialist intentionally chooses less. Fewer to-dos, fewer commitments. I’m an optimist by nature, and I can’t help but say “YES!” to nearly every juicy opportunity that comes my way. But McKeown advises being wildly protective over your time. Unless you feel like an opportunity is a 9/10, you should say no.

It’s timely to reflect on this book at the end of January, just as my resolutions are feeling a little stale. Especially the diagram of going in a million directions versus one. ¬†When we have a lot of projects or too many priorities (a contradiction in itself), we fail to make meaningful progress on any one area. I kicked off 2016 with this ideal in mind. If I’m going to be bold and aim high, I am better off choosing one thing and applying steady focus.

Next up in self-help/pseudo-business book reading is Deep Work by Cal Newport. I’m curious to see how well the ideas of Essentialism link to Deep Work. This year could lead to more singularly focused, deep working existence for me… Seems monk-like. I like it.