Back in May, I recapped what it was like to read 50 books in five months. I had set a goal of reading 100 books in 2019, which I thought was quite ambitious. When I reached 50 books in May, I figured I’d still need until December to reach my goal of 100. I should have known that by October 27th, I’d be done with Book 100!
I won’t talk about all 100 books in this blog post, so if you’re curious for the full list, you can peruse it (along with mini-reviews!) right here. As I’ve talked about this reading challenge with friends, family, and strangers, I’ve gotten tons of questions. Today I’m going to share the answers to the three most common ones:
How do you read so much?!
As I’ve mentioned before, reading is my main hobby. I spend 1-2 hours per day reading, usually in the evenings. Sometimes I’ll also squeeze in a chapter over breakfast or lunch. I’ve had a lot of work on my plate this fall and have had to do work in the evenings sometimes, and losing the opportunity to read always throws me off. I lose my chance to recharge, and go into the next day feeling more exhausted than if I had picked up a book for half an hour and done less work.
I always keep a book with me. I carry a large purse, and half the reason is so I can ensure that I have a book on me at all times. You never know when you’ll have a chance to sneak in a few minutes of reading! It definitely beats staring at Twitter for 10 minutes while you’re waiting for your coffee meeting.
This year, I’m proud of myself for getting better at moving on from books I don’t like. I used to senselessly plough through them, feeling like I couldn’t let a book “beat me.” What kind of ridiculous mentality is that? There were at least two books I picked up this year that I hated and allowed myself to move on from quickly. That’s a win!
Being more intentional with my reading also helped me to be more excited about my next read. I was never picking up something random from my shelf solely because I owned it and had never read it, and felt obligated to do so. Diversifying my reading list had me enthusiastic about each new book I started.
My final tip for reading more: always have your next book lined up. If you finish a book and have nowhere to go next, you may stall for awhile, let a few weeks go by, and not even realize it before you move on to the next book. I have a large TBR (to be read) pile next to my reading chair, a mix of library books and things I own. I always know what’s up next after I finish my current read.
What have you learned?
I’ve learned not to prejudge books based on their genre. For years, I gravitated towards literary fiction, often books of a slightly pretentious variety. I was an English major in college, what can I say? This year, I found myself reaching for YA books, and I loved them! There are tons of amazing books out there by YA authors. I read a few romance novels that entertained me, another genre I had previously deemed not worthy of my time (how snobby of past me!). I read celebrity memoirs and didn’t feel guilty for grabbing one of those instead of a “classic.” We should read what we want, and not what we feel obligated to read!
Bestsellers aren’t necessarily the best. Some are well worth the hype, like JVN’s memoir, but others just aren’t. It’s okay to read with a critical lens and not fall in love with the book that everyone’s talking about! (Looking at you, Three Women. And The Bookish Life of Nina Hill. And a few others.)
Following authors on social media is a great way to stay engaged. I love following Elizabeth Acevedo, Angie Thomas, Hanif Abdurraqib, Celeste Ng, Roselle Lim, Casey McQuiston, Mason Deaver, and so many others. You can learn tidbits about their books and writing process and be among the first to know when a new book is coming out!
Talking about reading is pretty awesome. I shared my whole reading journey on social with #emilys100books2019, and it started so many great conversations, both online and IRL. I love learning what others are reading and hearing their thoughts on books we’ve both read. It’s a fun way to connect with people.
Which one was your favorite?
Come on! How’s a girl supposed to pick a favorite out of 100 books?!
To answer this question, I’ve compiled a list of the Top 10. Even narrowing it down to 10 is painful, but here they are, in no particular order:
Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest by Hanif Abdurraqib
The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers
Heavy by Kiese Laymon
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Good Talk by Mira Jacob
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Very Nice by Marcy Dermansky
Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Once More We Saw Stars by Jayson Greene
Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
And of course, I had to select a handful of runners up: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, and Over the Top by Jonathan Van Ness. FYI, the links to each of these books are Amazon affiliate links, and if you purchase one, I’ll receive a small commission 😊
Thanks for following along with my 2019 reads! I’ll circle back in December and provide an update on what the final count ends up being for the year.
What have some of your favorite reads been this year? I’d love to hear them! Tweet me at @servemethesky.