How to read 50 books (or more) this year

Readers, assemble!

I think we can all agree that the most commonly spewed (and most infuriating) comment from the non-reading community is “Oh, I don’t have time to read.”

It just screams “If you were a productive member of society you would be doing something useful with your time, not dicking about with your nose in a book.”

Yeah well you iron your sheets, we all have issues.

Readers read because we love it. We make time.

I aim to read at least 50 books each year, and I can’t say it’s a big chore. Not just because it’s something I enjoy but because I have a whole series of hacks to help me cram a bit more reading into my days.

And because I want EVERYONE to be a reader, I’m here to share them with you.


  • Keep a book by the couch and read a few pages during ad breaks.
  • Remember that audio books count. I listen to a chapter or two each morning during my dog walks, and then whenever I’m doing time consuming jobs like my accounts, or redecorating. Audible has an amazing range, but they’re a little pricey. I’d recommend starting out with Librivox, a site that offers free audio recordings of all the classics.
  • Set targets. Accountability is a powerful motivator, so each year I set a Goodreads reading target to keep me on track.
  • Keep a book in your handbag. I never, ever go anywhere without something to read. There is nothing more mind numbing than a waiting room – beat that boredom with a great book!
  • Keep another in the bathroom. I like to keep a book of short stories, poetry or essays in the bathroom – enough to keep me entertained while I’m on the loo, but nothing so involved that I accidentally spend hours in there!
  • Embrace the Kindle app. Every single one of us knows that real books are better than eBooks – but eBooks serve a purpose. That app will sync across all your devices making it easy to read a few pages at times when pulling an actual book out would be a bit of a faux pas. Boring staff meetings, anyone?
  • That commute? Read something. Unless you’re driving, of course. That would be a prime example of an audio book moment.
  • Sign up for a reading challenge. Take it from someone who’s faced many a reading rut – the buzz around a reading challenge is the perfect thing to get you started again.
  • Create a reading break ritual. When I worked in an office I was really strict about taking time to switch off from work tasks and read a few chapters over lunch.
  • Add READING to your calendar. Sometimes our time gets filled with dozens of 5 minute tasks – and they end up eating into all our fun time. Block out a regular slot in your diary and guard it fiercely. It doesn’t have to be daily, but an hour every Sunday will make all the difference.
  • Organise your books. I periodically rearrange my book cases (right now everything is grouped together by colour). This reshuffle always reminds me of the great things I have on my shelves, and it usually inspires a bit of a reading sesh.
  • Don’t read books unless you love ’em. I used to be convinced that if I started a book, I had to finish it… but I don’t have enough life left to read all the GOOD books out there, so why would I waste my precious time on naff ones? Also, if it feels like work to read something, it’ll take you forever to wade through every word. Spend time on things you enjoy, otherwise it’s a total waste.
  • Read a chapter before bed. It’s all too tempting to fall asleep in front of Netflix – I know this better than anyone… but those vicious little rays of light play havoc with your quality of sleep.
  • Surround yourself with books. Rummage in the bargain bin outside charity shops. Borrow from the library. Fill up your e-reader with BookBub daily deals. Make sure you always have lots of exciting options lined up for your next read.
  • Trade the usual random articles and blog posts for books. Other than this one of course. We all spend so much time clicking on nonsense – use that time to get lost in a good story instead!
  • Think of reading as self-care. This weekend I spent all of Saturday running errands and cleaning the house, earnin myself an evening of bliss – a long, hot shower, scented candles, a glass of wine and a good book.
  • Use the Pomodoro technique. The Pomodoro technique is one of my favourite productivity tools – the idea is that you work for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. Use those 5 minutes to read a couple of pages.
  • Set up a reading reward system

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