I Read 121 Books This Year and These are the Ones I Recommend

Every year I set New Year’s resolutions. And every year I usually only stick to one. This year I actually completed two of my resolutions: I ran the Chicago Marathon and I read 115 books. Not to brag, but I actually read 121 books.

Every time I tell people how many books I read they always say to me, “I could never read that much!” And every time I roll my eyes and say, “Yes, you can.” I did a blog post last year recapping the books I read in 2014 that I liked so I won’t repeat my advice on finding time to read, but you can read it yourself if you’re in the mood for unsolicited advice.

But I do think people should read more. I don’t really give a crap what you read (God knows I read enough trash), but you should read more. Here are ways to find some good books to read:

  • Join Goodreads. The site will recommend books for you based on ratings you give to books you already read. Or you can just browse genre sections and see what’s new or popular. Plus, it has a very active community, so there are always a bunch of reviews and ratings.
  • Follow a book blog. Find a genre you like and research the blogs. It’s crazy how many extremely active book blogs there are.
  • The NPR book concierge is a fantastic interactive tool to help you narrow down to a book that’s just right for you.
  • What Should I Read Next? It’s a pretty simple website where you can just type in an author’s name or a book title and a whole list will populate.
  • Go to an actual brick and mortar bookstore. I’m completely guilty of not doing this enough. I order almost all my books online or get them on my Nook. Even if you don’t want to ask the staff what they would recommend, I say just browse the shelves, take a peek at something that looks good, judge a book by its cover. I once had a date at a bookstore, and it was a blast, so there’s that option if you are dating a reader.

Now onto the list, shall we? Read more

I Read 111 Books in 2014 and These Are the Ones I Recommend

The one, of about five New Year’s resolutions, which I actually fulfilled is to read 100 books in 2014. No, I didn’t continue to eat gluten, vegan, and clean throughout the year (that lasted about a month). No, I did not get down to my goal weight (Maybe this year!).

But I settled myself into bed every night with a book and read through page after page until I reached my goal. I actually read 111 books, not to brag or anything.

Before I get into the books I will recommend, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to read more books this year. Because nine times out of 10, when I tell people I read 100 books this past year I will get the response, “I never could read that much!” Oh contraire, my friend. Yes, you freaking can read more!

Here’s how:

  1. Bring a book with you. Everywhere. Yes, everywhere. I don’t care if you’re only on the bus for seven minutes, bring a book. Sitting around waiting for your boyfriend or girlfriend to finish getting read? Read a couple pages. Read during lunch. Read while you are waiting for your date at the bar. Just read, dammit!
  2. Read before bed. Even if you’re the type who falls asleep within three minutes of hitting the hay, read a book for those three minutes. Or go to bed 15 minutes sooner to read in those 15 minutes. Do you sense a theme here? Just read, dammit!
  3. Get an e-reader. I have found that ever since I bought my Nook I have blown through books. It’s easier to pull out and read in public places. A 500-page hardcover book is just plain annoying to lug around and read on the subway. On an e-reader? Not as big of a deal. Plus, e-books are cheaper.
  4. Read what you want to read. That 600-page tome by the crusty old fiction writer may be all the rage in the literary community, but if it’s not your cup of tea, then don’t read it. People ask me all the time what I’m reading, and guess what? I’m not telling them because half the time it’s a chick lit romance book or a young adult dystopian novel that I’m a little embarrassed to be reading. That’s what I like and that’s what I’m going to read. So just read what you want to read, dammit!

Alright, now that you have my unsolicited advice on how to read more in 2015, here are the books I read in 2014 that I recommend. Read more