My 2022 reading life has been good but not spectacular.
I’m at 34 books for the year so far. Current reads are Richie Anti-Time Management (a bit out there, but interesting ideas!) and Abby Jimenez’s Life’s Too Short (greatly enjoying).
I’ve read some absolutely fantastic novels, including Lessons in Chemistry and Remarkably Bright Creatures.
But my consistency has been kind of meh, and I haven’t felt as immersed in the reading life as I have in recent years.
I am always shocked at how many books readers like Lisa and Sarah get through! The past few years, I’ve hovered around the 40-50 mark.
An Idea: a reading ‘training plan’ of sorts
I think 60 books in a year would be a fun reach goal for me. Here’s how I would do it:
- One novel every 10 days (so, aim to read at least 10% per day!)
- 2 nonfiction books/month (reading in the morning, aim for ~1/14 each day)
This would be ~36 (365 days / 10) + 24 (12 month * 2) = 60! This sort of reminds me of a race training plan in that there’s a prescribed workout each day and while each day is doable, it all adds up to something bigger.
Here’s what usually trips me up:
- I dislike a book and spend forever reading it (like I’ll pick it up daily, but then get through only 2%!), or just stop reading much at all
- I get in a moooood and gravitate towards more mindless activities.
So I think if I were to employ the above plan, I’d have to force myself to abandon books more often than I currently do. ALSO, I probably would have to steer clear of giant 500+ page epics for the most part (or maybe if a given novel book is over a certain length, I could adjust my expectations and make up for it when books are shorter).
(Admittedly I don’t read that many of those anyway!)
While it is tempting to start this kind of plan in a fresh calendar year, I think I will pilot it now!! I think I will pivot to Taylor Jenkins Reid next . . . excited for this one.
What have been your absolute favorite books so far in 2022?
My favorites this year have been: Lessons in Chemistry, Remarkably Bright Creatures and 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Hmm…similar reading preferences, I see.
I’m reading Carrie Soto right now, and really enjoying it. Taylor Jenkins Reid is such a great author!
I tend to read between 10 and 20 books each month, somehow. I think I manage that by making reading my go to activity… I go to bed early as often as I can and read, when my daughter is happily amusing herself I read, when I know I’m likely to arrive somewhere early I take a book with me.
And I give up on books with no shame or guilt. Life’s too short to slog through a book I’m not enjoying.
Having said all of that, because reading is such a source of joy for me, I never set myself goals around how many books I will read.
Some of my favourite books this year have been all of Elin Hilderbrand’s, Nora Goes Off Script, Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone, and the Nantucket murder mystery series by Francine Mathews.
I also try to read non-fiction in the mornings, but I make slow progress with that… it’s just not firmly established as a habit. I’m much more likely to wake up early and get on with work straight away than read for a bit first.
Just finished Carrie Soto and LOVED it! I could use some more non-fiction recs. I try to get through one per month but sometimes it feels like a slog. Recently I read Tranquility by Tuesday (of course!) and Dr. Becky’s Good Inside and loved them both.
I read so much nonfiction for work that I can’t always manage it for fun.
This was kind of my rationale for going into engineering when I loved history and English at school. I loved reading too much to ever make it “work”
I occasionally wonder if it was the right choice, but overall I think I’m happy to have preserved joy in reading. I mean, I also find engineering a fulfilling career so…
Given that I spend all day reading for work, I read for pleasure less frequently. After spending all day reading documents, a book has to capture my attention pretty much right away and it has to continue to be enthralling for me to finish it. I abandon books as soon as they stop being captivating (my life is littered in abandoned books). The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was probably the best book I’ve read so far this year.
I loved Remarkably Bright Creatures! My other two favorites this year were The Measure and Unlikely Animals.
I’m definitely still thinking about The Measure months later!
Killers of a Certain Age. James Bond, but make it women in their 60s! I loved it so much.
I just finished Daisy Jones and the Six (so late to the party and loved it!) as well as Think Again by Adam Grant. Highly recommend both.
I second both of these!
That’s really interesting. Would it not suck the joy from reading a bit though?
I read between 80-120 books a year, but that’s a product of a few different factors a) I’m a really fast reader b) I tend to read for 45-60 minutes before bed and c) I travel weekly. I work in the airport but read on the plane. I also get exposed to new books in the airport bookshop.
Some book recs:
Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan
Small Things Like These – Claire Keegan, thoughtful, reflective and SHORT
Ali Hazelwood’s smart science romances
Seven Days in June
There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job (in general, I think you’d like some of the new Japanese fiction by women)
Olga Dies Dreaming
Love Marriage- Monica Ali (medical residents! just truly flawed but loveable characters)
I second Olga Dies Dreaming–that may be my favorite book for the year (out of about 75 books I’ve read so far). I also loved the Marriage Portrait, Corrections in Ink (a memoir about a woman who served prison time for a drug crime), the School for Good Mothers, and Sea of Tranquility. Another amazing nonfiction one was Invisible Child by Andrea Elliott.
Marriage Portrait was gorgeous. Although it caused me some embarassment when I messaged a friend “very Hamnet vibes…” before realising it was the same author.
Nonfiction recs: Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagasaki; Ross Gay, The Book of Delight (an annual reread for me); Jill Christman, If this we’re fiction (memoir)
fiction: Jessamine Chan, The school for good mothers; Emily St. John Mandela, The sea of Tranquility; Leni Zumas, Red clocks ( I definitely leaned dystopian)
Also. For folks who like Tranquility by Tuesday, Cassie Holmes has a related book that’s heavier on peer reviewed research, Happier Hour.
My reading life has been dismal this year. Gah. I’m not thrilled about it, but, I guess oh well. I love the “idea” of scheduling reading, but my life often feels kind of all over the place. I also have a lot of other regular/ daily activities that I often attempt to “schedule”/ track like…. walking daily. Workouts. Keeping up my journal/ habit tracker. Blogging. Working for X minutes on my photo catch up project. READING. Just never actually works out that I can realistically do all these things every day, though I’d love to! Maybe I will retire now that I’m 39 and spend my days checking off my daily habits instead. hehehe.
Can I offer some tracking advise as a failed tickbox person? I use the counter app on my phone to tick off things that are important to me, but because it’s just a count rather than a chain or box, it doesn’t make me feel bad about it. So I know I’ve had 70 social connections (things like coffee, lunches, walks), read my son 400 books, meditated 30 times, but I don’t have a sense of “if I haven’t done it 3x a week, I’m a failure”
oooh i like that!
I love this idea! Do you just use the app called “Counter +”?? Those are such good ideas — social connections, reading with your child, exercise. I’m definitely going to start this but now I want more ideas! haha
I plan on paper but find that I always forget to fill out my daily trackers — maybe I’d do it on my phone before bed!
It’s just Counter on iphone, it is greenish with two up arrows. I’ve got outside time, books, bike miles, social events, connection (like moments of genuine connection with my husband that isn’t kid logistics, chore doing etc), meditation, raincoat wears (I bought myself a new coat I probably didn’t strictly need so cost per wear is how I justify it) and calls with my parents.
This is incredible — thank you!
That’s a great idea!! I do sometimes get hung up on not doing things “daily”. I think in reality I just wish I could do all these things every single day, but in practicality, I just can’t, at least not in this stage of my life. Focusing on total numbers is likely a better way to approach it.
My favorites this year were Lessons in Chemistry, Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree, and Reluctant immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste.
I only set a goal of 24 books for the year but have read 64 so far. My library did adult summer reading (book bingo) and I got very competitive with myself to finish the whole bingo card! I ended up making my own book bingo to keep the momentum up.
Love Stories by Trent Dalton
It made me cry in the best way. He basically sat in city pedestrian mall in Bluey’s home town (Brisbane Australia), talked to people and wrote up their love stories. I was a bit resistant to reading it because I was seeing it every where, but there was a reason for that! Really great.
I am always surprised by how many books I read each month. For me, going up to bed at 8:30 is key as that allows me to read for an hour each day. That does cut into time with my husband but we usually watch one show before I go upstairs.
I would suggest abandoning books if you aren’t drawn to read them. I use to finish everything since I am an upholder/enneagram 1 but Anne Bogel helped me realize it wasn’t serving my reading to finish everything. So I think very carefully about whether a book is working for me and will abandon books that annoy me or aren’t compelling reads.
Book-themed podcasts have really impacted my reading enjoyment over the last several years. So maybe seek out a few new ones to try out? My faves are Currently Reading, Sarah’s Bookshelves Live and From the Front Porch. I get so many ideas from those hosts! Books I’ve read and loved this year which were recommended by those hosts are Lessons in Chemistry, Corrections in Ink, All My Rage, Kaleidoscope, Bomb Shelter, Notes on an Execution, and Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance. I could go on and on, though, as I have given so many books 5 stars this year!!
Lastly, I will say I am probably not a great ‘benchmark’ for the average reader. I mean, I had a book-themed wedding – that’s how much I adore reading and how much it’s a part of my core identity!! I am the least crafty person ever but it was such a fun theme to pull off and we got so many compliments from our guests. But I have always read a ton of books. I think reading as much as you do is wonderful and I would probably not try to put a goal on # of books read. I put a goal in Goodreads but don’t really seek to read a certain number of books because I want reading to be a source of joy and not another ‘score card’ as I have way too many of those in other areas of life!!
Oh and I will start Carrie Soto when I finish my current read, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow (only 2 chapters into it but can already tell it’s going to be amazing!!)
Setting a goal for a number of books doesn’t sound fun to me,especially if it’s going to stop you from reading longer books.I would rather focus on finding books I enjoy (which usually leads to faster reading rate as a bonus). I’ve read 38 books so far this year,but only a few stood out to me.I think the one I’m reading now is one of my favorites-Apples never fall( which you’ve read) I also really loved Laura’s Tranquility by Tuesday,it’s one of my favorites this year which is unusual for non fiction book,I prefer fiction. Other books I enjoyed – The Survivors by Jane Harper,also loved her others books,Jane Ayre – I haven’t read it since high school / junior high and was surprised by things I forgot, I Wish You Were Here /Jody Picoult though it felt very surreal reading about the pandamic and there was a twist I didn’t see coming. The art forger by BA Shapiro – the story was compelling and I really enjoyed the details about art techniques and the background of the art world,though I read it in translation and the translation wasn’t very good.
I also discovered a new gener I enjoy – Fantasy,I picked up a book from the new books shelf at my library,thought it was a detective story,it turned out to be a story about a magician in 19th century England, now I pick a book from the fantasy shelf each time I go to the library.
I LOVVEEEED Life’s Too Short – probably my favorite Abby Jimenez book! Hers are definite winners for me for sure – the assistant Becky in that book? Hilarious.
This year I also loved Lessons in Chemistry, House in the Cerulean Sea, Seven Days in June, The Worst Guy (which led me to reading everything Kate Canterbary ever wrote) and many more!
I have had seasons of life where I read 100+ books in a year, and others where I read nothing – not a single book in a year. I’m in a good place now where I’m only reading books that I really enjoy, and I give up on books quickly if I don’t like them. I’m her here to say that if this is something that is motivating to you – great! But reading doesn’t need to be a contest or competition either! My way of setting “goals” is only setting them after I’ve completed them though 😛 So for me it clearly would be demotivating! I think I am similar to Katie above in that reading is my go-to activity – I rarely watch TV (not out of any sense of moral superiority!! Watching TV is not a bad thing!!) so I sometimes read for a solid hour+ every night before bed.
My favorites this year have been The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donohue, the Midnight Library, and The Last Letter from your Lover by Jojo Moyes. I’m excited for this comments section and intrigued with your project. I’ve been reading more the last couple of years but nowhere near 60 books!
I always have a reading slump over the summer – I plan for it and expect it. But this year my “slump” extended into October. Oops.
I’ve read 59 books so far, but I don’t have a set goal for total numbers as I find it takes the fun out of it (for me). I DO tend to have some sort of small goal – a few years ago it was to re-read the whole Harry Potter Series. This year I re-read all the Anne of Green Gables books. Next year I think I’m going to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy again.
I read almost exclusively non-fiction. My favourites in that genre this year have been: Notes On A Nervous Planet (Matt Haig), Keep Moving (Maggie Smith), and I Miss You When I Blink + Bomb Shelter (Mary Laura Philpott). Two books this year (The Anti-Diet and The F*ck It Diet) have completely changed how I eat. These Precious Days by Ann Patchett was a great set of essays. When Time Stopped by Ariana Neumann was an incredible historical memoir about the Holocaust. It’s a bit gitchy in places, but I do love Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo. Joyful by Ingred Fetell Lee is a solid read. I had a few hangups with Caste (Isabel Wilkerson), but it had very thought-provoking themes. I loved New Minimalism + The Lazy Genius (a re-read) for decluttering/home management.
If I read fiction, I tend to prefer older, classic fiction. My main source of fiction was reading the Anne of Green Gables Series over the winter. The first three books are such treasures. In the spring, we took a family trip to Prince Edward Island and I fit in my daily walk in the actual “Haunted Woods” Lucy Maud used to walk through. So cool. I also enjoyed Amor Towles The Lincoln Highway – I thought the character development was spot on (though I know many people hated the ending!).
I love these posts and have gone and ordered over a dozen books from the library based on the recs above, so I think my reading slump will be over?!
Oh and Tranquility by Tuesday!!! I was a study participant and might be slightly biased (?), but this is such a great book and my favourite of everything Laura’s written.
loved TBT too!!! was mostly commenting on novels but truly enjoyed TBT as well. I have enjoyed every single one of Laura’s books.
The way I got myself to read more was to almost entirely stop watching tv 😆 worked for me!
I haven’t read a lot I loved this year but my favourites were Tomorrow and Tomorrow and tomorrow by Gabrielle zevin and the snow child by Eowyn Ivey. I’m currently reading the winners by Fredrick backman and enjoying, I loved Beartown and the sequel and this is the last book of that trilogy.
I also do find tracking my reading fun and motivating, so far I’m at 90 books read this year. About a third were audiobooks which I do count as reading and I also count chapter books read aloud to my kids!
LOVE snow child!!!
haha get it. some TV is SOOO GOOOD though!!!! White Lotus, Ted Lesso, and Handmaid’s Tale. (and fine, Sex Lives of College Girls)
Oh for sure, and sometimes I miss it but I am better as an “abstainer” with tv as otherwise I binge watch a lot and do not do anything else for leisure and at the end of the day, I get deeper enjoyment from reading.
I make an exception for stand up comedy specials which works well as usually it’s just an hour of my time to watch one!
I’m going to be that person and point out that quite a few Latinx reviewers have had issues with TJR’s portrayal of a Latina main character in Carrie Soto ..not that you shouldn’t read it, just something to keep in mind and as always, it’s worth seeking out own voices reviews!
very good to know!!
Love this post & reading through the comments. Your readers read a lot! I fall asleep within about five pages in the evenings, so I’m also impressed. I typically get up before my kids and read in the morning, but know you have that time for other priorities. I read about half fiction & half non-fiction.
For those mentioning that they have a harder time with non-fiction, I recommend trying memoirs, they are my favorite. Non-fiction doesn’t all have to do be self-help/improvement focused.
My favorites this year are Billion Dollar Whale (most fascinating, true white-collar crime story I’ve heard) and I’m currently loving Book Lovers (rom)
My favorite this year is Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow. I wanted to start it over as soon I finished it!
I love the comments sections on these posts! I don’t track how much I read specifically, but I would say I generally come in around the 50-60 books/year mark – I tend to read about 1.5 books per week. I would say it’s 70-80% fiction and the rest non-fiction. I am coming off a year in which I had a breastfeeding baby, and I always read the most when I have a newborn/infant because I read on my phone every time I nurse or am nap-trapped. I’m guessing this year with a toddler to supervise will be a little slower. The main reason I read so many books–despite an affinity for real housewives and instagram–is that I’m naturally a fast reader. I also have switched to mostly reading on the Kindle app on my phone, so my books are always with me. I also recommend subscribing to the BookBub newsletter, which sends daily Amazon Kindle deals (generally $5.99 or less) in your preferred genres. I will buy a book from there and have it for a rainy day when none of my holds are available and I read more that way (recent fave I got from a BookBub deal: Embassy Wife).
Some fiction faves this year have been: Sea of Tranquility, Lessons in Chemistry, The Lioness (Chris Bohjalian – I also loved Hour of the Witch), This Time Tomorrow (Emma Straub), Matrix (Lauren Groff). Next on deck is The Paper Palace.
For non-fiction, right now I’m reading Dead Wake (Erik Larson) about the sinking of the Lusitania. Next up for non-fiction I have Dr. Becky’s book and You are Not a S***** Parent.
Fun romances I have read this year: all of Ali Hazelwood’s books/novellas, In a New York Minute (Kate Spencer), By the Book (Jasmine Guillory – love everything she writes!).
It’s so fun to see what folks have been reading and loving this month!
One reason I like reading on Libby is that it tells me how much time I’ve spent reading a book, so even if I haven’t finished a book in a while, it’s a good reminder that I am still spending my time with a book. I think for me, time spent reading is a metric that I find more fulfilling to track than actual books finished. Having said all that, I do definitely track all the books I read and keep a tally.
Some of my favorite books this year so far –
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore
Razorblade Tears by S.A. Crosby
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley
Happy and You Know It by Laura Hankin
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall (can’t wait to read the sequels!)
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson
Wintering by Katherine May
What Do You Say? How to Talk to Kids to Build Motivation, Stress Tolerance, and A Happy Home by William Stixrud and Ned Johnson (Also almost done their book The Self-Driven Child, and finding that really insightful too.),
The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea
How to Keep House While Drowning by K.C. Davis
Broken Horses – really great on audio – by Brandi Carlile
Looking at my list – that’s 13 out of 48 books this year that I really loved – which is less than a third. Which means 2/3 of the books I read this year I was pretty “meh” about. I really feel like I should have a better batting average for reading books that touch me or were a really fulfilling reading experience. Life is too short to be reading just “meh” books!
that parenting books is intriguing (i’m a sucker for a good parenting book!!!)
I have had great success and enjoyment over the years reading the nominated Man Booker Prize books. Most are amazing and profound. Can also use other book awards (national book awards, Pulitzer, etc)
ooh! good idea!
This is what my dad does and I always forget about this strategy but it’s smart!
Setting a goal of x number of books per year would take all the fun out of reading for me. I consider reading to be an indulgence (something I rarely have time for). Although if I was going to set a goal, it would just be to read for a certain amount of time each week.
totally get this 🙂 I feel I may be an outlier in enjoying having more specific goals. (I also tend to be happy to abandon goals when they don’t work for me, so it has more of an ‘experiment’ or ‘challenge’ vibe).
but 100% not suggesting it’s a wonderful idea for everyone!
Nonfiction rec: The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in the Age of Longevity. A few years old now but it never made my radar until a few weeks ago. I picked it up and barely put it down until I finished it two days later. Now I’m going to reread and take notes…:)
I loved fresh water for flowers from Valérie Perrin this year, adding some french books to the mix. And I am astonished by how many books you read in a year ! My last years ( 5 last years) were about 10 books per year… I am at 15 this year, but would love to do a bit more in upcoming years.
One of my favorites this year was Inhuman Acts by Brooke French! I think you’d like the medical side story.
Lessons in chemistry, paper palace, defending Britta stein, and the It girl were great! I am for 52 books a year, one a week. I finished 44 so far so I should make it this year. I am reading Woman on fire now which is quite good
This wasn’t a new release this year but I loved The Great Believers. Also loved The Lincoln Highway and agree w above comment about the character development – for me that makes the story! I only read about 12 books per year but that usually includes one or two longer “classics” like War and Peace and Tale of Two Cities. I’m amazed by how many books some of y’all read, and I’ve always considered myself a pretty serious reader. Right now I am working on TBT and my second Agatha Christie novel of the year (Peril at End House) and once I’m done w those I think I’m going to re-read the Harry Potter series to round out the year. I feel like I just need something cozy over the holiday season and it’s been quite a while since I’ve read them. Based on all the comments I’m going to add Remarkably Bright Creatures and Lessons in Chemistry to my list for next year!
I read a lot. Like Lisa, I’m known for being a reader. It’s part of who I am.
I read 100+ books a year, and like others have mentioned, I am a really fast reader, I will DNF if I’m not into it, I read 20-30 minutes before bed (plus whatever reading I can do in a given day), I always have a book with me, and I don’t watch TV or other devices. Oh, and I don’t have kids so my time is my own.
I’ve kept a book notebook since college, so it’s easy to keep track of what I’ve read (finished — DNF do not make the list!) and then do annual totals; no digital tools required. 😉
I ALWAYS have a rut in August-September and then get my groove back in October and November, only to drop off again in December. Then in the beginning of the year, it’s hard to read current titles, so that’s another slump. Loved Carrie Soto after not liking Malibu, so that was a treat!
This post and these comments are so inspiring! As a working mom to an 11-month old and a 3 year old, I have struggled to fit in reading in between all of the “keep the kids fed, safe, reasonably happy, and on a schedule.” I do have some routines I have for myself since emerging from the total sleep-deprived postpartum that help me feel like myself like journal, move my body, cook healthy meals, call friends/family a few times a week, and catch up with my husband. I try to read before bed and have been more successful recently, but I think I need to find another time to slot in reading – perhaps while pumping?…would love to do it while I’m nursing since that takes up a good chunk of the day, but the 3 year old seeks lots of attention then and the baby is easily distracted. Anyway, just wanted to say that this post got me thinking of ways to fit in more reading…and to work backwards from a goal. I also love this Counter app that Coree mentioned!
I think you are just in the thick of it right now!!! Been there. It will get easier! In the meantime love the idea of sneaking in a little chunk of reading while pumping!
Thanks for the validation as it is hard sometimes to not feel like I’ve slipped into a quagmire rather than embracing that this season of life calls for a different cadence 🙂 The post got me thinking some more and in addition to my other novel I read before bed, during the morning and day, I chose to read shorter form – so I got a collection of essays called I Miss You When I Blink actually recommended by Elisabeth on this thread (love your blog readers!) because those feel doable to read in a short window of time. Looking forward to trying this new adventure out!
I’m in the same life phase (17 mo and 4 yo) and it is so hard to fit in! Normally its after kids are in bed but I’m trying to also read while they’re awake to model that reading is fun! I pretty much set a rule when pumping that that would be exclusively reading time. Also read I Miss you When I Blink this year and it felt so perfect for this phase of life!
I really loved Project Hail Mary but I listened to the audiobook and have heard from many people that it’s a lot better than actually reading it. I also liked recently: Every Summer After, The Measure, 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and Between Two Kingdoms.
I can’t believe I don’t actually know you and that we are not friends IRL. I too am academic medicine doc (ob/gyn/REI) at Northwestern and love your podcast and website. Also a runner and avid reader. I have just finished devouring every single book by Taylor Jenkins Reid, truly like candy, except without the calories. Read them all and I love how she weaves the characters/references to the characters together. Just cute and I smile. Best book of the year, lessons in Chemistry. Especially appreciate this as a women in medicine. Anyhow, just wanted to drop a note and let you know I’m a fan. Eve
aww!! Would totally be friends. you just need to move to south FL 🙂 I think I am going to abandon my current pick (the horror) for Carrie Soto b/c I am soo excited for that one!