For many years, December showed up and I realized I had read very few books that year. This year, I thought I’d try to read more. I set a personal goal to read 50 books by December 31.
It was a crazy goal because I had “no time.” With a busy family, a full-time (plus) job, a demanding blogging and writing schedule, and lots of home projects on my plate, I held the goal loosely—but pursued it eagerly.
Amazingly, this week I completed the goal. (If you’re interested, I’ve listed the 50 books at the end of this post.)
But more importantly, I want to show you how I tackled the goal in order to encourage you that you can read more than you think you can.
You really can.
I would also love for you to tell me how you read books and what books you enjoyed this year.
Finding Time to Read More
I have discovered that we have a lot of time “in the cracks” of life in which we have time to read more.
- I give some practical tips on finding time in my post called 8 Ways You Can Start Redeeming the Time.
- I always have an e-book I’m reading on my iPad mini so that if I’m standing in line, waiting in a doctor’s office, or eating lunch alone, I’m never staring at the ceiling or stuck reading some magazine. I read more books this way.
- An excellent way to read more books is to listen to them in the car, while exercising, or while doing yard work. You can download a FREE audiobook at Audible.
- A couple of years ago I read a great book called How to Read Better and Faster. It really helped me read more—better and faster. It takes practice, but hey, what skill doesn’t? You’ll be reading all your life.
Finding (Free) Books to Read
Solomon nailed it when he wrote:
Excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body. —Ecclesiastes 12:12
With millions of volumes to pick from, where can you begin? And how can you keep books from being a major part of your budget?
Often, we typically read books that come our way via impulse purchases or the recommendations of friends. That’s great, but those books usually cost (and often, they’re worth it).
I have discovered a few FREE ways to read more books.
- Amazon Kindle Books—Bookmark this link and check out Amazon’s Top 100 Free Christian Inspirational E-books. You’ll need a Kindle or a free Kindle reader for your iPad or computer. If there’s another genre you’re interested in, just follow these instructions.
- Miscellaneous Christian Books—I have listed some good free Christian e-books in this post.
- Book Review Programs—I have used two book review programs—from Booksneeze and FaithVillage—that allow bloggers to read more books or e-books in exchange for an honest review. Granted, this takes some work. But I have found that writing reviews often helps me process the book’s content anyway. You can see my book reviews here. I also post quotes I like from many of these books.
- Your Local Library—Obvious, I guess, but I had to mention it. Some libraries now even lend e-books.
- Your Nightstand—You could also start with that stack of books on your nightstand. They’re totally free.
The 50 Books I Read This Year
Here are the 50 books I read this year—listed in no particular order. If I wrote a review of the book, I included a link to it.
- Holy Bible, New International Version
- The PRESENT Principle (book review here)
- Thirty Days in the Land with Jesus (book review here)
- Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (book review here)
- America the Beautiful
- Tuesdays with Morrie (book review here)
- Heaven is for Real (book review here)
- Who is This Jesus (book review here)
- Writing Tools
- The Call of the Wild
- I Call Shotgun: Lessons from Dad for Navigating the Roads of Life (book review here)
- Love One Another: 20 Practical Lessons (book review here)
- Sherlock Holmes and the Needle’s Eye (book review here)
- Getting Things Done, Must Read Summaries
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
- Getting Things Done: A Summary of David Allen’s Book on Productivity
- The Way of Lament
- What Solomon Says
- 7 Men (book review here)
- Downside Up: Transform Rejection into Your Golden Opportunity (book review here)
- How to Be Social
- What’s Your Mark? (book review here)
- Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content
- The Pursuit of Holiness
- Hear Me When I Call (I edited this book)
- Cool Woman
- A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty
- The 4-Hour Workweek
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
- The In-Between: Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing
- Billy Graham in Quotes
- Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing
- Boundaries in Marriage
- This Momentary Marriage
- Making a Literary Life
- Augustine’s Confessions
- Jesus and the Jewish Festivals
- The Game Plan
- Sacred Waiting: Waiting on God in a World that Waits for Nothing
- The Architectural History of the Church Of the Holy Sepulcher at Jerusalem
- You’ll Get though This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times
- The Wall Around Your Heart (book review here)
- Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
- The Virtual Assistant Solution: Come up for Air, Offload the Work You Hate, and Focus on What You Do Best
- The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness (book review here)
- Devotional Treasures from the Holy Land
- Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches
- Evernote Essentials
- Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
Tell me what you think: So tell me, how do YOU squeeze in time to read more books—and what books have you read this year that you enjoyed? To leave a comment, just click here.