I used to average somewhere around 15-18 books or more per month, but lately I’ve been getting to maybe 11 books. This is still a lot (especially compared to the general population), but I can’t help but feel like I need to beef it up sometimes. I love reading but often get distracted by other things (like all the new fall TV shows I’ve become obsessed with or various podcasts I literally cannot stop listening to).
October was a slooooow reading month. It was October 17th when I realized I had just finished my fourth book of the month. FOUR BOOKS!? And, even crazier, one of them was a 150 page graphic novel. That barely even counts in terms of what I usually end up reading. I knew I wanted to get to at least my usual range for the month and would need to pick up the pace a bit. A lot of friends complained with me on Twitter about how we were just lagging in the reading area that month, so it helps to not feel alone. It can be hard to pinpoint why you’re reading less sometimes, but even knowing why doesn’t always help. For me, like I said, I got so into my new fall TV shows and new podcast(s) that I just put aside books when I’d usually read them. I usually wake up at least an hour before work in order to read some of my book, but that quickly changed when I started catching up on TV in the mornings. I usually would listen to an audiobook in the shower and on the way to work, but I sometimes watch TV on my iPad instead. I would also listen to a podcast instead of my audiobook during commutes and showers. Even knowing all of this didn’t help. I just couldn’t get myself to read sometimes.
If you’re feeling the need to get more books in during the month, here are some pretty basic suggestions that I did myself during October. I hope they help you, even if they are pretty obvious and straightforward 😉
- Reread an old favorite as an audiobook.
I know there are plenty of you out there shaking your heads like, “I don’t like audiobooks! I don’t have time for them! I can’t pay attention to them!” etc. etc. But! Think about all the things you can do while you listen to a book you’ve already read. I’ve been thinking that I’ll probably reread Six of Crows throughout my work day in preparation for Crooked Kingdom. I won’t be paying 100% attention but I’ll definitely be absorbing parts of the story for a reread. I won’t call it cheating if you won’t! I usually multi-task with audiobooks but only if it’s something mindless. I listen in the shower, while I get ready in the morning, and when I’m driving to work. That’s only when I need to pay full attention to the book. A reread in the background while you do other things is a great way to add more books to the monthly read pile.
- Read comics and graphic novels.
These absolutely count as books. I won’t read single issue comics and count them as full books, but I will include them as a part of the larger “whole” book, aka graphic novel format. I read the Penny Dora series as single issues but marked progress through the graphic novel as the issues came out. There was a quick finished book one month as a result! I also recommend just straight-up reading graphic novels because I love them. When my reading month was low in October, I knew I could sit and finish Ms. Marvel in a sitting or two… and that’s just what I did. It helped me feel accomplished just to finish something.
- Sort your to-read list by page count and read the shortest book(s).
Maybe this is a silly, basic idea, but the shorter the book – the faster the read! I recommended some short and sweet books last month that you could read in a couple sittings (maybe even one!). I read through the post afterwards and did a quick scan of my to-read list to pull out some shorter books. I was able to kill two birds with one stone (aka read an already published ARC plus have it be a short-ass book) when I picked out Unscripted Joss Byrd last month. Take a break from your current read if you’re not motivated to pick it up and start something short.
- Catch up on novellas and short stories.
I probably sound like a broken record here, but this is another fairly obvious one. I have countless book series that have random novellas or short stories attached to them, but I do a bad job of keeping up with them. I can think of SO many right now that I keep putting off for really no reason. A lot of them can be somewhere between 50-100+ pages, so they could absolutely count as a book for the month, in my opinion. You can decide where your personal limits are. For my Goodreads challenge at least, I don’t usually include books under 100 pages. I just like the idea of having a few novellas to read whenever I want to get back into a world, or have a short amount of time to get some reading done.
- Read a book of short stories or essays over the course of the month.
I always loved the idea of reading My True Love Gave to Me with one story each day (or week) in the 12 days (or weeks) leading up to Christmas. You can do something similar with any kind of essay book, poetry book, or compilation of short stories. If you set a goal to read one a day or even 1-2 per week, you can finish it by the end of the month. By breaking the reading into manageable pieces, perhaps you’ll be more motivated to pick it up each day. Less stress, maybe?
- Set reading goals in general.
If books with short stories or poems aren’t your thing, you can always set up reading goals for yourself based on the current book you’re reading. I remember when I was in school I would force myself to read a certain number of pages each day to get through a week-long reading assignment. Make it fun and reward yourself if you want! I always like readathons for this reason. Setting goals, if you’re that kind of person, can really help. I always say my goal is to read X books in the week, but try something new – maybe X amount of chapters or pages each day? Something like that to help you. And give yourself a day off when you’re calculating, if you think that would help you too.
- Get over it.
I know, this is rude. But sometimes it’s the best option! I did kind of resign myself to the fact that this was going to be a low reading month. If I’m enjoying my new shows and podcasts, why should I stress about reading? I know it helps that I’m currently 8-10 books ahead on my Goodreads challenge this year, of course, but sometimes you just have to throw up your hands and relax about it. It’s not the end of the world. 🙂
Now that I made a whole post of suggestions to beef up your reading month, here are some books and comics I know I can use when this happens again. Some of these are novellas or short stories while others are graphic novels or just really short coffee table books. All of these are well under 200 pages.