Maybe it’s the large amount of readathons and – more importantly – readalongs I’ve been doing lately, but I’ve gotten into the habit of reaaaaally scheduling out my reading. I set small reading goals per day or week and plan my TBR (and other things) at a super detailed level when I really need some motivation. My reading mojo has been down the tubes since late July/early August and I just can’t get myself to care about reading sometimes. However, I simultaneously want to read all the things??? Like, ya girl can’t stop adding books to the “currently reading” shelf and thus never actually finishing anything.
I spoke a while ago about the schedule I developed for how I try to balance all of the audiobook-listening, YouTube/TV-watching, and podcast-listening I want to do on a weekly basis, so this isn’t a foreign concept to me. Sometimes setting weird goals and schedules makes me MORE satisfied and interested in reading.
Following along with a basic concept from readalongs, I decided to make some kind of reading schedule for myself in October. I’m currently participating in the Diviners Readalong and FaerieAThon, where the hosts plot out one week(ish) per month to read the next book in the series or author’s backlist. They further determine how many pages or chapters need to be read each day, so everyone is having fun reading along with each other. I love the idea of setting highly-specific reading goals on a daily basis to get books DONE within a certain amount of time. Here’s how I applied the readalong concept to my reading this month.
Step #1: Evaluate the monthly TBR and related events
to plot the specific reading schedule/order
When I got to the tenth day of the month and had only completed one book, with a bunch of events and required reading situations approaching, I knew I had to get going. And spoiler: that one book I completed was solely because it was for a readalong.
My monthly TBR consisted of a bunch of spoopy books, including a couple of really hefty ones, graphic novels, a short story collection, and more. I knew there could be a good method to my madness or at least a general guideline of what needed to be read by which dates.
Reading due dates:
Diviners Readalong – Before the Devil Breaks You – 10/1 through 10/7 (80ish pages per day)
This one has obviously already been completed – my one book completion (at the time of writing this on 10/11, mind you). I mixed the audiobook in with my physical copy to be sure I stayed on target. Plus, the audiobooks for this series are phenomenal.
Read For Grace – Twice in a Blue Moon – Event beings 10/14, no real end date
I won’t set a time limit for this one or a page count, because I feel like I’ll probably speed through it. I don’t have a deadline but definitely need to START this book on Grace’s birthday. I have an egalley of this one.
Books and Brews – The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Event on 10/17
I got the audiobook and ebook from the library/Scribd, so I have two formats to alternate through. This is helpful for sure because I do get addicted to my weekly podcast schedule, but it’s really nice to have an audiobook backup.
FaerieAThon – The Cruel Prince – 10/21 through 10/25 (80ish pages per day)
I checked the audiobook out from the library but the due date is before the readathon even starts. Womp. Thanks, hold list, for messing THAT up. I’ll see if I can renew it or check it out again after. Otherwise, I do have the hardcover for this one. It has a daily chapter/page breakdown as well.
Mini Book Club – The Good Widow – No meeting date set yet but sometime this month
We haven’t set our meeting date yet for October but I’m sure it’ll be somewhere toward the end of the month. I expect this to be a quick read, so I’m not worried about squeezing it in when the time comes. I bought the ebook so I can start whenever.
Aside from the actual required reading with real due dates, there were some other books on my TBR I had to finish within the month for various reasons (sometimes even just “I really want to read this one”). I also balance in reading one ebook, one audiobook, and one physical copy at a time. Sometimes I have multiple formats of the book to use too. Here’s what else I needed to read and the formats I have them in:
- His Hideous Heart – short story collection, egalley, audiobook on Scribd
- Mooncakes – graphic novel egalley
- All Eyes on Us – egalley
- The Bromance Book Club – egalley
- The Map From Here to There – egalley
- Imaginary Friend – hardcover
- Stepsister – audiobook on Scribd/Hoopla
- Finale – hardcover, audiobook on Scribd
- Royce Rolls – hardcover, ebook on Scribd
Step #2: Determine which books need daily page
breakdowns and set those schedules
Basically, any of the longer books, logical books (meaning the breakdown could be one story per day), and books I know I’d have trouble sitting down and really focusing on, needed to be broken up for me.
His Hideous Heart: 3ish stories per week
I wanted to read this short story anthology throughout the month because I found them to be nice and easy reads, but easier to break out. I determined I’d read approximately three stories per week, only during the weekdays, unless I was really compelled to read one. I did get ahead a little bit last week and have since adjusted this, but the idea is the same. I also specifically moved things when I knew I had plans (instead of M-W-F reading days, I’d shift something up, etc.).
I was able to schedule this out so I’d be reading the last stories on October 17th instead of further into the month, since I was able to read them so easily ahead of time. I thought it would be wise to finish up this anthology before THE CRUEL PRINCE readalong began.
Imaginary Friend: 40 pages per day through 10/11 – 10/31
The second book I chose to break down throughout October is because it’s such a LONG one. It’s 720 pages. If I started this on 10/11, when I finally got around to actually starting it, I would need to read 40 pages per day in order to finish by or around the 31st. I’ve heard this book is also a little slow-going in the beginning especially, so breaking the pages down would be super helpful. If I get addicted in the second half, I’ll read more whenever I want!
The Cruel Prince (Readalong): 80ish pages per day through the week
This book has a chapter breakdown for each day during the readathon, so I may cut myself some slack on reading IMAGINARY FRIEND during that week. We’re also supposed to read the novella in this series on the final day, but I don’t feel the need to reread that one.
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle: 14% per day until book club
I started this about a week or so ahead of the book club meeting. It’s… interesting… but I was pretty intrigued by the beginning. Since I have both an audiobook and ebook for this one, my plan is to read or listen to 14% of this one over the course of 7 days to finish ahead of book club. I’ll listen on days I don’t have podcasts and read whenever I need to finish up for the day.
Step #3: Schedule start (and some end) dates for the books
SO what is all of this leading to? My reading schedule for the month! I know it’s not possible to be 100% accurate with start dates (and even more unrealistic at times to deal with end dates) but having SOME idea of what books to read on which days was going to be super helpful.
I figured out when to start certain books based on the formats I had them in, what formats I was reading at any given moment, and when due dates exist. I broke down the books that required it and included what percentage to read, how many stories to read, what page number to read to, which chapters to read, or how many hours into the audiobook I should be.
You can see that there are four ebooks/egalleys that I have scheduled in, reading about one-third of them for three days. Obviously those can vary and I separated them out, with a buffer day in between. The two books on the bottom – ROYCE ROLLS, ALL EYES ON US – are books I hope to read but didn’t schedule in (gotta keep it realistic!).
I wasn’t sure if I would get THE CRUEL PRINCE audiobook from the library again so I broke STEPSISTER into multiple timeframes, listening to it before and after the FaerieAThon, but I can spread it out in between if I don’t end up with the CP audio.
I don’t think I’ll actually finish FINALE within the month but figured I’d start the physical copy and/or audiobook once I’m done with IMAGINARY FRIEND, FaerieAThon, and STEPSISTER. You’ll also see that MOONCAKES is right on Halloween because I’d imagine I could / would read it in one sitting on the best day for it.
Step #4: Record in my planner, put in sticky notes, etc.
After figuring out my guideline for reading for the rest of October, I went through and added my goals for each day into my Artful Agenda planner, as well as put sticky notes in the physical copies to mark the correct pages. This has always helped me keep track of my plans without having to open a spreadsheet up every day.
As you can see in my agenda, my plans for 10/11 included: finish up the final 20% of OF CURSES AND KISSES, get to the 14% mark of EVELYN HARDCASTLE, and begin IMAGINARY FRIEND. I didn’t put the page numbers in at the time of taking this screenshot and probably won’t bother, since I have a physical copy with sticky notes for each day. This is sort of an ambitious day, to be honest, but I was able to get the audiobook going in the morning, finish CURSES during my lunch break, finish the story in HIS HIDEOUS HEART during a break, and begin IMAGINARY FRIEND after work.