Last year was a fantastic year of reading for me—not because I read a record number of books (I finished fewer books last year than I have since 2017) or because the books themselves were so much better (they might have been, but I don’t know for sure). The reason 2021 was a great reading year was because I was more thoughtful about the books I was choosing to read, and more intentional about my reading practices.
As I look ahead to what I hope will be another successful reading year in 2022, I’ve been doing some reflecting on what specifically worked well for me in 2021.
- Setting a reachable Book Count goal (100), with the intention of less than half of those books being read as audiobooks.
- Putting more thought into book format—limiting audiobook content (and reserving it for mostly nonfiction) and reading a LOT more books in print (with highlighter and notebook in hand).
- Reading multiple books at once and reading different types of books at specific times: spiritual books (print) in the morning; fiction (on my Kindle) at the gym and at night; nonfiction (on my Kindle) at scattered points throughout the day; read-alouds (print) with Charleston at meal times.
- Reading eBooks exclusively on my Kindle and not on the Kindle app on my phone. (And putting my phone AWAY during reading times!)
- Maintaining a fairly even balance of fiction and nonfiction.
- Making good use of my library holds, in addition to reading from my own shelves and buying books I can’t borrow.
- Giving myself permission to quit a book if it wasn’t a good fit.
- Reading through two annual devotions—one in print in the mornings while I brushed my teeth, and the other on my Kindle before falling asleep at night.
- Diligently tracking my reading—in my bullet journal, Evernote, Pinterest, Goodreads, Storygraph, my Day One Journal, and here on the blog. (YES that’s a lot, and YES I find this extensive tracking enhances rather than detracts from my reading life.)
I plan to take all of these practices and habits with me into 2022. I’ll stick with my approaches to choosing (and sometimes letting go of) books, and I will continue to read multiple books at once and set aside specific times for each one. I once again am setting an attainable goal of 100 books for the year, prioritizing ebooks and especially print books over audiobooks. I’m not ready to let go of audiobooks altogether, as they have their place, but knowing that I enjoy and have so many more takeaways from books not read on audio, I will reserve audiobook time for books I really just want to get through and not books that I want to savor or truly absorb.
In order to make 2022 an even better year for reading, there a few small changes I will be making:
- I’m going to begin using a quarter-star system for rating my books to help give a more accurate and complete picture of my bookish opinions.
- In order to push myself to read outside my comfort zone, I will be doing at least one reading challenge (possibly more) beginning with the Adult Winter Reading Challenge being offered through my library. (I’m pushing myself to get a Bingo blackout, though this might not happen before the library’s March 22 deadline.)
Because much of my reading life is tied to my spirituality, I am also setting some goals around what my Scripture and devotional reading will look like for 2022:
- I’ll be reading through the Bible following Ascension’s Bible in a Year plan. (Listening to the daily podcast with Father Mike in addition to reading each day’s passages in my physical Bible.) I loved taking a slower, more thorough approach in my Bible reading last year (diving deep into just the New Testament), but I’m ready for another read-through in 2022.
- Reading a book related to my word for the year each month (rather than one book each season as I’ve done in the past). I hope to share monthly blog posts containing extended reviews of all twelve of these books, which will all tie in to spiritual formation and discipleship.
- Reading through two new (to me) devotionals: A Year With C.S. Lewis (during morning teeth brushing) and Faith That Matters (on my Kindle at bedtime).
I am thankful to live in a world with access to so many books, and I’m excited to fill my time with some great ones in the coming year!
What about you: are you setting any bookish goals for 2022? What would you like to see more or less of in your reading life? (If you’d like some guidance in getting the most from your reading in the coming year, check out this series for all of my favorite tips and tricks.)