How I Read 40 Non-Medical Books in One Year, and How You Can Too
Not much has been good about the year 2020. But one positive aspect was reigniting my love for reading. I was reading for pleasure as far as I can remember. We had only one TV in the house growing up. So if you are not the lucky one to get the remote early, then you have to find some other way to entertain yourself. Thanks to my brother who was always watching sports, it gave me ample time to read. It all started with The Babysitters Club and RL Stine's Fear Street.
Fast forward to high school, the intense amount of school work left me with little time or energy to read, followed by medical school, residency, fellowship, and motherhood.
And while 40 books in 1 year may not seem like a lot to some, it is to me!
The secret to reading when you have no time or energy
Audiobooks. Here is another secret: Audiobooks are not in CD format! This is the 21st century! You check them out directly from the app, and get the book downloaded directly to your phone within seconds.
Audiobooks are long. An average book takes about 12+ hours to complete. I recommend starting at a normal 1x speed, and testing out different speeds. I mostly listen at 1.75x or 2x speed. Sometimes slower if the reader has an accent or if the topic needs more concentration, like a self-help book.
Audiobooks are meant to be listened to when you are doing something mindless, repetitive or boring.
Here are some examples of when I listen to audiobooks:
My commute. Anytime I'm in the car alone, or with the kids if they don't feel like chatting
Walking in and out of work
Loading and unloading the dishwasher
Cleaning the house
Packing (remember, I moved this year)
Painting or crafting
Yoga (yes, I am that kind of girl. Sometimes)
How to get free books
For those who live in the U.S., this is how I get my books: my local public library. All you need is a library card and you can access an infinite supply of free books, physical books, e-books and audiobooks. My local library uses the Overdrive and Libby apps for e-books and audiobooks.
Audible is one of the biggest audiobook subscription services available. The membership plans allow for a certain number of credits per month, and each credit is worth one title. If you run out of credit, you can still purchase more books at a discounted rate.
How library audiobooks work
The advantage of Audible is that you can access the book as soon as you purchase it. This is not the case for library books. It works just like a library. If it is available, it is yours. If it is unavailable, it is checked out by another patron. You have to wait.
You go on the library website or app, and search for the book you want. Once you find it, you can borrow it if it is available, or be on a waitlist if it is not available. This is the annoying part: the waitlist can be days, weeks, or months.
Tips on library waitlists:
Put yourself on the waitlist ASAP.
Distract yourself with a book (or 10) that is available.
Put yourself on the waitlist of multiple books. This way you will have an endless supply of popular books!
Calm down, it is not that bad! Remember before Netflix when we had to wait a week before the next episode? Think of it like that.
Some books are more popular as audiobooks and some are more popular as physical books. For example, I had to wait over 6 months for Michelle Obama's Becoming audiobook, while the wait for the physical book was 1 week.
Where to start? How to get book recommendations
There are lots of ways you can get book recs. Here are a few:
Goodreads app. My favorite. This is the Instagram of book lovers. It is free. You can find reviews and recs according to things you've loved before. You can post reviews of your own.
Book Clubs. Online book clubs are fun. I do not actually participate in them, but I find that I get a lot of recommendations from them. My favorite is Reese's Book Club Hello Sunshine.
Amazon.com Go over the reviews and check out what the hottest new books are.
Blogs and websites. Like this one :)
Ask your bookish friends
I made this post because reading has been a huge part of my life, and I hope to make it easier for you to also fall in love with it.
None of the links or apps discussed here are sponsored. I only linked them to make your life easier - which is why I do this blog to begin with.
Head to my post on My Favorite Books from My Year of Reading for Pleasure for a full list of my favorite books of the year.
How do you find time to read for pleasure? Let me know!