Updated: Apr 21
If your goal is to read more books in 2022 or to simply find some new books to read this year, I’m here to help.
Is there a word for people addicted to reading? Because I finished 67 books in 2021, and I am feeling thoroughly addicted now. As I look back at my reading log, I’m sharing a my favorites and the ways I grow my reading log each year. Last year, I gave you my list of books that are great for lighting a fire under your bum, and this time, I have my favorite fiction and non-fiction reads from 2021 to share. If you’re imagining a year spent learning + growing, having fun, and also resting, you might find this list an awesome place to start.
First, though, I want to address some of the common questions people ask me about my reading habit. The most popular question regards how I manage to read so much while working, parenting, and you know— all the usual things. I averaged more than one book per week, and truly, that surprised me. But I love to read— I might love it even a tin bit more than painting, and so I easily spend some time every single day reading. Even if it’s just two literal minutes before my eyes shut at night in bed. If you figure my average book was 350 pages (my best guess), that breaks down to about 65 pages per day. To me, that’s quite manageable, and since reading daily turns us into faster readers, 65 pages per day is not hard for me to bang out. That would probably take me only 20-30 minutes per day.
Factor in my “Yes” answer to the other popular question: “Do audiobooks count?” and you can see how reading this much is very do-able. I bring a book with me to the school pick up line and digest a few pages while waiting for my preschooler. I listen to audiobooks while exercising or in the rare times when I’m on the road solo. I don’t always count the books I read or listen to with my kids, but some of them made the list this year, like the entire Little House series and a few mystery novels my older daughter and I enjoyed together.
Also, I have practiced allowing myself to sit with a book for up to two hours some days. I had to read a lot during school, and why did that stop? Reading is learning, and to me, it is a way of creating my own direct line with another human mind. I don’t like small talk, so books are one way I get to dive deep into someone else’s conversation. I love learning from others, especially those who have something so prudent to say that they take the time and energy to organize it into a book. I even learn from a lot of the fiction I read, and aside, I find good fiction to be a great escape from the weight of the world and some of it to be quite funny.
A few final questions answered: My favorite books are ones that get my mind going— either educationally or in a puzzle-solving way, but I also enjoy some light reads with humor. I prefer lighter books at bedtime and the more brain-heavy reading during the day. When it comes to fiction, I find myself drawn to books that take place outside of the US for some reason. Also, I typically have a stack of library books on my nightstand and am in the middle of three books at any given time— one audiobook, one physical book, and one on my tablet. It’s not intentional, but it works out this way often. The last question, “Do you ever think about writing a book yourself?” Yep. I would love to write, but I don’t know just yet what my book will be about.
So with that, here are my favorites from my 2021 book log, followed by some tips you can use to read more this year…
It Started With A Tweet by Anna Bell (funny, light, romance)
The Storied Life of AJ Fikray by Gabrielle Zevin (original & intriguing)
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (classic, deep, thought-provoking)
The Art of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein (dog-lovers, tear-jerker alert)
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (an unexpected story)
the entire Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart (extremely well-written journeys, great for young bookworms, too)
The Book of Ichigo Ichie by Garcia & Miralles (a beautiful way of appreciating the moment)
Atomic Habits by James Clear (great self-help for starting and/or quitting habits)
Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod (inspiration for seizing the day)
The Power Of Writing It Down by Allison Fallon (bring clarity and growth by making space for your thoughts and ideas)
Start With Why & Find Your Why by Simon Sinek (great books for uncovering your deeper purpose)
The Practice by Seth Godin (encourages consistency to show up and do the work)
Stories That Stick by Kendra Hall (how to tell your stories more effectively)
The Wim Hof Method by Wim Hof (amazing man’s simple tools you can use today for optimal health)
7 Tips To Help You Read More This Year
Start where you’re at. If you read one book a month last year, start by adding just one more book for January and February combined. If you read three books last year, aim for four this year.
Use your local library! Almost every book I read comes from my local library or its digital accounts. I love to hold paper books in my hands, but I also enjoy reading digital copies when I’m traveling or if the paper version is checked out. My library has accounts with the Hoopla and Libby apps, which are so easy for borrowing digital books and audiobooks.
Log your reads to track your progress. Make a simple numbered list with the title and author of the book. I like to hand-write mine in a bullet journal, and I also like to draw a heart next to my absolute favorites or a smiley face next to ones that made me happy.
Keep yourself on pace by breaking down your goal over the course of the year. For example, to read 10 books a year, aim to finish one per month, and be sure you’ve read five by the end of May. Remember that certain times of year allow more reading opportunities than others. Some people find it harder to read in summer when they are more active outdoors, while others enjoy reading outside in the sunny weather. Plan accordingly, and either get a jump start now or leave a buffer to catch up by the end of the year.
Read what interests you. Other people can be a great source for recommendations if you don’t know what to read next, but reading what everyone else is reading or what you feel like you “should” be reading will be a drag if you don’t enjoy it. Unless you must for required reading assignments, choose your books and audiobooks based on what really interests you or catches your attention within the first paragraph.
Read two things at once. This sounds counterproductive, but it gives you a chance to bounce between different moods or vibes when you need to.I am often working on two paintings at once so that I can go where my energy fits best, and I find this happens with reading, as well. I like to read a lighter story when winding down for bed, on vacation, or when I’m feeling overwhelmed, but I enjoy more brain-on books at other times. Also, when you’re halfway through two books, you are invested in their story and more likely to finish them both.
Enjoy the reading! Above all else, use your time with books to enjoy, learn, and relax. Reading will hopefully become something you look forward to, and I hope these tips help you get started on a fabulous reading journey this year!