Looking for ways to read more books? Have you tried sticking with a planned monthly reading list? It may sound complicated, but it’s not!
Reading looks different for everyone. Some people pick up one book a year, others read 30 in a month. A lot of people are mood-readers, choosing what sounds good off of their own personal bookshelf when it suits them. This is how most of my friends read! Maybe you’re like me, and you plan out reading lists for each month in advance. I realize this is a bit of an overachiever method, but I love lists and I’ve found that having one for my books helps me accomplish far more than when I used to just pick up random books at the library based off a cover or blurb of a synopsis.
For some, planning a book list may seem daunting, but I say that everyone should try it at least once and see what they think. You never know, it might change the way you read forever! If you’re curious how I plan my own monthly reading list, keep on scrolling.
How to Plan a Monthly Reading List Like an Expert
Firstly, you’ll want to consider if there are any books you own that you haven’t read. I realize I’m in the minority when it comes to this particular topic, since I don’t purchase books until I’ve already read them. However, if you have a home library and it’s overflowing with books you haven’t touched, go through them and see which ones are the most appealing (and if there are any that you might need to sell or donate because you’re no longer interested). Refresh yourself on the synopses and determine if there are any prequels or related works by the author that you need to read before diving into a particular title.
Next, think about series that you haven’t finished yet. Determine whether you need to reread the earlier books or if you can just pick up where you left off. For example: say I start a series in January. I might read the first book that month and then the second in February, following up with the final book in March. I try not to let too much time sit between so I don’t forget the plot.
If you receive ARCs (advanced reader copies) of books from publishers, you may want to factor this in as well. Determine the book’s release date so that you know your reading deadline in order to have a review posted before the launch. NetGalley has an awesome checklist feature that allows you to stay on top of your unread titles and reviews. I try to include at least 2-3 arcs in my monthly reading lists.
Are you part of any book clubs or buddy-reads? You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or get caught up in too many discussions at once, so it’s okay to turn down these opportunities when necessary. However, they can also motivate you to read more and get outside of your comfort zone! My booksta bestie and I usually buddy-read a few times each month, since we often have the same books planned anyways. It’s awesome to have someone to chat with while reading.
There are so many new releases every month! Check out which authors are dropping new titles and see if you want to add any of them to the list. At the beginning of each new month, I share a post with all the titles that stood out to me, so reading these might inspire you to try something new. Just from doing research on this for my monthly posts, I’ve discovered so many awesome stories that I can’t wait to check out. I usually have at least one new release on my planned list.
Are there any particular holidays coming up or seasonal reads you’d like to enjoy? I read only festive books during the month of December and it was so much fun! During February, I shared some great contemporary romance books that were perfect for Love Month. Some people do book challenges, like the Rory Gilmore reading list or they follow prompts from bookstagram. If this helps get you excited about your monthly reading list, then go for it!
Try to be realistic with your list. If you know that you’re prone to reading slumps, maybe only pick 2 books each month that you want to read – or mix up the format for reading. I freaking love listening to audiobooks while I work, clean, and drive – and it helps me get through twice as many books in a month. If you’re going on vacation and you know you’ll have spare time, pack a few extras, just in case! Maybe you don’t enjoy a particular genre. Don’t add it to your list. Stop forcing yourself to read books you “think you should read” if they make you unhappy!