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, while 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 on 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 about how I plan my own monthly reading list, keep on scrolling.
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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 which series 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. Alternately, if I read a book a few years ago and the sequel was released shortly after but I wasn’t aware, I will pick up the first book again to refresh myself on the plot before diving into the second.
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. If I have a growing list of unread arcs, I try to include at least 2-3 in each of 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! I usually buddy-read 1-2 books each month. 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 research all the titles that are releasing and decide whether to prioritize them immediately or wait until a different time (like I often do with seasonal or holiday-specific reads). Usually, I include at least one new (or relatively new) release on my monthly 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 each year and it gets me in such a holly jolly mood! During February, you could pick up some great contemporary romance books that are 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!