How I’m reading in 2021

Have you ever given thought to how you read? Reflecting on my reading habits and their ups and downs over the years, I decided it was time to shake things up a bit. So this year I’ve decided to try a few different things in my reading. First, my focus is on genres rather than a target number of books. Secondly, I’ll be reading more paper books (as well as audiobooks). Lastly, I’ll be trying out reading sessions to get through more books and actually finish some I’ve already started. Here’s how I plan to read in 2021.

Reading genre more closely

Telling stories is an important part of human cultures the world over and one of the wonderful things about reading is that you can enjoy so many different types of stories. There are scary stories, funny stories, serious stories and sad stories. I like to think that I read widely, but I’ve recently started giving greater consideration to the genres I read.

Setting a target number of total books to read in the next year didn’t work for me in 2020, so my focus for the next year will be on reading diverse genres. (Okay, so I also set a book target.)

The main goal is to read twelve different genres or subgenres throughout the year. Reading at least one book in each genre is the minimum, but I hope to be able to read a mix of classics and newer releases. I’m starting with crime fiction. Even within this genre, there’s so much to choose from.

Reading more in print

I’m a big fan of audiobooks. For someone who spends a lot of my work time reading, sometimes the last thing I feel like doing is reading for relaxation. Audiobooks helped me get back into reading and finish more books because I could listen on the bus or while making dinner. These days I am reading a mix of print books and audiobooks.

As an editor, I’ve found it interesting reading print books and noticing the way certain texts are presented. If you’re a writer, you might find this too. For example, in The Maltese Falcon I’ve been surprised by how many hyphens are used: I’d never have thought to hyphenate ‘police-detectives’. While in some cases these nuances may reflect the language at the time the book was written or published, in other cases it’s useful to observe and learn from different styles.

Reading the whole book

I’m great at starting books. I’m less great at finishing them. That’s why I’ve decided to test out reading sessions. Think of them like binge-watching, but for books. When I was a kid I could come home from the library with a new novel and have it finished in a day. I doubt I’ll get to that level, but with a few hours of reading time, perhaps on weekends, I hope to read a book every two or three weeks. Of course, it depends on the length of the book, but currently I’m on track to finish my first book of the year this week.

I also have a stack of unfinished books to complete. Some of these are audiobooks, features of which include the progress bar, total listening time and listening time remaining. Where these books fit in with the genre of the month I might include them, otherwise they will simply fit in where they can. For the average length of audiobook I listen to, I could probably finish one in two or three reading sessions. Hopefully this approach will help me finish more books in 2021.

How will you read in 2021?

Do you have a planned approach to your reading this year? Maybe one of the things I’m trying would work for you. However you read in 2021, I hope you have a fantastic year in books. If you’d like to join me in reading a specific genre, making more time for books or simply want to stay in touch, I’d love to hear from you. You can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook or you can send me an email. I’m also tracking my progress on Goodreads and you’re welcome to connect with me there as well. Happy reading!