How to Read Over 100 Books in 2024 from Someone Who's Done It

Last year, I read 126 books, and unlike a lot of people in the online book community, this wasn't typical for me. I'd done it before in high school when I attended asynchronous classes and spent some summer days reading on the couch without moving. But 2023's total was the most books I'd ever finished with 2017 coming in close at 119 books. Since high school, my life has gotten much more chaotic, and I couldn't imagine hitting those numbers again. In college, I've typically averaged around 35 books a year. I didn't expect much out of 2023 either, but as I gained reading momentum, I wanted to try to hit a three digit number of books read at least one last time. 
I completed this goal while taking 19 units both semesters and working part time and then working full time through the summer, so I didn't have heaps of free time to devote to read. Having managed to read over 100 books in less than ideal reading circumstances, I thought I could offer up more specific tips on how to up your books read in the midst of a busy schedule. Here are some of the ways that I got creative and implemented new habits into my life to reach my reading goals.

Audiobooks, Audiobooks, Audiobooks
This is honestly the key to boosting your reading stats exponentially. If you truly just want to hit the over 100 books metric, this is the single most important tip on this list. What's the fastest way to maximize your reading time? Be able to do it in multiple formats and constantly. With audiobooks, you don't have to be sitting and focused on a page to work towards your goal. On top of your actual physical reading time, you now consume books while on your morning walk, doing chores, cooking, driving, showering, or doing literally anything else. And you can even speed up how fast the narrator is reading. (I personally get super thrown by this, but I have been I'm able to slowly adjust to 1.25x speed. I don't get how people listen on 1.5x!). 
While audiobooks just unlock a whole new world of possible reading time, they also allow me to more easily read multiple books at once. I typically read nonfiction as audiobooks and fiction in print, and because the two books I'm reading are in different genres and consumed in very different ways, I don't feel like I'm reading two books at once. To read more than 100 books in a year, reading multiple books at once is key, so figuring out how to do that in a way that works for you offers a solid head start.

Figure Out Where You Can Sneak in Reading During Your Day

There are random pockets in your day, I promise, where you could be reading but aren't. Whether that means giving up your half hour scroll on social media every few hours and replacing it with a quick reading session or choosing to read on the train instead of listening to music, there are a couple small spots to sneak in more reading in everyone's day. I do a lot of commuting and a lot of waiting for classes to begin, so I take those random pockets of time to try to read. Even fleeting moments like being stuck in a long line offers the chance to get a few pages in. I also try to give myself at least 5 or 10 minutes to read before I go to bed and when I wake up. I'm much better at the nighttime reading, but I always feel great when I can start the day looking at my book instead of looking at my phone. 
This is all just to say that there are little underutilized moments where you can pull out your book and get a tiny bit of reading in that will add up over time. No random period of time is too small to make extra progress towards your goals. 
Now, I do want to say that this hyper obsession with maximizing reading time does sometimes get old. I developed a lot of these habits when I needed a serious social media break, and I'm not in that spot anymore. But certain habits from this heavy reading period in my life have carried over that I'm happy about. I read every time I get on the train now which ensures I'm getting in half an hour to an hour of reading a day. So even if it feels a bit extreme for a while, you might find some spots you'd like to continue reading in, even after you've met your goal.

Always Have Your Book

This one seems obvious, but if you want to maximize your reading time, it makes sense to always have your book. A Kindle can make this super easy because it's so light and fits in most bags. If you can read off your phone, downloading an app to be able to read ebooks works. Or you can lug around your physical book, if that's the only way you want to read. Simply having the book with you will offer a massive head start on getting reading done. Sometimes, you'll carry around your book all day and never take it out once. But every once in a while, there's a random gap of time you weren't expecting that offers the chance for quality reading. It always feels good to be ready to take those opportunities.

DNF the Book If You're Not Feeling It

Now here's an idea that might seem strange at first. Do more reading by quitting more books! I promise this makes sense. You're not going to want to read a terrible book that you had the misfortune of picking up. You're also not going to want to spend every spare scrap of time you have reading a book that's meh. It's not bad in any way you can put words to, but it's just not clicking with your particular wants and needs as a reader at that moment. Ditch it! Even if you can't put your finger on why, if you're not loving the book and excited to read it, move on. Sure, sometimes there's value in pushing through these weird patches or analyzing why the book isn't clicking for you, but when you have goals to accomplish, sticking with a book that you think ugh about anytime you sit down to read it is not helping you get where you want to go. Don't feel guilty about it, and don't fall for the sunk cost fallacy around the pages you've already read. DNFing is a powerful tool in your toolbox. 

Use Your Library and the Holds System

This is a bit random, but I found it really helpful during my year of extreme reading and even today to spark my reading motivation. Anytime I heard of a new or interesting sounding book, I looked it up in Libby to see if any of my libraries had a copy. They usually do, but for most books, there's a few weeks wait. So I would put the book on hold, and in weeks or months, I'd get a random notice that it was now ready for me. Somehow, this always seems to align with when I'm close to finishing my current read or when I need incentive to finish my current read faster, so this was a great way to keep my reading progress moving forward even when I'm not chasing a goal. It also eliminates choice fatigue by allowing you to just read whatever book the algorithm hands you next, pre-vetted by your past-self. It takes a little while to build up such a robust catalog of holds, but I've found it to be super motivating, even now when I'm not operating with lofty reading goals.

Have a Full TBR 

This is a similar tip to the one above, but before you embark on your reading journey, make sure that you've come up with a list of at least 10 books you're excited to read. Try to consistently add to the list and replenish it as time goes on so you never get stuck asking yourself what to read next. This can stall you out for days or weeks, losing precious time trying to stumble into the right story. I wouldn't hold yourself to any prescriptive order for completing this TBR list. Just try to cultivate a broad array of ideas that can speak to a variety of moods and interests so that you never fall into a slump where you're not reading at all. Go ahead and place library holds for these or add them to your Ideas list on Libby. You certainly don't need to purchase all these TBR books! 

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