How To Actually Complete Your Reading Goal In 2021

Nieve O’Donnell

Blown-in with the new year comes sets of resolutions and goals which are usually achieved with varying levels of success. One resolution most people have when it comes to the new year is to read more.

However, setting a reading goal can be daunting and a good way to get started is to give yourself a monthly target as opposed to the year as a whole. It’ll, at least, help you to get through the first few books because it’s slightly less overwhelming than an ambitious target of so many books in a year. It’s often the case that a numbered goal usually distracts us from savouring a book when reading itself can be one of the most enriching activities. Here are some tips and tricks to get you relishing in many good books in 2021:

Vary the kind of books you read

it wouldn’t be feasible for me to remain interested in one topic for the length of the year

Firstly, opting for books on a variety of subject matter on your 2021 reading list is essential. For me, personally, as much as I wanted to educate myself on a topic, it wouldn’t be feasible for me to remain interested in one topic for the length of the year. Setting yourself a target of one book on your list that explores an area you’ve always wanted to educate yourself on or delve into is a much better way of reaching that goal. Including a mixture of non-fiction and fiction books will be really useful, especially when keeping yourself engaged. Variety is, after all, the spice of life.

There is no shame in reading small books

If your intention this year is to educate yourself, small books can be nice gateways into a topic before delving wholly into a particular subject. The ‘Very Short Introductions’ series are brilliant little books on a variety of topics from Modern Brazil to Silent Films and Enzymes. Not only are they additions to your reading goal which don’t take much time but if you enjoy the subject, they often include reading lists which allow you to follow the topic up.

You could also set yourself the goal of one audiobook and two normal books a month

Never underestimate the value of an audiobook

I have recently realised the value of an audible subscription, especially when trying to engage myself in non-fiction and saving time. You could also set yourself the goal of one audiobook and two normal books a month. A recommendation of mine is Patrick-Radden Keefe’s ‘Say Nothing’ which is a narrative non-fiction that follows the disappearance of a woman during The Troubles of Northern Ireland. The narration that is allowed for in audiobooks can make them entirely more gripping. If you don’t want to spend money on an Audible subscription, there are many free recordings on Youtube.

Read alongside an audiobook

Although Audiobooks can be fascinating in themselves, listening to one alongside your physical book can help you speed up your reading time. Whilst altering the playback speed of the recording, you can find yourself reading at a much faster pace. Overall, this should help you fly through your 2021 reading list!

Book box subscriptions

Lastly, there are some really interesting book box subscriptions that aim to include the best fiction of the year, releases of a certain genre or culminate seminal texts into one box so that you can educate yourself on a topic. This can be a really exciting way to read around an area or to motivate yourself to read more. Some exciting ones are The Feminist Book Box which includes two essential paperbacks, a new release and an un-discovered gem and The London Review of Books monthly Book Box which contains a surprise novel or collection of stories plus some surprise gifts, handpicked from their Bloomsbury Bookshop to your door. These can be a bit pricey, however, you’ll be supporting independent bookshops whilst fulfilling your 2021 reading goal.

My main tip is to not be too over-ambitious

My main tip is to not be too over-ambitious, try to support independent booksellers and make sure you include diversity in authors and subject matter. Altogether, take time to really enjoy what you’re reading and don’t rush to reach a number by the end of the year!

Nieve O’Donnell

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