Why my reading’s going so well this year

I am having an exceptional reading year so far.

When you decide if a reading month, season or year is good, some people judge that based on number of books, some judge by quality of books and I judge it by these criteria:

  • Am I excited to pick up a book and read? (vs scroll my phone)
  • Do I consistently have something to read next?
  • Am I reading great quality books? (I would rather read fewer books but have them be 4 and 5 stars than many 2.5 – 3.5 star books)

A few things are influencing this year’s reading year:

Quality over quantity

Since first hitting the over-100 books mark (I’ve been reading over 100 books a year since 2017 and in 2016, I read 97, so very close), I’ve tried to observe the point at which the goal makes me chase a number rather than the quality of the book. As you well know, I love a goal but I feel like that number is 100. When I’m chasing more than 100, I start looking for shorter books that I can finish quickly, I start pressing through on things I’m not enjoying and I start choosing books on length rather than the story. So my goal has been 100 or fewer for a few years now. This year my goal is 96 (12 months X 8 books). As at the end of May, I’d read 50 books so I’m well on track to reach my goal. I like keeping it low so that I can enjoy reading longer books and not automatically only reach for 300-page novels.


My Libby (City of Johannesburg) has come out of hubernation. For a few years there were many books I wanted to and did read (2019 – 22; 2020 – 29) but then in 2021, only 6, and in 2022 and 2023, nothing. Not one book on Libby that was something I wanted to read and hadn’t.

Suddenly, this year, on the 1st, I went in and lo and behold, many new buys so I put as many holds as I could and borrowed one or two immediately, and so it started.

I am very good at tagging, so I have whole “shelves” full of “want to read” or “not for me”. I do this second tag because too many books sound the same these days and therefore I don’t want to waste time clicking through and reading a whole synopsis, only to realise, “oh right, that’s the reason I haven’t placed on my “to read” list”.

The good thing about Libby is you have two weeks (in South Africa – I think it may be three weeks in the US) to finish a book so you have to crack on and read. The not-good thing is that the COJ library only buys one copy of a book so there are always tons of people waiting so you cannot renew popular books. E.g. I have borrowed Wintering by Katherine May (haven’t started reading yet!) and it’s due in 11 days, with 5 people waiting. Which means, I need to get reading because that book is disappearing in 11 days and I’ll wait at least 2.5 months before I can borrow it again.

Reading my physical shelves

I decided at the end of last year that I’m tired of looking at the same books I want to read over and over. Why don’t I just prioritise them and get reading?

Hence my goal to read the non-fiction books on my shelves. I have done a great job so far, and when this is done, I am almost never going to buy a physical non-fiction book again. I’ve read 7, am 34% through with one and 70% through with another, have 3 left on my shelves but only plan to read two as I decided devotionals are not for me after ploughing through 1 for months.

That’s it.

In a nutshell, I am reading at a faster pace than I planned (and way more non-fiction) because of Libby (already 17 books for this year), my little non-fiction project and I think I have enough sources of books (let’s not forget my own Kindle shelves – 28 – and Everand, formerly known as Scribd) to keep me reading.

 How is your reading year going?

PS interestingly, I’ve unsubscribed from all but one reading podcast. That might also be a factor – the other two read books I am not even remotely interested in picking up… so I’ve stayed with the one where there’s a definite Venn diagram of overlap with my own reading

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  1. Awesome! Mine isn’t going very well, sadly. I just have been so busy this spring and basically just haven’t been prioritizing it. I’m hopeful that now that some events and a vacation are behind me, I may have some more time to lean into that this summer. I also have been on a little mission to read some books that I already own. A friend gave me several great books last year and I have a few I got for Christmas, but they had been just sitting there.. despite that I truly do want to read them! So I just took one on vacation with me and am going to try to chip away at the others!

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