5 book-related things people ask me all the time

There has been a lot of heavy stuff in the news the last few weeks and I’ve wanted to write about things going on, but every time I attempt to put word to “paper” (aka blog), my heart and motivation just aren’t in it. I’ve said what I’ve said on Facebook and honestly, that seems like enough.

I’m participating in something fun called #BoutofBooks and I typically don’t post book-related things here but I thought I would share a little bit about my reading habits because I get so many questions/comments about how much I read. So here you go: the top five questions/comments people make and ask and my responses to them.

1. How do you know how many books you read each year?
Because I keep track! I started keeping track of how many books I read each year when I was in college, in 2007. Mostly I did it because I was curious to see how much I did read. I was always telling people “Oh, I read a lot,” and no one ever disagreed, but I wanted to see an actual number to know. During that year, I tentatively challenged myself to read 50 books. (I didn’t make the goal in 2007, but I still felt accomplished: I read 44 books that year while taking a full course load in college and working a LOT of hours!) From there on out I began to challenge myself to read 50 books a year. I kept (and still keep) track in several places. I use GoodReads to keep track of what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading, and what I want to read. GoodReads also lets you review and give your books a star rating. I don’t always like how basic their rating system is, but it works. I also write the books I’ve read in my pen-and-paper planner. I can always reference it when I’m out and about. And last but not least, I have a spreadsheet that dates back all the way to that first book in 2007 when I began tracking. It’s got four workbooks within it: one that lists the books in the order I’ve read them, another that lists the books by title, another that lists the books by author, and a fourth that shows in columns how many pages each book is, my total page count for the year, the average number of pages per book, and a total of how many pages and the average page number since I began keeping track in 2007.

2. What’s the most books you’ve ever read?
In 2012 I read 80 books. Eighty! That is totally insane to me.

3. What are time tips you have to read more? How do you manage to read so much?
I’m a very busy person, but reading is really important to me. I’ve known how to read for as long as I can remember, and it’s such a vital part to my life that I cannot imagine going without it. That said, although I read a lot, I am not a super fast reader. I’m probably average — faster than some, slower than others. My biggest tip is that I just read a lot. I try to read for a little bit at lunch each day. I read almost every night before I go to bed. I would, under normal circumstances, rather read than watch tv. I usually have a book on my  nook on on the kindle app on my phone that gives me the freedom to read for five or ten minutes at a time when I’m waiting in line at the post office or the grocery store. My number one tip? I simply make reading a priority in my life. It’s important to me, so I set aside time to do what I love so much.

4. What’s your favorite book?
This is such a hard question! It’s like choosing a favorite child. I have so many different books that are my favorite for lots of different reasons. So here are a few that in my top picks: The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Maus 1 & 2 by Art Spiegelman. Lucky by Alice Sebold. Bossypants by Tina Fey.  by Jen Hatmaker. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. Mary and Me by John Grogan. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I’ve read these books at such varied times in my life; how can I ever pick just one?

5. Can you recommend a book for me?
In some ways this is a question that is so much harder to answer than what my favorite book is!  My taste of books is pretty wide, so when someone asks for a recommendation, I don’t know where to begin unless we have really similar tastes. If you ask, I’ll probably tell you what I’ve enjoyed recently, but if you try something and don’t like it, don’t hold it against me!

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