20 Ways You Can Read More Books in 2021 (2024)

It's (almost) that time again: As the holidays approach, we're reminded to set goals for the year ahead. And one that the OprahMag.com team happily suggests? Read, read, read!

Just like Oprah has shown us with her game-changing book club—and its iteration at Apple Books—we love to read and encourage others to do so, too. So if you're looking to fall in love with your next page turner (Reese Witherspoon has a book club, too), we've put together some useful tips to both read more and get added enjoyment out of books in the year ahead.

Read before you fall asleep.

Skip out on that late-night scroll through your Twitter feed and go old school. Read a bedtime story to lull yourself to sleep. If you do this frequently enough, it can become a part of your nighttime routine.

"I hear a lot from people that say they're too tired before they go to bed to read, and I always ask them, 'What do you do before you tuck in?'" says Sarah Gelman, the editorial director of Amazon Books. "They'll say, 'I look at Instagram, I check emails.' I really think people need to put their phones away and pick up books or their e-readers. Even if you read the book for five minutes and fall asleep with it on your face—which has definitely happened to me—you have read it for five more minutes than you would have otherwise, and it just becomes a habit."

And, maybe even when you wake up in the morning.

If your schedule allows, instead of perusing your emails or immediately beginning the day's to-do list, take a moment for yourself and dedicate anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour for reading. And yes, you can stay in bed.

Follow "bookstagram" accounts for literary eye-candy.

Yes, "bookstagrams"—aka book Instagram accounts—are a total thing. It's a dedicated community that posts covers of their latest reads (and then some). The artistry of these accounts will inspire you to head to your local library. If you need any suggestions on who exactly to follow, we've got a diverse list right here.

Always have a book on deck.

Whether you're commuting to the office or on your way to a girls' getaway, have a dedicated space in your bag for your next read. This way, whenever you find yourself with some unexpected down time, reading will always be an option.

Embrace audio books.

While you're not technically reading, Gelman explains that listening to a book with an engaging narrator can get you excited about finding your next novel—even for those who think of themselves as old school book readers. "For people that don't love audio books, I found nonfiction books read by the author—especially memoirs—were a sort of gateway."

We've included a few of Gelman's recommended Audible picks above and here are some of our favorites.

Remember, there's no such thing as a "guilty pleasure" book.

You should never let embarrassment for liking a particular type of novel stop you from picking out a book.

"There's a reason why 'guilty pleasure' books are popular," Gelman says. "It's because they're good. They have a compelling story and they're fast to read. People have to let go of this stigma of 'what I should be reading' versus 'what I want to read.' Just read what you enjoy. It's so freeing."

Think about your TV time as reading time.

This mental trick will hopefully urge you to see the value in sitting down with a good book. Those three hours you'd usually spend bingeing The Crown? Maybe use at least half of that time to finally try out Oprah's latest book club pick, Isabel Wilkerson's Caste.

"A traditional 30 minute show is like 22 minutes if you fast forward through commercials, and an hour show is 42 minutes," Gelman says. She likes to spend those 22 or 42 minutes reading, explaining that time tends to go slower when she's engaged in a titillating text.

Participate in a reading challenge.

Devoting time to a challenge is a way to compete against yourself while still working toward your reading goals. You can keep it simple with Goodreads and choose a specific number of books to read per year, as the site allows you to easily track your progress.

Bookish also offers a reading challenge, though the terms are a bit more complex. In an effort to keep participant's selections diverse, their 2020 terms set a goal of 42 books, sending readers on a literary scavenger hunt. A couple of fun examples? One request was that you find a story dedicated to social justice, while another urges you to find a National Book Award winner.

Check out "best lists."

Selecting a book from the endless array can be overwhelming. To narrow down the field, peruse reading lists from the institutions that make it their business to find the best of the best.

The New York Times best sellers list is a tried and true test of a good book to read. (The current top spot for combined print and e-book fiction is The Law of Innocence by Michael Connelly). And Goodreads' 2020 "Best Books" are being chosen by millions of bibliophiles as we speak.

And, of course, we can't forget our own trusted O book editors, who have curated tons of meticulous collections that span across genres. We've got the top LGBTQ novels of 2020 and even erotic short stories. No matter where you look, there's a little something for everybody.

Join a local book club.

Not only will you have fellow book lovers holding you accountable to read more, but you'll also be a part of a new community that makes finishing a book a priority. Not to mention the discussions about the book can expand your mind and perspective.

While it may seem impossible to find the right group, the American Library Association's "Book Club Central" offers plenty of resources to get started, including heading to your nearest library to consult the reference desk for information about local book clubs. Another place to check out is an independent bookstore, where active clubs tend to seek out new members who also enjoy reading. There are also sites like meetup.com or my-bookclub.com, where you can find clubs in your area.

If you prefer to stay home, Goodreads allows readers to join a virtual group through various discussion boards based on genre, from young adult to romance novels.

Read some poetry.

Whether you dig into a whole poetry book or read renowned love poems online, poetry can be a compelling break from traditional fiction and nonfiction reads that tend to dominate the best sellers lists. "Poetry is short and digestible, yes," says O's assistant books editor Michelle Hart, "but reading poetry is also a great way to get the creative part of your brain working."

To get you started, consider one of 2019's buzziest poetry collections: Camonghne Felix's Build Yourself A Boat, a powerful read about being a Black woman in today's America.

Try out a story before you commit.

It happens to the best of us. You pick up a book based on its eye-catching cover and enchanting synopsis, only for it to collect dust on your book shelf after just a few pages. It's hard to work up the energy to read more if you select duds. Hart has a tip to combat this dilemma.

"LitHub, which is, as the name suggests, a hub for all things literary, posts a short story or an excerpt from an upcoming novel every day," she says. "It’s a good way to try out a novel or an author before buying a book."

Amazon Kindle

20 Ways You Can Read More Books in 2021 (7)

Amazon Kindle

Invest in an e-reader.

While devoted book worms everywhere will likely always debate e-readers vs physical books, there's no denying that devices like Kindles can make it easier to read on demand. According to Statista, 335.7 million e-books were sold in the U.S. in 2019. The hassle of taking a trip to the bookstore is gone when you have a tablet that acts as a personal mobile library. And an e-reader stores thousands of books—new and old—that cross various genres, with prices starting as low as 99 cents. All you have to do to start reading is tap on a screen.

Listen to a book podcast.

It may sound counterintuitive to plug in your earphones to improve your reading habits, but Hart insists that certain podcasts will spike your interest in literature. She points to the New Yorker's "The Writer's Voice" and "Fiction" as choice programming. You can listen to each for free on Apple or Stitcher, which are available on both Android and iOS.

The New Yorker's fiction editor Deborah Treisman invites a different author on "Fiction" to read and discuss a new short story each month. (One of Hart's favorite episodes is with comedian David Sedaris.) "It’s a great way to catch up on the New Yorker’s acclaimed short stories, and as a bonus, you get to hear the story read by the authors themselves," Hart says.

And in case you need more suggestions, we've curated a list of our favorite book podcasts, too.

Download a reading app.

If you find that more often than not your reading hours slowly begin to turn into even more phone time, make your device less of a distraction and download a reading app. Apple Books, NOOK, and more offer digital bookstores with thousands of reads to choose from that you can pick instantly. So the next time you unlock your phone and have the urge to tap that Instagram icon, maybe you'll be tempted to open your Scribd app instead.

Take your time and set reading goals.

Oftentimes after purchasing a new book, the thought of even attempting to finish a multi-chapter novel can be intimidating. But remember, reading is not a race. You can finish a story as fast or as slow as you wish. To maintain your preferred pace, in addition to keeping yourself accountable, create personal goals. This could look like 20 pages a day, two chapters a week, or finishing the book by the end of the month. Whatever works for your schedule is attainable.

If you need a bit of encouragement, the Bookly app has a variety of tools including statistics that track your reading progress and an option to set up monthly and yearly goals.

Explore different genres.

It's totally okay if you can't get through the year's trendiest memoir or if you're finding that classic novels never seem to catch your attention. There are a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres (adventure, thrillers, biographies, short stories, graphic novels) for you try out in order to discover what truly keeps your attention.

Designate a cozy reading space.

Sometimes it's all about the atmosphere. Designate a space in your home as your official reading nook, and make it as cozy as possible in order to associate reading with comfort and relaxation. It's as simple as slipping on your softest slippers and lighting your most cherished candle to set the mood.

Get a book subscription box.

Make reading exciting with a monthly gift to yourself by choosing from a variety of book subscription boxes. A couple of suggestions? BlackLIT curates selections by Black authors, The Page 1 Book Subscription has their creators choose a read for you based on a detailed profile, and My Thrill Club specializes in crime, mystery, thrillers, and horror.

And to get you excited to read even more...

O, the Oprah Magazine's book editors curated a list of 2020's best books. Below, a peek of some of those titles.

Happy reading!

20 Ways You Can Read More Books in 2021 (8)

"African American Poetry" Edited by Kevin Young

20 Ways You Can Read More Books in 2021 (9)

"The Boy in the Field" by Margot Livesey

20 Ways You Can Read More Books in 2021 (10)

"Deacon King Kong" by James McBride

20 Ways You Can Read More Books in 2021 (11)

"The Invisible Life of Addie Larue" by V.E. Schwab

Now 29% Off

For more ways to live your best life plus all things Oprah, sign up for our newsletter!


20 Ways You Can Read More Books in 2021 (12)

McKenzie Jean-Philippe

Editorial Assistant

McKenzie Jean-Philippe is the editorial assistant at OprahMag.com covering pop culture, TV, movies, celebrity, and lifestyle. She loves a great Oprah viral moment and all things Netflix—but come summertime, Big Brother has her heart. On a day off you'll find her curled up with a new juicy romance novel.

20 Ways You Can Read More Books in 2021 (2024)


How can I read more books in a year? ›

Set a goal to read just a little more each day than you normally do. If you don't read at all, you can set a goal to read 3-5 pages a day. If you normally read around 25 minutes each day, read for 30. If you use Todoist, create a task that recurs every day with the number of pages or amount of time you want to read.

How can I read more books effectively? ›

Here are eight strategies that can help you read more this year.
  1. Start small. A great way to make reading a habit is to start with short-story collections or longform magazine journalism. ...
  2. Join a reading challenge. ...
  3. Try different formats. ...
  4. Find a reading community.
Feb 3, 2023

How to read 100 books in a year? ›

There are 52 weeks in a year, meaning you need to read about two books a week if you want to read 100 books in the year. This amounts to an average of 3.5 days to read each book. This may sound daunting, but remember, some books will be shorter and only take a day or two to read.

How to read 20 pages a day? ›

Here's the only pattern I've been able to stick with consistently: Read 20 pages to start the day. I usually wake up, drink a glass of water, write down 3 things I'm grateful for, and read 20 pages of a book. For the last 10 weeks, I have followed this new habit.

How to read 1,000 books in a year? ›

You need to read three books a day to reach your goal. Finding a thousand short books in one spur could've been exhausting. Finding 2–4 books a day is not tiring.

What are 100 benefits of reading? ›

100 Reasons to Read a Book
  • Fun.
  • Learn something new.
  • Reduce stress.
  • Gain empathy.
  • Entertainment.
  • Connect with friends.
  • Less TV time.
  • Relaxation.
Aug 13, 2022

Who reads 50 books a year? ›

Bill Gates

The former Microsoft CEO has attested to reading 50 books a year, or roughly one book a week. Most of the books are non-fiction dealing with public health, disease, engineering, business, and science. Every now and then he'll breeze through a novel (and sometimes in one sitting late into the night).

How to read 700 pages in a day? ›

For 400-500 words per page in a book, and at a typical reader's speed, you would need over two full days with no time to eat or sleep to read 700 pages. You can speed skim that many pages to get a vague idea of what was talked about, but you won't be able to pass a test on the subject if you try.

Is reading 50 books a year a lot? ›

Reading 50 books a year may seem ambitious, but it is achievable with some planning. Whether you're looking to expand your knowledge, escape into a new world, or challenge yourself, this guide will show you how to reach your goal of 50 books a year.

How to read 500 pages a day? ›

And if you really want to read 500 pages a day then. Focus on continuous reading . Set a goal to read about 100–150 page's in one sitting. Well, I'll personally not advice anyone to set goals while reading, but if you want to read 500 page's a day then , I reckon these 2 thing's will help you .!

How many books a year is alot? ›

Generally, a reasonable book goal for the year would be 12-15 books if you have a full-time job and other commitments. However, if you have more free time and are comfortable with the level of difficulty and length of the books you plan on reading, you could aim for a higher number.

How many pages does Bill Gates read a day? ›

Gates won't begin reading a book that he won't finish. According to his wife Melinda, Bill reads approximately 150 pages per hour, a staggering speed, especially given that he takes in and understands the vast majority of what he reads (his comprehension level is off the charts).

Is it OK to read 50 pages a day? ›

Reading should be fun and enjoyable and each book you read should impact you and develop your perspective. By reading 50-pages a day you develop a consistent reading habit that will help you to not only finish more books but also develop your reading abilities.

Is reading 12 pages in 20 minutes good? ›

The average reader will read 12 pages in 20 minutes when reading at a speed of 300 words per minute (wpm). Typical documents that are 12 pages include college dissertations, theses, and in-depth blog posts and journal articles. A typical single-spaced page is 500 words long.

How many books should I be able to read in a year? ›

Generally, a reasonable book goal for the year would be 12-15 books if you have a full-time job and other commitments. However, if you have more free time and are comfortable with the level of difficulty and length of the books you plan on reading, you could aim for a higher number.

What is a normal amount of books to read in a year? ›

Books read in 12 months

Older generations more regularly complete their books, as the average GenX adult reads 6.01 full books per year, while Boomers average around 9.54 books over the same period. 45.93% of Boomers read more than 4 books in a year, with 25.91% reading more than 11 books.

How many books can someone realistically read in a year? ›

If a person reads for 30 minutes a day at that speed, they can get through 33 books a year (assuming book lengths average out to 90,000 words). Speedy readers who blast through the passage in 60 seconds can read 55 books in a year with 30 minutes of daily reading time—which comes out to just over one book a week.

Is it possible to read 50 books in a year? ›

While it can seem daunting at first, anyone can reach the goal of reading 50 books a year with a bit of planning. You may rethink how you tick off each book and focus on learning new ideas instead. So, set your goal, make a plan, and start reading – you never know what you might discover.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Last Updated:

Views: 6411

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Birthday: 1994-06-25

Address: Suite 153 582 Lubowitz Walks, Port Alfredoborough, IN 72879-2838

Phone: +128413562823324

Job: IT Strategist

Hobby: Video gaming, Basketball, Web surfing, Book restoration, Jogging, Shooting, Fishing

Introduction: My name is Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner, I am a zany, graceful, talented, witty, determined, shiny, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.