Thursday, January 30, 2014

How to Read Around the US in a Year

I know what you're thinking, I should have made this blog post at the very beginning of the year. But, it's not too late to start now. I came up with this idea while updating my 50 States Challenge within the Goodreads group, Christian Fiction Devourers. I also keep track of my challenge here on my blog. Last year, I only managed 34 books, so I wanted to see how many books one would have to read on a monthly basis in order to read a book set in every state. It comes to roughly four a month. So, I came up with a reading tracker to help me stay on goal. I keep it in my reading challenges notebook, I still like to do things the old-fashioned way. I love keeping lists and track of books I read on actual paper. Plus, you get the added pleasure of physically writing something down and crossing things off, which scientists have found actually can promote happiness (it does make me very happy, I look forward to it every time I finish a book).

Okay, so this is the first page. This page has months January and August. In these months we're going to dive right into the challenge and read five books a month which are based in different states. If you're participating in this challenge, I'm assuming you're already an avid reader and reading double or triple that a month. Only five of those ten or fifteen books you've read each month need to be geared towards this challenge. That's about a book and a half a week. As you can see I'm done for January, but if I were able to squeeze in one more book, I could put it towards February's goal. If I only complete 3 or 4 books that month, that's okay too. I don't want to make it a habit, but I've designed this system to allow for slip-ups. If I only read 4 books during January, I'm just going to leave that box blank and move on to February. You don't want to back-track, just keep progressing forward.

See, in the Fall and Winter, our reading slows down. I think most readers naturally read less as the holidays move closer. We're just busy with all that extra stuff that takes up a lot of our free time. So, starting in September and October we're only needing to read three books for the challenge. This would be the best time to probably catch-up on the books you missed during previous months. In November and December, the busiest months of all, you would only need to read two books. So, any catching-up could be squeezed-in at that time as well.

Of course, everyone has different schedules. Different months may be busiest for different people, for example, students. You could tweak the system to your preference. Maybe in April is when you want to have one of the lower-reading months because of final exams. So, just change April to two or three books and do five in September or whenever.

Good luck!

Helpful Links

This Goodreads group has a great index of books based in each state. This is great for those hard to find states. 

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