How to Read 15 Books In 30 Days (Without Speed-Reading)

Want to read more in 2020? Here are a few ways you can make it happen.

Image courtesy of @notabookhoarder with permission from the photographer (me)

Let me be clear about something before we begin: I’m never going to recommend that anyone needs to read as much as I do.

I just have this “thing” about clearing my unread bookshelves (39 left to go … I think). And also this thing about rewarding each new month with more books, because BOOKS.

However, I do think that people who say they want to read more in general are more capable of doing this than they think. I read 15 books in January not because I “had” to, but because I wanted to. You could probably read 15 books in 30 days too, if you really tried.

Necessary? No. Fun? Absolutely.

Reading is especially valuable for writers, but it’s something everyone can benefit from in different ways. Books expose you to different viewpoints, issues, and cultures. They’re also mirrors, allowing you to see yourself in some characters in ways you never have before.

Books also look awesome when you arrange them together on shelves, but maybe that’s just my preferred aesthetic.

Whether you want to clear your bookshelves, make good use of your library card, or learn valuable things from nonfiction books while also having a blast in genres of fiction you love — or all of the above — here are a few ways to get started.

Is there a self-help book or piece of educational material you’ve been wanting to read, but you just can’t seem to get through more than a chapter in a month or more? Try sprinkling a little nonfiction reading in every day as a supplement to the fiction you consume.

At any given moment, I’m reading both a fiction and nonfiction book simultaneously. Usually, I set a larger daily page goal for fiction, and consume nonfiction in smaller segments.

Nonfiction and fiction are easy to switch between, especially if you’re using nonfiction to learn about something you’re interested in. Use your fiction reading space to explore genres and stories that will interest you enough to keep turning pages.

I used to be one of those people who didn’t think listening to books “counted” as actual reading. I’m happy to report that I was very wrong. And that Audible has become a borderline addiction. I’m fine. I think.

One of the most common complaints aspiring readers give when struggling to level up their reading is that they don’t have time to sit down to read even a chapter, let alone a whole book.

Guess what? Neither do I, a lot of the time. But I do spend a lot of time walking my dog, playing with my dog, chasing my dog, cuddling with my dog … I have a very needy dog. When I’ve run out of new podcast episodes, I switch to an audiobook. Multitasking does work sometimes. It works wonderfully in this case.

You don’t have to listen to books at 2.5x speed like I do (why? I don’t know). But it’s a useful hack if you ever want to finish a book in a day. For whatever reason.

And that’s just one way to get around reading obstacles. I’m still mostly a physical book enthusiast. But when I’m discussing a book on a podcast, I like to take notes. So I do occasionally use the Kindle app on my iPad to read a book here and there, and it’s not as sacrilegious as it seems. Like audiobooks, it’s just a different way to read. Same book. Different format.

Many people don’t want reading to feel like homework, and that’s understandable. But if you’re really set on reading more books, “forcing” yourself to do it might help … as long as you’re picking up books you’re actually interested in!

I’m always looking for “excuses” to keep reading. When I’m not reviewing books on behalf of other sites, I’m posting about them on Instagram just for fun. People are always looking for book recommendations, and this is a great way to offer them while also quieting your “I don’t feel like reading” excuses.

Book clubs are also still a thing, both physically and in virtual form. Unlike when you were in school, there’s no required book report, but you’re generally expected to read the book along with everyone else.

  • Your town or neighborhood probably has at least one book club already running and you don’t even know it! And if there isn’t a group reading books you’re interested in, start a group with your close friends or co-workers.
  • The Nerdette podcast is currently running a monthly book club, releasing a discussion episode about the book at the end of each month before announcing the next book.
  • Life’s Library is another virtual “book club” that releases new books every six weeks, along with supplementary materials and a Discord dedicated to discussing each read. Bonus: Each subscription counts as a donation to Partners In Health.

In the end, it’s not about how much you read, but instead how much value you find in the material you consume — and how you use what you learn to give back to the world around you.

But the more you read, the more you know (hopefully). And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to expand your horizons through a handful of new books.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Project Stardust, a fem-led website and community that celebrates underrepresented voices in the Star Wars universe and fandom.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store