The summer of 2016 will forever be the summer that I read 100+ books. Yes, over one hundred books from June 2016- August 2016. Yay! Hip hip hooray! Woohoo!
Now, let's not get too carried away, there are a few secrets to me achieving this great feat, but before we get to those secrets let me tell you a few of my favorites.
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem’s Greatest bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson- A young boy cronicles his father's creation of the National Memorial African bookstore.
Bark George by Jules Feiffer- A dog is supposed to bark, right? Well, not George. George meows, moos, even says hello!
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander- In this novel, told in verse, 12 year old Josh Bell and his twin brother love basketball but must come to accept the aches that come with growing up.
The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak is a hilarious book with, you guessed it, no pictures! Kids will crack up at the ridiculous 'words' this book forces you to say!
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell- Simon Snow is the 'chosen one', the magician with the most magic but half the time he's making things catch on fire. Together, he and his vampire nemesis must work together to solve a lifelong mystery.
Join a reading program
My achievement of reading over 100 books this summer was due partially to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Summer Reading Program. The goal for this summer was for the city of Pittsburgh to read and log over 90,000 books. Pittsburgh has some amazing readers because we not only read and logged 90,000 books, we surpassed this goal by another 30,000.
Joining a reading program allowed for me to create my own goal. Initially I said I would read 15 books. That was what I thought I could accomplish, given my full-time work and writing schedule. It helped that this reading program also had some incentives attached. Read your first book, get a free book- as we can tell, I'm all for free books. Other incentives were involved as well, such as a $25.00 gift card for kids and a chance to win a gift card for adults.
Now, you shouldn't need an incentive to read a book, but it helps, especially when the number of books you want to read is rather large.
Read to children
I run two children's programs at the library and perform various outreaches to a number of centers nearby. This means that I am constantly reading to children, almost every single day. Every book that I read to them, I logged. Hence, the large number of picture books. While I like to keep my outreach programs varied, I also can't reinvent the wheel, and read the same book to different classes multiple times.
Count those books, even if they are picture books. Picture books are still BOOKS! Picture books COUNT! They count, especially when you pick the perfect one for the outreach you walked a mile and a half to get to.
Read in your spare time
At the beginning of summer I thought that I wouldn't be able to achieve my initial goal of 15 books. I just didn't have the time.
My schedule looks like this... Wake Up, Go to work, Work, Work, Work, Workout (Which is really working only on a treadmill), Eat dinner, Sleep, Do the same thing that next morning
Time- what is it?
Then, I realized that I do have the time.
- My lunch break is one hour long but I only spend 10 of it eating...READ!
- My commute to work is one hour long and I spend the majority of it on my phone...READ!
- I barely watch television but I do spend way too much time on the internet...READ!
See, I do have the time and I'm sure that you do too. The same rules can be applied to writing. Write during your lunch break or jot down some notes on your commute to work (public transportation, please don't write and drive...).
Reading a large sum of books in a short period of time is doable. Another tip, if your library doesn't have a reading program, find one online. Goodreads.com is great because it allows for you to make a yearly book read goal, save books you want to read in the future, and keeps track of the books you've read thus far.
Picture or chapter books, 100 + books is a lot. Perhaps next summer I'll aim my sights a little higher. 200? 300? Who knows...