5 tips to keep reading harder

We’re nearly three months into the 2018 Read Harder Challenge, and I am further behind in crossing titles off of my list than I care to admit. After a not so great showing last year, I am committed to completing this year. It’s a great help that I’m much more excited about the list of 24 tasks this year, but still need to take some steps to keep myself on track. While I love to read, I’m also champion of starting but not finishing a book. But again, this year will be different! So in addition to writing a monthly post charting my progress, here are five tips to help keep me (and maybe you) plugging away to meet the challenge:

1. Make a game plan

Because a task is easier to cross off the to-do list when it is actually listed, I sketched out a preliminary plan for which books to read for each one. With the exception of “A book with a cover you hate,” which is possibly the oddest reading challenge category I’ve ever stumbled upon, my list is complete. While the categories are wide-ranging, I found several books that have been collecting virtual dust on my “I Want to Read” shelf, so the anticipation of getting to those is better incentive than staring at the blank challenge form wondering what to read.

2. Be flexible

It’s a game plan, but I’m not married to the idea that I must stick to the choices I made filling out the form back in December. Rita Mae Brown’s Murder Unleashed  was my original choice for “A mystery by a person of color or LGBTQ+ author,” but when I came across The Cutting Season by Attica Locke it found its way to my car CD player. And after seeing a hilarious clip of Jenifer Lewis reading a clip from The Mother of Black Hollywood: A Memoir,  I knew I had to listen to it immediately. Hoopla filled the need with instant access to the eAudiobook, and it’s replacing Carrie Fisher’s “Wishful Drinking” and Rita Moreno’s memoir for “A celebrity memoir.” Don’t worry, Carrie and Rita both remain on my shelf!

3. Read more than one at a time

Following a tip from Anythinker John, I’m reading multiple books at the same time. I’ve got an audiobook playing when I drive, another audiobook for headphones while I walk the dogs, a collection of short stories next to my bed, and a graphic novel that I’m toting around for any other reading time opportunities. The books are also wildly different in subject and tone, so I can switch to whichever is appropriate for my mood.

4. Double up 

The generous folks at Read Harder say it is ok to tick off more than one category for the same book. My personal rule is no more than two categories per book, and no more than three doubles.

5. Plan your reward

Sending a photo of your completed list to Read Harder by December 31, 2018 earns a 30 percent discount from the Book Riot store. I’ve got my eye on the Penguin Shakespeare edition T-shirts (mainly Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night, but they’re all fantastic).