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Goodreads' Top Reviewer Teaches Bookworms How to Read More Books This Year!

Did you read 200 books last year? No? Then listen up.

Most of us want to read more, and there are as many reasons why as there are books to read. Maybe our jobs or other obligations infringe upon our already limited time. Maybe the problem occurs not because we don't read enough but because we could never read enough, and each year we surpass our reading goals proves to us that we can aim higher. We're probably in agreement that you can't really aim that much higher than 200+ books—which is the amount of books that Emily May, Goodreads' top reviewer, blew through in 2018. Bookworms don't just want to know how May did it. We also want to know how we ourselves can pull it off—a question that's sometimes how, sometimes if. May assures us that it's doable with a few specific steps and considerations.


1. Before you choose, read the reviews


Review of the movie 'The Wolf of Wall Street': "I didn't like the movie because there weren't any wolves in it."

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Many bookworms are put off by negative reviews. The problem is that we're often put off too quickly. Many readers may dislike a book for exactly the reason others will love it. This year, let's not miss out on a story we love because someone with opposite tastes gave it one star. May elaborates:


I’ve read negative reviews where the reviewer has said something like ‘I didn’t like the supernatural twist’, which tells me I will probably love it. And I’ve received comments on my negative reviews saying ‘This is exactly what I’ve been looking for!’ I think it’s great that one person’s negative review can turn someone else onto a new favorite.


2. If you want to read more books, read better books


A selection of literary classics, including 'The Great Gatsby' and 'Mrs. Dalloway'

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Imagine your least favorite high school book, one assigned to you on a reading list. No matter its literary quality, no matter the approaching deadline, you just couldn't make yourself like it... and so you couldn't make yourself read it. If you're trying to reach a specific reading goal, it's simply inefficient to waste time slogging through something you can't stand. This year, don't ask yourself which books you should read—focus on the ones you want to. May admits: "I’ve been more selective with my reading choices, knowing that I have less time. And I’ve been more likely to put aside books that don’t interest me." Clearly, this has worked out pretty well for her. 


3. Set more realistic goals


Reach your #readinggoals banner

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This sounds like a joke coming from someone blowing through over 200 books a year—what is realistic to someone like that? But May isn't kidding. “I don’t know if this is considered cheating, but I set an achievable challenge first and then move it up if it looks like I can do better,” says May, offering her advice to those looking to make reading challenges and then crush them. “It feels much better to start modest and raise your goal than it does to aim high and not quite make it. So just start with a few books—there’s no minimum requirement!”


Of course, you don't have to read 200 books to feel good about your yearly reading. Your goal should be whatever you want—and the books you read to reach that goal should be whatever you want to devote your time to.




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