I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. – Groucho Marx

Book Reading Challenge – How I Went from a Non-Reader to Reading 15 Books in One Year

The last couple months of each year, I start to work on plans for the next year. A big part of those plans include what I want to read. If you’re not a reader, this is my book reading challenge for you. I challenge you to read six books over the next year. That’s where I started when I worked out my first annual plan. I wasn’t a big reader at that point but I ended up reading 15 books that year! I don’t always read as many books as I plan to but I continue to include a reading plan as part of my yearly plan.

Why Read?

If you’re not a reader then you may see little benefit in reading. Some of the ways I reading has helped me are: it gives me creative ideas including song ideas, it’s a great way to learn, and it challenges how I think. For more reasons to read, check out this blog post by Ray Edwards who reads much more than I do (76 books last year!).

It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it. - Oscar Wilde Click To Tweet

Making Time to Read

Start by making reading a habit. Read for just ten minutes a day – it’s just ten minutes. One big advantage that exists today is that audiobooks are readily available. If you don’t have ten minutes a day to sit and read, maybe you have ten minutes each morning while you’re getting ready to leave, or a ten minute commute to work, or ten minutes during your lunch break. Audiobooks open up a lot of opportunities to consume books.

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.
– Groucho Marx

How to Start

You can’t just pick up any book and expect to challenge your thinking. In order to get the full benefits listed above, you have intentionally pick what you read.


In order to fulfill my six books in one year, I came up with six categories that I wanted to read about. Those six categories are: being a husband, church life, being a father, life work, sound doctrine, and finance. I read for information so you’ll notice none of those include fiction categories. Your categories will most likely look different from mine, but hopefully that gives you a starting point.

Schedule to Motivate

After I came up with those categories, I scheduled when in the year I wanted to read about each of them. I try to schedule each category during a time of year that will motivate me to read the book I selected for it.

I read about being a husband at the beginning of the year because that’s where my anniversary falls. I read about being a father around the months of my kid’s birthdays. I read about finance around the end of the year because I want to start the next year with some new financial ideas. The rest of the categories I just schedule as I see fit and they may change each year.

Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing. - Harper Lee Click To Tweet

Pick Your Books

Having a set of categories should make it easier to pick books to read. I get a lot of book ideas from the podcasts I listen to and the blogs I read. When I find a new book that I want to read, I either list it under one of my categories so I can schedule it for the next year, or I fit it in the current year if I’m ahead of schedule. That’s how I read 15 my first year.

I would love if you would include my new Break Your Creative Block eBook in your reading plan for next year!

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.
– George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

Start Reading and Keep Reading – the Book Reading Challenge

I wish I could say I’ve read 15 books a year since I started the plan, but I haven’t. I haven’t even read 6 every year, but the last two years have been better. This year I actually planned for 12 books, 2 in each category, and am now at 19 books with two months to go! So this is the book reading challenge: start by reading 6 books this next year, maybe you’ll read more. Then either stick with that for the next year or go for more, find the best number that works for you.

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.
– James Baldwin

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