8 Ways to Read More This Year

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8 Ways to Read More This Year

How much do you read?

Well, I read a lot! I am the person who is reading everywhere, a few pages here… a few pages there… in a bus, in a train, in the doctor’s waiting area, in a queue, in bed, while eating alone and sometimes even in the loo. There are some days (I wish I have more such days!) when I have read from morn to night and have left the bed just for bare necessities. I read all the time, and I love it. You may like to know why I love reading so much. Well, you may check out this earlier post of mine which shares just that!

The other day, a friend asked me in an almost accusatory tone, “How do you read so much?” I’d like to answer that today in this post.

Before, I share my strategies to read more, let me clarify that this is a post for only those who want to read more than their current reading pace but are not able to do so due to various reasons and is for those who want to enhance the quality of their reading experience.

Here are some strategies that I use to read more:

  1. Read what you like. If you are getting back to books because you know it’s good for you, or you’ve challenged yourself to read more, the last thing you should do is pick up a bestseller which everyone is reading. The probability of you abandoning it even before you reach chapter 2 is high if it’s not of your liking. Read what you like, not what you’re told to like. Pick up an entertaining and engaging book, you will finish it faster and you will bask in the joy of achievement too.
  2. Follow the cat rule. It is said that a cat carries her newborn babies wherever she goes. You should do the same with your book. Take books with you everywhere… to work, business meetings, shopping, travel, vacations even when resting on a couch in front of the TV. Have a book with you. Sooner or later, you’ll open it and start reading and in no time you will be hooked to the book and would read even if you have a free time of 5 minutes. Reading like any other thing requires practice and dedication.
  3. Make a public commitment. There is this social norm called the rule of commitment. According to this norm, you typically feel obligated to follow through with something after you have made a public commitment. Making an open pledge would give you internal psychological pressure and of course you have that social pressure too, to stick to your commitment. It is an effective way of bringing urgency back to your goal. So sharing your goals on Goodreads or your blog is a good way to make your resolve to read more a bit stronger.
  4. Track your reading. Our brain loves lists. Mine is truly, madly and deeply in love with lists. Keeping a record of what you have read will not only give you instant gratification but will give you a renewed sense of purpose too. I have an excel sheet where I track the books read for the various prompts of the various reading challenges. Also, Goodreads is a good way to record your reading. A tip – Record the entry immediately after you have finished reading the book. This link for PopSugar Reading Challenge 2018 spreadsheet will get you started and you can make your own variations too. The idea is to record your reading!!
  5. Buy cheap books. Now don’t get me wrong here. You know that, books cost money and if you plan to read a lot, your book budget is certainly going to shoot up. Buy books online to get better discounts. Amazon is my go-to store for books and it has changed my book buying habit completely. I keep adding the books I want to read in my wish list on Amazon, so whenever there’s a price drop, I get a notification for that. Also go for Kindle books which are economical than physical books. Join groups like eBook Deals for Broke Bibliophiles – India or Book Deals for Broke Bibliophiles – India and get information on some amazing book deals. Buy second hand books from sites like BookChor and of course, join a local library.
  6. Get your priorities right. If you want to read more, reading has to be high on your priority list. So, it has to come before watching TV or spending time on Facebook/ Twitter or simply wasting time.
  7. Find a few trusted, curated lists. We all have different likes and dislikes. The genres and authors your friend reads may not interest you. Also there are SO MANY books to read, and you can’t possibly read all of them. So, it makes sense to pick books which aligns with your taste. There are quite a few curated lists to follow like Amazon’s list of 100 books to read in a lifetime or 74 Essential Books for Your Personal Library or Bill Gate’s reading list. You can find a lot many such lists on the internet. I follow some voracious readers on Goodreads who have reading taste similar to mine and pick books from their reading lists.
  8. Do reading sprints. There are times when you don’t feel like reading or have poor attention span. During such times, set a timer of 15 minutes on your phone and read for these 15 minutes. Take a 5 minute break and go for the next reading sprint of 15 minutes and you would have better reading focus and of course your reading mission would be accomplished too.

Leafing through a few pages all through the day adds up to a lot of reading and before you know it, reading will become a part of your daily routine.

Happy Reading!

These are my strategies to read more. Which of these would you like to adopt? Would you like to share your strategy to read more?

My Book Reading Challenges 2018

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My 2018 Book reading Challenges

I love reading. I’ve been reading on a daily basis for years now. Probably, it’s the only healthy exercise that I have been able to follow religiously.

I also love challenging myself, so not doing a reading challenge would almost be a crime. I have been taking up reading challenges since the last 5 years. And in these past few years, I have read a lot.

Reading challenges have pushed me to read a little more. A little differently. About different topics. I remember a time, when I was reading only romance or just thrillers. Reading challenges have definitely helped expand my reading experiences. Because of the prompts from the various reading challenges, I have stepped out of my comfort zone and read non-fiction and dystopian novels and explored some genres and authors which I was totally ignorant of. For example, I was unaware that there is a sub genre of Romance called Christian Romance in which both the hero and heroine are devout Christians and are typically focused on a chaste courtship.

I enjoyed every bit of My 2017 Reading Challenges and I am very excited about this year’s challenges which I have picked up for myself. Have a look at them…

1. Goodreads

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Shilpa has
read 1 book toward
her goal of
100 books.

2. HT Brunch Book Challenge 

This will be my second year for the #BrunchBookChallenge. I loved sharing my books and checking out books by other readers at Twitter for this challenge. From 36 books in 2017, this challenge is pushing the readers to read 50 books in 2018. And there’s this excitement of winning a big number of books at the end of the year with this challenge.

3. 2018 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge

This is my favorite challenge, for this one has truly expanded my reading horizons. I love exploring books for the various prompts and then buying and reading them too. Thanks to the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, I have read such diverse books. I am excited about the prompts for this year.

Pop Sugar 2018

4. Back to the Classics 2018

I have read quite a few classics during the school days.I have been meaning to re-read some of them for a while now but never got around to do that. When I saw this challenge, I gave a whoop of joy. I am looking forward to the endless possibilities of rediscovery by reading some old classics with this challenge.

2018 Back to the Classics Challenge1. A 19th century classic2. A 20th century classic 3. A classic by a woman author4. A classic in translation. 5. A children's classic6. A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction

5. 2018 Read Your (Book) Shelf Challenge #ReadYourShelf

I failed miserably with the last year’s #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks 2017. Since I have become a Kindle convert, my books in my bookish cupboard are totally ignored. I have some fantastic books on my book shelves and I want to read them. In this challenge, one has to pick 12 books from their book shelves and stack them, click a picture and read one book every month in forward or reverse order. Given below is my pile of 12 books from my book cupboard which I am going to tackle this year.

2018 Read Your (Book) Shelf Challenge

6. 2018 Personal Growth Reading Challenge

Personal growth is a journey to explore and develop yourself. It helps you to develop physically, mentally, spiritually and intellectually. Through this challenge, I’d like to educate and inspire myself to be a better version of myself. In this challenge, one has to read 26 books on the given topics.


These are the reading challenges that will keep me busy all through 2018.

If you are looking for more such reading challenges, check out The Master List Of 2018 Reading Challenges

What about you – do you do reading challenges? If so, which one?

In my next post, I’d share my experiences, learnings and strategies for reading more. Stay tuned!

Taking Stock of My 2017 Book Reading Challenges

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It’s that time of the year when we all sit back and assess and reflect on our goals, achievements and struggles of the year that has gone by. And we also dream and plan for the year ahead. And it’s the perfect time to take stock of my 2017 Book Reading Challenges.

I had taken some ambitious reading goals at the beginning of 2017. Let’s check out how I fared with them.

1. Goodreads

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Shilpa has
completed her goal of reading
125 books in

2. HT Brunch Book Challenge : Goal was to read 36 books by 31st December, 2017. I posted 49 books for this challenge.


3. 2017 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge : Ah! This was my favorite challenge. Thanks to this, I read such diverse books and authors. And the best part was hunting for the books for the prompts and looking at my excel sheet every now and then for review.

PopSugar 2017

4. The 2017 Audiobook Challenge : I had plans to be a Weekend Warrior ie listen to 5-10 audio books, but I ended up being a Newbie. I listened to just one audio book.

5. Banned/Challenged Books Reading Challenge 2017 . For this challenge, I read Carrie by Stephen King and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Both these books were banned in schools in the US.

6. 2017 Diverse Reading Challenge : There were prompts for the various months and I aced this challenge truly.

2017 Diverse Reading Challenge

6. eBooks Reading Challenge 2017 : Of the 125 books that I had read in 2017, only 2 were paperbacks and I was an audio book. So, I aced the last level, ‘Empty the Cloud’ of this challenge. This clearly shows that I am a total Kindle convert now.

7. Humor Reading Challenge 2017 : This is my favorite genre. I wanted to read more than 15 books for this challenge, but I ended up reading 11 only so I completed the Comedy Writer Level of this challenge.


9. LGBTQIA Reading Challenge 2017 : One had to read just 1 book for this challenge, I read Vivek & I by Mayur Patel.

10. #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks 2017 : While I read quite a lot from my unread Kindle library, I failed miserably in reading physical books which are growing by the day. Will change that in 2018.

In all, it has been an excellent reading year. Despite the challenges of life, was still able to prioritize reading. Thanks to these challenges, I read some terrific books and alternative genres that I would not have discovered or tackled on my own. And that truly expanded my reading horizon. I tracked my progress on an excel sheet and reviewing it from time to time inspired me and pushed me to go for the finish line. And am I glad of achieving my goals?

So, what did you read last year? Have you joined any reading challenge?

Stay tuned to my next post where I will share my Reading Goals for 2018.

#RiotGrams October 21-31, 2017

And this is the last and the final edition of my posts on Instagram for the Book Riot Instagram Challenge #RiotGrams. This was my first month long challenge on Instagram and I loved the experience. 

Each day was met with excitement or a groan. Books for some prompts were available with me and some weren’t. So, I had to literally look for the books and buy the Kindle versions. Yes, I am pretty committed that way! And I’m proud to say I did not miss a single day of this month long challenge! 

The part of this challenge was to discover such diverse books. For instance, I have made a long list of Great Book Club Reads and Chilling and Thrilling books. This challenge has increased the length of my TBR list which is already a foot long.

Also, a challenge like this is a great way to start using Instagram especially if you are a newbie like me. It pushed me to be more creative. and generate content for Instagram. And best of all, I’ve made a lot of new connections with some lovely folks, from all over the world.

Check out my take on the bookish prompts from October 21st to October 31st, 2017.

Excited by the success of this challenge, I am taking up Fat Mum Slim’s November Photo a Day Challenge which starts tomorrow. I would love to have your company for this challenge, after all, the more the merrier. You may like to check out the details here or here.

Are you game for Fat Mum Slim’s November Photo a Day Challenge?

Which one is your favorite from this lot! Which books have you read from the collection here. Do share in the comment box below.

Books & I… A Book Lover’s Tag #WriteBravely


I found A Book Lover’s Tag on Myths of the Mirror. There’s nothing like chatting about books and reading habits. I can talk about books till cows come home. I can see that you’re interested too, right?

So without further ado, let’s get started with the Q & A session which is all about books.

1.Do you have a specific place for reading?

I don’t have a specific place to read, though I do have a favorite. I read when alone at a restaurant, while waiting somewhere, in train or a flight…

My favorite place to read is in bed and that makes me a Librocubicultarist.

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Bookmarks definitely. I have a whole lot of them, thanks to online book shopping stores. Though sometimes boarding passes, bills etc are also seen in my books.

3. Do you eat or drink whilst reading? SAVE_20171024_093326

Yes. It is easy to eat and drink with Kindle. It can lie on the table while you eat or drink. Eating with a physical book is difficult and I hate spoiling it with stains.

4. Music or TV whilst reading.

None. I like absolute peace and quiet when I am reading. However, I have got used to the TV being on in the background when I am reading and can cope with that but not if it is too loud and that’s because the boys have only TV on their agenda when they are free and relaxing.

5. One book at a time or several?

A thriller or an interesting book is usually one at a time. But sometimes depending on the genre of the book, I do read multiple books. For example, I am currently reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves, a non-fiction on punctuation, which gets a bit overwhelming when I am reading it at a stretch; Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers, which is a bit slow for me and a Calvin and Hobbes comic which I am reading on my Kindle for PC.

6. Do you prefer to read at home or elsewhere?

I love reading at home in my bed, but I read anywhere. If it was only place to read for me, I’d barely finish a book.

7. Read out loud or silently?

Silently always, though it’s pretty loud in my head.

8. Do you read ahead or skip pages?

Usually, I read page by page unless a part of the chapter really drags. In such a case, I flick through the pages that follow until the story picks up again. I am guilty of reading the last page (and then going back) when it gets too much to handle especially in a thriller. IMG_20171003_101122_658

9. Break the spine or keep it like new.

Oh, I can never spoil my books and they look as good as new even after I have read them.

10. Do you write in books?

God! No! Never! Who does that??

11. What books are you reading now?

On my current reading list are

  • Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation is a non-fiction book by Lynne Truss
  • Malory Towers Collection 1: Books 1-3 by Enid Blyton
  • Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons (Calvin and Hobbes) by Bill Watterson
  • The Diaries of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain

12. What is your childhood favorite book?

Nancy Drew mystery stories by Calolyn Keene.

13. What is your all-time favorite book?

This is a tough question as my favorites have changed over a period of time. But if I have to pick one, it would be Sidney Sheldon’s Master of the Game. As a teenager, it was my first Sidney Sheldon book. The romance, drama, dark secrets, murders, lust, greed fascinated and intrigued me.  It was a big fat book and when I finished reading it, I remember having separation anxiety. I am thinking of re-reading it again.

That’s it for now! You can share your thoughts about my answers in the comments, or take up this book tag yourself – let me know if you do.

Happy reading and book tagging!

Linking this to Day 7 of the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge#writebravely #writetribeproblogger

#RiotGrams October 11-20, 2017

As you know, I am doing the Book Riot Instagram Challenge #RiotGrams this October. This is a challenge to showcase books for the various prompts all through the month. It’s a great way to connect with fellow book lovers and know their choices and recommendations.  Another thing that I like about this bookish challenge is to see some very stylish and tasteful pictures. And I believe that is a wonderful way to observe and learn some photo skills. No, you aren’t going to see some dramatic changes in my photo skills.

I did a round-up of my posts from October 1-10, 2017 here

Today, I am sharing my entries for this challenge from October 11-20, 2017.

Hope you enjoy checking out my take on the various prompts!

October 13 : Mugs, Tees, Totes, Swag. This prompt has made me wonder if I am a true book lover!! I pride myself on being a bookworm / bibliophagist but I dont have a single bookish mug or tee or pen stand or cushion or a tote bag. Oh, I had a tote bag which had "The Bag of Small Things' printed on it. (For the uninitiated, it was inspired by Arundhati Roy's book, The God of Small Things). But looks like it is lying somewhere in husband's office. All this is going to change now for my next buy would be some bookish merchandise. Thankfully, I have this mug which came with the review copy of The Calling by Priya Kumar. Do you buy bookish merchandise frequently? What all you have in your bookish treasure chest? #riotgrams @bookriot #readersofinstagram #Bookaddict #bookstagram #bookworm #bookhoarders #ilovebooks #bibliophile #readingmylife #readmorebooks #challenge #bookish #octoberchallenge #bookishmerchandise #mug #totebag

A post shared by Shilpa Garg (@shilpaagarg) on

Got any favorites from these 10 posts? Have you read any book from the ones showcased here? Do share in the comments section!

#RiotGrams October 1-10, 2017 #WriteBravely

I am doing the Book Riot Instagram Challenge #RiotGrams this October. This is the first such challenge that I am participating in. Needles to say that it is exciting and challenging to look for books for various prompts and it’s interesting to see diverse range of books for a prompt. What also adds to the fun is that I get to show off my books too. 😉 

I thought of doing a round-up of my posts for this challenge on my blog here for the benefit of my readers who aren’t active on Instagram. I plan to do three blog posts this month, each covering ten days of the challenge. 

Today, I’d like to share my posts from October 1-10, 2017.

Hope you enjoy checking out my take on the various prompts!

But first have a look at the #riotgrams challenge at a glance…

Got any favorites from these 10 posts? 

Linking this to Day 4 of the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge#writebravely #writetribeproblogger

I Am in Love #WriteBravely

In Love

I never thought that I would fall so deeply in love but I have, and hard. I resisted the temptation for years and when I couldn’t ignore it, I treaded the path, gingerly and with a lot of skepticism. The initial misgivings were because I come from old school of thought. Since, I had taken the plunge, there was no turning back. Yes, I don’t do things half way. Before long, I realized that I was enjoying myself and that came as a big surprise!  I thought that this was a fleeting feeling and that it would die its death soon. But, surprise, surprise, with each passing day, my love grew deeper and stronger. And I can say it boldly that my life has changed and believe me that it is not an exaggeration.

Yes, I am in love with my Kindle…truly, madly and deeply!!

It was 2014 and I had to review a book for a friend which was available only in the Kindle format. Prior to this book, I had read a PDF book on Kindle app which was a bad bad experience. Since I HAD to review this book, despite a lot of apprehensions, I read it on the Kindle app on my phone and I quite liked the experience. Slowly and gradually, I was sucked into the world of Kindle books.

When I won a Kindle in a blogging contest, my happiness knew no bounds. Today, I prefer reading Kindle books over physical books.

Recently, I had to review a paperback. I picked it up and gave it up after first chapter. Somehow, I found the small font size and even holding the book in my hands a bit cumbersome. I looked up for its Kindle version and thankfully, it was available on Kindle Unlimited and finished reading it in no time.

Yes, that’s another thing I like about Kindle books. I have been able to read more number of books and at a faster pace as well.SAVE_20170805_223905

The other day, I was checking a paperback and came across a new word. I kept pressing and holding the word harder for it to show me the meaning. It was a few seconds later, I realized that I was digging a hole in the paperback.

I carry my Kindle everywhere as it fits well in my purse unlike the paperbacks which can be sometimes bulky. In case, I forget to carry it, which is rarely, the books syncs across all devices and I can continue reading it on my phone.

My library cupboard is overflowing with books. In fact, the books are packed like sardines and this is when I have donated 45 books to a local library. Even if I want to, I cant afford to buy more paperbacks because I just don’t have space to store them. With Kindle, I can buy books to my heart’s content and that they are economical than the printed books is an added advantage.

I was that girl who believed in the smell and feel of a new book, loved caressing the glossy cover with my fingers, and arranged and re-arranged the books by genre, size, colours… but all that has changed. Kindle has truly transformed my reading habit and has made me more addicted to the written word.

Are you a Kindle convert like me? Or are you still in love with reading the good old-fashioned paperbacks? Or are you a bit of both?

Linking this to the Write Tribe’s Festival of Words

Day 2 – Prompt – Share about a resource/s you have or use

IMG-20170804-WA0050Image Courtesy : Pixabay

Ouch! That’s Awkward! Teaser Tuesday #2

After I finish reading my current book, I’ll be picking up Our Socially Awkward Marriage by Tom and Linda Peters. Raw and personal, this book of essays was first inspired by Tom’s challenges with Asperger’s Syndrome, but the humorous bite-sized stories apply to any kind of interpersonal communication.

I’ll be reading this book containing funny and heartfelt true stories from inside an Asperger’s relationship as part of my Humor Reading Challenge.

Our Socially Awkward Marriage

Tom came to the bed fretting.  “What’s wrong?” I said.

“The tile pattern in the bathroom floor.” he said. “I cant figure out where they started it.”

Teaser Tuesday

If you fancy joining in, here’s how…

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Share the title and author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

To Bee…. Teaser Tuesday #1

Last week, I saw the Teaser Tuesday meme at Tulika’s Beat About the Book blog and simply loved it. And I had to join in.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by  A House of Books and has pretty simple rules…

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Share the title and author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

The Bees – A Novel by Laline Paull is currently on my Kindle. I have just finished two chapters and I already hooked to the story. I am reading this book for the prompt, ‘A book from a nonhuman perspective’.

The Bees

Here are my two teaser sentences taken at random from this book…

“You wept,” he said. “I heard you. Are you sick?”
“For love,” Flora said.”

These words have piqued my curiosity and I am keen to read all about Flora 717, a sanitation worker bee who is bigger, darker, smarter and more talented than the rest of her clan and this is dangerous. She even breeds and everybody knows only the Queen Bee has that right. So, there is a lot of drama and action as bees live by the rigid hive rules of Accept, Obey, Serve, even when it hurts. This book would also take us in the fascinating world of a bee society and its structure and lot of facts with bee psychology too. Now, isnt that super interesting!

What’s on your current reading list? Do share in the comments section below. And if you can join in for the Teaser Tuesday, it would be fab. Go on, find something enticing from your book and link it up at A House of Books.

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