Recent Library Reads

Recent Library Reads

I would like to first start out by giving a major shoutout to the country’s libraries. While I have a full time job and money to spend, I’m at the point in my life where I’m not the keenest on buying books for keeps. If it’s a brand new book that I truly cannot live without, I’ll typically order it off of Amazon or B&N if I have a gift card, but otherwise I check out books from the library or borrow books from friends. (Shoutout to all the friends I’ve borrowed books from!) Again, I just wanted to say thank goodness for the Fairfax County Public Library system, which is my local library.

Reviews of my last three reads are below. I hope you’re intrigued enough to add these to your TBR list!

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch // This book was SO adorable! It’s definitely a young adult novel, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Lina is a high school student who loses her mother to cancer. Lina grants her mother’s dying wish by spending a summer in Tuscany with Howard, a man who Lina is told is her father. Lina is reluctant to go to Italy, all she really wants to do is spend time with her best friend back home.

When she arrives in Italy, Lina is given a journal in which her mother chronicled her own journeys from Tuscany. Soon, Lina is making friends with other Americans, including the charming Ren, exploring Italy to learn her mother’s secrets, and learning for herself the “two reasons people stay in Italy: love and gelato.”

My favorite quote from the book is from one of Lina’s mother’s journal entries: “This is a new chapter. My life. And I’m going to run at it with arms outstretched. Anything else would be a waste.”

Overall this was a charming read that truly inspired me to go back to Italy, mainly for their gelato!

Goodreads stars: 4/5 (AKA I truly enjoyed reading it and I highly recommend you add it to your TBR list!)

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman // I LOVE Fredrik Backman’s books. Granted I’ve only read this book and A Man Called Ove, but he’s up towards the top of my list of favorite authors.

This story follows Elsa, a seven-year-old whose best and only friend is her grandmother, a seventy-seven-year-old woman who is more than a little eccentric. Elsa is bullied badly at school because she is different from her classmates, and her grandmother helps Elsa forget about the bullying by telling her stories about magical lands and princes, princesses, dragons, and more. Elsa’s grandmother passes away from cancer and sends Elsa on her biggest adventure yet.

Elsa must deliver letters her grandmother wrote to those she has wronged over the years. Elsa’s journey to deliver these letters leads her to a lively and intriguing cast of ordinary monsters, drunks running from tragedy, attack dogs who really like cookies, and elderly neighbors who would rather not spill their deepest, darkest secrets to Elsa. She soon discovers that her neighbors do all have their own secrets that Elsa’s grandmother helped them cope with, and also that it’s about who you surround yourself with in life that is the most important.

My favorite quote from the book: “That’s damned well how you stand up to bastards who tell you what you can and can’t do. You bloody do those things all the bloody same.”

This was such a touching book, and I think all of us can relate to Elsa on some level, especially her love for her family and those closest to her.

Goodreads stars: 5/5 (AKA I hope you’re already on your way to your local library/Barnes & Noble/used bookstore/ account to rent/reserve/purchase it!)

The Futures by Anna Pitoniak // The Futures follows Julia and Evan, two people who fell in love during their time spent at Yale University and move to New York City together after graduation prior to the financial meltdown of 2008. The novel tells us the evolution of their relationship in flashbacks as well as present day.

Evan grew up in a small town in Canada and made it to Yale on an ice hockey scholarship, while Julia is from a rich family in Boston, so they are two very different people who manage to hit it off and fall in love. When the two and their friends are in their senior year, we begin to see that while Julia is floundering in finding a path for herself after graduation, Evan is lured in by a well-known and successful hedge fund company, further propelling him toward the successful future he dreams of for himself.

Julia lands a job as an assistant at a nonprofit run by friends of her parents, and she struggles with how much time Evan is spending at his own job; not so much the time he is spending at his company, but the fact that he seems to be moving light years faster towards success than she is. As they begin to drift apart, Julia reconnects with someone from her past who she believes will give her an escape from the misery she feels with Evan. Meanwhile, Evan gets caught up in a deal at work that’s secret, risky, and too good to be true, but he turns a blind eye and keeps his head down as he continues to work harder. Soon, Julia and Evan both have to face the choices they’ve made, the good and the bad, that brought them to a pivotal point in their lives and their relationship.

Julia and Evan learn that life is messy and you don’t always know which path you’re headed down until it’s too late. Anna Pitoniak does a good job at expressing the hopes, fears, and uncertainty of what the future holds, especially after graduation and with someone who you’ve grown to love.

My favorite quote from the book: “It’s not easy, figuring out what you want. It’s really hard. And I mean what you want, not what your friends want, not what someone else wants.”

Goodreads stars: 4/5 (AKA I truly enjoyed reading it and I highly recommend you add it to your TBR list!)

Winter Series by Elin Hilderbrand

Winter Series by Elin Hilderbrand

I know that it’s past the holiday season as I post this, but better late than never! Around the holidays, I love reading books set during the winter, similar to how I love light, summer beach reads when I get home from work or spend the weekends at the pool during the spring and summertime. I finished Elin Hilderbrand’s “Winter Series” during November and December, mostly when I was home for the holidays.

All four books are relatively short and the stories keep you captivated, so they are easy to get through. The series follows the Quinn family through four consecutive Christmases. Kelley Quinn, father of the four Quinn siblings the novels also follow, owns the Winter Street Inn on Nantucket. The novels follow the heartbreaks, the deceptions, and the family drama the Quinn’s experience.

The four Quinn children – Patrick, Kevin, Ava, and Bart – are all grown. Patrick is married and a hedge fund manager in Boston who is scared his biggest secret, and biggest regret, will be discovered. Kevin is a bartender on Nantucket who is secretly sleeping with a French housekeeper at the Winter Street Inn. Ava is a school teacher on Nantucket who can’t get the perfect man to commit to her. Bart, the youngest and half-sibling to the other three, recently joined the Marines. To top it all off, Kelley discovers his wife, Mitzi, in bed with the man who plays the inn’s Santa each year. This is where the series picks up in the lives of the Quinn’s, and it only gets better from there!

The Winter Series is a series full of family drama that at times makes you cringe and ten seconds later makes you cry (okay, maybe that was just me…). Overall it is a fun and festive series that I enjoyed reading around the holidays!

Favorite Books of 2018

Favorite Books of 2018

I can’t believe 2018 is almost over! As cliche as it sounds every single time someone says it, the year flew by. It mainly flew by because I had my nose stuck in a book for approximately 75% of the year. #nerdalert

I did a quick recap of my favorite books by category on my Instagram stories, but I wanted to go more in depth here. Read on below for my favorite books from the year, some of which I may have already mentioned in previous posts. These are the books I could not shut up about all year and kept recommending to anyone who would listen.

Favorite Overall Book // The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

This is the second book by Kristin Hannah that I’ve read, and I may need to read all of her other ones. The Great Alone is about a family in the 1970s who move to rural Alaska to live off the grid. The novel centers around the coming of age of Leni Allbright, the 13 year old daughter of Earl and Cora. Earl is a POW who comes home from Vietnam a changed man, one who is volatile and violent. Leni believes moving to Alaska will be the chance at a new life that her family needs, but Alaska proves to be more challenging than the Allbrights originally thought.

Hannah’s writing is captivating and spellbinding. The characters we followed in The Great Alone told a story of heartbreak and desperation, but also the importance of building a community of strong men and women.

Favorite Fiction Novel // A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

This novel tells a story of an Indian-American Muslim family who settles and spends their lives in California. A Place for Us spans decades and details the lives of a family of five: three siblings – Hadia, Huda, and Amar – and their parents – Rafiq and Layla. The three siblings attempt to create lives for themselves while also respecting and honoring their parents’ faith and culture, and Rafiq and Layla look back on the choices they have made in their lives. A Place for Us is a beautiful story about life in America today, and delves into what it means to meld new and old traditions and cultures.

Favorite Mystery Novel: The Good Daughter by Karen Slaughter

Nearly thirty years ago, two girls, Charlotte and Samantha, are forced into the woods near their home at gunpoint. One escapes and the other is left behind. The traumatizing event they endured leaves their mom dead and their dad absolutely devastated. Now, twenty-eight years later, Charlotte is a lawyer and returns to her hometown after tragedy strikes their small town. The Good Daughter plunges you into the current mystery unfolding, and reveals the secrets that have been kept about that tragedy twenty-eight years ago. This novel is thrilling and I could not put it down.

Favorite Nonfiction: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

This book is the amazing true story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA. They helped achieve some of the greatest moments in America’s space program. The book chronicles the personal lives and professional journeys as “human computers” of each of the four women: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darren. Hidden Figures shares the incredible stories of women who lived through the Civil Rights era, the Space Race, the gender equality movement, and so much more. This was such an interesting book to read and learn about some remarkable individuals with whom I was not familiar.

Favorite Guilty Pleasure Read: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Crazy Rich Asians is about three very wealthy Chinese families and all of the gossip, backstabbing, and drama that comes with their money and status. Nick Young, the son of one of the families, brings his girlfriend, Rachel Chu, home to Singapore when he returns for his childhood best friend’s wedding. Nick does not tell Rachel who his family is and how wealthy they are, serving as a wide awakening for her upon her arrival and making her a target for jealous ex-girlfriends and protective family members. The first in a trilogy, Crazy Rich Asians was outrageous and entertaining, along the lines of The Devil Wears Prada.

Favorite Book Turned Into a Movie: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Starr Carter is a sixteen-year-old who goes to a fancy private school that is very different from the poor neighborhood where she lives with her family. Starr’s friend Khalil was driving her home from a party one night when they get pulled over and subsequently shot by a police officer, though he was unarmed. Starr is the only witness to what happened that night. Local cops and drug lords try to silence Starr and her family, and there are some people protesting in Khalil’s name, with others calling him a drug dealer and a gangster. Angie Thomas’s writing in The Hate U Give made me think about the power of our words and our actions.

Favorite Inspirational Book: You’re Not Lost by Maxie McCoy

I’ve spoken about this book in a prior post, but it had to make this list as well because of how incredible it is. The book is an action plan that sets up steps for you to really work towards figuring out what your next steps are or what you’re missing. Maxie’s writing is relatable and realistic and downright funny, and had me laughing throughout the book.

Favorite Audiobook: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat chronicles the story of the American rowing team that competed in Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. The eight-oar University of Washington team set out to win gold, and this book details not just their triumph in Berlin, but the road it took to get them there. These were the sons of blue collar workers who defeated descendants of royalty and elite rivals, thanks to their heart, dedication, and determination when others had written them off. Read by Edward Herrmann, I looked forward to listening to this book each time I got into the car to drive to and from work.

Favorite Historical Fiction Book: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

This book was also featured in a post earlier this year, but I wanted to include it here as well. Two women are brought together by unconventional circumstances: one woman who was recruited by the Alice Network during World War I, and another American socialite who comes to Europe in the aftermath of World War II to search for her cousin who has gone missing. The novel takes us through their journey through Europe searching for the missing cousin, and it also details the thrilling journey and triumphs of the Alice Network during World War I. This was such an amazing book!

Thanks for reading and I look forward to posting more in 2019! Happy New Year, everyone!

Inspirational Reads

Inspirational Reads

I’ve read some great inspirational books throughout 2017 and 2018. I’m one to give just about any book, and I have a special place in my heart for inspirational or I guess what could be classified as self-help books. Below are my reviews of some of the ones I have loved, and also some that I have picked up from the library and are on my list!

You’re Not Lost by Maxie McCoy // This is the most recent book I’ve read and I have recommended this book to everyone! Maxie has such an inspiring and energizing writing style that makes you want to go out and tackle the world.

Her book is an action plan to help you figure out what the next steps in your life should be, based entirely on how the steps she presents as her plan are answered by you. Her book is funny (she is not shy about her love for Oprah at all) and she also discusses her own path through adulthood and career transitions to exhibit just how the action plan affected her own life.

I read this book at probably the best time I could have, because it helped push me to try a new project at work that I am so excited about. If I hadn’t read this book, I may not have agreed to try something new, so this book is definitely one I recommend to those who may feel slightly lost.

Goodreads stars: 5/5 (AKA I hope you’re already on your way to your local library/Barnes & Noble/used bookstore/ account to rent/reserve/purchase it!)

Rising Strong by Brené Brown // This is the only book of Brené Brown’s that I have yet to read, but I enjoyed listening to it and am eager to pick up her other books whenever I get through the few other hundred on my to-read list.

In this book, the main idea is, “If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall.” Brown goes on to show throughout the book how if you can own those feelings of disappointment or failure that inevitably come along with a fall, whether the fall be in your professional or personal life, then you can turn those feelings into the new motivation for you to continue on learning or succeeding. I definitely think I enjoyed listening to this book more than I would have reading it, but overall the book was entertaining and gave me a new perspective on some of those feelings of failure and how to cope with them.

Goodreads stars: 3/5 (AKA I enjoyed the book, but I would not recommend it as highly as other ones I’ve read.)

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy // This was another one I listened to (If you read my post about how I make time for reading, you probably remember that I’m very much an audiobook lover for my commutes to and from work.) and supremely enjoyed the book for that very reason, because essentially it was an extended TED Talk!

Cuddy’s book is a mix of the science behind the human body-mind behavior, as well as ways that you can better yourself and present yourself confidently in those terrifying situations like elevator pitches, job interviews, and other oftentimes scary instances.

The biggest takeaway of the book for me was that the changes we make do not have to happen overnight. You can work slowly or in stages to improve your confidence during big, momentous times.

Goodreads stars: 4/5 (AKA I truly enjoyed reading it and I highly recommend you add it to your to-read lists!)

Books I’m Looking Forward To Reading //

Some more self-help-esque books I’m looking forward to reading are below!

Goodreads: Why I Love It and How I Use It

Goodreads: Why I Love It and How I Use It

People today, including myself, want to organize every aspect of their lives. I love to organize – my apartment, my finances, and even my books and reading lists. One website that has changed the game for me is Goodreads.


Goodreads is a social media website dedicated to books. I mean, does it get any better than that? For other people, probably, but I can’t seem to get enough! You can send friend requests to your existing friends on Facebook or contacts in Gmail, or follow users, where their updates will show up on a timeline on the homepage. Each user has a profile similar to Twitter or Facebook, only each update is dedicated to recent books they have marked as “Want to Read,” or books they have started and finished.

I find ~90% of the books I want to read from Goodreads. Not only do I take note of recommendations from friends or people I follow, but I also check out the Goodreads blog, where they post new content every day. Some of my favorite blog posts are their most popular book club picks, new or upcoming releases, and their author interviews.

Each Goodreads user starts with three generic shelves: Read, To-Read, and Currently Reading. At the moment, whenever I stumble upon a book that I find interesting, I add it to my To-Read shelf. I have considered making separate lists, such as To Read Now and To Read Eventually, but I’m still working out how I would define now and eventually. It’s pretty simple, but once I start reading a book or listening to an audiobook, I add it to my currently reading shelf. At times this shelf will have upwards of five or six books on it as I pick up some more books from the library or have multiple audiobooks in the rotation. After I’ve finished a book, I’ll mark it as Read, rate it, and write a short review of it. One extra shelf that I created was 101-in-1001, which is a challenge called 101 things in 1001 days that I started April 1, 2017. The first thing on my 101-in-1001 challenge is to read 101 new books, so as I mark books as Read, I also add them to this shelf in Goodreads.

Goodreads is not the most beautifully designed website out on the Internet, but it has revolutionized the way I find and organize new books to read. A notable feature in the Goodreads app is the scanning feature – if you find an interesting book you want to add to your (Goodreads) shelves, you can use a page in the mobile app to scan the barcode that will automatically find the book in Goodreads for you. You can also set a goal for a yearly reading challenge in Goodreads. 2018 is my second year working towards a yearly reading challenge, and I can say that it 100% helped motivate me to get through some reading ruts in 2017. Seeing that tangible goal every time I logged into Goodreads made me want to pick up all of those books sitting on my bookcase or on my nightstands.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all enjoy your weekends!

Favorite Historical Fiction Novels: World War II

Favorite Historical Fiction Novels: World War II


Hands down, my favorite genre of books to read is historical fiction. Growing up, about every other book I read was a historical fiction novel, alternated with Nancy Drew mysteries and other typical young adult reads. Ann Rinaldi wrote some of the most entertaining and relatable historical fiction novels that I read as a young girl. Does anyone else remember The Fifth of March or Finishing Becca? Anyone…? It is safe to say that without her novels and many others, like L.M. Elliott’s Annie, Between the States for example, I may not have loved historical fiction quite as much as I did and still do. (My roommate feels the same way!) It is safe to say that if I ever sit down and try to write a book, which sounds more and more appealing each and every day, it would a historical fiction novel. My favorite time periods to read about are (1) the American Revolution; (2) the Civil War; (3) Tudor England; and (4) World War II. My fascination with historical fiction novels has continued into adulthood and I’ve (relatively) recently read some incredible ones I want to share with you. I’m thinking this might turn into a series I post about every now and then, where I break down my list of favorite novels by time period into separate posts. This is part one of a TBD number of posts. I hope you enjoy this first installment about World War II-era novels and that maybe you’ll add a book or two to your to-read lists!

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn// I cannot say enough good things about this novel. It had me engrossed within the first two sentences and I could not put it down to save my life. (Each morning before work I would set my alarm to go off an extra 20 minutes before I needed to get up just so I had a bit more time to read this book.) Charlie St. Clair finds herself pregnant and unmarried post-World War II, and is in search of one of her best friends and cousin, Rose. She sets off for London, where she meets Eve Gardiner, who was a spy for the Alice Network during World War I. Together, the two of them embark on a journey together, though each is looking for her own type of closure. The format and writing of the novel were some of the best I have ever experienced, and each major character had a powerful story to tell. I could not put this book down and was truly sad when it was over!
Goodreads stars: 5/5 (AKA I hope you’re already on your way to your local library/Barnes & Noble/used bookstore/ account to rent/reserve/purchase it!)

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly // Lilac Girls was a powerful read with articulate, emotional writing that I believe conveys the worries, fears, and overall mood of the women’s time spent at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, a little known piece of history. Lilac Girls is based on the true story of Caroline Farriday, a New York socialite who fought for Polish women rescued from Ravensbruck. The novel tells the stories of three women – Caroline Farriday, Kasia Kuzmerick – a young Polish teenager – and Herta Oberheuser – an ambitious young German doctor – and how they ultimately converge because of Ravensbruck. As each woman’s story progressed, I was intrigued to see how the pieces of the puzzle would eventually fit together.
Goodreads stars: 4/5 (AKA I truly enjoyed reading it and I highly recommend you add it to your to-read lists!)

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr // This post continues with yet another World War II-era novel, which is shocking because World War II is definitely at the bottom of my favorite historical fiction genres. What can I say? I guess authors have been really doing a phenomenal job with the WWII-era novels recently! All the Light We Cannot See is about a young blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France during World War II. Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris, but soon they must flee to Saint-Malo, a walled city on the water, where her uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. Werner is a young German boy who grows up with his younger sister in a small mining town as an orphan. He becomes an expert at building and fixing radios, and soon is recruited to track down resistance fighters. When I first picked this book up, I thought it was going to be a love story between Werner and Marie-Laure, but what I read was honestly even better than what I anticipated. Instead of a usual significant-other-goes-off-to-war-or-gets-separated-and-they-must-find-each-other-storyline (which don’t get me wrong, I TOTALLY love and appreciate in so many novels), this novel focused on the growth of Werner and Marie-Laure and how they each individually struggled with the war and its consequences.
Goodreads stars: 5/5 (AKA I hope you’re already on your way to your local library/Barnes & Noble/used bookstore/ account to rent/reserve/purchase it!)

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah // The last and final entry for this post is a novel I finished in three days and could probably read over and over again. This might be the best book I have read so far in 2018. And that is a bold statement, I would say, because I have read some great books so far this year. The Nightingale is about a pair of sisters in France, Vianne and Isabelle Mauriac, who each play their own part in helping the resistance during WWII. Vianne’s husband, Antoine, is called off to join the war effort, and she is left to care for her family even as an enemy stays under the same roof as her. Meanwhile, Vianne’s rebellious sister Isabelle is heartbroken after meeting a young man who ultimately betrays her, and she finally finds herself as part of a family and with a sense of belonging. Kristin Hannah’s descriptions, dialogues, and storytelling kept me glued to the couch I was on for most of the three days. (Anyone else find that they spend whole weekends reading books? No? Just me? Oh well.) I cannot wait to read Kristin Hannah’s next novel, The Great Alone, which is on my nightstand and ready to be read, just as soon as I finish the four or five books ahead of it.
Goodreads stars: 5/5 (AKA I hope you’re already on your way to your local library/Barnes & Noble/used bookstore/ account to rent/reserve/purchase it!)

Please let me know what your favorite World War II-era novels are and I will definitely add them to my list!

How I Make Time for Reading

How I Make Time for Reading

Confession: I have always enjoyed reading books. Growing up, and even today, it doesn’t take much for me to pick up a book instead of watching TV or browsing the web. Another confession: sometimes I’ll use my lunch break to sit in my car and read my book – I consider it my time to decompress and take time for myself. Anyway, when I was younger I was that student who would read a book in the middle of class in school and who could finish one book in a day during school vacations (I may or may not have finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix after it was released in one sitting…). Some of the tips I talk about below may work for you, and some may not. I wanted to share them though, in case they do help make reading more enjoyable for you.

My nightstand – aka current holding station for books on my to-read list.

Always have a book handy // Given that I carry a rather large purse to and from work every day, a paperback or hardcover copy of a book generally fits in my purse. Otherwise, I have the Nook for Barnes & Noble app, the Libby app, and the Kindle app for Amazon on my phone. Now, I won’t go so far as to read a book on my phone while I’m out with friends/family/my boyfriend, but if I have a few minutes of waiting either for a metro, at a doctor’s office, or the like, I’ll open an app to read a few minutes here and there, or pull out my headphones to listen to an audiobook. The Libby app by Overdrive is helpful to have on my phone because it allows me to listen to audiobooks I’ve rented and downloaded from my local library. On commutes to and from work or while running errands around town, I tend to listen to audiobooks as opposed to music.

Pick a book you think you’ll enjoy // As obvious as this tip sounds, it’s the truth. The glorious thing about reading as an adult is that, unless you’re in graduate school or your job makes you read a lot of books for work, you can read anything that piques your interest on your own schedule. If you know that you enjoy reading murder mysteries or science fiction novels, there is nothing wrong with reading more of those, as long as it gets you reading. Along this same vein, I am a believer that it is okay to put down a book if you have given it a fair chance and it is not keeping you engaged. Now how many pages is a “fair chance” depends on the reader, but I give it at least a few chapters before deciding whether or not to continue or put it down in lieu of another book.

Some may say I need to cut down on the books, but I say I need a new bookcase. 

Learn where to get books for free (or almost free) // A common misconception is that to read, you have to buy all of your books in hardcover or paperback form from Barnes & Noble or Amazon or similar places. I borrow 95% of the books I read from the local library, even digital copies. Sure, you don’t get to keep library books when you’re done with them, but a girl’s gotta save money wherever she can. My next favorite place to get books are from the Nook Book Deals section of Barnes & Noble’s website. They often have recently-released books to download to your Nook or Nook app for seriously reduced prices. Finally, I am a sucker for a used bookstore. There are a couple of good ones in the DC area that I can’t help but pop into whenever I’m around them, and usually can’t resist buying a book or two.

Read before bed // One of my favorite times to read is before bed. According to research, it is better for your eyes right before bed than staring at a phone/tablet/laptop screen. I have found that it also helps to calm my brain after a busy day. There are very few feelings better than climbing into bed in my pajamas with a candle burning on my nightstand table and getting to end a busy work day, or even relaxing weekend, than with a good book. Before bed is a great time to build in some reading time, even if your goal is only to read five pages at a time.

Set a goal for yourself // Setting a feasible goal to achieve anything makes you more likely to want to work towards something, like reading more. A way that I set reading goals for myself is by using the site Goodreads, where you can set a yearly reading challenge goal and keep track of books you’ve read towards that goal by marking them as “read” on the site. I treat my reading challenge goal the same way I do my to-do lists – it feels good to cross off items on my to-do lists, and it feels good to read one more book that gets me closer to my goal.

There are so many other useful tips out there that could help make reading easier and more enjoyable for some people, but these are some of the basic ones that have helped me throughout the years, especially recently as a busy young professional!