a peek inside the fishbowl

04 Jan, 2015

How to read more books in 2015

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Challenge me, challenge you

Now that we have turned the page on a new calendar year I’ve decided to track my reads in 2015 and see how many I can squeeze in, and possibly (hopefully!) read even more. Here’s my strategy: I’m going to read more books this year by (a) maintaining some good reading habits and (b) finding new material.

1) Protect my reading time. I read every night before bed. It really helps clear out and calm my busy brain and relax me for sleep. If I’m very lucky I sometimes sneak away to read in bed on the weekend. This is my idea of heaven, especially if there’s a cup of tea or a bowl of popcorn in it as well. Here’s me, feeling very happy:

Selfie with my e-reading device.

2) I will continue leaving my smart phone on the charger outside the bedroom in the evenings. I know this way I’ll be able to spend more time reading and less time on Facebook. It’s crazy how tempting it is to drop the book and check Twitter/Facebook/Instagram. Sigh.

3) I will always have a book at the ready on my night stand. Whether it’s paper or e-book, I can’t let myself run out of things to read!

4) I will continue to make good use of the library, both for borrowing and for checking lists. The Ottawa Public Library is great for this. It’s very easy to find a book (paper or digital) and put it on hold. If you haven’t already, make sure you download the OPL app. There some really helpful aspects to it. For example, did you know you can scan a book (say you’re at a friend’s place) and it will automatically look it up in the library catalogue? At that point it can be yours in a click or two. Also helpful: I can very easily track holds, fines, due dates etc. There’s also a copy of my card right on the app in case I forget to bring it with me to the library. I love it.

5) I have been a sluggish adopter, and many of you are probably using this already, but I will be using my new Goodreads app to log my completed books and find new ones to read. I just got started and am finding my way. So far I like it very much. You can read more about the Goodreads app right here.

6) Other places to go if you’re looking for great book recommendations: book club pages such as this one on the Chatelaine website, or, if you’re a fan, Oprah’s. (Here’s a PDF of Oprah’s complete book club list!) You can also follow what your favourite bloggers are reading, like I do right here. :)

7) Book picking tip: I think it’s important to think outside your favourite genre. I like all kinds of fiction, including Young Adult, but have also enjoyed many biographies/memoirs and non-fiction books.

8) Book picking tip #2: if you’re looking to add to your reading list, consider catching up on classics you may have missed. There are some great lists out there! Here’s one that someone compiled of New York Times Best Seller Number Ones, listed by decade. And here’s another interesting list, the top books of the last decade on Amazon.com. (There are some surprises there for sure.) Here’s the Guardian’s list of top 100 books of all time.

9) Book picking tip #3: Go straight to the experts on Twitter. Tweet the folks @ChaptersIndigo and they’ll help select your next read. Just tweet your question with #AskIndigo!

Phew. That’s a lot of books eh? I’d love to hear what you’re reading right now!


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9 Responses to "How to read more books in 2015"

1 | KJT

January 4th, 2015 at 2:05 pm


Great tips. But I blame you for my having spent the last hour reading book lists instead of books.

2 | andrea tomkins

January 4th, 2015 at 9:13 pm


Haha. Sorry KJT! :)

3 | Tudor

January 4th, 2015 at 2:11 pm


Also, reach out to an author you like! I work with a great group of other amazing indie authors to cross-promote each other’s work. We do this because none of us can write as quickly as our fans would like us to so, in the meantime, we’re more than happy to tell readers, “Hey, if you liked my book, you’ll probably like this one, too.”

Authors love getting messages that you liked their work, and can tell you if they have more books you might not know about and sometimes, as in our case, recommend more to keep you going.

4 | andrea tomkins

January 4th, 2015 at 9:13 pm


A wonderful suggestion Tudor. Thank you!

5 | Sabrina McTaggart

January 5th, 2015 at 7:52 am


One of my favourites from 2014 was outside my usual reading realm:

“If I Were You” by P.G. Wodehouse.

Short, funny and wise!

6 | Sarah (@sarahjanesroom)

January 5th, 2015 at 12:44 pm


I love, love, love Goodreads! It’s so fun seeing what my friends are reading, and I love that it helps me remember what I’ve read and enjoyed. My 8 year old keeps track of her books there, too, so my feed is often filled with 5* reviews of Rainbow Magic books ;)

7 | Stacey K

January 5th, 2015 at 6:52 pm


If you are looking for a Challenge to get you reading more, I found one on Pinterest. It will definitely help me read more and read out of my usual comfort zone:

(I think I posted this once already, but I don’t see it. I wonder if the spam checker is catching the link.)

8 | Cath

January 8th, 2015 at 2:42 pm


I like this challenge too:


Right now I’m reading Margaret MacMillan’s book about the lead up to WWI — it’s phenominally good. For fiction, I’ve got Harvest and All the Light We Cannot See lined up next.

9 | andrea tomkins

January 9th, 2015 at 9:38 am


These are all great. Thank you! Clearly there’s no shortage of great books out there. Next on my list: Wolf Hall. :)

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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