How I read 100 books in 2020

2020 Reading GoalsHow did I read 100 books in 2020?

I set myself an extreme ambition to read 100 books in March 2020. I have always loved reading but never seemed to have enough time to read as much as I wished. This year, however, I tried to make time for what it is that I claimed to enjoy. How did I read the 100 books?

By goal setting: I wanted to “improve my reading habits” and the obvious step was to read. However, as all other things, I claimed to enjoy I assumed reading was done when time remained from doing all the other “important things”. By setting this goal, writing it down, and also making it public, I knew there was something I had to work intently towards. I made a Facebook post about reading 100 books and asked friends to join me.

Making time: There is no time unless you make out time. As a single mom, I am pressed for time. I am careful (or try to be careful) of how I spend my time. Time is precious to me. However, setting this goal and seeking to attain it made me realize how much time I spent on unproductive events and people. One of the major time distractions for me was Social Media: Whatsapp and Instagram. I limited my time on these platforms and when I was on there I decided to be more purposeful. Establishing relationships and connecting with others as compared to mindless scrolling. I also dedicated time say at least 1 hour a day to read or listen to an audio book. I incorporated it into daily activities such as riding the bus, at the playground, cooking, cleaning, and mindless staring 😉.

Being disciplined: It took a lot of discipline to read 100 books. Sometimes I had to turn my data (internet) off or even switch my phone off. My son goes to bed at 8pm (also something of necessary discipline), and if I do not have housework or office work to attend to, I have a couple of hours say 2-4 hours before I turn in. I try to make good use of this time by doing things like reading, concentrating on reading, and not giving in to the temptation to check emails or Instagram posts.

Staying focused: “I can do this” and “I will not give up” were my guiding quotes. Fixing my focus and concentrating on the path I set was necessary. It can get overwhelming when you see other persons reading profiles and get tempted to veer towards what others are reading. As a wise woman said to me “You can’t read them all”. I focused on the books I wished to read, made a couple of guiding lists. The website Goodreads was also helpful in keeping track of what I read and wanted to read. I explored all possible book formats such as eBooks, paperbacks, audio, etc, and always had a form of a book on me all the time, on my phone or in my bag. There are many platforms where one can read books for free or download pdf versions of books. Additionally, I borrowed books from the library which is also very cost-effective.

Here is a list of books I read this year.

  1. The Fire Next TimeBaldwin, James
  2. The ArrangementsAdichie, Chimamanda Ngozi
  3. Say Her NameElliott, Zetta
  4. Lord of the FliesGolding, William
  5. Let’s Tell This Story ProperlyMakumbi, Jennifer Nansubuga
  6. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that LastsChapman, Gary
  7. Their Eyes Were Watching GodHurston, Zora Neale
  8. The Money Challenge: 30 Days of Discovering God’s Design For You and Your MoneyRainer, Art
  9. Blood Child, and Other StoriesButler, Octavia E.
  10. Changes: A Love StoryAidoo, Ama Ata
  11. The Kickass Single MomJohnson, Emma
  12. How to Have That Difficult Conversation: Gaining the Skills for Honest and Meaningful CommunicationCloud, Henry
  13. Relationship Goals: How to Win at Dating, Marriage, and SexTodd, Michael
  14. She Would Be KingMoore, Wayetu
  15. The Death of Vivek OjiEmezi, Akwaeke
  16. The Girl with the Louding VoiceDaré, Abi
  17. BelovedMorrison, Toni
  18. A Spot of BotherHaddon, Mark
  19. The Woman Next DoorOmotoso, Yewande
  20. ZikoraAdichie, Chimamanda Ngozi
  21. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary ImaginationMorrison, Toni
  22. Born on a TuesdayJohn, Elnathan
  23. Was Nina wussteGrossman, David
  24. Small CountryFaye, Gaël
  25. The Why CafeStrelecky, John P.
  26. Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1)Adeyemi, Tomi
  27. Teaching My Mother How to Give BirthShire, Warsan
  28. Rules of Engagement: Preparing for Your Role in the Spiritual BattlePrince, Derek
  29. Fisch aus GoldLe Clézio, J.M.G.
  30. God Is a MatchmakerPrince, Derek
  31. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad OnesClear, James
  32. Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen SuggestionsAdichie, Chimamanda Ngozi
  33. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and InheritanceObama, Barack
  34. HouseboyOyono, Ferdinand
  35. The Kangaroo ChroniclesKling, Marc-Uwe
  36. Fierce Faith: A Woman’s Guide to Fighting Fear, Wrestling Worry, and Overcoming AnxietyWorthington, Alli
  37. Song of SolomonMorrison, Toni
  38. KitchenYoshimoto, Banana
  39. BecomingObama, Michelle
  40. The Five People You Meet in HeavenAlbom, Mitch
  41. Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in AmericaByrd, Ayana
  42. Outliers: The Story of SuccessGladwell, Malcolm
  43. Master Your MoneyBlue, Ron
  44. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative BattlesPressfield, Steven
  45. LoveMorrison, Toni
  46. KintuMakumbi, Jennifer Nansubuga
  47. Friday BlackAdjei-Brenyah, Nana Kwame
  48. How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any ManuscriptBell, James Scott
  49. HomeMorrison, Toni
  50. Sick of Me: from Transparency to TransformationCapps, Whitney
  51. How Music WorksByrne, David
  52. The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to ManhoodCoates, Ta-Nehisi
  53. Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write ThemProse, Francine
  54. LyingHarris, Sam
  55. The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful GivingAlcorn, Randy
  56. The Gifts of ImperfectionBrown, Brené
  57. The War is Over: Stop Struggling and Accept the Privileges of Peace with GodWommack, Andrew
  58. The Elements of StyleStrunk, William Jr.
  59. This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) AmericaJerkins, Morgan
  60. AyitiGay, Roxane
  61. The FishermenObioma, Chigozie
  62. The Moor’s AccountLalami, Laila
  63. The Screwtape LettersLewis, C.S.
  64. On Writing: A Memoir of the CraftKing, Stephen
  65. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Maya Angelou’s Autobiography, #1)Angelou, Maya
  66. Becoming Nigerian: A GuideJohn, Elnathan
  67. A Raisin in the SunHansberry, Lorraine
  68. The Lies That Bind: Rethinking IdentityAppiah, Kwame Anthony
  69. The Joys of MotherhoodEmecheta, Buchi
  70. EducatedWestover, Tara
  71. Indigenous Research MethodologiesChilisa, Bagele
  72. God Help the ChildMorrison, Toni
  73. An American MarriageJones, Tayari
  74. The Hundred Wells of SalagaAttah, Ayesha Harruna
  75. Behold the DreamersMbue, Imbolo
  76. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeLamott, Anne
  77. The Collector of Treasures and Other Botswana Village TalesHead, Bessie
  78. The Practice of the Presence of God In Modern EnglishDavis, Marshall
  79. Girl, Woman, OtherEvaristo, Bernardine
  80. PatchworkBanda-Aaku, Ellen
  81. Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and HealthLeaf, Caroline
  82. How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleCarnegie, Dale
  83. Raising Giant-Killers: Releasing Your Child’s Divine Destiny Through Intentional ParentingJohnson, Bill
  84. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the OddsGoggins, David
  85. The ScatteringKubuitsile, Lauri
  86. Allah is Not ObligedKourouma, Ahmadou
  87. American SpyWilkinson, Lauren
  88. A Woman Is No ManRum, Etaf
  89. A Taste of LoveGowon, Sifa Asani
  90. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives RevealedGottlieb, Lori
  91. Mere ChristianityLewis, C.S.
  92. The Bold New Normal: Creating The Africa Where Everyone ProspersQuist, Lucy
  93. QueenieCarty-Williams, Candice
  94. The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?Warren, Rick
  95. A Room of One’s OwnWoolf, Virginia
  96. The Death of Ivan IlychTolstoy, Leo
  97. The Confident Mom: Guiding Your Family with God’s Strength and WisdomMeyer, Joyce
  98. Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect ScienceGawande, Atul
  99. Battlefield Of The Mind: Winning The Battle In Your MindMeyer, Joyce
  100. The Memory of LoveForna, Aminatta

My five top books in no particular order

  1. The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré for its originality, uniqueness and entertainment.
  2. Battlefield Of The Mind: Winning The Battle In Your Mind by Joyce Meyer  for teaching me to master my mind
  3. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins for the motivation to move beyond my past and present limitations
  4. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination by Toni Morrison for the wisdom
  5. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones for keeping my mind up at night even when I had finished reading it