Reading Goal Zero: Tricking my mind into reading more with less pressure [January 2021]

by - 31 January

For 2021, I decided not to set any reading goal, and I haven't joined the Goodreads reading challenge either. This is despite my intention to actually read more than last year. It might sound like a contradiction, but is a simple mind-game I'm playing with myself: 

Planning to read X amount of books always makes me put a lot of pressure on myself, and takes away from what I would like to focus on instead: Viewing reading as enjoyment, a welcome relief from responsibilities and a source of calm in busy times. Not another task to get done, another thing you just *have to do* and tick off your daily list in a rush. 

Instead I'm working on incorporating reading regularly into my daily life, even if it's not for very long. I have a non-committal aim to finish a book per week, but without any pressure behind it.

In January, I was once again pleasantly surprised by the effect of how many books can be finished by reading just a few pages a day. In the first half of the month, there were some days when I didn't manage to read, but in time I figured out what worked for me (the answer is audiobooks, at the moment). I went on to read every day in the second half of the month. Compared to the scattered reading patterns I couldn't break through before, this makes me very happy.

What I Read

Pirate Women (Audio) – Laura Sook Duncombe: 3.5/5 – review
The Flip Side (Audio) – James Bailey: 3.5/5 – review
Of Sorrow and Such (Audio) – Angela Slatter: 5/5 – review
Die Spur der Bücher – Kai Meyer: 4/5 – Rezension
Der Pakt der Bücher (Audio) – Kai Meyer: 4/5 – Rezension
The Screwtape Letters (Audio) – C.S. Lewis: 3/5 – review

The Stand-Out

If I could only recommend one book out of those I read this month, it would be "Of Sorrow and Such" by Angela Slatter. The audiobook was beautifully narrated, the writing style is one of the most unique and enjoyable I have encountered in a long time, and the story is relatively short but impactful. The story follows Patience Gideon, who is a witch in a time where it is not advisable to let anybody know you are one. She and the other women in this book are excellently complex characters, neither afraid of their gentle or fierce sides, they are of all ages, and support each other in a world that does anything but. 


"Females are seldom remembered once they've gone beneath the earth, indeed, many go unremarked while they are still upon it."

"I worship none, and what woman with a brain in her head obeys anyone, let alone a failure?" 

What Motivated Me to Read

It's no exaggeration that audiobooks are saving my reading at the moment. I wish I had more energy in my days to pick up physical books again, and am working on this next month, but for now I'm finding a lot of joy in having stories told into my ear that make my day more magical. 

Reading in my native language is another thing I'm planning on doing more again. I'm simply going through German books faster, and I'm not immune to the satisfying rush of finishing a book, so I incorporated more into my reading list.

And lastly, I had a lot of fun buddy-reading one of my books this month! It doesn't always work to find someone who wants to read the same book as you simultaneously, but this time it actually motivated me to read something I might not have gravitated towards at that moment. Not wanting to let down my buddy-readers definitely encouraged me to pick up the book, and it's a great experience to exchange thoughts while reading as well.


I'm really happy with how and what I read in January, and am looking forward to another month with zero reading-pressure, but every encouragement to find joy in picking up a book. How much did you read this month?

Happy reading,
Sandy x

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi, Sandy, how are you?
    I'm trying not to worry too much about quantity, but to make daily reading a habit. And it worked for me. I had planned this way in December last year and decided to keep the organization that saw to reduce the stress of wanting to read a lot and, in the end, to read almost nothing.
    In January, now I thought about reading 4 books, but when I got to the end of the month, I had already read 8. And the best: without any pressure and without feeling stressed and without time for other activities.
    The change I made was very good.
    But one thing I haven't done yet is "read" an audiobook. I have friends who love to listen to a good book, but it will take me a while to experience it. I think it is because of the habit of reading printed books, enjoying opening a new book and all the sensations that this involves that I am taking too long to embark on the world of audiobooks.

    It was a pleasure to read your post and I hope that your next readings will be as good as those of January!

    See you!