Conquer Your TBR Pile — Practical Tips to Read More Books This Year

Published 20 May 2024
by Anca Antoci

Let me preface this by saying that reading is not a competition. I read around 100 books per year, but you should read as much as you like. As a bookworm, I used to dream of having more time to get lost in stories. I have hundreds of books on my reading list waiting their turn. But between writing, family time, chores, and life’s other demands, fitting in reading felt like a luxury. Here’s how I found ways to squeeze in more reading without sacrificing enjoyment!

1. Read multiple books at once

Ever feel stuck in a reading rut? Reading multiple books can be a great way to keep things fresh! Just like with your favorite TV shows, switching between different genres or moods can prevent burnout. Imagine finishing a thrilling mystery, then switching to a lighthearted comedy to cleanse your palate. I love having a few books on the go to choose from depending on my mood. If you haven’t tried it before, you should give it a shot.

2. Read for pleasure — don’t hesitate to DNF a book

This doesn’t apply if you have a mandatory reading list (like for school), but otherwise you shouldn’t force yourself to read. If you’re reading a boring book, it’ll take forever to finish compared to an interesting one.

The moment I dread picking up a book, I no longer read for pleasure. Reading should not be a chore. It shouldn’t matter that it’s the most hyped up book of the moment or that every friend in your group and their cat has loved this book.

Also, it doesn’t mean it’s not a good book; just not your cup of tea and that’s okay. The time you force yourself to read something that doesn’t resonate with you is better spent trying to discover your next five star read.

3. Audiobooks

This is a chef’s kiss! If you take away only one tip from this entire story, let it be this — listening to books while you’re doing something that doesn’t require your full attention maximizes your reading time. You have to do chores, anyway. Trust me, getting lost in a good story while you’re scrubbing the bathroom will make your life much more enjoyable.

Here’s my favorite hack (but it might not be for everyone): increase the speed rate to 1.5. Honestly, I don’t do this to finish the book faster. It’s just that I feel like normal narrating speed is too slow, and I get bored. I do the same with YouTube videos. I’m impatient.

I know that audiobooks are expensive, so I have a few tips that might help you not to over spend:

  • check your local library for audiobooks — they’re free. Check out Libby App.
  • join NetGalley as a reader and you can read or listen to free books if you agree to leave a review.
  • Spotify

It’s worth mentioning that NetGalley Shelf has the ‘read aloud’ feature for the eBooks. Of course, it’s not as good as human narration, but you can listen to any of their books while doing chores and nothing beats that.

For ARCs I receive from authors directly, I use @Voice app that reads epub and pdf files. I actually prefer it to the NetGalley Shelf as it sounds better. Thus, any epub file can become an audiobook.

4. Read Whenever You Have Some Downtime

Whenever you take a break, you can keep up with the drama on social media, or you can read another chapter. Of course, it helps if you’re already engrossed in the book. This might actually help you experience a sense of well-being as well.

As an introvert who doesn’t do small talk, I whip out my Kindle and read whenever I’m in the doctor’s waiting room, during the commute, or during my siesta.

5. Join a book club

I’m part of an online book club with my Twitter pals and it helps me read more diverse books. I’m totally obsessed with fantasy books. They pretty much make up 95% of everything I read. The rest, 5%, are non-fiction books.

Ever since I joined this book club, I’ve been reading Agatha Christie books I wouldn’t have chosen otherwise. They were good and actually pulled me out of a reading slump. Here are some of the benefits of joining a reading club:

  • Deadlines — Book clubs have specific meeting times, so you have to finish the book by then. Ours is pretty flexible and we keep changing the deadline to suit our needs.
  • Social pressure (in a good way!) — Knowing you’ll be discussing the book with others can motivate you to actually read it. We all need a push sometimes.
  • New genres and authors — Book clubs often explore a variety of genres, introducing you to books you might not have picked up on your own, like I did with the Agatha Christie books.
  • Different perspectives — Discussions can reveal new interpretations and insights you might have missed, enriching your reading experience.

6. Movie Night Multitasking (Shhh, Don’t Tell My Family!)

We all have those nights where family movie night doesn’t quite hold our full attention. If neither of us likes the movie, we’ll change it. But if I see my family enjoying it, I won’t say a word. Confession time: Sometimes, during these evenings, I’ll sneak in some reading on my phone (especially with lighter books).

I still get to snuggle on the couch with my family, but I’ll sneak in some reading on my phone rather than watch the movie. There’s even a joke about Netflix needing an “Easy to watch While on Your Phone” category! This might not be for everyone, but if you find yourself with some downtime during screen time, consider trying this with books instead of social media scrolling.


Remember, reading is a journey, not a race. Find what works for you, explore different strategies, and most importantly, have fun getting lost in the pages of a good book! What are some of your favorite ways to squeeze in more reading time? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below.