How to read 52 Books in 1 year

8 actionable steps to read more books & enjoy the process

Clara Zoellner
3 min readApr 11, 2022
8 of 52 books from 2021

52 books in 52 weeks

Throughout my life, I frequently came across this challenge and always found a certain novelty to it. As someone who enjoyed reading growing up, but had a rocky relationship with it ever since their late teens, this challenge was perfect to get back into a hobby I loved dearly. I’ve half-heartedly attempted reading this amount of books per year before, but never succeeded. So in 2021 I finally dedicated myself to this goal properly; and lo and behold managed to read exactly 52 books! Not more, not less.

This is how you can also read 52 books in 1 year:

  • Find one niche you really enjoy (for me: psych-thrillers) and one niche you find really interesting (ultra marathons): then work your way through the most recommended titles or authors

→ Don’t know what genres you enjoy? Time to experiment!

  • Get invested in authors, if you like one book you’ll most likely enjoy more of them (personal example: Andreas Eschbach, a fantastic German author)

→ Ran out of books of a specific author? Google or book forums can give you new suggestions similar in style or genre

  • Start a book series, that gets you hooked & you’ll easily breeze through a large number (PJ Tracy — Monkeewrench had me in a choke hold here)
  • Read multiple books at the same time. I know this can be slightly controversial but I usually do it with 3 books: one fiction, one non-fiction & one audiobook. Since they differ in style it’s hard to confuse plots or characters, and if you get tired of a certain story you can refresh with other content
  • Put it down if it’s shit! Don’t feel like you have to finish books, even if they were recommended to you or are widely popular. Accept that right now is not the time for you & this story, and move on! You can always revisit it in the future, if the guilt is too strong.
  • Or: Don’t be afraid to skim through. If you gave it a chance and you didn’t enjoy it, you can always skim read to the end.
  • Dedicate time for reading find moments in your existing routine to add in books. I especially enjoy reading non-fiction after waking up; it gets my brain going and motivated for the day. Another great example is audio-books for chores or commutes.
  • Create a fun book tracker. This could be on Storygraph or Goodreads — or just in the Notes app on your phone! But seeing the list of your reading accomplishments grow is immensely satisfying and motivating.

A challenge I faced in the beginning was seeing reading as a chore rather than enjoyment. Sometimes my mind would wander and I’d just continue reading without processing. Obviously, I then had to re-read everything again… I can assure you it will fade quickly, once you get stuck into your new habit!

Is 52 the right number for you?

For me, reading more was returning to an old habit I’ve built early on in my life. But if you never were an avid reader, it is likely you will have to build up that stamina and get a good mindset about it! I recommend reducing the number and start slowly. It’s better to read ‘only’ 20 books a year but enjoy the process, learn and relax rather than rushing through pages without any positive gain. Another strategy is of course not setting a number at all, and rather reframe the challenge as an exploration exercise.

Don’t wait for the new year to come around!

You can start your 52 week journey anytime in the year. The most important aspect of it all is that you build a new healthy habit of reading more and that you enjoy the journey — after all there are so many great stories to discover!

Did you ever complete the 52 books challenge? What are your techniques to stick to reading? Feel free to share them below!



Clara Zoellner

3rd culture kid currently exploring the wonders of the UK