How to Finish Reading a Book a Week

A Guide to Making the Goal Happen

Reading a book a week is easy. All you have to do is open a different book on each Sunday and read a page. You’ve read the book or at least a portion of it. Finishing a book a week can be a little more difficult. Still, it’s far from impossible, and if you’ve set this as a goal for yourself, you can achieve it, and it will be easier than you think.

There are a couple of things you need to realize about this goal. It’s your goal. Whether you make it or not, you’re only accountable to you. There’s no reason to get distraught if you’re not completing your goal. Life happens. There are important things that happen and may come as a surprise. Hopefully, they are good surprises that distract you from the goal. If they are not, simply push through the difficult times and get back on track as soon as you can. Finishing a book a week should be considered the average over a certain time period. If you don’t finish a book one week, you may be able to finish two books the next week to compensate.

What’s Your Motivation?

Stephen King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time or tools to write.” As a writer I recognize the importance of reading to my art, craft, and work. If you’re not a writer, you may have other reasons to accomplish the book a week goal. You need to know what these reasons are. Do you want to be able to brag about your reading? Do you want to improve your compassion? Do you want to delve into the classics or become a specialist in an area? Do you just want to be smarter and have things to talk about with other people? Knowing your motivation will help you choose the books you’re motivated to read.

What Is a Book?

The first thing you need to do is decide what “a book” is for your goal. Are you going to count everything in the book section of your local bookstore? Are comic books magazines or are they books? Do graphic novels count? What about children’s books and novelty books? You’re in charge, so you get to decide what counts as a book and what doesn’t. Personally, I count graphic novels and children’s books. Graphic novels allow me to see how stories are visually presented, and they allow me to consume a different genre than I may otherwise. They also allow me to catch up on reading if I get behind.

There’s nothing wrong with children’s or picture books being a part of the equation. You can learn a lot from the books in the children’s section because they are written at a child’s level, and they generally stir clear of any political agenda. With a children’s book, you either get a non-fiction just the facts type of book, or get you get a gentle story that will improve your mood and outlook.

Children’s books are often the first place I go when I want to learn about a new subject. They are entertaining and easier to understand. The bonus is that many children’s books are cheaper than non-fiction books written with more jargon and larger words, which means if I’m not sure that I want to know more about a subject, I don’t have to invest a lot of money to find out. Young adult books are another good source to go to for quick reads with a lot of pages.

Do Audiobooks Count?

This is your goal. If you want to count, audiobooks, you can. It’s entirely up to you. When I first started, I was big into audiobooks, but my goal was to finish reading them. So, I kept track of the audiobooks I finished and how much time I spent listening to them, but I did not count them toward the number of books I finished reading. You totally can, though.

What’s Your Genre?

What genre do you love to read and read the fastest? My niece reads a lot of dystopian fiction, and she burns through them at a rapid pace. I tend to read fantasy at a breakneck speed. I get bogged down in nonfiction books and collections of short stories because there’s no thread of a story to pull me through. Chances are that you’ll read your favorite genre faster than you read others. If you know what it is, you can choose those books when you need to boost your speed or the number of pages read. You probably don’t want all of your books to be in that genre, but it depends on why you’re setting yourself the goal of reading a book a week.

Set a Baseline

Since 2010, I have finished a book a week every year on average. In that first year, the books I read had an average of 221 pages each. I was going to college for an Early Childhood Education degree, so that helped. But this first year was just a baseline for me. With all goals, you should try to get better. In 2019, my average book was 261 pages. Every year, I set the goal at just one more page than the last year. In 2015, I missed my goal, but I made up for it at the end of 2016.

In order to set up a baseline, you want to keep track of the books you read, and I suggest, the number of pages. There’s a temptation just to go down to the children’s section of the library, sit down for four or five hours and read 52 picture books. Goal accomplished! However, do you really want just children’s books on your list when you’re done with the goal?

How Many Pages Can You Read?

Another baseline, you want to consider is how fast can you read. I read about a page a minute, which is faster than my mom but super slow compared to my niece. However, this isn’t to compare myself to them; knowing how fast I read, in general, allows me to understand roughly how many pages I can finish in an hour. The reality is that I finish between 48 and 60 pages an hour depending on a variety of factors and variables. At the end of the week, if I’m close to finishing a book, I can set aside the extra time to get it done based on how many pages are left and how quickly I read.

What Counts as a Page?

You get to choose what counts as a page. For me, I read the introductions and prefaces of all the books, even when those pages are notated with Roman numerals and won’t count toward my final goal. I tend to skip bibliographies and reference notes, unless they provide additional information. That means the book will end at “The End” or when the last complete sentence is written. However, I will count the About the Author page as part of the numbered pages, especially if there isn’t anything in between it and the story but a blank page or two. The big thing here, though, is you don’t want to overthink it. (Too late, right?) It’s your goal; you choose how the page count is going to work for you. You could even leave page counts out all together; I just find them motivating.

Choose the Books

Once you’ve set the goal, you need to choose your books. You don’t have to get all 52 books at once; though, if you’re setting this goal, you probably have a to be read pile somewhere. I suggest picking up four or five to start with. Go to the independent bookstore and choose the newest books if you’re looking for conversation starters, or go to the used store and get some classics if you want to beef up your cultural knowledge. If you know what minimum page count per book you want to achieve, choose only books that are bigger than that. You can also go to the library depending on your book reading speed and check out the books, but remember to return them on time. Better yet, check to see if your library has a selection of books you can buy.

Do the Actual Reading

Now, you have to do the actual reading. There’s no magic bullet. There’s no secret sauce. If you want to accomplish your goal, there are no shortcuts. You have to do the reading. If you want to get fit, you have to exercise. If you want to play the violin better, you have to practice. If you want to save money, you have to cut your expenses. If you want to read a book a week, you have to make the tie to read.

Fortunately, one rule will help you accomplish the goal: ABAB. Always bring a book. It doesn’t matter where you’re going or how long you think you’re going to be there, bring a book. If you end up having to wait for someone or something, or your car breaks down, you’ll have an opportunity to read. If you’re going to the dentist’s or doctor’s, take a book. Going to meet the principal of the school? Take a book. Is your computer updating? Don’t watch the bar; read a book. Even if something happens, your eyes will notice the lack of movement (and some of those updates take forever). Going to work? Take a book. You can read it on your lunch hour (or half hour) and on your 15-minute breaks. Paperbacks are good for this. Stick them in your bag and bring them with you.

Once you have ABAB working in your favor, you will still need to set some time aside every day to read. Most people will choose to read before going to bed. However, some will find it easier to get the day’s reading done in the morning. If you set aside an hour, you’ll be golden. Be sure to turn off the phone, turn off the computer, and go to a good place to read where you won’t be distracted by your electronics and their communications.

You can take ABAB a step further and always have a book handy. (I’d make an acronym of that, but it doesn’t read as well: AHABH.) If you have a pet that likes to sit in your lap, you can cuddle with them and still get some reading done. My dad does a lot of reading in the bathroom. Having a pile of books on the nightstand next to the bed is good, having books in the kitchen, near the couch, and wherever else you tend to spend your time is better.

Chances are you’re going to have to cut something out. For me, it was magazines. I like to read them; I think they have good information. I have one magazine subscription that I swear I’m going to get to. Those are stacked up a decade high. (I will read them one day!) I don’t read them because I haven’t figured out how to get them to count toward the goal. I thought about moving to a straight page goal rather than book goal, but that seems like too much work.

If you’re like most people you binge watch your favorite shows. Stop it. Instead, watch one episode and then reward yourself by reading a book. You’ll spread out the enjoyment of the show while also getting your reading done. YouTube is another time waster. Do you really need to see another cat video or a makeup artist doing whatever it is they do? Do you need to watch another review about movies coming out that no one has seen or the reactions to their trailers? There’s some wonderful, informative, entertaining content on YouTube, but like Netflix, you should binge watch it. Don’t go down that rabbit hole!

What games do you play on your phone? Candy Crush, Farmville, Match 3… Whatever you play, is it adding to your life or just wasting time? Do you pull up the game because you have nothing better to do? Get your book out and use that time to read: a sentence, a paragraph, a page or whatever you can instead of wasting time with the game, you can waste it with a book. If you have five minutes to watch a video or play a game, you have five minutes to read.

Stop driving! Unless you’re counting audiobooks and listening to them in your car, which I don’t recommend because it can be a distraction, you spend a lot of time in your car doing nothing but driving. (Hopefully, driving is a complicated task and it should be the only thing you do in the car.) Take the bus or public transit. I get it. In most places in the U.S., the public transit system is terrible, but you can make it work for you. Once you know the route, you can read at the bus stop while waiting and on the bus while it’s getting to your stop. The same applies for a light rail system. Side benefits include not dealing with road rage or other dumb drivers, saving money on gas and other car-related expenses, and improving the environment.

We all do things out of habit that aren’t good for us or take time away from our day. If you can find those things that you do without thinking about it that are time wasters, you can eliminate them. It might take some examination, but you can become more efficient and gain more time for yourself and for reading. Small steps are the key to accomplishing great things.

More than One at a Time

You should try to read more than one book at a time. This may seem counter-intuitive, but consider this. You have a goal of books that are 240 pages or more. You read about 30 pages a day. You’ll finish your first book in eight days and be a day behind in your reading.

If you’re able to read the same book at 25 pages per day and a second book at 5 pages a day, you’ll finish your first book in 10 days, and you’ll have read 60 pages in your second book. This reading habit will allow you to read larger books that will reduce the overall number of pages you need to read per book, without slowing you down too much. If you can keep books in different places, you’ll be able to read more variety and get more out of your goal. Paperbacks are great for travel. Larger books can stay at home.

Keep a Record

When you’re finished with a book, write it down and keep a record. I use an excel spread sheet. It contains the position in which the book was finished, the title of the book, the date finished and the number of pages in the book. I used to make notes about the book, like series and subject, but I’ve given that up. You can always read a book twice. Classics are great for that, especially “A Christmas Carol.”

Additional Motivation

Your local libraries probably have an adult reading program with prizes. Free stuff for reading? Yes, please. They usually happen during the summer, so go down in mid-May and ask about it. The best part is that they often require you to read different genres, which will allow you to get out of your comfort zone and explore new books. Some local bookstores offer the same type of deal. You don’t even have to buy books from them. A book club, where a group of people gets together to discuss a book on a weekly or monthly basis could also provide you with extra reasons to read. Reading is more than fundamental; it’s the key to improving imagination, being more compassionate, and ensuring freedom. But you don’t have to take my word for it:

At Lincoln City Archery, we support independent authors. In addition to a collection of books on archery, we have a wide variety of books written by self-published writers. These are books that you generally wont’ find in larger bookstores that rely on publishing house distributors. Many of our books are written or edited by local authors (including the range leader at our location).

At Lincoln City Archery, we provide archers the opportunity to increase their knowledge of traditional archery and practice their skills at our indoor archery range in Lincoln City, Oregon. Like traditional archery, reading books takes focus and concentration. Turning off your electronics and reading a book for an hour will improve your focus and concentration. If the story is good enough, it won’t even seem like practicing. Plus, it’s a great way to pass the time when you can’t make it to the range. Happy shooting, happy reading, and let’s get on target.

Your Staycation begins at Lincoln City Archery

With gas prices soaring into the stratosphere, you may want to stay a little closer to home and still have fun. The Oregon Coast is a great destination, but it can be a little rainy. That’s why your staycation begins in Lincoln City and you’ll have more than enough to do when the liquid sunshine falls from the sky. It all starts with us at Lincoln City Archery located at the Lincoln City Outlets. (Of course, if you happen to be from farther out, we’re happy to see you, too.)

Just a Little Archery

Our shortest sessions are 15 minutes and run $15 (as of May 2022). They include equipment and instruction. These 15-minute sessions are designed to give you the basics in body position that will allow you to hit the target by the end of the session. For many people, this is the perfect session. Archery is a physical activity involving the repeated pulling of 22# and walking between 20 and 28 yards every three arrows. You can go a little longer with 30-minute at $25, 45-minute at $35, and one-hour sessions at $45.

More In-Depth Archery

If you’ve always wanted to learn archery and want to gain more in-depth knowledge, we offer the pay-as-you go classes. The first class will teach you the basics of getting ready for archery as well as body position. Once you’ve taken the first class, you can add other classes as you like. If you’re close enough to make archery an hour a week or more, you can sign up for six classes at once and get a discount on the course cost. Courses run $300 for six or $65 per class. If you book this type of class, it is likely you will be the only one on the range unless a friend or family member joins you. There is a slight possibility that more people will join, but our classes are limited to four people at a time.

Live-Action Zombie Apocalypse and Other Games

Want to test your archery skills against zombies, Baseball Duck, or a friend? We offer archery games by reservation. Live-Action Zombie Apocalypse is our most popular arcade style game. You and your friends face off against a horde of zombies. Nick! Nock! NO! is our version of archery Tic Tac Toe. Baseball Duck and his crew are waiting to take you on in our version of archery baseball. These games are not for new archers, but many people find them fun after 15-minutes of instruction.

When Your Archery Session Is Over

Lincoln City Outlets offers other activities to help your staycation be more fun. Scout has axe, hatchet, and knife throwing, as well as a selection of Oregon and Pacific Northwest inspired items, like coffee and candles. Galaxy Arcade offers a selection of video games and a comfy pair of couches for those interested in high-definition, large screen fun. The Pepper Palace allows tasting of their barbecue and hot sauces. The Local Faire offers you the opportunity to support other local artists and creators. You are sure to enjoy your staycation in Lincoln City.

Lincoln City Archery is locally owned and family operated. We are open the same hours as the mall. Summer of 2022, those hours are 10 to 7, Monday through Saturday, and 10 to 6 on Sunday. Our lightest bows are for eight years and over. We have four lanes available for traditional archery shooting.

To reserve and ensure your spot book online or call 503-409-8371. We are happy to do parties.

Archers in Sri Lanka Hunted Monkeys 48,000 Years Ago

In a paper published June 12, 2020, scientists argued they found the oldest known use of bow and arrows outside of Africa at the Sri Lankan site of Fa-Hien Lena. While bows are less likely to survive the ravages of time, arrowheads are generally made of more durable materials. However, not all points are for use with a bow and arrow. So, what evidence is there for archers in Sri Lanka 48,000 years ago?

The scientists involved in the study cite the location, size and weight of the tips as evidence of their use with a bow. The cave is located in a rainforest, where typical arboreal mammal hunting (before firearms) was done with either a bow and arrow or a blowgun. The tips are too large to be from a blowgun.

“The size, form, and damage found on many of the bone points were best explained by their having been used as arrow tips to hunt difficult-to-catch rainforest prey, rather than spears,” Lead Author Dr. Michelle Langley of Griffith University told Sci-News. “The fractures on the points indicated damage through high-powered impact — something usually seen in bow-and-arrow hunting of animals.”

Unlike the archers in Sri Lanka, we won’t be hunting any monkeys on our range in Lincoln City. However, you can stop them from stealing coconuts for a limited time.

At Lincoln City Archery, we focus on traditional archery at our indoor range. Our recurve bows are light enough to accommodate most healthy adults and children ages eight and up (though we have had younger archers able to pull our 15# bow). Our quiet shooting area allows you to focus on your form, your inner self, and your own power. While archery still provides some people with the ability to put dinner on the table, it has evolved to allow others a good form of recreation, exercise, and self-empowerment. Learn archery to help you get more in touch with your body and mind. Book your space today.

Indoor Traditional Archery in Lincoln City

It rains. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know about the Oregon Coast. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is; the weather can turn on a dime, rolling in from the ocean like a gray wave. Real Oregonians don’t let the rain stop them from doing their outdoor activities, generally speaking. However, there are some good reasons to avoid the outdoors and inclement weather, especially when there’s a place inside that will allow you to do what you want.

If you’re looking to shoot some arrows downrange, Lincoln City Archery can help. We have four lanes for traditional archery shooting of bows less than 40#. Fifteen minutes is $15, including equipment and instruction. If you’ve never shot a recurve bow, this is a good place to learn. You can even bring family, who find your compound bow to heavy to draw. We have 15# bows for children 8 and up.

Traditional archery is a way for me to regain control and focus. It allows me to calm my thoughts and be in the moment as I send arrows toward the target. We do a lot of things that take away our personal power; traditional archery helps me regain some of that. Whether I miss or hit the target, the responsibility and the ability lie within me. And I like to shoot zombies.

At Lincoln City Archery, we provide a safe place for people to shoot bows and arrows. We have classes that introduce people to the basics of traditional archery, including learning to shoot both hands, using different stances, dealing with arrows. Later classes allow archers to sample moving targets, walking while shooting and walking while shooting moving targets.

Shad and Jenya Engkilterra own Lincoln City Archery. The indoor traditional archery range is located at the Lincoln City Outlets across from Tools and More and next to Maurice’s. Book online to ensure your lane. Shad learned archery from Armin Hirmer in Malta, where Armin allowed him to run Malta Archery’s indoor range for a year. From May 5, 2021 to May 15, 2022, Shad and Jenya taught over 3,000 people the basics of traditional archery. Shad has published “How to Shoot a Bow and Arrow” with photos by Jenya to help people remember the steps they learned while at Lincoln City Archery. The indoor range opened on May 15, 2021. We stock a small amount of traditional archery supplies including bows. Those who need compound archery equipment may order it from us.

Monkeys Got Our Coconuts at Lincoln City Archery!

We had a lovely bunch of coconuts,
All ready for their time in the tropic sunshine.
Then these monkeys showed up
To perpetrate their crime.

Come save our coconuts
From the monkey in the tree.
Shoot the coconuts from the sky
And count how many you seize.

At Lincoln City Archery, we offer four lanes for traditional archery practice and teaching. Our lane fees include equipment and instruction. Traditional bows under 40# draw weight are allowed. Book online to ensure you have your spot.

1965’s “The Monkey’s Uncle” was the last Disney film to star Annette Funicello and Tommy Kirk together. The song was written by the Sherman Brothers and sung by the Beach Boys with Funicello on lead vocals. Chimpanzees are members of the ape family, but the song (and movie) mixes apes with monkeys liberally.

1944’s “I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” uses the “coconut shy” funfair game for its inspiration. The coconut shy features coconuts that the player must knock off a table (or from a post) with a ball. Merv Griffin and Danny Kaye both had hits with the song. (We’re not shooting coconuts of a table, yet; they are placed on our targets, but we can modify the game some.) The game is referenced in H.G. Wells “The Invisible Man.”

In 1957, RCA Victor released Harry Belafonte’s album “Belafonte Sings of the Caribbean,” which featured among the songs “Cocoanut Woman.” The song extolls the virtues of coconuts for health and relationships. (I heard it often when I was working at Old Key West in Walt Disney World.)

Harry Nilsson’s 1971 album “Nilsson Schmilsson” contained “Coconut,” a song about a woman who mixed coconut milk with lime and got a stomach ache. (The movie I most remember this from is “Practical Magic” starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman.)

In 1983, Mickey Mouse and friends decide to get wet with “Splashdance,” an obvious play on the movie title “Flashdance” starring Jennifer Beals. Chip and Dale go on vacation, where Dale mistakes coconuts for acorns. Hilarity ensues in the less then two second sound bite.

What other songs have coconuts or monkeys in them? Is there a song that has both? Of course, there is…

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Survive an Apocalypse: First Mission, Find Water

I’ve had quite few people come into Lincoln City Archery and talk about using a bow and arrow as a way to survive an apocalypse. Some of those people have been serious and have listed out the reasons for using bows and arrows as opposed to firearms. While archery may help you survive the apocalypse by providing protection and a way to kill animals to eat more successfully, it won’t help you much with the first thing that every human needs: water.

Water for Survival

The most crucial element to any survival plan is water. Without water, people can live between three days and a week depending on other factors. People can survive longer without food, and under the right circumstances, don’t need permanent shelter, though they may need protection from the elements to avoid death due to exposure. If the world’s water systems stopped working, how would you get water?

Salt Water

Any salt water sources, like oceans, are out unless you can desalinate the water. If you have plastic during the apocalypse and wood to burn, you can create a distillation process that will generate potable water. If you don’t have wood to burn or you don’t know how to start a fire, but you have a bowl, a cup, and it’s sunny, you can let the sun do the work. However, this will entail staying in one place. If you don’t have plastic or the ability to distill the water, you’ll need to find another source.

Rivers or Lakes

Rivers or lakes may contain fresh water, but those bodies of water have other problems. You could be confronted with waterborne illnesses that cause diarrhea and other gastro-intestinal issues. You could face pollution from industries upstream, especially since there will be no government regulations, and there’s a good chance that industry safety measures failed during the apocalyptic events. This means that you’ll want to go as far upstream as possible to find out if there is anyone or anything dumping waste into the water source. If you’re fairly certain that there’s no pollution, you’ll still have to deal with microbes.

If you have a water filter, you can filter out a lot of the microbes. However, most filters only last for a certain number of gallons of water before they fail. Boiling your water for a minute will kill most microbes, but it won’t get rid of any toxins. You’ll also need to know how to start a fire and have a steady supply of firewood or other burnables.

Chemical treatments like bleach and iodine are only good if you have the chemicals. Two drops of bleach for a quart of water should do the trick. Double the amount of bleach if the water has debris. Twelve drops of a two-percent iodine tincture for a gallon of water will also render the water safer to drink. However, using iodine as a permanent solution could cause health problems, too.

A plastic bottle filled with clear water and left on a dark surface in the sun for eight hours can kill microbes. The heat and the UV light are what do the trick. If you have a plastic bottle, you should be fine, but it also means staying in one place.

Rain Water

If you’re preparing for the apocalypse, you may want to gather rain water. This is especially good in wet climates, and one would hope that the possibility of acid rain would be nil after an apocalyptic event. However, it’s important to note that some cities and states have laws that prohibit collecting rainwater, even on your home property. Once the government is gone, you’ll be able to use all the rain barrels you want, but until that happens, you’ll want to practice with the number of barrels you’re allowed.

Drill or Dig a Well

Well digging takes specialized knowledge that most of us don’t have. You want to start learning about it now and then work on using a shovel or pick in an area that doesn’t have plumbing, other pipes, or underground wires. Digging is hard work when you don’t have a machine to do it. You’ll need to be in shape to make this work, you’ll need the right tools, and you’ll need to stay in one place. Mechanical drilling will not be possible in a future apocalypse if there are no sources of energy.

Find Bottled Water

Bottled water is labeled to last as long as two years. However, as long as the bottle is kept sealed and there were no contaminates, it should be okay to drink. It may not taste good, but it shouldn’t compromise your health. The problem you’ll be faced with is how many other people have already scavenged in the area. In year five after the apocalypse, how much water are you really going to find in the bottled form? Maybe more than the amount of alcohol you’ll find, but that’s not saying much.

Your Regular Diet

Currently, most people get about 20 percent of the water they need from their diet. Berries, apples, and other fruits have high water content. If you can grow or scavenge these, you’ll be ahead of the game. Of course, growing your own food takes a different set of skills, and for a family of four it takes about two acres of land. Knowing which berries are safe to eat requires skill as well. Humans cannot always safely ingest the same berries that birds can.

Finding water is going to be your first mission in an apocalypse. If you cannot find or make safe drinking water, you won’t survive for long. As we have seen, it’s not as easy as it sounds. You may need to know how to start a fire or have the equipment with you through scavenging or before the apocalypse happens. Even this small list isn’t the best way to start because what works in theory may become problematic in practice. If you really want to be prepared, you need to learn how to do these things before the apocalypse strikes.

(This story was originally published at my Medium page. However, with their new monetization rules, I have decided to start moving over some stories to my website. I will continue to publish new articles at Medium with the hope that I will be able to reach the 100-subscriber threshold. I was at 74 subscribers when I removed this article and adapted it for my blog. You can subscribe to my Medium page here; it’s free to read a couple articles a month. If you need a traditional bow and arrow, come down to Lincoln City Archery where you can learn to shoot instinctually and pick up a bow for practice.)