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I started tracking my book reading habits a few years ago as a way of remembering what I’ve been consuming. Extra benefit: It’s also helped me see patterns or trends. The trouble is that I can also now look back and see when I’m losing the plot.

Here’s what I mean: Last year my reading pace felt like it had fallen off a cliff—there were three months or so of total freeze during the pandemic. But honestly, this year has been worse. Looking back at my list, I can see that I read very few books from February to about June, a nearly six month hiatus.

One trick I have found is that I have at least three different books on the go at any point: something in print to keep with me during the day, something on my Kindle for bedtime reading, and an audio book for listening to in the car (and yes, they count.) Having something for every mode means that I can turn away from the fun game of staring at my phone or endlessly switching between three radio stations to avoid the ads.

Anyway, the list—which only includes things I’ve actually read closely, rather than sped through for work—says I’ve read 13 books properly so far in 2021, whereas I was at 19 books at this point in 2020 and 30 the year before that. I don’t know what it says, really, if anything. But still.

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