You Can Read #95BOOKS This Year

Take the #95BOOKS Challenge in 2018

The following is an excerpt from my free eBook YOU CAN READ #95BOOKS THIS YEAR — sign up for the full eBook and consider joining the #95books challenge in 2018!!! I’ve also created a new website,, filled with book reviews/recommendations.

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What Is #95books?

The #95books reading challenge is simple:
commit to reading 95 books over 12 months.

You can start anytime (although most people start January 1, as a New Year’s resolution) and you can post about your reading using the hashtag #95books.

How did it begin?

On Dec. 26, 2008, Karl Rove published an article titled “Bush is a Book Lover” in The Wall Street Journal. Furious on a good day, I read this and became enraged — at myself. I was sure Bush was out-reading me. Out-reading a writer working on a PhD in literature!

What was my excuse? No matter what you think about Bush, one thing cannot be disputed: he was America’s president, and more busy than me.

As 2009 began, I enlisted my friend Ryan Fitzpatrick in a resolve to read 95 books that year. Like Rove and Bush, we’d make it a competition (that’s where we ended the Rove and Bush emulation, I promise … ) and the winner would buy the loser sushi.

Shockingly, I read 119 books that year. Ryan read 110. We continued the competition every year. Here are my reading totals:

2009: 119 books
2010: 128
2011: 140
2012: 112
2013: 95
2014: 109
2015: 95
2016: 78
2017: 95

(I failed in 2016 because I was struggling with a family emergency, had a new baby in the house, and a pregnant wife/second baby on top of it all. My free time suddenly disintegrated. Even so, I read 78 books that year.)

In 2018, I will plan to read #95books again. So can you. This #95books handbook will give you 7 tips to help you meet your goal. But first, let’s talk about why you should read #95books this year.

Why Read #95books?

The best reason to read more is for the sheer joy of reading itself. That said, there are a host of practical advantages to reading more.

If you are a writer, like me, or aspire to become a writer, then you need to read. You need to read a lot. Reading isn’t a distraction: it’s fundamental to your creativity and productivity. Even though reading takes time, I accomplish more when I read more.

If you’re not a writer, reading remains fundamental to your success. Put aside the value of the information you can gain through reading, which is not unimportant, but still put it aside for the moment. What you read matters somewhat, but even more important than what you read is the act of reading. Reading calms the body and trains the mind to focus, process, and analyze. No matter what you read, reading more will improve every area of your life.

But why 95? Seems excessive, doesn’t it?

Basically, it is excessive. It’s an excessive, lofty, but achievable goal. I’m a busy husband and father with two jobs, and I read 95 books every year (except that one year my two babies basically tore them out of my hands).

Do I sacrifice other things to accomplish this? Sure. I barely watch any television — I don’t have any channels and I don’t have Netflix. You can still watch television if you want, although maybe not as much. You’re going to have to prioritize reading over other things. That’s the point of this, right? You are deciding to set a reading goal in order to prioritize reading more highly in your life. Be honest with yourself. Wouldn’t you be better off reading more and doing less of other things?

The point is, if you want to read more, why not start with a lofty, seemingly ridiculous goal? It won’t seem so ridiculous when you hit it, and if you fail then you will still achieve your root goal of reading much, much more than you have in the past.

Just last week, somebody reached out to me on social media to say that she “only” read 70 books this year. 70 books is more than most people read in their whole lives! She had the right attitude, though — she wasn’t bummed about it, she was excited, because it was more than she ever imagined she could read in a single year.

95 is a number, so the goal is quantifiable. You read all the books in a year-long period, so there is a definite start/end and you know clearly whether you succeed or fail. It’s attainable, but ambitious, so motivating. Other people are doing it, so you can feel bolstered by that, and accountable to your social circle. Just pop onto Twitter or Facebook and search for the #95books hashtag and you’ve found some like minds.

Think of reading #95books like an intellectual marathon: pretty much everyone could do it, but it is hard, and so almost nobody does. You can read #95books this year, and you should.

Join us!!! Sign up for the rest of my free eBook YOU CAN READ #95BOOKS THIS YEAR and start reading!!!

Don’t forget to visit my new website,, for books reviews/recommendations.

Sign up for a FREE ebook of reading tips — “YOU CAN READ #95BOOKS THIS YEAR” — plus news & reviews in your email!

#95books for 2015 (The First 40)

Once again in 2015, I am reading #95books. As May begins, I hit book 40, so I thought I might check-in with my list-in-progress:

  1. Moby-Dick (Herman Melville)
  2. Idaho Winter (Tony Burgess)
  3. Girlwood (Jennifer Still)
  4. Infinitum (G.M.B. Chomichuk)
  5. Their Biography (kevin mcpherson eckhoff)
  6. The Troop (Nick Cutter)
  7. Thou (Aisha Sasha John)
  8. Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free (Cory Doctorow)
  9. Magpie Days (Brenda Sciberras)
  10. Galveston (Nic Pizzolatto)
  11. The King in Yellow (Robert W. Chambers)
  12. The Imagination Manifesto, vol. 3 (GMB Chomichuk & John Toone)
  13. Cassie and Tonk (Justin Currie, GMB Chomichuk, & Will Liddle)
  14. Wraith (Joe Hill & Charles Paul Wilson III)
  15. Multiple Bippies (Colin Smith)
  16. The Gun That Starts the Race (Peter Norman)
  17. Imagine: How Creativity Works (Jonah Lehrer)
  18. Through the Woods (Emily Carroll)
  19. Corked (Catriona Strang)
  20. Afterlife with Archie, Book 1 (Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Francesco Francavilla)
  21. Red Curls (Tracy Hamon)
  22. The Pet Radish, Shrunken (Pearl Pirie)
  23. The Damnation of Pythos (David Annandale)
  24. The Deep (Nick Cutter)
  25. The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman)
  26. On Evil (Terry Eagleton)
  27. Boycott (Gregory Betts)
  28. Loitersack (Donato Mancini)
  29. A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes (Madhur Anand)
  30. Dear Leader (Damian Rogers)
  31. The Blondes (Emily Schultz)
  32. The War of Art (Steven Pressfield)
  33. Mephiston: Lord of Death (David Annandale)
  34. B (Sarah Kay)
  35. The Purpose Pitch (Kathryn Mockler)
  36. The Lake and the Library (S. M. Beiko)
  37. mcv (Melker Garay)
  38. Asbestos Heights (David McGimpsey)
  39. Asbestos Heights (David McGimpsey)
  40. Merz Structure No. 2 Burnt by Children at Play (Jake Kennedy)