Reading 100 Books in a Year Using Free Apps and the DPL

Marie Kondo must have been drunk in thinking that owning only thirty books would bring you joy.

I’ve always loved New Years; getting bombed with your friends, then starting over with a fresh slate and looking toward 12 new months of adventures and opportunities.

People always scoff at resolutions, viewing them as empty promises we make for ourselves and then dropping them a few weeks into the year because it was agonizing. What makes you willing to change a habit or make a goal that wasn’t a priority the year before? Why will this year be any different?

At the beginning of 2019, I knew I wanted to challenge myself to do something different – to push myself to accomplish something tangible for the fun of it and skip the agony. I wanted to set a goal for myself that I would enjoy the journey more than the finish line itself.

I have always been an avid reader, and after graduating from college, I was able to read books for fun again. One night, curled up with a glass of wine and the second book of a young adult trilogy (don’t knock a genre until you try it) – it came to me. I wanted 2019 to be the year I read one hundred books in one year, with the finish line being December 31st, 2019, at 11:59pm.

A few things stood in my way; I knew that I didn’t have the funds or storage space for one hundred books, so I would need to figure out the best way to read for free. There are only so many hours in the day, and with a full-time job and various commitments and interests, I couldn’t very well be reading at my desk, at a concert, or at the gym. I did not want to be the girl reading a book in the middle of a party – I would never live it down! I also knew that I wanted to have a good way to track books that I had read and wanted to read farther down the line… organization was to be my greatest asset in this endeavor – keeping me motivated and efficient.


After doing some research, I discovered Goodreads, my dream application, and a literary database for bookworms. The interface acts as a social media platform for readers to share reviews and ratings of books. Users can join online book clubs and partake in discussions, keep lists of books they’ve read and wish to read, get suggestions for future reading based on preferences, view literary events in your area, and even join publisher giveaways.

Yes, my “Want to Read” list is up to 474 books… woof.

When you find a book you would like to read, search for it in the search bar, or scan the cover of the book. It will then bring up your book’s homepage, complete with synopsis, average user rating, and reviews.

Goodreads is where I found what I was looking for; the ability to create a 2019 challenge for myself and set 100 books to be my goal. The application would then log the books as I read them into a single page and even let me know how close (or behind!) I was to reaching my goal as the months wore on. I was on my way!

Sure, I’m one book ahead of schedule now… but it was touch and go for a while, let me tell ya.


I freakin’ love the library. No, really, I once “ran away from home,” and within twenty minutes, the first place my parents checked was the library a block from our house. There I was, curled up in the Children’s Section.

I knew that I wanted to utilize the Denver Public Library’s (DPL) collection throughout my journey because I’m a library nerd, and my boyfriend was going to murder me if I brought home any more books for our bookshelves.

The love of books can also be an expensive habit, running the risk of purchasing something you aren’t going love. Going to the library can be tough; having to physically go and pick up your selections after putting them on hold, and then remembering to finish and drop them off in time to not be charged a late fee.

After some research, I discovered Libby by Overdrive, an application that you can gain access to with your library card. Here, thousands of e-books and audiobooks are available for loans. I was surprised to see how many new and high demand titles were in the DPL collection that you can download straight to your phone or e-reader for 21 days.

So many books, so many genres, THE WORLD IS NOW YOUR OYSTER.

You can have up to 15 items in your collection at one time and more on hold, ready to hit your account as they become available. This can take some strategizing for popular works, as there are only so many copies available.

The longest I ever waited for a book WAS, in fact, six months because it was so popular (“Becoming” by Michelle Obama – no surprise there). Still, I was granted access to an abundance of readily accessible books.

There were a few occasions I got overzealous, and many books hit my account at one time, but I was able to pause holds for a few days to catch up while I worked my way through my ever-growing collection. The fact of the matter was, I was able to read these books for FREE – and my bank account, and bookshelf-bogarting boyfriend, were happy.

Audiobooks on Libby:

I was a bit reluctant to try out audiobooks – as a person with the attention span of a gnat, I was worried that I would get distracted by something while listening and miss something important. I knew that if I were to keep up with my goal, multitasking would need to be a necessity. After all, I could only use my excuse “I can’t clean the shower, I’m behind on my reading” to the Bookshelf-Bogart Boyfriend so many times.

After seeing that Libby had an expansive audiobook library, I gave it a shot – starting small by listening to a straightforward book on the treadmill. Before I knew it, I was so engrossed in the story that I had walked for an hour without noticing. I had discovered my first personal triumph – working out became more enjoyable, and pizza became sweeter.

I moved onto household chores, cooking, and driving while listening to books; tasks that were monotonous before became far more tolerable – enjoyable, even!

Almost fell off the treadmill laughing while listening to this one. Got some weird looks. Worth it.

E-Books on Libby:

You can also download e-books through Libby, allowing you to read on your phone or Kindle. You are then able to read through the app or through your Kindle app.

A book can now fit in your pocket, which is awesome because women’s clothing pockets are a joke.

Equipped with a plan and my helpful apps, I was ready. I was excited! And I had no idea how much it would change me in the long run. You can read all about it in the next post!

Audrey Vertovec

Audrey is a third-generation Denver native with a love of house music, Denver history, books, and pho. Her first concert was Hanson at Red Rocks and has had MMMBop stuck in her head ever since. She believes everyone should go to a music festival at least once. She has broken all of her fingers and loves pizza so much, she has a pizza tattoo. On the weekends, you can find her shuffling (poorly) on the dance floor, consuming all the wine and cheese she can find, exploring a museum, tearing it up in the kitchen, or in the park with a book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *