A question that I receive a lot is how I manage to read so much. I typically average about 150 – 175 books per year, sometimes more, sometimes less.
What’s funny is that I don’t go out of my way to read an excessive amount of books — it kind of just happens. However, I will say that I make a point of reading every night for at least one hour. So that is my first tip: Be consistent. I have built reading into my schedule so that at the same time every evening, I’ll sit down and read for my designated hour. Adding your reading time to your daily calendar or schedule can help with this.
Another reason is that I rarely watch a lot of television. Now, I have nothing against television. It’s simply not a priority for me. Personally, I derive much more enjoyment from reading a book or practicing the piano than watching tv. Some people enjoy heading out to the pub every night, also something that I don’t often do. So in this way, my next tip is: Prioritize your reading time.
Increasing your reading speed can help you read more, and the best way to increase your speed? Read more. Studies indicate that the more you read, the faster you read. As you gain more reading experience, your speed will naturally increase. So the next tip is: Read more to get faster.
I stopped reading for quite a while a few years back. I used to enjoy a lot of young adult and urban fantasy novels. The problem is, is that my hoity-toity, artsy-fartsy friends loved to trash the books I enjoyed, telling me I should read more “adult” books — more serious classic literature and non-fiction. So I did. And… they bored me to tears. So I stopped reading completely for quite some time. Thus, my tip here is: Read what you enjoy. Otherwise, you won’t be motivated to read. These friends, by the way, are now former friends.
This leads me to my next tip: Bail on books you don’t like. If you’re reading a book that’s just not clicking with you, leave and instead pick up a book you will enjoy. There’s no law or rule that says you have to finish a book. If it sucks, ditch it or “DNF” it (DNF stands for “did not finish” and has turned into a verb over the years).
Read more audiobooks. I manage to burn through quite a few audiobooks during the year, probably about 2-3 per month — and this is from someone who works from home and doesn’t commute to work. Whenever I’m cooking, cleaning, or out for a walk, I turn on an audiobook and fall into a story. This way, I get to enjoy many additional books without having to carve out time for reading. Now there are those who say listening to audiobooks isn’t reading. To them, I say rubbish! Consuming a story is consuming a story, no matter how you do it. It can also be argued that writing a novel on the computer isn’t “writing,” it’s “typing” because writing involves a pencil and paper.
Always have a book on your person. I never go anywhere without a book, especially if there’s a possibility of having to wait. Anytime I have a doctor’s appointment, dentist appointment, a morning at the DMV, I ensure that I have my Kindle or a physical book with me. Of course, you can also read books on your smartphone if you’re so inclined.
I also keep a TBR list. This is a list of books that I want to read (TBR = to be read). This way, when I finish a book, I don’t need to agonize for days over what to read next or try to find a book online that sounds interesting. I have a file on my computer, so whenever I hear about a book that sounds interesting, I add it to my list. I also belong to the Book of the Month Club, so that’s one book per month (sometimes more!) that’s moved to the top of my list.
So there you have it. Some ideas on how to read more. How about you? Do you have any tips to share?