How do you read so many books?
8 ways you can read more!
How do you read so much?
This is question that I get a lot, especially after publishing a monthly round-up where I talk about everything I have read that month (click here to see July’s reads). So far this year I have read 255 books and I am hoping to read many more before December.
Being able to read a lot is a combination of factors, ranging from reading speed to time in your day to read.
I am lucky enough to have one useful transferable skill in that my reading speed is relatively fast (I don’t actually know how to work it out, but my sister and I were always the first in the family to get the Harry Potter books as we were the fastest readers!).
I also make time for reading every day, although I definitely read a lot less as an adult than I did as a kid because of those pesky adult responsibilities which take up so much time!
As a teacher, I also read a lot of children’s books alongside non-fiction and adult books so that makes the number of books read look higher too.
So, enough about me – how can you read more?
Because that’s why you’re really here, right?
(Or else you’re hoping that I’m going to reveal the existence of my time-turner…)
Here are a few essential tips which I have found have helped me to make the best of any reading time I have:
Always have a book (or two) with you
I never leave the house without at least one book and usually two just in case I finish the first one while I’m out. I also have e-books on my tablet and mobile phone so I am very rarely without a book. If I ever find myself in the situation where I don’t have a book, a visit to a charity ship, bookshop or library usually makes things right…or I read fanfiction online if I’m really stuck!
Listen to audiobooks while cleaning, etc
This is a tricky one because it can be hard to find an audiobook of the right type, by which I mean one that is interesting enough that you want to listen to it, but not so attention-grabbing that you end up unable to do other things. Personally, I find it difficult to listen to audiobooks while doing other things so I usually listen to shorter podcasts or music while doing housework and only listen to the odd audiobook while walking to work or before bed.
And yes, for those people who still debate this, listening to an audiobook completely counts as reading. Just because you are having the information read to you rather than sitting looking at a page does not change the fact that it is reading!
Set aside time for reading e.g. every morning or before bed
I always read while I have my breakfast – it takes me a long time to go from asleep to a mostly-functional human being so my morning routine involves coming downstairs and throwing open the patio doors, having a wander around my garden, then sitting in the (hopefully) early morning sunshine while reading and eating my cereal. I try to prepare as much as possible the night before to avoid running around like a headless chicken in the mornings, although it does inevitably happen sometimes. I also set an alarm for myself to avoid getting so caught up in my book that I am late for work!
I also make an effort to get into bed with a book, although this hasn’t been working so well recently because I’ve been falling asleep so quickly! I have been making an effort to go to bed about half an hour earlier than I usually would and use that time to read or for getting some extra sleep.
Get public transport to work instead of driving
I walk to work now so this one isn’t relevant for me, but I used to get so much reading done on the train when I commuted. I read even more then than I do now, thanks to frequent train delays and missed connections! Nowadays, I only really get the bus at weekends to go shopping, but I still bring a book for those 20-30 minutes and get some reading fitted in.
If you have children, read to them
In my job as a teacher I read a lot to my pupils and I count the books that we read together towards my monthly reading goal too. If I ever have children I would love to start a Goodreads page for them to track every book they have read in their lives, because I’m a geek like that.
Surround yourself with books
This is one of the most fun tips on this list and one that most book-lovers will have no problem fulfilling. I have tonnes of books around me that I have yet to read, so there is bound to be something that catches my attention when I’m between books. I also visit the library every week so am always finding new books to add to the to-be-read pile.
Another fun way to add to your reading list is to join a website like Netgalley, where you can request books before they are published. Be careful not to do what I did and request ALL the books like a child in a sweet shop!
Set yourself a reading challenge or goal
This works for some people and not for others. Some people find that setting themselves a reading challenge can make reading a chore, particularly when you have to read specific books rather than those that you’re in the mood for. I personally find that I am too disorganized and too much of a mood reader to stick to reading challenges where you have to read specific titles. However, since joining Goodreads I have really enjoyed using the reading challenge as a way to keep track of what I have read and spot any themes or common patterns. I don’t think that joining the challenge has made me read any more than what I would have read anyway, but it has proven quite useful when I’m trying to remember a certain title to recommend it to someone else!
This year I have also joined the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge, for a few reasons. Firstly, I want to promote more diverse books. Secondly, I have a lot of books by Asian authors that I want to read. Thirdly, it takes place over the entire year of 2019 unlike many reading challenges which are completed over a shorter time. This means that it doesn’t feel pressured and it makes me more conscious of my reading choices.
Read what you enjoy
Some people are amazing at sticking to a list, while others read books because they feel they have to. I honestly believe that your experience of a book is shaped by who you are, what you’re doing and how you’re feeling at the time you come across it so, if you’re not enjoying a book, put it down and try it again another time. Pick up whatever you’re in the mood for reading and don’t beat yourself up about books that you feel you ‘should’ read. I have loved books because they have appeared at just the right moment in my life while I haven’t enjoyed others as much as I would have hoped because I read them at the wrong time when I wasn’t in the right frame of mind.
Can you use any of these tips to get more reading into your day?
Do you already feel that you read enough or would you like to read more?
Which other tips would you add for somebody trying to read more?
Probably another factor for me that I haven’t included is that myself and my boyfriend usually watch a single episode of something on Netflix over dinner, but that’s it for TV except at the weekends. he usually spends his evenings reading or playing computer games, while I read, blog or waste lots of time scrolling through Twitter.
No matter whether you read one book or one hundred, reading a book opens a portal to another world and links us all together. Read lots and enjoy!
Thanks for reading!