One of the questions that I have gotten a lot in the past couple of months, from people who follow me on bookstagram or twitter is primarily “How do you read so much/so quickly/Are you magic?” ( I lie, no one has even hinted at magic with me, which is kinda rude because really I might have some magic in me, but no).
I never really know what to say to people who say this, so I thought I would just do a blog post about how I read, and maybe that would help somebody out? Or really, if I get more questions like this I could just point them to this blog and that would work as an answer….yep, liking that idea already. 🙂
So the first thing you should know is that even though I’m not really competitive with other people, I am beyond competitive with myself. And I will push myself harder and longer to just beat out what I did previously. (But not with others….just me) And so for the past 4 years, I have tried to beat my Goodreads reading goal. And I have succeeded. And every year at the start I increase my Goodreads goal by 5 books.
For example, last year’s goal was 120. By December 31st I had read 169 books. This year, my first goal was 125 books. By the end of May I had beat that and was working on 150. Well I beat that last week (by the time this posts I will have read 157 this year alone).
When people ask me how I read that much, I have to explain that I don’t really watch much tv. In fact, I don’t even have cable, just internet so therefore I watch what is on Amazon Prime or Netflix, sometimes Hulu if they have a show I’ve been meaning to watch. But usually I don’t. Sunday’s are usually my veggin’ out days, in which I will watch 4-6 episodes of a show (Usually Doctor Who or something else like that) but even then, there are days when I will watch part of an episode and think ” I would so rather be reading.” And so I turn off the show and read.
I also read a lot during the day. My job allows me to have 2-15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch break. Usually I will be reading during those times, just sitting at my desk and diving into a story. And when I get home at night after work, even if I want to watch something on Netflix or whatever, I make myself read for at least 20 minutes before I do anything like that. Which of course usually turns into hours and me finishing a book, but still, sometimes 20 minutes is good and then I can watch a show or two.
I am extremely introverted. Not like the type portrayed in Hollywood where they stand on the side and don’t get involved with people. I am okay with people, for the most part, but what I mean is I get my energy from NOT being around people. Like after a hard day of work, it’s hard for me to want to do anything that regards going out around people. It drains me to be around people 24-7. So it recharges me to sit down and read.
I also follow Reader Rule #1 which states profoundly–Never go anywhere without a book. I take a book with me to the Post Office, to the gas station, even to the bookstore because maybe I just have a hankering to read but none of their books. When I go and do doggie-sitting like I do, and I have to stay overnight, I have been known to take about 4 or 5 books with me. ( you might laugh but last time I went dog-sitting, it was an overnight job, I had my nightshirt and 8 books in my bag…true story) And in those little moments of waiting, instead of being angry that there is only one person who is working the Post Office (like seriously though, who does that?) I read.
I also read right before bed, usually about 30-40 minutes snuggled up, with covers and just reading to my hearts content makes me happy. Maybe not sleepy, but definitely happy. And, I read pretty fast. It’s actually common for me to finish a book within the day, sometimes it might take me 2 days but on the whole I can finish a book in one sitting, which also goes with the whole “introverted thing” that I have going on.
I personally think that I read so quickly because my parents would tell me “10 minutes till lights out” and I would try and read as fast as possible to get the book done with, because I hate going to sleep on cliffhangers. (Hence many times, especially since being on my own, I have dragged my poor body to work with as little as 30 minutes of sleep)
Many bookish people have asked me about slumps, and I don’t like to say this because up until a year ago I got them bad, but I just don’t get them anymore. It’s not like I’m reading amazing and wonderful action packed books every single day, nope. Sometimes those books are so boring that I don’t want to finish them but I do anyway (not always, there are those DNF’s I have) but I decided at the beginning of this year that I wasn’t going to allow slumps to be present in my reading life.
Basically anytime a slump starts to feel like it’s going to come on, I remind myself that I feel happy when I read books, that I like reading books and that I should read books. Sounds weird I know, but there are actually quite a few Booktubers/bookstagramers who do this, maybe not reminding themselves that exact thing, but they pretty much state that they don’t like slumps so for them slumps don’t exist. 🙂
I also try and read a certain amount of books per month. I started in January with a goal of 14 per month and just kept increasing it by 2 each month. It helps me to write it down in my journal not only of my goal but also what books I read that month. Which also, because I’m a visual learner, I like seeing my goal marked off with a huge “YAY!” (again remember I’m competitive against myself)
And when reading, I don’t limit myself to reading only one book. I tend to have anywhere from 1-4 going on at the same time. I try to not do the same genre simply because that does throw me, so for instance, right now. I am in the middle of Atlas Shrugged (which is a HUGE book), Huck: the remarkable true story of how one lost puppy taught a family about hope; the Thief Lord (a MG) and Letters from Vincent (biography). I’ve learned that if I give myself multiple books to choose from, not only will I read faster but I’m less likely to fall into slumps. Plus it helps my whole mood reading syndrome of which I definitely am a part of.
The last thing people always ask is if I have any tips to help them read more, which of course I do!
1-Obviously bring a book with you everywhere. If you can’t do a physical copy, try Audible.com. They have tons of audiobooks, and while I personally cannot stand audiobooks, they might work for you. Or get your ereader fired up with some books (tons of sites have lots of free books for ereaders)
2-Try to read for at least 5-10 minutes per day each day, mainly just to get the hang of it. As you go on, you can always increase it, but try with that little space of time just to get back in the groove.
3-Use noise canceling headphones. Not for music (though I do read a lot of my books with music on the background) but rather for helping you keep your focus. They block out a lot of minor sounds so if you are someone who gets easily distracted, especially if you start trying to do this at work or somewhere there is a lot of background noise, this will help.
4-Don’t be afraid to branch out. If you have never tried YA, go for it. If you always read YA and never have thought of adult fiction, do it. Try to read at least something that is different for you, who knows, you might actually like it, and it might be a new favorite.
5-Set the phone down, preferably on airplane mode, with a timer set. That way not only do you have a set time that you can read, but you don’t get distracted by notifications and likes popping in on your phone. (Obviously if you are someone who people need to get a hold of you, don’t do that, but if you aren’t you might try it.)
6-Read multiple books. Try some different genres and let yourself get immersed in different stories
7-Try reading somewhere you don’t normally. Like if you always read on the couch, try the kitchen table, if you always read inside, try out by the pool or at a coffee shop. Variety is the spice of life after all.
8-Don’t be afraid to DNF (Do Not Finish) a book. Yeah I know I just told you to read all these books and all these steps, but honestly if a book isn’t working for you, you can stop reading it. It’s totally cool. DNF is absolutely 100% allowed.
Anyways, I hope this was helpful, at least to some people. If not, well…I had fun writing it so there’s that. 🙂
Do you have any tips for reading more? What is the best thing that works for you?
Happy reading y’all! And remember life is too short for mediocre books!