For as long as I can remember I’ve been a reader. As a kid my parents would have to pry a book out of my hands to get me to do my homework or eat dinner. Considering myself an avid reader, I always thought I’d read a lot of books, until I started my Goodreads account this year. I’d read just shy of 200 books, counting everything I’ve read since the beginning of high school. So, in hopes of finally shortening my TBR list, which at this point is a good 250 books, I decided to take on the 52 Book Challenge. But once you start the habit, it’s a little hard to stop and this week I had to up the ante to 100 – I just hope I can make it!
Since my start at the beginning of the year, I’ve managed to read an average of 4 books a week. Of course there have been some weeks when I’ve only managed one or two, particularly when I’ve read a longer novel such as City on Fire (so good!), but the reaction is always the same – you must be a fast reader! I only wish that were true, but matter of fact, I’m a pretty slow reader. I like to take my time to read each passage thoroughly and I often reread parts that are long or confusing, and then I take notes. I’ve had to be a little more dedicated to make time for all that reading, so I’d like to share a few of my secrets.
How do you make time to read?
1. Audio Books
I first tried Audible in December, hoping I could get my hands on a few of the longer picks from my TBR list and ended up with a copy of Outlander. For someone who had never listened to an audiobook before, this was a perfect choice. Davina Porter is still, to this day, my favorite narrator – she truly makes the story come alive. After spending a day listening to her, it always feels as if I’ve been watching a good movie – a little dazed and truly inspired.
Finding the right narrator definitely makes all the difference, but luckily there are plenty of them out there. Audiobooks allow you to read while doing other things – I always have an audio book on while at work. On an average day, between meetings and phone calls, I can work in a good 4 to 6 hours of an audio book. For busier days, I try to pick a lighter read or a guilty pleasure (my favorite is the Pink Carnation series) that way if I can’t pay attention the whole way through, I really haven’t missed much, but I still tend to rewind a bit anyways. Audio books are also a great option for when you’re stuck in traffic or doing a bit of cleaning around the house.
2. Lunchtime Reading
I’m a big fan of reading on my lunch hour, it gives my eyes a break from the computer and it’s a good stress reliever for a busy day. I have an hour long lunch, so I typically spend half an our eating and catching up with co-workers, and the other half hour I’ll spend reading. Even if I’m only able to do this three times a week, that’s an extra hour and a half of reading time!
3. Work Book Vs. Home Book
I’ve picked this up from a myriad of other bloggers, and only just put it to good use. Unless I have a real page turner going, I’ll have separate books for the office and for home. I find it makes more tedious books easier to read – you have a built in break! It also inspires me to read more on my lunch hour if that’s the only time I have to read a certain book. Plus, there are just some books that are better read before bed, such as my current pick A Little House on the Prairie (who said grown ups can’t have bed-time stories?).
Another plus to divvying up your reading, is that you’ll always have something to read. If I’m reading the same book at work and at home, I’ll sometimes forget to put the book back in my purse and be left stranded with nothing. This leaves you with a book wherever you go. 🙂
4. Pick a Book You Like!
It definitely makes a huge difference in my reading pace if I’m reading a book I’m really intrigued or inspired by, and I don’t just mean those thrilling page turners (though, I love those too!). This week I’m reading Brideshead Revisited, and while I am enjoying the novel, I think it’s a little too long and I can’t seem to find a character I actually like, thus it’s taking me ages to get through a mid-size novel. But, I’m also reading The Passage, a sci-fi novel that’s over 800 pages, and while I still haven’t finished it yet, I’m getting through it faster than I thought I would, all because I’m simply enjoying it more. So, if you want to read more this year, go for the books you want to read and save the books you think you should read for later.
Another tip that goes along with this, is to keep your TBR and Hold list updated! If you aren’t excited about a new book or have anything coming in, you won’t have anything to read. But I suggest practicing self control when placing holds on your library’s website – or, like me, you’ll have 10 books to pick-up all at once.
In order to read more books, you need to be aware of the number of pages of each of your picks. If I chose 800 plus page books every week, I would never reach my goal. But, that said, a lot of the books on my TBR list are rather long. I try to pick one lengthy read a month and read at least 100 pages a week (that’s about an hour and a half). Another great option for fitting in your longer novels is to choose the audio version over text. I have more time for audio than I do for actual reading, so this has worked out great for me and there are some great audio versions of the classics out there! My favorite so far this year is A Tale of Two Cities – the audio version was a slow start, but so worth it.