How to Read More

I’m a very slow reader. Always have been. And yet when people hear of the books I’ve read over the course of a year, they tell me they wish they could read more. I’ve found several reading strategies to be very helpful. Even if you employ just one of the ideas below, you can read a half dozen or more books in a year:

Read while you drive. Well, don’t really read while you drive. But listen to audio books in the car. I only have a fifteen-minute one-way commute. But I still listen to about a half-dozen audio books in the course of the year. Most of these I get from the library. Cracker Barrel has a rental program too.

Read with a friend. I get together for lunch with a friend every few weeks. We chat and catch up, but we also have a book that we read together. Sometimes we discuss a few chapters at a time. Sometimes the whole book. Just knowing someone will be there having read the book is good motivation.

Read with a group. My wife and I are part of a neighborhood book club with four other couples. We get together every two months. Once a year each couple chooses the book for the group to read, hosts the group and leads the discussion. It’s social and gets us talking about more than politics, the weather or the Bears–well, sometimes.

Read fifteen minutes a day. As I’ve said here before, if you read fifteen minutes a day, you can read fifteen two-hundred-page books in a year. Amazing but true. I usually take my fifteen minutes in the evening. Actually, at any one time I’m usually working on a morning book and an evening book. The morning for spiritual nourishment; the evening for entertainment or intellectual stimulation.

Get rid of cable. We’ve only had cable TV for one of the thirty-four years we’ve been married. Not having it has freed up huge quantities of time for all sorts of things.

Get rid of your kids. Being an empty-nester has been a great help to my reading. But if that’s not an option for you, just remember that we all have seasons of life.

This may not be a season for lots of reading for you, so keep your reading goals reasonable and achievable. Using just one of the ideas above could easily get you there.

5 responses to “How to Read More”

  1. I read a lot. Well, a whole lot. People tell me they don’t have the time, but tell me that they watched a movie or a football game (yes, I watch them too). They can watch a three hour game, but can’t read for 15 minutes? What goes into our hearts and minds comes out in a life. So…read!

  2. I read every day, after 9:00 pm when I go to bed. Lately science fiction/fantasy. Sometimes that means 20 minutes. Sometimes that means two hours. But it means I go through tons of books in a year!

    And I do have little kids and cable. (But I never watch TV.)

    I’ve found reading on the internet actually steals my time the most. (Blogs, articles, etc.)

    Good thoughts.

  3. Reading on the internet steals most of your time from other reading! Now isn’t that sweat irony–especially for a blogger on book publishing!

  4. Maybe I’m a little too introverted, but I also like to read while I eat breakfast and lunch, when I’m home alone with my toddler. My husband even got me a weighted bookmark for Christmas to hold my book open while I eat. It was the perfect gift. 😉

  5. Good suggestions. Thanks.

    Audio books are great. Christianaudio.com gives one away free each month. Librivox is in the process of making free audio available for books in the common domain. I have listened to a great many fine classics that way. Reader quality varies widely but the experience is generally worthwhile.