This would usually be the time of year when I share my favorite books from the year before, but since I already did that as my final post of 2020, I thought I would do my first HOW post on how I read so much…
I read over 100 books a year for the last two years, (Included in that are plays, YA novels, and read aloud chapter books, not included are the many picture books we read with the kids… I figure the shorter YA books and plays balance out the extremely long fantasy books and page counts average out.) I will admit that part of the reason that number is so high is being at home so much those years- first due to feeling extremely sick during my last pregnancy, then due to COVID and lockdowns. Still, while I may not break 100 again this year, I know that reading is a priority and a regular part of my routine. I know that even if I only read half as much as last year, that will still be quite a bit higher than the average of 12 books per year (according to Reader’s Digest… who also claim that while that’s the average, most Americans read about four books a year.)
So if you are looking to read a little more this year or I years to come, here’s how I read so much:
*As in all things, remember that little by little adds up. This is one of the reasons I love using the Kindle app on my phone. I used to be strongly against e-reading because it seemed like I’d get easily distracted with it as opposed to a physical book (and I still admit it can be hard on my eyes if I do too much of it at once or too late at night) BUT, it makes sneaking in pages here and there so easy! The last month before I had my baby last year was filled with doctor appointments that included a lot of time in a waiting room and I was so thankful to easily read while waiting. I did the same thing when I would arrive for school pickup early to avoid the lines/traffic. Having books on my phone also meant I could read during late night nursing sessions without having to turn on a light or read around my kids during the day without anyone trying to grab at pages or play toss with my book (something that still happens often with the books I keep on my nightstand…)
*Be intentional with WHAT you read: Here’s a secret, you probably read about as much as I do… just not books. My husband read one book last year, but he reads a TON of articles online every day as well as our local papers. If you calculated out how many paragraphs worth of social media posts you are reading, it might translate to several books. I’m not telling you to stop reading any of those things. My husband gets the same satisfaction from reading research articles as I do from reading a good novel. I sometimes feel bad that I straight up miss out on announcements made over social media because I’m not making sure I read ALL THE POSTS every day. When I first decided I wanted to read more books, it was from reflecting on some of my Powersheets prep work and putting down reading a book on my tending list for that month’s goals. I’m just saying that if you think you don’t have time to read, try to take a look at what you are reading already and decide if a book might be more helpful or bring more happiness in some way, then try to replace one type of reading with another! (This also applies to other areas, not just other things you read…)
*Reading is one of my hobbies. It might not be one of yours and that’s OK! But if you are looking to read more but feel pressed for time, you might want to consider one night a week swapping in reading for watching TV, playing video games, crafting, etc. Hubby and I decided to cut out TV just two nights a week and it totally changed our household routines. We still love chilling out and enjoying our shows on the other nights of the week, but we feel more balanced with our time! IF you still feel pressed for time then you may want to try…
*Use the public library. I will say over an over again how obsessed I am with the library and how much my family uses it as a resource. I would not have the budget to buy over 100 books a year (not to mention the space to store them). Plus, you know how sometimes you buy a book and it takes you six months to get to it? With the library you have a due date. And with ebooks they literally disappear off your reading device if you don’t finish in time and then you have to wait again to get it back, so that is some MAJOR motivation to keep up my reading.
*Audiobooks! I believe Audiobooks count as books! You are still learning vocabulary, experiencing a story or building empathy or learning something new and building connections. AND if you are pressed for time audiobooks can be great for multitasking when doing the dishes or folding laundry or even commuting (for those of you that still have a commute these days…) Plus, while the majority of books I read each year remain ebooks or physical books, some books I actually PREFER in audio version (I always opt for audio if it is a memoir/comedy book read by the comedian/anything written by Neil Gaiman that is read by Neil Gaiman because he is a MASTER storyteller)
*I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that some of the reasons I can read so much are not ones I can really recommend. I read a lot because I tend to have anxiety or sleeping problems and stay up way too late (I continue to work on this!) I don’t recommend skipping sleep to read, though I DO wish you books that you love so much that once in a while you just HAVE to stay up and read another chapter… or two… or ten… Finally, I read a lot because, whether it be from an abundance of practice or an inherent skill, my reading speed (as in literal words I can read and comprehend per minute) is pretty fast (I’m not sure I’d have survived graduate school without that!).
Still, since all of my previous points had nothing to do with speed- I hope that you can use those to help you read a few more books this year! If you need some recommendations you can look at my favorite books from 2019 by clicking here and favorites from 2020 by clicking here.