Wednesday, February 17, 2016

So, how do I read so many books?

Since I started this blog, there are certain questions I get over and over again--and the one I hear most is, "How do you read so many books?"

Let's start with the basics--I read about 100 books a year, including audiobooks, but not including books I read to my children.  So, that's about 2 books a week and I would say the books I read average out to be about 300 pages each.  And, yes, I know that's a lot.

Or is it?  I know people who read far more than that--and I know I could read more than that if I gave up some other things (like blogging).  For some people, 300 books in a year is doable, for others 12 books in a year is a stretch.

But, how do I get to that 100-ish books a year?  Well, first off I want to address a question that some people sort of ask around (and one commenter on Amazon, with the apt name "Ratfink" brought up in the most misogynistic way possible): As a stay-at-home mom, do I send my time reading?  Well, guess what...I averaged about 175 books a year when I was working full-time so, no, I do not spend my day reading while my husband is at work.  Instead, I spend my days taking care of my children, running errands, cooking, and--oh, let's assume--housework.  Trust me, I'm far more busy now than I ever was when I was working.

Okay, now that I have that off my chest, here are my tips for reading more books:

1. Prioritize Reading
I make time to read every day.  Some days (lately, most days) it may be for half an hour before I turn the lights off at night.  Other days, I may be able to carve out a bit more time.  But, just like I brush my teeth, wash my face, or make my bed everyday, I make sure I read every day.

2. Embrace "snippets"
I don't mean snippets of books--I mean snippets of time.  Until I had kids, I really believed that you needed a certain amount of time to sit and read.  Anything less than, say, 10 minutes and it just wasn't worth your time.  Now, if I have 2 or 3 free minutes, I'll read.  There are books that are better suited than others for this, but usually at least one of the books I have going is one that I can pick up and put down.

3. Get off your high horse
Maybe this just applies to me, but I was a reading snob.  You know, I only read "real" books.  Well, guess what, sometimes you just need brain candy.  And that's okay.  Reading can be relaxing--but it depends what you are reading.  Trust me, there are some very tense books out there.  They may be wonderful books, but they aren't what you want when you just need to unwind.

4. Turn off the TV...sometimes
I don't watch much TV--I mean, I do watch TV, but not as much as most people I know.  I'd like to say that I spend the rest of the time reading, but usually I spend it doing other stuff so I can go and read in bed.  That's how I roll.  But, here's the gist:  I would rather read a story than see a story (and I know that not everyone shares that view--and that's fine) and I usually find stories in books to be better than stories on the screen.  At its core, this tip goes back to the first on the list.  Reading is just a higher priority to me than television.

5. Find your magic number
Mine is about 100 books per year.  For some people it is 10 books a year, for others it is 500 (and I want to know who those people are!).  I really believe that you need to find that sweet spot--where you feel like you are scratching the reading itch, but you don't feel bogged down by it.  I've set goals of reading more than 100 books and, while I may have met that goal, the reading just wasn't fun.  So, do what you need to do for yourself!

Reading should be fulfilling--whatever fulfilling means for you.  If you want to read more, just do it--and enjoy it!

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