Friday, October 15, 2010

How To Read More Books: 12 Easy Tips To Help You Read More Books

HowTo_Page_0 “How do you read so many books?”

I have people ask me this question quite often.  In fact, without doing an official poll or anything, I can declare it to be the number one question I get in my world of blogging, twitter, and facebook.  I have lost count of the times I have quickly given a one-on-one answer and so I have decided to simply write a post so that you can all see my quirky cool ideas and so that the next time some on asks me this question I can refer them to this post.  {insert silly grin}  Since I like to read and I also like to please people – yeah, I’m reading about how to deal with that, too! – I figured I would share my tips and tricks with you in this special “How To” post.  So join me for 12 quick tips to insert more reading into your daily routine no matter how busy you are.

How To Read More Books:

  1. Always carry a book with you.  Always!  It doesn’t matter if you think – or know – you won’t have time to read.  Always carry at least one book with you wherever you go.  To the bathroom.  To the Dr. appointment.  To the Dentist.  To pick-up your kids from school.  To meetings.  To everywhere.  I can not tell you how many times I have failed to adhere to my own advice and then really wished I had a book along because for one reason or another I had time to read.  Reading while waiting for the dentist will help distract you from the dreaded visit.  Reading while waiting for the Doctor’s exam will be a wise use of the time you know you will wait!  And reading while in the bathroom….well…you get the point!
  2. Set a reading goal.  Having a goal will help keep you focused on reading more.  When I have a goal for the amount of reading I want to do I am usually more faithful to accomplish more reading.  It can be a specific goal like reading X amount of pages a day or X amount of books per month.  Or it can be a general goal of breaking the last record you set like when I make it a goal to read more books than I did last year.
  3. Keep a list of what you have read.  Keeping a list seems like a waste of time, but really it is not.  Every time you add a book to your list of what you have read – this year, this month, or this week if you are a really aggressive reader – it will fuel your desire to read more.  One of my favorite ways to keep track of the books I have read is by using the website  (No!  They don’t know anything about this post!)  This will allow you to categorize your reads, keep track of what you want to read, find new reads, and SO much more!  Plus there is a stats feature that will show you what you have read per year as well as how many pages. 
  4. Read Audio Books.  Oxymoron?  Maybe!  But use whatever resources you can!  It still counts as reading even if you are “reading” by listening.  This is a great way to fit in that extra book or two if you are busy because you can multi-task.  My favorite way to spend a Monday is by popping in an audio book while I clean my house.  I crank up the speakers or use my MP3 player and clean while I also enjoy a good story or challenging message.  You can get audio books from downloads, the library, or through purchasing the CDs.
  5. Block out time to read each day.  This is rather obvious but it’s something that I still struggle with.  You might be surprised at how much you can read by just doing it for 30 minutes a day.  Make it a habit.  Pick a time that you are most likely to most consistent in and keep at it.  Maybe it’s only 5 minutes a day right before you go to bed.  A little is better than none.
  6. Have several reading options.  There may be some dedicated people who just can’t start a new book until they have finished the very last page of the one they are currently reading.  For the rest of us, I highly recommend having several books in your “currently-reading” stack at all times.  There are many great books I want to read but are simply to deep or heavy for me to read some days.  Then I have other days when I don’t feel like fluffy stuff and I want something to challenge me.  Keep several genres of books at your fingertips so that when you use that block of time to read you will have reading material that fits your mood.
  7. Splurge at times.  Sometimes – especially on a gray and dreary day – it’s important just to sit back, prop up your feet, and read.  I know!  You’re busy.  So am I!  But sometimes the very thing we need is to slow down and reading is a great way to do that.
  8. Step out of your comfort zone.  Don’t just read the same thing all the time.  If you read mainly fiction, try some non-fiction.  If all you read is biographies, try some mysteries.  If all you read is (insert your normal genre), try something new (insert a different genre).  You may find you really enjoy this new style of books and it will keep you refreshed in your reading which in  turn keeps you reading more.
  9. Speed read.  I think the idea of speed reading is different for each person.  But whatever it is for you, do it.  Sometimes it is okay to breeze through a book and skip a few paragraphs.  Now, not every book should be read that way, but you’ll soon find your groove and be able to benefit from more entertainment and encouragement by picking up the pace a little.
  10. Have different books for different places.  If you are willing to have several books going at one time try putting a different book in the various place you read so that even if it’s only 5 minutes or 1 minute you will still get in a few more pages.  I have on the table during the day, maybe one on the coffee table, at times one in the car, one on my desk, and just being honest here…but often one in the bathroom.
  11. Kill two birds with one stone!  Read while you walk on the treadmill, use the exercise bike, or any other exercise that you can do while reading.  I have started reading while using the treadmill and I find that it has the same effect for me as a spoon full of sugar with your medicine! 
  12. Read to your children.  There are a lot of fun books that both you and your children can enjoy together and again, you are multi-tasking by doing this.  (Have you noticed that I seem to be allergic to doing only one thing at a time?!)  When you read with your children you are spending quality time with them, enhancing their learning process and abilities, all the while you are personally enjoying a good read.  I am currently reading the Little House series with my kids and I enjoy it just as much as they do!

Now you know my secrets.  Not too hard, are they?  You see, it’s really the small things that add up and before you know it reading 100 books in a year will seem like small potatoes. 

I hope you enjoy reading more books than before and if you have more ideas, please leave a comment and share them with me!  I can’t wait to hear about YOUR creativity!


  1. Excellent advice. I'm proud to say I follow all of them :)

    I used this method for speed reading (for me it works only on fiction):

  2. I have really increased my reading this year. I think I took some tips from Tim Challies that really got me going.

    I've kept a list since the beginning of the year of the pages I've read and another list of the books completed. I just wanted to get an idea of what I've finished in the frame of a year. It's been very motivating for me.

    I never used to think I could read more than one novel at a time, but it turns out that I can keep the stories separate in my head. I'm also doing the audiobook thing, although I have to be doing a completely mindless task or I totally miss what's been said.

    Very good tips!

  3. Great list! I'm surprised to see how many of these I do without even realizing it!

    Audiobooks are a big one for me. I have an iPod Shuffle, and I just load it up with audiobooks, clip it on, and start listening. I listen while I'm cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, knitting, driving (not with headphones, of course!)... Audiobooks make a boring task fun and make it possible for me to squeeze reading in even when I'm doing something else I enjoy (like knitting).

    I also allow myself to drop books I'm not enjoying. I've noticed that, when I'm reading a book I don't love, my entire reading process slows down. As soon as I let the book go, I get back on track.

    Along the lines of setting a goal, I think it helps me to participate in book clubs, readalongs (online and with family members/friends), challenges, etc. They get me reading outside my usual comfort zone, plus I get excited to share what I'm reading with the other people in the various groups. All good things!

  4. I have just started listening to audiobooks at work because my new job allows me to listen to my headphones. I don't listen to them every day, sometimes I listen to podcasts and sometimes I just feel like music, but even if I listen to them just a couple days a week I can usually get about eight hours of listening time in every week, which really quite significant. This has really helped me because I'm busying with school and don't always have time to read at night.

  5. Thank you to each of you! Those are some great tips to be added! I especially like the idea of "dropping a book". That is very important to be able to do and sometimes you just gotta do it.


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