11 Best Ways to Read More Books

How often do you find time for reading?

For most of my adult life, I barely managed to read around five books a year, and that was if I considered myself lucky. I would pick up a couple during vacations, and there would always be a few lingering on my bedside table for months, barely making progress.

However, last year marked a surprising shift as I managed to devour 50 books, and this year I’m on track for 100. This transformation has made me feel more creatively alive in every aspect of my life. I’ve become a more engaging person, a better father, and my writing has seen a significant boost. Increasing my reading rate acted as the catalyst that set off a chain reaction of positive changes.

Reflecting on this, I can’t help but wish I had made this shift much earlier.

So, why did I wait for two decades?

Our contemporary world seems geared towards quick glances rather than deep exploration, and it took me a while to pinpoint the specific changes that propelled my reading habits. Surprisingly, none of these changes involved speeding up my reading; in fact, I consider myself a rather slow reader.

Here’s some advice on how to incorporate more reading into your life, based on the adjustments I made to my own behaviors:

1. Find Your Optimal Reading Time

Discover pockets of the day when you’re most alert or have some free time to spare for reading, such as early mornings. Different genres might captivate you more at various times—fiction before bed and non-fiction in the morning, for instance.

2. Aim for 15-20 Pages Daily

Committing to reading at least 15 to 20 pages each day sets you up for success. You can breeze through that in under 30 minutes, making it perfect for morning, lunch, or bedtime reading. In a week, this routine adds up to 105-140 pages, a solid chunk of a typical non-fiction book.

3. Maintain a Reading List

Create a reading list to combat internet distractions or picking up the wrong book. When you hear about an intriguing book, add it to your list. This prevents the “I want to read that, but I have to finish this first” dilemma. Consult your list when in doubt, avoiding impulsive book purchases based on superficial factors.

Updating the list after finishing a good book and jotting down why you enjoyed it can also be helpful.

4. Juggle Multiple Books

Keep two or three books in rotation. Switching between them prevents boredom and allows ideas to intermingle creatively. Be cautious not to overwhelm yourself; three books at a time usually strike a good balance. Non-fiction suits daytime reading, while fiction is perfect for the evenings.

5. Explore Different Reading Materials

Expanding your reading horizons doesn’t mean sticking to only full-length books. Utilize platforms like Pocket and Instapaper to save intriguing articles and essays for later. This provides a more engaging alternative to mindless scrolling on news sites, especially when on your phone.

6. Set a Reading Goal

Consider establishing a goal for the number of books you aim to read monthly or annually, possibly dividing it between fiction and non-fiction. For instance, commit to reading 25 fiction and 25 non-fiction books in a year. Regularly assess your progress, ideally on a monthly basis.

7. Track Your Reading Routine

Treat reading like a habit, akin to exercising or meditating. If you’re not reading as much as you’d like, exercise self-discipline by incorporating daily reading into your routine. Set a specific time and place for reading, and track your adherence to this habit over a month.

8. Initiate a Book Club

Start or join a book club, either in person or virtually. The commitment to discussing a book with others fosters accountability, encouraging members to complete the reading. Connect with friends over WhatsApp or Zoom once a month to discuss a chosen book and share insights.

9. Keep a Book Handy

Utilize pockets of free time by carrying a book, Kindle, or e-reader in your bag or car. Instead of scrolling through social media during short breaks, seize the opportunity to read when waiting for a train, at appointments, or picking up children from activities.

10. Abandon Unenjoyable Books

Embrace Oprah Winfrey’s advice and stop reading a book if it doesn’t capture your interest after 50 pages. Recognize that there are countless excellent books available, and it’s not worth wasting time on a book simply out of obligation. Consider sampling books before purchase and feel free to read multiple books at once.

11. Embrace Audiobooks

Integrate audiobooks into your routine, especially if you commute, walk, or spend time at the gym. Services like Amazon Audible offer bestsellers, often narrated by the author. Audiobooks provide a versatile alternative, allowing you to adjust playback speed and are especially suitable for the visually impaired.

In Conclusion:

Reading habits can fluctuate, and it’s okay to experience breaks. Rather than feeling guilty, accept these periods and know that you’ll return to reading when time allows. Carve out dedicated reading time, make the most of free moments, and stay connected to your reading goals and preferences. Understand that reading, like any activity, has its ebbs and flows, and it’s essential to be flexible and forgiving with yourself.

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