Here are 9 tips for reading more, in no particular order:
1. Consider reading the same book with someone else (e.g., your friend, spouse, etc.).
It will help motivate you to read it, and provide for some great discussions.
My husband and I both read a good bit, and a good number of the books we read overlap. This has been a huge help in motivating both of us to read more. We don’t necessarily begin books at the same time, but we do generally read them within a very close window of time. There’s nothing like wanting to start an intense discussion on reading only to say or hear, “oh, I didn’t realize you hadn’t read that yet…I can’t wait till you do!” to motivate you to get moving. It’s also a good way to understand your spouse or friend’s views on things. Yes, I read books on pastoral ministry and he reads books on mothering. 🙂
I do this with friends, as well, and it’s really enjoyable to be able to discuss our reading!
2. Read something you’re actually interested in.
Don’t force yourself to read something that’s going to bore you to death (at least at first).
3. If you want to read a long book that seems overwhelming, set bite size goals. Rather than declare that you’re going to read War and Peace next week, instead determine to read five pages of War and Peace each day. Little goals help us reach big goals.
Speaking of War and Peace, you can actually read it over the course of a year or two by using Daily Lit, where you can subscribe to receive a daily e-mail of a portion of a book that is readable in just a few minutes per day. There are a good number of books to choose from on this site, but War and Peace is one that my husband finished in about 663 days (you can choose your own length of time on several) this way. 🙂
Just make sure you are reading other books at the same time.
4. Leave a book where you will see it and pick it up to read. Toilet. Night stand. Rocking chair. Inside the cookie jar.
Some people say to leave a different in-progress book in every room. How well this works may depend on the size of your house and what rooms you visit, but the overall concept is certainly beneficial.
5. Learn to speed-read.
This one is still hard for me, but one I’ve overcoming. You can take classes for this, or you can research how to do it.
Or, you can just take this tip (this works best with paper books or an e-reader with a large enough screen):
Instead of reading word for word, focus in on the fourth word in and the fourth word out of each line. Your brain will pick up the word in between and you’ll still get a pretty much word-for-word read. You do not need to mentally sound out each word in your brain as you read. 🙂
(If you’re viewing this on my site, with a Chrome browser, the words are bolded for the above sentence.)
If it’s really good, come back and take it in more slowly.
6. Replace TV-watching with reading.
I’m not saying never watch another movie or TV show again. But if you’re spending a lot of time watching cable, consider dropping the cable and using a service Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon to watch just the TV shows and movies you want. You’ll cut out time spent on commercial time and possibly wasting time by vegging in front of whatever show is next.
7. Reward yourself with reading.
If you’re focusing on another area of life-improvement, consider rewarding yourself with reading. Choose a book that you really want to read, and only allow yourself to read it once you have accomplished your other task for the day. For example, after you clean the kitchen, you can sit down to read The Hunger Games for 20 minutes; or, after you push to run 2 miles, you can read another chapter in A Tale of Two Cities.
This kills two birds with one stone, and will likely help you enjoy both areas more (and perhaps do chores and reading more quickly, depending on how you frame your work/reward system).
8. Order/put on hold some books from your local library.
These days, many libraries have it set up to request books online, and then be notified by e-mail (or phone call) when it is available. (My library even has drive-through pick-up!) Select several books that are out as bestsellers or popular books. Because they are new or popular, they might not be available right away, and you will be alerted to their availability somewhat at random. It can serve as both an unexpected treat and a challenge to read it before it’s due again (such books usually have a shorter loan period).
And even with regular library-loaned books, finishing the book(s) before the due date can serve as a great motivator to finish up the reading.
9. Always have the next book ready.
Never be without the next book to read when you finish another. (This does not mean you must begin right way; sometimes a pause is helpful. I usually try to write a short review shortly after finishing my books, and it does help me to first complete that before immediately jumping into the next book.) Reading multiple books at a time will help solve this problem, too.
I keep a (long!) running list of books I want to read, and manage this on Goodreads and my Amazon wishlist. I try to have the next book in mind or ready once I am about to finish a book. Since I’m usually reading in multiple formats, I try to keep in mind my next choice as I near the end of finishing a book in a particular format. That way, as soon as a I finish, I have the next book already ready to start.
These are just 9 tips for reading more and reading more effectively. (I’ll share more on reading more via audio soon.) There are countless more. What are you best tips for reading more and reading better?