How to Read 5x More Books–Faster

read more booksA reader recently shared with me that she would love to read more books but doesn’t have time.

As a new mom, full-time career woman, and blogger, I get it: I’m hard-pressed for time as well. But reading is important to me because through books I enter new worlds and see new perspectives. As Tim Keller says:
Read and listen to one thinker and you become a clone;
Read two and you become confused;
Read ten and you get your own voice;
Read a hundred and you start to become wise.
― Timothy Keller
I also want to model good reading habits for my daughter. She currently LOVES to look at picture books. Though truth be told, she loves chewing on them even more. So I need to be creative in how I incorporate reading into my day.

Here are 5 easy ways to read at least 5x more books and LOTS of resources to help you out along the way:

1. Try audiobooks

I used to think listening to audio books was cheating. Then I decided to give it a try. I had to drive 8 hours in 2 weekends so I listened to The Great Gatsby on audiobook* during my drive. I LOVED it and became an avid audiobook-listener/reader. Now I listen to an audiobook while washing dishes, driving long distances, weeding the garden, or doing laundry. You can easily read/listen to 2-3 books a month this way.
Try it: There’s a wealth of audiobooks to choose from. Christian Audio* offers a free audiobook every month. I’ve been downloading and listening to these free books for the last 3 years and have amassed quite the collection.

2. Find a routine

If you’re more of a physical-book person, try creating a routine to ensure you read a little bit every day. Crystal Paine from MoneySavingMom picks up her current read for 10 minutes every morning while Gretchen Rubin likes to unwind with a book every night. Create a Family Book Basket Time when the whole family spends 15-30 minutes with a book, stash a book on the commode, or steal a few pages while waiting in line at the grocery store.
Try it: Starting today, identify a time of the day that you will read a few pages of a book.  A bit today and a bit tomorrow adds up quickly!

3. Create a reading list

There’s nothing worse than hitting the library only to find my mind go blank on that one book I really wanted to read but can’t remember the title. Of course it’ll come to me later, when I’m peeling carrots in the kitchen, but who’s going back to the library at that point? Not me.
Try it: Create a list of books you want to read, or check out reputable lists like BBC’s Top 100 or Moody’s Rosalie De Rosset’s Recommended Readings.

4. Learn to speed read

I was highly skeptical of the efficiency of speed reading until I took a 9-week class in college. It’s A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Seriously. Best used with non-fiction reads, speed reading techniques increased my reading speed from 200 words per minute to about 950 words per minute. (That alone can make you read 5x more books.) And it’s not just me. Leigh Kramer attests to the power of speed reading, and gives a few more tips on how to read more than one book at a time. Speed reading might sound bizarre, but it really does work.
Try it: Speed reading is a learned skill and takes time to develop, but it’s well worth the effort once you’re able to read more–faster. Here’s a primer on speed reading skills, or you can check out this free software to give it a try.

5. Join a book club

Sometimes I get stuck in a book–in a good way. (Sometimes in a bad way, too, but I’ve learned to become a quitter, thanks to Anne’s prodding.) But if I find a book I really like, I’ll relish only a few pages at a time. That’s fine, for one book now and then, but when I have 5 books going at the same time… I just get stuck. That’s where reading a book with other people can help. Having an imposed rhythm (1 chapter/week or 1 book/month) can help me finish books that would otherwise just languish in my book basket. Plus, it’s always fun to talk over favorite quotes with friends.
Try it: Find a book club that you can join. (in)courage always has fantastic selections as does Midday Connection, but you can find local ones in your area if you prefer face-to-face interactions.
March is National Reading Month, so if you’ve been meaning to start reading more, now’s the time.

Your Turn

Have you tried any of the methods listed above? How do you read more books?
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