Last month I wrote a post about where I buy all of my books, but one of the questions I get asked most is how I read so many! The last few years I've averaged around 90-100 books per year, and usually I don't include short children's books or novellas in this number. And this is around working full time as a teacher!
So here are my top 5 tips for getting through all those books you want to read!
#1 - Audiobooks
The number one tip I can give you for fitting more books into your busy schedule is audiobooks. I use the Audible app nearly every single day! Now, I'd love to have time to read a physical or eBook every day, but I often just can't fit it in. Audiobooks, though? I listen while I'm getting ready for work each morning, while I'm cooking dinner and doing the housework. Usually I listen to books at at least 1.5x speed, sometimes 2x if the narrator is a slower reader.
Pros: I read half of the books I consume this way! It's incredibly convenient if you're a busy person. Cons: They end up being $14.95 each (through Audible, which is the easiest way I've found to listen). Occasionally some books (especially shorter or older children's books) are cheaper, but many times you could purchase the physical or eBook copy cheaper. In addition, every so often you'll come across someone who will tell you that listening to audiobooks doesn't count as 'really reading'. I choose to ignore those people - they're usually the people who also say 'oh I don't read novels'. Good for them, but not for me!
#2 - Have a book or two with you as often as possible
Sitting in the doctors waiting room, waiting for a train, sitting in the hairdresser, or really any other time you might otherwise spend scrolling through social media. I make sure I always have a book or my Kindle (or both!) in my handbag if I know there's a chance I'll be sitting around for a while. Sometimes I don't end up reaching for them - but if they're not then I often regret it! I'd much rather get through 10+ pages of a book I'm interested in, than flip through a magazine that's several years old...
#3 - Don't be fixed on reading/finishing a particular book
No matter how much you love to read, reading-slumps are a real thing. If I try to force myself to read a particular book, or finish one (of the many!) of the half-read books on my bedside table, then there's no way I'm going to feel inspired or engaged in reading! In the end, I know that I finish more books if I just pick up something I'm actually interested in reading. If I don't finish it, or wait a few months to get to the end, I've learned to stop beating myself up about it. Sometimes it just isn't the right time to be reading a specific book - and life is too busy to spend time reading books you aren't enjoying!
#4 - Keep track of your reading and share it with others
Goodreads was a complete game changer for me as a reader. The easiest way I can describe it is Facebook... but for actual books! My favourite feature is their yearly Reading Challenge. I'm a very intrinsically motivated person, so I'm not keen to compete with others as much as I am to beat my own personal best. There's something so satisfying about seeing the number of books you've read increase, and I've found so many books through Goodreads.
#5 - Get inspired
There are so many ways to feel inspired about reading. Check out book videos on YouTube, #bookstagramers on Instragram (yes, it's a thing, and it's beautiful!) or blogs. Maybe it's a book club with friends - maybe a formal meeting, or just regular conversations with your family and friends about what you're all reading lately. I love talking to colleagues, as well as my students, about what they're all loving reading. There's an amazing feeling of connectedness between people who enjoy the same books - it's most certainly one of the reasons I became a teacher and why I began this website!
I'd love to hear your tips on how to fit more reading into our busy worlds! Comment below and let me know.