The Secret to How I Read So Many Books

I’ve probably been asked this question a dozen times in the last two weeks.

“How do you find time to read so many books? Where/when are you reading?”

My answer is pretty straightforward. You ready?

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I read.

That’s it.

There is no magic pill that increases my reading speed to superhuman tempo. I don’t sprinkle fairy dust on the covers of books and then place my right hand on the inside cover to absorb the information in between the pages. And yes – I do read the books all the way through if I post a review about them. On occasion, I will skim a boring paragraph here and there. That is the extent of my cheating ways.

The reality is that I prioritize reading in my life and that is how I read so much. Sometimes that means that I watch my partner go to the gym and think about the squats I should be doing as I read on the couch (I have not yet figured out how to squat as I turn the pages.) Other times that means that I’m not going to social events or hanging out with friends because I’m laying under my covers and reading.

I’ve heard it said, “I want to – I just don’t have the time.” Shoot – I’ve said it myself about many a goal I’ve set and not reached. But hear me out, we all have the same amount of hours in a day. I work two jobs and am currently working on two different blogs. I have a healthy family and friend network that needs tending to. I’ve also been told my social media game is strong. I juggle a lot of responsibilities. So I understand the feeling of “there’s just not enough time.”

But there is.

Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “It’s not a priority” and see how that feels.

Seriously, try it. This strategy has changed my perspective on life and is probably the real reason behind my reading so many books. I don’t feel good about saying reading is not a priority because reading fuels writing, and writing is a driving force behind who I am. It’s what I feel I’ve been called to do with my life.

I even find my partner checking me nowadays. The other day I mentioned I didn’t have time to do my parents a favor they had asked for and he responded, “You didn’t have the time or it wasn’t a priority?” I wanted to get mad, but then I thought about how much time I had spent on Instagram that day and I knew he was right.

You don’t have to read as much as me. In fact, I suggest that you stop comparing yourself to me or anyone one else for that matter. Look in the mirror – that should be your only competition.

If you read two books last year, try to read five this year. Little by little, day by day and year by year you will get better at the things you want to do if you prioritize them. Start thinking this way about all the goals you set.

Now with all that said – I will be giving you three tricks that can help you read more. They aren’t magic, but if reading more is a priority in your life – these small tips may be helpful.

  1. Read books that you enjoy!

    I made this mistake for a long time. Tried to push through books that felt like reading old high school textbooks because all the smart people in my life, bookstagrammers on the internet and the bookstgrammer’s moms were like, “this book is the holy grail of reading!” I tried – lugging through each page like I was carrying a bag of bricks with my eyelids. I don’t do this anymore. I will push through a couple of pages, maybe even a chapter and a half to give a book a try – but if I’m not enjoying it, if I’m not learning – then I return it to the library or pass it on to the next person and disregard every glowing review I ever heard. Not every book was written with you in mind.

    Reading is supposed to be fun! You are supposed to enjoy escaping into an alternative universe or a parallel fiction world. You are supposed to feel inspired, empowered and ready to initiate change because of the words on the page. So read what you love. And don’t worry about what anyone else thinks about it. You enjoy fan fiction based on some obscure anime show you watch? Read it! You prefer comic books with some historical references? Read it! Are you obsessed with Game of Thrones and anxiously waiting for its return? Check out the written series! Find what you love and read that.

  2. Try audiobooks
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    I spend a lot of my commutes driving so that forfeits time I could be reading paper books. I’m sure most of you take the train during rush hour so your only goal is to get into a cart where you are not a standing sardine. And everyone knows that empty seats during rush hour mean that you won’t be able to breathe due to the smell of feces that has been left to dry on its own. I apologize if that was an aggressive description, but I’m only stating NYC subway facts.The fantasy of sitting and leisurely reading your book during a commute is often forced to be just that, a fantasy.

    Audiobooks are a great way to make use of time that you can’t spend turning the pages because your hands (or body) are otherwise occupied. I listen to audiobooks while I drive and while I cook. Those are the only times, anything else is too distracting for me. You have to try it out for yourself and see what works for you. Maybe you’ll be one of those people who can do squats or stand squeezed in between eight other people as you listen. However you make it work, it will likely increase the amount of time you spend reading by maximizing the time you have otherwise rendered unusable.

    Fun fact: If you haven’t already tried audiobooks, your first two books are free via Audible Membership. I love listening to books where authors read their own work. I’ll give you a list of my favorites.

    I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual – Luvvie Ajayi (aka side-eye sorceress)
    We’re Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True – Gabrielle Union
    The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl – Issa Rae
    Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person – Shonda Rhimes
    Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) – Mindy Kaling
    The Girl on the Train – Paul Hawkins (NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE)

    Look for reviews before buying audiobooks because some books sound like boring lectures. I LOVED The Five Love Languages, but I wish I had read it as opposed to listening to it. Gary Chapman might as well have been reading me bedtime stories. Not safe for driving.

    And to anyone who tells you audiobooks is cheating? Tell them to go kick rocks. It’s probably safe to assume those people think blind people are only reading if they use braille. People have so many opinions and they’d be better off taking that attention and focusing it inward. It’s probably a projection of their own insecurities. Do you and don’t worry about anyone else.

  3. Keep track of what you’re reading and set a realistic goal
    At the beginning of the year, I set a reading challenge goal using the free app GoodReads.
    I want to read 50 books in 2018, which is an average of a book a week.Goodreads is great because it helps you keep track of your progress towards meeting your goal, recommends other books you may like based on what you’re reading and holds you accountable. You’ll get random emails (and you can customize your settings for how often you want to get them) about what your GoodReads friends are reading and how they rated the books they read. It will even notify you of books people list as “want-to-read” another cool feature that I love to use when someone tells me about a book in passing or I see it on social media and I don’t want to forget it. It’s basically like Facebook for people who enjoy reading.I asked myself if this title was misleading.
    I didn’t set out with the intention of creating click bait. But you all were asking me a question and so I answered it with a bit of my stark humor.

    Let me know if you found any of this helpful AND I’m on the hunt for more good audiobooks to listen to so drop a comment down below if you have any suggestions.

15 thoughts on “The Secret to How I Read So Many Books

  1. Loved this ! Especially the part about having no time vs whether it was a priority or not. I haven’t been reading books as much as I used to, and that definitely is due to not prioritizing it like I used to. I’ve been using that time to learn new skills, but this just encouraged me to start small again, rather than thinking I gotta devour it all in one night like before. Thanks sis!

    Sent from my iPad


  2. As usual I loved your essay. I’m on a book a month challenge, and doubling or tripling that in the summer, hopefully 15 -20 books this year. I usually do all my reading in the summer, but made it a priority to spread it throughout the year. It feeds my soul and yes, the writing.

  3. I loved this post! I completely agree with all your audiobook choices. I have an HVAC pipe above my head at work that makes a lot of noise. I have noise canceling headphones and I listen to books. It has changed my life! I also like Gabby Sibide’s and Jennifer Lewis’ books. I just got Luvvie’s, so I’m excited.

    1. I’ll be sure to check out the two you mentioned. You’re going to really enjoy Luvvie’s book. I found myself laughing out loud.

  4. If you enjoy audiobooks as I do, you should try Scribd. It’s unlimited audiobooks, and ebooks for $8.99 monthly. My life has been so busy sometimes that’s the only way I can get a book in. Great tips you have given and happy reading!

  5. Wow! That was really motivating.

    It’s true that if we don’t enjoy what we’re reading then we won’t learn, so it is imperative to let reading be fun.

  6. I’m glad you wrote this. I get the same questions all the time, and it’s just so real – you just have to read. The more you read the easier and faster it’ll get, but I don’t see reading as a chore – it’s an experience. Letting a world unfold and develop and getting immersed deep into a story is an amazing feeling. Sometimes I almost feel grief when a book is close to ending, because I’ve loved it so much I never want it to stop.

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