Hello everyone! Today, I’m here with a bit of a different post. When reviewing my reading in 2017, the thing that stands out to me most is how much more I read last year than in any other previous (recorded) year. I normally average between 60 and 80 books per year, but last year I read 170. That’s 100 MORE books than I typically read in a year. I did notice changes in the way I read that I think led to this dramatic increase, so today, I thought I’d share some of the tips and tricks I, a full-time student with two part-time jobs, have successfully employed to help me read more.
Now, two disclaimers before we get into the tips: first off, I know 170 books is a huge amount to some people, and negligible to others. There are PLENTY of people out there who read more than me, and I’m by no means claiming to be a resident expert. All of this is based off what has worked for me in the context of my reading. Secondly, I’m aware that tons of posts/videos exist on this very topic already, but I do feel like I had something to add to the conversation, hence why I’m making this post anyway. I hope these tips help anyone who’s trying to read more, whether they want to read ten books this year or 1,000. Let’s get into the list!
madalyn’s tips for reading more
Audiobooks, audiobooks, audiobooks.
I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but I can’t overstate how much audiobooks have increased my reading. They’re great because you can fit them into so many parts of your day. I listen to mine while I get ready in the morning, on my walk to class, on the train, and often for an hour or so before I fall asleep. They’re a great way to tackle your backlist TBR, because if you’re like me, you’re swamped with frontlist review copies to read and review and don’t often have time to read your backlist books. Plus, it’s super easy (and free) to get audiobooks through your library! Often, when I’m in a reading slump, I have no desire to read a physical book, but I can almost always listen to an audiobook. (Bonus fun fact: studies show that your brain processes information almost the same way whether you read a book or listen to it on audio.)
Switch up your formats.
Similar to the first point, I find that switching between physical books, ebooks, and audiobooks not only prevents me from feeling slumpy, but also helps me read more and faster. I have discovered that I get burnt out much more easily if I’m reading books in the same format. I particularly find ebooks to be useful in this scenario, because I read so much faster on my ereader. Next time you feel a reading slump coming on, try an ebook or audiobook if you usually read physical books, or vice versa.
Be discerning with your TBR.
I can’t emphasize this point enough: be choosy about the books you pick up. Don’t read a book you know you won’t enjoy just because of the hype, or because your best friend is always nagging you to read it. Yes, it’s important and rewarding to branch out into new genres and read outside your normal comfort zone sometimes, but if you haven’t already done this, look back at your reading history and see if there’s a pattern among the books you rate highly. The pattern could be a genre, a theme, the fact that you gravitate toward character-driven as opposed to plot-driven stories, or whatever. Read reviews from people you trust before you pick up a new book. Just… read books you know you have a high chance of enjoying. If you only pick up books you’re really excited about and think you’ll love, you’ll be more motivated to read.
Don’t be afraid to DNF or put a book aside for later.
I know lots of readers struggle with this, but if you’re not enjoying a book, PUT. IT. DOWN. You can DNF it if you know it’s not for you, but if that feels too final, you can always put it aside to come back to later (I did this with Six of Crows, which ended up becoming one of my favorite books of all time when I finally picked it up again). Life is too short to read books you’re not enjoying, y’all. Think of all the awesome books you could be reading instead. And if it’s a review book? Just send the publisher a message explaining why you couldn’t get through the book. That way you don’t have to finish a book you don’t want to read, your Netgalley feedback ratio stays intact (spoken from experience), and the publisher knows why you didn’t post a review. Everyone wins.
Experiment with becoming a one-sitting reader.
Lots of posts like this will tell you to “read when you can” or “read a little bit each night.” While that might work for some people, it has never worked for me. Personally, I prefer to block aside a large chunk of time on my day off to just read. Often, I don’t have time to read Monday-Saturday because of school and work, but then I’ll read a book in one sitting on Sunday. I find that “binge-reading” is the most effective way to read more for me personally. I’d much rather consume a story at once over the course of a few hours than in ten-minute increments over the course of a few weeks. So, if you, too, struggle with the “read whenever you get a spare moment” mindset, give this approach a try.
Take breaks from reading when you need them (and don’t let the guilt get to you!).
Sometimes, you just want to marathon Brooklyn Nine-Nine all over from the beginning in your spare time instead of reading (AKA me for the past two weeks). THAT’S A-OKAY. Don’t force yourself to read when you don’t feel motivated to do so. We started all this because reading was fun for us, right? Don’t let the pressures of blogging and reviewing take the fun out of the actual process of reading. If you take a break, you’ll come back to reading feeling much more excited and motivated than before. Breaks help prevent the dreaded book burnout.
Graphic novels, y’all.
I pretty much saved the best tip for last, because graphic novels are a gift and I never see enough people taking advantage of them. First off, they make it super easy to reach your Goodreads goal because they’re short and usually only take about an hour to read. But also, they’re just awesome. Similar to the trick of switching up the mediums of the books you’re reading, picking up a graphic novel in between novels is a great way to cleanse your reading palette, so to speak, and to reset you between stories and worlds. Plus, who doesn’t like books with pictures, seriously?
I hope you found these tips somewhat helpful!
Do you have any tips for reading more? Do you agree with any of mine? Leave them in the comments!