How I Read 30 Books a Year

books(Give or take a few.)

People sometimes ask me how I read so much. I have a full-time job and a social life. I’m also a very slow reader. Truly. But I still manage to read about 30 books per year. Here’s how I do it.

I read every day. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, I try to sit down and get a few pages flipped at least once a day. It’s not something I have to force myself to do, really, it’s just something I love doing. It’s how I unwind.

I read in short bursts. I rarely have the time to sit down and just read for a solid hour, so what I do is pull out my book whenever I have or ten or fifteen minutes to kill. I read in the bathtub, while I’m waiting for laundry, on my breaks at work, etc. I almost always leave about twenty minutes for myself before bedtime to spend reading (and although I love to read in bed, I don’t recommend it since it’s bad sleep hygeine).

I read books on my phone. It’s not as unpleasant as you might imagine—or maybe I’ve just gotten very used to it. It’s so convenient though. I never dread air travel or waiting at the DMV anymore, because I always have a book on me. Books that take up zero space are super convenient for travel, too. Reading apps like Kindle and Overdrive are free, and you can even download free books for them from your local library. I only actually purchase a couple of books a year.

I set a reading goal for myself each year on Goodreads, and I enjoy trying to keep it. The app tells me if I’m on track or not, and I can see how many books my friends have read so far, too. Last year I fell short of my goal of 30 books by 3, so I actually fudged my goal down to 27 so that I would meet it. I was afraid I wouldn’t get my badge for 2015! I lied, I’m sorry.

I read books of various lengths. The books I read range anywhere from 50 pages to 1000 pages. I think the average is about 300. I don’t discriminate—although I wouldn’t count a picture book as an actual “book” toward my Goodreads goal, if I happened to read one.

I listen to audiobooks. Again, I don’t actually count these as books that I’ve read, but I do supplement my reading with a few audiobooks each year. If you just can’t find the time to sit down and read, I bet you could still pop an audio CD into your car and listen to it on your commute. I download audiobooks from the library and plug my phone into my car to listen to them.

Occasionally, I give up on the book I’m reading and move on. Sometimes you just get stuck in a book, even if you don’t necessarily hate it. I usually power through because I don’t like to leave things unfinished, but every once in a while I’ll set a dense book aside so that I can move on to something that’s more fun.

I read different kinds of books. My favorite genre is children’s fantasy, but I wouldn’t stay as interested in reading as I do if that was all I ever read. You might feel exactly the opposite way, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Read for pleasure, just don’t limit yourself to what you think you “should” read. Read anything and everything that catches your fancy.

And finally, I don’t watch a lot of TV. Or play video games. Or even watch that many movies. The book is always better!

How many books do you read or listen to in a year? Are you trying to read more? Let me know in the comments.

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