I just stumbled upon this post by Joel Miller offering “10 Rules to Read More Books This Year.” It is a good list but, in my opinion, ten rules is overkill. Here, I will offer the three most important “Rules” I implemented last year to help me read my age (32).
1. Keep Track
I use goodreads to log all the books I read. It lets me record a starting and ending date and, thanks to a recent update, lets me log multiple reads for a single book. I can also rate the book on a 5-star scale and write a review. As Joel Miller states in the article linked above, “When my list of completed titles is short, I want to read more. When it’s long, I get a surge of pride and excitement and want make it longer.”
2. Incorporate Audiobooks
If you only do one thing to read more this year, make it this thing. The key here is listening without significant distractions. The format doesn’t work well if you constantly have to go back and re-listen to the previous paragraph. I listen primarily while I’m mowing my lawn (or doing other yard work) or while I am driving long distances. I also always listen to books at 1.75x- 2x speed. If you’ve never done this it will take 15-30 minutes to get used to but after that you won’d notice the speed.
If you have a library card, I highly recommend using Overdrive. It’s an app that allows you to rent and download audiobooks onto your phone for free. The selection is limited by what your library carries but it’s free. There’s also audible” which allows unlimited listening for a monthly fee.
3. Read The Right Books at the Right Time
One of the main reasons to have multiple books of multiple genres going at the same time is so that you can match the appropriate book with the appropriate setting. I don’t read philosophy on the couch wile my kids are climbing all over me and I don’t read young adult fiction during the most productive reading time of my day (yes, I OCCASIONALLY read YA fiction). I read the heavy stuff when I’m alone and have large chunks of time and the light stuff when I have a few spare minutes amidst the chaos.
4. Don’t Take Notes
If your goal is simply to read more, don’t mess around with notes and underlining and recording all the best quotes. It will slow you down and you probably will never go back and read your notes. You’ll be surprised at how much you retain by simply reading.