How I Read So Many Books

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I get questions all the time, both on the internet and in my real life, about how I’m able to read so quickly and so much. Yes, I do read a lot of books. This year, I’ve already read more books than ever before (127, including several very long classics), and it’s not even over yet. I also read fairly quickly; the last book I read was about 200 pages and I finished it in about three hours. At that rate, I can easily finish two or three books a day if I’m really feeling it. Though, on average, I read two to three books a week. So how do I do it?

The most important thing is to prioritize reading, however you can. I’m currently finishing up grad school and I work around 30 hours a week, so I’m pretty busy. But I make sure to read a little something every day. If I’m in a reading slump and not in the mood for a book, I’ll still read articles and blog posts, just to stay in the habit. Find half an hour every day – before bed, during your lunch break – and read. If you can fit more than that, great, but don’t stress too much about it.

Part of the reason I get through so many books is that I read multiple books at once. I try to have at least one ebook, one physical book, and one audiobook going at the same time. That way, no matter where you are, you can fit some reading in. The trick is to choose books that are very different. Currently, I’m listening to a Neil Gaiman book on audio, reading a digital ARC of a Queen Victoria biography, and reading a physical copy of Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. It’s very difficult to confuse them, so it’s easy to keep track of all three stories. I can read the ebook on my phone whenever I’m stuck waiting anywhere, and I listen to the audiobook while driving. So I get in a lot of reading when I’m out of the house. Reading multiple books at once is also nice when you’re not in the mood for a particular book, because then you can simply read one of the other ones.

Another trick I’ve learned when I want to get through books quickly is to read ebooks.I read ebooks much faster than physical books because I can tailor the format for my eyes. Making the font bigger so you don’t have to look too closely helps. But I’ve found what helps the most is using the scrolling function on my iPad, as opposed to digitally turning pages. If I keep a good scrolling pace, my eyes have to move much less, and it’s amazing how much more quickly I read.

Finally, I taught myself how to speed read.For the most part, I like to read slowly and savor the words. But when I have to get through a book I’m not feeling – usually for school or a review – or when there’s a section that’s not that interesting, I speed read. Basically, this means learning to eliminate subvocalization – when you say the words to yourself in your head. You brain is capable to recognizing and processing words much faster than you can say them. It doesn’t have the same impact as reading more slowly, but I usually end up doing it for a bit in every book I read, which helps the duller parts go much more quickly.


How many books do you read per week? Do you have any tricks for maximizing your reading time?

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19 thoughts on “How I Read So Many Books

  1. I am a big proponent of the ‘everyone can fit in 30-minutes of reading time somewhere in their day’ mindset; it’s so true for most people, and it’s surprising how quickly you can finish a book even just doing that every day. I have a 20-minute train journey to and from work so I tend to read then and I like being able to say I’ve ‘done’ some of my reading for the day before I’ve even got to work. 🙂

    I wish I could speed read. My subvocalisation can be quite strong depending on the book I’m reading, so I’m sure that slows down my reading pace a lot! Was it tricky to teach yourself how to speed read?

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    1. It took a bit of time, but, for me, the trick to limiting subvocalization is just to mentally count “1, 2, 3” over and over. It stops you from saying the words, but isn’t too distracting. Over time, I’ve been able to stop doing that, too. Good luck!

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  2. Great post! I also tend to speed read, though not even on purpose, I just get in a zone and it happens.
    The time I personally find best for reading is after school, before I do any homework. It gives my brain time to relax before I tackle my homework, and is more productive than watching tv (which is what I do at night when my brain is too fried to even consider reading!).
    Typically, I have a book on my kindle, a book on my phone, and a physical book that I’m reading, but I can’t focus on audiobooks for the life of me!

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    1. Thanks! I feel you on the audiobook thing. I can really only focus on them when I’m driving, and that’s because I can’t do anything else during that time (like check Twitter).

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  3. I usually have trouble speed reading because I’ve struggled with reading comprehension over the years. I was diagnosed with, but never treated for, hyperlexia (which I really should post about at some point).

    I have a hard time reading more than one book at once, so maybe I need to try audiobooks.

    Thanks for the insight!

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  4. I need to learn how to speed read. I have skimmed books I wasn’t feeling, but I haven’t mastered the art of speed reading yet. I can usually finish one to two books in a week, and that’s on a good week. If I’m in a book slump, it can take me 2 weeks – and that makes me cranky. 😉

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    1. I’m the same! If it takes me too long to finish a book, I get really annoyed. I’ve been reading a biography of Queen Victoria for close to a month now, and even though I’m really enjoying it, I’m eager to finish it.

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  5. You are a reading champion! I generally read about 100 pages a day — not that I consciously count, but over time I’ve estimated that’s my average. And I NEED to read that much, or else I feel my day has been missing something.

    You have some great tips here. My main strategy is to read while doing other things: washing dishes, brushing my teeth, knitting… I wish I had an ereader with a scrolling function; that would help a lot.

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  6. I’m such a slow reader, I read about on book a week and get genuinely surprised if I ever read more than that 😆 I get so tired after college though, which is ridiculous considering people are fine after working all day every day. I have so much spare time too but it just doesn’t change. I definitely need to prioritise more though!

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    1. I’m the same way. I have plenty of free time to read, but after doing schoolwork, I just don’t feel like it. I still need to get better at making time for reading, especially when I have this many ARCs to get through.

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  7. I read a lot less than I used to; “before bed” used to mean a book or two, and now it only means a couple of chapters, if that. I’m usually reading three or four ebooks and one or two physical books at a time, but I take my time with them. I probably average two a week.

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