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?