No matter how many reviews I post, or how many book related posts I write, someone always asks "but how do you read so many books?". I thought I'd put a post together explaining how I got back into reading (because I really didn't pick up a book for about 4 years at one point) and how I make time for it now.
This is just what I do, it's not a guide, it won't suit everyone. But hopefully, if you're someone who wants to read more, something here might work for you.
- I set aside some time every day to read.
For me, that time is 9pm-12am at night. For others, it could be an hour at lunchtime or a half hour in the morning. I try to get most of the necessary time consuming house/family stuff out of the way before the kids go to bed, so the three hours before I go to bed are mine to read, craft, or catch up on TV. It's not always three hours, but it will always be something, however small.
- I make lists of books I want to read.
It's not always going to work - but if I have a general idea of what I want to read next, it means I don't end up wasting precious reading time browsing books online or sat in front of my bookshelf, overwhelmed with choice.
- I turn the TV off.
I use Sky+ to record a few shows - namely Britain's Next Top Model (laugh all you will), Greys Anatomy, GBBO, and a few other bits. Usually I sit down on a Friday or Saturday night and watch a few episodes of Buffy or something I've recorded during the week, but in general I wouldn't watch TV for more than 5 or 6 hours a week unless I'm in a reading slump and have been bewitched by something on Netflix.
- I turn my phone off.
Or at the very least, put it on Flight Mode. I adore the internet, but it's also the biggest waste of time ever invented. I can easily scroll through Facebook for an hour, not learning anything, getting sucked into drama I don't care about. If I click through to a Buzzfeed link, I'm done - I could be awake until 2am doing quizzes to find out what type of pizza I am or who my book boyfriend is.
- I read at my own pace.
I read fairly fast - not intentionally, it's just how I read. Most of the books I read are between 200-400 pages long, with the odd exception. I read 50-100 pages an hour. That means it usually takes me anywhere from 3 to 6 hours to read an average sized book, which I could do over two nights. Sometimes, it could take me a week - it depends on how much I'm enjoying the book.
- I join book clubs.
It's lovely to have a safe space where you can chat about books with other voracious readers without being judged. For me, that space is the Rick O'Shea Book Club on Facebook. It's full to the brim with people who are as enthusiastic about books as I am, and there's always a new recommendation or an interesting discussion happening.
- I joined in with a Goodreads challenge.
Goodreads is a website for book lovers - you can set a number of books to read for the year and mark them off as you go along. It spurs me on when I see that I'm a book ahead, or a few books behind. You choose the number, whether it be 100 books a year or 10 books a year. It's a great sense of achievement to complete it if you're into challenges.
- I don't care about numbers.
I always feel a little defensive when people ask "how many books have you read so far this year" or "how many books did you read last month" because it genuinely looks like I do nothing but read - but when you break it down to pages and hours, like I did in point 5, it's not a huge deal for someone who loves reading to read 4 books a week (just like it wouldn't be a huge deal for someone who loves movies to watch 4 movies a week).
- I have a Kindle.
I haven't actually used it in a while, but I find it great for night-time reading or taking with me if I'll be in a waiting room. I found it a lifesaver when my twins were younger and up during the night - I could read when we did night feeds without having to turn a light on.
That's it, really - there's no big secret to reading a lot. I don't have secret hours stashed away, and I don't have the luxury of reading all day - but I do promise myself those few hours every night, and it definitely keeps me sane!