How to read 55+ books each year.

One of the most frequent questions people ask me is, “How do you read so fast?” I didn’t think much of it until I listened to an episode of the podcast, “10 Things to Tell You” by Laura Tremaine. The first episode is titled, “When Do You Read?”

In the episode, Laura talks about her method for reading books. She has a few different approaches. For starters, she uses a kitchen timer and reads in 20-minute increments as often as possible. She is often reading two books at once — an inspirational/business/self-help book in the morning, and a fictional book in the afternoon.

She also talks a lot about how she is always carrying a book with her so that she’s never “waiting” anywhere without something to read.

This topic of “when to read” comes up a lot on the “What Should I Read Next?” podcast, as well. It seems that everyone is trying to figure out how to get more reading in their life.

I’ll be honest, I don’t remember reading any books for pleasure while I was in college. I have always loved to read, but as an English major, I had to read tons of literature (not necessarily anything I wanted to read), so I wasn’t interested in much else.

Once I graduated from college though, I started making it my duty to read. As a writer, I believe reading is one of the only ways — outside of actually writing — to improve my craft. If you do not read good writing, how can you expect to be a good writer?

At first, I set a yearly goal of reading a certain number of books each year. The goal was something like 25-30 books per year, and often, I would be reading multiple books on New Year’s Eve in order to reach it!

I think this essentially led to a reading burnout and it took me an entire year to read “The Goldfinch”.

But, things picked back up once I moved to Austin. I owed a lot in taxes when I moved here and didn’t have extra money to do anything — so, I got a library card and spent lots of time reading stacks of books at the pool.

I don’t set an annual goal, but having Blanche’s Book Club also motivates me to read about a book a week since it provides blog content. I also have a GIANT to-be-read list that motivates me to keep things moving.

In general, I feel similarly to Laura in that I’ve always taken a book with me everywhere. When I worked a 9-5 job, I tried to make it a point to take a real lunch break and read a book. I can’t really read before bed, but I’ll read while waiting in line somewhere and if possible, I spend some weekend days just sitting there reading.

Because I read mostly library books, their due dates force me to read. Sometimes I sit down and I won’t get up until the book is done because it’s due back that same day. I’ve never had an overdue book.

I read because I like to read, so it’s not really something I have to force myself to do. But, I’d love to hear if you have any tricks for reading books. I would like to try Laura’s trick with the timer because since I work from home now, I don’t take many breaks and I know I could use some!

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