While I know my personal reading lists are always overambitious, I love making them and I find that I DO read more when I have a list. It’s like my own little personal syllabus (because you don’t have to be in grad school to have a life of the mind, right?) But whenever I post a yearly reading list, I get a lot of questions asking, “how do you get so much reading done?!”
Because yes, there are three small humans at my house. And we homeschool. And I work from home. Time is indeed a precious resource.
So here’s a few of my secrets to reading more:
Read more than one book at a time.
This might not work for everyone, but I really enjoy reading more than one book at a time. Particularly if I’m tackling a big classic like Les Mis or The Brothers Karamazov. That way if I get a little bogged down, my reading doesn’t come to an absolute standstill.
I also enjoy reading fiction and non-fiction at the same time. Non-fiction is hard for me to get through, I’d always rather read a novel. So if I can motivate myself to read a chapter of a non-fiction book on a topic I want to learn more about with the promise of 20 minutes with a novel, I read more.
The other perk to reading multiple books at a time is that if you misplace your book (story of my life, but note to self: it’s always under a bed in the kids room), you’ve got another book you can pick up off the shelf until it resurfaces.
I’ve shared before about how I fall asleep to audiobooks. But I also love listening to them in the car. And now my six-year-old is also obsessed and loves to listen to them while he plays with LEGO during rest time in the afternoon when the girls are napping. But it’s amazing how many books you can listen to if you utilize some of the free resources, like Librivox. And most libraries have great options for borrowing audiobooks.
Build reading time into your day.
I usually sneak in some reading during nap time/rest time every afternoon as well as just before bed. This way I’m reading a little bit everyday and that keeps me motivated. Lots of people enjoy reading first thing in the morning but since my kids wake up at the crack of dawn, that’s just not gonna happen right now at my house.
I can tell that taking time to read really helps my mood and general well-being. I’ve been really trying to make an effort to have hobbies/activities away from screens since so much of my time spent writing/blogging has to be on a laptop.
Have some accountability.
If I’m reading a book to discuss on the podcast I’m far more likely to read it in a timely manner. Same goes for book clubs and reading with friends. Sometimes it helps to have that extra accountability!
Make a list of what you’d like to read.
I usually start by scanning our bookshelves for books we already own that I have been meaning to read for ages. Then I jot down anything I can think of that’s been highly recommended. I also usually think of one or two major classics that are on my mental Books to Read Before I Die list. Then I move them around so there’ s a healthy mix of fiction/non-fiction and new books/old books.
Here’s how it’s going so far:
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (start)
- ✓ Emma by Jane Austen (re-read)
- ✓ One by One in the Darkness by Deirdre Madden
- ✓ Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (to discuss on the podcast)
With the Kids:
I’ve finished three of the books I wanted to read myself in January and I’ve read a good chunk of All the Light We Cannot See. I knew The Brothers Karamazov would take me a few months so I’m not planning to have it completely read til late spring. And the kids and I should finish up the two books we’re doing as read alouds next week. So just about on schedule!
One by One in the Darkness was a gorgeous book and of course, I loved re-reading Emma. I liked Drive, although if I had it to do over I would have borrowed it from the library instead of bought it because I don’t usually like to read non-fiction over again and I didn’t find it earth shattering or anything.
I’m really enjoying the books I’m reading with the kids and I’m looking forward to my February books, too.
- The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (continue)
- Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
- A Time to Keep by George Mackay Brown
- How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig
We’ll see if I can keep up! Either way, I’m enjoying spending more time with an open book.
Did you make goals to read more in 2016? How’s it going?