If you’re like me, your “want to read” list grows at a much faster rate than your “have read” list. I feel like there are so many books out there and I just can’t get to them all.
Over my time, though, I have discovered a few methods to read more books in less time. In this post, I want to share a few of the things I do to get through as many books as I can in a shorter amount of time.
1. Read on a Smaller Screen
For the longest time, I couldn’t decide whether it was just an illusion or if I could really read fast when I’m looking at a smaller screen. I certainly feel like I’m flying through a book when I’m reading it on my phone, because the screen only fits about 100 words on a page. I get to flip the page every couple of seconds, and it really makes me feel like I’m reading at lightning speed.
But, you know what? I’ve decided I really do get through books faster when I’m reading on the phone screen. I think the short length of the lines makes me able to skim a lot faster. Instead of having to read each and every line, I can sort of scan down the shorter lines and read the whole thing faster.
Once when I was in high school, I took a speed reading course, and they taught us all about “chunking.” Chunking is where you read by kind of looking at a whole chunk of words at once, and then moving quickly onto the next chunk, no need to read each word in its entirety each time. Well, I think reading on the small screen makes this kind of chunking thing even easier because you just “chunk” a whole line, and you can keep scanning down the page, one chunk per line. It works for me.
2. Read Whenever You Can
The thing that really got me started on reading whenever I can was starting to read e-books on my phone. Before, I always had to have my book or e-reader with me, and if I wanted to read, I had to get it out before I could get started. On the other hand, my phone is almost always in my hand, or at least its never far away. Two minute wait for the subway? My phone is right in my hand and I can easily open up the e-book. Friend running 10 minutes late for dinner? I don’t even have to think – get the e-book out.
It’s so easy to open up the Facebook app and start mindlessly browsing. I’ll admit, if I’m not really into the book, that’s what I’ll do instead of opening up the e-book. But it’s not that hard to open up a book on your phone and read a few pages, especially if you’re really engaged in the book of the moment.
3. Have a Couple of Books on the Go
I find that it really helps to have a couple of books on the go at once. I know this one probably isn’t for everyone, and it’s actually not really for me all the time, either. But if there is one book I really want to read for one reason or another, but I’m having a hard time getting through it, it’s nice to have something a bit lighter to read on the side. Sometimes I think it’s easy to get caught up in the tough slog of a difficult book, only to find that you haven’t read much in the last couple of days because it just seems like too much hard work.
So, if I’m reading a book that seems particularly difficult to get through, I’ll often start reading my next pick at the same time, just to give me some encouragement and make me feel like I’m getting somewhere with my reading.
4. If You’re Really Struggling, Leave It…At Least For Now
You know the feeling. You were really excited to get this particular book out of the library, and you had to wait a few weeks to get a copy. But once you have it in your hands, you realize it’s really not all you thought it would be. But you must continue! You’ve only got the book on loan from the library for a limited time, and you can’t let the opportunity slip through your fingers!
Well, you know what? If you’re finding it that hard to get through the book, it’s probably not going to get any easier. I’ve been in this situation many times, and I’ve learnt that if you’re not into a book from the beginning, it’s probably going to be difficult to get through it and get onto that next hold that you’ve been waiting for for weeks.
BUT…what I’ve also learnt is that it often pays to just put something to one side for a little while. So many times, I’ve started out with a new book and just found that I’m not into it. If I kept struggling, I might go for days without reading anything, or a chapter per day. but if I went on to something else, and came back to this book a couple of days later, more often than not I can get right back into it.
I find that my own mental state can put me off continuing with a book, and I have to tell myself that it’s OK to put it down for a couple of days, go on to something else, and come back to it when I feel like it. More often than now, I feel like I am able to get right into the book when I pick it up again.
Well, these are my tips for reading more books in less time…how do you make it work for you?