It’s Saturday. You are thinking: I should start reading more books. But I suck at it. Well then, read this: How to Read More Books, According to an Editor Who Finishes 60+ a Year
I can’t promise it will get you to 60 books, but it will help.
Things I’d add:
- Toss books you don’t like.
- If you get stuck on a book, move on.
- Put down your phone.
- Don’t just sit there: pick up a book!
- Have more than one book on the go, but mix up the genres.
- If you get put off by big books, get smaller books. Finishing any sized book is satisfying.
This is brilliant: 44 Short Books to Help You Reach Your Reading Challenge Goal – Goodreads News & Interviews.
It’s a great list of books, for starters. Second, they tell you how long they long they are and a number of them are under 100 or 200 pages.
If you are trying to reach a reading challenge goal, or if you are stuck trying to get started reading, or if you find you never finish books due to their length, then you should check out that list.
If you want to read more books but struggle, then I recommend this article: How I Tricked Myself Into Reading More Books. I have applied a number of the lessons in this article and I have gone to reading 2-3 books a year to reading over 20 a year.
Besides the lessons in this article, there are four other methods I use to read more books.
- Buy (or borrow) more books than you can read. I used to buy a book and then try and read it. What I found was that if I didn’t like it much, I would put it down and not read anything. Now I tend to buy 3 or more books at a time, and have them close by. If I get stuck on one, I move on to another until I find myself reading often. Most times I will come back to the book I got stuck on. If I find I continue to get stuck on it, I just toss it.
- Follow the 50/100 page rule. This rule has two parts. Part 1: if there is nothing of merit in the book by 50 pages, get rid of it. Part 2: if there is something of merit in the first 50 pages but nothing more by page 100, get rid of it. Life is too short and there are too many good books out there to waste your time trying to finish a poor one.
- Skim the middle of non-fiction books. I find for many non-fiction books, the beginning is strong and the ending is either strong or short. However, in the middle you often find repetition. For example, for how-to books or books that have examples or cases to illustrate the main ideas of the book, you will find many of the same ideas played out 5 or 6 times. I find after 2 or 3 times, I either agree with the author’s ideas or I don’t. Either way, I can start to skim by the 2nd or 3rd time.
- Mix up light reading with heavy reading. If you find you are reading heavy material all the time, you might find you read less. I do. Likewise, if you read light material all the time, you may give up on reading because it isn’t satisfying. So switch it up. Diversifying your reading keeps it interesting and keeps you from getting stuck in a reading rut.
If you are interested in books and ebooks in particular, you should read this: On the declining ebook reading experience. Two beliefs I have on this topic:
- Book sellers have become more competitive. In Canada, Indigo’s prices seem to be much lower and they sell books using low prices stamped prominently on the cover.
- He doesn’t say it, but the author hints that Apple should step in and make their own Kindle. I certainly would like to see Apple step up and make their own Kindle. The device and the user experience would be great, I am certain. It would blow the Kindle out of the water and likely make me switch over to becoming a bigger ebook reader.
If “read more” is one of your New Year Resolutions, then Austin Kleon has 33 short pieces of advice on how to read more and read better that you should review, here: 33 thoughts on reading.
I am trying to adopt most of these. I have adopted many of them and the result has been much more reading by me for the last few years. I think the more of these you adopt, the more reading you will get done.
If like me you want to read better but find yourself struggling to get through massive books that you tend not to finish, this post is for you. Rachel Grate has put together a list of 17 great books that cover a range of old and new, very well known and some less well know. What’s on the list?
- ‘The Awakening’ by Kate Chopin
- ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
- ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel
- ‘Passing’ by Nella Larson
- ‘Candide’ by Voltaire
- ‘The Member of the Wedding’ by Carson McCullers
- ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell
- ‘Autobiography of Red’ by Anne Carson
- ‘Invisible Cities’ by Italo Calvino
- ‘The Buddha in the Attic’ by Julie Otsuka
- ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ by Ernest Hemingway
- ‘The House on Mango Street’ by Sandra Cisneros
- ‘The King’ by Donald Barthelme
- ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka
- ‘Notes from Underground’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky
- ‘Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?’ by Lorrie Moore
- ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes
As you can see, a great range. I highly recommend you go to the post and read why they are recommended. Then head to your local bookstore and grab a handful.
One of my favourite books is ‘Invisible Cities’: I highly recommend it.