Read 100 More Books This Year
by Gina Pell + Leila Alpers Moore
In addition to wine taster and pixel pusher I’m the official book reviewer for theWhat, which means I’m tearing through at least a hundred pages per day. I can’t sustain this pace for more than four months, so I usually take a weeklong break between each sprint. I’m constantly asked, “Where do you find the time to do all this reading?” And the answer is very simple. I don’t view reading as an aspiration that requires discipline–like say, daily exercise, healthy eating, or abstaining from alcoholic beverages. Reading is my prize. A tonic for my soul. Mix that tonic with gin (and a bath tub) and you’ve got bliss.
It all started in fourth grade when I stayed up until dawn, unable to put down Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. Next came boxed sets of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew novels; my gateway to The Chronicles of Narnia. And the rest is history–or in my case, English. I loved reading so much that I made it my major in college.
I’ve met only one other friend who reads as much as, if not more than, me (500-700 pages a week). Her name is Leila. She’s a reading maniac, a private physician, and an efficient mother of two. She’s also fun as hell. So, I too have no idea where she finds the time to read. This is why I asked Leila to help me come up with some tips on how a “normal person” can read more. It basically boils down to reading every free minute of the day and night. Moments when you are not working or spending quality time with the people you love.
Beyond that here are some more specific pointers:
- Get a library card so you don’t have to buy books and you have a time limit.
- Always keep your books on your person (Kindle, Kindle App on your phone, physical books).
- Prioritize your free time. Spend time with less than awesome friends vs. stay home to read? Choose reading.
- Read three or more books simultaneously. It avoids one-book burnout. Gives your brain variety.
- Start reading the moment you open your eyes in the morning, as well as before you go to bed.
- Set aside reading nights where you turn in shortly after dinner.
- Five minute wait at the pharmacy = reading. Waiting for a late client to arrive = reading. Long stop light = reading (sort of kidding on this one. Safety first.)
- Find 2+ hour blocks of time on a weekend where you can read uninterrupted.
- Instead of a book club (that only reads one book a month), find your kindred reading spirit – someone who shares your taste in books. You’ll expand one another’s must-read lists.
- This might seem obvious but don’t force yourself to read books you think you should be reading (like all the Classics or the Pulitzers or New York Times Best Sellers). Read what fascinates you.
- If a book doesn’t suck you in after a fifty pages, move on to the next one.
For Leila and me, reading is an innate pleasure. If it’s a struggle for you and you wonder why you should even bother in the first place, here are ten good reasons why you should read. Have any tips you think we’re missing? Email us at what (at) thewhat (dot) com and let us know.