If you want to read more books this year, you are certainly not alone in this pursuit.
Many of us want to read more and absorb the infinite wisdom, entertainment, and curiosity that books so often provide.
Reading books (especially the good ones) has been one of the most fruitful habits one can develop.
Yet so many of us aren't able to take our book count beyond a single figure every year.
And when you ask for tips to read more books, the answer is often to read faster or speed reading as it is commonly known.
But research has repeatedly shown that reading speed and comprehension are inversely related where one can't go higher without the other going down.
So what are some of the more practical and sustainable ways to read more books? Let's explore them throughout this post.
Have a clear purpose
Know why you are trying to read more. If you have a goal of reading 100 books a year, it will help to understand why you are doing it.
Reading just for the sake of it is not good enough, and you will likely not be motivated or driven enough to stick to the habit.
Having a clear purpose will help you push yourself to read when you don't feel like it.
Avoid saturation by mixing different topics
Boredom and saturation are inevitable if you read books from the same genre or about the same topic every day.
Mix it up and try to read a diverse range of books that can keep you interested.
Cultivate an identity of an avid book reader
Often, it becomes easier to stay in character and get things done if you identify as something.
If you identify as an avid book reader, you assume that it is your nature to pick books and finish them.
Cultivating this identity and, more importantly, the mindset can help you push through when you don't want to read anymore.
Ask prolific readers for recommendations
The easiest way to find the best of something is to ask someone who has been there and done that.
And this holds true for book recommendations as well.
Why waste time reading through hundreds of pages only to realize that you are reading a bad book?
Just ask someone who reads a lot and whose taste in books you relate to well.
Make books part of your physical and digital space
What is out of sight is often out of mind.
Hence, adding books to your physical and digital spaces makes sense to remind you to pick them up and read.
For example, you could put a couple of the books you're reading on your study desk.
Add e-book copies to your desktop's home screen, add an e-book reader or the Kindle app on your phone's home screen, creating a reminder every day for reading time.
Also, carry a book with you always, physical or digital.
Make reading part of your routine
Pick activities that you do regularly and add reading before or after them.
This is a method called pegging in the domain of habit formation.
You pick a habit or activity like brushing your teeth and decide to read for 10 minutes every time you are done brushing your teeth.
This will help ensure that you remember to read and eventually develop a habit just like brushing your teeth.
Consume when you are on autopilot mode
When you are doing things like walking, working out, etc., and operating on autopilot, you can consume an audiobook.
For me, listening to an e-book while walking feels like a natural fit, and I know others who do it while running on the treadmill or doing yoga.
Reserve commutes for listening to audiobooks
If you are among those who need to commute to an office, consider plugging into your favorite audiobook.
Audiobooks can be an excellent way to consume books quickly, where you can also speed up the narration to a level where you can comprehend the subject matter.
You can also use text-to-speech tools if audiobooks are hard to get.
Set weekly reading goals, not yearly
A goal of reading 100 books sounds overwhelming but reading 20 pages a day or two books a week is not.
Set goals for every week and strive to get them done.
A big goal will likely intimidate you out of even trying when you face hurdles, so pick goals for the short term and pick at it, one page at a time.
Join a local book club
There are few things more potent at keeping you hooked to a reading habit better than having a peer support group.
Having a social reinforcing factor to your reading can make you go through your books even when you feel down.
Having people to talk about the book and the looming deadline of the next book club meeting will keep you motivated to read more and read intently.
If there are no book clubs near you, get your group of friends and start one.
Use a reading tracker
Reading trackers are easy to make. Just pick any spreadsheet software and create the following columns:
- Book Title - Title of the book
- Total Pages - Total number of pages
- Current Page - The page you are currently at
- Pages left - Total pages minus page read
- Purpose - One sentence about why you are reading this book
When you go through a tracker, it must become apparent how many books you are currently reading, which books you are closest to finishing, and why you are reading them.
Read more than one book at a time
Reading just one book might feel like a chore that you have to do to get to the good part.
But what if you can switch between different books to beat the monotony? Not a bad idea.
Pick multiple books that pique your interest and read them in batches. Just be mindful not to overdo this.
Fill gaps with book reading
Do you jump on social media apps the moment you get a break? Why not replace that with a book.
Not all breaks can be filled with reading, but try to fill most of them through your workday with it.
Going out for a walk? Plug an audiobook.
Getting some tea? Grab the book from your desk.
Find opportunities to read and start doing it.
Final thoughts on reading more books
These were some tips and practices that can help you read more than the average person.
Thanks for reading.