Tuesday, January 25, 2011

10 Ways to Read More

You know you have 168 hours a week. You know you want to read more. How can you make that happen?

1. Keep a variety of books on hand - fiction, non-fiction, poetry, how-to, new to you cookbooks, humor, or essays. The choice is up to you. This doesn't have to be expensive: the library, PaperBack Swap, and loans from friends keep me well supplied with reading material.

2. Keep podcasts, books on c.d., and e-texts readily available. Buy an Ipad or a Kindle (ahem). OK, that last thing was a joke. But if you do have an Ipad or Kindle, there you go! Redeem the time - long commutes are perfect for books on mp3 or c.d. Ride the bus or train? Read while the driver does the work.

3. Stash books anywhere you are likely to be - in the car, on your bedside tables, by your couch, in the diaper bag (just me?) for easy retrieval. Don't find yourself with time to kill and no book at hand - the horror!

4. Join a reading challenge or create your own. There are challenges all over the web (I particularly like this Sense and Sensibility one, although I did not join) to encourage you to read more in 2011. Accountability and encouragement are always good motivators.

5. Read a specified number of pages a day. Or set a timer (15 minutes? 30 minutes?) and read for that amount of time before doing something else. Even the kids will survive 15 minutes without you, especially if they know you'll be ready to help them once the timer beeps. Kids will surprise you - they may get their own book and curl up beside you. (Yes, that has happened around here.)

6. Read a page or a chapter or however much you decide. Then complete some other task (switching laundry, loading dishwasher, whatever). Return to read another page or chapter. Yes, you've caught me. I do this all the time. The reading seems like a reward for getting a job done and the necessary things are not neglected all day while I read. That's a win-win for me.

7. Limit TV and movie watching. Really limit. There are two things I watch on television: Masterpiece Theatre and Fringe. (Strange combination, I know.) We watch movies (on DVD) maybe twice a week. We don't have cable, we don't watch the news, our television isn't on during the day. It's just not a problem in this house. However:

8. Limit internet surfing. This is the greatest threat to my reading. Because I can sit down to "check my email" and the next thing I know, it's lunch time. Set a timer. Or keep the computer off until certain tasks are accomplished. I'm preaching to myself here - set a limit and stick to it.

9. Give a book a fair chance, even if it's different from what you usually read. Maybe it takes a bit for the author to find his / her voice, for you to figure out the humor, or whatever. So: give it a fair shot but

10. Know when to call it. There are too many books available to devote excessive time to something that hasn't grabbed you. If by chance you're having trouble with something you have to read, try it on c.d. instead. Or break it up into manageable pieces. You may find out it wasn't so bad after all. (Hey - it worked for me when I was reading through Dickens.)

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday at Oh Amanda.
This post contains Amazon Associate links. Any action taken with these links could result in compensation for me. Opinions are my own and I encourage you to check your library or Paperback Swap first - these books are worth it!


Karabeth Baptist Homeschool said...

Audio books are great, too. I highly recommend them.

MacKenzie said...

I struggle with 10. You're right but I struggle with guilt when I give up.

But you forgot my favorite - have a baby who insists that you lay down next to her while she naps. You'll get a lot of reading done. Not much housework, but what can you do?

Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

I struggle with #10 less now that I have so little time to read at all. I used to always take a book with me everywhere, but now with small kids, I've gotten out of the habit b/c I'm usually busy entertaining them wherever we are. But when I am stuck in a waiting room by myself, how i regret having to read those dorky magazines instead of a wonderful book I brought with me!

My best tips are to leave reading material in the bathroom (seriously), and read great YA books. Perfect for a busy mom. I agree that the Internet is a huge time black hole. It's hard to know how to deal with that.

Last, I love the comment above. I have spent many hours reading next to a dozing newborn.

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