Disclaimer: The title and idea for the article came from this HBR article. You can read it as well, maybe it works for you better.
I am a slow reader.
I have always been one. Not in a sense that it takes time to finish reading a sentence, but in a sense that it takes forever to finish a book. Usually I read about half an hour to an hour, before I feel an annoying urgency to stop and do other stuff. It’s a feeling that tells me “Stop it Nontas, it’s just a waste of time! You could be making so many exciting things right now!”. If you’ve read my previous post about choice, you’ll know what I am talking about. In the end what happens is I rarely feel motivated enough to sit and enjoy the book, so I end up reading once a week or something and during that interval I lose the flow and touch with the book which only makes the matter worse.
Bottom line: I finish the book in 1-3 months and I don’t enjoy it that much.
Now, enough with the intros! There are some hacks that have actually worked for me and made the reading process much more amusing and engaging, and have motivated me to read more! I guess they can help you as well! Here they are:
Start listening to audiobooks
I just recently started doing this and it has worked well. I have read two books so far (“The subtle art of not giving a fuck” by Mark Manson and “1984” by George Orwell), and I have started 2 others (“Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel” by George Saunders and “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk).
For the 2 books I’ve finished, my experience was really something! I finished “The subtle art of not giving a fuck” basically during 5 long night walks around Athens. Yup. Just walking and listening via the free Audible app (Android / iPhone), while at the same time discovering new neighborhoods of Athens (plus doing physical exercise at the same time)! Win-win! As for “1984”, I finished it in just 10 days while on public transport and at home while washing dishes or something…). Both books had really captivating narrators, giving “life” to the written words and really connecting you emotionally with the characters of the book. I felt like that a good narration can bring the best out of both written and spoken word.
I suggest you subscribe for a free Audible trial. You’ll get 2 free audiobooks for start! After that you can decide if you want to continue paying for the service. Alternatively, you can find many classics for free in Youtube and other websites. Download it as mp3, load it to your mp3 player and you’re good to go!
Make it a routine and set a long term goal
First, making something a routine is the key to achieving any goal. More particularly for reading, doing it every day keeps you in touch with the mini universe of a book, connects you and attracts you back to it. Not reading your book for a few days makes you forget and just disconnects you. So, anyway, this is something that I did more seriously a couple of years ago and I was impressed by the effectiveness of the method. I always use a small Moleskine weekly calendar notebook, where I write down all my chores, appointments etc. What I did was: I took the book and divided the number of its pages by the number of days I wanted to finish it. For example if my book had 600 pages and I wanted to finish it in a month, I divided 600 with 30 (600/30=20) This was the number of pages I had to read per day in order to finish the book in the desired date. Then, in the notebook I made an entry every day: “Book name – page x”. In each day my goal was to reach that page in my book. If I missed it I had to make up for it the next day etc.
- Monday: page 0
- Tuesday: page 20
- Wednesday: page 40
- Until page 600.
Being a borderline OCD freak, I felt the need to keep up with my notebook, so I was finishing my books in time!
Always buy a book once you are ready to start it immediately
The concept is that it is better to start the book with enthusiasm. Somehow, when I start reading a book that has been in my bookshelf for a while, I don’t feel as thrilled. I know, I am weird, it makes no sense. But it happens. Right now I have about 5-6 books in my bookshelf that are just sitting. And I swear, when I bought them I was super excited! I never got back that feeling again.
Use a Kindle
Well, OK, that hasn’t worked for me as I had imagined. Holding an actual book still has the ability to connect you physically and psychologically with the story in a very subtle way. You still get the feeling of novelty I mentioned above, by actually holding “your new book”, a feeling that I never felt with Kindle.
BUT … A Kindle can fit in my pocket.
BONUS: Did you know?
The amount of books you can read in your lifetime is finite.
Click here to find out how many books you have left to read until you die! 😀