WSIRN Ep 112: Your best reading year yet

Happy Tuesday and Happy New Year, readers!

“I want to read more” is a common refrain around here, especially in January, so here’s some GREAT news: today’s episode is full of tips and tricks to help you maximize your time and strategize your next best read.

If you’ve been listening to WSIRN for a while, you’ve heard me talk more than once about supply-side vs demand-side readers.  The brilliant mind behind that concept is author and podcaster Laura Vanderkam, who you may know from her books 168 Hours, I Know How She Does It, and What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, or her new podcast Best of Both Worlds.

On today’s WSIRN episode Laura and I discuss the strategies she uses to improve her own reading life, how to carve out more time to read, a new perspective on free time, her bucket list books, and LOTS more. It’s a good one.

What Should I Read Next #112: Your best reading year yet with Laura Vanderkam

Connect with Laura Vanderkam: Website | Twitter |FacebookInstagram

Books mentioned in this episode:

Some links are affiliate links. More details here.

War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Empire Falls, by Richard Russo (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
I Know This Much is True, by Wally Lamb (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Middlemarch, by George Eliot (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Kristin Lavansdatter, by Sigrid Undset (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too), by Gretchen Rubin (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
1Q84, by Haruki Murakami (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Mrs Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Sourdough, by Robin Sloane (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
The Cortlandt Boys, by Laura Vanderkam (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
The Little French Bistro, by Nina George (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
The Girl with the Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Dear Life, by Alice Munro (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• author Michael Ruhlman
How to Be Both, by Ali Smith (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Autumn, by Ali Smith (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)

Laura Vanderkam’s books: 
I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Build Lives That Work (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: And Two Other Short Guides to Achieving More at Work and at Home (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
Grindhopping: Building a Rewarding Career Without Paying Your Dues (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Wealth (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)
• [PREORDER] Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done (Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound)

Also mentioned: 
• Laura’s TEDTalk: “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time
• Laura’s blog post Making Time to Read: Supply vs. Demand
The 2018 MMD Reading Challenge 
• Anne and Laura chat books and reading on Laura’s podcast Best of Both Worlds, plus Laura’s most memorable books list for 2017

What do YOU think Laura should read next? Tell us all about it in comments. 

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  1. Sherrylynne says:

    On the Husband topic, I owe you, Anne, a big thank you. My hubby hasn’t read almost, at all, and we’ve been married almost two decades. I’ve done family read alouds for almost 15 years and then I started making picks for him from BOTM and I gave him my copy of THE DRY. That did it. With pride, yesterday, he journaled a list of his 2017 books. I had no idea that he had a sense of pride about it and he was considering how to tackle the books he is most interested in or to finish some good books he put down and wants to finish. Your picks have been immensely helpful to this cause!

    • Susan V says:

      I think that is SO COOL that you got him into read, Sherrylynne! I read “The Dry” and I liked it okay, but I’m surprised that’s the one that got him hooked! My hubby reads a lot of different things – he likes Clive Cussler and John Grisham, but also reads OLD philosophers and is working on Anna Karenina currently. I had read “Wonder” earlier this year, and it’s on our Kindle account, and I told him he HAD to read it so we could go see the movie. So we went to the movie on New Year’s Eve with our daughter, who is a 4th grade teacher. GREAT book and GREAT movie! :-). May 2018 bring you and your husband many happy reading hours! 🙂

  2. Susan V says:

    Loved today’s podcast! This comment is for Laura – it is SO EASY to highlight favorite passages while reading on the Kindle! Just put your finger on the first word of the passage and drag it to the end of the passage. When you let go, an option will pop up to “highlight” it. This is how it works on the Kindle Paperwhite and I’m assuming it works similarly on the Kindle app. One of the cool things you can do is print out all your highlights from a book! Our small group from church is currently reading a book together, a chapter at a time, and I have the paper copy and hubby has the Kindle copy. He prints out the comments for the chapter we’re reading and then when the discussion leader asks what stood out to them, he’s got it all right there. We bought the original Kindle back in 2007 and share an account with our grown children, and we own over 2000 Kindle books, very few of which I’ve paid full price for. Most are under $2.00 and I look at Anne’s Kindle Deals every day, in addition to Goodreads and Bookbub. 🙂

  3. I say this every week, but thanks for today’s episode. I’ve been reading between 45 and 50 books since joining the reading challenges on Goodreads, and probably before. I felt bad, thinking that I was a wimpy reader. But Laura made me feel much better. I’m going to be taking suggestions from the list of books in today’s episode. I’ve had *The Count of Monte Cristo* on my shelf for a long time. I’ve thought about reading *War and Peace* off and on over the years and now I think I’ll add *Brideshead Revisited* as well. I also liked several suggestions Laura made, so on to reading. I have no suggestions for Laura but I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation.

  4. Melissa Barton says:

    This may have been my favourite episode, at least in my top five. You and Laura had a great back and forth and it felt more like a discussion between friends over coffee than an interview. I don’t even remember you saying the literary matchmaking rules, 3 you love, 1 you hate. It was seamless and very enjoyable. Thank you!

  5. Sue S says:

    I agree with other commenters – great episode. I especially enjoyed the discussion of more classic works. Laura has really analyzed her dislikes clearly – I share some of them and was impressed with her self-knowledge!
    Here’s a recommendation for Laura:
    Have you read Doris Lessing, Nobel Laureate (2007)? She is an extraordinary writer, quite prolific. I suggest starting with Martha Quest, the first volume of her 5-book bildungsroman, which starts with a young girl in early 20thC Rhodesia and takes her thru marriage, childbirth, move to London and more, from realism into an apocalyptic future.

  6. Kate Pittman says:

    I just wanted to put in a plug for using set goals to increase reading. 6 years ago, I realized I rarely read. I would finish maybe 5 books a year, tops. However, I love reading and had previously been an avid reader. I realized that what had taken over my time was social media, which I don’t feel is nearly as valuable as reading. I knew I had the time.

    I signed up for the Goodreads annual challenge and challenged myself to read 25 books. Near the end of the year, I had to hustle to get to my goal, and ended up reading several short YA novels to make my goal but I made it! Then each year after that, I increased the goal until I was reading 45-50 books a year. This really worked for me and I am very glad about it.

    This year I decided to stop doing the goals because I found it was discouraging me from reading longer books, but I believe I will keep up my reading habit because I love it and after 5 years of goals, it has become part of my life.

    Love the pod!

  7. Ame says:

    Laura, I just listened to this episode. It was very good, thank you for being on the show. I want to ask you about Sourdough because I don’t know anybody else who’s read it. I also loved it for the same reasons you did… up until the very end. I thought the ending sort-of fit the Cinderella narrative that you said you (also I) don’t like in books. Were you okay with the ending as it was? I would have chosen for the heroine to have made a more independent choice. Maybe a “next step” sort of choice and not the final choice about where to live and who to live with that was made at the end. (Trying to avoid spoilers here.) I was frustrated enough after reading it that I’m asking your opinion.
    Regardless, I liked Sourdough enough that I bought another Robin Sloan book. 🙂

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