I don’t know how other bookworms read like it’s their job, but here’s how I do it.
Choose good books.
I keep track of what I want to read in Goodreads, but I also have a physical stack of books I want to read (okay, maybe three or four stacks) around the house. I always have books I’m excited to read within easy reach.
Also, if you have a list (or pile) of books you want to read next, that gives you motivation to finish your current read.
Utilize the power of suggestion.
I usually have a book (or six) sitting on my nightstand, a couple on the coffee table, and a Kindle in my purse. I always have easy access to a good read, but I also am surrounded by visual reminders that I could be reading–and that I have a ton of good books waiting their turn.
These ever-present books inspire me to pick up my current read, because there are plenty of good ones to replace it when I’m done.
(Hey mamas–this works for kids, too. My kids will read almost anything if I leave it on the table and don’t try to sell them on it.)
Seize the moment.
I’m okay with reading in ten-minute bursts. If I only read when I had a big chunk of time to devote to my book, I wouldn’t read very often. I’ll catch a few minutes before dinner, or waiting for ball practice to end, or while my kids are entertaining themselves in the backyard.
Read several books at once.
I almost always have several books going at once. There is an art to doing this without going crazy, but I recommend it because if I’m not in the mood for the novel, I can read the nonfiction. If I don’t have time for a whole chapter before bed, I can read a poem. And when I finish a book, I don’t experience decision paralysis when I have to choose my One Next Read.
My current selections are pretty typical: I’m reading a novel (Maisie Dobbs), nerdy nonfiction (Predictably Irrational), a book about the craft of writing (Escaping into the Open), and a book of poetry (The House of Belonging). I also started Jane, Actually: or, Jane Austen’s Book Tour on my Kindle last week, but I haven’t touched it since. (Out of sight, out of mind.)
Find a rhythm.
I almost always read a chapter or two during our daily rest time to decompress after homeschooling my kids all morning. (I used to feel like this was indulgent, until I realized I’m much more productive after a reading break.)
I typically read fiction to relax before bed, unless I think I’ll have trouble putting it down (a common problem). Memoirs make good bedtime reading, as does any book that’s best read a few pages at a time. (I couldn’t get into The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction until I started reading it a few pages at a time, right before bed.)
I also keep a stack of books by the bed that are easy to dip in and out of. Right now, that includes The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (it’s amazing), The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives, and Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. These books are enjoyable, but I don’t have any problem closing them and going to bed–unlike a great novel where I might feel compelled to begin the next chapter.
Do you read a lot? How do you find the time?