Like a textbook formerly “gifted” ND child, one of my biggest flexes is that I’m a fast reader… to the average person anyway! It’s not unusual for me to read 10 books a month, and (accounting for ebbs and flows in my reading pace) I can count on finishing at least fifty books each year.
While absolutely no one needs to read huge volumes, I know this is something many people want to find more time for. Reading has always come naturally to me, but I’ve run myself through some key tips of how you can make more time in your life for books.
Why do you want to read more?
First question to answer is why exactly you want to do more reading. Is it because you want to read more, or do you feel like you should be reading more?
Some people may feel the pressure to read 10 books per month, or five, or even one, just to be able to claim the ‘bookworm’ title. But the reality is, anyone who enjoys their time reading (no matter how much or little time that may be!) can make that claim!
The important thing is that you’re wanting to up your reading pace because you want to, not because you feel like you should! There’s no set amount of books you need to read per month (or year) to be able to say you love reading, so you should always make sure you’re comfortable with your own pace.
If you still feel like you have more books to read than time to read them, scroll on to find out how to fit in more pages!
Which formats can you read the fastest?
I normally have three books on the go at once. One physical book, one eBook (for easy transporting and low-lighting), and one audiobook (for the gym or crafting). If the stars align and I finish all three at a similar time, I can look back having read 10 books a month without even realising!
A big benefit of audiobooks is that they can be read as fast as you set the speed to! Being an ADHDer, I usually listen to audiobooks at at least 1.2x speed, potentially a bit quicker if the narrator has quite a slow voice. But audiobooks are not for everyone, so is a physical or eBook best?
eBooks have customisable font text options, letting you set the font as big or small as you like. Though you’ll still be reading the same amount of words, turning the pages quickly can help build up your pace and see you race through.
One way of getting through books quickly is to double up on the formats you’re reading. I own quite a few eBooks that can also be found on Spotify’s audiobook section, where premium users can access 15 hours of audiobooks a month as part of their subscription. By flicking between the audio and eBook formats (depending on what I’m doing), I could get through it much quicker than just relying on one.
Read what you’ll enjoy
It’s so tempting to reach for books that are viral on TikTok, or which occupy bestseller and bucket lists, but if you’re not going to enjoy them, they’ll take you a long time to get through. Use these ways to explore new reading options but, when looking into blurbs, know that YOU are the decision maker. If the description doesn’t grab you, or it hasn’t been recommended by someone you know has similar tastes, put it down and move onto something you’ll love instead.
If you don’t currently have lots of free time to insert reading sessions into, you’ll need to find this from somewhere else. Think about things like your commute – if you take public transport are you currently spending it for work instead of easing yourself into the day with some you-time? Could you bring a book with you to any activities you find yourself waiting around for? Are there any things that don’t bring you joy which you could swap out for a session with a good book?
You can also multi-task with reading. Like I’ve mentioned above, I juggle audiobooks with going to the gym, or craft activities. For me, this has the nice double-win of making me spend more time exercising, as “one more chapter” becomes “one more set”! I’ve also banned myself from reading the eBook version of my current listen (Sara Cox’s ‘Thrown’), so it motivates me to go back to the gym so I can listen to more!
By investing in a stand and page turner for your e-reader, you can even do some handsfree reading this way too. Explore how you can insert reading into your existing routine, to enjoy it the most.
Read short or fast-paced books
A straightforward way of getting through large amounts of books, is by picking out short ones. When I wanted to reach my goal of 100 books in a year, during 2022, I was hoovering up short books of less than 200 pages by the end! A short book is subjective, but anything under 300 pages is generally considered short.
Some of my favourite short books are;
- Before the Coffee Gets Cold – Toshikawu Kawaguchi – 213 pages (part of a four-part series, and none are more than 237 pages!)
- Cat Brushing – Jane Campbell – 256 pages
- No One is Talking About This – Patricia Lockwood – 208 pages
However, sometimes book length doesn’t speak to how quickly you’ll get through it. I find some short books really end up dragging, while I’ve gobbled up a few 500+ page books in just two days.
How to find fast-paced books
It’s easy to judge if a book is likely to be fast-paced if you know the author and genre well, but sometimes you won’t know until you’re reading it. My reading app of choice, Storygraph, will tell you if readers found a book fast, medium, or slow paced, as well as if the book is plot or character driven, what themes are included, and many other features. This can help you pick out books you’ll fly through, regardless of the length.
Some longer books that I’ve found very fast paced are;
- How to Disappear – Gillian McAllister – 453 pages
- The ‘Twisted’ series – Ana Huang – longest is 550 pages
- So Lucky – Dawn O’Porter – 389 pages
So, how can I read 10 books a month?
- Make sure you want to read more, rather than just feel you need to.
- Read eBooks with a larger font, and audiobooks at a higher speed.
- Fit reading into your current routine, like your commute or while waiting for appointments.
- Multi-task by listening to/reading books while doing other activities.
- Choose short books OR,
- Use Storygraph to find fast-paced books.