How to Read MORE–Conquer your TBR Pile

Man reading at desk

You can conquer your To-Be-Read Pile and Read More. I was surprised to discover a recent survey claiming one-third of all adults in the US desire to read more books.  That is approximately 86 million people who wish for more time to read. Maybe it starts with a wish, but we will need a little more than just wishes to check off that TBR list. Here is how to read more.

How can you read more without secret time-bending powers?

First, lets talk about the options we have in our modern society. There are physical books, and I must admit these are still my favorite. You can Marie Kondo most anything in my house, but Do NOT touch my books. Or my pots. Okay. We all have boundaries! And my loves are reading and cooking. But back to our options, I have learned to value the e-reader. It carries an armload of books, heck a whole bookcase of them, in a small, lightweight device. Finally, there are audio books.

Is listening to a book still reading?

My vote is yes. These are really lighting up the book world. Readers are requesting them. I have finally embraced the idea. At least to bring my books to the world of audibles. (more about that in a future blog.). Besides the ability to multi-task (not one of the things I broadly promote), audio books provide resources to many who are sight-impaired or may have other reasons why traditional reading is difficult. Decades ago, these were offered as books on tape. We’ve come a long way, baby.

Considering these three choices, the first tip is to make use of them all. Most e-books offer an add on for the audible version for a $1 to $2 fee which makes it easy to continue your late-night reading on your morning commute. Whether you use this tip for the same book or different ones, reading several books at once is a way to get more reading done. Use the options that fit the type of book best. Physical books cost more but may be the best if you need to reference information in them often. E-books let you carry your reading material around with you like an audio book. However, the audio book doesn’t require eyes on the page, making them a great choice for when you are walking, driving, or even doing household tasks.

Time is precious. Spend it wisely.

Consider what you spend your time on. And how much time you spend—waiting (not to mention things you’d rather not be doing). The second thing to consider is using your time to grant your wishes of reading more books.

There is no law (I promise!) that says you must finish a book you started. I admit, I rarely denote a book as DNF (did not finish) but I recommend it. If it isn’t worthy of the time you will spend, set it aside. It is also okay to turn off the nightly news or any other time drain created by your television. On average, as a US adult you spend 5 hours (or more) DAILY watching TV. What if you spent one of those hours reading?

What other places or activities may be syphoning your precious time? Phones have also become entertainment BUT these are useful for reading! So next time you are tempted to pick up your phone and scroll social media, read instead. If you keep a book at hand, you will read more. If your book (physically) is sitting on the nightstand all the time, you will miss the opportunity to read one more page. And who wants to do that? So, whether you are traveling, waiting for appointments, or eating lunch (alone of course), make sure you have at least one option for meeting your reading goals during the day.

Places, Goals, and Schedules

Give a thought to scheduling your read time. You’re worth it. So often I’ve relegated my own reading time until after… I finished all the “important” stuff. After I’m in bed. After, because I felt guilty spending my time reading. Can you relate? Please do not save it for the end of your day. Not because of guilt.

A bedtime ritual of reading before sleep is great.  First thing in the morning is also GREAT. A cup of tea, coffee, or even lemon water and a good book can make a bookworm early to rise (forget about that bird). If you have at least one mealtime when you’re alone, a book is a great companion. Invite one to join you! My third point here—you can fit reading time into all the corners and crannies of your day. It doesn’t have to be a large block of time. Those may be enjoyable, but often rare like a day at the beach.

Goals may be important for those who have tasks related to reading. Maybe you review books. Maybe you are a student. Or, Maybe you just like to check things off lists! Whatever the reason, create a doable goal.  Conquer your TBR pile by reading twenty pages each day.  The truth is pages and/or chapters will vary as to how many words you read, but it provides a daily checkpoint. Using twenty pages per day as a goal, it would take about two weeks to finish a book. With fifty-two weeks in a year, you may want to read more per day depending on the number of books on your list.

To read more books, always know what you are reading next. I just finished five books in a week (and I felt guilty but got over it, which inspired this post). Whatever your reason(s) for reading, creating a TBR or To-Be-Read list will keep the momentum going.

The world needs more happy readers!

This is my subversive plot. To fill the world with happy readers! More and more of them. It is heartbreaking to think there are millions of them wishing to read more.  How to Read MORE–Conquer your TBR Pile with these tips. And please share them with friends!

#1 Explore the many options for reading and use them all! A physical book by your bed, an audiobook in your car, an e-Book as your lunch companion.

#2 Fill your day with reading. No more wasted time with too much TV, waiting at the airport, or vacuuming the rugs. You’ve got books and know how to use them.

#3 Know what you are reading next and have a plan. Schedule the best time for you, don’t wait for it to appear at day’s end.

BONUS: You don’t have to finish every book you start. Do have a To-Be-Read list. Give yourself permission to read more than one book at a time.

IF you struggle with any guilt over your love of reading books, please consider this simple truth. In the not so recent past, many people fought and died over the privilege of learning to read. The great liberation of having access to knowledge via the written word is priceless. Consider it your moral duty to exercise this great and wonderful power.

Now, I’ll go back to writing, so you will never run out of books to add to your list!


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