How to be a better reader

Look at this lady taking advantage of every second of spare time. Wish I could do that.

This is not a carefully outlined, step-by-step guide to better reading, but rather a question, How do you become a better reader?

Life is a stubbornly busy thing. We barely have time to eat and sleep, not to mention dedicate any sufficient amount of it on hobbies. I’ve always dreamt of a job where I could just sit and read all day, and read anything I wanted, mind you. Unfortunately the reality of things does not always line up with our desires, and I find myself pressed for time every day. I have vowed to myself to try my best and read 52 books by the end of the year, which of course amounts to a book a week. For some of you, experienced bloggers, that number might seem insignificant. After all, I’ve seen some finishing their year with up to 350 titles. But for me it is a great number indeed. You see, last year I read only about sixteen books, if I remember correctly. That means I am aiming at reading over three times more books this year over last – a feat requiring courage in my books.

I cannot read fast. In fact, I refuse to do it. I’ve tried speed-reading, but I don’t see why anybody would want to do that outside of forced-upon textbooks. When it comes to reading, I want to enjoy every word, ponder on the meanings behind syntax, hear the music of author’s narrative in my head. You simply cannot do that when skimming pages for key words and filling up the rest with your own logical bridges. And that is what speed reading is all about – focusing on key words to understand the general idea behind the story line and try to guess the rest. I envy people who can do both the speed and the comprehension, but it equals to a superpower in my world. I cannot read a hundred pages in an hour, and don’t expect me to be done in even two hours. My mind wonders too much, my eyes jump back to a particularly interesting paragraph and try to absorb it again, my fingers search for the meaning of every unknown word. How am I to improve my speed without compromising the enjoyment from reading?

Then it all comes down to the opportunity. I try to read on my fifteen-minute rides on the train, or catch about an hour of quality time with a book before bed. When else can I take some time to flip through favourite pages? Even now, as I’m writing this post, I wonder if instead I should be spending the last half an hour before I have to leave for work reading. But there are too many things to do. Reading is not the only hobby I have. Actually I should probably dedicate a post specifically to that topic, so that you have a better idea about my interests. But to put it short, I constantly feel torn between the things I want to do. I swear, sometimes I diagnose myself with ADD, trying to understand this trait of mine. But here’s the question, How do you schedule your reading time? How can I read more every day? I honestly need some help on the subject. Fifty-two book goal is no joke for me, and I am already five books behind. Help!



  1. Before bed and on the train are always good. My parents both read during meals – they sit at either end of the table with books propped up on the salt cellars. I really had to learn to read myself, as there was no-one to talk to at mealtimes! Now I don’t read during dinner, but I still do during my lunch break. πŸ™‚

  2. I can’t really offer any help, just camaraderie. At the end of January I changed my goal from 52 to 30 books and I’m currently 6 books behind. Balance is hard.

  3. Katkasia, I tried reading during meals and lunch breaks, but I was getting paranoid about staining my books. Nowadays, I use my ereader at lunch, and it seems to work better. Still, I get distracted by co-workers too much πŸ™‚

    Every Book and Cranny, I’m glad I’m not the only one with that problem. Maybe stressing about it is not a good solution πŸ™‚

  4. Does reading more books make you a better reader? I would say not! However, I know what you mean about wanting to find more time to read. While I wish for more time to read, I don’t want to spend less time doing most of the other things that I do either. So I just have to be patient and remember that my life is full of lots of good things.

    I do, however, want to spend less time reading things on the internet and more time reading printed things. I find that setting a timer to monitor the amount of time I’m spending on the internet can be helpful.

  5. The reason why I feel the need to read much more than I do now is the sheer number of great and amazing books out there that I want to experience. I realize that nobody’s lifetime is long enough to read everything they could possibly want to, but one can dream. The main focus of my discussion here, however, is time management. I agree that I spend way too much time doing useless things on internet. Perhaps I’ll start working on that. Thanks for the thought.

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