While some people aren’t exactly thrilled about being quarantined in their homes during the Covid-19 pandemic, I myself have found an amped-up love for reading. In the last month, I have consumed on average 2 books per week. Check out my Covid reading list. While pandemic life has created more time in my life to allow for this, it has been a revolutionary experience that I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. I want to share the 10 strategies I have found that allow me to not only read more books but to also comprehend and remember them more effectively.
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It’s silly to assume that you can start reading 8 books per month or more when you are struggling to get through 1 book in a month. There is nothing wrong with this. We are all at different stages in life, our available times vary as well as our reading capabilities.
Knowing this, it’s important to remember to start small and that it doesn’t make you any less effective than anyone else.
Start with one book and set a realistic goal for how much you want to read per day whether that be 2 chapters or 20 minutes. 9 Crazy Ways to Figure Out Your Life Goals.
Choose books of high interest
In high school, I hated the idea of reading. I think it was because they wanted me to read books about bunnies who had their own government. I can feel the loathing detest I had for that book build up inside of me as I write this.
Bunnies….in government. ?! What?
Needless to say, that book didn’t interest me in the least which means I not only hated the experience of reading it, but I also absorbed nothing as far as information goes.
This is why it is so important to choose books that truly speak to you. Take suggestions from friends (or blogs), but at the end of the day know what types of books you like to read the most. Stick with those as you start developing a passion for reading.
Read from recommendations
Often times when you start reading a book, you’ll see authors that recommend that book or the author of your current book will mention another book that effected their life. Pay attention to these recommendations. Chances are, these books will benefit you as well.
As you start to develop a love for a particular genre, keep an eye out for the new books that are released in that same genre. You can also read reviews on previously published books that you might have missed.
Keep a notebook handy
This month I decided to go out and get a .99 cent notebook to dedicate completely to note-taking for the books I was consuming.
Taking notes while you read and/or listen to books is a helpful way to retain the information you are taking in and gives you a reference guide for your favorite talking points.
This way you can always peek back on your notes to get inspiration from some of your favorite books.
Audiobook during downtime
One thing that I did was take full advantage of an Audible membership during the summer months. Doing this has helped me amplify the number of books I have consumed.
It’s true, I’m not reading these books, but I am consuming knowledge and engaging in stories and I do it during downtime when I would otherwise be doing nothing.
For example, here are some of the times I have been taking advantage of Audible audiobooks:
- Getting ready in the morning
- 10 minute treadmill warm ups
- Cleaning the house
- Eating breakfast
These are times that I would otherwise have turned on music or scrolled through my phone. I have really loved filling this time with a good book instead.
Speed it up
If you choose to take advantage of an Audible membership, you will be given the option to listen to your book a little faster that normal.
At first, this seemed too overwhelming because I would go from regular speed to double the speed and barely understand what was being said to me. However, it never occurred to me to not be so aggressive. Personally, I prefer listening to most of my Audible audibooks on 1.2x or 1.3x the speed.
As a fast talker, this seems more like regular speed to me and helps me get through the books just a tiny bit quicker.
Overlap contrasting books
That means, if I’m listening to a learning or self-growth book, I will read a memoir or vis versa. I like to listen to consume books that are opposite so that I don’t easily mix them up and so I can appreciate them both for their uniqueness.
Discuss your book
Just like writing down notes while you read is a good way to help you retain more information, discussing your book with someone is another great way to help you retain the information and maybe understand the author’s writing on a deeper level.
This doesn’t mean you need to join a book club or anything either. Here are some ideas on how to discuss your book:
- Write about it in your journal
- Read with your spouse
- Check out online forums about your book
- Find the author’s social media and interact with other readers
- Share naturally in conversation
The funny thing is, when you really love a book, you can’t help but talk about it. Just like people share their favorite Netflix series, a good book is easy to share.
Implement what you learn
Most books are going to carry with them some sort of lesson or strategy to implement in your own life. So, go ahead, impliment!
Did the author take up a new hobby? Was there a part in the book about starting a new business? Driving to the coast? Meeting a stranger at the library?
If there was a part of your book that you found particularly riveting, give it a try. This doesn’t mean you have to copy their entire story, but you can test out bits and pieces and then put your own spin on things.
Make reading a priority
Most importantly, in order to start reading more books, you have got to make time to read more books! This doesn’t have to be a stressful task. Instead of watching 4 shows before bed, cut yourself off at 3 shows and then read before bed instead.
Reading before bed not only helps you sleep more, but it will help you accomplish your goal of reading more. So simple.
Everyone’s day will look different, but we all choose our priorities during the days as well. I know when I was a stay at home mom to 2 kids under 2, 1 child in middle school, an older step daughter in high school and a husband working off shifts…I didn’t have a lot of time for reading.
However, I definitely could have taken advantage of audiobooks! Lord knows I did enough cleaning. I could have easily consumed a book a day with a good pair of headphones and my Audible membership.