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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Finding Time to Read

by Seattle Jon (bio)

A few years ago I wondered if I could read a book a week, or 52 books a year. That first year I read 44 books totaling nearly 20,000 pages. I hit 52 books the next year, then 33 and 50 books the following two years. I am sitting at 50 books already this year.

These numbers surprise some people. They ask me what my secret is. Well, there is no secret, but I do have some suggestions on how you can read more books.
  1. Read 4-5 books at the same time – I used to read one book at a time, thinking the constant switching back and forth would make it difficult to absorb what was going on in each book. Wrong. This is probably the best way to increase the number of books you read because of suggestion #2.
  2. Your current reading list should be varied – reading only one book, or only books of one genre (i.e. LDS non-fiction) is limiting, because if you're not in the mood for what you're reading, you won't read. Try keeping a variety of books on your nightstand, such as these I've recently read:
  3. Read in places you normally might not – I try to keep 3-4 mormon books in my church bag for down-time during the three-hour block or for the occasional sacrament meeting talk or sunday school lesson I just can't listen to. I also like to carry a small book that fits in my back pocket for when I'm out running errands or at the kids' sporting events.
  4. Have plenty of books on hand to choose from – Well, books are expensive you might say. Not if you buy them at Goodwill or Deseret Industries. I could shop at those two places alone and have 50 books to read every year until I die. Once you start your stockpile, store them someplace visible but off your bookshelf … seeing the books in your reading queue will motivate you to get through the ones you're currently reading.
  5. Cut down on media – Nothing competes for my reading time more than media. I'm a cinephile, but I don't watch a lot of live tv or sports. My iPhone gives me the opportunity to read e-books (I'm not a huge fan), but can be a huge distraction as well.
It's pretty simple: You either read or you don't. If you read you probably want to do it more. And reading more isn't a secret. It comes down to choices, and I choose books.

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