The Secret to Reading More Books in 2020
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”Henry Truman
In 2018 I read 12 books. And then I discovered a secret that allowed me to read 191 books in 2019. You can look at my 2019 reading list here.
I wasn’t planning to read nearly 200 books, my goal was 60 books which would have been the most I have ever read in any year – ever! But 200 books, that seems like a crazy achievement, doesn’t it? I’m still bewildered by it. I would like to pass on my practices to you and I hope you will pass on what you have learned to me.
Do you want to read more books in 2020?
I discovered this secret in 2009 while suffering from “Chemo Brain”, a cognitive impairment that limited the comprehension of what I was reading. As an avid reader, it was difficult to give up reading books, so I searched for ways to help me continue reading. This was when I started listening to audiobooks, and it helped tremendously. However, I didn’t put it all together until this past year by combining audiobooks with traditional books, and then it clicked! I love reading now and am understanding what I am reading so much more. Are you ready to learn the secret?
By putting on headphones, I eliminate the distractions around me. I’m in my own little world. By listening to a narrator, it feels like less “work” to read, requiring less energy from me.
Why 2x Speed?
Our brains work faster than people normally speak and we often get distracted. So by reading faster (1.5x – 3x), our brains stay focused on the narrator of the audiobook. No more wandering minds while trying to read a book.
Why Read Along with a Book?
This is the key that I didn’t discover until this year. By letting the audiobook do the work for you, you can sit back and comprehend the story as you read along (underline, take notes, etc.).
Where do you get the Audiobooks/Ebooks?
- Scribd – $8.99 a month (w/ 30-day free trial) – unlimited audiobooks, ebooks, etc. This is a great subscription. If you read too many, they will throttle back your selection until the first of the next month. What I love about Scribd is that they typically have new books just after they are released.
- The Library – I have no need to own the audiobooks that I listen to. I would rather own the traditional book so I can refer back to it as a resource. So why not just borrow the audiobooks from your local library? It’s free!
- Libby – This app works like the brick & mortar library, put books on hold, borrow when they are available and they automatically return when your time is up (14-21 days).
- Hoopla – You have a monthly limit of books that can be borrowed and you don’t have to wait. Just select your audiobook, ebook, comic, etc. and you have 21 days to listen/read. Simple.
- Audible – $14.99 a month to “buy” 1 book. I think this is way too expensive. And I don’t need to own my audiobooks. I have an annual subscription to audible just to get their exclusive audiobooks but it is typically my last resort.
- NetGalley – this is a great site to preview books before they are released, as long as you are willing to write a review. They only have ebooks currently, but plan to add audiobooks in 2020.
- Amazon Unlimited – $9.99 a month subscription. Limited ebooks and audiobooks. Scribd is a much better subscription.
What if a book doesn’t have an audiobook?
- The Kindle Fire has a text-to-speech feature that is great. I use this to read kindle books that I have purchased through Amazon and books that I have imported to the tablet.
- The Ipad has a native text-to-speech feature that works okay. You pull down with two fingers from the top and it reads whatever is on the page. You can select the speed and the voice of the reader. It can be a little frustrating at times, but I make it work for me.
What does a typical day of reading look like?
- I spend one hour reading after my workday. I usually read non-fiction, work-related books during this timeslot.
- While in the car, I listen to audiobooks, typically novels because I don’t need to read along with the book.
- I spend 30-45 minutes reading at bedtime. I typically read a novel before bed.
- Some days I don’t read at all, and other days I read more.
What type of books do I read?
- Non-Fiction. Because of my profession (Pastor) and my passion (theology, biblical studies), I read many non-fiction books, cycling through topics that I desire to learn more about.
- Research Projects. I am always researching something. Currently, I have three projects that I am working on for future Bible studies, sermon series, and classes I am teaching.
- Novels. At the end of the day, I love a great story. I spend each evening reading books from the Science Fiction / Fantasy genre.
- Rotating. I tend to read between 8-10 books at once, reading a chapter at a time in each. The variety keeps me interested in reading. Some books are more difficult to read (theology), so rotating allows me to work through challenging books gradually. I feel like reading novels at the end of the day is my reward for working through the non-fiction.