Monday, January 5, 2015

How to Read A Lot More Without Reading A Lot

With a new year comes the stress and anxiety of setting new reading goals!!

I don't know about you guys, but 2014 was a pretty solid reading year for me.

I had set my reading goal rather conservatively at the start of it. Back in January I was working my full time (read: real) job and diligently attending to my Marketing Director responsibilities (read: side job) with CCLaP, while doing some non-CCLaP publicity (read: side side job), and balancing all of my TNBBC stuff in between. Phew! So I figured 52 books, one book a week, would be pretty reasonable.

Little did I know that come May, my full time job would move me from a four-day workweek to a three-day workweek (same hours, just longer days), and in June I'd start my eventual break-up with CCLaP. Insert unanticipated extra reading time! By the time the end of the year rolled around, I was sitting pretty at 80 books read - a whopping 28 books over goal!

But you don't have to have free time handed to you in order to have an awesome reading year. You just have to be more mindful and planful with the time you DO have. 

Here are just a few easy "cheats" that I've used in the past to help me pad that reading percentage. Feel free to start using them too, to jack up your own reading stats in 2015:

1. Have a book handy AT ALL TIMES. Stuck in the longest line at the grocery store? Commute to work on the bus or train? At the kid's baseball game and he's sitting the first half out, or waiting to pick 'em up at the bus stop? Whip that sucker out of your purse/pocket/man-bag, and get a few pages in while nothing's doing. 

2. Read on your lunch breaks. Instead of being super-social and hanging out at the break table with the rest of the crew, sneak your sandwich out to your car or eat it at your desk with the door closed over and read, read, read as you munch away. 

3. Go audio. I gotta tell you, all that time I spend in the car rocking out to the radio as I drove to and from work was a waste before I started listening to audiobooks. In 2014 alone, I listened to over 20 audiobooks! I know, right?! I highly recommend getting yourself set up with They have great sales and deals (you can RENT audiobooks for super cheap from them!) and they have a free app to download the book straight to your phone.

4. Go digital. 2014 was the year I completely gave in to ebooks. My Kindle has never been fuller. But how does reading digitally help you read more? Well, for starters, it ties directly into "cheat" #1. Keeping that Kindle in your purse, or downloading the Kindle app on your cell phone means you are never very far from your next read. And digital books are a great break from your current paperback... look at them like the snack you sneak between meals. Or the perfect breather from the book you're currently slogging through. (plus, you can find a ton of great books on Kindle for FREE)

5. DNF more often. Speaking of slogging through a book! Nothing kills your reading mojo more than a book you aren't looking forward to picking back up once you've put it down. If that book is boring you to death or just doesn't seem to be your cup of tea, cut it and move on. You're more likely to read more often if you're reading a book you actually enjoy. 

6. Take a bath. Sneak a little you-time at the end of your workday by running a nice, hot, relaxing bath. Don't forget to bring that book with you! As you scrub-a-dub, give yourself a few extra minutes to soak in a few pages.

7. Flash Fiction, Short Story Collections, and Chapbooks are your friends. Break away from back to back to back novels by squeezing in a short story collection or chapbook from time to time. Easy to dip in and out of, shorter fiction gives your brain a well deserved reprieve from all of the heavy world building and character development and will make you feel like your making more progress, which in turn will stimulate that reading mojo into higher gear. It's easier to give in to "one more story" when it's only 5 or 6 pages long vs. "one more" 30 paged chapter, right?!

8. Find a reading partner or reading challenge to keep you motivated. I've done both in the past and both work really well for me. Whether you set up an online reading challenge that is task-oriented, like the one we're kicking off over at goodreads this year, or you set a dual goal with a reading-partner-in-crime, sometimes a little outside motivation helps! 

Hope this helps you in your quest to read a lot more without reading a lot this year! Feel free to stop by and let me know if these tips work for you. And why not hashtag your current reads with #TNBBCreads on twitter, so we can follow you along on your journey?

Happy reading everyone!


  1. Great tips! I don't use my e-reader very often, but when I do use it, I find I get more reading done because it's so much easier to read while brushing my teeth and cooking.

    I also recommend listening to audiobooks while doing things around the house like washing dishes, sweeping, etc.

  2. Leah, you know, you're right. I didn't even think about using the audiobooks while doing chores around the house! Chalk up MORE reading time : )

  3. There are some great suggestions on here!

    1 & 4. Having a book at all times can feel like a hassle, but I just got the new Nook Glowlight. It's tiny, it can read PDFS and epubs, and it has the paper look (which everyone loves). Also, to me it's a lot easier to have digital books when I'm reviewing. Otherwise, I have to figure out what to do with all the stuff people send me.

    3. The funny thing about audiobooks in the car is that I end up sitting my car too long. :) On the other hand, I have read that if you allow yourself to listen to an audiobook ONLY while you're working out, you're more likely to work out if you like the book. Huzzuh! Two New Year's Resolutions in one, if you are the reading/exercising type.

    5. Definitely DNF. I think even Stephen King pointed out that we get too old to be messing around with crap attack books.

    7. I've found some amazing self-contained graphic novels that I've been looking at lately. This means it's not in a huge series that will continue for years and eventually become a TV show on AMC. Try Lisa Hanawalt :)