My dear fellow book lovers, if only we could read them all! As Jim Croce, the famous songwriter once said, “There never seems to be enough time to do the things we want to do once we find them.”
Books, books, books! On my shelves, smiling at me while they nap, dreaming of being read when they awake. Oh and how I want to read them. Read them all. Be there for them the way that they are always there for me, unflinchingly.
Perhaps we are all Burgess Meredith in that fabulous classic Twilight Zone episode where he finds himself alone, in peace, finally, with all the books in the world to read, all the time in the world, and then his glasses break. Ugh ….
Well, ale not, my book lovers. Below are 10 ways to read more books in less time.
1. Separate the chafe from the wheat. Trust that your mind takes it all in. Our brains may store more than the greatest computer in the universe. When you read, you don’t have to absorb everything. Let your subconscious gather the pleasant smaller details, and focus on the key emotions and actions. This will help you read faster, but not miss anything important.
2. Stop trying to speak everything. That’s right, thought moves at the speed of light. Well, close. If you find your lips moving, or your brain speaking, stop that! Just let your eyes and brain do the work. Don’t reduce your reading speed to the speed of your lips.
3. Change gears frequently. When you’re reading simpler material, your mind can speed up. Don’t stay in the same slow gear when you’re not climbing a hill anymore!
4. Get rid of distractions. If you’re trying to read in front of the TV, or in a noisy cafe, your mind won’t reach that breakneck yet wonderfully absorbing speed that us book lovers are after. Find a quiet peaceful place to read. Or, at least put some earplugs in if you have to.
5. Read with your finger or a bookmark. Efficient eye movement is critical to reading faster. You don’t want to lose your place and have to re-read and re-read.
6. Read actively. Take a moment to think about important points in your reading and predict key turning points and concepts. This will allow you to “block read” more, avoiding focusing too much on information that your mind can absorb automatically.
8. Prioritize your books. It might be best to read more substantive books earlier in the day, when your mind is fresh, and the lighter, more entertaining books later in the day or at night when your mind is more tired.
9. If you have the time and can afford it, a speed reading class is not a bad idea.
10. Read great books that interest you and that your genuinely excited about. There’s no better way to keep your reading speed up than to be super excited about seeing how a great book is going to turn out.
I hope these tips help. If you have more to add, I’d love to hear them in a comment. Either way, let’s do some reading. Ready? Who knows, maybe we can be the Burgess Meredith whose glasses never break! : )
Yours in literature,
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