I often get the question, “How do you find the time to read so much?” Since I posted that I read 79 books in 2015, a number of people have simply asked, “How?”
Perhaps, you could count this as my most requested blog post ever. Sounds dramatic, huh? Below you will find my suggestions on how to read more books in 2016 and a peak at my reading schedule.
First, a little statistical info. Just for the fun of it.
The average length of a book is about 64,000 words. The classic Animal Farm is really short, merely 29,966 words. On the other hand, War and Peace is massive coming in at 544,406 words. You can see more word count totals here.
The average adult reads at a pace of 300 words per minute. That means the average reader could read the average book in 3.5 hours, Animal Farm in 1.6 hours, and War and Peace in little over 30 hours.
Looking at these numbers: Reading one book a week should not be an issue. You simply need to find 3.5 hours for reading in your week.
Be Selective in the Books You Read. Nothing slows down reading like a bad book. Thus, you must be selective. I only pick up books that I’m sure I will enjoy or books that I know contain information that will be helpful and useful. I know the topics I will enjoy. I know the authors I will enjoy. I read reviews upon reviews upon reviews. Each week I listen to the New York Times Book Review podcast. It is extremely rare that I ever pick up a book simply because “It looks interesting.”
Read A Handful of Books Simultaneously. I have a large number of books going at one time. If I’m really enjoying a book – it gets finished quickly. If I’m not enjoying a book – it gets finished slowly or perhaps not at all. Sometimes you’re in a mood for something serious. At other times you’re in a mood for something lighter. Reading a handful of books at one time keeps you from getting bogged down.
Take Books With You Everywhere. This is an ongoing joke in my household. I take books with me every time I get in the car. I mean every. single. time. You’ll be surprised how often you find yourself waiting … a great time for reading. When I meet people for lunch I’m often waiting for them to arrive. A great time to steal 10 minutes of reading. Remember, for a book a week you only need 3.5 hours a week. You can easily gain an hour of reading a week by stealing 10 minutes a day here and there.
Here’s a look at my personal reading schedule.
First and Last. I start and end my day with reading. When I get to the office each day I devote the first 20 minutes to reading in areas that directly benefit my preaching and teaching. This might be commentary reading over my sermon passage or reading a book on a Bible study lesson topic. By doing this 5 days a week, I gain 1 hour and 40 minutes of productive reading each week that will benefit me a great deal. I also end each day with reading. This is usually a minimum of 30 minutes and maximum of 1 hour. By doing this 7 days a week, I gain a minimum of 3 hours and 30 minutes a week.
My first and last strategy gives me a minimum of 4 hours and 50 minutes of reading a week.
Weekend Warrior. I have devoted time for reading on the weekends. My day off is Friday. I typically spend the morning out on the town with my daughter. After lunch she goes down for a nap and I usually pick up an additional 1 hour and 30 minutes of reading. We’ll see how this goes now that we’ve added a baby boy to the family! Sunday mornings are extremely busy for me. Yet, after lunch my family typically goes down for naps. I, on the other hand, usually pick up an addition 1 hour and 30 minutes of reading.
My weekend warrior strategy gives me a minimum of 3 hours of additional reading each weekend.
Grand Total: 7 hours and 50 minutes of reading each week.
If I assume that I’m an average reader reading an average book – I should have no problem reading 2 books each week. Of course, I didn’t read 104 books last year … it was only 79.