It’s your girl, Sohinee who’s about to get informal and chaotic in this post! It will be a long journey, so brace yourself and read till the end for some bonus content! 🌷 As you would have guessed by now, in this post I am going to talk about reading habits, tips & tricks to tackle your TBR. And, if at some point you wonder what happened to my language skills, please know that this post was supposed to go up in 2017 (and I didn’t edit it much) but then it got rejected for reasons unknown *coughs* and I was still a baby back then, so… *laughs in books*. So every time you come across this year, know that it was 2017 and not 2019.
People always ask me how I manage to read 200-300 books a year and I am going to spill all the beans in this post! (tread carefully over the exclamation marks because there are a lot ahead 😅). So drink that coffee, sip on your tea, munch your cookies and lets roll!
Frankly, I don’t really have any secrets. It’s just that every person has a different reading speed. I know, I know, you’re probably in that ‘bleh’ moment but this is the truth. I used to be a very slow reader (slower than a tortoise). But over these few years, I have worked on my reading speed. Review copies/ARCs also pushed me to increase my speed of reading.
So whatever I say in this blog post might not be something you thought of trying out or have thought but never tried out (I know, most of us are lazy bums!)
Before I begin with the actual topic, let me add one more thing here. If you want to take down that TBR of yours, you really have to LOVE reading. You have to be passionate about the process of reading. If reading books feel like a chore to you, if reading as many books as possible is the only aim you have, then the reading tips that I am going to share won’t really work for you.
Unless and until you are really committed and you really enjoy reading books, even if you manage to read 100 books, you won’t be satisfied with the results because deep down you would know that you didn’t enjoy the process.
Is that huge pile of unread books staring you down? Is your TBR intimidating you? Hang in there, I’ve got you covered!
Let me share some of my reading tips which actually helped me to develop my reading speed. And, here goes nothing! *singing*
🎯 SETTING A READING GOAL
First thing first, you need to set a goal. This is an obvious point but I have seen people who forget about it and don’t really set a reading goal. They try to stuff in as many books as they can in a year. DO NOT DO THAT. This is like aiming for straight As without studying. Without preparations and without aiming for a target, nothing can be achieved. Freestyle doesn’t work in everything. There’s no need to set a crazy reading goal (say, 500 books) right at the beginning of a year.
I set a goal of reading 50 books this year but when I completed that in two months, I increased it to 100. So, my advice would be to set small goals. Goal that you think you can achieve. Baby steps work best. Don’t ask me why. It’s just a psychology thing. When you have a smaller goal, you are more likely to complete it in a small amount of time and then once you have completed it, you can increase your reading goal. No need to go ham on the Goodreads reading challenge. I know, maybe you want to show off to your friends a bit by reading too many books, but trust me, it’ll just frustrate you when you won’t be able to meet up to those crazy numbers.
🎯 DECIDE HOW MANY BOOKS YOU WISH TO READ IN A MONTH
After you have set a reading goal, the next step would be to divide the total number of books for 12 months. The division doesn’t have to be equal but keeping an equal number of books for each month does help and it also helps to keep a consistent reading pace throughout the year.
Another thing would be to have a balance between heavy reads and light reads. While selecting books for each month, make sure that you add both thick and thin books. This will help to keep continuity in your reading pace and will also help you to enjoy the process without feeling burdened.
🎯TRY READING MULTIPLE BOOKS AT A TIME
Now this might not be applicable for every person out there, but if you are really looking to take down that pile of unread books, try reading 2-3 books at a time. For book reviewers and bloggers like me, reading multiple books at a time helps a lot to get through the review copies. This way, your TBR won’t have enough power to intimidate you. There’s no harm in trying, right? If it doesn’t work out for you, you can always switch back to reading one book at a time.
🎯 DON’T PURCHASE ANY MORE BOOKS UNTIL YOU ARE DONE WITH YOUR CURRENT ONES
This might seem a little tough, but my advice would be to not buy any more books until you have read the ones from your TBR pile. If you buy new ones, you’ll want to read those books and your tbr pile will remain untouched. I know it’s really tempting to buy new books when there are so many amazing offers, new releases, book fairs, etc. but as they say “too much of anything is bad”, it turns out that splurging too much can actually be bad. If you did finish reading the books from your unread pile, then sure, go ahead and treat yourself! Birthdays can an exception *winks*
(Who am I kidding? I do this all the time!)
🎯 EXPERIMENTING WITH DIFFERENT GENRES
Everyone has a favorite genre(s) which they are most drawn to and they are likely to read that particular genre most of the time. But, I would recommend trying out different genres. You never know when you find your second favorite! Also reading books from multiple genres helps to cut down the monotony when we read books from a particular genre for several days. Couple them up. If your current read is a mystery novel, try reading a collection of short stories next. If it’s a crime fiction, for your next read, pick something humorous or maybe even a comic/graphic novel, if you’re into them. Find your picks and then couple them according to your liking. When you keep doing this every time you read, you’ll get used to it.
🎯DECIDING HOW MANY PAGES TO READ IN A DAY
I read two books a day (when I am not in a slump). So, I read around 500-600 pages a day. But I didn’t get to this number at once. It took me almost 4 years to get to this reading speed. I invested a lot of time and hours and hours of practice. My advice would be to start with a small number. Say, 50 pages a day. You can surely do that. A day constitutes of 24 Hrs and 50 pages can be easily read. Keep increasing the number of pages every day and no sooner than later you’ll have a lightning speed!
🎯 INVEST TIME IN READING
If you want to increase your reading speed, the most important part would be to invest as much of your time as you can in reading. I invest 10-12 Hrs a day into reading books. Staring at your mobile phone, scrolling through social media and stalking other people can definitely be fun and addicting, but reading a few pages of that unfinished book that you have tucked away in your bookshelf would be even better. Practice makes a man perfect. Practicing the process of reading everyday even if it’s for an hour will help to bring a reading habit in you and we humans hardly let go of our habits (see, I still bite my nails sometimes)!
I know, we all tend to be busy in our everyday lives but wouldn’t you be able to invest even an hour into reading? Now, I call that an excuse! Scheduling always helps. If you’re making a weekly schedule, make sure you keep increasing the time for reading by half an hour. Before you even notice, you’ll be running a reading marathon!
🎯 STOP PROCRASTINATING!
I have noticed that most of us, readers, are huge procrastinators (including me :p). I used to procrastinate so much that one time I had to complete 80 pending reviews in a month! Phew, I still remember that month as my worst nightmare. So, don’t be like me. Even if you’re not a reviewer, don’t let that pile of books stare you down as if you’re a criminal! Challenge that tbr pile and take down each one of them and just read it. That’s the only way you’ll see it decreasing.
And now here are some of the secret tips which helped me a lot. Shh, it’s only for your ears!😉
📚 While picking two books for the day, I am careful to choose one light book and a heavy one. If the heavy one has around 300 pages, the lighter one should be between 100-200 pages. This way it’s easy to complete reading two books a day. I choose to read the thick book in the morning because my brain cells remain active and energized during the day so I can absorb the substance a lot quicker. I save the thin book to read at night. But it could be the other way round for you. Depends on how you can adjust yourself to the routine.
📚 Using a pen or pencil while reading helps a lot. Dragging the pencil (no, you don’t have to underline) over the sentences helps your eyes to move faster and hence you are able to read more words in a minute which means it increases your reading speed! Now, I don’t know if there’s any scientific explanation behind the act but I have personally noticed it.
📚 Skim reading helps but I don’t recommend this at all. I won’t lie, I have done this when I was just starting off but now that I have acquired a good reading speed, I don’t opt for this method at all. Many book bloggers tend to do this because it can get tough at times to complete reading the book and posting the review within a certain deadline. But this technique doesn’t increase your reading speed in reality.
📚 Trying to understand an overall paragraph instead of trying to comprehend the underlying meaning of each sentence saves a lot of time and I can utilize that time in reading another paragraph. You might confuse this technique with skim reading but please note that both are different techniques. In skim reading, you are skipping on phrases and words but in this technique you are trying to grasp the overall meaning of a paragraph which is a completely different thing.
📚 I try to keep myself safe from distractions while reading. Mobile phone, laptops, computer; anything that proves to be a distraction, I keep them away. Also, I try to choose a good reading spot where I can concentrate properly. This is one of the most important part when it comes to increasing reading speed.
That’s all folks! Hope you all find these tips and tricks helpful. You’ll surely notice a change in your reading speed once you start incorporating these techniques in your reading schedule on a daily basis. 🍀🌻
Lastly, here’s a healthy reminder:
Share some your reading habits and let me know your reading goal of this year in the comments down below ✨ 💖
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