Saturday, January 2, 2016

How I managed to read 72 books in 2015, despite being a slow reader

CC image by Pietro Bellini


2015 was a year of hits and misses. But one of things I love most - Books, was a real hit for me.

I discovered the joy of reading while passing out of college but got real infected when I was married another book lover.

I read 72 books in 2015.
Yes, that's 6 books a month, approximately 1.4 books a week.

And this is apart from the blogs and articles and what nots.

Now before you think I am some crazy speed reader, let me tell you that unfortunately, I  read really slow and hence I am writing this blog. I want others to understand that how I end up growth hacking my reads, so that it can help others too.

I truly believe that you can live many lives via books.

So here's what I did to read more and hence learn more:

1. Slot time for books: Reading books like any other good thing, is a habit. The easiest way to form reading books as a habit is to put a specific time on your calendar for it. I said books specifically, because in today's world they are competing with long-form articles, Facebook/Whatsapp messages and news.

For me that time is in the morning- 20 minutes right after I get up; and at night - 20 minutes before I sleep. In the whole of 2015, this "time slot" helped me keep my date with books despite all the happenings around me

2. Audiobooks: If you are like me, living in a cosmopolitan city, you sure are commuting. What do you listen to when you commute? Radio/FM cluttered with advertisements or something that feeds your brain?

For me, commute can be as high as 2.5 hours on the road (yes, I stay in Bangalore). Hence I started listening to audiobooks in 2015. I experimented with a lot of different genres in audiobooks to understand what interferes least with cognitive load of driving in Bangalore. I read (listened?) to long literary fiction, non-fictional biography/autobiography, science fiction and scientific non-fiction.

I have come to the conclusion that any kind of fiction and biographies in non-fictional, long enough (400+ pages/15+ hours) work best because they keep the story coherent as you commute from one day to another. Also scientific or data non-fiction audiobooks are a complete no no, since they point to a lot of external references which you can't do while driving. They also put a lot of cognitive load while driving.

3. Read right: At the beginning of 2015, when I decided to read a lot of books. One of the first things that I did was to go back to my past reads and build a framework to understand what genres I wanted to read for my personal/professional growth and what genres I love. This helped me stay focussed on the genres I committed to, when I went full steam reading. This made sure that not only was I reading a lot, I was reading right.

Secondly, I started consolidated my reading on Kindle. It happened by chance when we moved to Mumbai 3 years back and realised that we can't take our beloved 2000+ books with us. Cut to 2015, I am a Kindle power user. Being on Kindle, also helped me stay mobile without thinking of the size of a book.

4. Cheat a little: Just because you have committed to genres, doesn't mean you can't cheat. In fact you *should*! What I have realised is that when I keep reading specific genres for quite some time, a boredom starts to set in. So I refresh my brain in between by reading comics (Chacha Chaudhary FTW!) and short stories. Helps get you back on your feet pretty fast.

5. Think ahead: While you are reading your current book, it helps if you are also thinking what you want to read next. It makes sure that momentum is on! I do that all the time with the help of Goodreads.com. It doesn't have the best recommendation engine but it gives you a great glimpse on what is new/best-selling/best-critiqued in the market in the genres you are committed to, and I use that to the fullest extent.

I am already on the third book in 2016, on the 2nd day of the year. What about you? What are you planning to read?

Books read in 2015

1 comment:

Molly Aunger said...

The malpractice of the society is fixed along the lines of the elements. The struggle of the intellectuals and home is fixed for the flow of the products for the favorite items and things.