Someone asked me the other day how on earth I manage to read so many books.

How Do I Read So Much?

For starters, let it be known that the books I write about on The Bookshelf are often books I’ve read a while ago, not necessarily books I’ve read that particular week.

But here are some of the ways I manage to read so much.

I don’t watch movies or TV. Unless I’m doing aerobics at the same time or it is The Amazing Race, for me the television holds little of interest and that clears up a lot of time for reading.

I don’t finish every book I start. Sometimes, I just can’t do it, even if I want to. There are too many books, too little time, and too many other things to do in life. So some of the books I mention in the What I’m Reading Section are books that I started but never finished. The Tiger’s Wife is one, All the Light We Cannot See is another, though I’m still hoping to get through that one.

I skim. I don’t read every single word, at least not in every single book. Many, I do read every word and sometimes every word twice because they are so much fun or so incredible. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Station Eleven. If you saw how quickly I flipped through the Divergent Triology or the Delirium Trilogy you might take issue with me claiming to have ‘read’ these books.

I count listening as reading. So while I run (25-35 miles a week), I listen to audiobooks or sermons or podcasts, not music. I listen while I cook and sometimes while I drive. The whole family listened to Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever while on a 4 hour road trip to our camping destination a few weeks ago.

I read some books for work. My organization here wants to keep us on our toes. This means reading books like When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself and The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence. The head of our organization here happens to be my husband so I get to have input, too, and get to help choose great, challenging books.

I read some books out of desperation. Like Smart but Scattered Teens: The “Executive Skills” Program for Helping Teens Reach Their Potential, to help me understand why my intelligent teenagers can’t turn homework in on time.

I read out loud to my kids. My kids are 9, 14, and 14 so we aren’t talking Dr. Seuss anymore but books like The Turtle of Oman. So reading is part of my parenting.

Do you read a lot? How do you get it all in?

*image via flickr

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