Every year, I say I’m going to “read more books”….and this year I’M DOING IT!
Yes, after not losing weight, not being nicer, not being more organized, not staying on top of laundry, not blogging more (ironic), I am actually doing something I set out to do at the beginning of this year. I wanted to read 12 books in 2018. It’s August and I’ve already blown past that goal.
How did I do it? Me, with a baby, husband, job(s), pages of excuses, and an addiction to social media?
It’s simple: I made it a priority.
And not a priority just in theory. No, I actually decided that I wanted to read more this year and I wanted it more than I wanted to NOT do it, so I made decisions that allowed me to read more.
The number one way I crushed my reading goal: AUDIOBOOKS!
This is the best way to get more reading in.
I listen to books in the car, while doing chores around the house and pretty much any other activity that doesn’t require sitting still with a book.
I first discovered the efficiency of audiobooks when I realized that I powered through Ginger Zee’s “Natural Disaster” memoir (a typical, six hour audiobook) in just six days by listening to it only on the 30-minute commute to and from work.
On the contrary, I have Megyn Kelly’s “Settle For More” memoir in actual book form and I’ve been “reading” it for more than a year.
So while I love being snuggled under a blanket on a Sunday afternoon while turning pages of an actual book, it turns out audiobooks are more likely to be finished books.
So what about the cost?
I used to buy audiobooks on iTunes, but that’s crazy expensive. So, I switched to using – and, yes, paying for – Audible and Scribd apps. I also rent audiobooks free from the library.
Scribd is better than Audible because for one monthly fee, you can stream as many books as you want. I’m often in the middle of three different books on that app.
Audible makes you pay a monthly fee and all you get is one measly credit (book) per month. They do have a fantastic return policy. So if you hate a book, just “return” it on their site and you get your credit back instantly. You can also purchase more credits and also purchase audiobooks on Audible for cheaper than they are on iTunes.
Audible also has a better selection than Scribd. PLUS because it’s an Amazon product, it’s (basically) seamless with Echo. You can just say “Alexa, play my book” and it will pick up where you left off on Audible.
Still, Scribd is the better deal.
What about the audiobook itself?
The biggest plus is that someone is reading it and the biggest downside is that someone is reading it.
Personally, I prefer when the author reads as opposed to a paid narrator. Either way though, sometimes the reader’s voice is aggravating. I’ve turned off books because I can’t deal with the voice.
Another downside may be more of a personal problem, but sometimes my mind wanders while “reading”, so I have to rewind it a bit.
Overall though, these are small annoyances compared to the payoff of reading lots of books in a relatively short amount of time.
For those of you who, like me, wondered if listening to an audiobook counts as “reading”, science says yes!
I really like what Daniel Willingham, Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia had to say on the topic:
For most books, for most purposes, listening and reading are more or less the same thing.
So listening to an audiobook is not “cheating,” but let me tell you why I objected to phrasing the question that way. “Cheating” implies an unfair advantage, as though you are receiving a benefit while skirting some work. Why talk about reading as though it were work?
Listening to an audio book might be considered cheating if the act of decoding were the point; audio books allow you to seem to have decoded without doing so. But if appreciating the language and the story is the point, it’s not. Comparing audio books to cheating is like meeting a friend at Disneyland and saying “you took a bus here? I drove myself, you big cheater.” The point is getting to and enjoying the destination. The point is not how you traveled.
So that’s one way I get a lot of reading in.
But in addition to audiobooks, digital books are my second go-to.
I always have at least one an e-book I’m reading on my phone. I get them from Scribd (part of the monthly membership I’m already paying for the audiobooks), iBooks, Amazon Kindle app or the library.
I know some people like the feel and smell and page turning of a real book. I’m also one of those people, but when you don’t have time for an actual book anyway, then this argument is ridiculous.
An e-book is fantastic because, as long as you have your phone, you can always find pockets of time to read. I read while waiting in line at the store, while rocking my son to sleep, and sometimes even while brushing my teeth. Anytime, I would usually scroll through Instagram, Twitter or Facebook is time better spent getting through my latest book.
And finally, YES there IS time for reading actual books as well!
Because I’ve found time for audiobooks and e-books, I am in the habit of reading more, so that makes it much easier to find pockets of time sit with an actual book too. The best time for that is right before bed or when my son is napping.
Of course, the best way to stay motivated to read is to read GOOD books and quickly abandon books that you hate.
I like what blogger Joel Miller says, “I’ll quit any book at any time. Life’s too short to soldier through an uninteresting book.”
If the narrator’s voice is annoying, the title is misleading, the author is insufferable, the print is too small, the story too silly to believe, or the book simply doesn’t interest you, quit reading it. You should look forward to the book you’re reading. You should think about it when you’re not reading it and you should be eager to get right back to it. If that’s not the case, drop the book, and pick up another.
I hope these tips help you get more reading in this year! Let me know what you’re reading in the comments below or on social media: @AlissaHenryTV.