Reading While Doing Life: How I read 7 Books in April
Updated: Jul 2, 2019
Our generation has grown away from reading. Some people say reading puts them to sleep or just isn’t as interesting as watching a video. While I do understand that video involves multi-sensory interaction, there are just some things that videos can’t provide that reading or listening to books can. Reading for adults has been proven to enhance problem- solving skills, increases the vocabulary and verbal ability to convey thought as well as improves creativity, but with the rise of Nexflix and other forms of video streaming, working a full time job, going to school, or raising children, who has the time?
Well... everyone has the time. It’s really all about how you optimize yours. A part of the struggle is having the genuine desire to read. Maybe you lost the desire to read along the way and you just need a little push to get you back into the swing of it. Maybe you associate literature with academia, and to be honest, even reading this may be exhausting for you. But I’m here to change that-- or at least help.
While I can’t ignite that genuine desire to read, I can share with you my system. Here is how I manage to read 4-8 books a month as a person with a full time job, a freelance writer, a thriving social life, a blog, and a few other obligations:
Okay so boom….
This year, in the month of April, I read 7 books. Typically, I’ll end up reading about 4 to 8 books a month. Bear in mind that whether I get through them all will likely depend on if the type of book. I tend to finish novels and biographies in a much shorter time frame than I would historical nonfiction or a book of essays. And no matter what, I never, EVER rush myself or give myself time limits.
I like to keep a collection of the following in my monthly rotation:
Nonfiction Essays/ Anthologies
*Occasionally I’ll throw in a collection of short stories
Here's what I do:
Read One Positive Essay/ Short Story in the Morning
In the morning before work, if time permits, I like to set aside 30 minutes to an hour to read one to two essays from an anthology or collection of essays that are positive in nature and educational. As an example, for the month of April, I read (1) Well Read Black Girl by Gloria Edim. These were short essays by black female writers talking about the first time they fell in love with reading and referencing some of their favorite books. The book consists of about 20-30 essays.
Listen to an Audiobook on Long Commutes:
On my way to and from work I like to alternate between music, a podcast or an audiobook. I only choose audiobooks that are entertaining and engaging to listen to. As bibliophiles, we all know that not all audiobooks are created equally. The audiobook has to be engaging and the person reading it has to be as good as the text. I know some people like to look down on audiobooks but information is information. No matter how you get it. Not everyone has the luxury of sitting still. I get all of my Audiobooks from Audible. Here I'm able to see who reads the book, their rating, and get a sample before purchase.
In the month of April, I listened to (2) Heavy: An American Memoir on audiobook by Kiesse Laymon and (3) The Turner House by Angela Flornoy.
Wind down your evening with your favorite Novel or short story collection:
The evenings after work is when I like to do my fiction reading. I will usually kick off my month with a contemporary fiction novel and end my month with a classic. I typically dedicate about an hour or two to reading my novel. In the month of April, I was able to get through a few novels. I read (4) My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, (5) Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei Brenyah and (6) How High the Moon by Karyn Parsons. Both books were relatively short, so this was not difficult for me.
End with one informational Essay before bed:
I will end my reading night by reading one essay from an anthology with a subject that may be too heavy to set the tone of my day in the morning. This isn’t something I do as consistently as others like my morning reads or my novels. But I’ll typically do this if I have a specific topic I want to learn more about on any given month. For the month of April, I wanted to get through (7) We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I would read a piece of this book of essays each night right before bed.
With this system, I’m usually able to get through about 4-8 books a month depending on the density of each book. Reading usually takes up a total of about 3 hours of my day. I don’t rush myself. I am, by no means, a fast reader-- in fact, I’m pretty sure I read slower than the average. The thing is-- I enjoy it. I like to learn and I like to get lost in stories, and there’s just something about books that I just can’t get anywhere else.
The most important thing to take away here is that it’s important that you find a routine that fits your desire and your lifestyle. It’s not a race, no matter how the internet makes you feel. Take your time and enjoy the pages.
So what about you? How many books do you average per month? Do you have a system you’d like to share? The people want to know.
As always, Indulge Endlessly.