How I Read Fifty Books a Year

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I have completed my 2011 Goodreads Reading Challenge.

This you already know, because I shared about it here. What you don’t know and what some of you have asked me is HOW I did that.

Fifty books a year is a modest accomplishment. I’ve come across people who are seriously impressive readers, and manage to devour an extraordinary 250+ books/year.

So, although I do understand that it is only a small feat, I am very grateful to all of you who’ve celebrated this important achievement with me. I’d hug you all, if I could.

These fifty books/year leave people surprised. Some think that I read 24/7 in order to be able to do this. Others think that it would never be possible in their case, that you need some sort of supernatural abilities. None of these are true. Reading, like most anything, can be learned.

Back to the HOW.  How did I read 50 books this past year?

I always have a book with me.

Sometimes, even more than one. Heavy as they are, they always find a place in my handbag (for this purpose, I buy huge handbags only). With a book, I carry the hope to have a moment in between things, so I can read some.

These moments are not as rare as you might think. A friend is late, the bus is not coming as fast as it should, you are stuck in a traffic jam and so on. Our busy everyday lives abound in opportunities to read. At the end of a day, these reading spells can add up to a chapter or two.

Now that I have a Kindle, I actually carry 50+ books with me at all times. Not that I ever have big enough a break to read them all.

I read books that I enjoy.

Because I’ve grown to know the type of books I like, I read what I enjoy most. This is especially true for novels. There are so many different authors and novels out there, that I have no choice but filter them.

I know I like easy reads on relationships, but not the soapy, cheesy type – so I already have a few favourite authors. My husband likes biographies and post-apocalyptic novels, so he reads those. I do venture into unknown ground every now and then – like my few SF reads this year – but eventually I go back to my old favourites.

It’s important you read books you enjoy, because the more you do so, the more you’ll acquire a taste for reading. I suspect some of us have grown to dislike books because they were forced to read stuff they didn’t like at an earlier age. So if you start reading for pleasure, you’ll get into it and the amount of books you read will also increase.

I don’t own a TV.

There’s a quote I absolutely agree with:

 I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. [Groucho Marx]

Not that I don’t watch TV – I can always find favourites online. But because we don’t own a TV, we never waste our time watching it. Before you think too highly of us (or judge us), I’ll tell you there’s other distractions that we have, especially as we’re both geeky social-media addicts.

Audio books.

Shouldn’t forget to mention the busy reader’s best friends. I only resort to audiobooks in extreme cases, but my husband is a huge fan – and consumer. He promised a guest-post on audiobooks – should be interesting!

Frankly, the answers to this HOW question are un-glamorously simple.

Reading is how I stop my hectic life and enjoy a moment of rest.  That might be why I like it so much and why I read as much as I do.

Why do YOU read? And HOW do you make time for reading?

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21 thoughts on “How I Read Fifty Books a Year

  1. Sunt mama unei fetite de 2 ani si 8 luni. Si in tot acest timp cit o cresteam, a citi carti era un deliciu pentru mine. Cit timp o adormeam pe picioare luam o carticica pe care o ascundeam de la ochii ei sa n-o distrag de la somn. Cind a crescut mai mare pentru a adormi, doar ma culcam linga ea si in acea perioada ascultam audio carti. Acum cind o culc, o las in patul ei, inchid usa camerei si STAR… alerg dupa o carte… vremea e cronometrata
    Eu nu am ajuns inca la un numar atit de mare de carti, dar toate care le-am citit mi-au adus placere si m-au rupt un pic de la rutina vietii

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    1. Awesome! Tare’mi place comentariul tau, Taniush – si sugestiile. Cred ca o sa am nevoie de sfaturile tale cind o sa am si eu copii – cum sa’mi gasesc timp de citit 😉 Sau o sa imi maresc numarul de carti pentru copii pe care le citesc 😀

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      1. Lenuta, in privinta cartilor pentru copii… atunci nu vei numara cite carti citesti ci de cite ori citesti o singura carte 😀

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  2. You are admirable. I always considered myself a person who does not like to read. But I do like to study. Sooo I too lately discovered that if the book is a certain type and written in a certain format that I am more likely to read the book. I don’t like novels and story telling books, nor biographies…. nothing that is literally challenging. But I like anything that is more technical or that is organized in chapters in such a way that I can grasp what is telling me by just reading the chapter titles. I do admire you and people who have a passion for reading. Keep it up….I think you are inspiring the rest of us who are not so much into it. I love reading your posts. Keep them coming.

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    1. thank you, Adriana.

      I think I have just the book for you! Remember the one I mentioned – The Making of a Leader, by J. Robert Clinton. It is technical, with a lot of jargon, but also an excellent book.

      I do read novels, but I also like reading books that inspire and challenge me. Different books serve different purposes: some help take your mind away from things, others help you focus on things, and then others change your view of things. I try to keep the balance, so usually I’d be chewing on a deep book and devouring a fiction book, at the same time. I enjoy both just as much, which explains the diversity of books I read 🙂

      I very much appreciate your encouragement, Adriana – in this, among many other things.

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  3. Love this! I love that you read mostly in English and that is your 2nd language. That should inspire every language student out there!
    You are SO RIGHT about reading what you love. That is the key to getting children to read too. Let them read what they love and they will become readers. And don’t waste time on books that don’t draw you….so sorry though that Uncle Tom’s Cabin got left behind for you with that rule!
    Excellent word, Elena.

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    1. thank you, Nancy!
      As for reading in English – I have you and other dear friends to thank. Good books in English are not readily available in Moldova, so I was actually fortunate to have a few great private libraries open for my use 🙂 Most of the books in my library are in English as well – and I have generous friends to be grateful for this, too! Plainly put, I am blessed to have wonderful friends with great taste in books 🙂

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  4. I am in winter but I am strong. 🙂
    I am enjoying the book you gave me to read! Thank you. I may have to buy this book when I return to America because I want to underline in YOUR book. Ha! Thank you for the tips on how to read 50+ a year; it is encouraging.

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  5. nu e nimic greu în a citi 50 de cărţi pe an, avem nevoie doar de timp şi dorinţă/voinţă.
    am vrut să citesc şi eu un pic mai mult, dar s-au cam schimbat planurile. văd ce fac anul următor 🙂

    apropo, nu privesc TV de 2.5 ani 🙂

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  6. Thank you for the tips on reading…I’ve been trying to get better at reading more, but always have difficulty in figuring out how to read more. Because of your suggestion, I am now carrying a book with me at all times! I enjoyed reading this post…thanks Elena!

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  7. Elena, ma bucur enorm ca am descoperit blogul tau. Ceea ce faci e un lucru minunat. Sa imaprtasesti celor din jurul tau ceea ce ai citit e un act mai mult decat demn de lauda. Sunt si eu o cititoare patimasa si ma bucur enorm ca inca nu s-a pierdut definitiv arta cartilor. Citind visam enorm, colorat in dementa. 🙂 Doar asa putem sa ne regasim..
    Am si eu un blog unde obisnuiesc sa public ceea ce scriu. http://cartwellc.wordpress.com – Mi-ar placea sa imi spui o parere obiectiva despre ceea ce ai citit acolo. Iti multumesc. 🙂

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