How I Read So Much

After publishing my list of books I read in 2020 someone asked me how I possibly read so much, while maintaining a full time job that keeps me plenty busy throughout the week. I decided to use that question as a prompt for one of my daily writing sessions (part of a goal in January).

Since 2015 I have been keeping track of what I read here on this blog.  Below are my annual stats.

  • 2020: 71
  • 2019: 89
  • 2018: 55
  • 2017: 59
  • 2016: 69
  • 2015: 44

Before this, I often kept a reading journal, especially when I was a middle school English teacher encouraging students to develop readerly habits. I have been an avid reader since I was a teenager.  The joy of having a father who worked in the publishing industry was that I was able to get access to a lot of new books any time I wanted them! I went through phases with a variety of authors (Stephen King, Danielle Steel, Mary Higgins Clark – early days!) and then phases of discovering new-to-me content. I didn’t read much fiction in college, but once I became a teacher I began to read a lot of YA and adult fiction for my own enjoyment.

Nowadays, I choose to read something every day. Sometimes my morning routine is quicker than others and I can squeeze in 20 minutes of pleasure reading before work. Other days, I listen to an audiobook during my commute and/or my workout. Some week days I come home and still have energy and enough brain power to read in the evening; other days all I can manage is watching some bad tv before bed! But when I have the energy, I choose to read before watching tv.  Back when I watched live tv with no fast-forwarding capabilities, I used to mute the tv during commercials so I could read. That is how much I enjoy reading.

There are certain things that I know I will enjoy and be able to read in just about any mindset. It helps to know what genres you like best, and to have a few favorite authors you can always go back to.  If I’m slogging through a long, dense nonfiction book, I have to also have a fiction book that I am reading so that I don’t lose my love for reading in general.  Reading those nonfiction books matter, but I need a balance in my reading life. I also give myself permission to quit a book. At this stage in my life, I know what I like and it’s not a good use of my time to read something I hate.

So my quick tips to how I read so much are:

  • Find what you love and read more of that!
  • Choose to read before you do other things (like mind-numbing tv)
  • Find a balance (fiction, nonfiction, audio, etc.)
  • Keep track and compete with yourself!
  • Have fun!

One thing currently missing in my readerly life is a book club. I’ve participated in book clubs in the past, and I’m considering finding one for myself this year.

About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
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