How I Read More Books in 2017
Like many of you, I’m constantly trying to read more books. Last night I listed the books I read in 2017, and I was surprised to come up with a total of 35! (Not including the Bible and Leo’s bedtime books ;-) I’m pleased with this total because I’m not a fast reader - I took a speed-reading class in college and didn’t benefit from it in the slightest - and I’m susceptible to all the distractions on my shiny iPhone.
New Years resolutions don’t work for me, but in retrospect I can discern a few lifestyle tweaks I’ve developed that have led to more time spent reading.
1. I read a variety of books in a variety of formats. In 2017 I read 15 novels (old and new) and 10 books for seminary. Other books included Christian living, theology, general interest, and literary analysis. Most were good old-fashioned paper books, but I also read 7 e-books and 6 audiobooks. (Shout out to Reagan Rose for showing me how to make my phone read Kindle books aloud.)
2. I don’t finish books just for the sake of finishing them. If I find a book to be lame after a few chapters, I drop it and move on to another. I’m not ashamed to say I quit at least 6 books last year. (Before the Fall by Noah Hawley was shockingly badly written - I think I gave up after 10 pages or so.)
3. I’m usually reading through 3 or 4 books at a time. If at the moment I’m not feeling like reading a particular type of book, I can pick up a different book instead of not reading at all.
4. I added some accountability for my academic reading by jumping back into classes at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.
5. I watch some movies and TV shows, but not as many as I used to. It helps that most TV shows these days are either lame or completely inappropriate. These days the default channel on our TV is the classical music station. But I’ll admit that I often have a soccer game on in the background as I read.
6. I still spend too much time on my phone, but I think that’s been reduced as well. The key has been making my social media feeds as boring as possible. I also deleted all games from my phone a couple years ago. And I did myself a huge favor when I turned off all app notifications. I’m trying to see my phone as more about communication and less about entertainment; that way, I’m more likely to turn to books for entertainment. I enjoy the convenience of books on my Kindle app, though I still prefer holding a “real” book.
7. I love to read! And I’m blessed to be surrounded by friends and family who love to read as well. Shout out to my wife for encouraging my reading habit, and to my mom for making library trips a highlight of my childhood.
I hope some of these thoughts may prove helpful to those of you hoping to read more books in 2018! Don’t get too boring though - sometimes you gotta let your hair down and play a little Mario Kart.