Staff Picks: Books
Staff-recommended reading from the
Novel Goals: How to Read More Books
So many great books to read—so little time! How can you get through everything on your “to read” list?
I don’t want to read faster because I like to take my time and savor it. But I do want to read more efficiently so I can get more done. Here are two methods I’ve found useful.
First—try prescription reading glasses. If you have bifocals and you’ve been reading down your nose with your head cocked up in the air, let me show you a better way! With reading glasses, you can read “full face” to the book—so much more comfortable and natural. Plus, you may find they are much better than bifocals for computer work and for browsing library stacks—mine are.
Second—know your approximate reading rate. How long does it take you to read a page of your book? Get a stopwatch and time yourself, either one page at a time, or read a chapter and find the average rate per page. Don’t rush! Your rate will vary with the book, since some pages have more text on them or take more time to ingest. Test yourself on several types of books and you’ll find your range. Mine varies from about 60 to 90 seconds a page.
What will this do for you? For every book—or every stack of books—you want to read, you will have a pretty good idea of how many hours it will take you and you can plan accordingly, rather than just wonder if and when you will get them all read, and maybe give up.
For example, last month I had to read five books for work; I wasn’t sure at first that this was even possible. But then I added up how many hours they would take, set myself a schedule, and got them all finished by their deadlines.
I can also tell you how long it took me to read War and Peace—about 26 hours. How long will it take me to read Moby Dick for next fall’s Classics Revisited program? Looks like about 16 hours. If I read for a half-hour during lunch and another half-hour after dinner, I can finish in a little over two weeks.
Now, doesn’t that make reading Moby Dick seem more do-able? Hey, take a week’s vacation and you could finish Moby Dick and War and Peace both! Now that’s efficient!