Friday, January 20, 2012

How I read (almost) 52 books a year

Since a lot of readers commented that they had only been reading 1-2 books max in a year, I thought it'll be a good time to share what I did to read that many books. First of all, let me add that in my opinion, reading many books is not as important as reading the right books. I rather read less books but books that are important and crucial to your mental well-being, than to say, reading many many books that are just trashy. But it's the law of diminishing returns that really makes it harder and harder to find those books that bring the right amount of inspiration and motivation to pump your hand in the air and gave a mental shout of victory. The best books are books that told you what you know internally already, in a way and mannerisms that makes it so easy for you to absorb. If I can read a handful of such books in a year, I think it'll be a great literary adventure for that year.

I read a lot more after I wanted to have a more disciplined approach towards it. In the past, I only read like less than 5 books in a year. I thought there is something wrong with this because there are so many things - wisdom and experiences - captured in books, written by people who had lived entirely different lives, that if I didn't know about them, I couldn't be living a full life, so to speak. It's a very good habit, I'll say. Things that I never though I knew, I actually knew. Besides being able to talk about almost anything, I find it useful in my work when I can relate certain facts or story and weave them into my lesson plans when teaching.

These days, I'm more likely to hold a ebook reader than a physical book

Anyway, here's how to squeeze more time and have some spare time to read:

1. I never watch tv. In fact, I don't even have a tv at home now, a fact that I'm proud of (despite the many cries by relatives and friends for me to go get a tv). I watch things from my computer though, because firstly I can skip by all the advertisements that a show usually will be splattered with, intermittently every 15 mins or so. I used the spare time to read instead. Roughly I can save around 2-3 hours like that to spend on reading.

2. I read while commuting. Though I don't bring my gigantic kindle dx around with me when I travel, I either have a physical book with me or an ebook saved in my handphone for idle time that pops out occasionally. I make it a point to always have something that I want to read in my bag (or handphone) so that when I'm commuting or when friends I'm meeting are late, I can whip it out to spend the time. Since I've reduced the amount of time that I spent travelling now, I read in between classes while waiting for students to come. I think I can save around 1 hr per day reading by doing this.

3. I always read before going to bed. Minimum of 30 mins or until a suitable stopping point in the book. It had been a habit since a long time, so besides calming me down to ready my mind to go to rest, it also serve as a routine that brings me to sleep. If I don't do it, I might even have problem sleeping! I think everyone needs to prepare for bed by doing things that will relax their body, so that when they actually go about sleeping, their mind will not be so alert and restless. This bedtime reading will allow me to spend a minimum of 30 mins to 2 hours reading.

So, in total, I think I can do about a minimum of 3 hours of reading time per day on average. Of course, there are other hobbies that I would do occasionally if I'm not reading, like guitar and playing computer games. But I think spreading between these few hobbies that I have, it's not too hard to be able to read an average sized book (around 2-3 cm thick) in a week.

Try it, you might find how easy it catches on!

(I'm off for a trip on 21st Jan, will be back on 26th Jan)


Singapore Man of Leisure said...

Guitar... I must learn... Good way to impress the birds.

But too bulky to carry during my travels. Maybe it's better to learn to play the flute?

I can pretend to be David Carradine in Kung Fu?

Have a fun trip LP!

AK71 said...

Bon voyage, mew ge. :)

PanzerGrenadier said...


Great habit. I am slacking these few days because of Korean variety shows :-P

Need to finish up Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow" as well as Book 5 of Game of Thrones.

Be well and prosper.

la papillion said...

Hi people,

Sorry for the late reply :) I was only back a couple of days and I'm immersed in my work already, trying to settle those students who had their continuous assessment CA after chinese new year :)

Thanks for the well wishes :)