52: Hack your way to a book a week
I read. A lot.
Whilst most people find the habitual amount they spend on coffee, cigarettes or beer confronting, I avoid doing the math on the amount I have spent to fill my bookshelf.
The books, graphic novels, monthlies and quarterlies, that fill my bookcases and moonlight as furniture themselves, provide a constant reminder of where the money I have been earning goes. While most people are surprised to hear that “Yes, I have read them all”, like a true addict the extent of my relationship with literature is hidden in the digital libraries and purchase history of my iBooks and Comixology accounts.
So, waking up with an impressive hangover January 2nd (I didn’t say I spent money on books instead of beer) I was sad to admit that my consumption of books had gone the way of my dignity and decorum two nights before. Inspired by the posts of New Years Resolutioners committing to “52 Books in a Year” I thought it was time to get my s@#! together and do something even teenage Amy was capable of doing.
With enough half read iBooks to fill an iPad screen, mid-January reminded me why my reading had slowed to a glacial pace. Finishing University and starting a real full time job, moving close enough to work that I no longer have ‘travel time’, sporting commitments, or just generally trying to maintain an ‘adult’ life while getting enough Fallout 4 and Netflix time to satisfy myself. Whilst maintaining that mix of responsible and childish habit, somehow, I have managed to read three books in two days.
Whilst maintaining that mix of responsible and childish habit, somehow, I have managed to read three books in two days.
I hate the term life-hack. However, here is my trick to drastically increase the amount you read.
A few caveats though. Yes, ok, I read fast. I also don’t get much sleep and fidget if sitting still. And I am in no way suggesting that the 3 books in 2 days is maintainable, if 52 books in 365 days is your goal don’t leave it to November 27th and blame me.
This also relies on you reading digital books. I’m sorry. I know. I prefer the feel of the weight of a book and having something to add to my shelf (or use as a coffee table), but this is purely about reaching that goal.
Step 1. Delete Facebook from your phone
I did this because someone I know had an unhealthy relationship with social media and I was secretly scared the same would happen to me. The added bonus was realising how often I pick up my phone and create something to do (see the note above about fidgeting). If you don’t have Facebook, what about AlienBlue? New York Times? Twitter? Pick any content consumption app, and delete it.*
*This doesn’t mean go cold turkey on social media, just add an extra step to discourage you from checking
Step 2. Pick a digital reading app and put it in easy reach.
For me? Top right hand corner, on the first page of apps on my iPhone. I keep that page to 3 folders and iBooks so I display my Rey wallpaper in all it’s glory. The static bar down the bottom is also great.
Step 3. Every time you pick up your phone out of habit, read a paragraph.
Two things happen as a result of this. You will probably get sick of reading so disjointedly, and check your phone when you have a spare few minutes rather than a just moment. Secondly, you will realise how much content, be it social updates or other articles, you consume when you suddenly run out of pages in your first book.
I’m really embarrassed to admit, that yesterday I had read a book by the early afternoon. Which isn’t horrifying until I also share that I was hungover and slept well past 10am.