Wrapping up the series of posts on my reading, I want to take a moment to talk about reading goals. I love these, as any reader of this blog will know. I am constantly setting goals for myself. And, I am now much more successful of achieving them than previously. My personal best was a 142 books one year although that year I read more in one genre with small books. How did this happen? How did I go from reading about 50 or 80 books to reading over 100 books a year?
- Reading faster. The older I get, the faster I tend to read. This could be because I now know more words than when I was younger. It also could be because as a writer myself, I am more familiar with the process of writing for an audience. Thirdly, I have an understanding of which sections to skim through, which to savor, which to skip completely. The latter is of course a personal choice. I used to never skip a word and now I will happily skip entire sections. Also, the sections I skip will be different from what someone else skips because my interests are different.
- Choosing the books I want to read. I have always had trouble with this. I want to read every single book out there. But, of course, I cannot. So, (with the help of my friends) I have now learnt to pick and choose. I have a friend who always tells me to let go of a book if it is bad. She hates to see me struggle with “bad” books/boring books. I think she came close to throwing out a massive Leonardo da Vinci biography I was reading because I was struggling so hard with it. Thanks, VN! 🙂
- Streamlining my reading. This is a tip I learnt over time and have used before, but most forcibly through another friend who reads as much as I do. He subtly nudged me towards reading in themes. This is funny because I don’t think he realized he was doing it any more than I did. I used to read in genres before, just like he continues to do. But after we started talking about books, I found myself dividing my reading according to themes (those mentioned in this series) and reading about 5 books on the same theme one after the other. This has helped immensely because my understanding of the subject matter became so much more. For example, I now understand development economics in greater depth than previously.
These are what worked for me in the past few months. What has worked for you? Do you have specific ways that work for you? I would like to hear from you about how you navigated the pandemic lock-down and read more.