“Wow, I wish I had less time to read fewer books,” said no romance reader ever. For the rest of us, it can get a little tricky. How so? Glad you asked, because we’re going to talk about that.
Now that the weekend is here, there are two concerns about my reading plans:
- My TBR list literally comprises multiple journal pages.
- There are only two days in the weekend.
- This means I am doomed before I even begin.
Okay, that’s three concerns, but you get the picture. There are library books, both physical and electronic, that have ticking clocks, counting down the time until the library needs them back, and they will be forever lost to the void. (This is not strictly true, because my plan for any books I have to return before reading, is to record the authors and titles, and get them out again later.) There is an EARC (Electronic Advance Reading Copy) of a new book by one of my top tier favorite authors, a much-anticipated re-read, a second book in a series I’ve been looking to get into for literally years, and how on earth do I get it all done?
Obviously, the answer is, I can’t. No one person can read all of the books. Hard news, and sad, but true. Can I read more, though, than I am? You bet. Sure, Anna, but how? I mean, you’re the one whining about how you’re not getting enough time to read. This is all very, very true, and I have a few theories, which I plan to test, in the coming weeks.
First, let’s get to the practicalities. Common sense kind of stuff; eat, sleep, hydrate, take care of body and brain, because that’s always good advice, no matter what. While we are living in a golden age of sheer mount of romance novels available (want Amish vampire romance? It’s a thing. Bigfoot erotica? Also a thing. Dukes, shifters, billionaires? Dukes who shift into billionaires? I haven’t seen any of those yet, and there is kind of an overlap, but you can’t tell me there aren’t any or that there aren’t readers who would want to read about them if there were. While there are readers whose tastes are honed so finely that they might only like one sort of romance, they still have lots to choose from, and for those of us with multiple tastes, the sky really is the limit…but there isn’t enough time.
For most of us, quitting our jobs, leaving our families, and decamping to a deserted but luxurious island to read unlimited books, at our leisure, is only a fantasy, so, for the real world, we’re going to need to get a little more creative. We may not be able to hit “pause” on the so-called real world, but we can make it more manageable.
One thing that I’ve found helpful, hard as it is, is to keep a manageable TBR. If I look at ALL of the books in my Kindle, on my shelves, in the library, yet to be published, etc, I’m going to get overwhelmed. If I make a short list, that feels more like eating an elephant one bite at a time. It can also feel, when I get to the end of that list, like leveling up in a really fun game, where the prize is that I get to read more books.
At the very least, I like to have some sort of plan, and write it down. This usually is an excuse to play with pen and paper, which, pro tip, is a really good way to get me to do pretty much anything. For those of us who have a competitive streak, reading challenges, whether “official,” between friends, or self-issued (such as last week’s rundown of popular authors I haven’t yet read. Having an idea of why I want to read a particular book, or bunch of books, can often help. Am I reading purely for fun? For market research? Am I curious? Revisiting old friends? Some other reason? You tell me.
Audiobooks can be a reader’s secret weapon, and a great way to find new authors/series/subgenres. Much as many of us love to curl up with a physical book, there are times when that’s not going to be possible or practical. Driving, caring for small children, doing manual labor, etc, That kind of thing. Enter audiobooks. One of the best memories from when I was but a wee little princess was when my mother would read aloud to me, and audiobooks can bring that feeling pretty darned close. It also makes it possible, technically, to read two books at the same time, if you’re into that kind of thing, but I do not personally recommend it.
So, dear readers, I turn it now over to you. Do you wish that you could read more books than you currently do? What are your favorite tips and tricks to get more reading time, or make the most of what you have? Pull up a chair in the comment section and tell us all about it. There’s room for everybody at this table.