Reading More

I wrote a post two years ago about how my wife inspires me and she keeps on doing it. This time she’s inspired me by the number of books she reads in a year.

When I wrote the other post my wife Amanda’s inspiration turned into motivation to run a half marathon, blog more, and create more content. Recently she inspired me to read more. A whole lot more.

This January I set a goal to read 24 books in 12 months. That was a modest two books per month. In past three years I’ve read nine, seven, and 15 books respectively. Reading 24 was a bit of a stretch, but I thought it was an attainable goal.

This week, 23 weeks into the year, I finished book number 24. Boom stick.

How did I do it? I did it with one old trick and one new trick.

Old Trick

The old trick is one my wife has used to read 30-50 books per year this entire decade. It’s just to “always have a book with you.”  For her this means that she keeps her Kindle with her all the time and has a new book or two on it at all times. Anytime she has an opportunity to pause, the waiting room at a doctor’s office, waiting for kids to get out of music class, or right before bedtime, she reaches for her Kindle and picks up where she left off.

I’ve maintained a To Read list of books over at GoodReads for years and I’ve been better about adding new books when I hear something that piques my interest while talking with friends or listening to a podcast. I’ll have 2-5 books on hold at the library so I can get a copy when they come available.

New Trick

The new trick has supercharged my reading productivity. Here it is: Amanda showed me the OverDrive app.

OverDrive is an iOS app where you can use your local library card to access the library’s digital catalog. Our library has thousands of books available and more being added weekly.

I’m mostly interested in ebooks and audiobooks more than videos. I mostly download Kindle versions over e-pub or PDF, and read via in the Kindle iOS app.

The audiobooks section is where the gold is for me. I can download an entire unabridged audiobook for free, and have three weeks to listen to it. There’s even a category called “Always available audiobooks” with a few dozen audiobooks with no holds.

I keep 4-6 audiobooks on my phone at all times. Now whenever I’m going for a walk or run, doing yard work, doing the dishes, or driving to get groceries I turn on a book. The trick is to remember to turn it on even if you’ve only got 5 minutes to listen. Some progress is better than no progress.

Good to know: If you purchase Kindle books + Audible books then those apps have what is called Whispersync between the audio and ebook. So if you stop listening to an audiobook at page 100, when you open the Kindle app it will put you at the same spot.

The Overdrive app does not have whispersync, but I like to get audio and ebook versions of books so I can manually switch between the two. If the voiceover actor’s pronunciation of names or places in a story are difficult to understand I can open the ebook and read through paragraphs to get a feel for how the words are spelled. It’s very useful and I save a lot of money.

Thanks to Amanda inspiring me by the volume of books she reads annually and showing me how to access thousands of books I’ve changed my reading goal to: read 52 books in 2017!

Happy reading!