“How are you able to read so much?” I hear that question often. I am an avid reader. When I found out the great adventures I could go on with Jack Ryan thanks to Tom Clancy, I fell in love with reading. When I discovered when I read I become a better communicator of God’s Word, I fell in love with reading. When I realized I discovered my purpose in a book I read, I fell in love with reading. When I heard God prompting great ideas, I fell in love with reading. When I became a better father, husband, pastor, person, when I read, I fell in love with reading. When I found out that publishers would provide free copies of books to read if they were reviewed on one’s blog and on sites like Amazon.com, I signed up immediately because I had fallen in love with reading and this met my book loving addiction.
I average at least a book a week, and in some stretches I can read 2 books a week. How? Here’s 5 answers:
1. I took a speed reading class in college.
Best $20 investment I ever made was in the Evelyn Wood speed reading class that was a non-credit after class option at Concordia Chicago, my junior year in college. I don’t remember to many of the tips taught, I just remember being told to pick a book I wanted to read and push how fast I could read it. The end result was at the end of the course I was trained to read faster books I loved to read and with 4 years of seminary ahead books I had to read.
2. I read more than one book at a time.
Right now I am actively reading 4 books. I read the Bible every day. I have a morning devotional book I read a chapter at a time. Right now it’s Simplicity by Mindy Caliguire. I have an evening devotional book I read a chapter at a time. Right now it’s Jesus in Blue Jeans by Laurie Beth Jones. Both of these devotional books have short chapters, penetrating questions, they help me start my day focused on God and end my day reflecting and thanking God. I am also reading a book to review on my blog. Right now it’s Insignificant by Christ Travis. My goal is to read a chapter a day. By the way inactive book reading is I started a book, wasn’t grabbed by it, and filed it away until a better time or a needed time. Great freedom when you realize that just because you start a book doesn’t mean you have to finish a book (unless it’s required reading).
3. I build in times to read during my day.
Morning devotion time. Waiting to go to bed evening devotional time. After I walk, I read a chapter or two as I cool down. On my day off I relax by reading. When Sharon is kind enough to drive on a long trip, I read. When watching TV on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I read. When I go to an overnight meeting, I take a book to read. When I am sitting in a doctor’s office, I read. Often in my briefcase, I have a book to read — just in case I have to wait. When I fly, I read, makes the time go by and the trip more exciting. When I travel to India, I take my Kindle and have multiple books lined up to read.
4. I read books I want to read and have the next one lined up to read.
98% of the books I read are books I want to read. They are work related, vacation primed, life transforming or life relaxing. I also have books lined up to read. When I finish one book, I already know what book’s next to read. At the end of each month, I plan out the next month. Part of my monthly planning is my book draft. I pick the books in order that I will read next. I allow books to move up or down the list, but I know that when I finish the book I am reading another great book is calling out for me to read.
5. I have deadlines to finish reading some books.
That’s part of my monthly planning / monthly draft. I put a completion date by each book. Some publishers who provide books to read and blog about also provide a date they want the review posted. Some books are work related, and there is a time they will be discussed. Some books are with a small group, and there is a weekly deadline to read the chapter to be discussed. At times such deadlines help me to push my reading schedule. Instead of playing computer games (my form of mindless relaxation), I read, the deadline is approaching and I have work to do.
With these 5 combined with my love for reading (really more love for learning — my #1 strength in Gallup’s strength finder), I find myself reading one book after another. Perhaps most of all I have discovered that in reading, God speaks deep into my heart through His Word and through authors who the Spirit uses to prompt me to grow, lead, love, serve, and fulfill that unique purpose He has for my life.
Part of that purpose I believe is to read and to share those insights with others. You can check out my book reviews on Amazon here.
Would drives you to read? What book are you reading now? And what’s next on your list to read?