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Thread: How to Read More Books, and Read Them Faster

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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    How to Read More Books, and Read Them Faster

    If you're like me, you have more books on your shelf than you ever seem to have time to read. Or you want to read them, but you find yourself goofing off with something else (like social media and games on your phone). I went from reading pretty regularly to barely reading at all. And what sucks is that I have a backlog of books I don't even own yet that I want to get to. Well the other day I watched the following video, and it really got me to rethink my reading habits:



    It's a nearly 38 minute video (well worth watching, in my opinion), but here's some of the highlights:

    1.) You need to learn to form a habit that makes it so that reading is so simple, that it'd be ridiculous NOT to do it. So, for instance, if you want to get in the habit of flossing, but you just don't feel like it...don't want to waste the time on it...whatever, then start getting into the habit of flossing only one tooth. After all, you can floss one tooth, right? That doesn't take any time at all. But then, when you get into the habit of flossing once a day anyways, you start finding yourself wanting to keep going, because you're doing it anyways...see how that works? So, if you're finding you're not reading at all, or very little, just read one page out of a book. What's one page? It's ridiculous NOT to read just one page. And before you know it you'll be reading more often.

    2.) Reading as little as 30 minutes a day can get you through a LOT of books in a year. In the last few years, I'm currently (shamefully) getting through maybe a book or two a year...if that. That means I only have something like 40 books left in my lifetime, assuming I live to a decent age. That's not a lot. Carving out 30 minutes in our waking day is totally doable. Get in the habit of carving out that 30 minutes just to read. I found that that works best for me right before bed. I set a timer on my phone for 30 minutes, and then read. You can get through probably a dozen or more books a year reading just 30 minutes a day (depending on the size of the book), and once you get in the habit, you'll want to read longer.

    3.) Read more quickly by skimming through the text with your finger. Yes your grade school teachers told you not to do that. Schools teach you a lot of dumb wrong things. Ignore them. Reading with you finger will help you read faster, and with better comprehension. Also, since we were taught in school to read out loud, we tend to have a narrator in the back of our head reading to us, which means we read back to ourselves slower. Get in the habit of removing the narrator and replacing him with a movie screen that displays the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feels that you're reading. This is hard to explain in words, but the video does a decent job of going over it with the world's fastest reader. I tried it last night with a biography I'm reading, and was pretty impressed with how fast I read, and how I better comprehended what I read.

    There were other tips in the video, but these were the main ones that I came away with, and they're already helping me put reading in a different light. And hopefully they'll help someone here too!

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    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    A lot of the books I read now are slow going because I'm not just reading, but evaluating the arguments presented. Even in the fiction I've been reading, since it's a long-running series, I amuse myself by spotting inconsistencies between, say, books 1 and 19.
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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Yeah. I get that. I need to invest in more highlighters, so that I can color code some of my books, and get back to the arguments that I think are really good, the ones that need evaluating, and the ones that I can completely ignore.

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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Of course...that means if I'm reading on my phone my screen is going to be multicolored.

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    Thread Killer QuantaFille's Avatar
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    I have a tip: audiobooks. I work ten hour days in manufacturing and would die of boredom if I didn't have the public library to download free audiobooks from. Most people don't have as tedious a job as mine, but almost everyone commutes and has speakers in their car.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift
    Also, since we were taught in school to read out loud, we tend to have a narrator in the back of our head reading to us, which means we read back to ourselves slower.
    I never knew why people said they heard a voice in their head when reading, now I know. My family started homeschooling after I'd been in "real school" only a few years, so I wasn't made to read out loud for very long. I'd always been a big reader at that point but after we started homeschooling it felt like all I did was read (quietly, to myself, all day every day). I have always had the "movie screen" in my head and feel like I'm right there in the story observing everything firsthand. I can even read non-fiction that way, including stuff with no real plot. I read a book with a chapter on brain chemistry, and I could "see" the synapses and the chemicals in my mind. I always thought that was normal but I guess not.
    Curiosity never hurt anyone. It was stupidity that killed the cat.

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    I can't do audio books. I tried them back in the 90s when I was driving. The problem is that when something is said that makes me stop and think about it before I know it the tape has moved on several minutes and I have to constantly rewind.

    I'm always still in trouble again

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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaFille View Post
    I have a tip: audiobooks. I work ten hour days in manufacturing and would die of boredom if I didn't have the public library to download free audiobooks from. Most people don't have as tedious a job as mine, but almost everyone commutes and has speakers in their car.
    Yep. I love audiobooks, and I think that's definitely a great way of getting more books in. I have to admit that my comprehension suffers sometimes depending on what I'm doing (distracted while driving or whatnot). It's harder to go back and "reread" a line you need to just let percolate in your brain for a second, but yeah, audiobooks all the way. I mostly listen to podcasts in my car/at the gym, but I need to mix it up a bit so I'm listening to both.


    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaFille View Post
    I never knew why people said they heard a voice in their head when reading, now I know. My family started homeschooling after I'd been in "real school" only a few years, so I wasn't made to read out loud for very long. I'd always been a big reader at that point but after we started homeschooling it felt like all I did was read (quietly, to myself, all day every day). I have always had the "movie screen" in my head and feel like I'm right there in the story observing everything firsthand. I can even read non-fiction that way, including stuff with no real plot. I read a book with a chapter on brain chemistry, and I could "see" the synapses and the chemicals in my mind. I always thought that was normal but I guess not.
    That's awesome! It's not super easy when you've been doing it wrong the whole time for so long, but I feel that the more I do it the easier it'll get. They mention in the video that it's uncomfortable for a lot of people at first, but eventually you get used to it. Also, you don't have to necessarily speed read while you're doing it. You can take your time and just enjoy the book. Years ago I was trying to teach myself to speed read, and they offered the same tips (using your finger, try to ignore the narrator), but they failed to mention anything at all about the movie screen, and so I was reading fast, but not comprehending much of what I was reading, which meant I'd have to reread the same lines over and over again, so I gave up on it. Trying this out again last night with the movie pictures in my mind was just so much more natural feeling. Looking forward to mastering it.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaFille View Post
    I have a tip: audiobooks. I work ten hour days in manufacturing and would die of boredom if I didn't have the public library to download free audiobooks from. Most people don't have as tedious a job as mine, but almost everyone commutes and has speakers in their car.



    I never knew why people said they heard a voice in their head when reading, now I know. My family started homeschooling after I'd been in "real school" only a few years, so I wasn't made to read out loud for very long. I'd always been a big reader at that point but after we started homeschooling it felt like all I did was read (quietly, to myself, all day every day). I have always had the "movie screen" in my head and feel like I'm right there in the story observing everything firsthand. I can even read non-fiction that way, including stuff with no real plot. I read a book with a chapter on brain chemistry, and I could "see" the synapses and the chemicals in my mind. I always thought that was normal but I guess not.
    Yeah I don't have time to read books much any more, and with getting older, my eye sight is not that hot reading up close. So I started listening to audiobooks during my commutes or on trips, or while doing chores around the house. I have pretty much given up on music radio. Just download an audiobook to my phone and listen to it in the car, or tell Alexa to play it for me in the house.

    --
    I am like you with imagining the story as I read (or listen) to it. Right now I am listening to one of The Expanse audiobooks and since I have seen the TV show, I imagine the characters as they are in the TV show. I am on one of the books that hasn't been on TV yet but I still imagine the events as if I were watching it on TV.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    I couldn't do the drag your finger down the line method. that would seriously slow me down. I tend to see groups of words at a time when reading, so my eye might skip across a sentence 2 or 3 spots and I have read the whole sentence. I don't read one word at a time.

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    I couldn't do the drag your finger down the line method. that would seriously slow me down. I tend to see groups of words at a time when reading, so my eye might skip across a sentence 2 or 3 spots and I have read the whole sentence. I don't read one word at a time.
    When I was younger I read everything in blocks of four or five words allowing me to be considered a natural speed reader. Nowadays... not so much. I plow through everything a word at a time and my eyes get tired after a half dozen pages or so.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

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