I find prolific readers admirable and aspirational. I'd like to join them under their title but I am not a prolific reader so I can't. My friend Angela is a prolific reader. We understudied together a few summers ago which means we spent a lot of time in the green room. She spent her downtime time reading and every few days she'd start a new book. It was dreamy.
Generally, it takes me ages to finish a book. My husband who is also a prolific reader will often see a book I'm reading, read the book when I'm not and finish it before I've even reached the half way point. To make myself feel better I've attributed my slow process to the fact that I'm a writer and get distracted by the images and ideas which spark alternative versions of the story or inspire new stories all together.
Roxane Gay a writer I admire and a leading literary voice is a prolific reader. Stephen King says, "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot." Must is an albatross I tell ya but outside of that I've simply yearned to get more reading in my life.
Recently I looked up suggestions on how to increase and improve reading habits. There were some good ideas.
- Read shorter books
- Join Goodreads
- Set page goals
Through Goodreads I've gathered a list of books like-minded folks have read or want to read. It's kind of like Facebook but rather than spying on their "idealized life" you can connect to them through the books they enjoy. The option of tracking books I want to read encourages me to finish the book I am reading faster so I can get to the next one.
Just like that I am crushing on reading. I'm feeling the rush of love one feels in a new relationship. I just finished A Thousand Splendid Suns by Kholed Hosseini. It's a stunning book which made me ugly cry in a good way at the end.
Now I'm reading the novella Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata. I'm also revisiting The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai. That's a book I started this summer but could only keep it for 7 days because it was on my library's most wanted list. At 421 pages there was no way I'd finish in that amount of time. (Of course my husband started reading it at the same time and finished.) I've given myself a challenge to try and finish it in the 7 days I have. We'll see.
Another motivating tip that works for me is reserving books from the Large Print section. There's usually a wait-list on popular books but they are often collecting dust in large print. I have a mega-strong prescription and normal type feels like a constant eye exam. For whatever reason the larger print is easier for me to process and I read faster.
One of the things I love about reading is that it's a club I can join anytime. There's no vetting process, no obligation. Books are always there for me no matter how long I stray. At a time where nothing feels certain a book is like a north star and most certainly one true thing.
Do you love books? What books do you recommend? Please share in the comments below.
**addendum: When I wrote this and still I recognize what a privilege it is to read and how so many don’t have it. Here is an article on a 16 year old in Chicago named Javion who is struggling to read at a 3rd grade level.