Want To Read More Books? Here’s How.

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I don’t have time to read.

We all know reading is important and we should read more, but how many of us have free time that we can spend curled up on the couch with a good book?

There are only 24 hours in a day. Most of us spend 8-10 hours (hopefully not much more) working, and 6-8 hours sleeping. Then there’s stuff we have to do like eating, getting dressed etc. Add exercise, travel, family and friends into the mix, and that doesn’t leave much time for other interests, like reading.

Of course, I could give up the few times a week I treat myself to an episode of Game of Thrones or Parks and Recreation, or go to bed later. But the reality is after nine o’clock I’m not much good for anything other than zoning out in front of the TV anyway, and when I’ve tried to read at night I usually end up reading the same three pages over and over again…

But wait! There is a solution.

Just listen.

Over the past few months I have subscribed to Audible.com – Amazon’s audio-book service, and absolutely love the experience! Despite a crazy work schedule, studying my Masters degree, trying to exercise five times a week, not to mention becoming a new dad, I have still managed to “read” more in the last few months than ever before!

I listen to my audio books with the Audible Books app for the iPhone. The convenience of having my audio library with me wherever I go means that I listen to my books all the time – while I’m running, driving to and from work, even when I’m making dinner sometimes. Any spare moment can now magically be transformed into “personal story time” just by popping in my earphones and hitting play.

Now, of course, there are some literary purists out there who would scoff at my advice. They are not fans of all the new-fangled reading technology like iPads and Kindles. They prefer good old-fashioned printed books, and consider anything else “cheating”. But I have to disagree.

Audio books are not cheating.

In fact, in many ways, I think hearing a spoken story aloud can be more powerful and bring more depth to the experience. As Jamie Lee Wallace writes, “There is something about hearing a story read aloud that brings it to life in a more intense way. Hearing the author’s word spoken out loud gives them a greater weight. The audio experience demands a different kind of focus and attention than the printed page. There is magic in the storyteller’s voice. After all, our oldest story traditions are all oral.”

She is dead right. For thousands of years we have been telling stories, not just reading them.

And so, if you feeling like you want to read more but never seem to have the time, why not try audio books? You may, like me, be pleasantly surprised at how much “reading” you can fit into your life this way.

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22 Comments on “Want To Read More Books? Here’s How.

  1. I am currently reading my first audiobook. And it is amazing. Audiobooks do ‘work’ for me. I am generally a slow reader, so now I can cover much more than I ever could. I listen when I am driving my motorcycle to work, and now I can cover one book in two weeks. Brilliant!

  2. This was a very useful post for me. I’ll be passing this along. I have several books that I’m so eager to start reading but can’t find the time to finish the one I’m reading now, lol (Survival of the Savvy by Rick Brandon and Marty Seldman) Thanks Tom! I’ll definitely be looking into the audio books. I know several people who use them and enjoy them.

  3. Tom,
    Literally on the same day I posted on my blog about reading too! Check out http://is.gd/yhVTUR
    Crazy! Listening to audio books has helped me “read” a great deal more too. I read 75 books this year!

    We even have our kids listening to audio books – they love it and so do we! The best is when we put the Bible on for them. The questions they ask are fantastic.
    Thanks for the post!

  4. you are Dad Now ? 😀 wohoo Congrats =D hope the best for him/her 🙂

    and i loved the tip =D yet i thing you should write more on this topic 😀 like other tips you do 🙂

  5. I’ve found listening to podcasts and audiobooks a great way to fit some extra learning into your day. The real benefit I’ve had from listening to these is that I can allow them to fill a greater portion of my day and really center my mind around whatever I’m listening to.

  6. Audio books would be nice, but my ADD brain wanders too much with the spoken word. 😦 It takes more effort for me to listen to something than to read it. Otherwise my commute would be perfect for this. But for most people, this is a great suggestion. And, you’re right, it’s not cheating! I do, however, love my reading apps (Kindle, iBooks, etc.) that allow me to take my books where ever I go. Then I’m able to squeeze in some reading while waiting in lines or at, say, the doctor’s office. Enjoying your posts!

  7. Great advice Tom. I’ve been listening to auto book for about 3 years now. It has really has helped me to be more efficient during long travels. It has been a great suplement to my reading schedule.

  8. AudioFile magazine is a great resource for what’s out there and who’s doing the reading — there are many superstar narrators out there who make the listening experience more enjoyable.

  9. Good points. I’ve never considered reading an audiobook but perhaps I will give it a try on the next novel!

  10. Audio books are great, but definitely not my thing. With book, my intention is not just to read and enjoy the story but also improve my reading, comprehension and ability to interpret words. Audio book are totally different. If I’ve to listen, I’d listen to music instead. They too have great stories to tell!

    You post is definitely thought provoking… thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. This is a great idea…only thing is I’m so intensely visual in my learning style that I zone out and forget to listen and then get confused. I like to listen to someone read while reading along, I just can’t straight listen. Great post though 🙂

    http://howficklemyheart.wordpress.com
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  12. I agree 100%. I listen to podcasts or books while I run and I love it. It especially helps on the days when you just don’t feel like running. Its easy to just get caught up in the story and run. I recently listened to the Chronicles of Narnia series and really enjoyed it.

  13. I have fond memories of stories being read out or narrated to me mainly by my parents; and by other relatives and friends. To date, I still tell them to “tell me a story!” What I mean is, I want to know about something specific and significant (in a positive way … or not) in their lives. I enjoy listening to these “stories”.

    I tried podcasts when they debuted about a decade ago. While they served the purpose of transferring, uh, data, I did not enjoy the way I imbibed it.

    I love reading. I love music. I enjoy *reading* books. I enjoy *listening* to music.

    For me, e-books and audio books are a case of ‘the end does not justify the means’.

    I have slotted an hour (at least; usually, it’s an hour and a half) each late afternoon to savour the three local (print) newspapers. (I skim the headlines in the morning.) I’m a news junkie; I’m a hard copy junkie. That time of the day (i.e. the late afternoon) is when I get (s)toked on one of my favourite activities.

    (I have never done drugs, but I compare reading and some of my other favourite activities – eating, dancing, spending time with my family and closest friends, playing with pets – to getting high because the descriptions of those who do do drugs match my feelings doing the things I love.)

    I read a lot more at my PC, but those are typically news-related and life-related articles.

    I read for half an hour at bedtime and that’s when I enjoy reading novels. Half an hour is not enough to read all the books I like, but I’m happy with that amount of time. It’s the act – reclining at the end of a busy day, being sated after a good dinner and the feel of a book in my hands as I start to get drowsy – that I luxuriate in. The story gleaned through this act? It’s just the bonus.

    Kate

  14. Pingback: Miscellaneous: 7 links | The Simple Pastor

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