If you’re anything like me, you’ve got piles and piles of backed up books you’ve been meaning to read for months, if not years. Even reading every day, I find myself with loads and loads of reading to catch up on. With classes out for me this summer, I’m using it to try and catch up on my reading. Brilliant plan, huh? Well, technically that is the same plan, or broken promise really, I make every year.This year though, I’m getting serious. Cramming and binge-reading for all my college courses has taught me a number of ways to get massive amounts of reading done in a short amount of time, and I’d like to try and apply those tricks to my pleasure reading, to work on the massive back-up of books I have staring at me right now.
1. Organize. So maybe you’ve figured you’ll just catch up on all your reading one book at a time, based on whichever book you pick out of a stack first. Wrong! That’s some sloppy, apathetic book-picking right there. You’ve gotta organize it. With my school work, I’d organize reading assignments by how long they would take and how freaking screwed I’d be if I didn’t read them. Sure, you may not be putting your GPA at risk by sloppily reading through your summer book list, but chances are some books might be jumping out as priorities. That book your friend lent you because they need you to read this, their most favorite book of all time? Maybe pick that one up first. That best seller that you feel like a complete dunder-head for not being able to talk about? Start that one up right away. The right motivation to read and finish a book can really help you pull through all your back-logged paperbacks.
2. Double fist it. That’s right, you heard me. Read with a book in each hand, and maybe an audio-book playing on your earbuds at the same time too. You can’t get very far reading just one book at a time, and if you have enough urgent, priority reads, you may not be able to anyhow. I’ve got a wake up book, a morning book, an afternoon book, an evening book, and right before bedtime book, and on top of that more specialized books, like bathroom time and while my sister is hogging the TV and watching the wretched Kardashians time books. On top of that, you can sprinkle in audio-books for moments when reading an actual book is not possible, like exercising or driving around. The only reason my father’s middle-aged and badly abused heart hasn’t given out from all the times he’s been caught up in traffic, his ultimate sworn enemy, is that dearest mother always makes sure to continuously supply him with books-on-CDs for his car. If it keeps my father alive, it’s gotta be good enough for you.
3. Barricade yourself in. Okay, so during finals week you can find many a student locked in their rooms or at the library with a sturdy fort of books and papers surrounding them. This stressful scenario is another great way to increase the reading you get done. You don’t have to isolate yourself in a depressing place that smells like Ramen and sweat though. It’s summer, so make yourself a fun, isolated reading spot, like a pillow fort, a blanket den, a comfy chair, or a hammock strung up outside. As long as it’s reasonably quiet and isolated, you should be able to get quite a bit of reading done. I’m not asking you to give up your social life though. Reading in an isolated spot just allows you to concentrate better, so you can get done sooner and have more time to talk to your friends a relax, knowing you don’t have anything else to worry about. As I understand, people with social lives generally consider this a good arrangement.
4. Ont the other hand, read to someone. Quizzing someone on what they just read is a great traditional college tactic used to help students keep each other awake during long study sessions. In that same way, reading out loud to someone else could help you get through more books. I once decided, for laughs, to read I was looking at aloud to my dog, who was looking at me kind of funny. Chapters later, I realized that reading the story aloud to someone that was clearly interested in what I had to say, (his head was doing the cute little tilt thing, you know, the to the side tilty-dog-face thing) truly motivated me to keep reading, even if he was just hoping for a dog biscuit.
5. Get a reward. Getting an A plus feels nice. It’s a great reward for all your hard work reading. Sure, reading for pleasure is a reward in itself, but for some serious catch up reading, additional motivation help. Luckily, there are programs everywhere during the summer that help with just this sort of thing. I’m talking about summer reading programs that libraries have every year. I haven’t really participated in those since I was a kid, but I do know that they offer those programs for adults too, because I just joined one at my local library. If I keep finishing loads of books, I can turn in slips of paper that’ll enter me into a raffle for some nice prizes. Sure, they’re not as cool as the stuff I remember getting as a kid, like plastic jewelry or incredibly powerful bouncy balls, but gift cards and stuff from local businesses can be pretty cool too, even if you don’t live near an super-ball factory.
There you have it, five ways to get your excess of to-read books trimmed down nicely this summer. I’d stay to give you a proper outro, but I’ve got some reading to catch up on, seriously.