Hi! I’m thinking of posting sporadically under a ‘How do you …’ banner, so I can answer a few questions that people always ask me. For the first one, I’m focussing on a question that I get asked a few times a week:
Answer 1: I read.
Now that seems like a silly answer, I know. What I mean is that reading is basically all I do outside of work and obligations at home.
There’s a lot one can pack in after a standard day at work. There’s the gym, cooking, hanging to with family and friends, seeing movies, eating out, and a dozen other things. And usually, reading ranks pretty low on other people’s lists. So when they’re seeing how much I read, they’re assuming I do all those other things and then find time to squeeze in reading on top of that. But I don’t.
For me, reading isn’t about squeezing a few pages in here and there. Reading is about sitting on the couch with a cup of tea, and reading for hours on end. Of course, I have the luxury of doing that:
- I don’t have kids;
- I have a husband who does half of the housework around the house; and
- I don’t have too many other interests.
Husband and I go out to dinner about once a fortnight, we see a movie at the cinema once every two months or so, and we go to Sydney about every six weeks to hang out with family and friends. I don’t go to the gym or anything like that either.
So my days consist of going to work, getting home, cooking and cleaning as required, and then sitting down and reading until bedtime. And weekends are spent doing chores right after we wake up and then spending the rest of the day doing whatever we want. All of which allows me to get a lot of reading done.
Answer 2: I am a very fast reader.
The second part to how I read so much is simply that I read very fast. When I first start reading, before I’m really into it and I can still hear all the neighbour’s noises and cars going down the street, I’m reading about 500 words a minute. It takes me between 10 and 15 minutes to slip into a stage where I can’t really hear anything else, and I’m fully immersed in reading the book. At this stage I’m reading around 700 words a minute.
Apparently if you watch me read, you’d think I’m just flipping the pages for the fun of it.
If I have nothing else to do, I can knock over the average YA novel in about 4 hours. For a non-YA book, depending on font-size, page-size and the complexity of the writing, I can read about 150-200 pages in the same time.
I’m not skipping anything either. I read and process everything. Sure, when I go back and re-read things I pick up things I missed the first time around. But I re-read LotR every year (this year will be the 13th or 14th time, I think), and every year I pick up new things. When I’m reading a book I’m just not into and skipping every second sentence, or sometimes whole paragraphs, I actually read slower because I often have to go back because I missed things and the story doesn’t make sense.
Answer 3: I’m lucky.
I think the biggest factor in how much I read is that I’m lucky. I’m lucky my favourite hobby is one I’m great at, because I’m learning how to crochet right now, and I’m no where near as quick or neat or skilled as I’d like to be. I’m lucky that my lifestyle, at the moment, allows me to read so much. If I get a different job or something else changes in our lives, I’m not sure how I’d go balancing it all. And finally, I’m lucky that I have a partner who supports my love of reading, which plays a huge role in the amount I read and the success of this website.
So there you have it. A comprehensive answer to a question I get asked all the time!