But how do you read so much?

Note: this is a re-run (or updated version) of a post from my previous site/blog, so if it feels a bit déjà vû, it’s not you: it’s me.

I’m often asked how I read so much – or people say ‘oh I wish I had time to read’ (often in that passive aggressive way that implies that they’re just doing much more important things, actually – but that’s a different issue).

Firstly: I don’t read that much. I average about 50-60 books a year – for a book blogger, that’s seriously small fry. I’ve seen some whose Goodreads counts are 250+ per year!

Secondly, I’m not reading War and Peace on a weekly basis. Mostly, I’m reading YA novels, some children’s (Middle Grade/9-12), with an occasional adult title thrown in.  It’s rare for me to pick up a massive tome, but it can happen.

Thirdly, I think it’s important for English teachers to read. I think it’s a shame when an English teacher has only ever books they were required to. We should be able to talk to students about what they’re reading, and – much more importantly – be able to make smart recommendations based on their personal likes and dislikes. You can’t do that if your knowledge of teen lit is based only on when you were a teen (and, anyway, you think they all should be reading The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice). That’s not how we make readers – that’s how we turn many off reading.

Most importantly, though: I want to read, so I read. To that ‘oh I wish…’ person – you clearly don’t, actually. And, incidentally, it’s the same with writing. If you want to do it, you make/find the time for it. For me, that means reading on the bus, sometimes while cooking dinner, as a five-minute break between heavy-thinking tasks to clear my mind (nothing spirits me away like a good book!), as well as the standard reading in bed.

Starting this beauty on my bus journey today. I’d read a lot less if I could drive! #diverseYA

— Beth Kemp (@BethKemp) August 20, 2018

A final point: having discovered podcasts, bus time started to get a little crowded, so I now try to limit podcasts to walking to and between buses – commuter life is complex! What uses for otherwise ‘dead’ time like travelling have you come up with? When/how do you fit reading in?


What do you think?