This year, I started using a service, GoodReads, that is made for readers to connect both with each other and with the books they like. I actually signed up with the service years ago, but only just discovered how convenient it is to have a “to-read” bookshelf that I can access through my phone (so it’s always with me). And since I started finding it valuable when friends would review books, I took it as a personal challenge to do as much as I could in return. For the last couple of months, I’ve actually managed to write at least a small review of every book I finished reading (note: not the same as every book I actually finished—meaning I’ve even reviewed the ones I decided to stop wasting time on before finishing them). And to be even more useful (and because only a small fraction of my friends are actually on GoodReads), I’ve linked those reviews on Facebook.
Now, I know that I read a lot, but it seems that I’ve managed to surprise some friends who may not have realized how much I actually read. This post is to answer those questions that amount to “how can you possibly find the time?”
So far this year, statistically-speaking, I’ve read about a book every other day. I don’t know if this is average for me because I haven’t ever tracked my reading so closely before (and it’s only because I’ve been using GoodReads that I do so now). I suspect that it’s on the high-side. I go through periodic dry-spells that can last days, and sometimes months, without touching a book. I don’t actually read a book every other day, of course. I’ll finish two books on most weekends, typically in late-night binges (when I can sleep in the following morning). I’ll typically complete a single book between Monday and Thursday, though.
Also disrupting a regular/average flow is my “casual” reads. Since I’ve started eating regular lunches (with accompanying lunch breaks), I’ve started making sure that I have a book available to read during those breaks. That means an eBook I can easily take with me for those times I can spare a moment. So on any given day, I generally have a book I’m reading in the evenings as well as one that’s on my phone/pad.
Then there’s the audiobooks. I commute almost an hour each day (25 minutes each way) and I’ve recently discovered the joy that is audible.com. Indeed, I kind of panic a bit if I ever find myself without an audiobook during my commute. And yes, that means that I’m actually in the middle of three books at any given moment. Typically.
So doesn’t it take a while to write up all these reviews? Well, yes and no. The actual writing takes between ten minutes and a half hour depending on how much I have to say and how hard it is to say it. I’ve found that if I let the book sit a while for processing that it goes a lot faster than if I try to write the review immediately on finishing. I can’t let it go too long or I’ll lose details, but generally speaking, a day or two doesn’t hurt and quite often helps.
Since I don’t like publishing my reviews on the weekend (I know I skim more on the weekends than I do during the week), that means I’ll often release a bunch of reviews early on a Monday morning. I’m sure this contributes to my friends feeling overwhelmed by my profligate ways. Like today where I have four books I’ve finished this weekend. You’re welcome.
Of course, the genres I enjoy reading doesn’t hurt my reading “speed”, either. I mostly talk about the fantasy and sci fi but I actually read more YA and romance. Or better yet, YA romance. And yes, I’m fully aware that I’m a grown man reading outside my stereotype, here. If you don’t already know that I don’t much care about what people think I should be interested in, well, now you do. Yeah, I’m a romantic at heart and YA tends to skip the soft-porn that regular romances have devolved into. Indeed, if you know good authors who can tell a love story without overloading on the explicit sex scenes, please, hook me up. I’m not above begging…
Reading is Fun!
So there you have it: my reading habits all formally written up for your review and judgment. The fact of the matter is that the actual reading is pure selfishness on my part. Everybody has their own methods and means of entertainment and this is mine. Still, I hope the reviews are helpful for those of you who bother following them. And I hope you’ll let me know if you have recommendations or favorites you’d like to share. I’m always willing to discuss a good book, even if it’s outside my normal reading proclivities.