How to Create a Library out of Your Soul: Tips for Reading Fast

Reading Waiting

I consume books faster than I can gulp down a cup of bold iced Colombian coffee. How in the world?

Currently, I review books for numerous *publishers and an agency. It is a pleasure to receive a free book, read it, and give it away. I could keep them all, but where’s the fun if you don’t pay it forward? More on book reviews at Kate’s place. Check it out.

The most popular excuse for not reading is there’s no time to #readallthethings. 

Care for your parents, kids, yard work, job, church, bible studies, and…! I know, friend. Let me offer a few tips. These can help you read faster and make the most of your time.

Here are a few simple tips! No need to rework your schedule or change your wardrobe.

When you feel comfortable in a book, you’ll want to hang out longer. Isn’t the point to read it quickly? Of course. But losing interest in a book because you’re trying to read it like the Flash is not going to work. Think in your book. Ann Kroeker has a great podcast about making books our own. Check it out.

“Interacting with the text helps because then you don’t need to re-read. Sticky notes, highlighting, annotating. It all helps comprehension.” – LindseyJo 

  • Tabs – not the drink

If writing in a book is unthinkable, we’re not friends. Just kidding. What if it’s for a giveaway? You’re off the hook! Place tabs everywhere you find a quote that burns through your retinas. Return to the book hours or days later and easily find each page that caught your eye.

“I use my bookmark to slide down the page, underneath the sentence I’m reading. It helps me concentrate.” – Mrs. Savvy Saver

  • Wake up early

If you snooze it, you lose it! I wake up at 4:00 a.m. (CST) to write. The first 15-20 minutes I make coffee, burp the baby, and read scripture to feed my soul. Thereafter, if the words aren’t flowing, I hop into a book. Thirty minutes are all I need to get a chapter in.

“Waking up before the kids, if you can manage those early hours. Can really get a jump-start on things.” – Michael Jimenez

  • Take 2 – 3 books everywhere you go

Guess you’re gonna need a bigger purse. You’re welcome! If I only carry one book, I’m terribly disappointed when I’m not in the mood to read it. For this reason, I read 2 – 3 books at any given time. What? I’m not studying for the exam on Finnegan’s Wake. Don’t be afraid to carry a mini library around.

“I remembered this as I was getting ready to leave. Always carry a couple of books with you wherever you go. Adds reading time in lines.” – Alice William

  • Turn off the TV

Shave off hours of wasted time –  turn off the television set. Record your telenovela. Also, the news won’t ease up anytime soon. Binge watch after that gorgeous morsel of a book is complete. I haven’t actively watched TV in years. Save tons on the cable bill because you won’t have one. Winning!

  • Skip the dishes

Skip them tomorrow night too! I hand wash all of my dishes. I don’t have a dishwasher. Relax. If the dishes are an absolute must, plug-in your ear buds and audio book it. I love Paula’s idea. It works for almost any chore. Laundry anyone?

“I love audio – sometimes as a companion to the paper book. Listening in the car speeds things up.” – Paula Kiger

  • Take advantage of wait times

Possible places to wait: Drive-thru lanes, meetings, softball practice (let Antonio’s coach be his coach), or during your grandmas chisme session with Tia Laura. Make a list of all the times and places you wait. Viola! Pockets of time to read. When I arrive 15-20 minutes early at work, I sit in my car and read.

“I’ve started reading during lunch break. It easily adds half hour to 40 minutes of reading time!” – Alice William

  • Audio book it

I do not condone audio books, but if you must. Cheat it! I find it hard to keep up because my mind starts to wander after 30 seconds. I have yet to try this if I’m driving. I’ll give it try on my commute home. Amanda’s idea is divine. If you can’t equip the kids with a DVD, pop in an audio book from the library and listen along with them.

“On long drives I listen to an audio book with ear buds while the kids watch DVD in the back.” – Amanda Espinoza

  • Change it up

In between epic novels read some poetry chapbooks. Support a local poet. Diversify your reading. When I read too much of the same genre my reading speed slows significantly. If I switch genres every two to three books, I can keep up my reading pace.

  • Change your perspective

Reading is not a chore.

Reading is not your enemy and it’s not the chocolate you wish you could binge eat. It’s self-care. It’s also a powerful way to show your friends and family that reading is an important part of our lives. It is an everyday mental re-centering.

Speed reading is another hot trend. I like to fully engage and absorb my book so learning to speed read is not at the top of my priority list. There are tons of data if you wish to understand the complexity and sophistication of speed reading. Google it!

The more you read, the easier it becomes to whip through a book. Enjoy.

I hope this post was helpful. I would love to hear your tips for reading fast. Share in the comments!

*Here is a list of publishers and the agency where I review books.

Tyndale Publishers

Baker Books

Moody Publishers


Blog About – Blythe Daniel Agency

*Thanks to those who answered my Twitter question. I appreciate your responses and was happy to share on this post.

Cover photo credit: Lacie Slezak