How to Get a Book Read
Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 20:23
Mark Forster

I nearly called this post “How to Read Books”, but decided that would give the false impression that I’m going to write about speed reading or skimming or some such. 

Instead this post is about how to prevent one’s house (or Kindle) filling up with books that have been started but never finished - or in some cases not even started. As such, I want to make it clear that I have just as much a problem as any of you. I often declare that I’m not going to buy any more books until I’ve read the ones I already have. That’s usually just before I go and buy the latest volume to catch my eye.

So I’ve finally come up with a way to get these books read. It’s working well for me at the moment, but I warn you that I’ve not been doing it for long - so I don’t know what the long-term results are going to be. However I think it is a good enough idea to let you in on the secret so that you can experiment with it yourselves.

Here’s how it works:

You read two books at once.

The two books should be reasonably compatible in length and ease of reading. 

Both books should be in either electronic format or paper. Don’t try and mix the two formats.

If you are reading with a Kindle or similar device, it will tell you what percentage of the book you have read. On each reading session, read the book which has the least amount read. So if one book is 35% read and the other 38% read, you read the one which is 35% read.

It doesn’t matter whether the book you are reading catches up with the other one or not. Just read for as long as you want and then apply the rule again the next time you read.

Putting two books in competition together like this is remarkably effective. 

If you’re reading paper books then go by the number of pages read. This is why the books need to be reasonably compatible in length. When the shorter book gets finished, you’ll still be in sight of the end with the longer book.

I’m also using this method with magazines. You don’t need to confine yourself to two magazines though. I’m currently reading six! 

Article originally appeared on Get Everything Done (
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