Saturday, June 04, 2016

Binge reading tips

A blog post from Janae, Circulation Supervisor

I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in library science so that I can become a librarian. Going to school while working full-time is not easy, and I have had to prioritize how I spend my time. For example, recreational reading is something I cannot do while classes are in session. But! There are four (glorious) weeks between the end of spring classes and the start of summer classes. In celebration of good grades (straight As, pats self on back), I decided to take advantage of those four weeks and indulge in one of my favorite pastimes: binge reading!

There are three kinds of binge reading: The first is when you procrastinate on your assigned reading, necessitating a cram session to finish it in time. The second is when you become so engrossed in an awesome book that you read it in one sitting (like when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out and you forewent sleep in order to reach the end and find out who lives and who dies). The third is to embark on an epic quest to read as much as humanly possible in a designated span of time.

During my four weeks off, I am pursuing the third type. I am a little more than halfway through my break, and think I have nearly perfected good binge reading technique, so I thought I'd share five tips with you (in case you would like to embark on your own binge reading project!):

Always have at least two books on stand-by. Finding books to read cuts into actual reading time. It is best to have a pile of books ready so you can immediately start the next book after finishing the previous.

Do not waste time looking for the perfect book to read next. When looking for books to add to your binge read pile, grab whatever sounds intriguing in the moment. If you are worried that you will be stuck reading something that you discover you dislike after the first 10 pages, don't! Just put that book down and grab the next one in your pile (no one is judging you if you choose not to finish a book).

Tackle that “to read” list. A binge reading session is a great excuse to finally read that book your friend keeps recommending. It is also a good time to finish a series or read older/newer books by an author you read and enjoyed previously.

Carry the book with you. You never know when you will have an extra moment to indulge in a little reading (like waiting for the pasta water to boil, or waiting for your Uber to arrive). You will be sorry if, during that moment, you are forced to twiddle your thumbs when you could be reading. Bonus tip: If you are close to the end of the book, you may also need to carry a back-up book. Depending on the book(s), this can get a little cumbersome, which is why I enjoy e-books. I can carry more books on my iPad and the device takes up less space in my purse than a physical book.

Sacrifices must be made. (By other people!) Whenever I embark on a binge reading session, I tell my family I love them but they will not see me for a while. Who has time to socialize (or cook or clean) when there are books to be read? It's not only time with loved ones that must be sacrificed: During my current binge reading session I went away for a weekend, but I only had so much room in my bag. Instead of taking my hairdryer, I took an extra book. Priorities.

I do most of my reading on my lunch break and after dinner (two times usually reserved for doing homework). Sometimes I will read in the car, if the driver is not offended by my lack of conversation. (You didn't think I was reading at the wheel, did you?) But I have also discovered small pockets of time throughout the day that are just long enough to read a few pages. For example, if I finish getting ready for work early I may have a spare 10 minutes before I need to leave. Most importantly, I am able to read a lot because I make reading a priority. It is something I enjoy doing, so I make sure to do it any time I can.

In case you are curious, during my current binge reading session I became hooked on a super awesome YA suspense series (The Naturals, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes) recommended to me by the teen librarian (and editor of this blog), I am in the midst of reading more Meg Cabot books (something I have been meaning to do), and I finished a book I started ages ago but never got to finish the first time. So far I have read a total of 14 books, but still have plenty of time for more!

Have you ever embarked on an epic binge reading session? What are some of your tips for a good binge reading experience? Leave your answer in the comments below!

Editor's note: Remember that the library offers e-books and e-audio books as well as the hardcover and paperback variety, if your binge reading needs to fit all on one device! Also, Summer Reading for Grownups has just started--register, and you can record the books you read, see what others are reading, and win prizes! 

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