Reading Habits (& Tips) from 5 Voracious Readers of Internet
30th May, 2018
Voracious readers. Avid readers.
Being a bookworm, I admire those who love reading and make reading a priority in their lives. So when I scratched a squiggly line under the title in my notebook, these five names came to my mind in seconds.
Ange, Vivek, Cait, Mia and Charlott. Five readers whom I personally admire for their reading skills.
I am sure many of you are familiar with the names. Vivek’s Twitter threads have a huge fan base where he regularly gives recommendations on new releases, older books, authors and more. He loves buddy reads too and we had a swell of a time discussing Snow by Pamuk last year. Charlott’s bookish wrap ups on Instagram always amaze me because her numbers are astounding and so are her strong opinions about the books she reads. I’ve been in awe of Ange and Mia who seem to read chunky books quite effortlessly (something I have always been intimidated by). In fact their reading lives and 30 books in 30 days success stories inspired me to go on a reading marathon which I completed, much to my surprise, two days ago. Cait has been one of the first bloggers I met on the blogging world. She isn’t kidding when she says she eats books (and cake which is her weakness). Her consistent blogging skills, writing whole novels in a week (or lesser), and book diet is something really worth following (did I mention awesome bookish tweets? Or that she is now a published author?).
We are all curious about the reading habits of other people. Right? What do they read? When do they read? Do they use magic? How do they find the right books to read. So many questions. The curiosity just kills you. But here it got the better of me. I loved chatting about reading schedules and how to find time to read with these wonderful readers who inspire me. The best part? Each reader recommends three books to spark a love for reading (My TBR is literally staggering with the weight). Here it goes!
Ange loves to read an array of genres but mainly leans towards classics, modern classics, historical fiction and nonfiction. She started a Youtube channel called Beyond the Pages about 4 years ago, to post videos about books – about the books read, what she plans to read, books bought, recommendations and a lot more. You can also find her on Instagram (@beyondthepages19). She is kept busy by three beautiful children aged 2, 4 and 8 but she always manages to fit reading into her hectic schedule.
Ange begins her day with a book. She sets her alarm clock about half an hour to an hour before she has to start the day so that she can read. She loves this ritual as she begins her day with doing what she loves!
As a child, Ange would often go with her family to the local library and borrow a stack of books which she would quickly read through and then exchange for another. Her parents always encouraged reading and now she does the same with her children. She strives to read everyday as an adult as well. When the older two kids are at school and the youngest is napping, she uses her time to read or film or edit videos for her YouTube channel. In the evenings she picks up a book as soon as all her children are in bed. Often she has an audiobook running in the background while cooking, cleaning or driving. Ange doesn’t watch a lot of television; but sometimes indulges in an episode or two rather than a binge watch session.
Ange generally reads 10 to 20 books a month, depending on how busy the month is. Over a year she reads over 100 books. She tried out the 30 books in 30 days challenge a couple of times last year and feels she ends up reading more than what she usually does. In April, 2017, she managed to read 30 books! She tried it again in December since it was lots of fun to concentrate on reading. Though she couldn’t complete her goal the second time, she read a total of 20 books!
If she spots books that say ‘gothic’, ‘beautiful writing’ ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’, Ange is sure to grab them. She loves history, so has a soft corner for historical fiction, classics and modern classics. She enjoys being transported into a different time period but also reads modern fiction especially stories about women and everyday life.
As for if she would change anything about her reading life, she says, “No…except maybe have more time to read.”
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark
Reading tips from Ange
1. Try to wake up earlier in the morning (just 15 minutes or half an hour), make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and use this extra time to read.
2.Schedule time for reading during the day. We always schedule things that we need to do but don’t necessarily want to do, but hardly ever schedule a time to do the things we love. So schedule reading time into your day. Even if it is ten minutes or half an hour.
Besides being a bibliophile, Vivek loves food and his two cats. An accidental writer, he indulges and wishes there was more time to write and read. A Bombay boy through and through, the sea is one of his loves. Men are also a part of his existence on and off. Vivek believes in the complete providence of fate. So Now You Know is Vivek’s debut book, releasing with Penguin, this October.
Vivek can be rightly crowned the Twitter book guru. His love for reading started when he was a child of about 3 years. His mother would read to him and his siblings every night before bed. It didn’t matter if they understood what was being told, as long as they knew there is something known as a book from which mom would read. And he has been hooked to reading ever since. One of his earliest memories include a walk from his grandmother’s house to the bus stop when he threw a tantrum in front of a book store till his mom bought him a book.
Vivek’s work revolves around books. So if you ask him,”when do you read” he would say “All through the day.” He revels in a morning read of around forty five minutes with his cup of tea. Then he begins his work for the day and then resumes reading once more at noon for an hour. After lunch, there’s another two to three hours of reading. Evening, there is another routine that begins right after dinner and goes on till 2 am or so. Sometimes, even stretches till 3 am. He feels his reading schedule is is maddening but also admits that’s the only way to be!
In a month, Vivek reads anywhere between 20 to 24 books and over a year his count rounds upto 225-250. He tries to finish the backlog and then read the new ones, but that doesn’t work out all the time. He is not just organised in his reading schedules, but also on the kind of books he reads. He does a lot of research through publisher catalogs, online lists and book accounts that he trusts. He has a soft corner for blurbs that say Literary Fiction, Diverse Fiction, World Literature, Translations, LGBT Literature, Poetry, New York, Short Stories and Novellas.
Vivek echoes Ange when asked if he would like to change anything about his reading life, “More hours in a day, please!”
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
Any Agatha Christie mystery
Reading tips from Vivek
1.Read relentlessly. Read everything. Set aside at least half an hour everyday and build on that time to incorporate more reading.
2.Read what you want to. Not what everyone else is reading. Most importantly, do not pull along with a book you don’t like. It will take up unnecessary reading time. Drop a book if you aren’t enjoying it and pick up a new one.
3.Read in quiet places. Switch off your cellphone if you can. Let nothing distract you from reading.
4.Read short stories to begin with. Shorter novels also work beautifully.
Cait is the owner of Paper Fury and lives in Australia with the goal of reading every book in existence. Between tackling her endless TBR pile, she writes novels and believes in cake for breakfast and never sleeps.
Cait grew up surrounded by books and when she read them too fast, her parents were like, “Go to the library!” She did wane away from reading during her mid-teens though due to “friends” laughing at her bookworm habits and also being swamped with school work. But it’s truly always been her first love! She is positive she is about to be absorbed by her bookshelf for sure.
Cait always sets her yearly reading goal at 200 books, however she describes herself as a sly unrepentant overachiever, so each month she aims to read 18 to 20 books. She joins in the Goodreads Reading Challenge and otherwise just reads what her TBR pile decrees.
Afternoons and night are Cait’s favourite times of the day to read. But if it’s holidays or a weekend, she will totally be found nestled deep under the blankets with a book and none can pry her free. She doesn’t like sitting still for long hours, so short bursts of reading is her mantra.
Being partially a mood reader, she picks up books on a whim from her TBR pile with no pre planned agenda. She feels she feels very lucky to get sent a lot of books from publishers, so she tries to read those before release dates. The key-word, she emphasizes, is ‘try’! and says, “I tend to have an enormous backlog and then end up throwing all responsibilities in the air and reading library books. And honestly? I want to read everything (particularly YA!) so I’ll pretty much pick up any book ever!”
When asked what she would change about her reading life, she asks, “Can I be cliche and ask for another 6 hours in the day to fit in some more books?! No matter how much I read, the TBR pile grows faster. haha.”
Being a wild fan, Cait recommends any books by Maggie Stiefvater(maybe start with The Scorpio Races!)
Simon VS the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Reading tips from Cait
1.It’s okay to let reading be a priority for you. I think we tend to think of it as a “luxury” but if it means a lot to you, don’t feel guilty about making time for it!
2.Read in short 10min bursts while you’re waiting for something. Instead of scrolling social media/watching TV, read. Put aside a set time for books (I like to read for 30mins before sleeping).
3.Use ebooks for easy out-of-the-house reads or audiobooks for when you’re busy doing mindless tasks.
Mia has always been a reader but in the last five years, she has made a conscious effort to read 100 books a year as it inspires her own writing projects. She typically reads 8-30 odd books a month, depending on how busy the month is. Last year she read 256 books, and this year she is working on her book so plans to read much less (done with 80 books so far). Mia’s reading is concentrated over the weekends and she sets aside one weekend a month for binge reading where she will read 4-6 books over the day. In addition, she tries her best squeeze in an hour or two of daily reading whenever possible.
Mia’s favourite books have magic and adventures! She also loves adorable contemporaries and books set in different locations across the world, along with some mysteries and historical fiction and the odd classic.
This year, she has incorporated some changes in her reading life. She is making the conscious effort of being true to her reading mood and not being influenced by what people are reading on Instagram or what she feels like she has to review because it was sent to her. Mia says this decision has been hugely liberating and refreshing and she is enjoying reading more than ever.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han for contemporary/YA (cosy,cute and comforting you can’t help but fall in love with it! )
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (addictive read to get you into fantasy)
The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw (beautifully written, witchy tale that seeps in under your skin)
Reading tips from Mia
1. Always have a book in your bag that you’re excited to read – then you can pull it out on your commute, lunch break, or whenever you have a few spare minutes!
2.Choose a book that goes well with when you want to read it! For example, for night time reading, choose something fun and light that doesn’t need a lot of concentration.
Charlott Schönwetter is an avid reader, who shares her insights on Instagram (@half_book_and_co) and (less so) on Twitter (@half_book). She writes her PhD on (fictional and non-fictional) child soldier narratives, gender, and questions of witnessing. She is a feminist activist and writes for the German feminist site Mädchenmannschaft
Charlott is always on the lookout for great stories about (and by) lesbian and queer women – fiction and non-fiction alike. She admits to having quite varied interests. She loves strange little stories like those by Carmen Maria Machado or Helen Oyeyemi and the history of different forms of activism and theory building (feminist, anti-racist, anti-colonial, LGBTIQ, sex worker etc).
As a child, Charlott had to stay at home due to illness, which was quite often. Her parents gifted her books then to keep her company. Over the years, the time she devotes to reading began to show variation. Each year she puts her yearly reading goal as 50 books on Goodreads. (Charlott adds it is absolutely fine to read more or want to read way less). In 2016 she managed to read 207 books; last year, 189 books. This year she has read 73 books already including some very lengthy novels. Since she works on African literature(s), books by authors from African countries or the diaspora(s) pick her interest easily (books by Cassava Republic being a favourite).
Charlott finds reading books as a way to escape, a way to learn, a way to be challenged, a way to be comforted, a way to see yourself – and to see others. She does most of her reading on weekends where she often spends an entire day just reading. Sometimes she gives in to binge watch-ing some TV series because that is great fun as well. Over the weekday, she reads during her 40-minute commute in the morning and evening and during lunch breaks if her colleagues aren’t around. She then puts in an hour of reading in the evening. Though her work often involves novels, they don’t make up majority of her reads.
While she prioritizes reading, she gives equal importance activism, producing feminist content (blog/ podcasts) and maintaining friendships. He reading also depends on other factors like other commitments, energy, interest and health. But she feels she reads more when stressed because reading offers a way to escape from it all.
As for her own opinion about her reading life, Charlott says she is content. She later adds she wishes for more time (and more money to buy books but also to live in a space where all my books fit easily), like most people.
Charlott recommends these books with less than 250 pages that she enjoyed recently (because for many people shorter books and the feeling of accomplishment after finishing one might be helpful).
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, and
La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono.
Reading tips from Charlott
I think it is very difficult to give any tips for life circumstances can be so different and thus things which work for me might not be feasible at all for the next person. I don’t believe in reading for reading’s sake.
1.Find books you are really excited about.
2.Always have a book on you – you never know when a chance to read might surface.
That's all folks
I echo what Charlott says about different people having different tastes in books. Read, experiment and find out what you love best. Try out some of the tips and see if you fall in love with reading as a daily habit. These seasoned readers definitely know how to give the best recommendations to get you hooked to books. Be sure to follow them on their social media channels for more bookish stuff.
If you would like to read more tips on reading, you might enjoy ‘How to read 20 books a month(+my personal reading schedule)‘ complete with geeky calculations on how to divide your free hours into reading slots.
Feel free to add your tips in the comments below.
PS: Was that title a bit ‘too much’? Readers of internet? Readers on social media? Oh well. You get the idea. Cheers to books and readers.