How to read

This year I decided to up my reading capacity. I even wrote a little blog on one of the ways I was going to do it. I was hoping to read 50 Christian books this year…that is still my aim. That does not include secular novels (I am currently, slowly, reading through the books and essays of George Orwell and enjoy books by Danny Wallace). I have been amazed at how easy it has been to increase my capacity. Indeed, I have read just over 20 books so far this year. That’s about a book a week.

A few people have asked how I do that – and a few have assumed I just spend my working day reading…which simply isn’t true. I need all my reading time in work for Commentaries, etc.

So, here are 6 things that help me read:


I have made a decision to read, and unless you decide to do it…you won’t. Being deliberate means not watching so much TV, DVD’s, reading magazines or listening to music. I have to be deliberate. So I plan when I am going to read. I make use of every spare moment I have to read.


The reason I can be so deliberate is because I am desperate. Not desperate to hit a certain number of books, but desperate to learn and grow. I remember realising how much I could have read and learnt as a Christian if I’d only read for 10 minutes every day…it really upset me. I realised I knew more about Father Ted than John Owen and more characters of Eastenders than Puritan Paperbacks. I needed to change that.


I’ve always been able to read a lot, but it usually came in cycles. Some times I’d plough through a book in 2 days, then I wouldn’t read for 2 weeks. So, I needed to discipline myself to daily doses. This also means that I don’t lose the flow of the book.


However, the problem with reading every day is that it can take over your day. So, I read in doses. I limit myself to certain lengths of time. So, I read in 10 minute blocks about 3 times a day and try and have a good 30 minute dose somewhere. That means I am reading for an hour – but all it means is giving up one soap opera and not wasting time reading a magazine.


Sometimes I find a book difficult, or it goes through a boring section. Because of that I try and read about 4 different books at a time. One will be short and easy, one will be long and difficult, one will be for a book group/ 1-1, etc. This means there is always something I want to read.


This is the most important thing. This is not a drudgery…but a delight. I am loving spending time with the Puritans, the latest American authors, Tim Chester, and others. It is great. I look forward to reading, I look forward to learning, and by God’s grace I am delighting more in Jesus.

In light of this, nearly all of next weeks posts will be book reviews.


4 thoughts on “How to read

  1. By the way there is a great new biography of Bonhoeffer out by Eric Metaxas which I really recommend.

    Books are great…..

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