How to read a book every week by ignoring your responsibilities: seven tips

Inspired by “How to read a whole damn book every week” by Kevin Nguyen, who has great bookish tweets

Ever notice that most “how to read more” articles are really basic? Smug too, but that’s inevitable. The GQ article above was better than most, but let’s talk about some ways to increase your book consumption that you might actually not know about.

  1. Ignore your children. Or, insert your own very-time-consuming-but-somewhat-ignorable responsibility. But for real, kids have to learn how to amuse themselves some time. Plus, it’s good for them to see you reading! (see tip #2.)
  2. Remember, phones are rude, books are intellectual: If you take your kids to the park and stare at your phone the entire time, you’re likely to get judged by other parents. You might even end up the subject of a mommy blog shaming. But reading in front of your kids? That’s modelling literacy, so back off, bitches. Same applies for reading around adults. People might ask you what you’re reading, which is annoying, but they won’t call you rude.


    Not actually rude

  3. Don’t learn how to drive. Yeah, I know that driving is great for listening to audio books. Yeah, I know that you can listen to them at 1.5x speed. Reading is still faster than listening, and reading on the bus will get you through more books than listening in your car ever will – or, ideally, reading books while someone drives you around. Advanced topics include reading while standing on a bus and reading while walking.

    reading on the bus

    An oldie but a goodie

  4. Read in the bathroom: These lists always include a tip about using short blocks of time to read, like the five minutes you wait in line for coffee. That’s great, but did you know if you lock yourself in the bathroom, you can read for way more than five minutes, and no one will question you? Everyone reads in there anyway, and it’s probably more sanitary to have a dedicated bathroom book than it is to check your phone in there.


    Young people: before Twitter, we read books of quotations in the bathroom.

  5. Read while eating: I mean, duh, but it helps to have a plan if you insist on paper books. If you don’t want to break the spine, make sure you have something to hold your book open. There are actual products for this, but anything heavy will work. Like your phone (face down, no checking.)

    book holder

    I just do this with my purse strap, tbh

  6. Read in night mode: If you read on your phone, and you should (basic tip,) see if your app has “night mode”, which means a black screen with white text. Way less light is emitted, so you can sneakily read in places that you’re not supposed to, like at a boring movie (haven’t tried yet) or while laying down with your child who insists you lay beside him while he falls asleep, which takes like 45 minutes (daily occurrence.)


    Overdrive in night mode. Bonus: Guess the book by its second page, first chapter.

  7. Increase the screen timeout on your phone:  While you’re looking for night mode, go into your app settings, and increase the time before the screen blanks out. Mine defaults at 30 seconds, so I increased it to two minutes. Makes it WAY less annoying to read when you’re not timing out on every second page.Screenshot_20170506-112317Okay, your turn: what’s your one weird trick (or seven) to read more? 



  1. Sara

    Omigosh this post is hilarious!

    “That’s modelling literacy, so back off, bitches.” I may have to start saying this to people.

  2. Anzel van der Westhuizen

    I had a good giggle while reading this – great post! I have actually completed the “standing on a bus while reading” advanced course with great success. 😀

  3. Kristilyn

    Ha ha … I love this! I get up super early just so I can read before the kids get up, I listen to audiobooks when making dinner or doing things around the house (at least, until the kids need me, then it gets turned off), I usually read during their naps since all housework is done usually when they’re up (and I’m so not a picky house cleaner), AND I read once they’re in bed for an hour or so. It does help that the husband is asleep early since he gets up reaaaaally early for work, and my kids usually take good naps and aren’t up ridiculously early.

    • lauratfrey

      Yep, my husband goes to bed early too, and that’s when I do a lot of my reading. I can’t do the get up early thing, because I already get up too early!

  4. Naomi

    I don’t think enough people know how huge bathroom reading can be. It’s not like you have to come out as soon as you`re done. No… stay in as long as you can get away with it!
    A big one for me is similar to #1 – ignore the messy house. I only do what needs to be done, and put the rest off as long as I can. A clean house doesn’t last long anyway before you have to start all over again, so why not let it go as long as possible? And then power clean when you plan to have company.
    Cute pics of the kids!

  5. Rebecca Foster

    I used to resort to all kinds of weird elbow contortions and heavy-ish objects (usually an apple) to keep my books open while eating lunch. Thank goodness I discovered e-reading 3.5 years ago. I now read my Kindle during solitary meals and snacks, and my Nook for nighttime car rides as it has a built-in book light.

  6. Caitlin Higgins

    Most of my reading happens at lunch while I’m working. Kindle makes it so easy to do that. I am always amazed at how much you read and feel like I can’t find time to do it… but then I remember how much TV I watch a day….What I find tricky is tuning out the distractions to read. I really struggle with that. I need almost total isolation at home to read.

  7. meonicorn

    Haha I like “Don’t learn how to drive”, I enjoy reading while using public transportation! However I now live in a city where I have to drive, but I’m glad that I enjoy audio book too 😀

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