Nothing gives you the same sense of accomplishment as finishing reading a book. Did your library or third grade class have competitions like mine did? Each book you read brought you a step closer to a prize, a ribbon or a trophy, some fleeting recognition. And even today there's that little kid in me — a thoughtful, careful reader — who's still tallying up the titles she's read like pennies in a piggy bank. Because I'm pretty sure book loving is positively correlated with perfectionism — or at least competitiveness — this means I'm not satisfied until I've read a lot. A lot, a lot.
How does one go about devouring literature? Say what you will about the allures of binge watching, but I'll take binges by book, any day. If there's one key to reading a lot, it's reading efficiently. For me, that means reading a book in a day. Sometimes (oh, hey, poets), even a sitting.
The ability to read a book in a day might not be a trick you can trot out at your next birthday bash, but its merits will long outlast a frosting-and-cake sugar buzz. Think about seeing a movie in the theater — there's something totally pleasurable about sitting in the dark, knowing you can't press pause. Believe it or not, sometimes your favorite books will be happier when they never find themselves spine up on your nightstand. They want to be read, read quickly, and loved.
Here's how to get the job done in 20 easy steps.
1. Fall In Love
You're not going to read a book in a day if you're not excited about the book. Order that bestseller you've been crushing on and check your buyer's remorse. (After all, spending money on books doesn't count.)
2. Clear Your Calendar
Depending on the book you're in love with, you could need anywhere from an hour to an entire day. Know your reading speed and don't self-sabotage by making plans. When your goal is to read a book in a day, socializing can wait.
3. Ignore The Haters
Or maybe just your friends who want to hang out with you. Remember: If you don't read this book in a single day, what will you have to brag about?!
4. Prep The Battlefield
I mean, your couch, your favorite armchair, or whatever place calls to you and says, "yes. Read in/on me."
5. Get A Proper Night's Sleep The Night Before
Remind yourself that looking at small print on a piece of paper can be really, really hard if your faculties are compromised. Prepare for your round of reading with some decent shuteye.
6. Set An Alarm
The big day is here! Don't sloth into by rolling out of bed at any old time. Take your reading seriously.
7. Keep Your Eye On The Prize
Even while you're having coffee or breakfast, focus on the book you're about to enjoy. Bonus points if you reflect on why it's so imperative that you read this title on this day. What will accomplishing this mean for you? (Other than a day of you-oriented bliss.)
8. Start Strong
There's no pressure or anything, but get through at least a chapter or a number of pages that you deem substantial before you stretch your legs.
9. Be Honest With Yourself
Do you really want a snack or is your brain just overstimulated? (But hey, if munching gets you through, don't hold back.)
10. Keep An Eye On The Fuel Gauge
Why do liquids help the words go down faster?
11. Take Necessary Breaks
Not here to judge if your "break" involves you bringing your book with you.
12. Fight Fatigue
At some point, your brain might start feeling fried. A quick walk around the block or a glass of water can help.
13. But Resist The Urge To Pick Up Your Favorite Distraction
There's a real world out there, but that's of no concern to you today. You've got priorities!
14. Consider Relocating
For a change of pace, take your reading to the tub, the kitchen table, your favorite (quiet) cafe, or another spot that will let you push forward.
15. Pay Attention To The People You Meet
One of the surest signs you're destined to read this book in a day is when you reach that point when you wish the characters were real people in your life. The more clearly you can hear the narrator's voice, the more thoroughly engrossed you'll be.
16. Ride The Wave
You know what I'm talking about: you're more than halfway finished! Those pages are practically turning themselves.
17. Rest Your Eyes
Even for a split second. Give yourself a chance to take in the story you're in the thick of.
18. Don't. Give. Up. Now.
So. Many. Pages. Read.
So. Few. Left.
So. Much. Readerly. Cred. To. Be. Yours.
19. Savor The Ending
Whether you loved the book or not, you just experienced an entire saga, complete with a life's worth of emotions, in a day. Take a deep breath and don't be afraid to ...
20. Talk Yourself Up
Can you imagine how much better a place the world would be if more people were competing with themselves to read books? Oh wait, of course you can imagine that, because you've got the imagination of a champion after fueling it with literature all day. Bravo!
Images: Helga Weber/Flickr; Giphy (20)