First of all, if you want to read more books, it should be a habit.

Never leave the house without a book.

I do most of my reading in trains, busses, planes, and trams, or waiting at airports. I confess I spend more time than I need to in a little smelly place called a toilet. I rarely read in bed, because I want my brain to associate lying down in bed with sleeping. I rarely have trouble falling asleep.

You’d be surprised how much reading you can do in these ‘lost moments’. I am not the most avid reader I know, but I do get through 30 to 52 books a year.

I also have a system for it. I tend to read books in this order:

I read a book about the American Civil war, then I read a book on psychology, and then I read a book in a foreign language, like Slovak, German, Slovene, Czech, French or Russian, and if I’m feeling very adventurous, I try Spanish, but in the case of Spanish I take books I’ve already read in a language I’m more familiar with. The only Italian books I own are two books by the same author on the American Civil War, a topic I know so well, I could probably learn Hungarian if you’d give me nothing else expect a Hungarian book on the American Civil war. I confess I have started reading less and less novels over the years. I find that for novels I need much more quiet time than for non-fiction.

So it’s important to know what you enjoy reading and to not force yourself to read something you don’t enjoy, but because it’s supposed to be a good book. I used to feel obliged to read every single word on every single page of every book I started reading, but these days I have no qualms about throwing aside books that don’t do anything for me after ten pages. I have to admit that especially Slovak novels are not my cup of tea. If I do read novels, American novels are the ones most likely to grab my attention. It seems to me that American writers know what it takes to write page turners, an art that Slovak writers haven’t discovered yet. Novels around here often have uninteresting plotting, and the stories are more like long protracted scenes from a not very eventful dream… I haven’t read Dominik Dan though, who’s the most popular thriller author around here. I also add that Flemish and Dutch novels suffer from the same disease. Egocentric, underdoggish main characters and no tantalizing plot. Don’t expect something with a dazzling scope like Game of thrones to come out of the Dutch literary scene any time soon.


  • Read what you enjoy or find useful
  • Read during moments you have nothing to do, don’t play a game on your phone, don’t dig through your Instagram feed, switch everything off and whip out a book
  • Spend less time on internet, as chances are you are just taking in random info online, that doesn’t really serve a purpose and is likely to not even stick with you
  • Have a system for it
  • Turn it into a habit, make it a reflex
  • Try audiobooks when driving, cooking, ironing, folding clothes, papering the walls or doing the dishes
  • Figure out which books are really worth your time
  • Toss books that don’t appeal to you aside
  • Deepen your knowledge of a couple of topics, don’t try to read just anything that comes your way, it’s easier to go through a book about a topic that you’re already familiar with, or set time a part to read several books about one topic, which will also speed up your reading, since you’ll get more and more familiar with the topic as you go along
  • Find reading partners. If you have somebody to talk to about what you’re reading you’ll be more motivated to finish the book
  • Fix yourself a reading corner at home, a book zone where you can read without distractions