Soon after I posted my first reading challenge post, I got this question from a friend. Since then it has been repeated many times. So I started thinking about it and came up with an answer. Or several answers.
Reading is my default activity. If I'm not actively doing something else I'm reading. I read while I'm waiting, whether it's for a train, an appointment, or on hold with an insurance company. I read on the treadmill or recumbent bike. I read while I dry my hair. I read while I cook--although that is more likely to be a magazine--and I have been known to read while I vacuum.
I read while I eat, unless we're all sitting down for supper together. I read while I "watch" TV or a movie unless it's really, really good. (House, Lost, 24, or The Office.) I read before I fall asleep, sometimes for far longer than I should.
I also read fairly quickly. I found out when I was about 12 that there were people who paid to take classes to read like I do. Unless I'm doing genealogical research I read in "chunks" not words. When I look at a page I see sentences or phrases as wholes.
Like many other things, I think that reading improves with practice. Exposure to a wide vocabulary and range of writing styles makes reading easier. Working through a difficult book exercises the muscles of literacy that make the next one go faster. This is why I read my kids a large variety of books when they were small. I wanted them--from the beginning--to hear many different ways words could be put together: the rhythms of Seuss, the vocabulary of Beatrix Potter, the stories of a host of authors too numerous to mention, but many of which enriched my own childhood.
And if you still wonder how I read so much, come and see my house. I would far rather read, scrapbook, write, cook, search for dead relatives...than clean my house.
Oh, by the way, here are a couple more people who read a lot of books.