Ways to Read More This Year
A little jolt of guilt buzzes through me every time someone tells me they want to read more because even though reading is one of my favorite pastimes, I should read more too. It was actually one of my resolutions this year: Read More in 2017. (Actually, it was more like Read More in 2017 so your brain doesn’t atrophy, but another one of my resolutions was to be kinder to myself.) And now here we are in March, going out like a lamb to usher in spring, and I’m embarrassed to admit the puny number of books I’ve logged thus far.
Why am I not reading? Well, probably for the same reasons you’re struggling to read more.
Lack of time, for one thing. Fear of boredom for another. I enjoy reading, but a really good story can still lull me to sleep under the right conditions. Fear of missing out. Missing out on what, exactly? Mostly really, really good television.
So here we are. I want to read more. You want to read more. So what do we do about it?
Don’t just read before bed
Yes, reading before bed is great. It definitely helps clear your head before settling into a long, restful slumber. Plus, the timing is consistent, so you know you’re getting at least a little bit of reading in every day. But if you only read before bed, you might only associate it with falling asleep, which is not always your desired outcome. Instead, pick up a book when you come home from work or at work on one of your breaks. Those 15 minute nuggets of time really add up.
Audiobooks are your friends
They’re portable and subscription services like Audible have made them more affordable. Plus, going digital helps minimize clutter, and mountains of books are too heavy to schlep from apartment to apartment when you move. Look for some great books narrated by award-winning actors like Anne Hathaway and Elijah Wood.
Reading challenges are popular for a reason
Every turn of the new year, my social feeds are clogged with reading challenge pledges. That’s because they work. Goodreads is one of the most popular. Read Harder Challenge hosted by Book Riot is also a good option. There are endless challenges online. Some like Banned/Challenged Books hosted by Book Dragon’s Lair and #LitsyA-Z are thematic. But remember, it’s not just about the goal. It only really works if you get involved with the community, see what others are reading, and use their progress to motivate you.
Litsy is a new social media platform designed especially for readers. A constant stream of readings, book reviews, with the book tracking of Goodreads with read, to be read, and reading shelves. Plus, you earn influencer points the more you share, like, comment, and attract followers.
Instagram has evolved into a paradise for book lovers. Use #tbr to share your favorite must reads. Nothing makes you want to pick up a book and see what’s inside more than a beautiful #bookart cover.
Get regular recommendations
Follow literary blogs, join listservs. Don’t feel limited in your scope. Everyone has their preferred genres and writers. If you’re not a well-versed reader, you may realize how many different options are out there. The more recommendations you peruse, the more likely you are to find that book that just speaks to you. Experiment a little and see what you look forward to reading more of.
Join a subscription box
Maybe it’s just me, but when I know I have another book being shipped right to me every month, I’m more likely to actually read the books. Unlike when I go to my local bookstore and pick-up a small collection of books that inevitably just sit on my nightstand until I finally give up all together and put them on the bookshelf. Subscription boxes give me a consistent deadline to stick to and plan around. Plus, they make choosing a book easy by narrowing down your options each month.
Join a book club
Browse on meetup.com, check the boards and newsletter at your local library and bookstores, and, of course, there a million ones you can join online. You can even be part of a massive dialogue via Emma Watson’s feminist book group, Our Shared Shelf, via Goodreads. Even Kim Kardashian West and Chrissy Tiegen have started a book club; however, it’s far less thought out and interactive than Watson’s. It’s kind of just buy the book and read it.
There are also audio book clubs like Literary Disco, a monthly podcast that features Rider Strong (AKA Shawn Hunter from Boy Meets World) and some of his writing buddies discussing that month’s selected book.
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