Ten Ways To Read More Books

I read a lot as a kid. One summer in elementary school, my neighbors got a boxset of The Baby-Sitters Club books (I think there were about thirty at that point) and I breezed through one of those suckers every day or two. I'm ashamed to admit I didn't read for fun in high school or college though. In high school, I was a typical teen who did the bare minimum to get As and Bs and the rest of my time was spent with friends or my boyfriend, or on the phone with them, or watching 90210 and daily reruns of Saved by the Bell. And in college, I studied political science and history and had way too much required reading to pick up a book for the fun of it. Thankfully, I got back into reading after I graduated and have never been without a book since.

These past few years though, I've read A LOT. That's not meant to be a brag, I just do and sometimes even feel embarrassed about it. I can't help it though; I'm a nerd and I crave information. I also read really fast and comprehend it easily, so that's a plus. I also don't have a job, so... I constantly get asked how I have the time to read. The simple answer is that I make it a priority. If you're a football fan, you carve out time to watch games on weekends. If you like to hike, you find a way to get outside as much as you can. If you enjoy binge-watching (which I do, just as much as reading!), you put that show on your calendar and get into it. It's the same for me and books. Here are a few other tips to get you reading more.

1. Read before bedtime I read about fifty pages before bed every night. Doctors have repeatedly told us it's good for our health, our peace, and our sleep, so why shouldn't you? Depending on the length of the book, I can finish one every four or five days, just by reading in bed.

2. Always have a book on hand I never go anywhere without a book in my purse or downloaded to my Kindle app. Someone at Milo's soccer practice said to me, "You have a new book every week!" (Little did she know, I typically read two books a week, but whatever.) I sheepishly said, "I know, I read a lot," but really wanted to say, "Maybe if you got off your phone or stopped gossiping with that other mom, you'd be able to get through a book, too." Use your time wisely! Sure, sometimes your kid's soccer practice is the best time to scroll through Instagram or Facebook, but you can always use half of it to read.

3. Listen to books Don't let anyone tell you audiobooks are not reading. Some people do better through auditory learning (I'm one of them) and retain the information better. Audiobooks are also great for multitasking. I listen in the car, while working out, folding laundry, and cleaning. And because I'm a fast reader and fast talker, I prefer to listen at 2x the speed.

4. Switch it up I know a lot of people can't read two books at once. I used to be that way. Now though, I'm almost always listening to one and reading one. I try to choose fiction and non-fiction books, but it doesn't always work out that way.

5. Read what you like I was talking to a friend of mine about reading and she said she's hated it since she was a little kid. Part of her problem is she's a 37 year old woman who needs reading glasses, but is terrible at self care and won't make a goddamn appointment already. But it's also because she's never read for fun. I bought her a book about travel and she finished it in two days. I read tons of non-fiction because I like it, but that would make most people feel like they were in school again. Read whatever makes you happy: romance, true crime, thrillers, graphic novels, historical fiction, celebrity memoirs. Read something you can't stop thinking about when you put it down.

6. Don't read what you don't like That should go without saying, but if you have just started a book and it's boring you, give up. Even if you're more than halfway through, just stop. It's not worth your time. I used to have a rule about finishing what I started because I thought every book would have a redeeming quality or lesson, but I don't have time for that anymore. Even if everyone else loves it, I'll stop reading if I can't get into it.

7. Spend less Reading can be an expensive hobby, so check out used book stores or the discount aisles at Barnes & Noble. Look here to see if your town has a Little Free Library and go to garage or estate sales. Even my dollar store has some old best sellers that I never got around to. If you prefer not to clutter up your house with physical books, Amazon always has sales on kindle editions.

8. Library! Library! Library! We have gone to the library once a week, every week since Nolan was a baby. My kids know how to look up books online, find them on the shelf, and self checkout with their own library cards. They also know how to place a hold and are just as impatient as I am when they have to wait for one to come in. I buy less than five books a year (including ebooks) because of the library. We belong to three different library systems so one of them will always have the physical, ebook, or audiobook I'm looking for.

9. Get on Goodreads I read a lot after college right up until Nolan was born and then it stalled. I was only reading about a book a month and it was typically just something I grabbed off the shelf after leaving baby story time classes at the library. Then I got on Goodreads and my reading skyrocketed. It helps me keep track of new releases I need to put on hold, I get to see what my friends are recommending, I track my books and create challenges for myself, and because I'm a big list maker, marking that "read" box makes me feel good.

10. Join a book club I've been part of my neighborhood book club for three years and love it. It's nice to get together with people who like to read and hear their perspectives on the same book. We take turns choosing the books, so I don't always love what we read, but that's ok. Some books I never would have picked up (like, The Art of Racing in the Rain) have turned out to be some of my favorites. We read a lot of local authors and go to events together, too. See if your library has a yearly community read and go to one of those meetings. There are a lot of online options, too. I love Emma Roberts's Belletrist and Emma Watson's Our Shared Shelf. Reece Witherspoon, Tumblr Reblog, Andrew Luck, Bustle, Rachel Syme, Wired, Mark Zuckerberg, and of course Oprah all have book clubs as well.

Here's to reading more in 2018!


lil desiqua said...

I get such a high marking a book "read" or "I'm finished!" on Goodreads lol. And I had the same relationship with reading as you did. I actually just started using my library for e-books and I love it! I still can't get into audiobooks. I've tried unsuccessfully several times now, and I've decided it's just not for me, but I agree that it's still reading. I also can't read in bed (I fall asleep), but reading 50 pages before bed was how I originally eased my way back in the habit of reading again. Oh, and having a book on me all the time, even if it's just on the Kindle app on my phone. Great tips!

Misty said...

I love this post! I only ended up reading 8 books in 2017. :( It obviously wasn't a normal year for me. I went through a lot personally and picked up some really crappy books that discouraged me.

Right before the year ended, I cleaned up my Goodreads list. I purchased a book I knew I'd love even though I had 20 on my Kindle. I totally agree about not reading something you don't like. I used to force myself through crappy books. Now, if I'm not feeling it, I move on.

I can't listen to books though. I've tried several times and just get too distracted.

I really need to join a book club.

Audrey Louise said...

Get it, girl! It's awesome that you read so much!!

I read A LOT in elementary school and high school. College killed my vibe, though. I felt guilty reading for pleasure when I had SO MUCH to read for school.

It took a while, but I'm back to reading now. I don't go as fast as I used to and I'm more distracted now so it's a little tougher to comprehend it quickly. Plus, my husband isn't a reader so when he's at home relaxing the TV is on. If I want to be in the same room as him, I usually don't read. (Unless he's watching the Cavs game- I read through that, lol.)

I definitely abide by rules 1, 2, 5, 8, and 9. K bought me a Kindle for my bday so I often read in bed after he's gone to sleep :)

Jo said...

I love love love reading but don’t do enough of it. In part because buying English books in a non-English speaking country is so expensive.