It’s a resolution on lots of people’s lists. Read more. A few years ago, it was a resolution on my list too. As a child, I adored reading. At any given moment, I’d have my nose stuck in a book, surfacing once every few hours for a snack and then retreating back into a pile of blankets and another world. But as studying and then work took over, I found it more and more difficult to ‘find time’ for reading (I put this in quotes because had I looked hard enough, the time was always there).
Reading is fuel for the mind, peace for the soul, the opportunity to empathise and learn, to take part in other stories and cultures and worlds. Some people favour films or games or simply avoid reading. But, if you’re here and you want to start, let’s make a reader out of you.
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” – Joseph Addison
7 ways to read more books
Find books you love
“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book” – J.K Rowling
Books, much like TV or films, won’t always be your cup of tea. Some books you’ll find mediocre, some you won’t enjoy at all, others will grip you and never let go. The latter is the type we’re trying to find.
Ask yourself what kind of books you think you’d like – what genres might you be into? Any authors you’ve previously liked the style of? DO you love any films/TV shows that were based on books? List everything you’ve liked about books you’ve read in the past and look online for books that have those same qualities. Then, as you collect ideas, start making lists, visit your local bookstore and see if anything takes your fancy. Write those titles down.
Top tip: Get a Goodreads account
Blessed be the day I discovered Goodreads. I’ve been using the site for years and it’s easily one of my favourite apps. Goodreads logs all the books you’ve previously read and intend to read as well as genres and authors you enjoy and recommends books it thinks you’ll like. You can separate your book lists into ‘bookshelves’, I have mine sorted into ‘Read’, ‘Want to read’, ‘Reading’, ‘Owned to read’ and ‘Friends’ books I intend to steal (I mean, borrow…).
You can also review and rate books once you’ve read them, as well as view reviews and ratings left by others. Goodreads also host their own book awards and can send you monthly recommendations so you always have new titles to read. It’s a simple way to find new books and keep track of the ones you own.
Talk to people that read
“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” – Lemony Snicket
Talking to people that read is your best source for book recommendations and motivation. Whether you and a friend meet up to read together (very wholesome), or simply discuss what you’re reading whilst catching up, having someone to talk to about your new-found interest will help keep you on track.
You could also join a book club or read books alongside a friend. Trying to keep pace with a friend or group will help you to practice engraining reading into your routine until it becomes a habit.
Alternatively, talk to someone who doesn’t read. I tell stories and I pull quotes and send them to people I think would like them all the time. My boyfriend frequently hears about the literary dramas I’m currently unfolding (I, in turn, listen to stories unfolding in video games, so fear not, it’s an equal exchange). You needn’t tell the whole story, but talking about bits that have sparked your interest will help you dive deeper into those thoughts, invest more in the story and help improve your memory too.
Mix up the format
“I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.” – Woody Allen
Remember that not everyone reads the same. You may find yourself more suited to audiobooks, which are great for listening to anywhere, whilst working out, whilst walking, whilst making dinner.
Or you may find you’re particularly drawn to non-fiction over fiction, or enjoy each in their own formats. I love non-fiction in both audio and physical formats. But, I’m not sure I could ever listen to fiction, I love having a physical book in front of me too much.
You can get a free month’s trial and a free audiobook (that you can keep even if you cancel your trial) by signing up for Audible. Their mobile app is excellent and perfect for reading on the go.
Set a goal/challenge
“Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.” – Diane Duane
This is one of my biggest tips, by far. Setting yourself a target, reading a book a month, for example, will encourage you to read regularly to make sure you stick to your goal. Remember to keep your goal realistic, reading for the sake of reading is more likely to encourage you to stop than fall in love with it.
I’d also recommend breaking your goal down. If you want to read 12 books in a year, break that down to one a month. This will keep you on a steady track and not rushing through books in a panic at the end of the year.
Again, a shoutout (not spons just love 💜) to Goodreads here, who allow you to set your yearly goal and will automatically track your progress as you move books from your ‘reading’ to your ‘read’ bookshelves.
Make use of libraries
“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” – Jorge Luis Borges
Libraries are an incredibly underrated resource. Even as a heavy reader, I forget to make use of them. If you don’t want to invest in books or are testing the waters with new genres and authors, libraries are your best friend. Not only will they have a wide selection of books, but they’ll also often order specific books in for you.
And today, libraries are so much more than libraries. With wifi, printers, photocopiers, it’s also a great place to get projects or work done. Many libraries also have selections of films, ebooks, audiobooks and magazine subscriptions. Whatever you like to read, they’re likely to have something for you, free of charge.
Have a designated reading time and place
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. Lewis
As with setting any goal, having a set time and place to do it will help you to build the habit. I started reading on bus journeys. Whenever and wherever I got the bus, I’d choose to read a book. Not only was this beneficial for my reading habit, but it was also just a pleasant way to spend the journey and made my commutes seem to go a lot faster.
My biggest tip! Always have a book with you
“Luckily, I always travel with a book, just in case I have to wait in line for Santa, or some such inconvenience.” – David Levithan
This is easily the best tip I can give you. Always have a book on you. Then, put it to good use! Anytime you’re waiting for a friend, on public transport or waiting for your dinner to cook, pull out your book and get stuck in. You’ll be surprised to see how quickly you can make a dent in a book by pulling it out in your spare minutes.
Happy reading! Don’t forget to snag that free audiobook from Audible.
Love, Ella-Rose x
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