Have you ever wondered how to read more books (or anything, for that matter)? I’ve always enjoyed reading, but rarely made time for it up until very recently. One of my New Year resolutions is to read twenty-five books this year which is about two per month. In my eyes, that’s fairly realistic for my lifestyle. I have a fair amount of down time commuting to and from work as well as during my lunch break.
1. Know you’re already reading/consuming some kind of social media for multiple hours a day.
So many people ask me, ‘How do you have the time to read books?’ and to be fair, I think the last person that asked this commuted by car to work. Personally, that hour she spends driving is an hour spent on a bus for me, so sometimes it does pan out that others do have more down time to make room for reading. It’s also a lot easier when you enjoy reading naturally to squeeze that extra ten minutes or last chapter in between doing other things.
But, generally, know you’re already consuming hours upon hours of social media of some kind already. That TV program, Netflix binge, or hour spent scrolling through Twitter and Instagram could easily be edged down by twenty minutes of reading. But, personally speaking, the more you learn to love a good book the less you’ll desire mindless scrolling. When you’re just starting out with learning to create a reading habit, I’d suggest only taking five or ten minutes out of your typical wind down time and building from there once you’ve learned to enjoy it like you enjoy watching Netflix.
Check out this Youtube video by Max Joseph where he visits some of the most beautiful bookstores in Europe. He puts into perspective that the average person reads a book per year for pleasure, if that. If you’re 25 years old, and you live to be ninety, that’s only 65 books you’ll read in the rest of your lifetime. A bookshelf can hold sixty-five books! If you look at one bookshelf and go, “This is all the books I’ll ever read again in my entire lifetime,” it really puts into perspective how much you’ll miss out on.
2. Read what you like to begin with.
When I started reading, I’d had this idea in my head of reading Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Stephen King novels, etc. Let’s just say Ms Bronte’s story didn’t hold my interest for very long. If you’re into big novels, by all means, but if you’re starting from a place where you read very little, a five hundred page novel is not going to motivate you.
If you’d like to know how to read more, the key is to enjoy yourself! Choose smaller books that are maybe a little bit tongue in cheek or a guilty pleasure to get the ball rolling and motivate you to finish. Enjoy yourself and the habit will form.
Do you need somewhere to start? I’ve written about some of my faith-based TBR choices for 2019.
3. Then, read far and wide, to discover your genre palette.
Once you enjoy reading genuinely, from there you can and should branch out to discover what else you might like. Broaden your horizons! You don’t have to limit yourself to fiction, non-fiction, and fantasy. You can read memoirs, poetry, and fan fiction. You can read erotica, the Bible, horror, mystery, thrillers, romance and science fiction. You can read anything you want. You can even read textbooks if you fancy it. You should read far and wide to figure out what it is you like and dislike so you’ll know what to pick up in future so you continue a regular reading habit.
4. Also, know that it’s okay to dislike a book.
Disliking a book is good. It means you have preferences, which are different for all of us, and those differences are the spice of life, know what I mean? Not everyone will like everything ever, so you’re definitely going to start reading a book you hate and mistake it for a dislike of reading. Just know there are other things out there that will suit your tastes better, trust me. Apparently, according to Google, there are 130 million books to choose from. Get to picking. 🙂
5. It’s also okay to stop reading a book.
You may be wondering how to read more if you’re constantly putting the book down. But, look at it this way: if you dread turning the next page and you’re not enjoying any part of the book, you’ll stop reading altogether because it will soon become a chore.
Plus, there’s nothing worse than feeling like you are obliged to finish a book you’ve started when you’re not into it. Maybe, if you’re enjoying it for the most part but it’s getting slow, maybe entertain finishing it. But don’t be afraid to stop reading something if you’re dreading picking it up and it’s being a right killjoy.
6. Start at the library, then graduate to purchasing books when you know you’re capable of commitment.
Perhaps another hindrance on learning how to read more is that it’s expensive, over time, if you like to own the book. I’m definitely someone that likes to purchase books, because I have plans for my own personal office library when Stuart and I purchase our forever home.
I know that going to the library, or returning something, or renewing it especially, sounds like a chore. But, it’s worth it when you’re not committed to the book 100%. Or, if you do like owning books, hit up resale shops and second hand places. You can find books for pennies.
6. Read at your own pace (and when it’s convenient for you).
Don’t feel stressed or pressured to finish a 300 page book in a week. That’s a marathon before you’ve even learned to walk. Take it slow, read at your own pace, and don’t rush. Enjoy the book because that’s what it’s there for! Someone is telling a story and you’re experiencing it in your mind. Reread bits, Google words, savour it. Start with one sentence. Then one page. Then a chapter. Then a couple chapters. And once the book is captivating enough, devour the rest.
On that note, read when it suits you. I’d suggest reading a few minutes before bed rather than spending that time on social media, which I’m sure all of us are guilty of. Rather than scrolling through Pinterest or Instagram, read one chapter before bed. Or, if you’re a morning person, the same applies in the morning. Do it as and when it’s convenient for you rather than planning a reading session during your favorite TV show in the evening, you know? Don’t sabotage yourself.
7. Don’t overdo it or overcommit.
Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself. This year, my goal is two books per month or 25 overall. To me, that’s reasonable. What’s reasonable to you? Assess how much spare time you have, what you’ll be reading, when you’ll be reading it realistically. Start off smaller than you want to, because if you’re anything like me, you overgun it. Baby steps, people, baby steps.
Well, there you are my love. Did you make it to the end? What do you think? What are your reading goals for this year? I’m sure you have some, otherwise you wouldn’t have made it this far. I’d love to know! In the meantime, please follow me on Goodreads! I do a book review on occasion there and I also share what I’m currently reading, what I want to read, etc.