How to Read Way More Books This Year
So, you want to read more books? Yay! Whether it’s wanting to read five books or fifty, a lot of people set goals to read more in the new year. I personally read a ton of books, and below I’ve shared some of the tips and tricks I use to up my reading game every year. Although it’s tempting to get competitive, it’s important to remember that leisure reading is supposed to be fun. If you set a goal but don’t reach it, that’s fine. Better to have read 10 high quality book that you love rather than 60 “meh” books. Quality over quantity is what really counts.
Here are some tips you can integrate into your everyday life that will help make reading a habit.
Listen to audiobooks
Audiobooks are a great way to read when your eyes are otherwise occupied. I listen to audiobooks all the time at work. They’re also great to listen to during long commutes and doing chores around the house. If you’re good at multi-tasking, there are definitely other activities that work too!
Audiobooks create a more sensory reading experience, with their use of different narrators and sound effects. Don’t have an Audible account? Don’t worry! I don’t either. If you are in the United States, I highly recommend using the Libby app by Overdrive. All you need is a library card, and Libby gives you access to your library’s complete digital catalog. Audiobooks AND ebooks, included!
Bring a book with you everywhere
This is a little different now since we are living our lives closer to home, or are at home at all times (thanks, pandemic). But, if you still go into work, have to go to an appointment, or know you’re going to be waiting in line for a while, bring a book along! There have been so many times when I have unexpected long stretches of waiting time while I’m out. Reading a book I have in my bag, backpack, or car is a wonderful alternative to staring at my phone. If you are an e-reader fan, this is even easier! E-readers are much more light weight than a physical book, and some of them can even fit in a coat pocket.
Schedule time for reading
This can be a tough one, since most of our days are jam-packed to begin with. How can anyone find the time to read?! Personally, I always carve out time at the end of my day for reading. After I’m settled and cozy in my bed, I usually have about 30 minutes to an hour to read interruption free. My phone’s “bedtime” is 10pm, and having my phone on sleep mode makes it a lot easier to put away and prevent distraction. It’s wild how much of our spare time is sucked up by the apps on our phones.
Surround yourself with readers
This one might sound kind of off the wall, but stay with me for a second. When you connect with fellow readers, you can find yourself inspired to read more. Whether it’s talking about books with a friend or joining a book club, being surrounded by book lovers can motivate you to spend more of your time reading.
Don’t have any irl bookish friends? There are so many communities online! From TikTok to Instagram; Reddit to virtual bookclubs- there is something for everyone. You just have to do a little digging to find your people.
Sit far away from your phone
How many times have you sat down to read, only to end up on Bookstagram for an hour? Yup, guilty too many times to count. Because of this, I’ve started leaving my phone in the other room when I make the intention to read for a long stretch of time. Let me tell you, it is way more relaxing than leaving your phone on a table within sight. Stepping away from my phone has lowered my anxiety, made me more mindful of how dependent I am on it, and allowed me to focus for longer periods of time.
I am such a fan that I’ve started hiding my phone away when I’m doing other things around my house. You will be surprised by how much of a time suck our phones can be, and sitting far away from my phone has helped me regain more precious reading time on my days off of work.
Graphic novels and novellas totally count
I know graphic novels and comics aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I am personally a fan. Zooming through a volume of comics or a graphic novel in a few hours feels so satisfying. Even better, they TOTALLY count as books. If you’re reading and digesting a story, it’s a book and should be counted towards your reading goal (if you have one)!
Not a fan of visual storytelling? No problem! Pick up a short story collection or a novella written by an author you love. A novella is a wonderful piece of literature to read, since it sits somewhere between a short story and a full-fledged novel. They are typically between 10,000 to 40,000 words, or 60 to 120 pages, and can be read over the course of a few days or hours. If you’re looking for some novella recommendations, there is a lovely list of novellas, short stories, and short novels here.
Don’t give in to the pressure
Finally, the easiest way to read a lot of books during the year is to enjoy it. Despite what social media pushes, reading is not a race. You don’t need to be reading what everyone else is picking up. Also, don’t compare yourself to other readers online. Basically everything we see on our social media feeds is carefully curated and, to put it harshly, a lie. Enjoy your own reading journey, and remember that reading is supposed to be fun, educational, and rewarding on a personal level. While reading a lot of books can be a fun goal, if you don’t meet that goal, it’s not a big deal. As long as you enjoy the journey!