A couple weeks ago, I was having a conversation with two of my best mates about how to read more books. One said he only picked up a single book in 2019 and the other mentioned that she used to read a lot when she was younger and is now trying to get back into it. I shared with them some tips as I read more than 20 books in 2019 and felt quite proud about it and thought that this could be a nice topic to write about.
Books are my chill pill, it’s how I disconnect for a moment. I realise the more I read, the calmer I feel. I’m not saying that my anxiety is gone thanks to books, but when I read a couple times a day I just feel GOOD.
I used to read a lot as a kid and a teenager, I would spend hours reading in my room and would always bring tons of books for my annual summer vacation in Spain (introvert life). But when I started uni, life got immediately busy as I was either out at shows, studying at home or spending the day at my best mate’s place.
I’m 29 now and got back into a reading habit about 5 years ago when I began buying and reading books on a regular basis. I just realised that reading is something I genuinely love and makes me happy. As an introvert, I cherish my time at home and reading books just become a habit, something I naturally do -almost- everyday.
These are some tips that helped me get into it. If you ever find yourself thinking “I should read more”, maybe these will work for you too:
1. Set yourself a challenge
This year I’ve decided to read 30 books to celebrate my 30th birthday. I read 21 books in 2019 but knowing that I didn’t fully commit all year long, I think I can do better this year! I want to make reading a priority as it’s something I truly enjoy and puts me in a good mood.
I’m keeping a written list in my planner where I add books I find interesting and want to read next. Ticking off boxes is a weird thing I find exciting & motivating (hello, weirdo) which is why I pretty much make a list for everything.
Next to this, I have my Goodreads account that I update regularly or use to check for ideas.
2. Join Goodreads and/or a book club
Talking about Goodreads, you might want to think about joining the platform if you haven’t done so already. As well as being able to create your yearly challenge, Goodreads is an excellent tool to discover new releases, books you might enjoy etc. You can also follow authors & people who enjoy the same books you do.
My somewhat competitive nature also likes to check in on how my friends (/frenemies) are doing. It motivates me to see that someone is 6 books ahead of me!
Alternatively, you could join a book club, you could join one online or on social media. You could also create your little book club with friends, family or at work. I find it helps when you do this with others as it gives you a goal while reading a book.
3. Start small
I know I said to set yourself a challenge but don’t think too big, otherwise you’ll fail. I know as I’ve been there. If, thanks to the rising of social media scrolling, “Netflix & chill” and your busy life in general, you haven’t been able to read a book in years, don’t tease yourself that you’ll be able to read 30 books at the first try.
Think small in terms of challenge but also of books, don’t start off your challenge by reading a big-ass 600-page book, start with something short and sweet, and when you start developing the habit of reading again, you can go for something bigger.
4. Read what you like
I know this seems REALLY obvious but we’ve all been caught up in some kinds of trends or feeling like you have to read certain types of books before calling yourself a reader.
You are not going to like every book and that’s totally fine. I will admit that I bought some because they were popular or I would see them everywhere and I would end up buying them (total sheep move) – but I didn’t like them, I couldn’t get into the story and I forced myself to start it again and again but I wasn’t enjoying it. Usually when that pattern starts, that’s when you will feel like reading is a waste of time and you tend to go down a spiral and quit on reading altogether. So, when you don’t like a book, just skip it and start another one. You can always come back to it another time and see if you get another feeling.
Find the genres you truly enjoy and stick to them. You should never be embarrassed for picking a specific genre, they exist because everyone has different taste. If you find yourself with a pile of books you ACTUALLY want to read, you might be able to read them all.
5. Find your own routine
Obviously, this is going to be different for everyone: parents with kids, someone who has an hour-long daily commute, someone who works on a different shift everyday etc. The idea is to find what works for you and stick with it.
I personally enjoy reading before bed, I always have and I don’t think this will ever change. Recently, I also started reading right after breakfast, even if I only have time for one chapter. I take the time to do it because I enjoy slow mornings and it puts me in a good mood.
If you’re not a bedtime reader because you fall asleep after one paragraph why not try reading during/after breakfast, during your commute, at your lunch break? There are many possibilities, you could allow yourself to enjoy little 10-minute breaks during the day, watch one episode on Netflix instead of two and spend that time reading instead!
I hope those tips motivate you to start reading again and if you have any more tips I could add to the list, let me know!