I have a never-ending book pile and a list of book recommendations. Surely, I’m not the only one. But, guys, let’s not let this stress us. Instead, let’s talk about general ways to read more. I know, you’ve got a packed calendar, kids who need all the things, and a phone nearby, all of which distract you from reading a book. But if you want to read more, you can. Trust me.
Here are nine ways to get through that book pile and make your way through your list of recommendations:
1. Include books in your routine
The easiest way to read more is to make it a consistent part of your daily routine. Maybe that means reading instead of scrolling while eating breakfast or reading instead of watching a show to close out your day.
2. Always carry a book
Part of my daily routine is to always have a book with me. Let’s be honest, I usually have more than one with me, you know, just in case. I like to read when I show up a little early to the school pickup line or while waiting for an appointment. This really is how I get the most reading done.
3. Take a break from technology
Scrolling social media is so easy, but it can also lead to overstimulation and anxiety. I’ve started taking Saturdays off from social media, and it’s been so good for my mind. One Saturday recently, I finished a book, started a puzzle, and watched movies with my kids.
I know, I use my phone for so much of my daily life, including grocery lists, checking the weather, calendar, communicating about schedules and responsibilities, and writing notes to myself. But like any addiction, too much can lead to destruction. Tech addiction can lead to reduced concentration, cognitive function, and memory — all of which affect our reading skills.
When you schedule tech-free periods, you can step away from devices and make more time for reading … or whatever other hobby you miss.
4. Create a reading nook
The environment in which you read makes a big difference to your enjoyment. If you’re comfortable and relaxed, then you are likely to want to keep reading for longer. Creating a reading nook in your home is a good way to do this. I don’t really have a reading nook in my house, but I have a hammock outside, poolside chairs, and a comfortable bed. In fact, one night recently I got in bed immediately after my two youngest were in bed and before my oldest even put on pajamas and devoured a delightful book recently.
5. Set a target
Setting a reading target is a fantastic way for some people to stay motivated to read more. Some people is not me, in this case. Even though I don’t set reading goals, I do keep track of what I read and I do like to beat my total from the previous year come December.
For those interested in reading goal setting, you can decide to read a certain number of books in a year, a month, or even one book a week if you’re dedicated. I do use Goodreads to keep track of what I’m reading and it also offers reading challenges and tracking
6. Change the format
Like all of life, there are seasons with reading. When I became a mom, I couldn’t read suspence books that involved missing kids or dying husbands anymore. In 2020, I couldn’t handle heavy topics and leaned more toward romantic books. More recently, I struggled with what to read next because I had too many good choices right beside my bed and on my Kindle.
Usually choosing a different genres or book format helps get me unstuck. I prefer actual books, but I read on my Kindle too because it’s convenient and there are lots of options right in my hand. I’m more visual, so I don’t usually choose to listen to books, but downloading an audiobook is a great option, especially if you have a long commute.
7. Try new things
If you tend to stick to the same old authors and genres, getting through your to-be-read list may be difficult. I love finding new-to-me authors. Reading books by a diverse range of authors from all over the globe offers new perspectives and discoveries. If you are an avid reader of fiction, why not have a go at non-fiction? There are millions of factual books on any subject you can think of, certainly not limited to expressionist cinema, the history of ankle boots, or biographies of your favorite celebrities.
Another new-to-me thing that has helped me expand my selection of books is treating myself to a Book of the Month subscription. If you’re a book lover and haven’t tried BOTM, I encourage you to because the selections each month are great, there are reviews included before you choose, and the quality of the actual book is superb.
8. Have a plan B
I quit books I’m not into and tend to steer clear from genres (um, fantasy …) that I know won’t interest me. There are just too many good books out there to waste time on one I’m struggling through. This is why I usually have at least two books or my Kindle with me. Options!
9. Join a book club
For most people, reading is a solitary habit, but it doesn’t have to be. Community makes everything better. Book clubs could be online or in-person and offer common ground through whatever book y’all are reading together.
When I have grown kids and more time, I hope to have a book club that incorpriates food related to the novel. Clubs can revolve around specific genres or be more general. There are so many benefits of joining a book group, such as the opportunity to find new genres, authors, and friends while keeping you motivated.
What tips would you add to this list?
I previously shared some other specific ways I make time for books. You can follow posts about books on Instagram and Facebook with #KHTreads or follow along on Goodreads. I also keep a list of recommended reads on Amazon, if you want to grow your to-be-read stack.