Everyone wants to know how to read more. You hear it all the time, “Oh, I haven’t read that yet, I just haven’t had the time,” or “I wish I had more time for reading, but…” At a minimum, you’ve probably never heard someone lamenting that they read too much. Because that’s not possible. If you’re one of those people who wants to step up their reading game, here are five strategies you can use to read more books.
Bring a Book with You Everywhere
How many times have you found yourself unexpectedly waiting somewhere with nothing to do? We wait at the doctor’s, in line at the post office, for our friend to finish her hair so we can go out, when we have twenty minutes left on our lunch break but have already finished eating. Any and all of those times would be great opportunities to read, but only if you have a book with you.
If you carry a bag or purse that’s big enough to carry a book, that’s great, but even if you don’t, you can still always have a book on you. You can get ebooks not only on an e-reader but also on your phone—and who ever leaves home without their cell phone? Download some books so that you can squeeze in a few minutes of reading while you get your oil changed or in line at the grocery store.
Listen to Audiobooks
Don’t let anyone tell you that listening to audiobooks isn’t reading! If you’re serious about getting more books under your belt, you have to take advantage of the time you have, and that includes all the time you spend in the car. Think about it: commuting to and from work, running errands, picking up the kids from school, going shopping or to the movies—unless you live in a huge city with good public transportation, you have to drive everywhere. (And if you do live in a city and use public transportation or walk, that’s still time you could be reading or listening to an audiobook!) Why not spend that drive time productively by listening to a book?
With services like Audible and Libro.fm and library services like Hoopla and Overdrive, it’s easy to download an audiobook and multi-task. Not to mention that there are a ton of things that you could do besides driving while listening to a book. Clean the bathroom, walk the dog, workout at the gym, fold laundry, cook dinner, mow the lawn all while you listen to a book.
Ask for Books as Gifts
One way to read more is simply to make books more accessible to yourself. If you have a stack of unread books sitting beside your bed that you look at every night, it might make you think twice about starting a Netflix binge. Plus, when you get books as gifts, you have an extra incentive to read them: someone is going to ask you how you liked them and what you thought. If you read all the books you receive as gifts, your thank you notes will be so much easier. There’s a lot more to discuss when you liked a book than when you liked a pair of fuzzy socks.
You remember how you used to feel about Santa coming and bringing you presents? Did your excitement about the surprises and new toys translate into opening them up and playing with them right away? Well, the same can apply to books! When a book is coming out that you want to read, don’t wait until it publishes to pick up a copy (you might forget about it before then). Instead pre-order it. When it does come out, it will make its way to you, and it will be a fun surprise gift for yourself! Getting packages in the mail is fun. How could you not read it when you’ve been waiting for it to arrive?
Join or Start a Book Club
Now with social media and the internet, it’s easier than ever to connect with people who have similar interests. Why should that exclude books? There are so many ways to talk books with other readers, whether it’s finding an in-person book club at your local library or bookstore or joining an online book club through a Facebook group or some other forum.
No book clubs you want to join (that’s hard to believe, since there are so many, but okay)? Start one of your own. Invite your friends, your coworkers, people you see checking out books at the library, or found one with total strangers through the reach of the internet. You can pick the books yourself, or there are a ton of great resources and existing book club book lists out there (hello, Resse and Oprah’s book clubs!). Here are some of our favorite book club picks to get you started!