January is always a great month to reset your reading goals. With all the grand new year resolutions circulating around the internet, sometimes it’s nice to focus on the little things that bring joy, such as a really great book. There are few things I love more than climbing into bed early so I can read a book for an hour. Oh, how different nights look now as a mom of two and one on the way. 🙂
Between work, school, maintaining a social life, getting your email count down and drinking enough water, it can be difficult to squeeze in reading time on top of everything else. You could just plant yourself on the floor of a bookstore as I did here and read for hours but that’s likely unrealistic for most people on a daily basis. So how does one actually read more books?
Reading more books per year isn’t about claiming a higher number or bragging rights. For me, it’s a great way to learn something new and expand my mind. There are books I’ve read years ago that I still think about on a random Wednesday. There are others that I really enjoyed in the moment and then quickly forgot. There’s always a takeaway, whether insignificant or profound, and I enjoy the process of getting there. I also really enjoy the silence. Why is reading more books important to you? Keep reading for five simple ways to read more this year. 🙂
Books over Instagram
Read anywhere you can and choose books over Instagram. How often do we find ourselves mindlessly scrolling when we have a few minutes to spare? If I’m waiting in line, I immediately pull out my phone and check Instagram. If I’m on hold, I check Instagram. While normally I would spend the one hour I have waiting for my daughter to finish her ballet class on Instagram, I started bringing a book instead. Rather than turning to my phone immediately, I try to read a few pages instead. I find myself getting through books quicker and decreasing my screen time, an added bonus.
It’s also a great conversation starter and has sparked some interesting conversations with other parents waiting nearby. The one downside? You may find yourself reading an emotionally charged essay and trying unsuccessfully to suppress involuntary tears in public. In my case, it was an essay in the book, Modern Love, called Now I Need a Place to Hide Away, by Ann Hood.
Pick a book you’re really excited about
I have a want to read list of about 100 books. It sounds crazy but I like knowing that I always have another book ready to read. When Know My Name came out, I knew I couldn’t add it to the end of the list. I bumped it up and ended up staying up until 2am almost daily to finish it in a week. That week was a tough one because the kids weren’t feeling or sleeping well so I would lay next to their cribs and read. I did not get much sleep that week but I did catch up on a ton of reading.
Try to keep yourself motivated by try switching up the genres of the books you pick. If you’ve read a few fiction books in a row or three light reads, choose something heavier to balance things out. I also enjoy reading cookbooks, especially if there are helpful tips and research on nutrition and maintain a healthy diet.
You can also rent ebooks from the library using the Libby app. My only qualm there is that there is usually a long wait list for popular books. For example, Catch and Kill had a 15 week wait. I didn’t have that kind of patience so I downloaded it on my Kindle but for many books, I add myself to the queue and get a pleasant surprise once the book is available. I currently have six months to go for Where the Crawdads Sing so don’t expect that book review until the second half of the year. Luckily, I have plenty of books to occupy my time until then.
Read before bed
Make it a goal to go to bed an hour early with a really great book you’re excited for. Falling asleep while immersed in a completely new world is one of my greatest joys in life. I know that sounded extremely nerdy but it’s the truth. Bedtime is a great time to skip the strolling on Twitter and replace it with a book you can’t put down. I feel so much better after reading a few chapters from the book compared to how I feel after mindlessly scrolling through my feed and retaining very little information.
Keep a book (or audiobook) nearby for commuting
We spend so much of our lives commuting from one place to another so why not make use of that time with some reading material? I’m usually reading around three books at a time and one of those is a commuting book that I keep in my bag. Going back to the first point above, if I have a few minutes in between activities, I’ll take out my book instead of my phone. Reading doesn’t have to be this monumentous task you do when you have the perfect opportunity. It’s often the thing you do in between monumentous tasks. Reading multiple books concurrently keeps the boredom away. If there’s a book I’m not 100% into or if I’m reading something heavy and craving the opposite, it’s nice to alternate between a few different options.
Join a book club
I’m part of a mom book club in my neighborhood and it’s a great way to learn about books that aren’t on my radar. It also helps me stay accountable knowing I need to finish a book in time for our get together. We alternate a book or a podcast each month so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. If you’re not sure of local book clubs, join one online or create your own! Some great online book clubs, or #bookstagrams, are Reese’s Book Club, Bad On Paper, and nycbookgirl. You can also participate in a reading challenge by setting a goal for the number of books you want to read this year.
I find myself jumping from one book right on to the next so it’s nice to take the time to discuss what you just read with friends. It’s always fun to talk about books and most often someone else in the group brings up a point I never considered. It truly teaches you to think differently and outside of your comfort zone.
Are there any other tips you find helpful for reading more books?? Here are some good reads I’m excited about if you’re updating your reading list: