As I look back at the calendar’s pages of what is said to be an unprecedented year, I chide myself about what I should have done better and how I could have lived a better life throughout the past twelve months.
Fortunately, enriching my mind with words is not one of my missed opportunities. I’ve devoured books, from the moment that I learned to read, and haven’t put them down since.
I’d like to share with you some easy tips and tricks on how to set a reasonable reading goal AND how to stick with it during the next 365 days.
1. Set Your Goal for Time Spent Reading, Not by Books Read
Be honest with yourself. If you want to commit to reading more throughout the year, you’re going to have to set aside the time to do so.
Do you have fifteen minutes before bed each evening to crack open the pages of your next read? Thirty minutes, perhaps? Three hours and 48 minutes like me? (I don’t get much sleep these days, obviously.)
If your days and subsequent evenings are packed full with scheduled tasks, that’s okay! Allotting a small amount of time per day to wind down and immerse yourself in an imaginary world (or the real world for my non-fiction fans out there), is easy.
You’ll find that once you make a decision to incorporate reading into your daily life, the idea of reading a certain amount of books per year doesn’t really matter anymore. You’ll be hitting your small goal every day and boosting your vocabulary without even trying. (Seriously, you will make better use of words once you start reading on the regular, without even noticing.)
2. Read About What You Love
Track down books and authors who write about subjects that are near and dear to your heart. Have a penchant for romance? There’s a huge genre out there just waiting to be explored. Do you like solving puzzles and mysteries? There are hundreds of thousands of books ready to be checked out.
Want to learn how to build a blacksmith forge in your backyard? Yup, you guessed it. Someone has written that book and it’s just sitting there on the shelf, waiting for you to pick it up.
When you find a genre that appeals to what you love, the pages flip seemingly of their own accord.
3. Join (or Start!) a Book Club
Book clubs are a great idea if the thought of reading a book then discussing it with others is something you would enjoy.
In the standard book club, members will regularly meet, typically once a month, to discuss the latest month’s book. This discussion can range from actual literary critique of the novel and the writer’s talents to character and plot of the story itself.
Lately, we’ve seen many book clubs go virtual, with the help of Facebook, Discord, and online public forums. If you can’t find a local book club that looks appealing, or if none on the Internet stand out, you may wish to start your own and invite your other literature-loving friends to join.
4. Revisit the Books You Loved as a Child
Before you balk at the idea of reading young adult novels or novels geared towards children, ask yourself, “Why not?”
Some of my most cherished reading stems from books meant for a younger audience. Where the Red Fern Grows and The Phantom Tollbooth, for example, are two novels that were marketed towards children but still hold value for an adult.
What could be better than returning to a past love and revisiting it with new eyes?
5. Carry a Book With You
In this day and age, it’s easy to have accessibility to a source of reading material with the help of cell phones and e-readers. If you don’t enjoy reading from an electronic device, get in the habit of packing up a novel in your purse or bag before you leave the house.
Whether you’re waiting for a bus or have a few minutes to yourself after lunch, reaching for that book at your fingertips is an easy way to ensure you work towards your daily goal of reading.
If you actively search out time for reading, you will find it.
I utilize two sources where I get most of my reading material from:
- Libby – This app partners with my local library in which to check out e-books.
- Kindle – All of my downloaded content from Amazon gets sent here, including books available via my recurring monthly subscription associated with Kindle Unlimited.
Take some time out for yourself this year. The joy and the pain you will experience from these works of fiction (I’m looking at you, Albus Dumbledore), will stay with you for the rest of your life.