Perhaps you know it: you’ve been reading some books, thinking you’re doing pretty well until you see all the stats on Goodreads from other people. Seriously, how do people read a 100 books in a year?
Well, I can’t promise you’ll get to such a high number, but I will share with you my tips on how to read more books, how to read more often and get some good reading habits. When I say ‘good reading habits,’ I mean that these habits work for me. We’re all different, so what is a good habit for me might not be a good habit for you. Try and play around with it until you find something that works for you. Then you’ll have your own set of good reading habits.
Ready? Here we go!
1. Listen to Audiobooks
This might be a no-brainer for you, but I only very recently discovered the magic that is audiobooks. They’re perfect if you want to read more because you can ‘read’ pretty much anywhere with them. Listen to a chapter while you’re waking up and getting ready, or listen to an audiobook on your commute. I’ve even heard people listening to them while they work, but naturally, it depends on your job whether or not you can do that. It’s also great for when it’s late in the evening, and you feel too tired to read. Listening to an audiobook barely costs any energy at all.
2. Read for some time before or after work/school
This made a big change for me. Depending on what I have planned during the day, I always make sure I have 1 hour or 30 minutes (can be even shorter, whichever works for you!) to read. This way, I can read a chapter or more either before starting my day to wake up or after I’ve finished working to wind down. I find it very relaxing, and it’s been a great addition to my daily routine.
3. Setting a goal or not
This very much depends on the type of person you are. It can be very motivating to set a goal for yourself of how many books you want to read, for instance, this month, or even for the whole year (as we do with the Goodreads challenge). But then you have to make sure it is a realistic and obtainable goal.
I used to want to read too many books in a month, and then I got stressed because I couldn’t finish them all. That ruins the point of reading to me. So, I decided to choose the books I would read for challenges, and when I finished those, I’d just pick a book from my tbr and read it. So I stepped off from setting strict goals.
If you also feel that goals overwhelm you, and you tend to pick too ambitious goals, try and size them down, or eliminate the goals altogether. Reading should be fun, not a chore.
4. Learn to DNF a book
This is a tough one and something I’m still not good at. But it’s a great tip to read more books. Why? If you’re reading a book, and you’re 50 pages in, and you know you don’t like this book, but you keep on reading it, you’ll read slower and less often. Hence, you’ll read less in total. If a book is not to your liking, just DNF it (Didn’t Finish Reading). There’s no need to feel guilty about it (which I do feel when I DNF a book, somehow). Now, you can pick your next book and start reading something you actually like. You’ll be a lot more motivated to read this way, and you’ll read more because of it. Again, I repeat: Reading should be fun, not a chore.
5. Participate in ‘buddy reads’ or join a book club
If you like to discuss what you’re reading, try to participate in a buddy read with others, or join a book club. You can join a book club either in real life, with your friends, or you can find many of them online. It gives some social pressure, but it also gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions about the books you read, and discuss them.
I personally enjoy doing buddy reads, as they seem more informal and casual to me than a book club. Again, there are loads of them online. You can check out the Groups on Goodreads, for instance. Join a group you think reads books that align with your taste, and then see if you can join some buddy reads. You’ll discuss the book together as you continue reading. There are also buddy reads on Bookstagram if you’re not on Goodreads (just search for the hashtag #buddyread). Look over them, find one you like, and ask if you can join. It’s that easy! It gives a nice social aspect to reading, along with some accountability.
6. Always have a book with you
This is a tip I gained from my father growing up. Everywhere we went, he brought a book with him. Used to be physical, but now he takes his e-reader everywhere. (to the annoyance of my mother, ’cause who does she then get to talk to?) Anyway, it’s quite genius, and I think even Stephen King gave this tip in his book On Writing if I’m not mistaken. A lot of times in our lives, we’re waiting. Waiting for the bus or train to come, waiting for our appointment, or for take-out to be ready. Waiting is a big part of our lives. It’s easy to grab your phone in those moments and scroll through your social, but try something else instead: grab your book. Be it a physical book or your e-reader, make sure you have it close to you, and get it out when you’re waiting for something. It might not seem like much, but all those extra minutes pile up.
7. Take part in challenges
If it’s the motivation you’re lacking, then take part in some reading challenges. Just googling ‘reading challenges 2020’ should give up a lot of ideas (or take part in the indie reading challenge on this website!). On most sites, you’ll get a list with book suggestions that fit the challenge each month, and you can discuss your read with other participants.
8. Read multiple books
This is one of my favorite tips to read more books, but it’s also one of those habits that might not work for you. But I do it, and it seems to work for me. It has more to do with the ‘placement’ of the books than anything else. I generally have a book on my coffee-table (physical or my e-reader), and this way I’m more inclined to grab it. Then I also have a book on the nightstand by my bed. I also usually have a book on my phone (on the Kindle app), since I tend to switch between reading on my e-reader (which is a Kobo), and reading on Kindle. I usually read 2 or 3 books simultaneously, but never more than that. Then it just gets confusing.
9. Read during tv-breaks
I know Netflix doesn’t have breaks, so this tip doesn’t really apply if that’s all you watch. But, I actually do still watch television shows on occasion, and with that come commercials. Unless you’re one of those people who enjoy watching commercials, this is probably the time you grab your phone and start scrolling. Read instead! Grab your book, and read those 5 minutes of commercials, and you’ll be 2 or 3 pages further than you were before. Speaking of Netflix, by the by, a bonus tip is to cut on watching Netflix. Switch out some tv-time for reading time.
So, those are my tips to read more books, and for creating some good reading habits. I hope they were helpful. Are there any of these tips you’re going to try? Any you’re already doing? Let me know in the comments!