9 Ways to Make More Time for Reading

Monday, February 5, 2018

One of the most commonly asked questions I get from blog readers is "How the hell do you read so much?!" I know, I know, I read so much every month that it must see like I have no life whatsoever. While it's true that I'm a bit of a homebody, my real trick is that I just love reading, & in the last few years, I've committed to making time to do as much of it as possible.

Here are a few of my "how to read more" tips. Am I missing anything? Leave a comment & let me know - or tell me what you're reading!

1. Make time for reading. Period. 

Reading is a commitment - but it's one worth making. As soon as you start carving out time for it, you'll find that you want to carve out even more. So read before bed. Read in long lines & while you're waiting in the doctor's office. Read instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media or binge-watching that bad reality TV show on Hulu. Did you hear me? Make time for reading. Period.

2. Buy a Kindle. 

I love reading in bed but always hated that I'd get all settled in & cozy, ready to fall asleep with a book in my hand... & then had to get up to turn off the light. I splurged on a Kindle Paperwhite with a backlit screen, so that I can turn off the lights & read in bed without a harsh screen damaging my eyes. It's also easier to slip into my purse than a book is, so I can take my reading on the road.

3. Download the Kindle App.

Before I got an actual Kindle, I used the Kindle App on my iPhone. I prefer my Kindle, but if I'm on the go without it, I just pull up my app & pick up exactly where I left off because the two are synced up. This is great if you're standing in line at the grocery store, waiting for someone to arrive at a restaurant, or just, uh, using the bathroom. As long as I've got my phone, I've always got a book with me.

4. Take advantage of your library.

I'm a librarian's daughter, which means I'm a firm believer in the power of my local library. I don't even mind paying library fines, in part because I see it as a community donation, & in part because, hey, they're still cheaper than the full cost of buying books. I especially love the Overdrive app, which allows you to borrow e-books & audiobooks using your library card. At any given time, I'm on the waitlist for ~20 books. In that vein...

5. Keep a to-read list. 

If I don't have any books to look forward to, I have no idea what book to pick up next - & oftentimes, that means that I just won't pick up anything at all (you know, because picking out a new book to read is so very difficult). If I know what I want to read next, I'm eager to pick it up, which means there's no lull in my reading habit. Start using Goodreads to keep track of what you want to get your hands on next.

6. Join a book subscription box.

OK, this is a bit promotional, but really: In keeping with the suggestion above, my Book of the Month Club subscription keeps me excited & knowledgeable about new releases. Each month, I pick from five new selections & have a beautiful new hardcover book sent to me for $9.99. Right now, get a free book if you sign up using my referral link. (Full disclosure: I get a free one, too!)

7. Read a couple books at a time.

Sometimes I'm not in the mood for a memoir. Sometimes life is too serious to read a serious book. Sometimes fiction doesn't tickle my fancy. What I'm saying is that I want to read different books at different times, & if you're committed to only reading one book at a time, you may find yourself foregoing reading at the times when that particular book doesn't appeal to you. I'm usually working on about three of them at any given time, so that something always fits the bill.

8. Listen to audiobooks.

I'm new to audiobooks - I just started my first one last month! - but so far, I'm enjoying the experience. I was skeptical, but after getting into podcasts, I decided this was the perfect way to read even more every month. Long commute? Listen to a book. Doing housework? Listen to a book. Waiting for the bus? You get the picture. If you're frustrated that the storyteller speaks more slowly than you read, bump up the playing speed to 1.25x or even 2x. You'll get through it much faster!

9. Get inspiration from Goodreads & Instagram. 

Follow some fellow readers & a few "bookstagram" accounts to help keep you excited about reading. You can follow me on Goodreads here, & some IG accounts I like are @sumaiyya.books@welldonebooks, @flatiron_books, @bookriot, &, of course, @bookofthemonth.

At the end of the day, my main suggestion is this: Don't beat yourself up for how much you're reading or not reading. Don't compare your reading habits to other people's - not to mine or to anyone else's. Don't feel like you have to read more, or you have to read the hottest new release, or you have to read X amount of books per year. Read at whatever pace & amount feels right for you.

Just make time for reading. Period. Your life will be richer because of it.

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