15 tips to help you read more books this year

Is your to-be-read pile at risk of toppling over? Are your friends getting through all the new bestsellers well before you? Make 2019 the year you fall back in love with reading

Are you guilty of tsonduko? This is a Japanese phrase for collecting more and more books but letting them pile up in your home, unread. There's a thrill in acquiring books for sure — discovering treasures in second hand shops, visits to the library, and of course wandering through bookshops, buying the ones that jump out at you the most. But then there is the little issue of finding time to read them. Chances are that to-be-read pile is growing, while your time spent reading is dwindling.

Why is it that so many of us find it difficult to get through books these days? There is too much to distract us of course, especially with the smartphone screen that is never far from our reach. It's a harsh truth, but if you have time for social media, you have time to read. Here are a few ways to redisover the habit of reading. You'll be flying through books by the end of the month, we assure you.

1. Embrace the Kindle

Hear us out! You may love the feel of turning a page and choosing a book for its beautiful cover, but going digtial doesn’t mean you have to completely let go of your beloved paperbacks or library membership. Having a Kindle or e-reader means you can carry multiple books with you at a time, can read at night after your partner has gone to sleep, and can easily read in a queue as the device is so light. Give it a go.

2. Set yourself a target

Whether you try to read a book a month or a book or week, or decide to focus on page counts instead, having a target to hit can gamify the whole process and encourage you to pick up a book more often. Sign up for GoodReads Reading Challenge and set your own target number of books for the year.

3. Track your habits

If you just mindlessly pick up the first book you see, chances are you’re not reading widely. Try keeping a list of what you read, and include details like whether the author is alive or dead, if it’s a male, female or non-binary author, or the ethnicity of the author. Tracking your habits helps you understand the patterns in your reading, and will help encourage you to embrace diversity.

4. Schedule it

Make it a rule to read for 30 minutes on your lunch break, or every night after dinner. So much of what we don’t schedule doesn’t get done. Treat reading like all your other important engagements. It’s important for your mind, so it’s just as beneficial as scheduling a gym class or appointment. Make it a part of your routine — chances are you will find that stress eases away the more frequently you immerse yourself in a novel.

5. Have a designated spot for reading

Your favourite armchair for watching TV? Turn it into a reading space, with a good light, a side table for your teacup and a pile of books inviting you to sit.

6. Try Audible

If you’ve never tried it before, it really is pretty special. Listening to an audio book turns mundane tasks like commuting and cleaning into you-time where you can lose yourself in an author’s world, surrounded by the accents and emotions of the characters. It’s a lovely way to experience a book, and it gets really addictive. Try reading an autobiography read by the author, or something funny that will really engage you.

7. Make every wait count

Queues, waiting for your coffee, ad breaks, all of those minutes add up and you can get a lot read in that time. Try using the Kindle app on your phone, so rather than checking Facebook while you wait in line you can tackle that to-be-read list. Why give all that time to social media, when you can seize those moments and get more reading done?

8. Get a reading buddy

Book clubs can be too much of a commitment (or turn into a gossip over a glass of wine) but if you and a pal both want to read the same book, make an agreement to read and compare notes every few days. It’s a fun thing to bond over.

9. Know when to close a book

Feel stuck? Did you stop a book halfway through and not go back to it? Leave it. Life is too short to trudge through books that don’t catch your attention.

10. It doesn’t have to be a book

We all can get that reader’s block feeling — can’t concentrate on one book, don’t know what you’re in the mood for, can’t sit still. Try reading a short story, some poetry, or an essay collection. So much great writing happens outside of novels.

11. Rediscover the joy of reading before bed

Chances are you've fallen out of this really lovely habit, and social media is probably the culprit. But by reading before bed, you will instantly feel more relaxed, it’s a healthier habit than scrolling mindlessly through your phone, and can even ensure you have more interesting dreams.

12. Ensure you bring a book on every trip

Yes it may weigh down your suitcase or get damp by the pool, but you can’t read if you don’t have it with you. Ensure you have downtime to read on your holiday or worktrip, chances are it will make any delays or waits fly by.

13. Take inspiration from your favourite personalities

Whether you follow Oprah's book club, Emma Watson's, Reese Witherspoon's or Florence Welch's, just to name a few, these online book clubs can be a great source of inspiration and discussion.

14. Don't overcommit

It can be tempting to decide that you are going to try to read 52 books in one year, or that you will tackle all the classics, but lofty goals and reading while watching the clock can really kill the joy of reading. These tips are about making reading a part of your routine, rather than whistling through stories. Set yourself an attainable target and let yourself enjoy the process.

15. Set your own rules

Want to skip a sad page? Want to read the last sentence first? Want to read a series in reverse order? Do it! Do whatever you like. This is your time.

Image source: Apartment Therapy

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