Reading is something that many of us aspire to do more of. Unfortunately, life interferes and it is difficult to find the time to read. When we find time, it often seems more like a chore than a pleasant way to spend time. It doesn’t have to be that way. These are my tips for taking the time to read and enjoy.
Find a reading space
Choose a place where you feel comfortable reading. This can be on the bus or train in the morning, during lunch, in your favorite chair at night, or in bed before going to bed. This spot should be somewhere that tells your brain it’s time to read.
Things to consider when choosing a reading space:
1. Noise levels- Do you like to read with white noise in the background? Or do you prefer complete silence?
2. The amount of space- Do you like to stretch when you read? Or do you prefer a more comfortable space to read?
3. Lighting- Does the space provide enough light to read without straining the eyes?
Choose the right book
When choosing your book, read what you like to read. It’s not a school where you have to keep reading something even if you hate it. No one is going to rate you on what you read for fun.
If you don’t know what to read, start by going to your local library and picking up a few books from different genres. It could be a bestseller that everyone is talking about, a special gem that caught your eye, or a recommendation from the librarian. Librarians are readily available to give you suggestions. They are usually readers themselves, so they are more than happy to chat about books.
Take the time to read
Decide how often and how long you want to read. Write it down on your calendar and make an effort to achieve this goal. It doesn’t have to be every day, but you should make an effort to read regularly. You can adjust your reading schedule and read more or less depending on your lifestyle.
If you’re not comfortable with charting time on a calendar, you can use Post-it flags of different colors in your book to show what you’ve read and what you have left to read.
If you want to account for your reading, a book club might be for you. Book clubs are groups that meet regularly (usually once a month) and discuss a book they’ve read before the meeting. Depending on the group, the books can be chosen by the group leaders or the members can take turns choosing the books.
Common types of book clubs:
1. Genre-Based Book Clubs- Book clubs that read books of a certain genre
2. Age-Based Book Clubs- Book clubs for older readers
3. Organization Run Book clubs- Book clubs organized by a school, library or other community organization
It’s a great way to have accountability when trying to build a reading habit. Plus, book clubs expose you to books, authors, and genres you might never have read otherwise.
First page, last page
One trick I’ve found helpful to get me into the reading mood is that when you start a new book, read the first page, then go back to the end and read the last page. Then resume reading the book to the end. By reading the first and last pages before reading the whole book, you anticipate when you will reach that last page.
Be warned though, if you make the first page, the last page, you might encounter spoilers.
Create a Goodreads account
Goodreads is a social media site for readers and authors to connect. Readers can rate books and receive recommendations based on how they rate the books they read. Starting each new year, they have a reading challenge where you decide how many books you want to read that year and help you keep track of your reading. Users can also create playlists based on topics or genres.
Coming out of a reading crisis
Sometimes you reach a point where no matter what you do or how many books you try to start reading seems impossible. This is called the infamous reading crisis or reading burnout. Most readers have a meltdown at some point.
One of the best things you can do when you feel exhausted is to give yourself time. Forcing yourself to read when you’re exhausted not help you achieve your goals.
don’t feel guilty
Sitting down to read a book is not laziness. You expand your mind. Even if you read fiction, you continue to learn and grow as a person.
On the other hand, don’t feel guilty for not reading. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done.
Reading a book is a beautiful and magical experience, which you should enjoy. Life may get in your way, but never stop reading. We can’t go many places right now, but thanks to books and the power of imagination, we can travel farther than ever before.