Did you make a resolution to read more this year? Excellent. Do you have a plan for how you’re going to fit more reading into your already packed schedule? No? Don’t worry. I believe in you, and I have so many suggestions. According to Charles Chu, in the time you spend on social media each year, you could read 200 books… but asking you to give up social media seems a little excessive, so maybe try some of the following suggestions before deleting your Twitter and Instagram accounts.
- Read during your lunch break.
This one is a no-brainer for me – I’m a librarian and most of my coworkers read during their lunch breaks. I have no idea whether this is normal in other professions – what do non-library break rooms look like? Do people talk? Stare off into space? Play Candy Crush? I have no idea. Even on days that I’m really busy before and after work, I know that I can fit in at least 30-45 minutes of reading while eating lunch.
Listening to audiobooks ABSOLUTELY counts as reading. Have a long commute? Listen to an audiobook. Doing cardio at the gym? Listen to an audiobook (I recommend running on the treadmill while listening to a horror novel). Cleaning the house? Audiobook. Audiobooks are the perfect solution to the “how do I fit reading into my overly busy life?” problem.
- Try different formats.
If you usually read novels, add in some comics. If you usually read comics, mix it up with a few novellas or short stories. Haven’t read poetry since it was assigned in your lit course in college? Pick up a book of poetry! I’m a big believer in variety – it’ll keep you from feeling burnt out.
- Don’t be afraid to stop reading something you don’t like.
I’m still working on this one. When I start a book, I feel obligated to finish it – which is silly. There’s no reason to get bogged down in a book that just isn’t for you. If you’re worried about buying a bunch of books that you’re not going to finish, use your local library! A good rule of thumb is to stop reading if a book hasn’t hooked you within the first 50-75 pages.
- Schedule it.
If you’re really going to prioritize reading more this year, pick a time that you’re going to dedicate to reading and put it on your schedule. Maybe it’s Wednesdays after work. Maybe it’s Saturday mornings. Some people can read for a half-hour before they go to bed (not me – I’ll fall asleep after 2 pages). Find a time that works for you and stick to it! Put your phone away, make a cup of tea, sit in your favorite chair and just read for an hour.
- Always have a book with you.
Keep a book in your car so you can grab it before you get in line at the bank or the DMV. Keep a book next to your bed so you can read for fifteen minutes before you get out of bed in the morning. Keep a book in your desk so you’ve got something to read during your lunch break.
- Read short books!
If your goal is to complete __ books in 2018, do yourself a favor and mix in some novellas, graphic novels, children’s literature and other short books. There are so many fabulous stories that are under 150 pages. Quality and high page counts are not equivalent. Four short recommendations to get you started: The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle (149 pages), Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman (113 pages), Tell Me How it Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions by Valleria Luiselli (128 pages), and Electric Arches by Eve Ewing (94 pages).
You don’t need to be a speed reader to hit your reading goals this year. If you ever need a book recommendation, I’m always happy to give one.
Until next time, find the stories that make you stronger. #WorkOutNerdOut