How many books have you read this year? According to Goodreads, my number is 98! I don’t share this to brag but to invite you into the book corner with me. The reading nook, the wingback armchair in the perfect patch of afternoon sun, the swinging hammock or the thundering subway car. Lose yourself in a story! Learn something new! Laugh, cry, be inspired!
Aside from grad school, when all I had time for was required reading, I’ve always been a big reader. But it’s not easy to prioritize leisure reading in this day-n-age; especially if you stare at screens or texts for work. Reading is awesome, and I want to share 5 things that might make it easier for you to read more in 2019.
- Always have a book with you. This is a great way to ease into reading. Carrying around a little paperback, or having a new bestseller from the library in the passenger seat at all times, means that an unexpected wait = an unexpected moment to read. As someone who gets anxious in a waiting room or impatient at the mechanic, having a book with me helps me stay calm and occupied while I wait.
- Reconsider the definition of “reading” or a “real book.” Graphic novels, audio books, and books of poetry have found their way into slimmer margins of my day. These non-traditional genres are also great for people who think they hate reading. Graphic novels aren’t all superheroes, although it’s cool if that’s your thing — but you can also find graphic novels about food, mental illness, memoir, and nerdy history jokes. And while some people are snobby about audio books (“you didn’t read it with your eyes, it doesn’t count!”), I think that’s hogwash. If you journey across muddy fields with Lizzy Bennet while you scrub dishes, or fly on Aslan’s back while commuting to work, of course it “counts.”
- Share what you’re reading – or don’t. Goodreads has been a fantastic support system for my reading habits. The deep index of titles on that website help me keep track of where I am in a convoluted series, and there’s a Reading Challenge function built right in. That’s why I know I’ve read 98 books this year! On the other hand, the social element might distract you, or make you feel like it’s one more social network to maintain. In that case, maybe a journal or a list on your phone can help you track your progress.
- Find your kind of book. One of the “five laws of library science” is “every reader their book.” This means that libraries should carry books for all kinds of needs and that we in the book-mongering business will not judge you for what you’re reading. And even if you don’t think there are books out there to interest you, I strongly suspect there are. There are more books out now, on any subject, than ever before, it’s easier to find them than ever before. They’re not all as dry as they were in high school, AND no one is going to make you have an opinion on them if you don’t want to.
- Find the time, and the time will find you. Even if you replace 10 minutes of scrolling through your phone (ahem, on the toilet, cough cough) with reading 10 minutes of your book, you’ll be surprised at the progress you’ll make.
If you’ve made it through all my advice and you want to read more this year, may I suggest thrillers, romances, and young adult novels to start? These genres are excellent stepping stones into reading fiction. They move fast, they get your emotions going, and honestly they’re just plain fun. Come read with me!
Image from Molly A. Poole‘s excellent labrador art prints.