One of my closest blog friends, Emily, reads like no one I’ve ever met before. She’s always plowing through books. Personally, I’ve always wanted to be more of a reader. However, I could never get myself to really sit down and read in a consistent way. My reading habits usually consisted of maybe reading a book while on vacation. Maybe. As in, I would every once in a blue moon actually read the book I pack with me. Even though I almost always pack a book no matter where I travel to.
As a matter of fact, I packed Sharp Objects with me on almost every trip for what might have been 2 years. And it took me a solid 3 years to finish it. I kid you not. However, I finished Gone Girl in a matter of days. So clearly I need a great book to keep me hooked. And I’m fully capable of plowing through books too. Which I guess is a good sign that I’m TOTALLY able to become a reader.
I vowed at the beginning of 2020 that I would read at least one book per month. It seemed like a totally attainable goal. Just a few pages a day, or a few afternoons a month, and I could hit my goal no problem. I started the year off well. Then the pandemic hit and I was so distracted by the news, my phone and work. I’m sure you can relate, too. So I took a bit of a setback, but then got back into it. Here’s how I managed to read more books in 2020 so far than I have in the last 10 years combined..
How To Read More Books
Use GoodReads And Track Your Reading
I decided to start using GoodReads at the beginning of 2020. It’s a great way to track your reading and also save books you want to read for later. While reading a book, you can mark your progress. This has been so helpful for me as I feel like I have a goal I’m working towards. And it’s so fun to see your progress and percentage increase as you go. It’s also nice having friends on there and you can see how quickly they’re getting through their reading list. It definitely motivates me to finish since they can see my progress too! To me, GoodReads is like an epic to-do list and checking things off feels so satisfying.
Join A Bookclub
I attempted to join a bookclub but it didn’t go super well for me. But for that one single month, I did plan to go, I forced myself to read the book. I wouldn’t say this is a great way to read books since you may force yourself to read bad books. And that’s just not enjoyable and makes reading more difficult. But I think for some people this tactic really does help. Or at least get a group text going with some friends for books and swapping books. Having some accountability is always helpful in whatever form you choose.
Ditch Bad Books
If you’re 20% into the book and hate it, or can’t get into it, don’t finish it. It’ll take you forever to finish it when you could be reading something much more enjoyable. I know some people just can’t imagine not finishing a book because of book FOMO. But, I’m fine with it. I will say, I read Where The Crawdads Sing only because everyone said it was so damn good and I really never got into it until the last 100 pages.
Bring Your Book With You Everywhere
I started packing my latest read in my purse anywhere I went where I’d be sitting and waiting. If I had to bring my dog to the vet, or visit the dentist, I brought my book. You’d be surprised how quickly you can get through some pages if you allow yourself to read while you’re waiting versus scrolling Instagram. It’s also just a great way to stay off social media. So it’s a win-win.
Find Your Genre
I’ll be honest. I have maybe read 10 books in my entire adult life. Until 2020 of course, I have read or listened to over a dozen already. In the past I really only read books by my favorite comedians like Chelsea Handler or Jenny Mollen. And then discovered a few good finds along the way like Gone Girl, My Sister’s Keeper and Girl On A Train. And this was only because someone gave me the book. I don’t think I ever bought one that wasn’t written by a comedian.
I realized I liked specific genres, but there are SO many others out there. So I decided in 2020 to try new genres to see what else I liked. This was helpful in getting me to not only read more but to discover new authors and genres that I may not have thought about picking up before.
Listen To Books
I do believe in counting an audiobook as “reading a book”. Why? Well, it’s time I have to spend focused on it. I’m not the type to listen while working, it’s impossible. But when I’m on my walks or cleaning the house, or in the car, this is a great way to get through more books. I find that memoirs are my favorite to listen to on audiobooks. But I’m also still finding my genres when it comes to consuming audiobooks. I tried The Vanishing Half and the southern accent was too difficult to get through. So to me, the narrator really needs to be great, or I can’t even consider it.
Listening to books also allows you to knock out 2 books at once. I can usually listen to one book and read another in the same month easily.
Find Your Optimal Reading Situation
Some people like to read before bed, others enjoy a Sunday spent on the couch reading. Whatever you find that works for you, find time to make that work when the opportunity becomes available. For me, I hate reading with artificial light. So daytime reading on the weekend is ideal. And thanks to working for myself, I have even found myself during the week spending a half hour or so on the couch in the late morning reading before getting back into work. This means I leave a book on my couch at all times so I’m more inclined to pick it up. The same goes if you love to read before bed, keep it on your nightstand so you’re more tempted to grab it. And leave the phone in another room! I easily get distracted by my phone if it’s nearby when I read.
What are you currently reading? I just finished It Ends With US and American Royals. Loved both of them!
Photos by Hannah Lozano