It’s the middle of July and I’m slaying my reading goals this year. I’m actually set to double what I’ve been able to finish in the previous years and I’m very excited about that. I made some changes in my routine that allowed me to read more books this year and I thought I should share these tips with my readers!
If Bill Gates can read 50 books a year with his busy entrepreneurial lifestyle, then we can add a couple (or more) to our list each year. Am I right?
Even if you only plan on reading 5 books, the benefits to you are positive. Reading…
- exercises parts of the brain, reducing mental decline with age
- can help with depression and stress
- can help you wind down and prepare for sleep
- motivate you in real life
- makes you smarter (source)
I hope that I’ve pumped you up to read because here are my tried and true …
15 TIPS TO GET LIT(ERARY) AND READ MORE BOOKS THIS YEAR
1. Have a goal you want to reach
When you set a goal to read more it helps if you have a plan to meet it. The best way to do this is to decide how many books you should read to be considered “more”. Over the last few year’s I’ve read around 12 books a year, but I wanted to change that. I set a goal to read 15 books this year and used some of the tips below to meet that goal. I’m currently 4 books away from it and it’s only the middle of the year!
2. Add reading to your routine, preferably in the morning
One of the biggest changes to my routine that’s allowed me to read more is changing what time I read. Before this year, I was reading before bed. The only problem was, and I’m sure you can relate, I was tired after reading a few pages and it was taking me forever to finish a book. Then, once I started working from home, my morning routine was less hectic and I got into the habit of reading with my morning coffee. This usually lasts about 1-1.5 hours first thing in the morning. It’s this shift, from night to morning, that’s changed how efficiently I consume books. Instead of getting through 3-5 pages a day I’m able to get through 20-30 (and that’s just in the morning).
3. Sign up for a Goodreads account
Goodreads.com has been around for quite a while now (since January 2007). It’s a website made for readers to find book recommendations, track the books your reading or plan to read, share books you love by rating and reviewing, track what your friends are reading and more. According to Goodreads, I’ve been a member since 2011, have tracked 234 books read and plan to read 604 more. Every time I come across a new book recommendation online that seems like someone I would read I add it to my list. When I finish a book it becomes a lot easier to choose another since I’ve already had an idea of books I want to read in the future.
4. Get your hands on an e-reader
There seems to be a camp of people who enjoy reading from a device and those who will only pick up a physical copy. If you’re curious about e-readers I recommend giving them a try because you can read a lot quicker on them. That has been my experience anyways. Whether it’s the elimination of having to constantly turn pages or the ability to change the font size and spacing to match your preferences, there’s something about e-books that’s more efficient. I jump back and forth between my Kindle and physical handheld books and always find I get through them quickly when it’s in e-book format.
5. Borrow or download Audiobooks
Personally, I can’t get into audiobooks. It’s not the best way my brain likes to consume information. However, if you like to listen to books it’s a useful tool to get more reading into your routine. You could listen to books anywhere: while driving, during your bus commute, getting reading in the morning, winding down for the evening. You get the idea. They are easy to find now too. You used to only be able to get them at libraries and book stores in large boxed cases but now it’s all digital. Try two free audiobooks with new sign-ups for Amazon’s Audible.
6. Try new genres
Read more books this year by expanding your options. The publishing industry is huge. It seems there are books written on everything these days so it’s a good idea to explore what’s out there. If you’re always reading Harlequin romance novels pick up a mystery next time. The more options you have in terms of what you enjoy reading the easier it will be to discover new enjoyable books to read.
7. Turn off any distracting electronics
Turn off that TV! Finding out who won Big Brother isn’t really teaching you anything anyways. If you want to read more this year then start replacing some of your old activities with reading. Even better, turn your phone on distraction-free mode for at least an hour while you focus on a book. Do this for a year and see how much more efficiently you read.
8. Visit your local library
If you’re feeling uninspired the library is the best place to break that. Visiting your local library can motivate you to pick up your next best read. When I visit I find it hard walking out with only a couple of books. You can browse the shelves until a book catches your eye, talk to the librarian who will be able to offer recommendations or just be in the presence of greatness. Libraries are an amazing place full of knowledge and stories. It’s hard not to be inspired.
9. Join a book club
If you like sharing your thoughts about what you’re reading a book club might keep your reading goals on track. Most book clubs read a book each month, which is 12 books a year if you stick with it. Feeling risky? Take it even further and read two books at once. I recommend checking out Meetup or The Girly Book Club to see if you have any local chapters in your area.
10. Start a book blog (get on the PR list)
I can tell you right now if you start blogging about books you will receive several emails a week asking for reviews. This might work for you if you aren’t picky about your next book and you enjoy reading works by small publishing companies. Starting a book blog and getting on the PR lists of book publishers will ensure a steady flow of new books year-round. They usually ask for a review within a couple of months which also means you will be reading more.
11. Learn how to speed read
When I was in university a professor explained a trick Ph.D. students use to get through the number of books they need read. She said they can read 8 books a day by reading the introduction, conclusion and first few paragraphs of each chapter. By doing this they understood the main argument the author was making as well as his points and conclusion. This only works for non-fiction unfortunately but it’s worth learning if you have an insane to-read goal for the year. Other speed reading methods exist, you just simply have to Google it and thousands of results appear.
12. If you don’t like the book, drop it
If you’re not feeling a book, and it’s just dragging on, then stop reading it and move on to one that keeps your attention. There’s nothing worse than trying to get through a book you find out you don’t like. If you’re lucky it’s a short one, but most likely it’s a 300+ book and is now torture to read. These books can slow down your progress and sabotage your yearly reading goal. I used to feel guilty if I didn’t finish a book and would force myself to finish everything. It’s a huge waste of time. You can read more books this year if you can learn how to let go of what’s not benefiting you and pick up something better.
13. Sign up for BookBub
Every day I receive a newsletter email from BookBub with Amazon’s current discounted e-books. These are books that are normally $10-$20 but for a day they are anywhere from FREE to $2.99. It’s great. You don’t have to go looking for these deals because BookBub finds them based on your preferences and sends them to you in a handy daily list. Sign up on their website and start downloading!
14. Discovery your distraction-free reading spots
To read more this year you need to find those sweet spots and locations where you can become absorbed in a book without distractions. This will be different for everyone so it’s important to do you. I can only read in quiet places, so most public areas don’t work for me. I tried reading at a Starbucks once and it was impossible! My sweet spot is at home in bed but for you, it might also be at the park, at school, on the bus, a coffee shop. You never know. Having these special reading spots will make reading more enjoyable and as a result, you will read more.
15. Have a mixture of long and short books
If you want to read more books this year then plan to read a variety of page lengths. Supposed that every book was the length of a George R. R. Martin novel. It would take forever to finish them and we wouldn’t be able to read as many a year as a result. Choosing long and short books throughout the year helps you get through more. It’s not cheating, it’s just strategic thinking.
BEFORE I SIGN OFF TO READ…
Many of these tips have worked for me this year and might help you increase your reading volume too. If I were to recommend only a few off the list it would be to try reading in the morning, test out an e-reader, and mix in some short novels this year. These should get you going on the right track.
If you have any more tips that you’ve discovered in your pursuit to read more I would love to know. Share your ideas in the comments section below.