How many books have you read so far this year? At the time of writing this post I’m just about to start on my 42nd title, so I have already met my Goodreads target of finishing 40 books in 2018.
I’m not bringing this up to brag or make you feel bad about your own reading progress. I just want to show that it is possible to fit a generous amount of reading time into a busy lifestyle. And below I’m sharing a few of the ways I’ve made it possible – along with my tips for finding books you’ll definitely enjoy, and making reading a more affordable hobby (because those Amazon orders soon add up!)…
HOW TO MAKE TIME TO READ MORE
I’ve always been a fast reader, so once I get sucked into a book I finish it very quickly. But in 2017 I really didn’t make reading much of a priority, and only read about 10 or 12 books throughout the course of the year.
So on January 1st, 2018, I made a few lifestyle changes that have helped me prioritise reading. Here are four of the most effective habits I’ve created:
∙ I’ve started watching less TV in the evenings and now read for an hour before bed.
∙ I’m someone who very much responds to list-making and challenges. So I gamified the reading experience by creating a Goodreads account to keep track of my reading progress and set targets. Weirdly I get such a thrill whenever I click the “I’ve finished this book” button that it’s encouraged me to read more.
∙ Whenever possible I always leave the house with a book in my handbag. This isn’t always possible (hardbacks are heavy, and some bags are super small). But if I have a book with me it means I can read any time I find myself on public transport or in-between meetings at a cafe. You’d be surprised how much you can read in moments of “wasted time”.
∙ Once you break a positive habit it’s so much harder to get back into a routine. So before finishing one book I always make sure I have another waiting on my bedside table (or downloaded to my Kindle). That way I keep up a good pace and never fall out of the habit of reading daily.
HOW TO FIND BOOKS YOU’LL ENJOY
It’s so hard to make reading a priority if you don’t actually enjoy the process. And that’s why it’s so important to find books that truly entertain and captivate you.
If you don’t already have a clear view of the genres and authors that excite you there are plenty of ways to hone in on your preferences.
Setting up a Goodreads account is a great first step. You can rate all of the books you’ve read in the past, and the algorithm will generate suggestions based on your reviews.
Joining a book club (whether IRL or online) is a fantastic way to bring more variety to your bookshelf, and experience titles you would have overlooked otherwise. The Reese Witherspoon Book Club always has brilliant suggestions. And if you sign up to the monthly Coco’s Tea Party Book Club newsletter you’ll instantly receive a list of 25 books everyone should read in their lifetime (this is a great starting point if you want to read more).
And you could also subscribe to the book club subscription box Reading In Heels. They send out a paperback, along with a box of goodies, each month. And they always select incredible titles!
MAKING READING MORE AFFORDABLE
Once you get into the habit of reading more frequently you’ll probably find that it becomes quite expensive to keep splurging at your local bookstore (or ordering off Amazon). So there are a few ways you can make reading more affordable.
The first is to join your local library. Before this year I hadn’t set foot in a library for years. And I was convinced my local library would be filled with old, dusty paperbacks that smelt a bit funky. But that couldn’t be further from the truth!
My library always has copies of the latest releases, and oftentimes I’m the first or second person to check out a book – so they’re always in great condition.
You could also try doing monthly book swaps with friends, check out the shelves at your local charity shop, and take advantage of promotions in the Kindle store. Kindle books often often go down in price for short periods (I think as a way to quickly boost titles in the charts), so you can almost always find acclaimed new releases for 99p or £1.99.
How do you make time to read more? And are you hoping to make reading a daily habit in 2019? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts and experiences…
Photos by Lydia Collins