How to Read More

A stack of books under a mug next to a bed

Reading more books is a goal that can transform your life for the better. 

When we read, we are transported to another time and place. We get to experience life in someone else’s shoes, learn new things, and most of all, temporarily escape from our everyday lives. 

We feel so much better after reading a good book. So it’s no surprise then that reading has been shown to enrich your life in a variety of ways. Reading can help you:

As you can see, it’s worth it to read more books. But with professional and personal demands on our plates, and not to mention all the social media apps and streaming services at our fingertips, how do we make the time to read more books? 

Perhaps we should take a cue from Stephen King. In his memoir On Writing, the prolific author and reader writes: “The trick is to teach yourself to read in small sips as well as long swallows.” 

When it comes to reading more books, it’s about finding pockets of time and also making more time for extended reading. Here’s how you can read more books this year.

Find pockets of time

Instead of looking for long blocks of time to sit down and read, see if you can find spare parcels of free time throughout your day. In other words, find free time for your slow sips.

So if you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, don’t use that time to scroll through your phone, read a book instead. 

Here are more ideas for finding pockets of time to read:

  • Read before bed
  • Read after you wake up
  • Read while dinner is cooking on the stove
  • Read while the laundry or dishwasher is running
  • Read while you’re waiting in line at the grocery store
  • Read while you’re waiting for the bus or train 

Aim for 10-15 pages a day

You don’t have to burn through a hundred pages a day to read more books. 

Taking the “small sip” approach, set low targets and aim for 10-15 pages a day instead. This is much more realistic and achievable. 

10-15 pages a day may not seem like much, but after 30 days, that’s about 300-450 pages, and depending on the genre, you’ll have finished an entire book by the end of the month. 

Read genres that you actually like 

Instead of forcing yourself to read a certain type of novel, why not read a genre that you actually enjoy reading? When you find a genre that is entertaining and fun to read, you will be naturally inclined to read more of those books. 

If you’re not sure what genre of book you’re into, then let yourself discover and explore. Try reading a thriller one month or historical fiction the next or travel memoirs the following month. Soon, you’ll come upon a book that you really enjoy. Then, find similar authors who also write in that genre and read their books. Before you know it, you will be devouring books because you have found a genre or subject matter that you genuinely enjoy reading. 

Designate an afternoon or evening for reading

Having an entire night to read a book is so luxurious. It really is such a great way to immerse yourself in the world of the book and get lost in it. For a chance to experience these longer reading periods, see if you can designate a night or afternoon a week to reading.

By making reading a priority, you might have to say no to other tasks or activities. Maybe it means declining a social invitation or skipping a Netflix show. 

As Pandora Sykes writes, “I think, when it comes to our disposable hours, we make time for the things we want to do. I read because it’s what I want to do, frequently to the exclusion of other things.”

By saying no to some things, you’ll be saying yes to reading. 

Be okay with quitting a book you’re not into 

You might feel socially pressured to read the literary book that all the critics are raving about or the classic book that’s on every “must-read” list, but if you’re not enjoying it, why force yourself to read it?

Life is short and you should spend it reading books that you enjoy. 

Some readers like to give themselves until the hundredth page to decide if they want to keep reading or not. And if you feel guilty, remember this: you can always go back to a book later on. Sometimes, I won’t connect with a certain book because I’m just not in the right mood or mindset, and then I’ll return to it later on, and enjoy it much more. 

Read multiple books at a time

Some bookworms like to read multiple books at once. After all, we don’t always eat or watch the same thing everyday. So why stick to one book? You might want a different book depending on your mood or even the time of day. For example, an inspiring book in the morning to motivate yourself for the day ahead, and a cozy mystery to wind down at night. Or maybe it’s tackling a complex and challenging book one day and alternating it with something lighter the next. 

If you’re worried that reading multiple books will prevent you from ever finishing a book, then make sure that you’re diversifying your reading list. You want the books to balance each other out. So instead of reading three dense history books, for instance, mix it up with a beach read and a memoir. 

Keep a book log

In your notebook, make a list of books you want to read and record the books that you’ve already finished. 

Seeing your progress in a visual way will motivate you to keep going. Plus, a book log makes for a nice memory keeper. Years from now, you can look back on your book logs with fondness and see what you were reading at the time. 

Join a monthly book club

Joining a book club can help you read more books. Plus, a book club has all the elements of a successful goal setting strategy

A monthly book club will give you a specific book to read, a firm deadline, and people to hold you accountable. And the shared experience of reading a book and discussing it will make you so excited to read more books.

Written by JiJi Lee.

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