So you want to become a voracious reader? If you’re like me, you have rows of hardcovers and paperbacks on your bookshelf, collecting dust as they wait for you to pick them up and devour them. Due to other more pressing priorities in your life, such as school, work and your freelance side hustle, your reading to-do list is growing way too fast for you to keep up with.
How can you make room in your busy schedule for getting lost in the pages of the latest Neil Gaiman novel? Here are some tips for cultivating an enriching reading life.
A Chapter a Day…
…keeps the ‘Why am I not reading my book right now?’ blues away! Commit yourself to completing at least one chapter of the book you’re currently reading each day. Find opportunities to read throughout your daily grind, such as during your transit commute, during your coffee break and during meal prep time in the evenings. If you’re too crunched for time during your optimal hours, consider changing your current routine by waking up a half hour earlier to read a few pages at breakfast or winding down before bedtime with your book in hand.
Set the Scene
If you’re just not feeling the inspiration to read from where you usually settle down to study or work, switch up your setting. Create a cozy reading nook in your apartment with plush pillows and vanilla-scented candles or camp out in your favorite local coffee shop to soak in the good vibes. Sometimes a change of scenery can make all the difference in maintaining your concentration and boosting your creative thinking processes.
Beautify Your Books
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I find myself more compelled to spend time with a book when it looks…well…pretty! If you’re a book collector, consider spending a few dollars more on that edition of The Raven with the cool cover artwork and typeface choice. Instead of using old grocery store receipts to mark your pages, get a nice bookmark to serve as your official book companion. My friends at Crafted make the cutest magnetic bookmarks (of everything from coffee cups to corgis).
Try Different Formats
Of course nothing beats the physical thing, but alternative reading formats such as ebooks and audiobooks are also great to try, especially if you’re a digital nomad or an auditory learner. If you’re tackling War & Peace but don’t want to lug that brick of a book around in your tote bag, download it to your portable e-reader device. Celebrity memoirs are an even more fun read when the entertainer-turned-author is narrating their own hilarious anecdotes. With the accessibility e-books and audiobooks provide, you have no excuses for not having a book on you at all times.
Get on Goodreads
By far the most popular and comprehensive online hub for bookworms is Goodreads. This social networking community offers its users a way to catalog their reading lists (of books completed, books to read and books in progress) as well as discover and write book reviews. If you’re in search of a new novel to begin, you can browse for recommendations or get suggestions from your friends. Ambitious readers can also enter the reading challenge, where you can set a goal of how many books you plan to finish by the year’s end.
Join a Book Club
Though thought of as a solitary activity, book reading is even more fulfilling when you mix in the company of fellow book lovers. When you join a book club, you will find out about good books you never would have encountered otherwise, have a reading deadline which will keep you on track with your reading goals, engage in intriguing discussions that will expand your perspective and of course, make new friends who are just as passionate and nerdy about books as you are. I’m a member of a Young Adult book club based in Vancouver and have met some awesome people who motivate me to continue reading my heart — and mind —out!
Hate It? Forget About It!
Are you halfway through On The Road and find yourself wanting to hitchhike the hell out of that narrative? Then put the book down and pick up another title. Yes, part of stepping up your reading game is taking the chance to expand your horizons through each story you read, but life is too short to read books that fail to excite you. Instead, your time will be better spent on the stories you find that will allow you to dream, discover, learn and grow.
What are some of your tips for keeping up with your reading list? Let us know in the comments below!