If you read more than the average person, you’ve likely had others wondering what kind of trickery you use to fly through so many books each year. I know I’ve been asked more than once or twice. Five years ago, just finishing a book a month was a stretch for me; not because I didn’t love reading, but because I wasn’t making it a priority. My habits have shifted over the past few years and my numbers have gone up tenfold, but there’s no magic involved—a few changes in priorities is really all it takes for anyone interested in reading more.
Turn Off the TV
This is not some high and mighty attempt at telling you the only way you can be a reader is by throwing your TV out the window and winding back the clock to the Victorian era. Not at all. I love TV way too much for that. But there’s a ton of bad TV out there, you guys. So many shows that we just turn on and leave on and before we know it we’re sucked into their suckiness. The year my reading really cranked up, I started turning the TV off when I wasn’t intentionally watching something and it helps so much.
Use the Library
It’s super easy to buy a ton of books, shove them on a shelf, and let them gather dust while you stare longingly and promise yourself you’ll get to them soon. I’ve done this more than I care to admit. Learning to love my library totally changed my reading. While I don’t always read every library book that comes home with me (there are many), I’ve found that due dates push me to jump on them much quicker.
Read on Your Phone
Or in your car. Or in the shower. Or in line at the grocery store. You don’t need to carry around a dedicated e-reader to sneak in extra reading time when you can access audio and e-books through several different apps on your phone (including OverDrive from the library!). Fifteen minutes here and there can add up much quicker than you’d imagine, so it’s always great to have a book on hand.
Accountability can be huge for many of us, so sometimes all it takes is a good goal or challenge to get things going. Reading goals can be number specific, like taking part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge or the 50 Book Pledge, but they can also be a little more title and genre focused. Both PopSugar and BookRiot have challenges that can help guide you in your reading without placing too many restrictions on the books you pick.
Remember YOU’RE the Reader
Challenges can be an amazing way to jumpstart a new relationship with books, but it’s important to remember you’re the one reading, not some imaginary overlord requiring you to pick specific titles. If you know you have absolutely no interest in reading an 800+ page biography of Alexander Hamilton, don’t pick it up just because it’s everywhere and you need to check off history on your challenge list. That’s how reading dies. Yes! Be open to new topics and genres, but keep your interests at heart.
What are your best tips for becoming a power reader in the New Year?