Have you resolved to 'read more' this year? Are you struggling to achieve that goal? Read on for some tips about to how to achieve reading more books this year!
Measure Your Progress
'Read more' is one of those woolly goals that is hard to quantify. I would highly recommend setting yourself a tangible goal, as knowing whether you're keeping up the pace is vital. I keep track of my book reading through the handy website Goodreads. You can see my profile here. Recently the 'Reading Challenge 2015' popped up on my screen, and for some reason I enthusiastically and perhaps over-ambitiously set my 2015 reading goal at 100 books. Last year I'd estimate that I read about 50, so this is an aim to double my reading. I'm currently 8 books behind schedule, but I'm not that worried, because I have a strategy that includes the below tips.
Make Reading A Habit & A Priority
Sometimes it's easier to keep to the same old habits of half-watching TV in the evenings or playing on social media on our commutes to work. If you can make reading a habit, then it will easily slot into your day, but to make something a habit you have to devote some conscious effort to it first and make it a priority! I do this with household chores, such as tidying away clean dishes while the kettle's boiling. At first I had to remind myself to do it, but now it's automatic.
Read In Short Bursts
Last year I tended not to read unless I had at least half an hour to devote to it (unless I was reading something particularly gripping, when I'd be cramming in reading at every opportunity to find out what happened next). Now, little and often is my mantra. One useful website that might help you with this is called the Daily Lit. You can get email installments of a massive range of books, for free, and you can choose the frequency and length of the installment. A great way to catch up on some classics that you've overlooked so far.
Choose Accessible Books
Reading is supposed to be enjoyable, and not too much like hard work, so pick books that you will find both pleasurable and easy to read! I've tried to read Mervyn Peake's 'Titus Groan' several times but just can't make headway with it. I have to stop after every page to look up all of the vocabulary I don't understand, and I get frustrated. If I made another attempt to read it this year then I'd probably use up about 10 books worth of normal reading time, so if I want to reach my 100 book target I'll have to leave that one for another year. War and Peace is probably one for another time too.
Keep Books With You
I keep books in my desk drawer in work, I keep them in my handbag, and I have them in the boot of my car. Now that there are e-readers like Kindles, there's no excuse not to have a book on hand, anywhere and everywhere!
Read Different Types Of Book At Different Times Of Day
I have heard some people say that the best way to finish a book is to read just one at a time. I disagree with this; although I wouldn't read two similar books at the same time e.g. two Georgette Heyer novels, I quite often have a fiction book and a non-fiction book on the go at the same time. I like to read different types of book at different times of the day, so I'll make more headway if I stick to lighter books before bed and heavier reads during the day e.g. I recently read a Jeeves & Wooster book in bed each night, that was just perfect for some relaxed, effortless reading and a bit of a giggle before sleep. I saved 'The Hare With Amber Eyes' for my commute on the train, as I needed to concentrate more for that one and anything with a bit of an unsettling theme isn't good for me right before bed as I struggle to switch off from it and get off to sleep properly.
Join A Book Club
There's nothing like a deadline to provide a bit of motivation! Once a month is frequent enough, and if you have to meet in person rather than discuss a book online, you've got even more of an incentive to finish that book on time.
Listen Instead Of Read
Finally, a bit of a cheat is to listen to an audio book. I have some Agatha Christie short stories on CD in my car. You can borrow audio books from your library, or they quite often turn up for pennies in charity shops.
Do you have any more tips about how to fit in more books into your life? Have you set yourself a reading goal this year?